Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-20-10

Quick Fact: Examiner, Fox Nation (again) misuse "nuclear option" term
Both the Washington Examiner and Fox Nation falsely described the budget reconciliation process as the "nuclear option," despite the fact that the "nuclear option" actually refers to a procedure that would be used to change Senate rules. Reconciliation requires no such rule changes and has been used many times in the past. Read More

Media advance dubious claim that MA Senate election was a referendum on Obama
The Associated Press, the New York Post, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough advanced the claim that the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election was, in Scarborough's words, "a rejection of Barack Obama." But election night polling showing that the majority of Massachusetts voters approve of Obama's job performance undermines this claim, and Scott Brown himself has stated that the race was "not a referendum on Obama." Read More

Right-wing media claim MA election is evidence Obama should move to the right
Right-wing pundits are pointing to Martha Coakley's loss in the Massachusetts Senate race as evidence that President Obama and congressional Democrats should move to govern from the center, despite the fact that exit polls show that the Massachusetts election was not a referendum on Obama. Read More

Morris fudges budget numbers while grading Obama's first year
Purporting to grade President Obama's first year in office, Dick Morris falsely attributed to Obama all of the federal spending and deficit from fiscal year 2009, which began in October 2008. Morris therefore ignored spending that took place under President Bush from October 1, 2008, to January 20, 2009, including significant outlays committed by the federal government in response to the recession, as well as the impact of the recession itself on the federal budget. Read More

Right-wing media ran with Fund's made-up claim that Rep. Frank was planning universal voter registration
After Wall Street Journal writer John Fund told a crowd at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) were planning on introducing legislation that would lead to universal voter registration, the claim was repeated by numerous right-wing media outlets despite the fact that Fund provided no evidence for his claim. After Frank wrote a letter to Fund denying that he was introducing such legislation, Fund retracted his statement that Frank was pushing any such legislation. Read More

Doocy ignored key fact rendering MA not a "big indicator" of national health care attitudes
Tracking talking points advanced by Republican lawmakers in response to Senator-elect Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy asserted that the election "may be a big indicator on how people across the country really feel about health care reform in the United States." However, Massachusetts is not representative of the nation as a whole since it already has a health care program that insures nearly all residents -- a unique situation that allowed Brown to argue that Massachusetts would not benefit from health care reform. Read More

Politico cites GOP polling firm on health care reform, omits ties to health care industry
A Politico article cited exit polling data from Republican firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, in asserting that opposition to health care reform "was the most important issue" in Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate election. Politico made no mention of the fact that some of Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates' clients have expressed opposition to aspects of health care reform legislation, including the U.S. Chamber of Congress, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and the American Health Care Association. Read More

Wash. Times tries in vain to link Obama to New Black Panthers
The Washington Times attacked the Obama White House in an editorial for supposedly interfering in a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party. But the Times editorial relied on falsehoods and distortions, such as the false suggestion that the Justice Department completely dropped the voter intimidation case. Read More

Luntz's Fox News focus group participants echo Fox News talking points
During Fox News' January 19 coverage of Massachusetts' Senate race election returns, Fox News' Frank Luntz conducted a focus group with Bay State voters, many of whom were critical of Democratic actions on health care reform and other issues. The focus group participants' remarks echoed talking points frequently advanced on Fox News. Read More

Beck baselessly suggests "White House or Congress" plotted to "bury" pre-scheduled Salahi testimony on "busy news day"
Glenn Beck questioned why the "White House or Congress" would schedule the testimony of the "gate-crashers" Michaele and Tareq Salahi for January 20, baselessly suggesting that they "had the story planted today ... to bury it in a busy news day while everyone else was distracted," presumably by Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate election. But the House Homeland Security Committee ordered the Salahis to appear at the January 20 committee hearing in early December. Read More

Quick Fact: Beck reiterates misleading smears of Stern
Glenn Beck claims that President Obama is "in danger" because his supporters include "violent radicals" like SEIU president Andy Stern, who Beck described as "leading White House visitor. 'Workers of the world Unite. It's not just a slogan anymore." In fact, Politifact has rated Beck's prior claim that Stern was "the most frequent visitor at the White House" as "false," and in discussing his use of the "workers of the world unite" slogan, Stern said that "the good news is communism's dead." Read More

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