Dave Briggs | Media Matters for America

Dave Briggs

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  • Media Figures Adopt Trump’s Spin To Whitewash Ossoff’s Showing In Special Election Primary

    Reports On Ossoff’s Fundraising Ignore Advantage Republicans Have From Outside Spending

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Following the special election primary for a vacant House seat in Georgia, media figures are repeating President Donald Trump’s spin highlighting out-of-state donations that helped Democrat Jon Ossoff. The focus on Ossoff’s fundraising, however, ignores the disproportionate advantage the Republican Party and Republican candidates got from outside groups in the race.

  • Fox Undermines Its Own Defense Of The Wealthy

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox broke from its usual narrative by reporting that over the last 43 years the net worth of the wealthy has "skyrocketed," pointing to this as a rationale for President Obama's call to allow past tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. Previously, Fox has manufactured the notion of a high tax burden on the wealthiest Americans, in order to attack Obama for wanting to let these cuts expire.  

    During a Fox & Friends Sunday segment co-host Clayton Morris attempted to use a study on household net worth to attack President Obama's plan to end the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy. But during the segment, co-host Alisyn Camerota, citing the study, reported that median net worth is the "lowest it has been in decades" but for "the top 1 percent, the net worth has skyrocketed" going up 71 percent during the period analyzed. Camerota noted that the discrepancy in net worth is one reason that Obama has proposed returning the top marginal tax rates for high-income earners to their previous level.

    Indeed, a study by New York University economics professor Edward Wolff found that the net worth of American households has fallen to a 43-year low. CBS reported that Wolff found that while the median net worth of American households had fallen to $57,000 because "the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable," the "wealthiest 1 percent of American households increased their average wealth by 71 percent" during the same period.

  • Fox Guest Pushes Conspiracy Theory That DOJ Wants To Release Gitmo Terrorists Onto U.S. Streets

    Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

    Fox misused a report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office finding that the federal government may be able to safely transfer all the prisoners currently detained at Guantanamo Bay to prisons on U.S. soil to manufacture a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration wants to release terrorists onto American streets.

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- a non-partisan independent agency that works for Congress -- issued a report finding that six Department of Defense detention facilities and 98 Department of Justice prisons may, with modifications, be able to hold the detainees the Department of Defense is currently holding at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    During the December 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Dave Briggs and Juliet Huddy interviewed Republican Party activist and former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams to react to the report. Fox has repeatedly given Adams a platform to push his vendetta against the Obama administration's Department of Justice, including the utterly discredited claim that the Justice Department has a policy of not pursuing certain cases against African Americans.

    Adams wasted little of Fox's airtime before pushing an anti-Department of Justice conspiracy theory. After discussing how dangerous some of the detainees in Guantanamo are, Huddy asked what would happen if Guantanamo Bay detainees are brought to the U.S. prison system. Adams responded by falsely claiming that the administration had previously attempted to release terrorists into Northern Virginia and suggested that the administration's long-term goal was to release terrorists into the United States:

    ADAMS: Well, look what happened with the Uighurs. The Uighurs were these Chinese terrorists. The administration tried to release them into Northern Virginia before Congressman Frank Wolfe [R-VA] found out about it and said you can't do this. I think the long-term plan here is to integrate them into the regular prison population where they can radicalize the other prisoners. And eventually, these people -- some in the administration -- want to just release them into the United States.

    In fact, the Uighurs the administration sought to release were not terrorists seeking to harm the United States. The Uighurs at Guantanamo were Chinese Muslims. According to The Washington Post, the Bush administration determined that a number of them were people who had been wrongfully detained by bounty hunters. The Post reported that the rest "were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States."

    Indeed, according to the Post, the Bush administration had cleared all of them for release by 2005, but they could not find a country willing to take them and could not send them back to China where they might have faced persecution. In October 2008, a federal judge had ruled that the U.S. government had to release the Uighurs still being held, which led to redoubled efforts to find a place to release them.

  • Fox Ignores Its Own Reporting To Sow Confusion About Benghazi Talking Points

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox & Friends Saturday speculated that politics had motivated revisions to an early set of Obama administration talking points about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Yet a Fox correspondent reported Friday night that some lawmakers said the changes were made to protect classified information.

    U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used the talking points during September 16 appearances on the Sunday news shows, and Fox News has since sought to scandalize those interviews and use them as ammunition in a campaign to prevent her from being nominated as secretary of state.

    On Fox & Friends Saturday, the co-hosts discussed Friday's closed-door congressional testimony of former CIA director David Petraeus and the revelation that in talking points about the attack, language suggesting the perpetrators belonged to Al Qaeda affiliates had been changed to refer more generally to "extremists."

