Fox's Varney: Economists Are "Flat Out Wrong" About The Math Of Repealing Obamacare

From the April 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:Related: CNN Fact Check: Repealing Obamacare adds to deficit CBO: Health care repeal would cost $109 billion PolitiFact: Mitt Romney's Claim That Repealing 'Obamacare' Would Save $95 Billion In 2016 Is "False"

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 11:20 am

Fox News Kicks Off 2014 Coverage Of The "Unholy War On Easter"

From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:Previously: Fox's Week-Long "War On Easter" O'Reilly Declares Victory In "War On Christmas," Joins Fox's "War On Easter" Fox Warns Of A Nonexistent "War On Halloween" After O'Reilly's "War On Christmas" Rant, Fox Wishes Viewers "Happy Holidays"

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 9:41 am

Fox Revives List Of Clinton Smears After Polling Shows People Trust Hillary

From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:Previously: Fox Surprised Public Isn't Buying Its Efforts To Smear Clinton Which '90s Hillary Clinton Hater Will Fox Host Next? Fox Scrapes The Bottom Of The Clinton Conspiracy Barrel

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 7:22 am

Fox Champions Bundy Supporters Who Threatened Violence Against Federal Agents

Fox figures praised armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as good, patriotic, hard-working Americans, ignoring their threats of violence against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and indications that they were willing to put women in children in the line of fire.Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Refuses To Pay Grazing Fees, Resulting In Standoff With BLM Los Angeles Times: Bundy Refused To Pay Grazing Fees For Use Of Federal Land.  As the Los Angeles Times reported on April 7: Bundy is battling with federal officials over his cattle's grazing on 150 square miles of scrub desert overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. He has refused to pay BLM grazing fees since 1993, arguing in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement. His back fees exceed $300,000, he says. [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/14] AP: Court Ordered Bundy To Pay Fees Or His Cattle Would Be Confiscated. Bundy refused to pay the fees he owed, and so the BLM attempted to carry out court orders to confiscate his cattle to settle the debt: A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998. The bureau was implementing two federal court orders last year to remove Bundy's cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court, Kornze said, adding the rancher has not paid grazing fees in 20 years. [Associated Press, 4/13/14] AP: BLM Halted Cattle Confiscation After Armed Militias Showed Up To Protest. As the Associated Press reported, after the Bureau of Land Management began confiscating Bundy's cattle, armed  "states' rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' return to rancher Cliven Bundy," leading to the BLM's decision to halt the confiscation: Federal land managers say "escalating tensions" led them to release all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority. Bureau of Land Management Chief Neil Kornze announced an abrupt halt to the weeklong roundup just hours before the release. "Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public," Kornze said in a statement. [Associated Press, 4/13/14] Sen. Harry Reid Calls Armed Protestors "Domestic Terrorists" Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sen. Reid Called Bundy's Armed Supporters "Domestic Terrorists." At an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called armed protesters supporting Bundy "domestic terrorists," saying, "Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not. They're nothing more than domestic terrorists." [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/17/14] Bundy Repeatedly Threatens Violence Against BLM Agents Las Vegas Sun: Bundy Said He Would "Do Whatever It Takes" To Protect His Cattle. In 2013, Bundy told the Las Vegas Sun he would "do whatever it takes" to prevent the government from seizing his cattle: [T]he rancher insists his cattle aren't going anywhere. He acknowledges that he keeps firearms at his ranch and has vowed to "do whatever it takes" to defend his animals from seizure. "I've got to protect my property," Bundy said as Arden steered several cattle inside an elongated pen. "If people come to monkey with what's mine, I'll call the county sheriff. If that don't work, I'll gather my friends and kids and we'll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws."Bundy's wife Carol told the Sun that she owns a shotgun and is prepared to use it: Carol Bundy said her husband is not a violent man, just a person who will protect what he owns. For that matter, so is she. "I've got a shotgun," she said. "It's loaded and I know how to use it. We're ready to do what we have to do, but we'd rather win this in the court of public opinion." [Las Vegas Sun, 9/23/13] Bundy's Response To Question About Resorting To Violence: "I Didn't Say I Wouldn't Carry A Gun." On the April 10 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham asked Bundy whether he would resort to violence to settle the dispute: INGRAHAM: When you said you would do quote "whatever it takes," to stop the government from impounding your cattle, what did you mean by that? Did you mean you would resort to violence? BUNDY: What I said was -- I didn't say I wouldn't carry a gun. [The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/10/14, via Media Matters] Fox Figures Praise "Patriotic" Bundy Supporters Fox's Earhardt: Bundy Supporters Are "Good, Hardworking Americans." On the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt expressed outrage at Sen. Harry Reid's comments that Bundy's supporters are "domestic terrorists," saying: EARHARDT: And then the question this morning, the government's reaction to all of this. They're pulling guns on these individuals, on Harry Reid's community. These are folks that live in Nevada, these are good, hardworking Americans. So they disagree and the government goes out there and pulls guns and now Harry Reid's calling them terrorists? