Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 12-22-09

Media conservatives return to ACORN funding bogeyman to attack health care reform
Media conservatives, including The Weekly Standard and Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, are attacking the Senate health care reform bill by citing a general provision in the legislation to raise the possibility that ACORN would receive funding under the bill. Conservatives similarly attacked the economic recovery act and the financial rescue legislation by invoking the possibility that ACORN would receive funding through general legislative provisions -- at one point claiming that ACORN would receive more than $4 billion in funding. Read More

Krauthammer falsely suggests Senate bill won't reduce deficits after 2019
Echoing a false Republican talking point about the Senate health care reform bill, Charles Krauthammer stated on Fox News that if "you start in 2014 when the benefits kick in and you go out ten years, then the cost is not slightly under $1 trillion. It's $1.8 trillion or $2.5 trillion, which means it will blow an enormous hole in the deficit." However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the bill will continue to reduce deficits beyond the 10-year budget window that ends in 2019. Read More

Auld Lang Syne: Farewell to another decade of "liberal media bias"
It might seem futile to try to select just two quotes from the previous decade and single them out as bookends to illustrate how the political press so often malfunctioned over the last 10 years. But if pressed, I know which duo I'd nominate in hopes of highlighting the absurdity behind the never-ending right-wing claim about supposed "liberal media bias." Read More

2009: A year of Fox News political activism
With the inauguration of President Obama in 2009, Fox News transformed itself from a conservative media outlet into a partisan, right-wing political organization that openly viewed itself as the "voice of the opposition." Throughout the year, Fox News has declared war on the Obama administration, the Democratic Congress, and progressive organizations by, among other things, campaigning for the firing of various administration officials, partnering with conservative groups and politicians to oppose progressive policies, and even allowing its own contributors to fundraise on-air for conservative political causes. Read More

Gottlieb falsely claims Senate bill eliminates individual market outside of exchange
In a New York Post column, Scott Gottlieb claimed that under the Senate health care bill, "the individual market - the ability to go directly to an insurer and buy a health-care policy - will disappear," and "we'll all get the same package of benefits." In fact, under the Senate bill, individual (nongroup) plans can still be offered outside of the exchanges, and benefit packages can vary, as long as the policies meet the minimum requirements established by the legislation. Read More

Fox & Friends falsely claimed Senate health bill insures undocumented immigrants
Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed that one of the things conservatives hate about the Senate health care bill is that it "does provide insurance for illegal aliens. Sorry, Joe Wilson." But the language of the bill explicitly bars undocumented immigrants from purchasing insurance through the exchanges. Read More

Quick Fact: Hemmer baselessly cites "critics" calling health care reform a "budget-buster"
Fox News host Bill Hemmer stated that "critics" of the Senate health care reform bill "say it's a budget-buster that leaves taxpayers in America on the hook for years to come," and subsequently interviewed Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who said that the bill is a reason "we're headed towards a situation where we're not even going to be able to afford to pay the debt we've run up as a nation." But Hemmer at no point noted that the Congressional Budget Office reported that the Senate's health reform bill will reduce federal deficits by $130 billion through 2019. Read More

Conservative media cite industry study on premiums, ignore nonpartisan CBO
Conservative media have cited a study by insurance company WellPoint to claim that under health care reform, younger people would face premium increases of up to 178 percent. However, that study did not take into account subsidies provided by legislation to assist those buying insurance, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated would substantially lower premium costs for many individuals purchasing coverage on their own through the exchanges. Read More

Wash. Times falsely claims Senate health bill institutes "'abortion premium tax' on all Americans"
The Washington Times editorial board falsely claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's manager's amendment to the health care reform bill will "charge an 'abortion premium' tax on all Americans that forces everyone to fund abortions." In fact, the provision in question states that individuals who choose to purchase insurance policies that cover abortion through the health insurance exchanges would have a portion of their premiums segregated to pay for coverage of abortions whose federal funding is banned under current law, and explicitly says that there is no requirement that the insurance policies provide such coverage. Read More

News Corp.'s race problem
Glenn Beck's comment that President Obama is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture" justifiably garnered a great deal of attention, but that remark was by no means an isolated incident at News Corp., owner of Fox News. Indeed, Beck's comments are indicative of a corporate culture in which racially charged commentary is frequent, goes all the way to the top, and is too often tolerated. Read More

Quick Fact: Fox News advances anti-ACORN demagoguery to attack health care reform
On Your World, guest host Charles Payne and John McCormack of The Weekly Standard advanced the claim that the Senate health care reform bill "would give cash to ACORN," with Payne stating that "I would assume it's in the low millions" and calling it "so egregious" that taxpayer money would fund ACORN; on-screen text stated as fact that the "Senate health care bill would give cash to ACORN." In fact, neither the original bill nor the manager's amendment mentions ACORN; conservatives have repeatedly cited general funding provisions to raise the possibility of ACORN receiving federal funds in order to attack legislation. Read More

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