Thursday, January 29, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-29-09

On O'Reilly Factor, Morris falsely claimed aid to states in recovery plan "doesn't stimulate anything"

On The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris asserted that the economic recovery bill "won't work," in part because "two hundred billion of it is just money to the state. That just stops taxes from going up, but it doesn't stimulate anything." However, economist Mark Zandi testified to Congress that "aid to financially-pressed state governments" is an "economically potent stimulus," and a table provided with his testimony indicated that aid to states would boost GDP by $1.36 for every dollar spent. Similarly, information that the CBO provided to Congress shows that aid to states produces a greater "cumulative impact on GDP" than do tax cuts. Read More

Drudge headline falsely suggests Obama would address letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

A Drudge Report headline falsely suggested that President Barack Obama is in the process of drafting a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; in fact, the Guardian (London) article to which the headline linked did not report that Obama was addressing a letter directly to Ahmadinejad; rather, it reported that "[t]he letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter." Read More

Suggesting Obama is being hypocritical on "fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship," USA Today ignored $70B AMT amendment added by GOP Senator

USA Today claimed in an article that the "rising cost" of the economic stimulus bill "could be a challenge" for President Barack Obama, noting that a provision intended to "protect about 24 million Americans from paying higher taxes under the alternative minimum tax [AMT]" constituted the "major Senate addition" that increased the bill's cost. However, USA Today did not point out that the amendment was added by Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley. Read More

Politico advanced GOP claim about stimulus plan's effect on job growth

The Politico reported the GOP claim that "it may take years before the stimulus plan spurs real job growth" and highlighted a video showing "a Joint Committee on Taxation staffer tell[ing] Michigan Rep. Dave Camp that he can't promise that the $275 billion in tax cuts in the stimulus will create any new jobs." In fact, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf has stated of the bill: "According to CBO's estimates, the number of jobs would be between 0.8 million and 2.1 million higher at the end of this year, 1.2 million to 3.6 million higher at the end of next year, and 0.7 million to 2.1 million higher at the end of 2011." Read More

O'Reilly claimed that "enhanced food stamps ... will not help the economy one bit" -- but economists disagree

On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly claimed that the food-stamp provision in the economic recovery bill will not stimulate the economy. But economists, including the director of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office and a reported adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, disagree. Read More

WSJ prints op-ed with false claim that Army Field Manual prohibits "good-cop bad-cop"

The Wall Street Journal printed an op-ed that falsely claimed that the Army Field Manual "prohibits ... good-cop bad-cop routines" when interrogating detainees. The op-ed was criticizing President Barack Obama's executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody cannot be subjected to interrogation techniques not listed in the manual. In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source." Read More

WSJ article reported that stimulus money spent in "2011 or later" would be ineffective -- but CBO head disagrees

The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported congressional Republicans' criticism of the proposed economic stimulus bill on the grounds "that much of the money in the package wouldn't be spent until 2011 or later, when a recovery is likely to be already under way." The article did not mention that economists, including Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf, have said that fiscal stimulus in 2011 or later would be effective in the current economic situation, in which economic output is projected to remain below its potential long after the technical beginning of the recovery. Read More

Rove latest Fox News figure to promote false calculation of stimulus' job-creation costs.

Karl Rove falsely claimed that the economic stimulus bill would amount to spending "$206,000 for each new job that [President Barack Obama] wants to get," becoming the latest Fox News figure to repeat the false calculation. In fact, by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the recovery bill by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- Rove ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and investments in education, health, and public safety. Read More

Fox News' Hemmer, Gallagher, Wilson baselessly suggest short-term weather impacts global warming debate

Fox News' Trace Gallagher and Brian Wilson cited the "irony" of snowfall in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the U.S. on the day Al Gore testified on global warming before a Senate committee, which Bill Hemmer stated was "making for an inconvenient forecast." But climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate. Read More

Fox's Carlson baselessly suggested Obama is more "concerned" with Limbaugh than "economy" and "Al Qaeda"

Fox News' Gretchen Carlson suggested that President Obama is more "concerned" with Limbaugh than with "the economy" and "Al Qaeda." But the concern Obama reportedly expressed was with congressional Republicans, who he said were "listen[ing] to Rush Limbaugh" and not "get[ting] things done." Read More

Limbaugh op-ed misrepresents reason for stimulus

Echoing a Republican talking point, Rush Limbaugh asserted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that "[t]he average recession will last five to 11 months; the average recovery will last six years. Recessions will end on their own if they're left alone." But Limbaugh's claim misses the point and misrepresents the reason for the stimulus bill. Economists take the position that an economic stimulus package is necessary, both during the recession and after the economy begins to recover. Read More

Fox & Friends' Doocy repeated false claim that stimulus package includes $4 billion for ACORN

On Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy repeated the falsehood that the economic stimulus bill includes "$4 billion for ACORN." In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding. Read More

CNBC's Burnett proclaimed Limbaugh's stimulus proposals "serious," didn't mention economists who disagree

CNBC host Erin Burnett asserted that there were "interesting ideas" in Rush Limbaugh's Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing President Obama's economic recovery plan and offering Limbaugh's own suggestions for what should be included in a stimulus plan. Specifically, Burnett said that Limbaugh's suggestions of "cutting the corporate tax" and "slashing capital gains [taxes]" are "serious things to say." But Burnett did not note that many economists do not view corporate and capital gains tax cuts as "serious" or effective methods for stimulating the economy. Read More

MSNBC hosts ask "how do you justify" recovery funds spent after FY 2010 without noting CBO head's response

On MSNBC Live, Melissa Francis cited what she called the "legitimate" "complaints" of opponents of the economic recovery plan and stated, "Only 64 percent of the money is going to be spent within the next 19 months." Contessa Brewer replied, "And how do you justify that?" However, the CBO director has stated in congressional testimony that unlike ordinary "periods of economic weakness" that "are fairly short-lived," "CBO projects that economic output will remain significantly below its potential for several more years, so policies that provide stimulus for an extended period of time may be appropriate." Read More

Beck mocks stimulus bill he doesn't understand

Glenn Beck mocked the economic recovery package for including "$2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration projects," adding, "I don't even know what the hell that is." Had Beck attempted to determine "what the hell" carbon capture is before ridiculing it, he would have learned that the provision funds the development of technology that he has previously criticized "liberals in Congress" for "block[ing]." Read More

For four hours after AP correction, Drudge flogged false claim about undocumented immigrants

A Drudge Report headline stated "HILL REPUBLICAN: STIMULUS GIVES CASH TO ILLEGALS" and linked to an AP article that reported that "[t]he $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday." A revised version of the article made clear that the claim is false, but the Drudge Report did not remove the headline and link to the original version of the article until roughly four hours after the new version was available. Read More

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