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/18/14] Fox's Morris: Supporters Were "Protesting Peacefully." In a later segment during the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Clayton Morris claimed that, "Suddenly people are there protesting peacefully, arguing against government intervention here ... and all of these police and folks roll in with guns and sniper rifles pointing at them." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/18/14] Fox's Napolitano: Ranch Protesters "Shows You The Resistance Of Patriotic Americans." Fox contributor Andrew Napolitano and Bill O'Reilly discussed the Nevada standoff on the April 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor. Both conceded that Bundy's actions were illegal, yet Napolitano called his supporters "patriotic" and downplayed their threats of violence: O'REILLY: But here's the fact. The federal government sent more force in to handle Cliven Bundy's cows than they did to Ukraine. Right, I mean we can't even get binoculars over there for those people but we have all of this. NAPOLITANO: It shows you the attitude of the federal government today, and it shows you the resistance of patriotic Americans -- Americans whose voices were silenced at the scene by being moved three miles away. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/17/14] Fox's Starnes: Bundy Supporters Are "Law-Abiding" Patriots.  On the April 17 edition of Hannity, Fox contributor Todd Starnes told guest-host Eric Bolling, "The idea that you've got the Senate Majority Leader going out there and calling law-abiding American citizens -- patriots -- domestic terrorists for protesting against their government is beyond the pale." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/17/14] Fox Guest: Why Were Guns Pointed At "Hardworking Ranchers"? During the April 17 edition of Fox News's The Kelly File, frequent Fox guest and conservative filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch demanded an explanation from Sen. Harry Reid as to why guns were pointed at "hardworking ranchers": LYNCH: That man [Sen. Reid], I want an explanation from him. I want to know why it is that I had M-16s pointed at my face. Why those M-16s were pointed at women and children and hardworking ranchers. I want an explanation. Because the more I keep on looking at my footage -- that looked like Afghanistan. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 4/17/14] Bundy Supporters Who Fox Praised Were Armed, Threatened Violence Las Vegas Review-Journal: Armed Militia Members Mobilized For "Armed Confrontation."  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on April 9 that armed militia members were joining Bundy in his standoff with the BLM: From near and wide, armed men are trickling toward Cliven Bundy's ranch, where the rancher's fight with the federal government has become a rallying cry for militia groups across the United States. [...] They say they are prepared for armed confrontation, but they insist they will not be the instigators if bloodshed happens. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/9/14] Reuters: Many Supporters "Wore Military Fatigues And Carried Rifles And Pistols." Reuters reported on April 17 that many of Bundy's supporters carried rifles and pistols: A number of Bundy supporters wore military fatigues and carried rifles and pistols and had traveled from California, Idaho, Arizona, Montana and beyond. Most kept their handguns holstered. [Former Arizona sheriff Richard] Mack, who wore his gun on his hip, and other Bundy supporters interviewed by Reuters said they would not shoot first but would retaliate if fired upon. [Reuters, 4/17/14] Review-Journal: "Serious Bloodshed Was Narrowly Avoided" At The Protest. The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported that: On Wednesday, that dispute teetered at the edge of deadly conflict, when Cliven Bundy's family members and supporters scuffled with rangers from the Bureau of Land Management sent to protect the federal roundup of Bundy's cattle on public land. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/9/14] Huffington Post: Former Sheriff Wanted To Put "Women Up At The Front" If A Shootout Occurred. According to the Huffington Post, former Arizona sheriff and Bundy supporter Richard Mack proposed putting women on the front lines if a shootout with the BLM occurred and claimed he "would have put my own wife or daughters there": "We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," he said on Fox News, according to "If they are going to start shooting, it's going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers." [...] "If they're going to start killing people, I'm sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot. I'm sorry, that sounds horrible. I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die. [Huffington Post, 4/15/14] Reuters: Bundy Supporter "Aimed His Semi-Automatic Rifle" At Federal Agents. On April 17, Reuters reported on the aftermath of the Bundy ranch protest, writing that during that during the standoff an armed protester aimed his gun at federal agents: Flat on his belly in a sniper position, wearing a baseball cap and a flak jacket, a protester aimed his semi-automatic rifle from the edge of an overpass and waited as a crowd below stood its ground against U.S. federal agents in the Nevada desert. [Reuters, 4/17/14]           Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart KLAS-TV Las Vegas: Militia Man Joining Bundy Protest Said "We Provide Armed Response." On April 10, a local Las Vegas news station KLAS-TV reported that one militia man coming to support Bundy said, "That is what we do. We provide armed response ... We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government." [KLAS-TV Las Vegas, 4/10/14]

