These 5 Lies Were Broadcast to Millions of People
When this meme of Michele Bachmann started making rounds on the Internet earlier this month, after the now-famous Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial aired (that featured people singing America the Beautiful in different languages), lots of people believed it was real.
The Minnesota congresswoman and former Republican presidential candidate never said that Jesus wrote the Bible nor that he did so in English, but it's understandable why people would think she had. Bachmann has made plenty of spurious statements in the past.
Here are some of the really dumb and misleading remarks Bachmann and others have made over the years, mostly going unchallenged on the right-wing outlets on which they aired. It's a list that will surely leave you longing for the Federal Communications Commission to re-institute the Fairness Doctrine.
1. A nation friendly to the Soviet Union helped design Obamacare
In an interview with Seattle's KTTH in February, Bachmann claimed Belarus, "a nation friendly to the Soviet Union," helped design Obamacare.
The claim that Belarus designed aspects of the Affordable Care Act stems from a statement by Valery Tsepkalo, director of a Belarusian initiative to raise the nation's technology standards, who alleged last month that Belarus had helped design aspects of the HealthCare.gov website. The White House has since dispelled that assertion as untrue.
In the same KTTH interview, Bachmann goes on to tell listeners that U.S. residents who are undocumented should not be granted legal status because they don't believe in the Constitution. But one can only beat a dead horse so much.
2. Immigrants are spreading leprosy
Which brings us to Lou Dobbs, who, as columnist David Leonhardt put it, has a "somewhat flexible relationship with reality." The former CNN anchor has made a career for himself demonizing some of America's most vulnerable. While on the network, Dobbs once ran a report claiming undocumented immigrants had spawned 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the U.S. Here he is getting called out on it on 60 Minutes.
Dobbs was later fired from CNN after a grassroots campaign against his factitious reporting drove him off the cable news channel. These days, like many journalists exiled from reality, Dobbs calls media mogul Rupert Murdoch's Fox News home.
3. Global warming is fake because it is snowing right now.
Among the most spectacular lies peddled on Fox is that intricate theories of physics and chemistry are disproved every time it snows. Global warming, now more commonly referred to as "climate change," refers to gradually accelerating shifts in weather patterns, not the weather on any given day, that are resulting from burning heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the likelihood that humans are causing climate change is 95-100%.
4. The Keystone XL pipeline will create a million jobs
It's an inconvenient truth, especially if you want to build a 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline that would carry greenhouse gas-rich tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to Texas. But it's one you might find easier to swallow if you believe TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL will create 1 million jobs — which is exactly what Fox News host Eric Bolling has led viewers to believe.
A 2011 study from Cornell's Global Labor Institute, based on data supplied by TransCanada to the Department of State, estimates the Keystone XL will spawn "no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years." In a debate aired on Democracy Now! this month over the proposed pipeline, Cindy Schild with the American Petroleum Institute said the southern leg of the Keystone XL, completed in January, had created 4,000 jobs. The odds that the northern portion will create 996,000 are looking rather slim.
In fact, the parties that stand to benefit the most from the Keystone XL are TransCanada Corporation, the pipeline's investors — including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and TD Bank — and the oil companies that will have a cheap supply route for their product to travel to foreign markets. Ah, the perks of being a job creator.
5. Trickle-down economics works
Not too many jobs are being created these days, even though corporate profits are at record heights. Perhaps the most widely accepted (even by Democrats) of the lies right-wing media have perpetuated is that we all prosper when the rich get richer.
Fewer taxes for corporations and individuals, along with lax market oversight, have entrenched us in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. Research from Mark Rank at Washington University indicates 54% of Americans will experience poverty or near poverty in their lifetimes.
It's easy to live large while others starve if you, like Kevin O'Leary of ABC's reality show Shark Tank, endow cutthroat capitalism with moral purpose. O'Leary recently called a statistic from the charity Oxfam that the wealth of the world's 3.5 billion poorest is equal to that of the richest 85 "fantastic."
"This is a great thing," O'Leary explained, "because it inspires everybody. Gets them motivation to look up to the 1 percent and say, 'I want to become one of those people.'"
Perhaps we're being fed all this malarkey because the people who run much of the media in this a country are those same lucky people. Today, just six wealthy corporations control 90% of the media Americans watch, read and hear.
Luckily, we can punch back.