After Falling For Hoax News Site, Sean Hannity Takes On PolitiFact’s ‘Stupidity’

You really have to give the wingnut media credit for standing firm in the face of flagrant ridicule. On Sean Hannity’s Fox News program last week he cited a statistic that was not only wildly implausible, it was sourced to an Internet website that was obviously satirical.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

The hoax website, Real News Right Now, also prominently displayed plainly absurd (and humorous) articles like “Starbucks Opens Five Stores in Jordan’s 2nd Largest Refugee Camp,” and “Trump: I Would Have Prevented the Asteroid From Killing the Dinosaurs.” The author of these articles is R. Hobbus J.D, who the website says is the recipient of the Stephen Glass Distinction in Journalistic Integrity (Glass was caught making up stories for the New Republic), and the Oscar Mayer Award for Journalistic Excellence. And from this source Hannity reported that…

“You see the backlash emerging now in Europe over the refugee problem from Syria and Iraq. The president said he’s going to bring in 250,000 refugees into this country.”

Of course, President Obama never said any such thing. The fallacy of this statement was reviewed by PolitiFact who gave it their lowest rating of “Pants On Fire.” They noted that neither the President, nor anyone in his administration, had ever articulated a policy to allow anything close to 250,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. In fact, they note that that number is three times bigger than the total number of refugees Obama has asked to bring in during 2016 from all around the world.”

Following the exposé of Hannity’s gullibility, he went on the air to denounce PolitiFact as a “liberal website” that was “attacking” him. And after saying that he doesn’t normally waste his time “responding to stupidity” (because he’s normally creating it), he proclaims that “this one time, I’m going to break my rule.” Whereupon he delivers his rebuttal to PolitiFact:

Hannity: Let me teach you simple addition. I was quoting an AP article, entitled ‘Kerry: US to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017.’ Well, that equals 185,000 right? But that’s not all; according to the same report, the State Department is accepting 70,000 refugees in 2015. In other words, they said the 85 on top of the 70 they took in this year, that equals 255,000. That’s how I came to the number. And by the way, for the record, if you watch my TV show, I never said all of the refugees were Syrian.

As it turns out, addition must not be as simple for Hannity as he suggests. The AP article he referenced did cite John Kerry’s statement that there would be 85,000 refugees in 2016 and 100,000 more in 2017. However, he was referring to “the number of worldwide migrants,” not just those from Iraq and Syria. What’s more, the other 70,000 refugees Hannity mentioned were also worldwide and not exclusively from the troubled region.

So Hannity found a month old article from the Associated Press and distorted the numbers to try to come up with a justification for his prior disinformation. He failed miserably. He also blatantly lied when he said that he “never said all of the refugees were Syrian.” If you read the verbatim quote above, it’s clear that he was explicitly talking about “the refugee problem from Syria and Iraq.” Consequently, it’s Hannity who is stupid and partisan, not PolitiFact. And to top it off, he’s also a liar. It seems like he might have been better off had he just apologized for the incorrect data and moved on to a new bit of dishonest propaganda. But then he’s Hannity and he’s on Fox News. He’s fulfilling his “Special Purpose.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

NewsBuster’s Hysterical Defense Of Rush Limbaugh’s Lies About The Clinton Foundation

Last week Rush Limbaugh told his dittohead audience that “Eighty-five percent of every dollar donated to the Clinton Foundation ended up either with the Clintons or with their staff.” Consequently, Limbaugh asserted, only fifteen percent was spent on actual charitable activities. This attack on the Clinton’s finances is just the latest right-wing effort to invent controversies where none exist. It comes as a new book smearing Bill and Hillary Clinton is about to hit the shelves. That book, “Clinton Cash,” has already been debunked in a major way and it won’t even be out until next week.

Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh’s contribution to the Clinton bashing stems from an article written by Sean Davis for the Federalist blog. The article’s analysis was fatally flawed and misleading. Nevertheless, Limbaugh ran with it and even spun its conclusions further from reality. PolitiFact evaluated his remarks and declared them Mostly False.”

