15 Whoppers Beck Did Not Get Fired For In 2010
In 2010, Glenn Beck repeatedly made up facts on Fox News show — a barrage of lies that would force any credible news outlet to fire him. Media Matters counts down 15 of the most notable fibs that Beck told this year on Fox News, culminating with the biggest lie of all.
No. 15 The Fed Hoards Its Profits
Beck Complains That “Nobody” Is Looking To Recover The Fed’s Profits. During a January interview with Sarah Palin, Beck discussed the Federal Reserve’s 2009 profits, and claimed, “Exxon had their record profit a couple of years ago. It was $45 billion. The Fed just had record profit, over $50 billion. No one’s having hearings on the Fed. Nobody is looking for a windfall profit tax on the Fed. We can’t even open the Fed’s books.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck,1/13/10, via Nexis]
REALITY: The Fed “Returns Its Profits To The Treasury.” The Washington Post reported that the Federal Reserve “will return about $45 billion to the U.S. Treasury for 2009 … the highest earnings in the 96-year history of the central bank. The Fed, unlike most government agencies, funds itself from its own operations and returns its profits to the Treasury.” The Post added that these profits “are good news for the federal budget and a sign that the Fed has been successful, at least so far, in protecting taxpayers as it intervenes in the economy — though there remains a risk of significant losses in the future if the Fed sells some of its investments or loses money on its stakes in bailed-out firms.” [The Washington Post, 1/12/10]
No. 14 Tax Dollars Funded An Art Exhibit Actually Paid For By Private Donors
BECK: “And Then You Have The Tax Dollars Funding This Wonderful Art Display. It’s Christmas At The Smithsonian.” Beck said of an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, which is titled “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture”:
Perfect storm. Eroding values. Hard work, sacrifice, thrift, honor, truth, God. As a nation born out of faith in God, how’s that going today, huh? Twenty-five percent of those under 30 years of age describe their religion as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular. Now, as you get older, it goes down. Thirty to 40 years old, only 19 percent. Ages 40 to 50, 15 percent. If you’re over 60, less than 10 percent say that.
And then you have the tax dollars funding this wonderful art display. It’s Christmas at the Smithsonian. Here’s this wonderful — oh, look, it’s Jesus with ants on him. They describe it as the first major exhibition to focus on the sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture.
What? You got to be kidding me, right? What does this have to do with the birth of the baby Jesus, and why is he now covered in ants? Whose values are these? And you wonder why there’s the breakdown of the family. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/30/10]
REALITY: Smithsonian “Receives Public Funds” But “Does Not Use That Money For Exhibitions.” The Washington Post reported:
The exhibition, which opened Oct. 30, was funded by the largest number of individual donors for a Portrait Gallery show. The show, which cost $750,000, was also underwritten by foundations that support gay and lesbian issues.
As part of the Smithsonian, the gallery receives public funds. Overall, the Smithsonian gets about 70 percent of its annual budget from the federal government, but it does not use that money for exhibitions. [The Washington Post, 11/30/10]
No. 13 Obama Did Not Make Oil Spill “Our Priority”
BECK: Obama Did Not Prioritize The Oil Spill. Beck falsely claimed that Obama did not prioritize ending the oil spill in the Gulf:
BECK: What are we doing now with the spill? If this were really about the spill, we would first work on, what? Stopping this!
Before talking about energy and taxes and cap and trade or solar panels or saying, “Don’t tell me that we can’t fundamentally transform the country into solar panels and green energy.” You would stop the oil spill. You would get a tourniquet. This should be our priority. But it’s not. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/17/10]
REALITY: Obama Said “Make No Mistake: We Will Fight This Spill With Everything We’ve Got For As Long As It Takes.” During an address from the Oval Office prior to Beck’s claim, Obama stated: “But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.” [Remarks By The President To The Nation On The BP Oil Spill, WhiteHouse.gov, 6/15/10]
REALITY: Obama Had Called The Spill “My Top Priority.” During an earlier press conference, Obama said: “Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don’t know the facts. This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred.” He also said, ” But here’s the broad point: There has never been a point during this crisis in which this administration, up and down up the line, in all these agencies, hasn’t, number one, understood this was my top priority — getting this stopped and then mitigating the damage; and number two, understanding that if BP wasn’t doing what our best options were, we were fully empowered and instruct them, to tell them to do something different.” [Remarks By The President On The Gulf Oil Spill, WhiteHouse.gov, 5/27/10]
No. 12 U.S. Sending “Another Trillion Dollars, Your Tax Dollars” Over To Europe
BECK: “Now We Find Out Through The Fed That We Are Going To Do Almost Another Trillion Dollars, Your Tax Dollars, Over To Europe.” Discussing efforts by the International Monetary Fund to stabilize European economies, Beck said:
BECK: We also told you that the IMF would bail out Europe. Here we were on this program, oh, I don’t know how many months ago. Watch.
BECK : We’re not only bailing ourselves out, Fannie and Freddie, but now we’re trying to bail out Europe as well. The European Union, along with the IMF, is giving $1 trillion to Greece — $1 trillion. The U.S. contributes 17 percent of the IMF funds.
BECK: OK. So, we told you that, and nobody really paid attention. Now we find out, through the Fed, that we are going to do almost another trillion dollars, your tax dollars, over to Europe.
We also found out that we have sent $3.3 trillion in our bailout, a lot of it went over to Europe, went over to France, went to Germany, Spain, et cetera, et cetera. And we’re sending more. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 12/2/10]
REALITY: The WSJ Reported, “The U.S. Isn’t Discussing A Larger International Monetary Fund Contribution To The European Rescue Package.” The Wall Street Journal reported:
The U.S. isn’t discussing a larger International Monetary Fund contribution to the European rescue package, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
European Commission officials have been discussing whether to increase the EUR750 billion rescue package as a way to handle possible sovereign debt problems in Spain and other countries. A bigger fund would likely include a larger financial contribution from the IMF, which now is committed to spending as much as EUR250 billion on euro-zone rescue loans.
(This story and related background material will be available on The Wall Street Journal Web site, WSJ.com.)
U.S. Undersecretary of Treasury Lael Brainard is now in Germany discussing the Europe’s plans to contain the euro zone’s sovereign debt woes. A U.S. official said those talks don’t now include a larger IMF contribution. [The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/10]
REALITY: AP Reported That A U.S. Official “Said That An Addition To The IMF Support Package Was Not Something That Was Being Discussed Currently.” The Associated Press reported:
A U.S. official, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because discussions were still ongoing, said that an addition to the IMF support package was not something that was being discussed currently.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did dispatch Treasury Undersecretary Lael Brainard, Treasury’s top official on international matters, for talks with European officials. Brainard had meetings in Madrid with economic officials on Wednesday and was scheduled to be in Berlin on Thursday and Paris on Friday.
The U.S. “can’t afford to let Europe implode,” said David Gilmore of Foreign Exchange Analytics. But the reported statement by the U.S. official does not necessarily mean that the U.S. has already agreed to a deal allowing the IMF to contribute more money or that it will pony up more money for Europe itself.
Investors were relieved by the implication that the EU and the IMF might be assembling a larger bailout fund, Gilmore said, because of the threat of there not being enough funds for Spain, should it need a rescue.
A spokesman for the EU’s monetary affairs chief Olli Rehn said he had not heard of talks about extending the EFSF fund. [Associated Press, 12/1/10]
No. 11 Beck Time Travels To 1995 To Show George Soros “Didn’t Mince Words” In 2004
BECK: In 2004, Soros Called The Election “Not A Normal Election,” And Said That “In Periods Of Regime Change, Normal Rules Do Not Apply.” Accusing financier and philanthropist George Soros of setting up a “shadow party” to interfere in the 2004 elections, Beck cited David Horowitz and Richard Poe’s The Shadow Party and said:
BECK: A shadow party is not a political party, it is a — at least not in a tangible sense. It works outside the normal electoral system. In 2000, Soros funded one-third of the shadow conventions. Do you even remember these? They were run by Arianna Huffington, the president’s favorite source of news. And one of the lead organizers next to her was Jim Wallis, one of the guys who is campaigning against this program, surprise, surprise.
The idea was to parallel the Democratic and Republican conventions — the shadow convention. Huffington said at the time, the message of the shadow conventions was, quote, “Not left or right, and the answers to these issues are not going to be found in the old ideas of the past. Clearly, the Great Society solution of top-down programs has failed.” Top-down programs. “Instead, the answers could be found in the raw power,” quoting, “of government appropriations.” Wow.
But it was the next election cycle that truly launched the shadow party. In 2004, when Soros didn’t mince words, he stated, quote, “This is not a normal election. These are not normal times.” And, quote, “I do not accept the rules imposed by others. If I did, I would not be alive today. And in periods of regime change, normal rules do not apply. One needs to adjust one’s behavior to the changing circumstances.”
By the 2004 election cycle, Soros’ shadow party had shaped the Democratic message. Under Soros, the guidance of the shadow-party infrastructure had assumed the coherent shape by early 2004. They were seven extensively independent nonprofit groups, which included MoveOn.org that would help the Democrats. Really? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/09/10, emphasis added]
REALITY: Soros Said “I Do Not Accept The Rules Imposed By Others” And “In Periods Of Regime Change, Normal Rules Do Not Apply” In 1995 – Not 2004. Those comments are actually from the 1995 book Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve:
KRISZTINA KOENEN (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung): You have been accused of playing by your own rules and changing the rules when it suits you.
SOROS: I plead guilty. I do not accept the rules imposed by others. If I did, I would not be alive today. I am a law-abiding citizen, but I recognize that there are regimes that need to be opposed rather than accepted. And in periods of regime change, the normal rules don’t apply. One needs to adjust one’s behavior to the changing circumstances.
Look at the tremendous changes I have gone through on a personal level. Consider my career as a philanthropist. In the beginning, I avoided any personal involvement. I sought to remain anonymous and shunned publicity. Later, when the revolution gathered momentum, I accepted the fact I was deeply involved. After 1989, I actively sought to gain a hearing for my views. That alone was a major change. At the same time, I continued to abstain from doing business in Eastern Europe. Now, I have given that up to. The reversal from my starting point, when I dissociated myself from my philanthropy, is complete. I accept everything that I do, whether as an investor or as a benefactor as an integral part of my existence. And I am very happy about it because in a sense my whole life has been one long effort to integrate various facets of my existence.
There is a remarkable parallel in the evolution of my attitude toward philanthropy and my attitude toward making money. At first, I didn’t want to identify myself with my business career. I felt there was more to me than making money. I kept my private life strictly separate from my business. Then I went through a rough patch in 1962, when I was practically wiped out, and it affected me deeply. I had some psychosomatic symptoms, like vertigo. It made me realize that making money is an essential part of existence. Now I am completing the process by doing away with the artificial separation between my activities as investor and as philanthropist.
