Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-13-10

Quick Fact: Fox's straight news also misrepresents NYC salt initiative
After Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed that a New York City-led initiative to encourage reduced salt intake would allow the government to "decide how much salt is in our diets," Fox's purportedly straight news programs Happening Now and Special Report also covered the salt-reduction initiative without reporting that the proposed targets are entirely voluntary. Indeed, Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson falsely claimed that the initiative involves "passing a bill that would require food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt that is in food." Read More

WSJ's Moore rehashes right-wing attacks on health care reform
On the January 12 edition of On the Record, Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Stephen Moore rehashed old falsehoods about health care reform, by claiming that "a major provision" of the bill, the individual mandate, "looks to be unconstitutional" and that "[p]eople aren't going to get any benefits from this bill for three or four years." In fact, numerous legal experts have disputed the claim that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the health care reform bill provides many benefits "in the first year of enactment." Read More

Fox & Friends crops video to attack Coakley for her remarks on terrorism in Afghanistan
Fox & Friends repeatedly attacked Martha Coakley, Democratic Senate candidate for Massachusetts, for saying there are no "terrorists" in Afghanistan, and at one point falsely claimed she said the "Taliban" is "no longer a threat." But the context of Coakley's comments makes clear that when she said "terrorists," she was specifically referring to Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, and indeed, her comments are similar to military experts' statements that Al Qaeda's presence is diminished in Afghanistan.
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Van Susteren uncritically highlights Schwarzenegger's dubious claim on health care bill deal-making
Greta Van Susteren has repeatedly highlighted California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's dubious claim that the deal-making used to pass the health care bill in the Senate would be "illegal" if used to pass legislation in California, and that parties involved would "be sued." But according to an Associated Press fact-check of his comments, "such political quid pro quos happen all the time in the state Capitol, sometimes with Schwarzenegger's behind-the-scenes involvement." Read More

Beck baselessly claimed Southers said threat of Christian Identity groups is "equally as dangerous" as threat of radical Islamic terrorism
On his radio show, Glenn Beck baselessly claimed that Erroll Southers, President Obama's nominee to be chief of Transportation Security Administration, said that Christian Identity groups were "equally as dangerous" as radical Islamic terrorist groups. In fact, in none of the comments aired by Beck from which the clip was taken did Southers equate the danger of radical Islamic terrorism to the danger of Christian Identity groups; Beck's claim echoes false attacks on Southers advanced by Read More

Fox's claim that Dems are "trying to change Massachusetts law" to delay vote certification undermined by reports
During an interview with Scott Brown, the Republican candidate in the special election for the open Massachusetts seat in the U.S. Senate, Fox News' Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that Democrats are "pushing to change Massachusetts law now, according to reports," so that Brown "can't be sworn in until after the health care vote." MacCallum cited only unnamed "reports" to support her claim, but in fact, the Boston Herald article that first referenced Brown's certification reported that Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said the election results could be delayed "for absentee and military ballots to come in" -- not due to any change in Massachusetts law. Read More

Is there any tragedy Pat Robertson won't exploit?
After an earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, Pat Robertson said on The 700 Club that Haitians had "swor[n] a pact to the devil" to get "free from the French" and that "ever since, they have been cursed." Robertson's comments follow a pattern in which he has assigned blame for tragedies and disasters, as well predicted them. Read More

Fox's credibility gap with its terrorism experts
Following the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox News has repeatedly discussed terrorism with analysts who have proved themselves not credible to discuss American foreign policy by making false or outrageous statements about foreign policy or terrorism. For example, Fox hosted Stephen Hayes, whose false comments about a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda had to be corrected by the Pentagon; Michael Scheuer, who said that "the only chance we have" is for Osama bin Laden to "detonate a major weapon" in the United States; Ralph Peters, who previously said on Fox News that if the soldier the Taliban captured had deserted his post, then "the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles"; and Judith Miller, who reported a series of stories on Saddam Hussein's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction that the Times later corrected in an editor's note. Read More

In Palin interview, Beck criticizes bank bailouts and oil company tax hikes -- but Palin supported both
During his January 13 interview with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck criticized John McCain as a "progressive" who "was for the bank bailouts," and also criticized those who call for windfall profit taxes on oil companies but ignore the Federal Reserve's "record profits." In fact, both Beck and Palin have previously expressed support for the 2009 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and Palin, while Alaska governor, increased taxes on oil companies operating in Alaska. Read More

After on-screen text misspells Weekly Standard's "McMormack," Hannity attacks Coakley's spelling
On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity attacked Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley's campaign for mispelling the state's name in a recent campaign advertisement. Earlier in his program, a caption identified The Weekly Standard's John McCormack as "McMormack." Read More

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