In short, the Federalist/Limbaugh contention was based on Clinton Foundation tax returns that report that approximately 15% of their funds were distributed as grants to other charitable organizations. They then surmised that all of the remaining 85% went into the Clinton’s pockets. However, what they failed to grasp is that the Clinton Foundation is not a grant-making institution. Rather, they spend their money on charitable operations that they implement in-house, with 88% of their funds going directly to their charitable projects. It’s comparable to the Red Cross that also does not give grants to outside groups, but runs their own relief missions. For comparison, the Red Cross only gave out about 6.5% of their funds in grants in 2013. And, once again, that’s not because Red Cross executives are lining their own pockets, it’s because they finance their own internal projects. PolitiFact explained these differences like this:

“When most people in the charitable world think of foundations, they think of organizations that give away a lot of money in the form of grants to others who go out and do good works. The Clinton foundation works differently — it keeps its money in house and hires staff to carry out its own humanitarian programs.”

These facts were not only lost on Limbaugh and the Federalist, but also on Tom Blumer of NewsBusters who wrote an article defending Limbaugh’s ignorance and criticizing PolitiFact’s “Mostly False” determination. Blumer embraced the same misunderstanding of the Clinton Foundation’s finances and referenced an article by the Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams (formerly of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze) that sought to dismiss PolitiFact’s analysis by alleging that the fact-checking site is biased in favor of the Clintons.

The evidence that Adams claimed exposed PolitiFact’s bias was that the Ford Foundation was a donor to both PolitiFact and the the Clinton Foundation. By this warped logic, every recipient of a donation from the extremely generous Ford Foundation is also tied to the Clintons (That’s almost 3,000 organizations in 2013). That, of course, is utter nonsense and a brazenly desperate attempt at guilt by fantastically tenuous association.

Newsbusters thinks it is an unforgivable failure that PolitiFact did not disclose that they received funding from Ford which also donated to the Clinton Foundation. [For the record, Newsbusters receives funding from the rabidly anti-Clinton, anti-Democratic Koch brothers, but made no disclosure of that in their article] And surprisingly, that wasn’t the stupidest thing in Blumer’s column.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

To further drive home his incoherent point, Blumer also cited a report by Fox News that he said supports Limbaugh and the Federalist. Now if you have to rely on Fox News for affirmation you are already in deep trouble. But in this case the report Blumer cited actually did agree with the data Limbaugh used from the Federalist. However, that’s because the source Fox News used for back-up was – are ya ready? – the Federalist. That’s right, Blumer is defending sketchy data published by the Federalist with a Fox News story quoting the same guy who wrote the article in the Federalist.

This is how it works in Wingnutlandia, where you get to provide corroboration for yourself. Just make an outlandish claim on your blog. Then make the same outlandish claim to Fox News. Then some schmuck at Newsbusters will say that Fox News backs you up. It must be nice to live in that reality-challenged, psycho-looping sphere of anti-logic.

[Update 5/8/2015] Now Peter Schweizer, author of the widely debunked smear book “Clinton Cash,” is also regurgitating the phony Clinton Foundation charitable expenditures. Although Eric Shawn of Fox News called it “incredibly misleading.”

PolitiFact On The New Improved Fox News: Now With Even More Lies

The fact checkers over at PolitiFact have updated their Truth-O-Meter scorecards for the cable news networks and the results are not particularly favorable for Fox News (which is not particularly surprising).

Fox News PolitiFact

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According to PolitiFact, the current results breakdown like this:

  • At Fox 61% of the claims have been rated Mostly False or worse.
  • At MSNBC 44% of the claims have received a rating of Mostly False or worse.
  • At CNN 20% of the claims have received a rating of Mostly False or worse.

