By Climate Guest Blogger on Jul 18, 2012 at 9:20 am
By Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts
On Fox Business Network this Tuesday evening, Neil Cavuto argued that we should respond to the deadly heat wave that is gripping the nation by drilling for more oil:
It is hot and I’m bothered. Nothing like a heat wave to burn my energy butt. This country is roasting, screaming for energy and we’re still blocking so much energy. We’ve got no drilling, just spending more green on green that invariably comes up red.
In fact, U.S. oil production is at its highest level in a decade!
“The longer this [heat wave] drags on, the more the issue of climate change will be raised,” moaned Cavuto.
“A very very shaky science is being used to formulate public policy.” concluded Asnan. “Thank you, David ‘Brainiac’ Asman,” replied Cavuto, before turning to a “Fox Body Alert” on swimsuit model Kate Upton.
Even though Congress is likely to pass a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit and avert default, the U.S. still faces the very real possibility that credit rating agencies will downgrade our debt for the first time in history. S&P and Moody’s both indicated that the framework offered by John Boehner (R-OH) would be inadequate to prevent a downgrade from our current AAA rating. A downgrade will likely cost $100 billion a year, wiping out Congress’ deficit reduction efforts and making it more costly for consumers to borrow money. Both Republicans and Democrats have decried the possibility of downgrade as seriously damaging to the U.S. economy.
Yet Fox News’ vice president of business news Neil Cavuto recently said during an interview with John Stossel that he “would welcome a downgrade” because it would serve as a wake-up call to the American people:
CAVUTO: I would welcome a downgrade. I really would. I think it would be the pain from which we have a gain.
STOSSEL: Maybe that would wake people up.
Stossel had said earlier in the interview that a downgrade would not be good for the economy. Yahoo News notes that the markets are seriously spooked about the global ramifications of a downgrade and many on Wall Street “have moved into gold, silver and other commodities, or are building short dollar positions in the case of an eventual downgrade.”
S&P has been the most hard line about cuts, insisting on $4 trillion in cuts to keep the country’s AAA rating intact. Under that yardstick, the current deal will fail to preserve the U.S.’s rating. While the major credit rating agencies have rightly faced criticism for exploiting the debt crisis to push their own agenda, it’s disturbing that Cavuto is rooting for an event that would be so costly and damaging to his own country’s economy.
As Americans and the world are gripped by the ongoing crisis in Egypt, news organizations have devoted wall-to-wall coverage to the protests — that is, except for Fox News, which interrupted its news programing to bring viewers what amounted to an infomerical for a new product from Fox’s parent company, News Corp. This came at a critical moment in Egypt situation, as the protests in Cairo turned deadly.
But at 11:00 AM Eastern Time, while MSNBC and CNN ran breaking news alerts and reported live from Cairo, Fox and Fox Business reported live from the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan to bring viewers the unveiling ceremony for News Corp latest product, an iPad newspaper called “The Daily.” Fox News aired a full half hour of the promotional event, featuring NewsCorp chairman Rupert Murdoch giving a hard sell of his latest media foray.
At 11:30, Fox returned to its news coverage of the winter storm devastating the Midwest, only to interrupt its programming once again a half hour later for a lengthy interview with Murdoch. Viewers were treated to Fox host Neil Cavuto tossing up softball questions about Murdoch’s business acumen and his bold new product for nearly 20 minutes before the news network finally returned to the news.
Watch a compilation of host Bill Hemmer awkwardly transitioning from the “historic” winter storm to the “history [making]” NewsCorp event, the event, and the interview:
A screen grab of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox at 11:12:
Even Cavuto couldn’t ignore the obvious conflict of interest of his “news” network pimping its parent company’s new product, but nonetheless, Cavuto reliably defended Fox and Murdoch:
We are continuing to monitor [Egypt] and I am already getting emails and bloggers saying ‘you are only covering this because your boss is Rupert Murdoch.’ That might have something to do with it, but this is a big event in and of itself how you look at news. I may remind those in news organizations that whenever Apple comes out with a product, whether they get top executives there or not, they seem to go full throttle on that product announcement because these tend to be cultural events that go beyond a given company.
Last November, the Washington Post’s ombudsman questioned whether the Post was “being aggressive enough in reporting on troubles confronting Kaplan,” a subsidiary of the Post’s parent company. The mere question of a conflict of interest was enough to earn criticism from the Post’s internal watchdog, as it should for any legitimate news organization.
Fox, however, is happy to run nearly an hour of explicit promotional programing with little news value for its parent company, anchored by its senior vice president for business news, while major events unfold at home and abroad — all without any hint of serious self-reflection.