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 4:19 am

Fox News Carnival Barkers Gin Up A Range War

Led by Sean Hannity, Fox News has devoted 4 hours and 40 minutes of its prime-time programming to cheerleading for a Nevada range war. Media Matters examined Fox News' weekday programming from 4 p.m. through 11 p.m. ET since it first started covering the story. Fox News began agitating for a range war on April 9, sympathetically portraying Cliven Bundy as a folk hero based on the Nevada rancher's refusal for two decades to pay the required fees for grazing his cattle on public land. While Nevada reporters have made clear that Bundy is "clearly wrong" and "breaking the law," Fox has waged a PR campaign romanticizing Bundy and the armed militia groups that fled to his ranch and forced a standoff with federal agents who were executing a court order that allowed them to impound his cattle. Fox Radio hostTodd Starnes fanned the flames by implying that federal agents could be "strung up" for confiscating Bundy's cattle, regardless of a court order. Even after the Bureau of Land Management announced that it would return the cattle to Bundy, Hannity asked Bundy whether he was worried that government agents might kill him. Hannity has effectively turned his Fox News show into a public-relations firm for Bundy and the militias backing him, dedicating more than 1 1/2 hours of coverage since April 9 to effectively agitating for armed conflict with the federal government. Methodology Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of transcripts of Fox News programs from April 5th to April 17th. We identified and reviewed all segments that included any of the following keywords: Bundy, Nevada, ranch!, cattle, Bureau of Land Management. The search included the Fox programs The Five, Special Report, On the Record with Greta van Susteren, The O'Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, and Hannity.

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 2:31 am

WSJ Sold On Ineffective And Potentially Unconstitutional Surveillance Of American Muslims

