Thursday, January 22, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-22-09

Fox & Friends' Carlson falsely claimed Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program" for tax failure

On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson asserted that in answering questions about his failure to pay social security taxes several years ago, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program." In fact, at his hearing, Geithner mentioned the tax software he used only after he was asked which brand he used to file his taxes. Read More

Hannity advances false comparison of inauguration costs

Ignoring the additional costs of security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments in conjunction with former President Bush's 2005 inauguration, Fox News' Sean Hannity allowed former Gov. Mitt Romney to claim that "[President] Barack Obama spen[t] three times" what Bush spent on his 2005 inauguration. In doing so, Hannity allowed his show to become the latest media outlet to promote the false comparison between the costs of Obama's inauguration and Bush's 2005 inauguration. Read More

Limbaugh tells caller with personal economic troubles: "Well, you might want to consult history. ... It was much worse than this 26 years ago"

Rush Limbaugh responded to a caller's account of her own economic troubles as a homeowner and small business owner and her assertion that she "need[s] people to start believing that America is going to turn that corner" by stating, "Well, you might want to consult history," adding: "It was much worse than this 26 years ago." Read More

Limbaugh falsely claimed Clinton "imposed" international family planning funding policy

On Hannity, speaking of President Obama's reported plan to reverse the U.S. government's Mexico City policy restricting federal funding for international family planning groups, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed "[former President] Clinton imposed it." In fact, the Mexico City policy prohibiting the federal government from providing funds to international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling, or referrals about abortion services in other nations was imposed by President Reagan, rescinded by Clinton, and revived by George W. Bush. Read More

NY Times, MSNBC's Morning Joe ignored evidence undermining former Bush speechwriter's defense of administration's national security policies

In citing an op-ed by Marc Thiessen, President Bush's former chief speechwriter, in which Thiessen claimed that "the policies and institutions" Bush implemented in the name of national security after 9-11 "are succeeding," The New York Times and the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe did not note evidence undermining Thiessen's argument. Read More

CNN, AP falsely claim that Pentagon says 61 Guantánamo detainees have returned to terrorism

The Associated Press falsely stated, "The Pentagon recently reported that 61 former prisoners at Guantanamo have returned to the fight against the U.S. and its allies." Similarly, on CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips asserted, "New Pentagon figures actually say 61 released detainees have been linked to some kind of terror activity." In fact, the Pentagon's figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but not confirmed as, having, in the AP's words, "returned to the fight." Read More

O'Reilly hosted former tax delinquent Morris to criticize Geithner's tax failure

On The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris repeatedly criticized Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner for his failure to pay Social Security taxes several years ago. But Morris has his own history of tax delinquency; USA Today included Morris in an April 2008 report on "[b]ig names" who are tax delinquents. Read More

NBC's Chuck Todd reports CBO criticism of stimulus, but not Democrats' response

On NBC's Nightly News, Chuck Todd reported that President Obama "drew more criticism from Republicans [...] thanks to a new report claiming the stimulus will take years, not months, to improve the economy" and aired a clip of House Minority Leader John Boehner criticizing the stimulus plan. However, Todd did not mention the Democratic leadership's response: that the Congressional Budget Office report ignored faster-moving provisions in the stimulus, creating a "false impression" of the plan's effects. Read More

Scarborough shares Gibson's view that "it's on Barack Obama" if he abandons Bush policies that "kept us safe"

Fox News' John Gibson and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough each asserted that if President Obama abandons Bush administration policies and procedures "which kept us safe for the last seven, eight years," in Gibson's words, Obama will bear responsibility for any future act of terrorism. However, neither mentioned evidence that President Bush's policies did not eliminate the terrorist threat to America and that some Bush policy decisions, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, may, in fact, have aggravated the threat. Read More

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