    At the beginning of the segment, co-host Dave Briggs said, "[T]here are a lot of questions after what Petraeus told Congress. Because we still don't know why exactly the talking points were changed. He said on Friday that he knew it was terrorism from the very start." Later, the co-hosts speculated that the White House had edited the talking points for political reasons:

    MORRIS: By the way, we'll be speaking to Peter King coming up a little later to try to find out who in the administration, then, got the intelligence information in their hands and said, "OK, here the intelligence community says 'Al Qaeda.' Now, let's get the eraser out. Let's change it to 'extremists,' because somehow now we don't want to classify it as Al Qaeda," when it was glaring to General Petraeus and these other intelligence officers?

    BRIGGS: And there's also the question of why change it. If -- and I mean, look --

    MORRIS: To keep with that narrative?

    BRIGGS: It begs the question, did they want to keep that narrative that the war on terror was being won, that Al Qaeda had been crushed?

    Yet on the Friday broadcast of The Five, homeland security correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that while Republicans said the talking points change was "an effort to downplay or minimize the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack," Democrats say that "these changes were not driven by politics, they were simply made to protect classified information."

  • Fox's Huckabee Disregards Government's Potential Role In Averting Teacher Layoffs

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox News host Mike Huckabee argued today that creating jobs for teachers for the sake of boosting U.S. employment would be "nonsensical." In doing so, he ignored the sustained massive layoffs of teachers across the country since the end of the recession and the subsequent ramifications. In fact, there is every need to hire teachers during this recovery and not just because "you want to make some jobs," as Huckabee claimed.

    Huckabee was responding to comments by President Obama calling on Republicans to pass his jobs plan, which Obama said "could create a million new jobs right now," including jobs for teachers and construction workers. Huckabee replied by saying:

    HUCKABEE: The federal government doesn't hire teachers. Where do teachers get hired? Local school boards. Education is a local function not a federal function. It is not the job of the federal government to hire teachers.

    And the other question is: Do you hire teachers 'cause you just want to make some jobs or do you hire teachers 'cause you actually need them 'cause you have more kids in the classroom than you had last year? That's a nonsensical kind of approach to job creation -- let's make some work, and let's just go into more debt to do it.

    In fact, Obama was not asking the federal government to hire teachers; he was accurately noting the role government can play in staving off public sector job losses, which experts contend have played an especially detrimental role in swelling unemployment. From the Wall Street Journal:

    The unemployment rate would be far lower if it hadn't been for those cuts: If there were as many people working in government as there were in December 2008, the unemployment rate in April would have been 7.1%, not 8.1%.

    Ceteris is rarely paribus, of course: If there were more government jobs now, for example, it's likely that not as many people would have left the labor force, and so the actual unemployment rate would be north of 7.1%.

    According to the Hamilton Project, teachers accounted for 220,000 of these public sector job loses from 2009 to 2011, a decline of 5.6 percent.

    The Economy Policy Institute estimated that had the Jobs Act been enacted, "[a]id to state governments for rehiring teachers and first responders would have boosted employment by an additional 210,000 jobs," and that "[i]n total, full passage of the American Jobs Act would have increased employment by more than 1.6 million jobs."

  • Fox's Ralph Peters Reads "Body Language" To Blast Obama As Anti-Israel

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox's Ralph Peters disregarded actual evidence to continue to push the right-wing narrative that President Obama is anti-Israel, a narrative that has been pushed for the entirety of Obama's term. Peters claimed his experience at "reading the body language" helped him draw the conclusion that Obama is anti-Israel, saying: "As a former intel officer, you really listen to what's unsaid ... look at what's not done."

    In fact, as Fox News host Dave Briggs noted during the segment, Obama has shown his "non-negotiable" support for Israel in a number of ways, including the millions of dollars in aid the Obama administration has authorized to shore up Israel's Iron Dome defense system. Also, according to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama has followed through with a plan to give Israel $30 billion over the next decade, including $3.075 billion in military aid in 2011.

    Additionally, Obama has signed a bill increasing US-Israeli security ties.

    Obama has garnered praise from Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, each of whom has commended Obama for "doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past," and for being "a great president and a great friend of Israel."

    Moreover, recent polling shows Jewish voters continue to favor Obama 68 percent over Republican Mitt Romney's 25 percent.

    On Fox & Friends Saturday, Briggs asked Peters to refute the "concrete things that the Obama administration has done," asking, "What have they done that you say conflicts with that not negotiable support of Israel? What have they done?" Peters replied: "Well, it's sort of reading the body language. As a former intel officer, you really listen to what's unsaid, what's -- look at what's not done."

