What is happening to Fox News? In an ocean of misinformation and fear-mongering, we have lately seen a few islands of reason and (dare I say it) liberal philosophy.
1) WHEN CHRIS WALLACE DISMANTLED JEB BUSH’S PLAN TO SLASH TAXES FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS
In September, after Jeb Bush, a typical Republican champion of corporations and the wealthy, proposed the tax plan he would push if elected president, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called him out on it.
Wallace pointed that conservative tax analysts calculated it would add $1 trillion to $3 trillion to the deficit over ten years, and that the plan mainly benefits the rich: middle class earners would see a rise in income of 2.9%, while the wealthiest 1% would see an 11.6% increase (the lower class, the poor, seemed not worth mentioning).
It’s a massive disparity. A 2.9% increase for $40,000 of after-tax income is $1,160; an 11.6% increase of $1,000,000 of after-tax income is $116,000. Crumbs for ordinary people, fortunes for the wealthy.
Wallace said, “You would save, under your tax plan, $3 million. Does Jeb Bush need a $3 million tax cut?” Yes, a wealthy man wanting to cut taxes for the wealthy. Weird how that works.
Bush awkwardly stumbled through his platitudes: Giving more money to already extremely rich people and corporations would give ordinary workers new jobs and pay raises, spurring huge economic growth.
He insisted the growth would make the deficit problem, the massive loss of revenue due to tax cuts for the rich, disappear. Wallace reminded him that Bush’s father, George H. W. Bush, mocked this idea as “voodoo economics.”
Bush claimed his tax plan benefits would go “disproportionately to the middle class,” a lie so bold Wallace seemed taken aback. “Forgive me, sir, but…but 2.9 seems like less than 11.6.”
Quickly, Bush did a 180-degree spin move, saying that the richest 1% pay most of the taxes, so “of course tax cuts for everybody is going to generate more for people paying a lot more.”
If only Wallace had attacked again. “The rich pay the most in taxes” is not a valid reason for cutting taxes for rich people at higher rates. The wealthiest 1% own 43% of all wealth; the top 20% own 93%…the bottom 80% of Americans own 7% of the wealth; the bottom 50% own 2.5%. This is getting worse over time. During the last 35 years, nearly all income growth went to the very rich. Everyone else’s earnings stagnated or declined.
If the rich were losing their percentage of the wealth, then you could make a case for reducing their taxes. But if they are continuing to increase their share of all income, that’s a reason to increase their taxes.
2) WHEN SHEP SMITH IMPLIED THE IDEOLOGY OF OBAMA AND THE POPE MIGHT BE UNIVERSAL, NOT “POLITICAL” (AKA “LIBERAL”)
When Pope Francis visited the U.S. several weeks ago, Bill Hemmer wondered on Fox News if the Pope’s speech to Congress was going to get “political.”
Shep came out of nowhere and responded with a shocking speech:
I think we are in a weird place in the world when the following things are considered political. Five things, I’m going to tick them off.
These are the five things that were on his and our president’s agenda. Caring for the marginalized and the poor — that’s now political. Advancing economic opportunity for all. Political? Serving as good stewards of the environment. Protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom globally. Welcoming [and] integrating immigrants and refugees globally. And that’s political?…
These seem like universal truths that we should be good to others who have less than we do, that we should give shelter to those who don’t have it. I think these were the teachings in the Bible of Jesus. They’re the words of the pope, they’re the feelings of the president.
3) THAT TIME CHRIS WALLACE DESTROYED CARLY FIORINA OVER THE FAKE PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS
During the Republican debate last month, Carly Fiorina angrily spouted, “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully-formed fetus, on the table, it’s heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
She was referencing undercover videos that were deceptively edited by an anti-abortion group to make it appear as if Planned Parenthood was selling fetus body parts for profit. The tapes were fraudulent, and Planned Parenthood was cleared of wronging by the federal government and many states that launched investigations.
Yet the tapes did not include the scene Fiorina describes, only someone speaking about such an alleged event.
In an interview, Chris Wallace asked her, “Do you acknowledge what every fact checker has found, that as horrific as that scene is, it was only described on the video…there is no actual footage of the incident that you just mentioned?”
Stiffening, Fiorina snapped, “No, I don’t accept it at all. I’ve seen the footage and I find it amazing, actually, that all these supposed ‘fact checkers’ in the mainstream media claim this doesn’t exist, they’re trying to attack the authenticity of the videotape. I haven’t found a lot of people in the mainstream media who’ve ever watched these things.”
Nice. She won’t acknowledge there is no footage of a living fetus waiting to be cut open. It does exist. Really. She’s seen it. The corporate media, including Fox News apparently, just declined to watch it or include it in their round-the-clock coverage of the alleged scandal. If someone calls you out on your bullshit, just blame the media.
Fiorina went on to say, “I will continue to dare anyone who wants to continue to fund Planned Parenthood to watch the videos. And anyone who wants to challenge me will first have to prove to me that they watched it.”
Prove to you they watched a clip that doesn’t exist? A tall order. Also, what’s with all the “dares”? You’re going into politics, not the playground.
Wallace then outlined all the women’s health services Planned Parenthood provides besides abortion, but sadly didn’t connect the dots for Fiorina: that Planned Parenthood services are helping end abortions and that federal funds can’t be used for abortions, meaning Fiorina’s call to defund the organization is an exercise in ignorance.
4) WHEN MEGYN KELLY LAUGHED AT A GUEST WHO SAID AHMED MOHAMED, THE BOY WHO INVENTED A CLOCK, WAS BEING “PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.”
In September, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to his Texas high school to show his engineering teacher. Another teacher thought it was a bomb, the principal and school staff questioned Ahmed, and called the police.
The police determined it was not an explosive, but arrested Ahmed for bringing a “hoax bomb,” a fake meant to spread fear–even though Ahmed insisted it was just a clock. He was taken to juvenile detention and not allowed to call his parents. Many Americans suspected he would have been treated differently had he been white.
In her Fox News report, Megyn Kelly said to former police detective Mark Furhman (former because of racist comments and a perjury conviction) that “you’ve got to feel bad for the kid. The kid did not do anything wrong.”
Furhman said, “I don’t feel sorry for Ahmed, because he offered no explanation to the police. He wouldn’t cooperate. He was passive aggressive by–”
Kelly cut him off, sounding incredulous: “Passive aggressive?” Unable to hold back laughter, she managed, “How? He’s a 14-year-old kid with cuffs on him!”
It’s funny because there was no evidence whatsoever that Ahmed was uncooperative or passive aggressive. Props to Kelly for mocking this lie. If only she hadn’t spent the rest of the report defending the actions of police and refusing to condemn ethnic stereotyping.
5) THE TIME SHEP SMITH DEMOLISHED KIM DAVIS AND HER SUPPORTERS
No guest was destroyed in the making of this epic commentary. Shep did this one alone.
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, refused to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples, was briefly imprisoned for breaking federal law, and then was comfortably accommodated by keeping her job but no longer having to put her name on marriage licenses.
Shep Smith attacked her and her followers for supporting an end to gay marriages using religion as justification. He said:
This is the same crowd that says “we don’t want Sharia law. Don’t let them come in here and start telling us what to do. Keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government.”
…the Supreme Court of the United States says that you can’t have things being okay for one group of people and not okay for another group of people. This is not unprecedented. They did it when they said that black and white people couldn’t marry… And now they’ve said straight people and gay people can also all get married.
But haters are going to hate. And we thought that what this woman wanted was an accommodation, which they’ve now granted her — something that worked for everybody, but it’s not what they want.