The change from their last analysis in September of 2014 shows that both CNN and MSNBC have improved their record, while Fox has sunk deeper into the abyss of dishonesty. Although, from Fox’s perspective that would be regarded as an improvement since it is their intention to deceive.

Some of the types of stories that contributed to Fox’s downward spiral include the ludicrous assertion that Birmingham, England was a totally Muslim city that no one else can enter, and that France has 741 no-go zones itself. Those claims were mercilessly mocked and produced the Twitter hashtag “#FoxNewsFacts” as well as a brilliant response from Le Petit Journal, a French television satire show.

Then there was the report by Fox that a proposal by the Obama administration to close tax loopholes for the wealthy and cut billions of dollars of taxes for the middle-class was actually a tax increase. And Fox also reported repeatedly that the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs, when only 35 of them would be permanent. Megyn Kelly did a lengthy segment revealing how Colorado Democrats were plotting to engage in massive voter fraud, except that none of her reporting was true. And Fox’s George Will fear mongered about Ebola saying falsely that it could be transmitted by a cough. And we haven’t even touched on the lies about ObamaScare, ObamaPhones, ObamaCars, or any other fabrication to which Fox appends the “Obama” prefix.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every day there are new fallacies presented as truths by the practiced liars at Fox. The result is that Fox is the only network that has more false rulings than true by PolitiFact, by a wide margin. And Fox really has to work at failing the truth test 61% of the time. If you had any intention of being honest, you could do better than that by flipping a coin. Which makes it all the more incomprehensible that anyone still considers Fox to be a legitimate news enterprise.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Congratulations Fox News: Exaggerations About Ebola Is PolitiFact’s 2014 Lie of the Year

The Pulitzer Prize winning fact checking site PolitiFact has revealed their 2014 Lie of the Year. It is an annual honor that they bestow “based on how broadly a myth or falsehood infiltrates conventional thinking.”

This year the award goes to a news item that was feverishly disseminated by conservative media and especially Fox News: Exaggerations about Ebola. Curiously, just after the midterm election the hysterical pronouncements of a rapidly spreading pandemic that was being deliberately orchestrated by President Obama seemed to fade into the ether from whence it came.

So as a service to the nation, News Corpse will reprise its feature article that studiously reminded readers of what the short-lived Armageddon-Lite had unleashed on the world, and the doom we all narrowly escaped thanks to Fox News curing the disease as soon as the election was over (which we’re sure was just a coincidence).

Get the ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Remember when…

…a travel ban on anyone from West Africa was the Republicans’ most important immigration issue in the nation?

GOP Tents America

Remember when…

Bill O’Reilly insisted that the administration was lying to us and demanded that the CDC chief resign if he wouldn’t appear on his show?

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

Remember when…

…Fox’s “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow accused President Obama of wanting Ebola to spread in America because he “sees Americans as having infected others with our deadly economic policies?”

Keith Ablow

Remember when…

…Fox News was consumed by the threat of terrorists streaming across the southern border dripping with Ebola?

Fox News Ebola

Remember when…

…the transmission of Ebola to a second American nurse constituted an “OUTBREAK?”

Fox Nation Ebola Outbreak

Remember when…

…Bill O’Reilly brought in Glenn Beck to accuse Obama of facilitating the spread of Ebola in Dallas because Dallas hates him (even though Dallas voted for Obama in larger majorities than he won nationally)?

Glenn Beck Ebolamania

Remember when…

…A Republican congressmen rushed to Fox News to feverishly accuse Obama of plotting to flood the U.S. with foreign Ebola patients?

Fox News Ebola to America

Stay tuned for more lies and hysteria from Fox News as the 2016 election heats up in the coming weeks and months.

[Addendum] In PolitiFact’s readers’ poll for Lie of the Year (as opposed to their editorial selection) the winner (loser?) was the statement that “Global warming is a hoax.” While PolitiFact attributed this statement to a losing GOP congressional candidate, it has also been proffered by many other Republican pundits and politicians including Jim Inhofe, the incoming chairman of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.