The internal barriers have crumbled and I am all of one piece. It gives me a great sense of fulfillment. I realize that I cut a larger-than-life figure and I feel ambivalent about that. On one hand, I find it gratifying, but on the other, the sheer magnitude of my activities, both in business and in philanthropy, makes me uneasy. I must admit that I wanted it that way and I probably could not feel all of a piece if I weren’t larger than life. It makes me somewhat abnormal and that is the source of malaise. Still, it is better to have abnormal accomplishments than to harbor abnormal ambitions. For the first 50 years of my life, I felt as if I had a guilty secret now it is out in the open and I am proud of what I have accomplished. [Soros on Soros, Pages 145-146, emphasis added]
No. 10 “Every Single American Who Invests” Earns More Than $250,000 Per Year
BECK: President Obama Proposed To Increase The Capital Gains Tax On “Every Single American Who Invests.” Beck falsely said that Obama “sought to raise the capital gains tax, which affects every single American who invests, which — I know that sounds like the big Wall Street fat cats, but if you have a 401(k), that would be you.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/7/10]
REALITY: Obama Proposed Capital Gains Increase Only On “Upper-Income” Earners. The White House budget for fiscal year 2011 called for reinstating the 20 percent capital gains tax rate only on families with income greater than $250,000 and on individuals with income greater than $200,000. [Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011]
No. 9 Rauf Is Not A “Peaceful Muslim” Because Someone Else Said Something Nine Years Ago
BECK: “Would A Moderate Imam, A Peaceful Imam Employ Another Imam Who” Said 9-11 Attacks Were “The Jews’ Fault”? Discussing Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is a member of the board of trustees at the Islamic Center of New York and who is spearheading efforts to build an Islamic community center in Manhattan, Beck claimed:
Now, let me ask you this: would a moderate imam, a peaceful Muslim employ another imam who told an Arabic language Web site that, quote, “Only the Jews could have perpetrated the 9/11 attack.” That kind of sounds like Jeremiah Wright, doesn’t it?
And if Americans only knew that it was the Jews’ fault, they, quote, “would have done to Jews what Hitler did,” end quote. And that Jews, quote, “disseminate corruption in the land and spread heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism and drugs.” Oh, that’s the kind of moderate imam I’ve been looking for right there at ground zero. How about you? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/10/10, via Nexis]
REALITY: Comments Attributed To Muhammad Gemeaha. In October 2001, the Middle East Media Research Institute posted a translation of an October 4, 2001, interview that Muhammad Gemeaha gave to the website lailatalgadr.com:
Q: “Does this mean that the Jewish element played a role in igniting the flame of fitna (internal strife)?”
Gamei’a: ”The Jewish element is as Allah described it when he said: ‘They disseminate corruption in the land.’ We know that they have always broken agreements, unjustly murdered the prophets, and betrayed the faith. Can they be expected to live up to their contracts with us? These people murdered the prophets; do you think they will stop spilling our blood? No.” “You see these people (i.e. the Jews) all the time, everywhere, disseminating corruption, heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism, and drugs. [Because of them] there are strip clubs, homosexuals, and lesbians everywhere. They do this to impose their hegemony and colonialism on the world.” “Now, they are riding on the back of the world powers. These people always seek out the superpower of the generation and develop coexistence with it. Before this, they rode on the back of England and on the back of the French empire. After that, they rode on the back of Germany. But Hitler annihilated them because they betrayed him and violated their contract with him.” “We saw these Zionists, just one hour after the event, broadcasting on the BBC, the biggest media channel, that the Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians, were celebrating and rejoicing over the American deaths. [To do this] they broadcast a video from 1991, [filmed] during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But Allah thwarted them when a professor from a Brazilian university stated that the video was a forgery, because she had a copy of it. These people have a script prepared in advance, and they have the ability to fabricate events in their favor.”
Q: “What about the American president’s declarations that the war that the U.S. is waging is a crusade?”
Gamei’a: ”Herein lies the danger. As President Bush said, this is a crusade against Islam and against Muslims, but the American people are innocent in this matter, because the war was planned falsely.” “This war will destroy everything. This is [the kind of] war that the American president tried to avoid, when he [tried] to take back what he said. He went to the Islamic center in Washington and took back his words, but he did this only after he incited the souls and revealed what happened behind the scenes of American policy.” “For this reason, I advise every Arab and every Muslim leader not to offer any aid whatsoever to the oppressing superpower [to help it] attack Muslims, because this is a betrayal of Allah and his Prophet…” “On the news in the U.S. it was said that four thousand Jews did not come to work at the World Trade Center on the day of the incident, and that the police arrested a group of Jews rejoicing in the streets at the time of the incident… This news item was hushed up immediately after it was broadcast… The Jews who control the media acted to hush it up so that the American people would not know. If it became known to the American people, they would have done to the Jews what Hitler did! …” [The Middle East Media Research Institute, 10/10/01]
REALITY: NY Times: Gemeaha Departed Islamic Cultural Center Of New York City Before Making Those Comments. The New York Times reported:
Three days after the terrorist attack on the United States, Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha, leader of a prominent mosque on East 96th Street in Manhattan, delivered a sermon in English to an interfaith audience calling for peace, healing and love among people of all religions.
Two weeks later, he suddenly moved his family back to Cairo, telling an Arabic-language newspaper that he left because his family had been threatened at their home on the Upper West Side. He sent a letter of resignation to the mosque.
His departure from the Upper East Side mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York City, which regularly draws 4,000 Muslims for Friday prayers, comes amid questions about an interview he reportedly gave to an Arabic Web site on Oct. 4 saying that Muslims in America were being persecuted, that their children were being poisoned by Jewish doctors in American hospitals, and that ”Zionists” in command of the nation’s air traffic control towers aided the suicide hijackings. [The New York Times, 10/23/01]
REALITY: Conservative Author David Horowitz: Gemeaha Left ICC Before Comments. David Horowitz wrote:
Rauf is a permanent trustee of an Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) which his father founded in New York City. Until September 28, 2001 — seventeen days after 9/11 — the ICC employed Imam Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha, who later would say that “only the Jews” could have perpetrated the 9/11 attacks; that if Americans only knew about this Jewish culpability, “they would have done to Jews what Hitler did”; and that Jews “disseminate corruption in the land” and spread “heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism, and drugs.” [DiscoverTheNetworks.org]
REALITY: NY Times: Head of Islamic Center’s board was “outraged” by comments. The New York Times also reported that Mohammad Adbullah Abulhasan, “who heads the mosque’s board,” criticized the comments, saying they did “not represent at all the policy and the beliefs of the Islamic Cultural Center.” A November 2, 2001, New York Times article further reported that Abulhasan was “outraged” by the comments, which he said “did not reflect the position of the mosque”:
Ambassador Abulhasan said that he was outraged by the remarks and stressed that they did not reflect the position of the mosque. He said he had expressed his displeasure to Imam Gemeaha in a call to Cairo.
He said he told Sheik Gemeaha that the essence of what he said was wrong, was against Islam and was “against what you taught us.” [The New York Times, 11/2/01]
No. 8 Soros Manipulated Congress To Introduce Energy Legislation Eight Years After Congress First Introduced It
BECK: Soros Manipulated Lawmakers To Pursue Cap And Trade. Discussing an interview with Soros that was published on November 24, 2008, Beck said:
BECK: Soros also heavily promotes green jobs and cap and trade. Also, days after Obama was elected, he called for a new energy bill. “I think this is a great opportunity to financially deal with global warming and energy independence. The U.S. needs a cap-and-trade system with the auctioning of licenses for emissions rights. I would use the revenues from these auctions to launch a new, environmentally friendly energy policy that would be yet another federal program that could help us overcome the current stagnation.”
Well, Congress introduced, but you stood up, and you said, “Uh, I don’t think so.” Hm-mmm. The audience started to resolve. Cap and trade failed. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/9/10]
REALITY: Cap And Trade Has Been Debated In Congress For More Than 10 Years. Contrary to Beck’s claim that Soros manipulated Obama to introduce cap and trade legislation “days after” he was elected, Congress has been debating similar proposals for more than a decade. [The Washington Post, 8/19/01]
REALITY: Obama Supported A Cap And Trade Bill During The 2008 Election. In fact, then-Sen. Barack Obama supported legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system while campaigning in 2008. [The Washington Post, 6/1/08]
No. 7 “Zero Warming For Over A Decade”
BECK: There Has Been “Zero Warming For Over A Decade.” Beck claimed, “Cap-and-trade is the biggest socialist scam, totally discredited climate change industry and zero warming for over a decade. Zero warming for over a decade.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/23/10]
REALITY: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The U.K. Met Office, And The World Meteorological Organisation Have All Stated That 2000-2009 Was The Warmest Decade On Record For The Globe.
- NASA Goddard Institute For Space Studies: 2000-2009 Was “The Warmest Decade On Record.” ["2009: Second Warmest Year on Record; End of Warmest Decade," National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 1/21/10]
- NOAA: “The 2000-2009 decade is the warmest on record.” ["State of the Climate Global Analysis," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, October 2010]
- Met Office: 2000-2009 “has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record.” ["'Noughties' confirmed as the warmest decade on record," Met Office, 12/7/09]
- WMO: “2000-2009, The Warmest Decade.” ["2000-2009, THE WARMEST DECADE, World Meteorological Organization, 12/8/09]
No. 6 Obama’s Trip To India Would Cost “Up To $2 Billion”
BECK: Obama’s Trip To India Will Cost “$2 Billion.” Beck falsely claimed that Obama’s November trip to India “could cost up to $2 billion to make sure he’s safe.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/4/10]
REALITY: White House Spokesman Matt Lehrich Called That Figure “Wildly Inflated.” In a statement Media Matters for America obtained and made public the day before Beck’s broadcast, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said that the figure — which had been reported by the Press Trust of India — had “no basis in reality.” Lehrich also said, “Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated.” [Media Matters, 11/3/10]
No. 5 Obama’s “Fishing Ban”
BECK: Obama Wants To Ban Fishing. Beck said that a “report claims that Obama will no longer listen to the public as he tries to prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing on some of the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, and great lakes, even some inland waters. No more fishing.” Beck also said, “How about a fishing ban? A fishing ban that would put jobs at risk in the middle of an economic crisis, but beyond that, you and your son being told you can’t go there to fish! What the hell is happening to us?” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/10/10]
REALITY: “Fishing Ban” Falsehood Debunked As “Absurd” Before Beck Promoted It. The day before Beck promoted the “fishing ban” claim, Charlotte Fishing Examiner.com columnist Jeffrey Weeks wrote:
In what may be the worst example of outdoor sports reporting in the history of America, ESPN has claimed that President Barack Obama is on the verge of banning recreational fishing.
ESPNOutdoors.com writer Robert Montgomery posted an article today claiming that the administration’s decision to end the public comment phase of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force means that Obama is likely preparing to issue an executive order outlawing recreational fishing in America.
As a sportsman who covers fisheries management and politics I do think there are many issues surrounding the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and its eventual recommendations that all fishermen should be aware of and concerned about.
But to go from concern to suggesting that President Obama is about to ban fishing in America is the most absurd and irresponsible thing I have ever seen a major news outlet publish. There is not even a remote possibility that a standing president of the United States will outlaw fishing in America. [Charlotte Fishing Examiner, Examiner.com 3/9/10]
No. 4 The Brazilian Oil Conspiracy Theory
BECK: The Obama Administration Loaned Money To Brazil In A Plot To Enrich George Soros. Beck falsely claimed that the Obama administration was lending $2 billion to Brazil to benefit foreign oil interests at the expense of the U.S. economy in order to enrich George Soros:
BECK: I’m not sure if [Soros] knew that the administration would be making a $2 billion preliminary commitment for Petrobras, for Petrobras, for exploration, just days after he strengthened his investment. Isn’t that weird? You see, he’s got some connections here, but I’m sure he had no idea what was coming on the other side of the circle? No. It’s probably just another one of those bad luck situations for Obama, because this doesn’t seem to pass the smell test at all. No. Billionaire investor dumps money into a state-controlled Brazilian oil company; days later the American administration dumps $2 billion into the exact same company. What are the odds, Gilligan?
Let’s go here. George Soros starts the Center for American Process with John Podesta. John Podesta, Center for American Progress, selects the Obama transition team. Soros buys $900 million in gasoline powered bras. Then, in a completely unrelated story, BP has their oil spill. But wait a minute, who’s this guy? John Podesta. John Podesta is the guy who does all the lobbying for BP? Certainly — I’m sorry, Tony Podesta – certainly no relation to John Podesta, other than they’re brothers. We’ll have to come back to that one later in the show. So then Center for American Progress starts to make Obama policy. This one, we’ll show you, laid out by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. One of the policies: cap and trade, which goes right to Crime Inc. and all of the Obama friends with the Climate Exchange in Chicago. That’s weird.