The Wall Street Journal is misleadingly defending a highly controversial and recently abandoned surveillance program that targeted innocent American Muslims. Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city planned to dismantle the constitutionally-questionable "Demographics Unit" of the New York Police Department (NYPD), a secretive program that relied on blanket surveillance and racial profiling of Muslim American communities both within and without the city. The program's indiscriminate spying on innocent Muslims on the basis of ethnicity and religion raised red flags not only among civil liberties advocates, but also among counter-terrorism experts. As The New York Times explained, the FBI was so alarmed about this CIA-initiated program that "F.B.I. lawyers in New York determined years ago that agents could not receive documents from the Demographics Unit without violating federal rules." The top FBI official in New Jersey, where the Demographics Unit conducted "surveillance of mosques and Islamic student organizations," pointed out that this widespread "police surveillance had made Muslims more distrustful of law enforcement and made it harder to fight terrorism." Nevertheless, the WSJ editorial board was quick to defend these newly discontinued tactics. In an April 17 editorial, the WSJ praised the former surveillance unit, calling the program "strikingly successful." The editorial went on to lament de Blasio's decision to scrap the program as "a bow to political correctness." This is being hailed by the usual suspects as a triumph for civil liberties, but it's really a bow to political correctness that removes an important defense for a city that has stopped at least 16 terror plots since 9/11. It's also more fallout from a series of sensationalist Associated Press stories from 2011 that were riddled with distortions and have since been rebuked by a federal judge. [...] The result [of the surveillance program] was a strikingly successful effort, under former police commissioner Ray Kelly, to keep all New Yorkers safe. Part of that effort involved a small "Demographics Unit" (later renamed the "Zone Assessment Unit") to keep an eye on "hot spots" and "venues of radicalization," including mosques, bookstores, barbershops and other public places. The point wasn't to spy on entire communities, which the unit -- with never more than 16 officers -- lacked the resources to do in any case. It was to keep an eye on places where terrorists would seek to blend in. [...] Also false is the claim that the unit was ineffective. "The Demographics Unit was critical in identifying the Islamic Books and Tapes bookstore in Brooklyn as a venue for radicalization," Mitchell Silber, a former NYPD director of intelligence analysis, noted in Commentary magazine. "Information the unit collected about the store provided a predicate for an investigation that thwarted a 2004 plot against the Herald Square subway station."

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 2:14 am

Guns Make Domestic Violence Deadlier

When guns are involved in domestic violence, women die. This simple fact was the basis for a tweet from Everytown for Gun Safety, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's new gun violence prevention group, which noted that the presence of a gun makes it five times "more likely that domestic violence will turn into murder." Everytown has stated that they want to help prevent these deaths by closing "the loopholes that make it easy for domestic abusers to get guns without a background check." While federal law prohibits a convicted domestic abuser or individual subject to a permanent restraining order from owning a gun, abusers subject to temporary restraining orders can still buy firearms in many states, and abusers can avoid background checks by purchasing their firearms through private sales.  But conservative media ignored these facts to falsely claim Everytown wanted to "disarm women," not their abusers, and argued women would be safer if they had increased access to guns to use as self-defense.'s AWR Hawkins wrote that Everytown was putting victims in danger because "the gun may be the only thing that gives the victim of abuse a fighting chance of survival." Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich told NRA News that the gun safety group was playing on the fears of "ignorant, emotional women." And former Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller claimed on Fox that all of Everytown's gun safety efforts were merely an effort "to lure in women voters," arguing that because gun murders are down, it was somehow impossible that domestic murder could be a significant problem facing women. But the data shows that Everytown is right. Having a gun in the house doesn't make women safer -- in fact, studies have shown that domestic violence involving guns is significantly more likely to result in women dying.

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 1:12 am

Local Media Fooled By Discredited Economic Competitiveness Report

Local media outlets across the country published uncritical reports highlighting a conservative influence group's so-called economic competitiveness report, despite criticism of previous editions of the report over its methodology and findings. On April 15, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) published the 2014 edition of its annual "Rich States, Poor States" economic competitiveness ranking, which claims to be "a forward-looking measure of how each state can expect to perform economically." For the seventh consecutive year, Utah was given the top spot for future economic outlook in 2014; New York was ranked last, and has never risen past 49th place. Local media outlets quickly picked up the report and mainly discussed their own state's rankings and the rankings of neighboring states. Conservative radio station WOAI in San Antonio, Texas, published a blog detailing the report; including a quote from co-author and Heritage Foundation economist Steven Moore whom WOAI referred to as an "ALEC analyst": A conservative group says Texas is tops in the country in economic activity today, but the American Legislative Exchange Council warns that the state's economic performance in the future will be rocky, largely because state government is spending too much money.  "That wasn't the good budget," ALEC analyst Steven Moore told 1200 WOAI news about the budget approved by the Legislature in 2012.  "Not withstanding [sic] all of the very good things that are happening in Texas, and with the very big increase in the size of the economy."  ALEC ranks Texas no better than 13th nationally in terms of future economic performance. Despite the uncritical, often glowing, pick-up by local media outlets, ALEC's competitiveness report has received scrutiny in the past, mostly due to evidence showing that economic data does not comport with the results of their study.