  • Fox News Hides The President's Budget Plan

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- made infamous by his extreme budget proposal -- as his running mate, some at Fox News are pretending President Obama's plan to reduce the deficit doesn't exist. But President Obama has a plan to reduce the deficit. It's been laid out in significant detail for nearly a year and was widely reported in the media. 

    On the August 11 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, host Dave Briggs asked, "will the pressure be on [the Obama campaign] to come up with some sort of deficit reduction plan that they have punted on?"


    Later on Fox & Friends Saturday, conservative radio host Michael Graham also claimed that the Obama administration doesn't have a plan, saying, "I refuse to debate anyone on the Paul Ryan plan until they tell me the Obama plan. ... there is no plan from the White House."


    Again, Obama does have a plan to reduce the deficit. It's a plan that's been lauded for its specifics and includes a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, with an emphasis on near-term stimulus and middle-term deficit reduction -- a hierarchy of priorities that coincides with the advice of economists, who note that unemployment is still the most immediate need to address.

    The Washington Post's Ezra Klein bookmarked the deficit provisions for anyone having trouble finding them:

    On deficit reduction, Romney's plan "requires spending cuts of approximately $500 billion per year in 2016." He has not released spending cuts that come anywhere close to that goal. He does have some nice words to say about the Ryan budget, but Romney advisers have told the media that their candidate disagrees with large parts of it, including the Medicare cuts.

    The comparison to Obama is, again, instructive. Pages 23 through 37 of Obama's budget detail dozens of spending cuts and tell you how much money they'll save. You might not like those spending cuts, or you might want to see more. But at least you know the specifics of the president's plan.

    ABC News highlighted some of the provisions in September 2011:

    The bulk of the savings in the president's plan come from $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction through new taxes for high-end earners and $580 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.


    Obama also proposed other means to raise taxes, including more than $800 billion by allowing the Bush tax cuts for upper income earners to expire and $300 billion by closing loopholes and eliminating special-interest tax breaks.

    In total, the president's plan will claim more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction through entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings, in particular. The proposal includes $1.2 trillion in savings from the Budget Control Act and $1.1 trillion from drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Of course, conservatives are certainly aware of Obama's budget and its deficit priorities. But if they acknowledge its existence, they'll be forced to compare it to a Romney plan that "defies the rules of math," or a Ryan plan dubbed "the most fraudulent budget in American history."

  • Fox & Friends Fails To Discredit Obama's Manufacturing Job Record

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    In a statement purporting to show "the facts," Fox & Friends cherry picked Bureau of Labor Statistics data to attack a recent statement by Obama that manufacturing jobs have improved.

    In a July 5 speech in Ohio, Obama pointed out that the manufacturing sector job growth is rising at a rate comparable to the 1990s and that while there was still much to do, the sector was recovering.

    But after claiming that Obama's assessment is "not the facts," Fox & Friends used incomplete BLS data to claim that since Obama took office 599,000 manufacturing jobs were lost, including 17,600 in Ohio. By throwing those numbers out there, devoid of any sort of context, the co-hosts muddied the water and Obama's record:

  • Fox Helps Rewrite History Of Texas Voter ID Law

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News is now promoting the falsehood that the Justice Department concluded that Texas' voter ID law was discriminatory and blocked the law based solely on the research of "a liberal group that promotes progressive ideas." In fact, as FoxNews.com itself has reported, DOJ stated that the law was discriminatory based on data compiled by the state of Texas itself, and only later submitted a paper by a Harvard political science professor who used data from an award-winning political data firm to bolster their case.

    That later report found that nearly two million Texas residents who are registered to vote lack state IDs and thus could be barred from voting under the state's new voter ID statute, and that minorities are more likely to be members of that group.

    Fox's coverage is in step with their consistent, often fact-free promotion of voter ID laws in Texas and elsewhere and their assault on the administration's criticism of those laws.

    During an interview on the July 6 edition of Fox & Friends, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) had this exchange with guest host Dave Briggs:

    BRIGGS: Congressman, tell us what the problem is with the particular firm the Department of Justice hired. 

    POE: Well the Department of Justice is, with all their battery of lawyers and investigators, they can't find any evidence to support their lawsuit against Texas -- allegedly discriminating, so they go to an outside group, it is a partisan group, it is a liberal group that promotes progressive ideas and they're trying to get information, evidence if we can use that phrase, in this case to use against Texas in the lawsuit. They're not objective. And so they have already got their mind made up. And we're not sure if the facts or the evidence that they're presenting have any credibility at all. 

