Thursday, November 12, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 11-12-09

Quick fact: Memo to Hannity: Democrats swept Congressional races last week
Pointing to Republican victories in last week's gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, Sean Hannity asked if they are "a preview of sort of what a lot of people expected what happened in '93, '94 to happen here," specifically that "the Republicans can take back the House and Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker." Read More

Will baselessly claimed health care reform plans will increase U.S. "debt and borrowing"
In his November 12 Washington Post column, George Will asserted that "[g]old increasingly looks to investors to be a more reliable store of value than governments' bonds are, especially U.S. bonds as the U.S. government threatens to pile a mammoth health-care entitlement onto the nation's Ponzi welfare state, increasing the nation's debt and borrowing." However, Will's suggestion that health care reform will "increas[e] the nation's debt and borrowing" is undermined by the conclusion of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that health care reform bills in the House and the Senate will reduce federal deficits over 10 years and are expected to continue to yield savings beyond 2019. Read More

Right-wing blogs run with reporter's false question on jail time under health bill
Right-wing websites including the Fox Nation have highlighted a question asked of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a November 9 press conference in Seattle by a local reporter who said, "Do you think it's fair to send people to jail for not buying health insurance?" In fact, the penalty under the House health care reform bill for failure to purchase insurance is a tax, not jail time, and willful failure to pay federal income taxes can result in civil or criminal penalties. Read More

Beck, conservative media fearmonger that cap-and-trade would grant president Chavez-like powers
On his radio show, Glenn Beck claimed that "in the cap-and-trade legislation that is being proposed, the president has new emergency powers" that would allow him to "take over industries" if greenhouse gas levels reach a certain level, echoing other conservative media outlets that have claimed that the legislation requires the president to declare a "climate emergency" and "act like strong man Hugo Chavez." But the legislation explicitly directs the president to respond within existing statutory authority and to present to Congress any recommendations for legislative action. Read More

After aggressively promoting ACORN videos, Fox News ignores reports of Blackwater bribes
On the evening of November 11, Fox News personalities did not discuss reports from the previous evening that officials at Xe Services, formerly Blackwater Worldwide, had authorized $1 million in bribery payments to Iraqi officials in the aftermath of a fatal shooting involving Blackwater security guards. By contrast, Fox News devoted more than one hour on September 10 to discussing videos of conservative activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles posing as a pimp and a prostitute while asking for assistance from employees at an ACORN office. Read More

Quick Fact: Rush forwards falsehood that Hasan advised Obama transition

Responding to a caller's claim that alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan helped "shape our foreign policy and our domestic policy," Rush Limbaugh commented: "Especially before Obama was elected, I know." Read More

Did you get that memo? Right-wing smear machine falsely claims new Obama administration policy will "purge" Republicans from civil service
Reading a RedState blog post on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated that the "Obama administration intends to purge Republicans from the civil service retroactive to five years ago, starting in the year 2010." In fact, the Office of Personnel Management memo that Limbaugh was referencing would require federal agencies to seek OPM's approval to hire both current and recent political appointees for jobs they apply for in the future, not jobs they already hold; furthermore, the memo explicitly states that "political appointees may not be excluded from consideration for Federal jobs because of their political affiliation." Read More

Quick fact: Beck's "new little twist" is the same old health care jail time falsehood
Discussing Democratic health care reform, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "if you don't play ball with them now, if you don't get into their government health care, there will be jail time." Read More

Quick fact: Fox Nation pushes Limbaugh's false claim that Obama is "purging Republicans from civil service"
Fox Nation advanced the false claim pushed by's Erick Erickson and repeated by Rush Limbaugh that President Obama is, in Fox Nation's words, "Purging Republicans from Civil Service." Read More

How can health care reporting get worse? Add abortion to the mix
If you want an illustration of how conservative framing dominates media coverage of politics and policy, you need only watch Chris Matthews talk about abortion each night on Hardball. Since early summer, the Hardball host has been hyping anti-abortion complaints about proposed health care reform, even though the proposals would have done nothing to expand abortion rights. In doing so, he has trafficked in falsehoods, embraced flawed and illogical conservative talking points, and portrayed pro-choice advocates who have already compromised as rigid, unyielding ideologues. Read More

Who will mainstream right-wing attacks with Beck's lieutenant gone from CNN?
With Lou Dobbs' departure from CNN, Glenn Beck and the right-wing media have lost one of their lieutenants in their campaign to mainstream conservative misinformation. On both his TV and radio show, Dobbs has ceaselessly attacked President Obama, members of his administration, and other progressives, and repeatedly adopted the falsehoods and smears that have emerged from right-wing sources. Read More

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