I have a confession to make. This post started out to be the “Top Lies Heard On Fox News In 2014.” But I quickly realized: that’s not a post, that’s a book. So this has become much more limited in scope. Out of all the serial fabricators and manipulators on Fox News, there is actually one show that stands out above all the others, at least to me. That show would be “Fox and Friends.”
On weekdays, “Fox and Friends” features the leprechaunish Brian Kilmeade, the always short skirted (perhaps by network requirements?) Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and goofy Steve Doocy (for whom the term “dumber than a bag of hammers” comes to mind). For weekend early risers, Fox News offers up a morning crew featuring boyish Tucker Carlson, Anna Kooiman (another short skirted blonde), as well as an assortment of others. But, no matter who is taking up space on Fox’s “curvy couch,” you can be certain of one thing: you will hear some of the biggest lies to be uttered on any show that even loosely describes itself as “news.”
Here now, for your evaluation, are the Top 10 Lies Heard On “Fox and Friends” In 2014:
#10. “Fox and Friends” blames minimum wage increases that hadn’t happened for drop in McDonald’s profits.
On October 22, the curvy couch crew hosted Fox Business correspondent Maria Bartiromo to talk about why McDonald’s profits were down some 30 percent over the previous quarter. The reason, agreed on by all involved? Increases in the minimum wage that have been passed in a number of states and localities. Except that, as of the date of that conversation, most of those increases had not yet gone into effect.
#9. Anna Kooiman claims approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would create “10’s of thousands” of jobs.
Weekend host Anna Kooiman came to play with the weekday boys on November 6, where she repeated the favorite right wing lie about the Keystone XL pipleline: that it would create “thousands of jobs.” As Politifact observes, a State Department report says that the pipeline will create 35 permanent jobs, plus another 15 jobs for independent contractors. The jobs that Kooiman refers to are temporary construction jobs. Politifact was generous, as they often are to the right, in rating Kooiman’s statement “mostly false.”
#8. Steve Doocy claims NASA “fudged” data to prove global warming.
On the June 24 “Fox and Friends,” Steve Doocy said that 1934 was the hottest year on record in the United States, and that NASA fudged the data to make it appear that 1998 was actually the hottest. Where did that claim come from? According to Media Matters, it came from a man named Tony Heller, who blogs under the name Steven Goddard. Heller is identified as a “birther” by Media Matters, and, according to them, Heller’s claim that the earth has actually been cooling since the 1930’s has been rejected, even by other climate change skeptics.
#7. Elisabeth Hasselbeck says that Obamacare is “failing the public.”
Eric Bolling, who usually does his lying in the afternoon on Fox News, joined Doocy and Hasselbeck to talk about Obamacare on Novemvber 14, in the wake of the comments by professor Jonathan Gruber, that lit up right wing radar. During the segment, Bolling says, “They fooled us, they screwed us, and now it’s not working.” Hasselbeck agrees, saying that the ACA is “failing the public.” Interestingly enough, a Gallup poll that was released on that same date says that newly insured are giving their exchange purchased policies high marks.
#6. Kilmeade says that Colorado food stamp recipients can use ATM’s to buy marijuana.
Brian Kilmeade teased a segment on January 21, following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, with this statement: “Can people collecting food stamps in Colorado add marijuana to their shopping lists? Right now the answer is yes.” Kilmeade was playing off an urban myth. That myth claimed that people receiving food stamps could use ATM’s located in marijuana dispensaries to withdraw cash, so they could buy pot. Department of Agriculture guidelines about the use of food stamps, also known as “SNAP” benefits, to withdraw cash, are clear. The FDA fact sheet on the program says, “SNAP benefits can never be withdrawn as cash.” [Emphasis in original]
#5. Rudy Giuliani drops by to claim that black and white murderers are “convicted at the same rate.”
Rudy Giuliani went on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” on November 23, where he engaged in a heated debate with Michael Eric Dyson, about “black on black” crime. Giuliani then dropped by the curvy couch the next day, where he made this claim:
And the idea that whites do not go to jail for killing blacks. First of all, only about 3 percent of whites kill blacks. They go to jail at approximately the same percentage as blacks go to jail. The conviction rate is almost exactly the same. The difference is, it’s a very rare exception when a white kills a black.
Politifact rated Giuliani’s claim “false.” In fact, Politifact observes that they could not find the statistic to which Giuliani was referring. In an update to their original report, Politifact says that the Bureau of Justice Statistics does not keep national data on conviction rates by race. Politifact also observes that when all felonies are taken into account, blacks make up more than half of all people charged with murder, robbery, drug, and weapons offenses.
#4. Doocy claims that President Obama wanted Hobby Lobby to be required to provide “abortion pills.”
On July 8, Steve Doocy asserted that the Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision had “nothing to do with banning birth control pills.” Rather, he said, “it simply allowed for employers who didn’t want to pay for drugs that end lives, to not have to pay for them.”
The New York Times reported in 2012 that the “morning after pills” to which Steve Doocy is referring do not meet the medical definition of an abortion-inducing drug. So, even if you consider an embryo to be a “life,” there is no way these drugs could be considered to “end lives.”
#3. Ann Coulter tells Tucker Carlson that her friend’s sister died, thanks to Obamacare.
Once in a while, the usual stupidity isn’t enough for the “Fox and Friends” crew; they have to bring on some “guest stupid.” That’s what happened when weekend host Tucker Carlson talked to Ann Coulter about Obamacare, on February 2.
Coulter claims that her friend’s sister, who she identifies as “Julie,” died because Obamacare forced Blue Cross/Blue Shield to pull out of the state of California. Politifact says, bluntly, “That did not happen.” Politifact explains that while some companies stopped writing individual policies in California after the ACA went into effect, Blue Shield continued to offer policies for sale to individuals. Politifact goes on to say that if someone had a plan that was not ACA-complient, they received a letter notifying them to that effect. Anyone who did not take action on the letter was automatically enrolled in a new, ACA-complient plan. Politifact gave Coulter a “Pants On Fire” ruling for her statement.
#2. Carlson says that more children died from bathtub drownings than from guns in 2013.
The presence of Tucker Carlson in any medium guarantees a number of wild lies to choose from, but his claim that more children die from drowning in their own bathtubs than from guns is one of his biggest. Carlson attacks another report that aired on Fox, concerning gun safety. While doing so, he makes this statement.
The point of that package was guns are scary, gun owners are a threat to you and your children. The truth is, well, obviously a child’s death is the worst tragedy imaginable. Far more children died last year drowning in their bathtubs than were killed accidentally by guns.
So, I would like to see a package on, do you have a bathtub at home? Because I need to know that before I send my child over to your house. A little perspective might be helpful.
Along with a “Pants On Fire” ruling, Politifact observes that, in 2011, which is the latest year with available data, there were more children who died from accidental gunfire than from bathtub drownings. When broken down by age, only one age group of children showed more deaths by bathtub drowning: 0-4 years. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the reason for the bulk of those drownings was a parent or caretaker leaving the room.
#1. Death panels. Yes, those “death panels.”
It’s truly amazing. Fox just can’t let this one go. Years later, they are still insisting that Obamacare includes death panels.
Former White House advisor Ezekiel J. Emanuel wrote a piece for The Atlantic, in which he postulated that 75 was a good age to die. On September 26, “Fox and Friends” had a discussion between Steve Doocy and Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel. Siegel asked the question about when should we “write off” people with certain illnesses. Siegel then goes completely off the rails and wonders if the post office, or the IRS, should decide when someone dies. Doocy replies,”Maybe you’re talking about those death panels that have been rumored for so long.”
Featured image: via Queerty