Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-28-09

"Number One voice for conservatism" Rush Limbaugh wastes no time leading assault on Obama

With a Democrat back in the White House, Rush Limbaugh has wasted no time in hurling false and baseless attacks against President Obama, echoing his slanders and smears of President Clinton, his family, and his administration during the 1990s. Read More

CNN's Henry misrepresented CBO cost estimate of economic stimulus bill

On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ed Henry asserted that the Congressional Budget Office's cost estimate of the economic stimulus bill "basically says that 52 percent of the money will be spent out over the next 18 months, that some 64, 65 percent of the bill will be paid out over the first two years." However, Henry's calculations are based on outlays only, excluding the plan's tax cut provisions. Including both outlays and tax cuts, the CBO estimated that about 64 percent of the recovery bill would be paid out within 19 months, and about 86 percent by the end of fiscal year 2011. Read More

AP ignores testimony by MN voters in Coleman case supporting rejection of absentee ballots

In an article about the Minnesota Senate election recount trial, the AP reported that "voters testified Tuesday their ballots had been unfairly rejected as Republican Norm Coleman argued thousands of disqualified absentee ballots should be counted in the U.S. Senate race" and quoted one voter who testified that he felt his ballot had been improperly rejected. However, the AP did not note that the testimony of two of those voters reportedly showed that their ballots appear to have been properly rejected. Read More

Drudge misrepresents article to assert "Iran Nuke 'This Year' "

The Drudge Report featured the headline, "Iran Nuke 'This Year'..." linking to an article on the British-based Sky News website. But contrary to Drudge's headline, the Sky News article did not report that Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon this year; it reported that a study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies predicts that sometime in 2009, Iran "will probably reach the point at which it has produced enough low-enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb -- though it would first have to enrich it further." The article quoted the study's author saying that "being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon." Read More

Fox News' Cameron falsely claimed that "more than half of the money" in stimulus bill is "reserved for at least two years from now"

Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely claimed of the economic recovery bills: "In both the House and Senate packages, more than half of the money is reserved for at least two years from now, and Republicans argue that that's simply not good enough." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that about 64 percent of the House version of the recovery bill would be paid out within 19 months, and about 86 percent by the end of fiscal year 2011. Read More

The Hill repeated false GOP claim that ACORN is a "beneficiar[y] of the stimulus package"

The Hill's Jared Allen repeated the false claim that ACORN is, in Allen's words, a "beneficiar[y] of the stimulus package," and uncritically reported NRCC communications director Ken Spain's false suggestion that the stimulus bill includes "a $4.2 billion bailout" for ACORN. In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding. Additionally, the bill requires that the $4.19 billion it allocates for "neighborhood stabilization activities" be distributed through competitive processes. Read More

Beck falsely claimed "[o]nly 3 percent" of stimulus plan would be "spent in the next 12 months"

Fox News' Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "[o]nly 3 percent" of the Democratic economic stimulus plan would be "spent in the next 12 months." Beck's figures were based on a partial Congressional Budget Office cost estimate that excluded faster-moving provisions in the bill. According to the CBO's full cost estimate of the bill, 11.2 percent of the $816 billion bill would be spent in the first seven-and-a-half months after the bill is enacted, and, when including the bill's tax cut provisions, $169 billion -- or 20.7 percent of the bill's total cost -- would take effect in the first seven-and-a-half months. Read More

Dobbs misrepresents CBO projection of stimulus plan's effect on output

Lou Dobbs falsely claimed on his radio show that "the Congressional Budget Office did a study on the president's so-called economic stimulus package. It says output would be increased somewhere between one and a half, three and a half percent." In fact, the CBO estimated that output would increase "between 1.5 percent and 3.6 percent" in fiscal year 2009 alone and estimated that output would increase as a result of the stimulus package in subsequent years as well. Read More

After previously misrepresenting partial CBO analysis, Wash. Times ignored full CBO report's conclusion on stimulus package

The Washington Times has recently published several articles misrepresenting a partial Congressional Budget Office analysis of the stimulus bill to support claims that most of the money in the bill would not be spent quickly. But in an article reporting former comptroller general David Walker discussing CBO's analysis of infrastructure spending and a separate article reporting that "[c]ritics say Obama's economic bill lacks stimulus," the Times ignored the conclusion of a more recent CBO analysis of the entire bill that 64 percent of the combined cost of the spending increases and tax cuts in the bill would occur by September 30, 2010. Read More

Limbaugh allowed Cantor to falsely claim on his show that CBO said recovery bill "is not a stimulative bill"

On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh allowed Rep. Eric Cantor to falsely claim of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: "Even the Congressional Budget Office ... says it is not a stimulative bill." In fact, the CBO stated in its January 26 report: "CBO anticipates that implementation of H.R. 1 would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years," while the CBO director said that the bill would "provide massive fiscal stimulus." Read More

Media reports on CBO's initial "analysis" of economic recovery plan falsely claimed it analyzed the entire package

In numerous instances, the media have falsely stated or suggested that a CBO analysis of less than half of the economic recovery bill examined the entire bill, resulting in the false suggestion that the analysis, in the words of the Politico, "shows very little money will be spent in the first six or so months after enactment" of the recovery plan. But as the AP noted, the CBO analysis did not "cover tax cuts or efforts by Democrats to provide relief to cash-strapped state governments to help with their Medicaid bills." Six days later, some outlets were still making the false suggestion. Read More

Myths and falsehoods surrounding the economic recovery plan

During their coverage and discussion of the economic recovery bill supported by President Obama, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, media figures have advanced several myths and falsehoods relating to the details and effects of the plan. These myths and falsehoods include: the assertion that a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "study" found that the majority of the money in the bill will not be spent for a year and a half; that provisions in the bill to extend food stamps and unemployment insurance payments are "not stimulus"; that President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies failed to reduce unemployment during the Great Depression; that Japan's fiscal stimulus policy during the "lost decade" of the 1990s failed to help it recover from recession; that the bill would spend at least $217,000 for every job created; that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) would receive $4.19 billion from the bill; and that former Labor Secretary and Obama adviser Robert Reich proposed white males should be excluded from jobs created by the bill. Read More

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