Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-25-09

Media: Angry right-wingers are important; angry libs are annoying
I guess Howard Dean was just ahead of his time. Read More

Special Report packs in health care falsehoods
In a report on how, in the words of Fox News host Bret Baier, "Republicans are trying to position themselves as the party looking out for seniors' well-being," Fox News correspondent James Rosen advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats plan to cut Medicare benefits for seniors and presented the widely debunked "death panel" falsehood as a he said/she said. He also advanced the smear that Veterans Health Administration officials are referring veterans to a booklet that encourages them to end their lives prematurely. Read More

WSJ to Fox to CNN: Malveaux legitimizes "death book" distortions
Echoing distortions advanced by former Bush administration aide Jim Towey and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux introduced a report by correspondent Brian Todd by stating, "Are [military veterans] forced to face a variation of the so-called 'death panels,' as administration critics have called them?" In fact, as Todd's report indicated, the end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which Towey has called a "Death Book," does not encourage veterans to end their lives. Read More

O'Reilly, Garrett misstate Obama's criticism of Fox
Fox News' Major Garrett falsely claimed that during a CNBC interview in June, President Obama "specifically labeled" Fox News "a network that wasn't adequately favorable to him," while Bill O'Reilly asserted that "no network should be favorable to President Obama. It's our job to be skeptical of the powerful." In fact, in his interview with CNBC's John Harwood, Obama did not criticize Fox News for not being "adequately favorable to him"; he stated that the network was "entirely devoted to attacking [his] administration." Read More

AP again advances falsehood that health reform "will mean cuts in Medicare benefits"
In an August 24 article, the Associated Press uncritically reported that "[s]eniors worry that paying for the $1 trillion-plus, 10-year [health care] overhaul will mean cuts in Medicare benefits" without noting that, in the words of FactCheck.org, "[t]he claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors' Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false." Additionally, AARP has also rebutted the notion that health reform will reduce Medicare benefits. Read More

Fox hosted Specter to attack booklet for veterans, despite Wash. Post report that he hadn't read it
On August 25, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly hosted Sen. Arlen Specter to discuss his call for hearings regarding a Veterans Health Administration booklet about end-of-life decisions -- a booklet Specter characterized during the segment as "tough on veterans" and not "appropriate counseling." However, Kelly did not note that The Washington Post reported that day in its print edition that Specter "said in an interview yesterday that he had not read the booklet but was disturbed by what he had gleaned thus far." Read More

During Bush administration, Fox ignored what it now smears as "death panels," "death books"
In the past few days, Fox News has repeatedly forwarded the smear that an end-of-life planning booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration is a "death book," echoing Fox's previous promotion of false claims that an end-of-life planning provision included in Democratic health care reform legislation would institute "death panels." But Fox's prime-time shows did not cover legislation proposed in 2005 that is similar to the House bill's provisions, or any of the Bush administration's actions from 2001 to 2008 regarding the now-controversial parts of the Veterans Affairs Department's policy. Read More

Rove falsely claimed Obama admin. pushing vets toward "assisted suicide"
Continuing Fox News' pattern of falsely suggesting that the Obama administration is pressuring veterans to end their lives prematurely, Karl Rove claimed that the Veterans Health Administration is directing veterans to an end-of-life educational booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices," that includes contact information for "a group that believes in assisted suicide," and thus "the kind of guidance we're giving returning veterans" is "you ought to go to an assisted suicide group." In fact, that group is not referenced in the current version of the document, a fact that Jim Towey -- who originated the smear of the booklet as a "death book" -- acknowledged in interview on Fox News Sunday. Read More

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