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  • Fox Still Dismissing Spending Cuts As Economic Fallout Begins

    ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News hosts have been dismissing the effects of the across-the-board government spending cuts known as sequestration, claiming that "nothing is happening" following the cuts taking effect. But the cuts are already having negative economic consequences that will continue unless the cuts are replaced.

  • Fox News Chart Helps Paint Distorted Picture Of America's Defense Spending

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD

    Fox News opened a discussion on potential defense budget cuts with a graph which tracked changes in the United States' defense spending, pushing the distortion that the U.S. is lagging behind China and Russia. But Fox neglected to acknowledge the actual amount these countries expend on defense; in reality, U.S. defense spending is greater than the next 12 top-spending countries combined.

    On the February 12 edition of America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer displayed a graph comparing the growth in the defense budgets of China, Russia, and the United States from 2007 - 2011. The chart, which assumed that sequester cuts to the U.S.'s defense budget will take effect, projected the change in these countries' defense budgets through 2015.

    Hemmer explained that, "We just wanted to give viewers at home an idea about what countries are doing over the past four years and the coming four years from here," and that for the current year on defense spending, "China goes up, Russia goes up, and the U.S. remains flat when compared to these other two countries." In the next four years, Hemmer claimed, "on the percentage they will contribute on their defense budget, China is about 300 percent increase, Russia's not too far behind, [and] the United States is not only flat, but it's trailing now as we move toward the year 2015." The graph segued into a discussion with Fox military analyst Major General Robert Scales on how cuts to the U.S. defense budget will harm our military capacity.

    Fox's chart, focused exclusively on growth in defense spending across a specific period of time compared to 2004 budgets, suggests China and Russia are far out-scaling the U.S. on defense spending. But date constraints and percentage change in budgets are meaningless outside the context of actual expenditure. Hemmer conveniently disregarded the actual dollar amount the U.S. spends on defense compared to China and Russia.

    The U.S. spends more on defense than the next 12 top-spending countries combined. PolitiFact examined data by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), both "considered to be leading authorities on worldwide military spending numbers," and determined that, "In 2011 -- the most recent year available -- the United States led the world in military spending at $711 billion ... The next top 12 spending nations accounted for a combined total of $670.9 billion." IISS data discovered that the U.S spends $252.6 billion more on defense than the next top nine nations.

  • Fox's Carl Cameron Falsely Claims Democrats Have Not Proposed Spending Cuts

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely claimed that Democrats are pushing for revenue increases without spending cuts in a report on the debt ceiling negotiations. In fact, President Obama and Democrats have offered billions in cuts to social insurance programs.

    In a segment on ongoing negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and avoid automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, Cameron described the proposals by claiming, "Republicans want spending cuts and no more tax hikes, and Democrats want pretty much the opposite." From the January 31 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier:

    In fact, Obama offered spending cuts throughout the fiscal cliff negotiations and has already cut spending. Obama offered over $400 billion in spending cuts to social insurance programs in addition to the $1.5 trillion in spending cuts included in the 2011 Budget Control Act. They also found that the spending in the act will decrease discretionary spending to "its lowest level" as a share of GDP "going back to 1962."

  • Media Focus On Bayonet Numbers, Ignore Romney's Bogus Claim About Navy Fleet Size

    ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    In response to Mitt Romney's debate claim that the Navy's fleet "is smaller now than any time since 1917," President Obama noted that military also has fewer bayonets and horses because it has modernized. Rather than discuss President Obama's accurate point about military strength, members of the media are trying to figure out how many bayonets the military actually uses.

  • Another Debate, Another Litany Of Romney Falsehoods: Will Media Take Note?

    ››› ››› SOLANGE UWIMANA, MELODY JOHNSON & EMILY ARROWOOD

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rehashed at least seven previously debunked claims during the October 22 presidential debate, including the phony talking point that Obama went on an apology tour. Romney's dishonesty, now apparent in the third straight debate, continues to present a challenge to the media.

  • Fox Promotes GOP Effort To Stop Defense Cuts By Slashing "Programs For Struggling Americans"

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    On today's edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson hosted Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to promote the Republican bill which would reduce spending to prevent the automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget enacted as part of the debt ceiling agreement. Carlson introduced the segment by claiming Republicans were "try[ing] to stop $78 billion in automatic cuts from the Department of Defense" but that "Democrats appear to be using the threat of cuts as a bargaining chip."

    But Carlson is giving only one side of the debate. While promoting GOP efforts to stop the sequestration cuts, and attacking Democrats for attempting to stop the bill, Carlson failed to mention that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) tried to introduce his own bill to avoid sequestration, one that would similarly avoid cuts to the defense budget but was blocked by House Republicans. House Democratic leaders pointed out that, unlike their proposals, the GOP bill would pay for the cuts by slashing "programs for struggling Americans."

    From a May 7 New York Times article:

    The Republican-led House this week will lay bare the choice between social programs and Pentagon spending in an age of austerity when it takes up legislation to slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans over the next decade to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year.

    [...]

    The new legislation starkly lays out the costs of that pledge. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would push 1.8 million people off food stamps and could cost 280,000 children their school lunch subsidies and 300,000 children their health insurance coverage through the federal and state Children's Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the social services block grant to state and local governments would hit child abuse prevention programs, Meals on Wheels and child care.

    A quarter of the cuts in the bill would come from programs for the poor. Cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized insurance premiums under the health care law make up more than a third of the package's savings, or $108 billion over 10 years.

  • Gaffney: Obama Defense Strategy "Eviscerate[s] The Armed Forces Of The United States," "Invites" Attack

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Responding to the Obama administration's announcement of an overhauled defense strategy that will guide cuts in defense spending, Frank Gaffney wrote in a January 10 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace wrote that "[t]his is the first time in memory that a president has voluntarily eviscerated the armed forces of the United States and redeployed what remains so as to create acute vacuums of power in time of war."

    Gaffney further wrote: "If even the defense reductions, downsizing and disengagement that it envisions come to pass -- let alone those in prospect if the cuts associated with the pending sequestration legislation are imposed, the United States will not simply expose its people, allies and vital interests to attack. It will invite such attack."

    However, as Media Matters has noted, experts have said that the proposed plan is fiscally responsible while keeping America the "world's most dominant military."

    From Gaffney's piece:

    Listening to Barack Obama laying out what he calls his new defense strategy, my first reaction was, "Here we go again." Having basically written off the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama is falling prey to a temptation several of his predecessors found irresistible in peacetime: Cut defense expenditures. Shrink the military. And hope the rest of the world will neither notice nor take advantage of our weakness.

    Something is decidedly different, however. This is the first time in memory that a president has voluntarily eviscerated the armed forces of the United States and redeployed what remains so as to create acute vacuums of power in time of war. Unfortunately, I am referring not just to the war in Afghanistan that we continue to be engaged in, for the time being at least.

    [...]

    Under such circumstances Mr. Obama's "revised defense strategy" is a formula for disaster. If even the defense reductions, downsizing and disengagement that it envisions come to pass -- let alone those in prospect if the cuts associated with the pending sequestration legislation are imposed, the United States will not simply expose its people, allies and vital interests to attack. It will invite such attack.

    Gaffney has previously fearmongered that repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy could lead to reinstatement of the draft.