By Daryl Cagle, MSNBC.com - 12/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Canada's broadcasting regulator has abandoned its attempt to change a regulation that prohibits the dissemination of false or misleading news.
The committee was concerned that the regulation violated a 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, which found that the Charter of Rights provision protecting freedom of expression meant a person could not be charged for spreading false information.
After ignoring the committee's letters for years, CRTC finally relented and said in December it would consider changing the regulation to apply only in cases when broadcasters know the information they are sharing is untrue and when it “endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.”
But the CRTC's call for public input on the proposal resulted in a tidal wave of angry responses from Canadians who said they feared such a move would open the door to Fox TV-style news and reduce their ability to determine what is true and what is false.In the face of the outcry, the regulations committee, which is composed of both MPs and senators, met last Thursday and decided it would no longer pursue the matter with the CRTC.
1. Fox Falsely Claims: WI Gov. Walker Is "Actually Doing What He Campaigned On"PolitiFact: Walker Did Not "'Campaign On' His Union Bargaining Plan." On February 22, PolitiFact Wisconsin gave a "false" rating to the claim that Walker campaigned on the proposal to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights:a. Gingrich: Walker Is "Actually Doing What He Campaigned On." During the February 24 edition of On the Record, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich said:But you have to put Scott Walker in context. After having been elected three times as county executive of the largest government in the state, Milwaukee County, he campaigned for a year-and-a-half on a very clear program. Nothing he's doing is new. Everything he's doing was in his platform. It's what the people voted on.
[...] And the governor's now executing - this seems to be a shock to Democrats. He's actually doing what he campaigned on.
The contrast with President Obama breaking his word this week is startling. I mean, Scott Walker is doing what he said he would do. [Fox News, On the Record, 2/24/11, accessed via Nexis]b. Asman: Walker "Did Announce When He Was Running For Governor This Is What He Was Going To Do." During the February 25 edition of America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman said:
ASMAN: The bill strips most public sector unions of collective bargain or at least some of their collective bargaining privileges. [...]LEE HAWKINS, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I don't know, but I think this is indicative of what we're going to see in the future. He's from that young new faction of the Republican base that's been dying to have this ideological debate with the unions probably since he was a teenager watching Ronald Reagan on television.PolitiFact: Walker Did Not Campaign On Proposal To "Sharply Curb Collective Bargaining Rights"
And he campaigned on the deficit issue. So basically he's actually following through on what he campaigned on, and what he is going to happen as we're going to see a fierce debate on this and many others.
ASMAN: I'm glad you brought that up because he did announce when he was running for governor this is what he was going to do. No surprises. And Mitch Daniels did the same thing in Indiana. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 2/25/11, accessed via Nexis]At a Feb. 21, 2011 news conference. A reporter asked if the move to limit union power was payback for pro-union moves made by Democrats in the past."It's not a tit for tat," Walker responded. "The simple matter is I campaigned on this all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years."
Let's sum up our research.
Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan.
But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.
We rate his statement False. [PolitiFact Wisconsin, 2/22/11]
2. Fox Airs Cropped Video To Suggest Former NEA Official Said He Does Not "Care About The Children"
Hannity show crop's video, suggesting that Former NEA Official Chanin Does Not "Care About The Children." From the February 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity:HANNITY: Let me show both of you. This is the former National Education Association General Counsel on why the NEA is so effective. I'm playing this because it is my belief that rank and file are often abused. Rank and file money goes to the unions. Unions support Democratic candidates. Democratic candidates funnel exorbitant benefits to them that they kick the can down the road and can't afford. But do they care about the children? You decide. We will roll this tape.
CHANIN (video clip): It is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them.
HANNITY: Not because we care about children. Not because we have creative ideas. Not because of the merits of our position. Mike, do you find that as offensive as I do?
HANNITY: He said it's not because we care about children. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/24/11]]
In Fact, Chanin Did Not Say NEA Doesn't "Care About Children" From Chanin's July 2009 speech (the portions in bold show the misleadingly cropped quote used by Hannity):And that brings me to my final, and most important point. Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees. [NEA, 7/6/09] WATCH:
3. Fox Pushes Apples-To-Oranges Comparison Of Public And Private Pay
a. Kelly: Public Sector Workers Make More That Private Sector Counterparts. During the February 21 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly stated "A closer look at the salaries of public and private sector employees in Wisconsin reveals quite a gap." A graphic showing "average annual pay" in Wisconsin in 2009 was then aired.