Posted by on 18 April 2014 | 12:01 am

New Fox Show Tarnished By Panelist's False Reporting On IRS

On the same day Fox announced Katie Pavlich's role in a new show on the network, Pavlich created a false narrative that former IRS official Lois Lerner reached out to the Department of Justice about possible criminal prosecutions for tax-exempt groups.  Fox went on to promote the story in several segments and continued to push it even after Pavlich corrected her initial report. On April 16, Fox News announced it would launch a new show called Outnumbered to air on weekdays at noon.  Fox contributor Katie Pavlich will be part of a rotating group of panelists on the show. The same day, Pavlich wrote on that new emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Lerner reached out to officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss the possibility of criminal prosecutions for tax-exempt groups who lied about political activity on their filings. Gretchen Carlson pushed the report on The Real Story, repeating the claim that Lerner contacted officials at the DOJ to ask about criminally prosecuting the groups. But Pavlich's claim that Lerner contacted DOJ officials first is false -- the emails show that in fact the DOJ reached out to Lerner first with a phone call. Pavlich updated and corrected her post to reflect that fact: Editors note/correction: A previous version of this post stated and implied Lois Lerner contacted the DOJ about criminal prosecution when the emails state she in fact got a phone call from DOJ about the issue. While she was clearly in contact with DOJ about criminal prosecution for tax exempt groups, DOJ initiated the contact in this specific instance. Emails also show Lerner and Flax responded to both recommendations by Senator Whitehouse and DOJ to look into criminal prosecution. The headline to this post has also been updated.

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 11:31 am

Media Expert Highlights Problematic Tea Party Ties In Right-Wing Talk Radio

Media consultant Holland Cooke highlighted the deceptive advocacy of right-wing talk radio hosts on behalf of sponsors such as tea party groups, arguing that listeners "might not understand that free speech had a price tag." In a piece titled "The tea party radio network," Politico highlighted the relationship between conservative talk radio shows and tea party non-profit groups who often act as sponsors of the shows. The report "found that conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh between the first talk radio deals in 2008 and the end of 2012."  On the April 17 segment on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Ed Schultz hosted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke and Ken Vogel, a co-author of the Politico piece. Vogel pointed out that the nature of right-wing radio's sponsorship "begs the question 'where does the line between the core ideological beliefs of the host end and where does the paid sponsorship start?'" Cooke pointed out that the conservative radio advertising landscape had shifted after Rush Limbaugh's notorious attacks on Sandra Fluke caused an advertiser boycott, due in large part to groups like Flush Rush, and explained that sponsors are often "treated like a news source," leaving many listeners not realizing that they are even listening to ads:

