Thursday, March 05, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 03-05-09

AP cited Republican criticism of the "more than 8,000 earmarks" in omnibus bill without noting they requested many of them
The AP reported that Republicans "have called on [President] Obama to veto a pending $410 billion spending bill because it includes more than 8,000 earmarks," without noting that many of the earmarks were included at the request of Republicans. Read More

ABC's Gibson falsely claimed Obama "campaign[ed] on a promise to end pet projects"
On ABC's World News, Charles Gibson advanced the false claim that prior to President Obama's statement that he would sign an omnibus appropriations bill that includes earmarks, Obama "campaign[ed] on a promise to end pet projects, earmarks." In fact, Obama had actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not eliminate earmarks altogether. Read More

O'Reilly misrepresented Obama remark to falsely claim he "pledg[ed] ... to end earmarks"
Bill O'Reilly aired a clip of President Obama stating, "We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review," which he falsely characterized as "President Obama pledging last January to end earmarks in federal spending." In fact, Obama was referring to his desire to "ban all earmarks" from his "recovery and reinvestment plan," which he specifically distinguished from "the overall budget process." Read More

Fox News' Kilmeade echoes charitable donation deduction falsehood
On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade falsely asserted that President Obama has proposed eliminating the ability of taxpayers to take income tax deductions for their charitable contributions. In fact, Obama has not proposed eliminating the charitable donation income tax deduction for any taxpayers. Rather, a provision in Obama's budget proposal would, beginning in fiscal year 2011, reduce the tax rate at which families earning more than $250,000 per year can take itemized deductions to 28 percent. Read More

Limbaugh conservatives continue 75-year-old "socialized medicine" smear
As President Obama lays the groundwork for releasing his plan to reform the country's health-care system, Rush Limbaugh responds on cue with a pre-emptive attempt to undermine reform efforts with the tired smear of "socialized medicine." Just how tired? Very -- it is at least three-quarters of a century old. Media Matters found that as far back as the 1930s -- with respect to at least 16 different proposals -- conservatives have volleyed attacks on progressive efforts at health-care reform with the clich├ęd -- and false -- label of "socialized medicine." Read More

Wash. Post's Connolly baselessly put "estimates" of Obama's health-care plan at "$1 trillion each year" for "some time"
Discussing President Obama's health-care plan on MSNBC Live, The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly baselessly asserted that "estimates" for the plan put the cost at "$1 trillion each year." However, Connolly wrote in a Post article on the plan that its estimated total -- not yearly -- cost is at least $1 trillion, while other outlets have reported that the plan is expected to cost more than $1 trillion "over 10 years." Read More

Dobbs said poll shows Obama's "honeymoon with Americans on the economy" is ending -- but poll hasn't changed
Lou Dobbs claimed that "President Obama's honeymoon with Americans on the economy appears to be at an end," asserting that the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that "only 54 percent of Americans say the president has the right goals and policies for this country." However, the survey results for the same question from the previous two months' polls are nearly identical. Read More

Fox News' Hemmer allowed former CEO of scandal-plagued hospital firm to spread stimulus health care falsehood
On America's Newsroom, Bill Hemmer allowed Richard Scott, whom Hemmer did not note resigned as chairman of HCA, Inc. amid a federal investigation, to falsely claim that a provision in the stimulus bill allows the federal government to "take away" some of patients' health care "choices." In fact, the provision in question allocates funds for the research of "the comparative effectiveness of health care treatments and strategies," but in no way does the law empower the council to dictate which treatments may or may not be prescribed. Read More

Wash. Post uncritically reports "socialized medicine" rhetoric about Obama's health care plan
In an article on President Obama's health care plan, The Washington Post reported that Conservatives for Patients' Rights is promising to launch a multimillion-dollar ad campaign "warning that the country is hurtling toward socialized medicine." The Post did not provide any basis for the charge, nor did it note that, in fact, Obama is not proposing "socialized medicine." Read More

Following Drudge, media compare Obama to Nixon, cite purported "enemies list"
After Matt Drudge posted the headline "ENEMIES LIST: WHITE HOUSE PLOTS LIMBAUGH COVERAGE" on his website, several media figures -- including Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Tony Blankley, and Newt Gingrich -- advanced Drudge's claim that Obama, like President Nixon, had an "enemies list," or compared the Obama White House to the Nixon administration. Read More

Hume ignored climate experts to assert significance of purported global cooling trend
Fox News' Brit Hume asserted that "climate alarmists certainly did not foresee the cooling trend of the past decade" and, therefore, the Obama administration is premature in implementing cap-and-trade policies to curb global warming because it is merely a "scientific consensus" and "something that is not yet a fact." In fact, according to climate scientists, the temperature data continue to show a long-term upward trend in global surface temperature, and a cooling trend would need to last longer than a decade before it could be distinguished from the natural variability in the Earth's global surface temperature. Read More

Fox's Garrett exaggerated in claiming Obama's statistic on bankruptcies tied to health costs is "[n]ot even close"
At a March 5 health-care forum, President Obama said, "The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds." On Special Report, Major Garrett reported that when asked to support that statistic, the White House cited a 2005 op-ed by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren in which she referred to a Harvard study that supports the statistic. But Garrett did not note this. Instead, he referred to Treasury Department statistics from 2000 and pronounced Obama's assertion "[n]ot even close." Read More

False advertising: Beck show promo denounced calling Dems communists, but he often does that on his show
In a January promotion for his then-upcoming Fox News program, Glenn Beck denounced those who accuse Democrats of leading America toward communism: "I'm tired of the politics of left and right. It's about right and wrong. We argue back and forth -- 'If you haven't voted for the donkey, you're just a hatemonger.' The other side -- 'Oh, those donkeys trying to turn us into communist Russia.' Stop!" But since his show premiered, Beck has repeatedly used his program to smear President Obama, Democrats, and their policies as communist -- and Marxist, socialist, and fascist. Read More

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