After reading the graphic, Kelly said: "What a difference. It used to be if you went to work for the state government, you would make less, but it was worth it, because you would have good benefits, good health care, nice fat pension, that kind of thing. So your salary would be lower. You can see from that full-screen we just showed you, that graphic, that that's no longer the case." [Fox News, America Live, 2/21/11]
b. Huckabee: "Public Union Workers [Make] 30% Better Wages [And] 70% Better Benefits Than Their Private Sector Counterparts." Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee falsely claimed that public union workers make "30% better wages" and "70% better benefits than their private sector counterparts." From Fox & Friends. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 02/25/11]
EPI Study: WI Public Employees Earn "4.8% Less ... Per Hour" Than Private Sector Counterparts
EPI: "Wisconsin Public Employees Earn 4.8% Less In Total Compensation Per Hour Than Comparable Full-Time Employees In Wisconsin's Private Sector." A study published February 10 by the think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that when "[c]omparisons controlling for education, experience," and other factors are taken into account, "Wisconsin public employees earn 4.8% less in total compensation per hour than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin's private sector." [EPI, "Are Wisconsin Public Employees Over-compensated?" 2/10/11]
EPI: "Workers With A Bachelor's Degree Or More ... Are Compensated Between $20,000 ... To Over $82,000 A Year Less" Than Private Sector Counterparts. The EPI report also included a graphic showing the average compensation for public and private sector employees in Wisconsin by education.
4. Fox Had To Correct False Claim That "61 Percent" Of Americans "In Favor Of Taking [Bargaining Rights] Away" Kilmeade: On the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade discussed the results of a recent USA Today/Gallup poll to falsely claim that "61 percent" of those polled are "in favor of taking [collective bargaining rights] away." From the broadcast:KILMEADE: I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here is the question that was posed, should you take away - will you favor or are you in disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers? Sixty-one percent in favor of taking it away. Thirty-three percent oppose. Six percent up in the air. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]Fox Issued An On-Air Correction For Reversing The Results Of The Poll. Kilmeade issued a correction during the final minute of Fox & Friends - 44 minutes after the error - saying: "I want to correct a poll that we did about 22 minutes ago from Gallup. Sixty-one percent oppose taking collective bargaining away from those people in Wisconsin; 33 percent in favor. I had it reversed. I apologize." In fact, the poll asked if people would oppose a similar law in their own states. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]
In Fact, USA Today/Gallup Poll Results Showed "61% Would Oppose A Law Similar To [The] Proposal In Wisconsin"A graphic claiming that "61 percent" responded "favor" to the question "Collective bargaining -- take it away: favor or oppose?" was aired on-screen during the segment:
In the poll conducted on February 21, USA Today and Gallup found that 61 percent of those polled would oppose a law similar to the one Gov. Walker is proposing in Wisconsin. From the article accompanying the poll results (emphasis added):Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed cutting union rights for most state government workers and making them pay more for benefits. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa and other states with Republican governors are considering similar laws. [USA Today, 2/22/11]
5. Fox Uses Dubious Rasmussen Poll To Claim Public Backs Walker, Not Unions
a. Hannity: "The People Support The Governor." Citing the Rasmussen poll during the February 22 broadcast of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity revealed the results of a show poll on whether his viewers supported Walker or the unions:
b. O'Reilly Uses Rasmussen Poll To Discredit Gallup Poll. During the February 23 edition of his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly cited the Rasmussen poll in order to discredit a Gallup poll on the same topic:Polling Experts Say Rasmussen's Poll "Biased Responses" Silver: "Because Of The Problems With Question Design ...Disregard The Rasmussen Reports Poll." Polling expert Nate Silver analyzed the Rasmussen poll and concluded that "[t]he poll, which included people that Rasmussen deemed to be 'likely voters' from across the country, found that 48 percent of respondents agreed more with Mr. Walker in the dispute, while 38 percent agreed more with 'the union for teachers and other state employees.' That question, though, was the fourth one Rasmussen asked in the survey - and the questions that came before it may have biased the responses."