Citing Rand Paul’s victory in the GOP Kentucky Senate primary against establishment choice Trey Grayson last night, Neil Cavuto asked RNC Chairman Michael Steele today about “dysfunction in the Republican Party” as the GOP establishment clashes with the Tea Party. Steele denied tension, saying he told the Tea Party in Kentucky that “if we have a situation where your guy prevails, we’re backing that candidate, we’re very much looking to supporting Rand and if our guy prevails, we’d like the same support.”
Cavuto responded that Tea Partiers had told him that they view the GOP establishment negatively, leading Steele to reply, “I’m telling you as the national chairman of the party there’s no bad blood between the Republican National Committee and the Tea Parties.” Cavuto persisted, however, in claiming that there was tension between the “establishment” and the Tea Party. Steele responded by saying that he didn’t even know who the Republican establishment is, leading Cavuto to note that Steele is the establishment:
CAVUTO: Michael, the Tea Partiers didn’t like Senator Bennett.
STEELE: That’s fine.
CAVUTO: Fairly or not, they didn’t like him. The established Republican Party did.
STEELE: Ok, that may be. But wait a minute.
CAVUTO: I’m just saying that for you to say there is no angst between the two…
STEELE: Neil, don’t mix. Please stop.
CAVUTO: There clearly is.
STEELE: Please do not mix the Republican Party establishment, I don’t know who that is, by the way.
CAVUTO: You, you, you!
STEELE: With activists, I, no…
CAVUTO: You, you, you, you, you.
STEELE: Neil, have you been reading my press lately, I don’t think the last thing you could say about me is that I’m part of the establishment.
CAVUTO: Well, that’s true because everybody hates you. I’m kidding.
Yesterday, Neil Cavuto hosted Dan Stein, president of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), to talk about a new Department of Labor initiative, “We Can Help!,” aimed at expanding its effort to enforce wage and hour rules by encouraging low-wage and immigrant workers to turn in employers who are shortchanging their pay. According to Cavuto and his guest, protecting unauthorized workers from wage theft is “bizarre” and “just weird”:
CAVUTO: They’re raiding a work site in this case — and when they say they’re the good guys, they’re telling the illegals on that given site, we’re the good guys and we’re not going to deport you, we’re actually going after the guy who hired you. And if you have been paid a fraction of what you should’ve gotten paid, then we’re going to correct that. Now that gets bizarre. [...]
STEIN: What we have is an administration that’s positioning itself for a big amnesty program. And they don’t want to deport anybody unless they’re like a serial murder or a rapist or a terrorist . Everybody else they’re saying should be allowed to stay. And that’s why they’re setting up these programs that are sending conflicting signals and are making us — the American taxpayer — feel like our government is incoherent.
CAVUTO: It’s just weird, it’s just weird.
Protecting undocumented workers from exploitation isn’t absurd, it’s enforcing the law. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) points out that, “Federal courts and state and federal agencies have consistently held that core labor standards, including the right to organize, to a minimum wage, and to protection from discrimination, cover all workers, regardless of immigration status.”
Cavuto and Stein take the simplistic view that making sure undocumented immigrants are paid a decent wage rewards illegal behavior. However, they fail to note that shortchanging unauthorized workers hurts everyone who is employed in the given industry where the exploitation is taking place. Unscrupulous employers who hire and abuse undocumented labor drive down wages and working conditions for all the Americans who work alongside them. They also put honest businesses who want to abide by immigration and labor laws in a position in which they are forced to compete on an uneven playing field. In De Canas v. Bica, the Supreme Court itself recognized that “acceptance by illegal aliens of jobs on substandard terms as to wages and working conditions can seriously depress wage scales and working conditions of citizens and legally admitted aliens; and employment of illegal aliens under such conditions can diminish the effectiveness of labor unions.”
Contrary to what Stein implies, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis’ job is to guard the welfare of the American worker. She can’t fix or enforce the nation’s immigration laws, but her new program does seek to at least remedy some of the negative effects of the broken immigration system. In the end, “We Can Help!” doesn’t specifically target immigrant workers, rather, it’s aimed at improving the low-wage sectors in which many of them work.
Finally, deportations under President Obama have actually increased by 5 percent. Though administration officials have promised that their focus would be on deporting the “worst of the worst,” two-thirds of the 387,790 deported immigrants in fiscal year 2009 were non-criminals — much to the dismay of immigration advocates.
On Fox News yesterday, Neil Cavuto argued that Democrats want to get health care reform done before the Easter break because “they sure as heck don’t want to see those town hallers.” Cavuto, who was interviewing Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), then claimed that Democrats “agree the polls are increasingly looking worse for health care support.” Watch it:
In fact, Democrats — and the polls — don’t agree. Joel Benenson, the White House’s pollster of choice, argues in a new polling memo that “support for President Barack Obama’s health care plan has been building in the wake of his State of the Union speech in late January.” According to Benenson, since February 1, “44 percent of those tested in national surveys support the bill while 45 percent oppose it — a sea change from the 38 percent favor/52 percent oppose average of polls conducted in the three months prior.”