Unhinged Fox News Reporter Warns Of Immigrant Children Trained By ISIL To Kill Us

The frenzy of frightened Fox News figures who have been consumed by panic over the threat of ISIL terrorists invading our tranquil communities continues to grow in numbers and intensity. On Saturday morning a panel of business correspondents took up the issue on Fox’s Bulls and Bears (and Immigrant Children, oh my).

Fox News Kids Trained To Kill Us

The segment (video below) was introduced by host Brenda Buttner as “the ISIS border threat we may all regret if we don’t stop it now.” She summarized the imminent doom facing America from terrorists plotting to sneak across our porous southern border to wipe us out as we sleep. This gruesome prospect was presented as more than speculation and she wondered how many more warnings would be required before Washington “gets it.”. Of course she never offered any evidence that any terror suspects had entered the U.S. in this manner, or that there was any credible intelligence of it . She just unloaded a series of allegations without any factual basis.

That was enough for the first panelist, John Layfield, a retired professional wrestler, to spew a stream of unrelated assertions involving ISIL’s alleged blueprint for international terrorism and the presence of murderous drug cartels in Mexico. Layfield’s background makes him the perfect guest to provide analysis on these sort of national security issues. He was rebutted rather effectively by Gary B. Smith, a hedge fund manager, who wisely kept his commentary limited to his area of expertise, the economic aspects of securing the border. He questioned the efficacy of building a border fence for an estimated $22 billion when none of the perpetrators of 9/11 entered the country illegally and other border barriers like the Berlin Wall were commonly breached thousands of times a year.

But Stealing the thunder of prominent members of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society like Lindsey Graham, was Fox regular Tracy Byrnes. Her hysterical assessment of the looming threat was riddled with indignation that nobody was treating the situation with the appropriate measure of urgency.

“It’s really serious and this has been something that has been bothering me for a while now. We are not taking it serious enough. ISIS is here. I don’t care what anybody says. They’re here.”

How typical of a Fox News commentator to declare that she doesn’t care what anybody says. She has her own delusional, nightmare scenarios firmly affixed in her mind and she will not be distracted by reality. But she’s only just getting started. She goes on…

“What scares me the most, Brenda, is that they infiltrate the minds of children and when children cross the border everyone, you know, the tears start coming down. We want to take care of them, but so many of these kids are trained to hate us and potentially kill us. And yet we are just letting them in, welcoming them with open arms, paying for their medical, paying for everything and it’s just going to come back to bite us.”

Exactly! Somehow ISIL has gotten to these gullible waifs, who are fleeing violence in their native countries, and brainwashing them to hate the Americans who are providing them with safety, food, and health care. All the while these kids are plotting to grow up and cut our throats or blow up our shopping malls. Byrnes didn’t reveal where the terrorists were conducting this training or why children who have been rescued from lives of misery, danger, and fear would succumb to an ideology that just perpetuated it and was directed at their rescuers.

Surprisingly, other than Byrnes and Layfield, the panel was fairly united in dismissing the most outlandish claims by the Fear Caucus. The frantic whimpering of the bed-wetting set has been shown to be utterly without foundation. Recently PolitiFact assessed a claim by GOP/Tea Party Rep. Trent Franks, who said that “It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez (Mexico)” And except for the fact that it isn’t true and that we don’t know it, it was a pretty good soundbite. PolitFact rated it “mostly false,” while noting that similar false claims were made by Sen. Marco Rubio and many in the right-wing media such as the Daily Caller, Breitbart News, and Sean Hannity. PolitiFact also revealed that the source of the claim was the ultra-conservative organization, Judicial Watch. When asked for more information to affirm their allegations, JW’s president Tom Fitton simply refused.