Then Obama suspends the deepwater drilling at 1,500 meters. He says “Hey, hey, that’s dangerous! Fifteen hundred meters, that’s crazy.” Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras. Last stop, Petrobras shareholders get rich. Oh my gosh, we’re back at the beginning: shareholder, Petrobras. Getting rich. You getting screwed. You see how this works? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/21/10]
REALITY: Bush Appointees At Export-Import Bank — Not Obama — Unanimously Approved Loan To Brazil. FactCheck.org called the claim “bogus,” noting that the Export-Import Bank of the United States approved a “preliminary commitment” to Brazil to finance “their purchases of U.S. equipment, products and services.” At the time, “the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush.” [FactCheck.org, 9/18/09]
REALITY: Loan Is “For The Purchase Of American Goods And Services.” Politico‘s Ben Smith reported:
A spokesman for the bank, Phil Cogan, noted to POLITICO that the bank does not rely on tax money and that Palin’s statement ignores the bank’s central function: To lend money to foreign companies for the purchase of American goods and services.
“It has to be produced by U.S. workers,” Cogan said. Palin’s statement refers to “creat[ing] jobs and health benefits in the U.S.”
“That’s exactly what a purchase financed by the U.S. government would do,” Cogan said.
In this case, Cogan said, the proposed loan would likely finance engineering services, sales of ships to service oil platforms, or drilling equipment. [Politico.com, 8/19/09]
No. 3 Ohio City “Hasn’t Taken Any Money From The Government”
BECK: Wilmington “Hasn’t Taken Any Money From The Government.” Promoting his Fox News special in Wilmington, Ohio — a city hit by significant job losses in recent years — Beck falsely claimed, “this town hasn’t taken any money from the government.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 11/22/10]
REALITY: Wilmington Had Received Millions In Stimulus Funds As of November 22, recipient reports posted at Recovery.gov showed that the city of Wilmington received at least $2.6 million in stimulus funds. [Recovery.gov, accessed 11/22/10]
REALITY: Surrounding County Received Millions In Stimulus Funds. As of November 22, 2010, recipient reports posted at Recovery.gov showed that Clinton County Ohio had received at least $4 million from the stimulus. [Recovery.gov, accessed 11/22/10]
REALITY: Wilmington Officials Asked For $63 Million In Stimulus Funds. Wilmington city officials confirmed to Media Matters that the city requested more than $63 million under the stimulus. State officials said that use of Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance, and unemployment insurance have increased in recent years. [Media Matters, 12/15/10]
No. 2 Soros Was Responsible For “Taking The Property From The Jews As A Teenager”
BECK: “Soros Was Asked If He Felt Guilt At All About Taking The Property From The Jews As A Teenager. He Responded, No.” From Glenn Beck:
BECK: There’s a lot of meat here that I need you to do your own homework on and learn the truth yourself. But we want to find out a little bit more about him and who he is and where did he come from.
His childhood is shocking, traumatic. He grew up in Nazi Europe. Fourteen years old, he had to help the government confiscate the lands of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors. He didn’t grow up in a Jewish household. His mother was a strong anti-Semite — George Soros’ words, not mine.
But when he had to go over and take the lands from the people, his Jewish friends and neighbors who were being sent to the gas chambers, I can’t imagine what that would do to a teenager, or anybody, an adult. Well, what did it do to George Soros? In an interview with Steve Kroft, Soros was asked if he felt guilt at all about taking the property from the Jews as a teenager. He responded, no. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/9/10]
REALITY: Soros Said He “Had No Role In Taking Away That Property.” In an interview with Kroft, Soros explained that he felt no guilt because he “had no role in taking away that property”:
KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.
Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.
KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.
Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.
KROFT: I mean, that’s–that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?
Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was–it created no–no problem at all.
KROFT: No feeling of guilt?
Mr. SOROS: No.
KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?
Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c — I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was — well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets — that if I weren’t there — of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would — would — would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the — I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt. [CBS, 60 Minutes,12/20/98, via Nexis]
REALITY: Biographer Reported Soros “Collaborated With No One.” In Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire – a book cited by Beck during the program — Michael T. Kaufman detailed Soros’ reaction during the interview, as well as Soros’ actions in Nazi-occupied Hungary:
While he was living with Baumbach as Sandor Kiss, an event occurred that more than a half a century later would become the basis of charges that George Soros, the international financier and billionaire, had somehow collaborated with the Nazi occupiers of his homeland and had exploited his fellow Jews. The issue was raised in a bizarre television profile and interview of Soros aired on the CBS television program 60 Minutes in December of 1998. In the segment, Steve Kroft, the interviewer, noted with prosecutorial gusto that George’s father had “bribed a government official to swear that you were his godson,” and added that this survival strategy “carried a heavy price tag.” For, he continued, “as hundreds of thousands of Jews were being shipped off to the Nazi death camps, a thirteen-year-old George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his rounds, confiscating property from the Jews.” Visibly dumbfounded by the line of questioning, Soros could only manage to say that he had no role in the seizure of property and was merely a spectator. To underscore Kroft’s point, film footage showed masses of Hungarian Jews being led away at gunpoint.
This is what actually happened. Shortly after George went to live with Baumbach, the man was assigned to take inventory on the vast estate of Mor Kornfeld, an extremely wealthy aristocrat of Jewish origin. The Kornfeld family had the wealth, wisdom, and connections to be able to leave some of its belongings behind in exchange for permission to make their way to Lisbon. Baumbach was ordered to go to the Kornfeld estate and inventory the artworks, furnishings, and other property. Rather than leave his “godson” behind in Budapest for three days, he took the boy with him. As Baumbach itemized the material, George walked around the grounds and spent time with Kornfeld’s staff. It was his first visit to such a mansion, and the first time he rode a horse. He collaborated with no one and he paid attention to what he understood to be his primary responsibility: making sure that no one doubted that he was Sandor Kiss. Among his practical concerns was to make sure that no one saw him pee. [Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire, Page 37]
No. 1 Fox Will Fire Beck If He Tells Lies
BECK: “[D]o You Really Believe That I Could … Just Make Things Up And Remain On The Air?” Beck said:
What is it that we make up? I would ask you to just take a moment here — do you really believe that I could — or anybody here at Fox News could — just make things up and remain on the air? No. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/29/10]
BECK: “If I Get Out Of Control And Start Leveling Baseless Charges … Guess What Happens? I’m Fired.” Beck claimed, “If I get out of control and start leveling baseless charges that can’t be backed up, guess what happens? I’m fired. I lose my job. If Congress does the same thing, you lose your freedom.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/14/10]
BECK: “If I Were Making Up Lies … Rupert Murdoch Would Fire Me.” Attacking Soros on his show, Beck said: “If I were making up lies about you, I couldn’t stay on the air. First of all, you wouldn’t have to pressure. Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t put me on the air. He would fire me.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 11/10/10]
BECK: “If I Was Inaccurate, [Fox] Would Have Fired Me Long Ago.” Responding to groups putting pressure on Fox News because of Beck’s rhetoric, Beck said:
I have nothing bad to say about Fox. They have left me alone. They have let me do — they hold me responsible for what I say. They make sure that it’s right and it’s accurate. They do that. They – If I was inaccurate, they would have fired me long ago. Long ago. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 10/28/10]
REALITY: Despite A Litany Of False Claims, Fox News Has Not Fired Beck.
Media Matters: Fox’s 2012 GOP Influence
In a November ad for their special series “Fox News Reporting: The Challengers for 2012,” Fox News promised “unrivaled access” to “the GOP’s top White House contenders.” Such access, however, isn’t hard when correspondents just have to walk down the hall.
That Fox News helps Republicans get their message across to their conservative base — long documented and publicly acknowledged by Republican officials — is nothing new. But what’s unprecedented is the level of influence one news organization can exert on a party’s presidential primary, and the rest of the media’s coverage of that primary, by simple fact of who is on its payroll.
Fox News employs five Republicans considering runs for the GOP nomination: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and John Bolton. All five regularly appear on the network through exclusive contracts and all five have used their employment to position themselves for their respective runs.
Take the cases of Rick Santorum and John Bolton — two potential candidates who have so little chance of winning the nomination that Fox didn’t even include them in their twelve challenger profiles.
Both would largely be out of the public spotlight if not for their Fox News contracts, yet Santorum — who lost his Senate seat to Bob Casey (D-PA) by 17 points in 2006 — has appeared on the Fox programs America’s Nightly Scoreboard (twice), America’s Newsroom (twice), The Willis Report (twice), America Live, On the Record (twice) and Varney & Company (twice, as a “special guest”) in the past two weeks.
During the same time, Bolton has appeared as a foreign policy and national security expert on America’s News HQ (where he has a regular weekly slot), Follow The Money, America’s Newsroom (twice), America Live, Fox & Friends, Hannity, On the Record, and Varney & Company (as a “special guest”!).
On the other side of the spectrum is Sarah Palin, who has little trouble attracting attention. But as her TLC program and public comments indicate, Palin prefers a certain type of attention in which she can tightly control the messaging. It’s no wonder then that her media appearances have mostly come within the friendly confines of Fox News, where she can pass on debunked theories and pal around with conservative opinion makers like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
After leaving public office in disgrace, Newt Gingrich signed his “first television deal since leaving Congress” with Fox News in 1999. Since then, Fox News has treated him like royalty during his attempted rehabilitation. Gingrich has hosted Fox News Specials on college costs, religion, international gangs and bird flu (yes, bird flu). On one day in 2009, Fox dispatched a reporter to provide round-the-clock coverage to a Gingrich-convened “Jobs Summit.” Last year, during a typical softball interview, a Fox “straight news” program directed viewers to Gingrich’s GOP tour and website.
Mike Huckabee is the only Fox candidate with a regularly scheduled show, the weekend talker Huckabee. Huckabee’s show has always been closely tied to his political machine: the show was first announced in a statement posted on his political action committee and, according to the New York Post (via Nexis), “not, as is customary, from the network.”
Since then, Huckabee has unsurprisingly used his program to position himself for a potential political run. The former Arkansas governor has used Fox News’ airwaves to grow his PAC and email lists directly (he touted the address of an email catcher website run by his PAC) and indirectly, through regular solicitations to give “feedback” to MikeHuckabee.com, which conveniently links to his PAC and an email signup page. Huckabee has also used his program’s guest list as an extension of his PAC.
But why wouldn’t Huckabee run? Again, Fox News’ influence comes into play.
In November 2009, Huckabee remarked on Fox News Sunday that if he doesn’t run for president, it’s because “this Fox gig I got right now” is “really, really wonderful.” Last month, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote that there’s “growing buzz” that Huckabee “may not run because he’s got a big new contract with Fox News in the works” (a Huckabee aide responded that there were no Fox talks). Financial considerations could also come into play for Palin, who reportedly makes $1 million a year with Fox News.
According to Politico, Fox “indicated that once any of the candidates declares for the presidency he or she will have to sever the deal with the network.” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted that the Fox candidates may actually delay their announcements to reap the benefits of the Fox cocoon for as long as possible. Reporter Claire Shipman replied that Fox’s “very healthy platform” allows the Fox candidates to keep visible without spending money early.
The potential delay of their “official” announcements means that the Fox candidates can also compile staff and resources while still cashing a paycheck.
Huckabee, Palin and Gingrich have Fox-promoted groups ready to convert to campaign mode if each chooses to run. Santorum has already hired a staff member (for his PAC) in the important primary state of New Hampshire and, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, is “expected to formally” announce “in the spring.” And Bolton is reportedly “very serious about a presidential bid and has begun to speak with potential staff.”
