Friday, January 30, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-30-09

AP cited only single anonymous Republican official in support of stimulus falsehood

A revised version of an AP article made clear that the claim of a "top Republican congressional official" reported in the original version of the article -- that the economic stimulus package being considered in Congress "could steer government checks to illegal immigrants" -- is false. But at no point in the original article did the AP indicate that it had contacted or attempted to contact any Democratic officials -- or anyone else besides the single anonymous Republican official -- to confirm whether the legislation would permit undocumented immigrants to receive tax credits. Read More

AP's retracted stimulus bill falsehood finds a new home at Fox

On Fox News, Carl Cameron and Laura Ingraham repeated or uncritically reported the false Republican claim -- originating in an AP article -- that, in Cameron's words, the economic stimulus bill would allow "illegal aliens" to claim "tax credits of $500 per person or 1,000 per couple." Cameron and Ingraham advanced the falsehood even after a revised version of the AP article made clear that the bill excludes undocumented immigrants. Read More

Fox Business Network joins with GOP senators to further spread false ACORN attack

The Fox Business Network's Elizabeth MacDonald and David Asman advanced Republican arguments, including those made by two senators appearing on the network, against the economic stimulus bill by promoting or agreeing with the false claim that the bill includes billions of dollars in funds for groups like 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

Will Dobbs retract his stimulus bill falsehood?

Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that the economic recovery bill, which the House recently passed, "would allow people who don't have Social Security numbers to be eligible" for the bill's Making Work Pay tax credits and would therefore make undocumented immigrants "eligible for checks." In fact, illegal immigrants without Social Security numbers are not eligible for tax credits under the stimulus bill. Read More

"Political Grapevine" goes sour: Fox's Baier understated Obey's response to alleged conflict of interest

Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that Rep. David Obey is "under fire" because the economic stimulus bill provides more than $2 billion for the National Park Service, "the industry for which his son lobbies," and cited a Washington Times article reporting that, in Baier's words, "a spokeswoman for Congressman Obey's office says nepotism was not a factor." But Baier did not mention that the Times article also reported the spokeswoman saying the funding for parks "was included at the request of [Rep.] Norm Dicks." Nor did Baier note that Dicks has repeatedly made similar appropriations requests for national parks in previous appropriations bills. Read More

Brzezinski suggests "welfare" provisions in stimulus bill don't stimulate the economy -- economists disagree

On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski suggested that funding for "welfare programs" included in the economic recovery bill would not stimulate the economy. However, economists have said that programs that provide aid to state governments and individuals would, in the words of Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf, "have a significant impact on GDP." Read More

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