Not to be outdone, Fox host Jeanine Pirro served up her own steaming plate of crazy with a paranoia drenched tirade that boosted the profile of ISIL over the tyrant King George of England, Jefferson Davis’ Confederacy, Hirohito’s Japan, Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, and even the genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler:

“Tonight America faces the single biggest threat in her more than 200-year history. Worse than what we faced in World War I, World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Al Qaeda on 9/11. […] The damage will be painful and it will be extensive. […] I’ve been telling you for months that you need to be afraid.”

Pirro’s grasp of history is pitifully weak. For the record, ISIL is, so far, responsible for the deaths of two Americans. They have a long way to go before they can be regarded as worse than World War I (116,000 fatalities), World War II (405,000), the Civil War (625,000), or even Al Qaeda who lag behind at 9,700 if you include 9/11 plus all casualties endured during both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (which, of course, are not all attributable to Al Qaeda). And on the basis of her stupendously ignorant raving, she boasts that “for months” she’s been telling her wretched viewers that they “need to be afraid.” How dumb do you need to be to continue following her advice?

The fanatics at Fox News are desperately trying to drive their viewers into a sky-is-falling state of psychotic distress, and they have no qualms about using blatant lies to achieve their ends. It’s a shameful and unethical tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

For more examples of Fox’s fear fetish…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

PolitiFact Proves Fox News Bias On ISIL Hearings – Also That Greg Gutfeld Is An Ass

On Tuesday Media Matters published their analysis of Fox News bias during coverage of a Senate hearing on President Obama’s plans for dealing with ISIL. Media Matters showed that during Fox’s broadcast they would air remarks by Republicans on the committee and then cut away when Democrats began to speak. The result was that Republicans were given twice as much airtime as Democrats on the allegedly “fair and balanced” network. This is an old tactic by Fox which News Corpse documented last year in another Senate hearing.

Today PolitiFact weighed in with an article seeking to confirm the data that Media Matters reported. They found that…

“Media Matters said that Fox News gave Republican senators twice as much air time as Democratic ones during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. They said Republicans got 16 minutes compared to the Democrats’ eight. That matches our count.

“We also found that other networks provided more time and more evenly divided time to members of both parties.

“We rate the claim True.”

Fox News Greg Gutfeld

This is not exactly breaking news. Media Matters is a reliably consistent source for accurate information about the biases and partisan excesses of right-wing media. What makes this interesting at this time is that it occurred almost simultaneously to a feverish rant by Fox’s Greg Gutfeld, co-host of The Five. Gutfeld was perturbed by reports that cited Media Matters research showing the obsession that Fox News has for the Benghazi hoax. The study revealed that Fox aired nearly 1,100 reports on the subject, most of which were decidedly slanted to the right. For instance, 97% of the congressional interviews on Fox relating to Benghazi were with Republicans.

The accuracy of Media Matters’ reporting, however, was immaterial to Gutfeld’s rightist indignation. He let loose on Media Matters saying that…

“…the left-wing hacks would just work from Media Matters’ press releases […] It’s much easier than doing original research to just read from a press release.”

That’s true. And it’s also hilariously ironic coming from a Fox News flunky. The reporting that Gutfeld was complaining about just happened to be unarguably correct, as noted by PolitiFact. But his griping over journalists using research from Media Matters is just plain stupid. Every media organization uses research from independent sources to augment their reporting. Often they latch onto providers with viewpoints that are aligned to their own. And, of course, Fox News is one of those media enterprises that does this. In fact, Fox’s Brit Hume gave a slobbering endorsement to one of the most blatantly partisan research outfits, the Media Research Center. Hume praised them saying…

“I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent and the team at the Media Research Center […] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”

So according to Gutfeld, Hume is a “lazy hack sitting with his laptop, covered in Cheetos.” And if that weren’t bad enough. Gutfeld must have entirely missed the scandal when Fox News was caught red-handed reporting verbatim from a Republican Senate press release as if it were their own reporting, complete with a typo that appeared on the original. And then there was the time that Fox’s Megyn Kelly did the same thing with a press release issued by the Republican National Committee, pretending it was authored by the Fox news staff.