During this non-”official” period, the Fox candidates can also cite their Fox contract as a reason to decline appearances on other news organizations who may offer a tougher environment than Fox (a low bar). Indeed, Politico reported that “C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully said that when C-SPAN tried to have Palin on for an interview, he was told he had to first get Fox’s permission — which the network, citing her contract, ultimately denied. Producers at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC all report similar experiences.”
Fox’s 2012 situation has a parallel in something that happened in the 2010 midterms with former Fox News host and contributor John Kasich.
After leaving Congress in 2001, Kasich openly considered running for higher public office and joined Fox News to keep himself in public view. A former Kasich pollster told the Columbus Dispatch in 2002 that Kasich was “leaving himself in a position so that if something happens, he is as well-situated as somebody else.”
On March 27, 2008, the Dispatch reported that Kasich announced “he is paving the way now for a gubernatorial bid” and quoted Kasich stating: “I’m going to go forward even more aggressively, and we’re going to continue to ramp it up (for a gubernatorial run).” But Fox News didn’t take him off the air — presumably because he still hadn’t “officially” announced his candidacy — and by the time he formally announced his bid on June 1, 2009, Kasich had logged more than 100 Fox News segments as a guest host or contributor.
In a column last November, Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race author Dick Morris wrote that the “GOP primaries of 12 will be held on Fox News. … we will see all the candidates on Fox News. Not just in debates, but in frequent appearances on the opinion and news shows on the network.” For once, it seems Morris is right.
Here are today’s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or ‘read more’ to read the entirety of each story.
Rove Obscures Facts To Accuse Admin Of “Reward[ing] Friends” With Health Care Law Waivers
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove claimed that the Obama administration is granting waivers to the health care law to “reward friends” and “waive allies through the health law’s onerous restrictions.” In fact, waivers, which are temporary and apply to only one provision of the law, have been granted to companies from industries that opposed health care reform. Read More
Krauthammer Advances Baseless “Doc Fix” Argument To Claim Health Care Reform Increases Deficit
Charles Krauthammer claimed that the Congressional Budget Office’s finding that the Affordable Care Act reduced the deficit was based on a “gimmick” because Democrats did not include the so-called “doc fix” in the bill. In reality, the “doc fix” was proposed prior to the debate on the Affordable Care Act and has little to do with the issue.
Krauthammer: Pulling “Doc Fix” Out Of Health Care Reform Was A “Gimmick”
Krauthammer On Doc Fix: Democrats “Pulled It Out” Of The Bill Because It “Reduces The Liability In Obamacare.” From the January 6 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:
KRAUTHAMMER: As a former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said today, “It’s garbage in and garbage out.” CBO is honest; it doesn’t play with the numbers, but it’s required to work into its numbers exactly what the Congress gives it. So –
BAIER: In other words, it’s a calculator. You put in the stuff, it gives you the –
KRAUTHAMMER: And the Democrats are the ones who decided that the doc fix, which is over — I think it’s $200 billion — would look bad in Obamacare. So what happened? They pulled it out, they put it in a separate bill, and of course there’s no way to pay for it. And of course it reduces the liability in Obamacare. All of these gimmicks. The biggest gimmick of all is that the benefits don’t kick in till 2014. The taxes start now, so you’ve got ten years of revenue in, six years of expenditures out. Of course you’re going to end up with a surplus. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 1/6/11, emphasis added]
FACT: “Doc Fix” Will Need To Be Resolved Irrespective Of Health Care Reform
Klein: Doc Fix Will Need To Be Resolved “Irrespective Of Health-Care Reform’s Fate” And “Attempts To Lash The Two Together Are Nonsensical.” From a WashingtonPost.com post by Ezra Klein:
For a longer explanation of this issue, head to this post. The short version: In 1997, Republicans passed the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate into law. The provision created a simple equation meant to hold down Medicare costs and cut doctor payments when they rose. But the provision was passed when Medicare’s costs were uncommonly low. Suddenly, SGR was forcing huge cuts rather than the modest adjustments that had been intended. So legislators began voting to delay implementation rather than cut doctor payments.
The first delay was passed in 2003, under Republicans. Then again in 2005, also under Republicans. Then in 2006, under Republicans. Then in 2007 and 2008, under Democrats. For those keeping count at home, this is a policy in a Republican bill that Republicans delayed three times and Democrats delayed twice. What’s needed is to reform the system so we stop delaying it. And we will need to do that — and this is important – whether or not health-care reform passes.
To put this slightly differently, imagine you’re buying a new house. But your old house needs $20,000 in roof repairs. You will have to pay for those repairs whether you move or whether you stay, because you can’t have your roof caving in come the next heavy rain. Are your roof repairs part of the cost of the new house? If you think so, then you agree with Ryan. If not, then you don’t. The SGR problem predates health-care reform and exists irrespective of health-care reform’s fate. Attempts to lash the two together are nonsensical. [Voices.WashingtonPost.com, 3/1/10]
NY Times: “Doc Fix Long Predates” Reform And Criticism Is “Pretty Flimsy.” From a March 9, 2010, by The New York Times‘ David Leonhardt:
The current health care bills don’t fix this problem. An early version of them tried to, which has led some people to suggest that the doc fix is a creation of this health reform effort. But it isn’t. The doc fix long predates it. For reform to reduce the deficit relative to the status quo, it doesn’t need to undo the doc fix — any more than it needs to, say, cure cancer in order to improve the nation’s health. The bill simply needs to improve the status quo. [NYTimes.com, 3/9/10]
FACT: CBO Found That Health Care Reform Would Reduce The Deficit Beyond 2019
Krugman: Claim That The Bill “Front-Loads Revenues And Backloads Spending” Is A “Lie.” In a March 27 New York Times blog post, Paul Krugman responded to former Congressional Budget Officer (CBO) director Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s claim that health care reform legislation is filled with “gimmicks” designed to make the legislation appear to reduce the deficit. Krugman wrote:
OK, I finally got around to reading Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s op-ed on health care reform. It’s much worse than I thought; time to scratch Holtz-Eakin off my shrinking list of reasonable, reasonably honest conservatives.
How bad is it? Holtz-Eakin declares that
Gimmick No. 1 is the way the bill front-loads revenues and backloads spending. That is, the taxes and fees it calls for are set to begin immediately, but its new subsidies would be deferred so that the first 10 years of revenue would be used to pay for only 6 years of spending.
I think that’s what is technically known as a “lie”. Holtz-Eakin, of all people, knows how to read a CBO report. So he’s perfectly capable of looking at the actual report (pdf) and seeing that the revenues, like the costs, are minimal for the first four years. Here’s the chart:
His implication that there’s funny business going on is totally false, and he knows it.
Wait, it gets worse: Holtz-Eakin implies that there are hidden, delayed costs:
Consider, too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.
Claims that the plan is window-dressed to look good in its first decade only to go sour later might sound plausible — except for the fact that the CBO projects bigger deficit-reduction in the second decade of the reform than in the first decade, something that wouldn’t happen if lots of costs were being hidden by being pushed off into the future.
That said, we do learn something important from Holtz-Eakin’s article. If this is the best critique a conservative budget wonk can come up with — if deliberately misrepresenting how the legislation works is the only way to make it seem irresponsible — then the bill must be pretty sound in fiscal terms. [The New York Times, 3/27/10]
CBO Director Tells Deficit Commission That Health Care Reform Slightly Improves Budget Outlook. As The Washington Post noted on July 1, CBO director Doug Elmendorf said during a June 30 presentation that the health care reform bill “did not substantially diminish” the long-term deficit problem, but that it “made a dent”:
“Growth in spending on health-care programs remains the central fiscal challenge,” CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a presentation to Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission. “In CBO’s judgment, the health-care legislation enacted earlier this year made a dent in the problem, but did not substantially diminish that challenge.”
Although more starkly stated, CBO’s position has not changed since the health-care legislation was approved. The new forecast simply incorporates CBO’s cost estimates from that time, which predicted that the plan to expand coverage, raise taxes and cut Medicare spending would reduce deficits by about $140 billion over the next decade and by more than $1 trillion in the decade after.
“Slowing the rate of health care cost growth is the single most important action we can take to reduce our long-term fiscal shortfall,” White House budget director Peter Orszag said in a statement. “The report confirms that the enactment and successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a key step toward a healthier fiscal future.” [The Washington Post, 7/1/10]
CBO Budget Outlook Says Health Care Reform Law Will “Reduce Budget Deficits Over The 2010-2019 Period And In Subsequent Years.” CBO’s June 30 long-term budget outlook states that the health care reform law “is expected to increase federal spending in the next 10 years and for most of the following decade. By 2030, however, that legislation will slightly reduce federal spending for health care if all of its provisions are fully implemented, CBO projects.” CBO noted in a footnote that although the law — which will reduce the number of uninsured by 32 million by 2019 — will increase federal spending on health care in the next two decades, it will still reduce budget deficits:
If all of its provisions are carried out, the legislation will also increase federal revenues and reduce budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period and in subsequent years, according to estimates by CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. [CBO, 6/30/10]
CBO: In Long-Term, Health Care Reform “Slow[s] The Accumulation Of Debt Considerably.”While cautioning that long-term estimates of health care spending are uncertain, the CBO budget outlook stated that if the health care reform bill is implemented as written, it “increase[s] projected revenues, particularly in the 2030s and beyond, thus slowing the accumulation of debt considerably.” [CBO, 6/30/10]
Here are today’s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or ‘read more’ to read the entirety of each story.
Fox Suddenly Silent On Reported GOP Plans To Use “Cowardly” “Demon Pass” Rule
Fox News’ extensive coverage of the new Republican House majority has so far ignored the fact that the GOP is reportedly embracing the use of the self-executing rule — commonly referred to as ”deem and pass” — to mandate federal budget limits. By comparison, Fox figures repeatedly attacked Democrats for considering using the rule during the health care debate, dubbing it “demon pass” and questioning its constitutionality. Read More
Dick Morris Ignores Economists To Claim Spending Led Us Deeper Into Recession
On Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dick Morris declared that government spending has led the country “deeper into the recession” and that the only way out is “budget cuts.” However, stimulus spending has been credited for averting a worse recession, and numerous economists have argued that cutting spending would be harmful to continued economic recovery. Read More
The Truth About “The Truth About Fox News Viewers”
John Lott has penned a FoxNews.com op-ed criticizing as “a mess” a recent University of Maryland study which found that Fox News viewers were more likely to be misinformed than those who did not watch the network. However, the op-ed makes its case by misinforming readers on the economic stimulus, health care reform, and climate science. Read More
Dobbs Falsely Blames Blue Shield Premium Hikes On Health Care Reform
Appearing on Fox News, Lou Dobbs falsely blamed the health care reform law for premium increases announced by Blue Shield of California. In fact, a Blue Shield spokesman said the rate increases “have almost nothing to do with the federal health reform law” and “reflect trends that were building long before health reform.” Read More
Fox Relentlessly Attacked Democrats For Considering Use of Rule During Health Care Debate
TPM: House Democrats “Toy[ed] With Using A Similar Process” And Faced Huge Right-Wing Backlash. Talking Points Memo also reported:
Back in March 2010, House Democrats were toying with using a similar process to pass health care reform. They were considering the Senate health care package, which they hated, and a package of amendments to that bill, which they liked. To square those views, they wanted to set up a procedural vote, which, if agreed to, would “deem” both bills passed at once. “Deem” and “pass.”
This quickly became known as “Demon Pass,” or the “Slaughter Solution,” named after House Rules Chair Louise Slaughter. Republicans rebelled, and conservatives went off the deep end. Radio talk show host Mark Levin called it “100 times worse than Watergate.”