    At no point in the segment did the hosts dispute Poe's claim that DOJ had based their statement that the Texas voter ID law is discriminatory solely on data provided by Catalist, the "liberal group" to which Poe referred. But a July 5 FoxNews.com article pointed out that Catalist's data was used by Harvard's Stephen Ansolabehere for a report DOJ submitted to "bolster" the case the administration had already made using "the state's own data":

    According to [Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Tom] Perez's letter, the Justice Department based its decision to block the law on "the state's own data" -- data handed over by Texas months earlier after the department requested more information. But hoping to bolster its upcoming case in court, the Justice Department recently submitted a report from Harvard University political science professor Stephen Ansolabehere - who used the Washington-based firm Catalist for information.

    Indeed, in his March 12 letter blocking the Texas voter ID law under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Perez explained that the decision had been made based on "two sets of registered-voter data" provided by the state "which were matched with two different data sources maintained by the state's Department of Public Safety." DOJ's analysis concluded that "a Hispanic voter is 46.5 percent more likely than a non-Hispanic voter to lack these forms of identification," and thus declined to pre-clear the law citing its discriminatory effect.

  • Fox Hides Guest's Membership In Anti-Health Care Reform Group

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox & Friends today interviewed a member of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) to attack the Affordable Care Act without disclosing his ties to the anti-health care group. NFIB member and small business owner Mike Paine appeared on the program to claim that the health care bill will hurt his business, an attack that has been repeated by other NFIB members.

    During the interview, Fox & Friends co-host Dave Briggs asked Paine to explain, "[w]hy, in your opinion, does Obamacare hurt small businesses like yours?" Paine went on to talk about his uncertainty over the law and claimed he believed President Obama wants to get rid of employer-based health care:

    At no point during the interview did Briggs mention that Paine was a member of the NFIB, a group that has spent millions opposing the health care reform law, even though the NFIB's Twitter account promoted his appearance on Thursday:

    .@NFIB member Mike Paine of CT on @foxandfriends tomorrow morning to discuss how #Obamacare will affect his #smallbiz bit.ly/PiPHo2

    -- NFIB (@NFIB) July 5, 2012

    The NFIB has long been involved in the effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Salon.com's Alex Seitz-Weld noted that the NFIB is the lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against the law that went before the Supreme Court, and reported that the group's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act "cost at least $2.9 million in 2010 alone." He also reported that:

    The NFIB presents itself as the "nonpartisan" voice of small businesses, but liberal critics charge that, much like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NFIB has become a partisan conservative attack dog.

    The group has given vastly more to GOP candidates than to Democrats, with over 90 percent of its contributions going to Republicans for the past 15 years, on average. So far this year, they've given almost $300,000 to GOP candidates and just $3,500 to Democrats. Crossroads GPS, the 501(c)4 arm of Karl Rove's American Crossroads, also gave $3.7 million to the NFIB last year.

    But Paine isn't the only small business owner affiliated with the NFIB that Fox has hosted to criticize health care reform, and it isn't the first time they failed to disclose the guest's NFIB membership.

  • Fox & Friends Never Misses A Chance To Demonize Muslims

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Fox & Friends, a home for rampant Islamophobia, returned to demonizing Muslims this week by literally sounding the siren over the Los Angeles Police Department's recent decision to change the way it stores suspicious activity reports that end up being unrelated to terrorism. The LAPD's move came in response to privacy concerns from Muslim leaders and other advocacy groups.

    While LAPD officials have called the groups' concerns a "legitimate point" and stated that its suspicious activity reporting program will be "as robust as it is now," Fox & Friends claimed that the LAPD is "bowing to the demands of Muslims and relaxing their terrorism programs" and asked if they're "putting political correctness before safety."

    Here are the changes the LAPD is implementing, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    The department, after coming under fire from civil liberties and community groups, will no longer hold on to so-called suspicious activity reports that the LAPD's counter-terrorism unit determines are about harmless incidents.

    Until now, the department stored the innocuous reports in a database for a year. That gave rise to worries among critics of the reporting program that personal information about people who had done nothing wrong could be entered inappropriately into the federal government's vast network of counter-terrorism databases and watch lists.


    Once completed by an officer, a [Suspicious Activity Report] is forwarded to the department's Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, where officers conduct a follow-up investigation to assess if there is a threat. Under the new procedures, hard copies of SARs will be destroyed and electronic versions deleted once officers conclude that the reports had no significance.

    As before, information about suspicious activity will be forwarded to a regional analysis center for further vetting and, if necessary, onward for investigation by federal authorities.

    And, really, that's it. Reports of suspicious activity deemed harmless will immediately be deleted from the LAPD's terror database in response to privacy concerns. The LAPD's deputy chief called it a "legitimate point" and the Times noted that the change "will have a relatively small impact." Despite this, Fox & Friends devoted two segments over two days to fearmonger about the change.