Blumenthal: "Rasmussen's Results Raise More Questions Than They Answer." Pollster Mark Blumenthal's analysis of Rasmussen's poll similarly argued that the order in which the questions were asked of respondents could have biased the response. He further argued: "The more typical approach would involve asking a more general version of question one ('how closely have you been following the dispute between the Governor of Wisconsin and the public employee unions in Wisconsin?') and then go immediately to something like question four." [The Huffington Post, 2/21/11]
6. Other Polls Show Widespread Support For Collective Bargaining Rights
NYT/CBS PollShows Overwhelming Support For Public Worker Bargaining Rights. In the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, results show that "Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them." [The New York Times, 2/28/11]
USA Today/Gallup PollShows Majority Support For Union Workers. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll from February 22, results show that while Republicans supported limiting the rights of union workers by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, 79 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents polled were against the limitation of union bargaining rights, representing the majority of total persons polled. As USA Today reported, overall, "[t]he poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law." [USA Today, 2/22/11]
The network motto of being "fair and balanced" is just another lie in the litany of falsehoods promoted by Fox News.
7. Fox Falsely Suggests State Budget Shortfalls Are Result Of Public Union Collective Bargaining
a. Kilmeade Suggests That "Union Bargaining Should Be Abolished All Together" Because It's "Breaking The Public Piggy Bank." On the February 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked, "If union bargaining is breaking the public piggy bank, should it be abolished all together?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/28/11]
b. Liz Cheney: Collective Bargaining "Reduces [Local Officials'] Ability To Actually Manage Their Own Budget." On the February 20 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney stated that "when you've got collective bargaining in place and when you've got the benefits that are basically sealed in, and no ability by those local officials to touch those or affect them, it reduces their ability to actually manage their own budget." [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/20/11, accessed via Nexis]
c. Wallace Lets Walker Suggest That Collective Bargaining Is Preventing States From Balancing Budgets. On the February 20 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to claim that state governments are facing budget crises because of collective bargaining. From Fox News Sunday:WALLACE: Yes, but I don't understand. If it's a money issue and balancing the budget and they are willing to concede on the money issues, why isn't that enough? Why do you also have to take back some of their collective bargaining rights?
WALKER: Well, they aren't because, in the end, they can say that, but that's really a red herring. The same groups back in December, after election, before I was sworn in, tried to ram through literally in a lame duck session employee contracts that would have locked things in before I got there. So, they're not really interested. But more critically, I was a county executive, an elected official in Milwaukee County, a county that's never elected Republicans before - I was there for three different elections because we tried to tackle these very same issues.
And what stood in the way time and time again was collective bargaining. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/20/11]
ABC: "No Correlation" Between Budget Shortfalls And Collective Bargaining Rights
a. McCartin: Contention That "We Can No Longer Afford Collective Bargaining" Is "Bogus." In a February 19 New Republic article, Joseph McCartin, an associate professor of history and director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, wrote that the contention that "[w]e can no longer afford collective bargaining" is "bogus": [The New Republic, 2/19/11, italics in original]
b.Tapper: "There Is No Correlation" Between Collective Bargaining Rights And State Deficits. On the February 27 edition of ABC's This Week, guest-host Jake Tapper stated: "There is no correlation, according to statistics, between a state's ability to collectively bargain with its public employees and whether or not they have a budget deficit." Tapper also cited McCartin's New Republic article. [ABC, This Week, 2/27/11]
c. Toledo Law Professor: "There's No Correlation Between Collective Bargaining And The State Budget Crises."A February 28 Fortune article quoted University of Toledo College Of Law professor Joseph Slater as saying: "It's easy to paint a portrait of public workers as overpaid, not working very hard and being fat cats on the tax dollar. But there's no correlation between collective bargaining and the state budget crises." He further rebutted the claim that state pension obligations are the result of collective bargaining. Fortune, 2/28/11
8. Fox Repeatedly Conceals Key Details About Guests Criticizing Wisconsin Protesters
Fox Bills GOP Senate Candidate, Local GOP Officeholder As Concerned Parents. Fox News hosted Dave Westlake and Amber Hahn, who were both identified as "Wisconsin parent[s]." Fox did not disclose that Westlake was a 2010 Republican Senate candidate and Han was the treasurer for the Columbia County, Wisconsin, Republican Party. [Media Matters, 3/1/11]
Fox Suggests CEO Of Multinational Company Represents "Small Businesses." Fox hosted Gary Reynolds, CEO of GMR Marketing to criticize protesters for "attacking small businesses who supported and support Governor Scott Walker," in the words of Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade. However, GMR Marketing says it has 24 offices in 12 countries and that it is "the world's largest engagement marketing agency." The company lists Sony, Microsoft, Bank of America and Visa among its clients. [Media Matters, 3/1/11]