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 6:27 am

Fox-Led Anti-Medicaid Campaign Leaves 5.7 Million Uninsured

The Fox-led campaign to pressure GOP governors to decline the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion has left 5.7 million people uninsured who could have gained coverage under the law.  In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults living below 133 percent of the federal poverty line, under a provision of the ACA which would provide federal funding for the expansion. Immediately following the ruling, Fox News began a campaign to convince Republican governors to turn down the funding and refuse to expand the program. On July 2, 2012, Fox & Friends praised Florida governor Rick Scott for turning down Medicaid expansion. The same day, then-Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appeared on On the Record and said she "would like to see governors be tough and opt out" of the expansion": PALIN: Many, many states are not going to be able to afford expansion of Medicaid and these exchanges that are going to try to be forced down states' throats through "ObamaCare." I would like to see governors be tough and opt out of this and exert our 10th Amendment rights and tell President Obama, who does not understand the Constitution -- he even being a constitutional lecturer and supposed scholar in our Constitution, not understanding and probably never reading or absorbing the 10th Amendment to understand that states have rights. Fox continued to demagogue the program long after the Supreme Court's decision, misleading on its costs, falsely claiming it would bankrupt states, and ultimately blaming the ACA for the coverage gap that resulted from the very expansion refusal it advocated. The decision not to expand Medicaid is not without consequences. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 19 states are not moving forward with expansion, while five more are engaging in debate, but have not made a decision. Today, the White House revealed the human costs of the campaign to demonize Medicaid: (emphasis added)

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 6:10 am

Fox's Dana Perino: Obama Is A Jerk For Attacking GOP Over Obamacare Repeal Plans

From the April 17 edition of Fox News' The Five:Previously: Fox's Perino Reacts To Obama's Re-Election: "Would You Think Less Of Me If I Cried Just A Little?" Perino Compares Obama To Iraq's "Baghdad Bob" Over Budget

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 4:57 am

Fox's Carlson Continues To Push Misleading Report On IRS Emails, Ignores Correction

Fox News' Gretchen Carlson continued to push a misleading report on IRS communication with the Department of Justice while failing to acknowledge that a previous "bombshell" claim she had made about the report had been corrected. On the April 16 edition of Fox News' The Real Story, Carlson hyped a report by Fox contributor Katie Pavlich that incorrectly claimed IRS official Lois Lerner "contacted the Department of Justice" to ask about possible criminal investigation of tax-exempt groups. Echoing the report, Carlson asserted that "bombshell emails" show "Lerner contacted her bosses at the IRS and the Department of Justice in May 2013 asking about whether tax-exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for lying about political activity": Carlson failed to note that at the time of her broadcast, Pavlich's report had been updated and corrected to note that it was the Department of Justice, not Lerner, who initiated contact: Editors note/correction: A previous version of this post stated and implied Lois Lerner contacted the DOJ about criminal prosecution when the emails state she in fact got a phone call from DOJ about the issue. While she was clearly in contact with DOJ about criminal prosecution for tax exempt groups, DOJ initiated the contact in this specific instance. Emails also show Lerner and Flax responded to both recommendations by Senator Whitehouse and DOJ to look into criminal prosecution. The headline to this post has also been updated. Carlson again discussed the emails during the April 17 edition of The Real Story, noting that she "first reported them here on the show yesterday," but she failed to correct her false claim from the day before that Lerner "contacted" the Department of Justice. Carlson also failed to mention that the emails show Lerner's concern that criminal prosecutions of tax-exempt groups that misrepresent their political activity is "not realistic under current law":