Democrats eventually bowed to that pressure and decide not to use the process — known technically as “deeming,” or a “self-executing.” [Talking Points Memo, 1/4/11]
Beck: “How Is This Even Constitutional?” Discussing the self-executing rule on the March 16 edition of his show, Glenn Beck asked: “How is this even constitutional?” Beck similarly wrote in his newsletter that Democrats are “slaughtering the Constitution” and that “the Constitution is being thwarted” if the health care reform legislation passes using the self-executing rule. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]
Hannity: Democrats’ “Latest Solution, Don’t Vote At All.” During the March 11 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity stated: “The desperation among Democrats to pass this health care bill has reached new heights. Now they lacked the votes in the House to jam this bill through. So their latest solution, don’t vote at all. Now that’s what House rules chairwoman Louise Slaughter is proposing. Now she wants to create a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed and once and for all by passing a minor bill that makes corrections to the Senate bill.” [Fox News' Hannity, 3/11/10 (accessed via Nexis)]
Van Susteren Called Self-Executing Rule “Cowardly.” On the March 17 edition of Fox News’ On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren asked Fox News contributor Dana Perino, “[T]his is a way so that the — in a sense, that the House can go back to the districts and say, Look, I didn’t vote for it because it’s just been deemed passed, right?” and later claimed, “[I]f I were a Democratic member of Congress … the last thing I would want to do is say I sort of cowardly did this deemer – this ‘deem scheme’ thing.” [Fox News' On the Record, 3/17/10, via Nexis]
Cavuto Compared Dems Who Vote On Self-Executing Rule To A “Nefarious Car Salesman.” During an interview with former Republican Sen. Trent Lott, Neil Cavuto compared Democrats who vote for the self-executing rule as “a nefarious car salesman who says, well, yes, you bought this and you paid for this, when, in fact, you didn`t buy this and you didn’t think you paid for this, right?” [Fox News' Your World, 3/15/10, via Nexis]
Hannity Criticized Pelosi For Supporting Deem And Pass. On March 18, Hannity criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her support of “deem and pass,” calling it “unconstitutional” and suggesting that House Democrats are “bribing people.” From Hannity:
HANNITY: Only 35 percent of those polled support this bill. But there was another interesting aspect of this poll, and that is, 53 percent think Nancy Pelosi is breaking the rules to pass Obama care.
I think they’re bribing people on the one hand, they’re buying off votes. And on the other hand, I think this is unconstitutional. Constitution, Article 1, section 7 clearly explains you’ve got to have an up-or-down, yea or nay vote, don’t you?
So then you had to use this procedure, the Slaughter rule, deem and pass, whatever, both the same — today because they didn’t have the votes to pass this in the House of Representatives, OK. [Hannity, 3/18/10, via Nexis]
Beck Equated “Slaughter Rule” With “Secrecy,” “Arm-Twisting,” “Bribes,” And Lies.” On the March 18 edition of his Fox News show, Beck called for “the political game surrounding the health care bill” to be “addressed”:
BECK: The health care bill is merely a battle. And it is a huge battle. I think it may be Normandy, but it’s part of a bigger war.
And the war is the fundamental transformation, or restoration of our country. That is the game that they’re playing. And while everybody is going to focus on the political game surrounding the health care bill, the Slaughter Rule, the secrecy, the arm-twisting, the bribes, the lies — these things should be addressed. [Glenn Beck, 3/18/10, via Nexis]
Hannity Challenged Constitutionality of “Slaughter Rule,” Advertises This On His Website. On the March 17 edition of his show, Hannity questioned the “constitutionality” of the “Slaughter rule”:
HANNITY: [I]f this Slaughter rule is used, they have prepared – I’ve put it up on my Web site. They have prepared a court challenge as to the constitutionality of it. There’s also been talk about the constitutionality of mandates. [Hannity, 3/17/10, via Nexis]
Beck: “Let’s Forget About That Whole Constitution Thing. … Let’s Just Instead Deem That It Has Been Passed In The House.” On the March 19 edition of his show, Beck claimed:
BECK: The [health care reform] process that the president doesn’t seem to care about has been so abused the average person in America has absolutely no idea what is even happening. What has happened to our country? Is there no honor anymore?
Yes, let’s just — let’s forget about that whole Constitution thing where it has to pass both the House and the Senate, you know, no. Let’s just instead deem that it has been passed in the House. [Glenn Beck, 3/19/10, via Nexis]
Yet Fox Goes Silent On Reported GOP Plans To Use Rule
Primetime Fox News Shows Fail To Cover GOP Use Of Self-Executing Rule. A Nexis search of January programs showed no mention of the self-executing rule on any Fox News shows. Media Matters searched Fox News transcripts from the networks’ primetime shows from January 1 to January 7 using the search term (deem! w/5 pass! OR self-execut! OR slaughter OR without w/5 vot!).
Here are today’s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or ‘read more’ to read the entirety of each story.
Fox’s “Light Bulb Ban” Does Not Exist
Since the Energy Independence and Security Act was passed in 2007, right-wing media have claimed that it will outlaw incandescent light bulbs. In fact, the bill, signed by President Bush, only sets standards for light bulbs and does not ban all incandescent bulbs, only inefficient ones. Read More
WSJ Revives Tired Claim To Suggest Health Reform Increases Deficit
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that Democrats “counted 10 years of revenue but only six years of spending to make ObamaCare appear to cut the deficit.” In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation will not only reduce budget deficits through 2019 but will continue to reduce deficits in the following decade. Read More
Fox Obscures And Misinforms On Prescription “Doughnut Hole” Fix
Fox & Friends repeatedly misinformed about a provision in the health care reform law that fixes Medicare Part D’s coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole.” Purporting to explain the “doughnut hole,” Fox & Friends used the example of a fictional patient whose annual prescription costs did not reach the level of the coverage gap and later hosted Laura Ingraham, who falsely suggested the health care reform law did not fix this coverage gap. Read More
Coming Right-Wing Smear: Common Legislative Procedure Is “Chicanery”
HotAir.com‘s Ed Morrissey is the first of what will no doubt become a flood of right-wing media figures falsely characterizing a proposal for Senate Democrats to extend the first legislative day of the session in order to build support for filibuster reform as them using “chicanery” to “change the definition of a day.” But the legislative day “usually does not correspond” to the calendar day, instead lasting “from days to weeks, or even months.” Read More
Right-Wing Media Kick Off 2011 By Dusting Off “Death Panel” Lie
The right-wing media are kicking off 2011 by reviving “death panel” claims — which was PolitiFact’s 2009 “Lie of the Year” — by claiming that a recent change to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements was tantamount to the establishment of “death panels.” In fact, the rule simply compensates doctors for providing voluntary end-of-life counseling.
Right-Wing Media Seize on CMS Rule Change to Revive False “Death Panel” Myth
Knight: “The Dreaded ‘Death Panels’ Are Back.” Following news that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved payment for voluntary end-of-life counseling, Robert Knight wrote in a Washington Times op-ed:
Finally, the dreaded “death panels” are back. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s U.S. Senate rammed through the national health care system takeover. They ignored public opposition and mocked the idea that federal bureaucrats would institute end-of-life counseling. But, in deference to the public’s growing alarm, they took out Section 1233.
It was a bait-and-switch. A year later, on Christmas Day 2010, the New York Times broke the story that Donald Berwick, Mr. Obama’s unvetted czar who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued a rule to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling. That was the essence of Section 1233. The Times acknowledged that the counseling “may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.” Exactly. [Washington Times, 1/2/11]
Newsmax: “Obama Embraces ‘Death Panel’ Concept In Medicare Rule.” A December 26 Newsmax article titled, “Obama Embraces ‘Death Panel’ Concept in Medicare Rule,” claimed:
During the stormy debate over his healthcare plan, President Barack Obama promised his program would not “pull the plug on grandma,” and Congress dropped plans for death panels and “end of life” counseling that would encourage aged patients from partaking in costly medical procedures.
Opponents of Obama’s plan, including former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, dubbed such efforts as “death panels” that would encourage euthanasia.
But on Dec. 3, the Obama administration seemingly flouted the will of Congress by issuing a new Medicare regulation detailing “voluntary advance care planning” that is to be included during patients’ annual checkups. The regulation aimed at the aged “may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment,” The New York Times reported. [Newsmax, 12/26/10]
Big Government: “Obama Administration Bypassing Congress to Institute Death Panel ‘Discussions.’” In a Big Government post, Seton Motley reported on the CMS regulations by claiming CMS director Donald Berwick “is jamming through his dreamed-of doctor death discussions — which are almost inarguably the first step towards death panels of our very own.” [BigGovernment.com, 12/29/10]
Perino: “If You Thought The Death Panel Debate Was Dead, Think Again.” On the December 27 edition of Fox News’ On The Record, guest host Dana Perino teased a segment on end-of-life counseling by claiming: “If you thought the death panel debate was dead, think again. It’s heating up, and you have to stick around to find out what’s in store for end-of-life planning, starting this Saturday.” Perino later introduced the segment by asking, “Are the so-called death panels revived?” Perino’s guest, Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, noted during the segment that it was not accurate to describe the CMS rule change as “death panels revived.” [Fox News' On The Record, 12/27/10]
Carlson: “[T]he Government Will Now Pay Doctors To Counsel Patients To Opt Out Of Medical Treatment That Might Prolong Their Lives.” On Hannity, guest host Tucker Carlson introduced a debate on end-of-life counseling by saying “Remember those infamous death panels? … According to The New York Times, this new regulation may provide Americans, quote, ‘advanced directives to forego aggressive life-sustaining treatment.’ In other words, the government will now pay doctors to counsel patients to opt out of medical treatment that might prolong their lives.” [Fox News' Hannity, 12/26/10]
In Fact, The Regulations Provide Compensation To Doctors For Performing Voluntary Counseling
New Regulations Simply Provide Reimbursement For “Voluntary” End-Of-Life Counseling. According to the new regulations put forward by CMS, Medicare will provide compensation for “[v]oluntary advance care planning upon agreement with the individual.” The regulations further define the planning services as voluntary:
Voluntary advance care planning means, for purposes of this section, verbal or written information regarding the following areas:
(i) An individual’s ability to prepare an advance directive in the case where an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions.
(ii) Whether or not the physician is willing to follow the individual’s wishes as expressed in an advance directive. [Federal Register, 11/29/10]
Chicago Sun-Times Calls “Death Panel” Term “Blatantly False” And “Nonsense.” A Chicago Sun-Times editorial noted:
Death panels. Government-sponsored euthanasia. Pulling the plug on grandma.
Those were just some of the blatantly false terms conservatives threw around last year to scare Congress into stripping a provision out of the health-reform bill that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse doctors for providing voluntary, end-of-life counseling to their patients.
The scare tactics worked. Now, the Obama administration has issued similar Medicare guidelines authorizing payment to doctors who provide voluntary end-of-life counseling during annual check-ups.
Not surprisingly, critics of the new guidelines, which went into effect Saturday, wasted no time reviving alarmist rhetoric that these private doctor-patient conversations would be used to goad seniors into foregoing potentially life-sustaining care in their final days.
Encouraging seniors to think about what, if any, life-sustaining measures they would want taken if they were gravely ill isn’t the same as encouraging them to forgo treatment. [Chicago Sun-Times, 1/2/11]
Baltimore Sun: Calling Voluntary Counseling “Death Panels” Is “Patently False.” A Baltimore Sun editorial recommended that “[n]ow that the new Medicare rules are in place, politicians should clam up and let doctors and patients hold private, sensible talks about this sensitive topic.” The Sun further noted:
Not so long ago such end of life discussions were pilloried by Republicans and a few Democrats as a precursor to “death panels” — groups supposedly created by the health care reform legislation being considered at the time that would decide whether the elderly or infirm should be able to get needed medical care. That was patently false, but it had an effect. [Baltimore Sun, 12/28/10]
Miami Herald: End-Of-Life Counseling “Does Not Mean ‘Pulling The Plug On Grandma.’” A Miami Herald editorial stated:
What with all the hysteria, hyperbole and hissy fits about “death panels,” you would have thought that President Obama was imposing the end of life as we know it in these United States.