Clearly Gutfeld doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s too focused on being the comic relief for the network, but instead comes off like the boneheaded sitcom neighbor who mistakenly thinks he is either funny or suave. In the end he is little more than a troll working for a network that has once again been proven to be an unrepentant purveyor of lies. And their practice of airing Democrat-free Senate hearing just insures that their audience of misinformed dimwits will remain ignorant.

And speaking of Fox News lies…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

FACT CHECK: ISIS Leader, Baghdadi, Was Released By Bush, Not Obama

In yet another example of journalistic malpractice, the folks at Fox News broadcast a number of reports that got the most significant facts completely wrong. In order to do so, they relied on the assertions of a single, uncorroborated account, and failed to do the most basic follow-up with the people in a position to know.

Fox News

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

The latest lie-riddled reporting on Fox concerned the circumstances of the capture and release of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Fox and other conservative media outlets are endeavoring to place the responsibility for Baghdadi’s brutal march through Iraq on President Obama. Representative commentaries include these by Fox hosts Jeanine Pirro and Megyn Kelly:

Pirro: The head of this band of savages is a man by the name of Abu al-Baghdadi. The new Osama Bin Laden. A man released by Obama in 2009, who started ISIS a year later.

Kelly: We are also learning more about the leader of the terror group, a man described as the new Bin Laden, the heir to Bin Laden. It turns out he had been in U.S. custody until 2009, over in Iraq, when he was then turned over to the Iraqi government as part of our troop drawdown. And then he was released.

On Pirro’s Saturday program she led into the subject with a mouth-foaming harangue about Obama’s “feckless” leadership and socialist designs on America. On Kelly’s primetime program she interviewed Col. Kenneth King who claimed to have been present when Baghdadi was transferred from the custody of U.S. forces to the Iraqis, who later allegedly released him to go on to form ISIS. However, an investigation by PolitiFact uncovered a very different story, confirmed by the Defense Department, and branding the Fox report as “false.”

“Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, also known as ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was held as a ‘civilian internee’ by U.S. Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “He was held at Camp Bucca. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time.”

Since the right-wing is so intent on assigning blame for Baghdadi’s campaign of terror on the president who was in office when he was set free, then according to their logic it is all Bush’s fault. But don’t expect Fox News to report the facts as laid out by actual journalists. They won’t even report the comments of their own witness, Col. King, who appeared on another network (ABC) and admitted that he “could be mistaken.” It turns out that he never knew the name of the man he presumed to be Baghdadi, he just thought there was a resemblance to the man he encountered. Nor will they report Col. King’s remarks to the Daily Beast where he downplayed the threat posed by Baghdadi, saying that “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.”

PolitiFact went on to note that, even if Col. King’s account were correct, and Baghdadi was still in custody in 2009, Obama still could not be held to blame for Baghdadi’s release. The terms of the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq required the U.S. to turn over all prisoners to the custody of Iraq’s criminal system. That agreement was negotiated and agreed to by the Bush administration in 2008.

Baghdadi and Bush

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So virtually everything reported by Fox News was wrong. And, not surprisingly, all of the misinformation leaned toward blaming President Obama for the mistakes of President Bush. It’a pattern that is all too familiar. Now that the truth has been revealed and confirmed, we can expect Fox to issue a correction at the earliest opportunity. And if you believe that you are probably already a dimwitted, gullible disciple of the Fox Disinformation Society.

Koch Brothers Tea Party Front Group Caught In An ObamaCare Lie (Again)

In the past few weeks Americans For Prosperity (AFP), the Koch brothers financed Tea Party propaganda outfit, has produced a couple of anti-ObamaCare ads that featured alleged “victims” of the health insurance reform. The campaign ended in embarrassment for AFP when the phony “horror stories” were revealed to be utterly false. Independent analysis of the insurance coverage available to the subjects of the ads proved that they were better off under ObamaCare than they were without it.