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 4:30 am

ANALYSIS: How The Media Covered The U.N. Climate Reports In Three Charts

The final installment of the U.N.'s top climate report, which calls for prompt, extensive action to avoid calamitous impacts from climate change, garnered relatively little attention from the major print, cable and broadcast media outlets compared to the first installment. However, coverage of the third report rightfully gave far less space to those who cast doubt on the science.U.N. Climate Report Outlining Solutions Received Relatively Little Coverage United Nations Report Calls For Immediate Action To Stave Off Worst Of Climate Change. The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final installment of its fifth assessment report on the state of scientific knowledge on climate change on April 13. The third assessment from Working Group 3 (WG3), titled "Mitigation of Climate Change," stated that carbon emissions need to be drastically reduced in order to prevent global temperatures from rising over two degrees Celsius -- the threshold to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of manmade global warming. [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 4/13/14] But Media Gave Far Less Coverage To The Solutions Report Than To The Previous Reports. A Media Matters analysis found that the major print and television outlets devoted far less coverage to the most recent installment of the IPCC report than the first two reports by Working Group 1 (WG1) and Working Group 2 (WG2), which outlined the evidence that manmade climate change is happening and having largely negative impacts, respectively. The third report received only about a quarter (28 percent) of the amount of coverage given to the first report: Studies Show Providing Dire Messages Without Solutions Could Be Ineffective. Covering the first U.N. reports warning of the dire impacts of climate change, while giving relatively little coverage to the report outlining the solutions, may be counterproductive. A 2009 review of studies on climate messaging, published in Science Communication, found that "fear-inducing representations" of the threat of global warming without providing solutions could "trigger barriers to engagement": Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people's attention and concern, they do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial. [...] A consistent message that does arise from the fear appeals literature appears to be that both an individual's perceived sense of action effectiveness and the individual's perceived sense of self-efficacy are imperative for a fear appeal to be successful. [Science Communication, March 2009] Another study by University of California, Berkeley researchers also suggested that focusing on potential solutions can foster "greater belief in science's ability to find solutions to global warming," while focusing only on "dire messages" could increase skepticism: [D]ire messages warning of the severity of global warming and its presumed dangers can backfire, paradoxically increasing skepticism about global warming by contradicting individuals' deeply held beliefs that the world is fundamentally just. In addition, we found evidence that this dire messaging led to reduced intentions among participants to reduce their carbon footprint - an effect driven by their increased global warming skepticism. Our results imply that because dire messaging regarding global warming is at odds with the strongly established cognition that the world is fair and stable, people may dismiss the factual content of messages that emphasize global warming's dire consequences. But if the same messages are delivered coupled with a potential solution, it allows the information to be communicated without creating substantial threat to these individuals' deeply held beliefs. [Psychological Science, 2010] Study: Broadcast News Often Decouples Solutions From Threat Of Climate Change, Reducing Efficacy. An analysis of broadcast news coverage published in the journal Science Communication found that climate "impacts" and "actions" were only rarely discussed in the same report on a majority of networks: While impacts and actions are discussed independently in a majority of broadcasts, they are rarely discussed in the same broadcast. Moreover, while news coverage frequently conveys the threat of climate change, it provides an inconsistent efficacy message, often including both positive and negative efficacy cues. [Science Communication, 2/7/14] However, Media Coverage Provided Less Misinformation Than In Previous Reports Media Sowed Doubt In Coverage Of First U.N. Climate Report. The first installment of the U.N.'s climate assessment reported with 95 percent certainty that humans are the "dominant cause" of global warming, a statement with which 97 percent of climate science is in agreement. However, some media outlets provided false balance in their coverage of the report, giving attention to the minority of climate "skeptics" and doubters, including fossil fuel-funded Marc Morano and the Heartland Institute. [IPCC, 9/27/13; Media Matters, 10/10/13] Doubters Were Not Given As Much Airtime In Final Installment As In Previous Reports. Although media coverage declined for each installment of the IPCC report, it improved in one measure of quality -- the rate of climate "skeptics" and doubters quoted also declined with each. In the third report, the only coverage that quoted someone classified as a climate doubter for our study was a Washington Post article, which quoted Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) without rebutting his attempt to cast doubt on climate science. In covering the second report, the Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY published op-eds by climate doubters, and the Associated Press quoted David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation who has cast doubt on the climate consensus. [Washington Post, 4/13/14; Wall Street Journal, 3/27/14; Wall Street Journal, 4/2/14; USA TODAY, 3/31/14; Associated Press, 4/2/14, via The Huffington Post; Media Matters, 1/7/14] ABC Ignored Third Report, Continuing Paltry Climate Coverage ABC, CBS, Fox News, and LA Times Ignored The Latest U.N. Climate Report. Four outlets neglected to cover the "Mitigations and Climate Change" report by Working Group 3 (WG3). The Los Angeles Times, ABC, CBS, and Fox News all provided coverage to the first two assessments from the IPCC, but not to the third and final chapter: ABC Provided Least Airtime To The Three U.N. Climate Reports, Continuing Its Trend Of Scant Coverage. ABC provided very little coverage to each installment of the IPCC report, according to our analysis. The network aired only three segments or mentions on the report overall, paling in comparison to coverage from the other broadcast networks -- CBS and NBC each provided almost four times the amount of coverage, with 11 and 12 segments or mentions, respectively. A previous Media Matters analysis found that in 2013 ABC World News was greatly outpaced by the other two major nightly news programs on NBC and CBS, which each aired over four times as much coverage on climate change. [Media Matters, 1/16/14] METHODOLOGY: We searched Nexis and Factiva for "panel on climate change" from August 1, 2013 through October 1, 2013 and from March 15 to April 15 for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY and The Wall Street Journal. For TV outlets, we did an additional Nexis and Factiva search for "climate change." We also searched an internal video archive for "climate change" for Fox News and MSNBC daytime shows, which are not included in Nexis. Our analysis included any article, op-ed, editorial or segment devoted to the latest IPCC report, as well as any mention longer than one sentence. We only counted those quoted who commented on climate change in the context of the IPCC report. Guests were included as "doubters" if they cast doubt on whether the majority of recent warming is manmade, self-identify as a "skeptic," or stated that the benefits of warming would outweigh the costs without explicitly mentioning that at some point the costs would outweigh any benefits. We treated authors of bylined op-eds as figures quoted, but did not include editorial boards in this count.  Shauna Theel contributed to this report. 