He wasn’t. Rather, as part of his vision for healthcare reform, Mr. Obama proposed paying doctors to include end-of-life planning discussions with patients, especially seniors and the critically ill.
This does not mean “pulling the plug on grandma,” as the president sought to assure Americans during the healthcare debate — nor should it ever mean that. Some opponents expressed legitimate fears that the proposal was an excuse to withhold treatment from the severely ill or disabled.
Rather, end-of-life counseling should guide patients and their families – voluntarily – through what is rarely an easy conversation to have, but one that is crucial to ensure that such decisions are sound and informed. [Miami Herald, 1/1/11]
Right-Wing Media Also Mislead On Health Care Legal Challenges
Kilmeade Claims Court Cases Show Health Care “Might Be Unconstitutional.” On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Obama “sees the fight in the courts. Look what happened in Virginia. Look what happened in Florida, when it comes to telling the American people you have to have health insurance. Might be unconstitutional.” [Fox & Friends, 1/3/11]
In Fact, Two Federal Judges Have Upheld Law’s Individual Mandate Vs. One Who Did Not
Two Previous Federal Court Rulings Have Upheld Health Care Law. As Politico reported, in October, U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh ruled that the health care law’s individual mandate “falls squarely within Congress’s ability under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce.” In November, a federal judge in Virginia similarly upheld the law. [Politico, 10/7/10; CNN.com, 12/1/10]
The Florida Case Has Not Yet Been Decided. The multistate case brought in Florida is still being decided. According to CNN, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of heard the challenge on December 16. The decision is pending. [CNN, 12/16/10]
Legal Commentators From Across Political Spectrum Say Virginia Ruling Was Wrong. As Media Matters has documented, legal scholars and commentators from across the political spectrum have said that Virginia federal district court Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling striking down the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act was fatally flawed and contained “obvious” errors. [Media Matters, 12/14/10]
Fox Obscures and Misinforms on Prescription “Doughnut Hole” Fix
Fox & Friends repeatedly misinformed about a provision in the health care reform law that fixes Medicare Part D’s coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole.” Purporting to explain the “doughnut hole,” Fox & Friends used the example of a fictional patient whose annual prescription costs did not reach the level of the coverage gap and later hosted Laura Ingraham, who falsely suggested the health care reform law did not fix this coverage gap.
Fox & Friends Explains “Doughnut Hole” By Creating Fictional Patient Who Doesn’t Reach It
Senate Democrats Cited “Doughnut Hole” Fix in Warning Boehner They Would “Block” Health Care Repeal. On January 3, Senate Democratic leadership reportedly sent incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) a letter which warned: “If House Republicans move forward with a repeal of the health care law that threatens consumer benefits like the ‘doughnut hole’ fix, we will block it in the Senate. …This proposal deserves a chance to work. It is too important to be treated as collateral damage in a partisan mission to repeal health care.” [Politico, 1/3/11]
Fox & Friends Invents “Charley Smith,” A Fictional Patient With Low Drug Costs, To Explain The Coverage Gap. Reporting on the Democrats’ letter, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy purported to explain the gap between normal Medicare Part D coverage and catastrophic coverage by inventing a fictional patient named “Charley Smith.” In Doocy’s fictional scenario, Charley Smith’s drug costs were below the level where he would enter the coverage gap, leading Doocy to conclude, “Since Charley did not reach the $2,840 initial coverage limit, he will not enter the doughnut hole.” The only explanation offered for a patient who might enter the coverage gap came from Doocy’s co-host Brian Kilmeade, who said:
KILMEADE: And then when you hit the coverage limit, you got to pay everything. And then when you get to that 2,840 coverage limit, then you’re writing the check, and then all of a sudden, the answers will come in, you’ll get insurance. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/4/11]
Later in the show, Doocy accurately outlined the various coverage levels, but did not explain how the health care reform legislation addressed the doughnut hole.
In Reality, Millions Of Seniors Are Affected By The Doughnut Hole
The Part D Coverage Gap Leaves Seniors Paying Full Price For Prescription Drugs Until “Catastrophic Coverage” Kicks In. Medicare Part D offers coverage for beneficiaries’ prescription costs. The way the plan is structured, a patient is responsible for a co-payment and deductible, and the plan shares prescription drug costs until the total cost of all prescription drugs in a year reaches $2,830. At that point, beneficiaries are responsible for paying 100 percent of their prescription drug costs until the total cost reaches $6,440. After that, 95 percent of the costs are covered by “catastrophic coverage.” The gap between the normal coverage and catastrophic coverage, during which seniors are responsible for all drug costs, is known as the Part D coverage gap, or “doughnut hole.” [Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 1/4/11; Kaiser Family Foundation, "The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit," accessed 1/4/11]
Kaiser Family Foundation: 3.4 Million Seniors Reached Coverage Gap In 2007. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare Chartbook, 26 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees who “filled one or more prescriptions but did not receive low-income subsidies in 2007″ reached the coverage gap. According to KFF’s estimate, this accounted for 3.4 million seniors in 2007, or 14 percent of all Part D enrollees. From the Kaiser Family Foundation:
[Kaiser Family Foundation's Medicare Chartbook, Fourth Edition, 2010, accessed 1/4/11]
Ingraham Falsely Suggests Health Care Bill Does Not Address Coverage Gap
Ingraham Challenges Sen. Schumer To “Point The Page Number And Paragraph … Where The Doughnut Hole Is Fixed.” Later on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that “nobody knows what the heck [the doughnut hole] is.” Guest Laura Ingraham responded: “You then have to ask Senator Schumer: Point to — point the page number and paragraph, subparagraph number, where the doughnut hole is fixed. I mean, these guys don’t even know what’s in this legislation, all right?” [Fox & Friends, 1/4/11]
Coverage Gap Is Addressed in Section 3301 Of The Bill
Section 3301 Outlines The “Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program,” Which Provides Discounts To Beneficiaries In Coverage Gap. The doughnut hole is addressed by the ”Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program,” which can be found on page 343, Subtitle D, Section 3301 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, as passed by the House and Senate. As the Los Angeles Times reported, beginning in 2010, “any Medicare beneficiary who crosses into the doughnut hole will receive a $250 check to help pay for the drugs. Then, starting in January , patients in the coverage gap will get a 50% discount on brand-name drugs.” [Government Printing Office, accessed 1/4/11; Los Angeles Times, 3/26/10]
Conservatives Falsely Blame Obama Drilling Policies For Rise In Oil Prices
Conservative media figures have blamed the recent increases in oil and gas prices on President Obama’s drilling policies. However, experts point to expectations of increased demand and other factors.
Conservative Media: Obama’s Policies Caused Oil And Gas Prices To Rise
Beck: Oil Prices Rising Because “The Administration [Is] Making It Harder To Drill.” From the January 4 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:
BECK: I told you that they have a plan. They have a destination. They have a solution. But they needed to create the problem. Never waste a crisis. You have the solution, never waste the crisis to bring you to that solution. You create the problem so the public will beg for the solution that you have designed. What are the problems they’re creating? Oil going up. Why? The administration making it harder to drill. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/4/11]
Fox News’ Jim Angle: “Many Argue The President’s Policies” Are Pushing Up Gas Prices. From the January 4 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:
ANGLE: President Obama has rededicated himself to creating jobs this year. But rapidly increasing prices for oil and gasoline threaten that goal, and many argue the president’s policies are making things worse.
One former oil man warned then-Senator Obama back in 2007.
JOHN HOFMEISTER (former Shell Oil president): I said, “Senator, if you don’t do something in your first term, if you’re successful, to increase hydrocarbon production in this country, you will be on your knees in 2012.”
ANGLE: But he says the administration has punted on domestic production. In fact, the administration has roped off some 85 percent of the outer continental shelf, leaving the industry few places to go. [Fox News, Special Report, 1/4/11]
Daily Caller: Obama’s Policies “Put A Luxury Price Tag” On Energy. From a January 4 Daily Caller column by Deneen Borelli titled, “Obama energy policies to create a winter of discontent”:
As the thermometer dips lower and snow begins to pile up, the need for cheap and efficient power for heat and light is essential. But the Obama administration’s war on fossil fuels is making it increasingly unlikely that the nation’s poorest citizens will be comfortable this winter.
Millions of Americans are unemployed, and countless others are suffering from the ailing national economy. Obama administration policies limiting the availability and raising the price of energy derived from fossil fuels are stretching family budgets and the resources of charities past their limits.
From the moratorium on offshore oil exploration to restrictions on coal mining to a blind faith in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, the Obama administration’s energy policies put a luxury price tag on a basic necessity. [DailyCaller.com, 1/4/11]
In Fact, Experts Point To Speculation and Boost In Demand
WSJ: Rise In Oil Prices “Has Been In Anticipation Of Improving Supply And Demand Conditions.” The Wall Street Journal reported on December 30: “The 12% rise in crude oil since mid-November has been in anticipation of improving supply and demand conditions. Demand in China and better-than-expected data on the U.S economy helped push oil to fresh two-year highs this month. Now, investors appear more cautious heading into 2011.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/30/10]
AEI Scholar: “We Probably Couldn’t Produce Enough To Affect The World Price Of Oil.” From a January 1 Greenwire report:
If gas prices keep increasing, Republicans probably will make a push on increased fossil fuel production, said Ken Green, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute think tank.
But experts disagreed about how much impact additional drilling could have. Crude oil is a global commodity, Green said.
“The world price is the world price,” Green said. “Even if we were producing 100 percent of our oil,” he said, if prices increase because of a shortage in China or India, “our price would go up to the same thing.
“We probably couldn’t produce enough to affect the world price of oil,” Green added. “People don’t understand that.”
U.S. production could be negated by decisions that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries makes, said Philip Verleger Jr., energy economist, and David Mitchell EnCana, professor of management, at the University of Calgary’s business school.
“Suppose the U.S. were to boost production 1 million barrels a day,” Verleger said. “OPEC has the capacity to cut 1 million barrels.”
The oil industry has been able to convince people there is a connection between U.S. drilling and prices, Verleger said. [Greenwire via NYTimes.com, 1/4/11]
FoxNews.com: Experts Say “Consumption Growth In Developing Countries,” Rather Than Drilling Policies, Caused Increase In Oil Prices. From a December 3 article on FoxNews.com:
The rise in oil comes on the same week that the Obama administration announced it will not allow offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic coast for at least seven more years because of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April that killed 11 workers and unleashed about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.
That decision was cheered by environmental interests and Democratic lawmakers along both coasts but slammed by Republicans and the oil and gas industry who say the move will kill jobs and make America even more dependent on foreign oil.
Energy analysts though did not blame the announcement for the surge in oil prices. Instead, they pointed to consumption growth in developing nations.
Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners, told FoxNews.com that his firm sees oil rising to $107 a barrel in 2013 “if economic growth follows its current trajectory.”
Book explained that his firm’s forecast implies that there is substantial non-OPEC slow downs at the same time as there is significant demand growing in emerging economies in Asia and other places.
“What it does is draw inventory down and lowers capacity in the system,” he said. “It also pulls more OPEC oil into circulation.”
The Obama administration’s announcement reversed it’s decision to hunt for oil and gas that the president himself announced three weeks before the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The oil and gas industry and many Republicans say the Obama administration is stifling domestic oil production and contradicting the will of recession-weary voters eager for new jobs.
But Book says that announcement was not a surprise and had no effect on the rise of oil. While the U.S. has an abundant supply of its own oil, environmental concerns go hand in hand with domestic production, he said.