Koch Bros. Fatcat

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So AFP abandoned that strategy and released an ad that consisted of a lone spokeswoman making vague criticisms of ObamaCare in a tone of voice dripping with despondency and a tag line bemoaning that “It just doesn’t work.” However, even with this tactic of avoiding any verifiable content that might get them tied up in another counterfactual morass, they still managed to produce a thoroughly dishonest commercial that received a “False” rating from PolitiFact.

The principle claim in the new ad was that “millions are paying more and getting less.” However, as PolitiFact’s research shows, there is no truth to the claim:

PolitiFact: Americans are getting more benefits under the law in a number of ways — including, in some cases, being able to buy affordable insurance for the first time.

In addition, insurance purchased in the individual and small group marketplace must meet 10 essential health benefits. This includes coverage for emergency services and hospitalization, prescription drugs, free preventative coverage for things ranging from basic immunizations to HIV screening, and maternity care.

The law also caps out-of-pocket costs, providing greater protection from exorbitant hospital bills. The most a person could pay for health care in a year is $6,300; the most a family can pay is $12,600.

Before the law passed, some insurers capped annual or lifetime benefits, forcing people who thought they were covered to pay large hospital bills once they passed the threshold.

People with pre-existing conditions are also seeing a lot more benefits, since they previously couldn’t buy a policy at all.

PolitiFact concludes by saying that “At worst, they’re paying more to get more, though in many cases they’re actually paying less.” They also include a chart that shows that, while insurance premiums have risen since ObamaCare became law, the rise is slower than in any of the previous fourteen years. What critics of ObamaCare always seem to forget is that before it came along insurance companies routinely raised premiums, canceled plans, narrowed doctor networks, and declined coverage. They also refused patients with preexisting conditions, terminated patients when they filed claims, and capped benefits at amounts far below realistic costs for care.

Prior to ObamaCare it was always the insurance company that came between the patient and the doctor. And their motivation was strictly related to increasing profits. ObamaCare’s mandates are aimed at improving health care and medical outcomes, not enriching corporations and their executives.

As for Americans For Prosperity, the Koch brothers, and their PR division, Fox News, you have to wonder, if ObamaCare is so terrible, then why do they have to repeatedly lie about it to make it look bad? Why can’t they find any real horror stories? Why can’t they tell the truth about the economics of the program? Why do they so feverishly try to frighten people away?

Fox News Hypes PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year, One Week After Saying Never Trust PolitiFact

It’s time once again for the unveiling of the “Lie of the Year” by the fact-checkers at PolitiFact. This year the dis-honoree is President Barack Obama for his promotional assurance that under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

Pretty much everybody, including Obama, now concedes that making such a blanket statement was unwise and unsustainable. There were signs early on that some plans would be terminated because they fell so far below the standards for acceptable coverage that they were effectively useless. Obama could have made small modifications to the statement that would have been easier to defend, such as: “if you like your health care plan, what the fuck are you thinking?” However, I’m pretty sure that comment wouldn’t have made it past the first draft.

The whole concept of liking one’s health care plan is rather comical to begin with. How often have you ever heard someone bring up in casual conversation how much they liked their health insurance provider? Insurance companies are rarely the object of much affection. Especially for those who get their coverage from the private market rather than from an employer. And that small subset of the population (about 5%) is all that is affected by this.

Whether or not the President’s statement deserved to be the “Lie of the Year” is subject to debate, just as every year’s selection is. But it is notable that PolitiFact’s explanation for their choice began by saying that…

“It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.

‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.

“But the promise was impossible to keep.”

