Fox News figures are telling the incoming Republican House majority how to use its investigative authority, compiling a growing list of targets in the Obama administration.
Fox News helps GOP target subpoenas
Fox Nation highlights “GOP's First 4 Potential Investigations of Obama.” Fox Nation trumpeted a November 3 BusinessInsider.com article that discusses four possible House investigations into “criticisms of administration officials and their decisions,” including the phony New Black Panthers scandal, conversations between the White House and Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) leading up to his Democratic Senate primary, funding of ACORN and its successor groups, and the administration's response to the BP oil spill. Many of these investigations are based on phony scandals that have been aggressively promoted by Fox News.
Fox's Ingraham encourages investigation of New Black Panthers case: “These are actually substantive issues.” On the November 2 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly said that “we're also getting sort of a -- I don't know -- a red flag” from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is expected to become the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, that “the Democrats are going to have their hands full” with investigations he conducts. Kelly said that Issa had mentioned the New Black Panthers case and “other problems with the DOJ” as issues he might investigate, and she then asked Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham, "[I]s that a good idea or a bad idea?" In response, Ingraham said that “this isn't retribution, or payback, or pettiness on his part. These are actually substantive issues that have been mostly just swept under the rug.”
Ingraham calls for investigation of Holder for “the attempt to move” Mohammed's trial. On America Live, Ingraham also listed, as an example of “substantive issues” that should be investigated, “the attempt to move, remember, the trial from New York trial of” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. “That's Eric Holder,” she said.
Ingraham calls for investigation of Holder for “going after the state of Arizona.” Ingraham also listed Holder purportedly “going after the state of Arizona, in the way that the federal government did,” by challenging the legality of that state's controversial immigration law. Ingraham said, “That's an issue that people across this country were enraged about.”
Ingraham calls for investigation of EPA head Jackson: "[S]he's tried to jam through these rulemakings." Ingraham concluded her list by saying, “And in addition, Megyn, the [Environmental Protection Agency] administrator. Remember, she's tried to jam through these rulemakings that would make it -- basically, CO2 would be a pollutant, giving Congress an enormous amount of backdoor authority through her to regulate carbon emissions. I think Darrell Issa is going to put Lisa Jackson on the hot seat.”
Kelly: “How do [White House officials] say, 'You're not getting John Morton; you're not getting Napolitano; you're not getting Holder?'” On the November 5 edition of America Live, Kelly listed a number of issues the GOP could investigate, including ACORN, “Gitmo detainees possibly being moved to the United States [and] the recidivism rate among Gitmo detainees we let go,” “the New Black Panther case and how it was let go,” “the BP oil spill, how that was investigated,” and “Democratic lawmakers getting kickbacks to their families.” Later during a discussion of potential investigations, Kelly said, “It strikes me that it does put the Obama administration in a little bit of a pickle, because President Obama ran on being transparent, on transparency, so he's -- even though President Bush stiff-armed a lot of these investigations, it's a little harder for President Obama to, no?” Kelly also said that the GOP is “talking about subpoenaing Eric Holder” and asked, “How do they [the Obama administration] say, 'You're not getting John Morton. You're not getting Napolitano. You're not getting Holder. And we refuse to tell you whether we're doing it'?”
Fox contributor Mike Gallagher on phony New Black Panthers scandal: "[W]here there's smoke, there's fire." After Kelly listed possible investigation topics for the GOP, Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher responded, “I think where there's smoke, there's fire. And frankly, even though this may backfire, that Black Panthers evasion was a disgrace.”
Fox's Napolitano advises GOP to subpoena Bernanke, Fed records, which would “stop it in its tracks.” On the November 3 edition of Fox Business Network's America's Nightly Scoreboard, Andrew Napolitano called on Republicans to subpoena Ben Bernanke and all of the Fed's records, which would “stop it in its tracks.”
Hannity encourages investigation of “Sestak scandal.” On the November 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity said that some parts of the Republican agenda “may hit the back burner if Congress decides to take up the many congressional investigations that they have been unable to pursue over the past four years.” His first example was what he called “the Sestak scandal," which he said involved “the administration us[ing] Bill Clinton to try and convince Sestak to drop his primary bid against turncoat Arlen Specter.”
Hannity encourages investigation of “Climategate scandal.” Hannity also encouraged investigating the debunked “Climategate scandal,” in which “thousands of emails revealed that the world's leading climate scientists were plotting to suppress data and push global warming propaganda.”
Hannity encourages investigation of “Countrywide mortgage scandal.” Hannity concluded his list by encouraging the GOP to investigate Democratic senators who “received sweetheart loans under the quote, 'Friends of Angelo program,' run by former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo.”
Fox panelists Goldberg and Krauthammer call for subpoenas over health care reform: “you can unveil” how “slapdash” and “ugly” the process was. On the November 4 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, panelist Jonah Goldberg said that “the real power in the House is going to be subpoena power, and they're going to be able to call one administration official after another and say, 'How did you make this sausage again?' ” Goldberg said that the health care reform legislation “was made so slapdash and so ugly and with so much sleight of hand, I think you can unveil that in a very professional, reasonable manner and build consensus against the legislation as it exists to build this argument towards 2012.” Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer agreed, saying, “And on the issue of hearings, it won't only be about the history of the bill and how it was put together. ... You bring in an administrator every time a regulation is issued, you're going to have an issue right there. You publicize it, and you make the case.”
Fox's Wallace asks Rep. Issa “What's the big investigation” the GOP will tackle first? On the November 7 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said to Issa, “Over the last two years you talked a number of times about how you would like to investigate certain things, but as the ranking minority member you couldn't.” Wallace then introduced what he called “sort of a lightning round,” to “go through a series of issues and you tell me whether you're going to pursue them as chairman of the Oversight Committee.” Wallace asked Issa about “the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case,” and “the White House effort to get Joe Sestak out of the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania.” Wallace later asked, "[W]hat's the big investigation you're looking to hold?"
Fox's “impeachable offense” nonsense directly cited by Issa's to attack Obama
Fox figures used phony Sestak scandal to push for impeachment of Obama. As Media Matters has documented, Fox figures including Hannity, Dick Morris, Steve Doocy, and Glenn Beck -- as well as Rush Limbaugh -- have claimed that the White House committed an “impeachable offense” by offering Sestak a position on a presidential panel if he did not enter the Pennsylvania Senate primary. In fact, legal experts and historians have stated that the offer did not break any laws and that similar offers have been common.
Fox's Morris has been cited by Issa to push “impeachable offense.” Between May 25 and June 3, Issa made nine appearances on seven Fox News programs to discuss the discredited allegations that the White House illegally “bribed” Sestak. During one of those appearances, Issa stated, "[T]his is an impeachable offense, according to Dick Morris." The following day on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Issa whether the allegations, if true, amounted to “an impeachable offense.” Issa replied, “I think it was Dick Morris who said that, and you know, you can only impeach the president. You can't impeach his staff. So the real question is: Was this a staff decision? Did Rahm Emanuel do this on his own? Until we know who made the offer, we really don't know."