“We’re going to use OPEC’s oil,” he said. “The problem isn’t doing business with OPEC. The problem is doing business in a world where OPEC is becoming less relevant.”
“The true value of OPEC from a price stability standing to its members is predicated on the idea it has to do what it has to do or Saudi Arabia will flood the market with cheap oil,” he said. [FoxNews.com, 12/3/10]
Market Analyst Cited “Refinery Problems” Constricting Supply. From a January 3 NPR report:
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
As you have no doubt noticed at the gas pump, gasoline prices are back up. According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national average price of a gallon of regular is now over $3. Why? Well, that’s our question for Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for PFGBEST Research in Chicago.
Mr. Flynn, what’s the answer? Why?
Mr. PHIL FLYNN (Senior Market Analyst, PFGBEST Research): Well, partly because the economy is getting better, believe it or not. We’re seeing more demand, not only here in the United States, but throughout the globe, and that’s driving up the price. But I wish that was all that there was to it. To be honest with you, what we’re seeing in the price of gasoline shouldn’t be happening.
SIEGEL: What are you talking about? What has happened that has aggravated this problem?
Mr. FLYNN: Well, I think if you look over the past few weeks, you have to go back to the France strikes. A few months ago, of course, because of the France austerity package, France shut down some major refineries. And when those refineries went down, Europe was scrambling to get supplies – supplies that would normally end up here in the United States.
And then after that, you had all these refinery problems. You had a refinery going down in Venezuela. You had one going down in St. Croix, one down in the East Coast. And before you knew it, we see these gasoline prices surging forward. [All Things Considered, 1/3/11]
CNNMoney.com: Oil Analyst Attributes Some Of Price Increase to Speculation. From a January 1 CNNMoney.com report:
Oil surge: Oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, has also been on a tear, with crude prices topping $90-a-barrel for the first time in more than two years.
Platts senior oil analyst Linda Rafield attributes some of the spike in oil prices to speculation.
“That can push prices to a level that doesn’t reflect supply and demand,” Rafield said. [CNNMoney.com, 1/1/11]
Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Dems Trying To Outlaw Filibusters
Right-wing media have attacked Senate Democrats’ filibuster reform proposals by falsely claiming they plan to outright ban filibusters. In fact, Democrats are currently proposing a variety of changes to the overall process that are designed to promote transparency and curb abuse — none of which include an outright ban of filibusters.
Right-Wing Media Claim Dems “Will Try To Kill The Filibuster”
Erickson: “Within The Next 24 Hours, Liberal Senators Will Try To Kill The Filibuster.” In a January 4 post, RedState editor-in-chief and CNN contributor Erick Erickson referred to Democratic filibuster reform efforts and claimed, “Within the next 24 hours, liberal senators will try to kill the filibuster.” [RedState, 1/4/11]
Fox Nation: “Dems Trying To Nuke The Filibuster.” In a January 4 post, Fox Nation linked to a FoxNews.com article about Democrats’ filibuster reform efforts with the headline, “Dems Trying to Nuke the Filibuster.”
[Fox Nation, 1/4/11]
In Fact, Dems’ Reform Proposals Do Not Include An Outright Ban On Filibusters
Politico: “Democrats Say They Don’t Plan To Do Away With The 60-Vote Requirement To Break Filibusters.” In a January 4 article about Democrats’ filibuster reform efforts, Politico reported:
Democrats say they don’t plan to do away with the 60-vote requirement to break filibusters – but want to discourage the overuse of the filibuster. Any senator can filibuster almost any Senate action – whether it’s bringing up a bill for debate or trying to push a measure toward a final vote. The cloture votes to override a filibuster can take days to unfold under the Senate rules. [Politico, 1/4/11]
Politico: Democrats Hope To Eliminate “Secret Holds” And “Require” Senators To Make Their Objections To Legislation Public. From Politico:
In general, Democrats hope to narrow the scope of the filibuster, potentially doing away with the ability of one senator to simply object to even debating legislation. Democrats also hope to eliminate so-called secret holds, which allow senators to block legislation or a nomination anonymously. And they want to actually require senators to go to the floor and make their arguments public, much like the famous scenes in the movie classic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” These days, a simple threat of the filibuster is enough to thwart legislation and produce time-consuming cloture votes. [Politico, 1/4/11]
CNN: Senate Democrats Trying To “Curb The Use Of Filibusters But Not Ban Them Entirely.” In a January 4 article, CNN reported:
Frustrated by Republicans’ escalating use of the filibuster, to stall even routine legislation and nominations, a group of Senate Democrats, led, in part, by first-term Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, is trying to build support for a wide-range of proposed Senate rule changes that would curb the use of filibusters but not ban them entirely. [CNN.com, 1/4/11]
AP: Udall’s Proposal Does Not “End All Filibusters,” But Rather “Eliminate[s]… ‘Secret Holds’” And Requires Filibustering Senator To “Actually Debate The Bill.” In an article about Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) filibuster reform proposal, The Associated Press reported:
Udall’s proposal already falls short of ending all filibusters. It would eliminate the practice of “secret holds” where a single senator can anonymously block a bill or nomination from reaching the floor and end the use of filibusters to prevent a bill from being taken up.
It would also require those waging a filibuster to stay on the floor and actually debate the bill, a la Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Udall would also guarantee the minority the right to offer a certain amount of amendments to bills. [The Associated Press, 1/4/11]
Right-Wing Media’s Phony Deficit Blame Game Now Targets Pelosi
Right-wing media are now targeting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as being to blame for the increase in the federal deficit. In fact, experts agree that almost the entire deficit can be attributed to Bush’s tax cuts, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic recession.
Right-Wing Media Mock Pelosi’s Statement On Deficit Reduction
Fox Nation Declares Pelosi’s Statement On Deficit Reduction Being A “Priority” To Be “A Whopper.” On January 4, Fox Nation posted video of Pelosi speaking at her final news conference as House speaker. During the clip, Pelosi said:
PELOSI: We have no regrets. This House has over and over again sent to the Senate legislation for job creation, which the Republicans in the Senate held up. Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra: pay as you go. Unfortunately, that will be changed now. This administration and this Congress inherited a near depression. And so the initiatives that we took were positive for the American people. [Fox Nation, 1/4/11]
Fox Nation posted this text below the video:
At her final press conference as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.”
The numbers tell a different story.
When the Pelosi Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8,670,596,242,973.04. The last day of the 111th Congress and Pelosi’s Speakership on December 22, 2010 the national debt was $13,858,529,371,601.09 – a roughly $5.2 trillion increase in just four years. Furthermore, the year over year federal deficit has roughly quadrupled during Pelosi’s four years as speaker, from $342 billion in fiscal year 2007 to an estimated $1.6 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2010. [Fox Nation, 1/4/11]
Hoft: “Speaker Pelosi’s Final Insult: ‘Deficit Reduction Has Been A High Priority.’” In a January 4 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft posted Fox Nation’s video and text and added, “What a horrible woman.” [Gateway Pundit, 1/4/11]
Doocy On Pelosi’s Comments: “Maybe The Spin Should Stop Here, Madam Speaker.” The January 5 edition of Fox & Friends began with a segment on Pelosi’s comments. After airing part of the Fox Nation clip of Pelosi speaking, the co-hosts said:
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Now, hold on. Maybe the spin should stop here, Madam Speaker, because when you look at what she just said — that deficit reduction has been a high priority under her gavelship – that flies in the face of the facts. Because when she took the big hammer from John Boehner a couple of years ago, the debt was at $8.6 trillion.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Drop in the bucket.
DOOCY: That’s right. As the 111th Congress concluded in December, it was at $13.8 trillion, a $5.2 trillion increase on her watch.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): I wish I would have brought my calculator this morning, because you need it for these kind of numbers, although I –
DOOCY: They’re so big.
CARLSON: I don’t know if calculators go to the trillions. So, if you want to break it down even more, Steve, the year-over-year federal deficit has roughly quadrupled, can’t even say it, during Pelosi’s four years as speaker. So, year over year, it’s quadrupled. I guess that means that it’s four times over every single year. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/5/11]
Fox & Friends ran repeated segments throughout the January 5 broadcast in which they accused Pelosi of being responsible for the rising deficit during her tenure. In addition, contrary to Doocy’s claim, Pelosi did not take “the big hammer from John Boehner a couple of years ago.” In fact, Pelosi succeeded former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL). [Office of the Clerk, accessed 1/5/11]
Powers: “They’re Saying Boehner Has An Emotional Imbalance?” In a January 5 post on Michelle Malkin’s blog titled, “Pelosi Departs With a Whopper,” blogger Doug Powers reposted Fox Nation’s text and added, “And they’re saying Boehner has an emotional imbalance?” [MichelleMalkin.com, 1/5/11]
But Experts Agree Deficit Result Of Bush-Era Policies, Wars, Economic Downturn
CBO Projected $1.2T Deficit In January 2009 Based On Spending Bush Authorized; Actual Deficit Was $1.4T. In a January 7, 2009, report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected, based on spending authorized under the Bush administration, that the federal deficit in FY2009 would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual federal deficit for FY2009 was $1.4 trillion. [CBO, January 2009 and January 2010]
CAP: “Single Most Important [Cause Of The Deficit] Is The Legacy Of President George W. Bush’s Legislative Agenda.” In an August 2009 analysis, the Center for American Progress (CAP) concluded that about two-thirds of the then-projected budget deterioration for 2009 and 2010 could be attributed to either Bush’s policies or the economic downturn:
The report explained:
As for the deficit’s cause, the single most important factor is the legacy of President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda. Overall, changes in federal law during the Bush administration are responsible for 40 percent of the short-term fiscal problem. For example, we estimate that the tax cuts passed during the Bush presidency are reducing government revenue collections by $231 billion in 2009. Also, because of the additions to the federal debt due to Bush administration policies, the government will be paying $218 billion more in interest payments in 2009.
Had President Bush not cut taxes while simultaneously prosecuting two foreign wars and adopting other programs without paying for them, the current deficit would be only 4.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, instead of the eye-catching 11.2 percent–despite the weak economy and the costly efforts taken to restore it. In 2010, the deficit would be 3.2 percent instead of 9.6 percent.
The weak economy also plays a major role in the deficit picture. The failure of Bush economic policies–fiscal irresponsibility, regulatory indifference, fueling of an asset and credit bubble, a failure to focus on jobs and incomes, and inaction as the economy started slipping–contributed mightily to the nation’s current economic situation. When the economy contracts, tax revenues decline and outlays increase for programs designed to keep people from falling deep into poverty (with the tax impact much larger than the spending impact). All told, the weak economy is responsible for 20 percent of the fiscal problems we face in 2009 and 2010.
President Obama’s policies have also contributed to the federal deficit–but only 16 percent of the projected budget deterioration for 2009 and 2010 are attributable to those policies. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to help bring the economy out of the recession is, by far, the largest single additional public spending under this administration. [CAP, 8/25/09]
CBPP: “[V]irtually The Entire Deficit Over The Next Ten Years” Due To Bush Policies, Economic Downturn.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an analysis of federal deficits in December 2009, most recently updated on June 28, 2010, titled, “Critics Still Wrong on What’s Driving Deficits in Coming Years: Economic Downturn, Financial Rescues, and Bush-Era Policies Drive the Numbers.” The report noted:
Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4). Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years. [CBPP, updated 6/28/10, emphasis in original]
Harvard Business Review Group Director: “[T]he Giant Deficit Is Mainly The Result Of The Collapse In Tax Receipts Brought On By The Recession.” In an October 2010 post on his Reuters blog, Justin Fox, editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group, analyzed the deficit and concluded that it was “mainly the result of the collapse in tax receipts brought on by the recession”:
The Treasury Department reported on Oct. 15 that the deficit in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, was $1.294 trillion. That’s less than FY 2009′s $1.416 trillion, but it’s still really really big. Why is it so big, though? Is it because of all that stimulus and bailout spending? Or is something else going on?
