If the GOP presidential candidates' talking points at last night's CNBC debate sounded familiar, there's a reason why.
During the debate -- the third of the Republican primary season -- the GOP's 2016 presidential candidates peddled repeatedly discredited talking points and debunked myths that have consistently been amplified by Fox News. Fox has a long history of guiding the Republican party on policy positions and influencing the GOP primary process, and several of the candidates' debate remarks were conspicuously similar to narratives that have originated on or been promoted by the Fox News Channel.
For example, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) spontaneously interjected during the debate that “police officers are afraid to get out of their cars ... they're afraid to enforce the law” because President Obama "[doesn't] support police officers [and doesn't] stand up for law enforcement." Christie went on to blame the so-called “Ferguson Effect” -- a right-wing media myth that uses flawed or cherry-picked data to link supposed increases in crime rates to increased public scrutiny of police after incidents involving police brutality -- on what he called President Obama's lack of “moral authority.”
Gov. Christie's allegations are not the first time President Obama has been reviled for his alleged inaction on behalf of law enforcement. Fox figures have obsessively promoted a myth that Obama has not spoken out about violence against police, and right-wing media has consequently gone so far as to claim that his silence has contributed to violence against cops.
Fox News' -- and Gov. Christie's -- claims are demonstrably false. President Obama has repeatedly addressed and denounced violence against police, and no link exists to suggest rising crime is associated with President Obama's presidency.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) parroted another lie produced in the Fox News echo chamber: that Hillary Clinton intentionally misled the public about the Benghazi attacks, knowingly telling the public that an inflammatory video spontaneously inspired the violence while privately acknowledging it was pre-planned. Sen. Rubio ultimately claimed that Clinton was “exposed.”
Following Clinton's October 22 appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Fox News aggressively pushed this false claim as “smoking gun” evidence of Clinton's intentional misinformation on the cause of the attacks. Fox even doubled down on Rubio's debate remarks the next day to continue pushing this falsehood.
Clear evidence vindicates Clinton, however, and underscores that Fox News' relationship with the GOP is unrestrained by facts. Clinton has explained that the State Department's understanding of and explanation for the attacks changed as “piecemeal” and “conflicting” early intelligence reports were replaced by more reliable information. For extra measure, media outlets also roundly dismantled Fox's and Rubio's claims.
Another striking debate moment occurred when Carly Fiorina argued that the federal minimum wage was unconstitutional. “There is no Constitutional role for the federal government to be setting minimum wages,” she said.
Fox has long shared a similar disdain for anything resembling a living wage, and has led a lengthy, conspicuous, and misguided campaign against raising the minimum wage. Fox figures have distorted facts on the minimum wage and downplayed its importance, contributing to a false narrative that the minimum wage supposedly leads to job losses, is bad policy, and is already high enough.
Fox's minimum wage talking points, however, are also false.