Friday, January 15, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-15-10

WSJ op-ed falsely claims Rasmussen "never worked for any political party" or candidate
The Wall Street Journal published a January 14 op-ed by pollsters and Fox News contributors Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen which falsely claimed that pollster Scott Rasmussen "has never worked for any political party" or "consulted with any candidates seeking elective office," and defended Fox News from alleged White House "attempt[s] to silence" it. In fact, according to the Center for Public Integrity, the Republican National Committee and President Bush's re-election campaign were clients of Scott Rasmussen Inc. in 2003 and 2004; moreover, The Wall Street Journal failed to identify Caddell and Schoen as Fox News contributors, despite their defense of the network. Read More

Fox & Friends off on proposed bank tax by a factor of 100
On January 15, Fox & Friends falsely reported that President Obama promoted "a 15 percent tax on the banks" for the purpose of recouping taxpayer losses resulting from Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) investments. In fact, the fee Obama proposed would be "assessed at approximately 15 basis points (0.15 percent) of covered liabilities per year" for financial companies with more than $50 billion in assets. Read More

Fox Nation, Hoft falsely claim Coakley said "Catholics" shouldn't work "in emergency rooms"
Fox Nation and Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft have seized on comments made by Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley during a January 14 radio interview to falsely claim that Coakley said "devout Catholics" should not "work in emergency rooms." In fact, as the context of Coakley's remarks makes clear, she was discussing individuals who would refuse to provide certain emergency medical procedures and treatments -- including emergency contraception -- to patients on the grounds of their religious beliefs, not all "devout Catholics." Read More

Fox Nation equates temporary protections for Haitians in the U.S. with "Amnesty" for "Illegal Aliens"
A January 15 Fox Nation headline asserted, "Obama Moves to Grant Amnesty to Haitian Illegal Aliens." However, the article to which Fox Nation linked reported on the temporary suspension of deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants and on widespread calls for the administration to grant temporary protected status to such individuals, making no mention of "amnesty to Haitian illegal aliens." Read More

"Invasion U.S.A."! Tracking the Interpol conspiracy theory through right-wing media
Right-wing media figures including Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Chuck Norris have been running with debunked conspiracy theories that President Obama has ceded U.S. sovereignty and given Interpol the right to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and even to arrest U.S. citizens. In fact, as even some conservative commentators have noted in debunking the conspiracy theory, Interpol first received immunity under President Ronald Reagan, that Obama's action does not cede sovereignty, that Interpol has been given the same immunity as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Pacific Halibut Commission, and that Interpol has not gained the right to arrest U.S. citizens. Read More

Using false claim, Fox & Friends attacks health care deal as "bribe" to unions
On January 15, Fox & Friends misrepresented the details of the recent health care negotiation relating to proposals to taxing high-cost "Cadillac" health care plans by falsely claiming that the proposal to "eliminate from any taxing dental and vision" policies applied only to union members, and Fox & Friends repeatedly claimed that the concessions won during the negotations were "a bribe" to unions. In fact, most of the negotiations, including the dental and vision exemptions, apply to all workers -- not just union workers -- and the extension given to union members regarding the implementation of the excise tax was reportedly made in order to allow unions time to negotiate less expensive plans for their workers. Read More

FOLLOW-UP REPORT: Beck and Hannity again devoted little coverage to earthquake in Haiti
After receiving criticism for giving little coverage to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009 devoted scant coverage to the disaster for a second night -- a combined total of 20 minutes and 40 seconds on January 14 -- while MSNBC's three top-rated shows devoted more than an hour and 45 minutes to discussing Haiti. The vast majority of the coverage on Fox's top-rated shows aired on The O'Reilly Factor; Beck's and Hannity's shows each aired less than four minutes of coverage of the disaster. Read More

Limbaugh makes dubious claim that plan to tax banks will cause ATM fees to rise
Rush Limbaugh attacked President Obama's plan to tax the biggest banks, claiming that "your life ... might get worse because your ATM fee's gonna go up." However, according to economist Dean Baker, since the tax "only applies to the largest banks, it would not be possible for the banks to pass it along to consumers, since they would lose market share to smaller banks who don't pay the tax." Read More

Quick Fact: Limbaugh revives false claim that Obama proposed eliminating charitable giving tax deduction
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh revived the false claim that President Obama proposed to "eliminate all tax deductions for charitable contributions." In fact, Obama proposed in his 2010 budget proposal to reduce the rate at which families earning over $250,000 could take itemized deductions from the current rates of 33 percent and 35 percent to 28 percent; he did not propose eliminating the deduction. Read More

Gingrich, McCarthy stick by Interpol conspiracy theory -- even though basic facts refute it
In a post on Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy defended their debunked claims that President Obama has given Interpol broad powers to investigate U.S. citizens without being limited by the Constitution. In fact, according to the head of Interpol -- whose factual statements Gingrich and McCarthy don't refute -- the organization does not have traditional police powers; additionally, Interpol was already granted immunity from lawsuits by President Reagan. Read More

WSJ twists Frank interview to suggest he "c[ame] clean" after WH supposedly misled on bank fee rationale
The Wall Street Journal falsely suggested that the Obama administration is misleading the public on its rationale for proposing a fee on financial institutions, reporting that while the "stated reason" for the fee is "to recoup the cost of the financial sector bailout," Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) "c[ame] clean on what this bank fee is all about" when he "essentially said the fee was a tax simply designed to raise revenue for the government spending." In fact, Frank stated that he supported the tax because the financial institutions "benefitted in a lot of ways" from various federal programs, and later added that the tax would go into the federal treasury, which collects funds for a variety of uses. Read More

Quick Fact: Beck guest host revives debunked climate email claim in attack on Mann
Glenn Beck guest host Eric Bolling and guest Tom Borelli, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), used a grant awarded under the stimulus bill to climate scientist Michael Mann to revive the debunked claim that emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University, some of which were written by Mann, undermine the scientific consensus that manmade global warming exists. Further, at no point during the segment did Bolling or Borelli disclose that NCPPR has received funding from the oil industry. Read More

Quick Fact: Fox News again allows Donatelli to attack health care bill without disclosing his conflict of interest
Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier aired a comment from Frank Donatelli attacking health care reform. He was identified only as a "GOP operative" and "GOPAC chairman," not as executive vice president of McGuireWoods Consulting, a public affairs consulting firm whose clients include firms in the health insurance, health care provider, and pharmaceutical industries. Read More

Bolling stuffs "Obama's Checkbook" with Bush bailout checks
Eric Bolling presented a chart titled "Obama's Checkbook" which purported to show the Obama administration's "new spending," but in fact included a variety of spending that was actually initiated during the Bush administration. Bolling also claimed that Obama has generated "$0" in revenue, despite citing the "new spending" that would occur if health care reform and cap and trade legislation were to pass, even though those programs actually increase revenues and are deficit reductive, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Read More

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