To find out, I created a fantasy world. I figured out how fast federal spending and revenue grew over the last business cycle, from 2000 through 2007, and calculated where we’d be today if those growth rates had continued through 2010. I was originally motivated to do this for a commentary that’s supposed to air tomorrow night on Nightly Business Report. But I’m thinking there’s not a huge overlap between Felix Salmon readers and Nightly Business Report viewers, so I’ll go ahead and share what I learned.
In my no-financial-crisis, no-bailout, no-recession, no-stimulus scenario, spending kept growing at 6.22% a year, and revenue kept growing at 3.45%. You can see from the difference between the two numbers that this was an unsustainable path. But it clearly could have been sustained for a few more years.
Where would it have left us in fiscal 2010? With $2.843 trillion in federal revenue and $3.270 trillion in spending, leaving a deficit of $427 billion. The actual revenue and spending totals for 2010 were $2.162 trillion and $3.456 trillion. So spending was $186 billion higher than if we’d stuck to the trend, and revenue was $681 billion lower. In other words, the giant deficit is mainly the result of the collapse in tax receipts brought on by the recession, not the increase in spending. Nice to know, huh? [Justin Fox, blogs.reuters.com, 10/25/10, emphasis added]
Fox Rings In The New Year By Rehashing 2010 Falsehoods
Fox News Sunday‘s Chris Wallace rang in the New Year by hosting Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to attack Attorney General Eric Holder for supposedly not “do[ing] anything about ACORN,” or “anything effectively about the New Black Panthers.” In fact, both issues are phony scandals pushed by Fox News. Read More
Kristol Still Fearmongering About Government Health Care Rationing
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol advanced the claim that “the more government takes over health care, the more rationing there will be.” In fact, rationing exists under the current private insurance system. Read More
Fox’s Stossel Ignores Evidence To Rail Against Minimum Wage
During a one-hour special on Fox News, John Stossel attacked the minimum wage, claiming that it is responsible for unemployment both among teenagers and the overall labor force. In fact, studies have found that recent increases in the minimum wage have not increased teen unemployment or overall unemployment. Read More
Fox Distorts The Facts To Attack Cape Hatteras Environmental Regulations
On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade falsely suggested that if environmentalists have their way, North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras “could be just left to the birds, or maybe some turtles.” In fact, environmental groups do not seek to have all Cape Hatteras beaches closed, and regulations in place to protect endangered species allow significant access to Cape Hatteras beaches for both pedestrians and off-road vehicles.
Fox & Friends Falsely Suggests All Cape Hatteras Beaches May Be Closed
Kilmeade: “One Of The Foremost Vacation Spots In The World … Could Be Just Left To The Birds, Or Maybe Some Turtles.” From the December 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: Business owners in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina — Steve, that is the subject. They depend on the beach to attract tourists to make a living and they are losing their livelihoods, all because of this bird. The bird is endangered, evidently, and the government has closed down the parts of beach– And since then, 50 businesses have closed, 400 homes have been foreclosed. Is this fair? Joining us right now is a local business owner affected directly, John Couch. John, what business do you have and how have you been affected?
JOHN COUCH: My business is called the Red Drum. We have an auto parts store, a repair center, a tackle shop, and a food mart. These closures have absolutely stifled my business during the summertime, and typically I lose about $30,000 because of these buffer zones that are so restrictive. And it pretty well closes off the beach and makes it hard for our visitors that come here to find out what is open on a daily basis.
KILMEADE: It’s all because of this bird, which seems nice. It’s called the piping plover. About 20 of them, and evidently they’re endangered. But are they at the point now where they’re more important than all the small business people who have thrived there for decades?
COUCH: Well, protecting the environment and protecting these birds are important.
COUCH: We can all grab our hands and wrap around this. But these birds there, they have such mammoth protections. If this can be the bird nest, a thousand meters in all directions — which is a mile and a quarter across — closes down the beach. And there’s only about 6 to 12 pairs of these birds. But as the birds — these nesting areas — they just choke off access. And then for the beach during the heart of the summertime when we make our money — we’re sitting there not being able to make a living in the summertime.
KILMEADE: John, it’s absolutely beautiful there. It’s one of the foremost vacation spots in the country and now it could be just left to the birds or maybe some turtles that want to nest. Here’s the statement from the Audubon Society, from the Environmental Law Center. They say this: “The consent decree does not directly close any beaches to or use by or may require that beaches be closed or use i threatened piping plovers or other targeted shorebirds are attempting to nest in the are. All bird species appear to be benefitting from the lack of disturbances, increasing in numbers and fledgling more chicks.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/20/10]
In Fact, The Regulation Only Applies To Certain Areas Of The Cape Hatteras National Seashore For Certain Periods Of Time. From National Park Service’s Frequently Asked Questions document regarding beach access at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
3. I was planning a vacation to the Outer Banks this (spring, summer, fall), but I’ve heard that all your beaches are closed (“everything is closed”). Is that true?
That is absolutely NOT true! You have received bad information. While temporary resource closures to protect nesting shorebirds and sea turtles are expected to occur between mid-March and mid- to late-August, including at some popular sites, there will be many, many miles of beach open to both pedestrian and ORV access on any given day of any given week during those months. For example, on July 8, 2009, there were approximately 22 miles of beach open to ORVs and pedestrians, another 26 miles open to only pedestrians (that was a total of 48 miles of open beach!), while 19 miles of beach were closed or impractical to access due to resource protection closures in place at the time. By late August, most of the resource closures had been lifted. [National Park Service Frequently Asked Questions: Beach Access, accessed 12/22/10]
Environmental Coalition Seeks To Protect Threatened Species, But Does Not Intend To Ban All Vehicles. Preserve Hatteras, the coalition seeking restrictions on off-road vehicles at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, says:
Do conservation groups want to ban vehicles from the Seashore?
No. Our goal continues to be and always has been to work out a solution based on law and science that protects threatened wildlife in balance with the responsible use and enjoyment of the park by all visitors. Everyone deserves a safe space on the national seashore – birds and turtles, as well as anglers, bird watchers, surfers, swimmers and those who just enjoy the serenity of one of the East Coast’s most dramatic areas. [PreserveHatteras.org, accessed 12/22/10]
With Temporary Regulations In Place, Visitors To Cape Hatteras Actually Increased. In a November 16 press release, Defenders of Wildlife stated:
2010 was a record-breaking year at Cape Hatteras for wildlife and visitor occupancy under similar, temporary rules for off-road vehicle use within Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Those rules were implemented in April 2008, and include wildlife protections similar to the ones proposed today by the National Park Service.
At the same time, Dare County’s visitor occupancy through August 2010 exceeded prior years for the same period. In addition, according to press reports, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau reported that Hatteras Island visitors spent a record-setting $27.8 million on lodging during the month of July, which was an 18.5 percent increase over July 2009 and exceeded all preceding years.
“Numbers since 2008 demonstrate that under science-based wildlife management, nesting birds and turtles can rebound, tourism can thrive, and wildlife and people can share the beach at Cape Hatteras,” said Walker Golder, acting executive director of Audubon North Carolina. “The park service’s plan currently falls short of providing adequate science-based, year-round protections for the seashore’s natural resources.” [Defenders.org, 11/16/10]
NPS’s Proposed Plan “Allows [Off-Road Vehicle] Use On The Majority Of The Seashore” And “Proposes New Parking Facilities, ORV Ramps, And Water Shuttles To Increase Visitor Access.” From a November 16 press release issued by the Defenders of Wildlife:
“The park service’s final rules must provide adequate vehicle-free space and protections for both pedestrians and wildlife, while still allowing responsible beach driving in some areas,” said Julie Youngman, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center. “We look forward to working with the park service to build on the success of this record-breaking year.”
The park service’s preferred plan in today’s statement allows ORV use on the majority of the seashore. Twenty-eight of the seashore’s 67 miles are set aside as year-round ORV routes, with only 26 miles designated as year-round vehicle-free areas for pedestrians, families, and wildlife. The remaining 13 miles of seashore are seasonally open to ORVs. The plan also proposes new parking facilities, ORV ramps, and water shuttles to increase visitor access.
“As demonstrated by record numbers of visitors and wildlife this year, it is entirely possible for Cape Hatteras to be responsibly shared and enjoyed,” said Jason Rylander, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “We hope the park service’s final plan will strike an appropriate balance that meets the needs of the Seashore’s many users.” [Defenders.org, 11/16/10]
Fox Blames “Environmentalists’ Crusade” For Hatteras Regulations, But Bush Administration Agreed To Them
Fox & Friends: “Environmentalists’ Crusade Closing Beaches & Hurting Livelihood.” During the same segment, on-screen text read: “Environmentalists’ Crusade Closing Beaches & Hurting Livelihood.”
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/20/10]
Nixon Signed Executive Order In 1972 Requiring Federal Land Managers To Develop Plans and Regulations To Manage ORV Use On Public Lands. From a Defenders of Wildlife brief seeking a preliminary injunction:
As a result of the growth in ORV [Off-Road Vehicle] recreation on federally protected lands, President Nixon signed Executive Order 11644 on February 8, 1972; in that Order he noted that the “popularity [of ORV driving on public lands] continues to increase rapidly. The widespread use of such vehicles on the public lands – often for legitimate purposes but also in frequent conflict with wise land and resource management practices, environmental values, and other types of recreational activity – has demonstrated the need for a unified Federal policy toward the use of such vehicles on the public lands.” [Defenders.org, accessed 12/22/10]
Bush Administration’s Park Service Agreed To Consent Decree Managing Off-Road Vehicles On Cape Hatteras Beaches. According to the National Park Service:
In October 2007, Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center (plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit against the NPS alleging inadequacies in management of protected species at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and failure of the park to comply with the requirements of the ORV executive order and NPS regulations regarding ORV use.
The species identified for protection included: the piping plover (federally-listed threatened), several species of colonial waterbirds (state-listed threatened and Species of Special Concern), the American oystercatcher (state-listed Species of Special Concern), and several species of sea turtles (federally-listed threatened and endangered).
In April 2008, a U.S. District Court Judge signed a consent decree to settle the lawsuit. The consent decree was agreed to by the plaintiffs and the NPS; and by Dare and Hyde Counties and a coalition of local ORV and fishing groups (Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance) which participated in the lawsuit as intervenors. The consent decree, which is enforceable by the court, provides for specific species protection measures and requires the NPS to complete the ORV plan and required special regulation by Dec. 31, 2010 and April 11, 2011 respectively. [NPS.gov, accessed 12/22/10]
Reagan-Appointed Judge Approved Consent Decree Regarding Off-Road Vehicle Regulation At Cape Hatteras. According to a May 1, 2008, press release issued by the National Park Service:
Superintendent Mike Murray announced today that, under the Consent Decree signed on April 30, 2008 by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle, a new seasonal restriction on nighttime beach driving will go into effect immediately on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Beginning May 1, 2008, all Seashore beaches are closed to off-road vehicles (ORVs) between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. [NPS.gov, 5/1/08]
- Boyle Was Appointed By President Reagan In 1984 With Jesse Helms’ Support. As reported by a May 1, 2006, Salon.com article: “President Ronald Reagan appointed Boyle to be a federal district judge in 1984, with a push from former Sen. Jesse Helms, who once employed him briefly. President George H.W. Bush nominated Boyle to the appellate bench in 1991, but Boyle never made it to a Senate vote. He remains a favorite of conservatives, and currently holds a unanimous well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association. But Democrats and liberal advocacy groups have vigorously criticized him for his numerous rulings on disability, gender and racial discrimination cases.” [Salon.com, 5/1/06]