It isn’t just Obama’s pollster who has identified this shift. As Matt Yglesias pointed out yesterday, Pollster.com’s average of polls shows public opinion trending more favorably towards passing health care reform.
Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto irresponsibly pushed the baseless rumor that President Obama bought Rep. Jim Matheson’s (D-UT) vote on health care reform by offering his brother a federal judgeship. First, Cavuto invited the originator of the conspiracy theory, Weekly Standard’s John McCormack. For his part, McCormack undermined his own argument. “Was there an explicit quid pro quo? Probably not,” he said. Next, Cavuto invited Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who reiterated her call for an investigation into the matter. But Bachmann, too, acknowledged the lack of any basis for the claim. “We don’t know — that’s the question,” she said. Finally, Jeri Thomspon — Fred Thompson’s wife — brazenly told Cavuto she “felt sorry” for Scott Matheson, a victim of this right-wing smear, because “he’s going to have this stigma” for his entire judicial career. Watch a compilation:
Rep. Matheson issued a statement to Fox, stating, “The Weekly Standard’s piece is rubbish.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the right-wing allegation is “very silly.” Still, in a sign of its eminent “fairness,” Fox News is willing to “balance” the truth with a heavy dose of gossip.
Republican Sen. Robert Bennett also disputed the right-wing allegation:
“Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson’s nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time,” spokeswoman Tara DiJulio said.
In recent days, conservatives have seized on the cold snap gripping the southeast region of the country to cast doubt on global warming. “Hey Al Gore: we want our global warming, and we want it now,” said Newsbusters’ Mark Finkelstein. In his newsletter today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wondered about “Al Gore’s explanation for this miserable, persistent chill,” and the National Review’s Mona Charen claimed that the “cold snap has spurred the ‘warmists’ to spin control.”
For the past week, Fox News host Neil Cavuto has been giving a daily “Fox News global warming alert,” which consists of him telling viewers how cold it is. “It is still cold,” Cavuto said yesterday, adding that it’s “not your recent garden variety global warming.” “It’s freezing across the entire globe,” Cavuto shouted on Saturday. Former Nixon speechwriter and actor Ben Stein responded, “Maybe somebody in the government will wake up and say, ‘Hey, it’s colder. It’s not hotter.’ Maybe all this talk about global warming needs to be rethought.” Watch a compilation:
Of course, a short-term cold snap in a few isolated regions does not disprove global climate change. In fact, the cold snap appears unrelated to climate change. As the AP reported, “experts interviewed…did not connect the current frigid blast to climate change,” instead pointing to “arctic oscillation”:
In the atmosphere, large rivers of air travel roughly west to east around the globe between the Arctic and the tropics. This air flow acts like a fence to keep Arctic air confined. But recently, this air flow has become bent into a pronounced zigzag pattern, meandering north and south. If you live in a place where it brings air up from the south, you get warm weather. In fact, record highs were reported this week in Washington state and Alaska. But in the eastern United States, like some other unlucky parts of the globe, Arctic air is swooping down from the north.
Temperatures in “most places” are actually “above average for this time of year.” Record high and low temperatures are set every year, but there have been consistently more highs than lows in recent decades, as the National Center for Atmospheric Research demonstrates:
For months and months, conservatives blamed President Obama for the slumping stock market. “Obama, since he’s elected, has tanked the markets,” Fox News’ Sean Hannity said in March. Now that the Dow has rebounded to over 10,000, what are the conservatives saying? On his Fox News today, Neil Cavuto claimed the stock market rebound is evidence of a “Bush recovery”:
Last month while speaking at a tea party protest, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) suggested that his state might have to secede from the union if, in his words, “Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto asked Perry about his comments. Perry responded by denying he was a secessionist, repeating his claim that the Obama administration’s policies would lead Americans to consider secession, and then refusing to forswear considering secession himself:
PERRY: I didn’t say that. What I said was, ‘We live in a great country…and I saw no reason at all for us to be even talking about seceding, but if Washington continues to force these programs on the states, if Washington continues to disregard the tenth amendment, who knows what happens.’
CAVUTO: So are you saying then, Gov Perry, if that is the case and Washington continues on this front…that you would consider that option?
PERRY: Here’s what I’m saying…I love the concept of the tea parties and people using that first amendment right and I hope that Washington starts paying attention to the tenth amendment.
Perry and the Republican Governors Association are holding a fundraiser tonight that they have dubbed “Tea Party 2.0.”