A promise, of course, is completely different than a lie. If it was the President’s intention to deliver on the promise, but in the course of legislative compromises and flawed implementation it failed to materialize as expected, than it was not actually a lie at all. But it is obvious that PolitiFact’s analysis is aimed at the distance of the intention from the outcome, not the veracity of the statement itself. And that’s fine since most people apply the same reasoning with regard to the truthiness of a public figure. Also, Obama didn’t help himself by initially trying to defend or rewrite his original comment. Although he does get credit for eventually owning up, apologizing, and taking steps to correct the matter.

The selection of this statement by the President is certain get a lot of attention from the press, particularly the conservative media that eats it up whenever they can shine a spotlight on presidential missteps. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Fox News has leaped to the front of the line to hype PolitiFact’s findings. Ironically, it was Fox Nation that was first out of the gate with a simple headline at the top of their page saying “Politifact: Lie of the Year!”

Fox Nation LOTY

Coming from a website that has been documented to be riddled with lies (see Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth) obliterates any moral authority they have to disparage the honesty of others. What’s more, the impact of their reporting might have been greater had they not posted this headline just last week: “Never Trust Politifact Again.”

Fox Nation Never Trust

To recap: On November 5, Fox admonishes its audience to never trust PolitiFact, and on November 13, one week later, they feature a PolitiFact ruling at the top of their website. This really says more about Fox than it does about PolitiFact, or even Obama.

For the record, while PolitiFact selected Obama’s comment as their “Lie of the Year,” they also posted the runners-up. It is not unreasonable to expect the winner to get the majority of the attention from the media, however, there is a notable trend amongst the year’s other lies that ought not to be dismissed. Most conspicuously that out of the remaining nine lies in the top ten, eight of them are from republicans or conservatives.

  • Ann Coulter: No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.
  • Betsy McCaughey: Obamacare will question your sex life.
  • Bloggers: Obamacare provision will allow “forced home inspections” by government agents.
  • Ted Cruz: Says “President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception” to Obamacare.
  • Chain email: A United Nations working group has “adopted a proposed agenda” to enable member nations to “disarm civilians within their borders.”
  • Barack Obama: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “is transparent.”
  • Saxby Chambliss: The United States has never stood by and seen innocent people slaughtered to the extent that’s happening in Syria.
  • Chain email: Says the word “Dhimmitude” is on page 107 of the health care law and means “Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance.”
  • Michele Bachmann: The IRS is going to be “in charge” of “a huge national database” on health care that will include Americans’ “personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets.”

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So while Obama may have captured the big trophy for the year, conservative liars were far more prolific in fabricating and disseminating disinformation in pursuit of an agenda that they obviously don’t believe merits honest discourse. It illustrates a pattern of behavior that marks the right-wing as incorrigibly deceitful and wholly untrustworthy. At least President Obama apologized, a gesture that is foreign to the unprincipled cretins on the right.

12 “Pants On Fire” Myths About ObamaCare

Yesterday the Tea Party Texan, Ted Cruz, wrapped up a 21 hour talk-athon during which he couldn’t articulate a single fact that might convince an open-minded person that ObamaCare is the nightmare that he alleges. Rather, he rambled aimlessly through Dr. Seuss recitations, White Castle burger recollections, and Nazi references.

The truth about the Affordable Care Act is something that Republicans are deathly afraid of – that it will be effective and popular – which is why they lie about it so often and so flagrantly.

What Cruz could not do in 21 hours, PolitiFact has summed up nicely in a few paragraphs. They posted an article that contains sixteen “myths” that have been promulgated by right-wing disinformers, complete with links to detailed explanations that expose the brazen dishonesty of the health care law’s opponents. Included are familiar lies like “the health care law rations care, like systems in Canada and Great Britain,” and that “Congress is exempt from Obamacare.” But it is notable that of the sixteen lies listed, twelve of them earned the worst award that PolitiFact gives, the “Pants On Fire” designation.

As a public service, I have created a handy infographic with the 12 worst lies about ObamaCare as documented by PolitiFact. Please share this with your Tea Party infected friends and family.

ObamaCare Myths

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