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 3:32 am

Fox Surprised Public Isn't Buying Its Efforts To Smear Clinton

Following its protracted campaign to smear Hillary Clinton as a dishonest and untrustworthy leader, Fox News is working overtime to explain away its own polling revealing that the American people trust the former Secretary of State more than the Republican Party and the slew of potential GOP presidential candidates.  According to Fox News' most recent poll data, 54 percent of registered voters consider Hillary Clinton "honest and trustworthy," a higher percentage than potential Republican 2016 presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Christie Christie received. At 49 percent, her favorability rating is higher than that of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and all GOP 2016 contenders. Fox hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy addressed Clinton's poll numbers on the April 17 edition of Fox & Friends by blaming liberal bias in the mainstream media. Doocy complained that Clinton was viewed as more trustworthy than Christie because the "mainstream media [...] beat the drum" against Christie rather than report on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, in an effort to "take him out." According to Hasselbeck, the poll could be due to a perception bias that favors women: DOOCY: You know what's interesting about that poll is -- remember it wasn't too long before the whole bridge thing hit the mainstream media fan where Chris Christie was actually leading Hillary Clinton. But then the mainstream media -- and some cynics on the right would say, well they were just trying to take Chris Christie out because he posed the greatest threat for Hillary Clinton -- nonstop coverage on all the channels about that Bridgegate thing. And when you think about the two potential candidates, you've got Chris Christie who, you know, a while back was involved, his administration put up 25 traffic cones in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and generated hundreds of hours of mainstream media Bridgegate television. And then far screen right you've got Hillary Clinton who ran the State Department which denied extra security for Libya and four Americans wind up dying. I mean that is quite a contrast. You've got 25 orange cones versus four dead Americans -- but you've got the mainstream media and they beat the drum for Chris Christie, against him, and nobody on the other side of the channel is really covering Benghazi, unless us. HASSELBECK: Well, perception and reality are two different things. I think it is. In the past women have polled better in terms of trust when it comes to politics. But again, as you mentioned, you know, this is a woman who has been ridden with scandal in the past particularly recently when we talk about Benghazi and four Americans dead. She is still found to be more trustworthy at this point. Go figure. It's understandable that Fox would prefer to discount these findings. The network has put a significant amount of effort into skewing public opinion of Clinton, pushing repeatedly debunked myths in an attempt to tarnish her image in expectation of a presidential bid in 2016. These efforts are in stark contrast with Fox's willingness to hide information that could hurt potential GOP presidential candidates like Christie, whom Fox personalities have previously showered with praise.

Posted by on 17 April 2014 | 3:12 am