Here are today's news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.
Fox News' rhetoric echoes Ailes' long history of race-baiting
Under its president, Roger Ailes, Fox News routinely employs racially charged appeals to foment opposition to the Obama administration and other progressive figures, such as Glenn Beck's comments that President Obama is a "racist" and "has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." Before launching the Fox News Channel, Ailes worked as a media consultant for several Republican campaigns where evidence shows he similarly appealed to racial fears and biases for political gain, and as executive producer for Rush Limbaugh's television show, during which Limbaugh made several controversial statements. Read More
Fox baselessly suggests states opting out of public option would be paying something for nothing
Following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's announcement that the Senate health care reform bill will include a public option that each state could opt out of, several Fox News commentators baselessly suggested that states choosing not to participate in the public option would, in Karl Rove's words, have to pay taxes "for this sucker for decades," but "we're not going to get any of our money back." However, while Reid has yet to release details of the compromise Senate legislation, every other proposed bill with a public option so far has required the costs of the public plan to be covered by the premiums of those who enroll in it, and the taxes proposed in each of the bills are used to cover the expansion of coverage through Medicaid and subsidies to help certain families purchase insurance, both of which are provided to residents of every state regardless of any public option. Read More
Beck falsely accused Reid of lying about support for public option
Following reports that Senate leaders will include a public option in health care legislation, on Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck falsely suggested that only "35 percent of the population" supported a public option and accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of lying when he said, in co-host Gretchen Carlson's words, "the public wants this." In fact, polling consistently shows broad support for the public option, and the Fox News poll Beck is presumably referencing did not ask specifically about a public option. Read More
Are right-wing bloggers abandoning Gingrich over Scozzafava endorsement?
Right-wing bloggers have recently attacked Newt Gingrich for endorsing Republican Dede Scozzafava over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election to fill Army Secretary John McHugh's (R-NY) vacated congressional seat. On her blog, Michelle Malkin said "no thanks" to the possibility of a Gingrich 2012 presidential run, noting that he is the "most prominent GOP endorser of [the] radical leftist NY-23 congressional candidate," while at RedState.com, Erick Erickson reportedly wrote -- before removing the post -- that Gingrich "stands athwart history and pees on the legacy of 1994." Read More
Memory lapse: Politico asks, "What if Bush had done" things he actually did
In support of his dubious argument that the press is treating President Obama more favorably than President Bush, Politico's Josh Gerstein falsely suggested that unlike David Axelrod, Karl Rove was never involved in national security meetings. In addition, Gerstein advanced the falsehood that the Bush administration did not attack MSNBC and other news outlets. Read More
Commentators again tout poll results to make flawed claim that America is a "conservative" country
Several conservative commentators have touted a Gallup poll finding that 20 percent of respondents identify themselves as "liberal," 36 percent as "moderate" and 40 percent as "conservative" to criticize President Obama and his agenda and to claim America is ideologically a "conservative" country. But political scientists dispute the reliability of voters' identification with political ideologies, and other polling has found that a strong majority favors the more progressive position on a number of issues. Read More
Media uncritically trumpet Lieberman's dubious public option claims
Several media outlets have uncritically reported Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) statement that he will oppose cloture for the Senate health care reform bill -- which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said will include a public option that each state could opt out of -- because he believes the public option would create a costly government entitlement program that taxpayers can't afford. However, as CBS News noted in a blog post on Lieberman's announcement, while Reid has yet to release details of the compromise Senate legislation, every other proposed bill with a public option so far has required the costs of the public plan to be covered by the premiums of those who enroll in it. Read More
Media differentiate Beck's "opinions" from Wallace's "news," but record shows Wallace repeatedly echoes Beck
In discussing the Obama administration's recent criticisms of Fox News, several media figures have argued that Glenn Beck's show and other Fox News' "opinion" programming are separate and distinct from the "news" programming of Chris Wallace and others and should be viewed as such. However, Wallace has repeated several of the same falsehoods and attacks that Glenn Beck has, including fearmongering about health care rationing. Read More
Limbaugh repeatedly refers to Obama as a "boy" and a "man-child"
On his October 27 radio show, Rush Limbaugh referred to President Obama as "this little boy, this little man-child president." Limbaugh has repeatedly referred to Obama as a "boy" and as a "man-child", including calling him "the little boy president" and claiming that Democrats and the media criticize "so-called 'ferocious attacks' " on Obama because "you can't criticize the little black man-child." Read More