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FACT-CHECKED: Hannity Causing Immediate Harm To Consumers

8:01 pm in Uncategorized by amerigus

No amount of fact-checking by the media, consumer groups and the public affect Hannity’s assault on the US public interest

In a galling display of disregard for the public interest, Sean Hannity has been broadcasting provably false information on radio and TV about the Affordable Care Act. Salon’sInside the Fox News lie machine: I fact-checked Sean Hannity on Obamacare” uncovered how he distorted the stories of three couples to imply that they were worse off under Obamacare’s new rules. In fact, the couples are now able to get more coverage for less money, but Hannity did not retract his report.

By last night, Hannity’s lies were corrected on the Rachel Maddow Show, in the Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, CNN (VIDEO), The Ed Show (VIDEO), and many other outlets. Hannity refuses to address any of the coverage calling him out for deceit.

But now Consumer Reports has also chimed in, correcting statements made by Hannity, The Hill and bloggers on Breitbart.com as “not true.” Consumer Reports advised shoppers the best time to enroll in Obamacare was a few weeks off, while expected delays and glitches at HealthCare.gov are ironed out. Hannity took this out-of-context, squealing “Consumer Reports, Ann, they’re telling people, ‘stay away from the website!’” in a segment to Ann Coulter, when just the opposite was true. Consumer Reports has unequivocally endorsed the exchange as the best place to purchase health care.

Hannity’s misinformation forced the nation’s leading consumer reporting experts to release a statement correcting the record so Americans can get accurate advice for purchasing healthcare policies. How is this connected to the Tea Party “scorch everything” campaign we just witnessed? Read on …

Continuing The Anti-Obamacare Shutdown Madness

During recent weeks, Hannity’s guests Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have expounded on the ways Obamacare was going to kill jobs, trying to justify a shutdown that cost our economy an estimated $24 billion and 120,000 jobs. These same Republican leaders could have offered any number of jobs bills that would sail through both houses in a heartbeat if they really cared about boosting employment – the stalled transportation bill is one of the more immediate examples

But they could also have modified Obamacare to ensure employers wouldn’t excise staff, if they so desired. The very idea that the ACA will cost jobs is an admission that it doesn’t go far enough to ensure employers don’t penalize workers in offering health coverage.

But just hours after the shutdown failed to do anything and was overwhelmingly blamed on Republicans, Hannity threw his own guests under the bus, saying it was time for the House leadership to be replaced!

Is It Legal To Lie On The Air?

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Limbaugh Returns to Slutgate, Calling Educated Moms “Lushes” Who “End Up at the Motel”

12:27 am in Uncategorized by amerigus

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Rush Limbaugh sure knows how to get folks to talk about him, but he’s hit a new bottom on his website with a venomous smear of “mommies” who are ”too educated” and have become bored by their children.

Limbaugh surmises “…if all you’re going to do with that education is be a mommy, you are headed for white wine”“they go out and start drinking white wine, and then they become lushes”. Rush then reverts to ‘slut’ talk, explaining how these ladies get promiscuous with random men:

“And the guys in the bars who are drinking less are waiting for the white wine-drinking women to cruise by them on the way home from the grocery store…[t]hey head them off at the pass and end up at the Motel 6 or whatever is nearby.”

Limbaugh was commenting on a Wall Street Journal article about alcohol abuse by women, but his interpretation took off into the absurd, claiming to have mined “the meat of the story” by “stripping away all of the extraneous BS”. He sprinkled in stats but ended up with wildly different conclusions than author Gabrielle Glaser if you bother to read her mediocre source article.

In short, Rush said this proves educated women hate the “tedium” of child rearing and somehow connects this to them being loose and adulterous.

This deliberate attack on women is only the latest in Rush’s ploy to generate buzz via outrage, going right back for more after the first “Slutgate” incident in March of 2012. Limbaugh drew criticism by characterizing activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” for testifying on behalf of medically necessary contraception. But it also generated headlines which he sees as positive.

Limbaugh lays his blueprint out clearly in interviews, embracing wide public hatred, as long as the publicity enables him to charge “confiscatory ad rates”. Over the decades, Limbaugh’s dominance of talk radio has helped narrow choice on the dial, as syndicators Clear Channel and Cumulus have gobbled up the strongest signals in the biggest markets.

But the anti-Limbaugh movement that coalesced since the original Slutgate scandal may have affected Limbaugh’s bottom line. For over a year, the social media group Flush Rush has been relentlessly contacting sponsors to read them misogynist and racist quotes by Limbaugh, claiming success as thousands of advertisers drop out. Just this week, they are reporting that Cumulus’ losses are mounting as Rush’s ads are increasingly being replaced by filler in key markets.

Limbaugh struck back though, hiring top crisis management consultant Brian Glicklich who had previously helped Paris Hilton repair her image. Right away, Limbaugh increased his online presence to counter the growing anti-Rush sentiment in social media. He finally began to use Twitter, “buying” Twitter followers by offering free Apple iPads.

Next, he opened a Facebook page for female supporters called “Rush Babes for America” which sports sexist “mudflap” silhouette designs. After gloating that the Rush Babes page accumulated more “likes” than NOW, the National Organization for Woman, reports surfaced proving that most of the Rush Babe “likes” were coming from fake, overseas accounts.

Still, there are many legitimate females who frequent the page. Limbaugh keeps it active by demeaning women in brief posts that prompt discussion. The formula is simple – be outrageous and people talk. Rush’s female fans agree some moms are too educated, for example saying they should “keep their legs shut” or “Motherhood has always driven women to drink — it’s a tough job”.

But the saddest I saw was a Rush “babe” who promised she’d do better to avoid Rush’s criticism: “Yes, being a mom of 2 little ones – I look forward to that glass of (any colored) wine when they are both tucked peacefully into bed! I’ll make sure to avoid stereotyping myself and avoid the grocery store!”

Do we have to accept that hate speech on public radio is a part of living in America? 

Limbaugh is cagey, using his website to post this latest anti-woman rant because online “free speech” is different than radio airwaves which are supposed to have some component of “serving the public interest”.

The recent appointment of a new FCC commissioner has brought fresh questions to debates over the limits of political free speech over public airwaves.

One FCC complaint filed in Milwaukee proved that radio stations showed imbalance in favor of embattled governor Scott Walker by denying his critics any appreciable air time to refute claims. Lawyers for the station tried to defend this by citing a free speech exemption granted to “bonafide news” programs, arguing that talk radio hosts like Limbaugh meet this definition.

With that, a petition sprung up, claiming the FCC should rule that broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh are not actually credible “news” hosts and should be denied the “news” exemption for equal time requirements. Limbaugh himself claims to be an “entertainer”, putting him at odds with this legal argument.

The debate will be interesting to watch as the new FCC commissioner is seated. How do you feel? Read the rest of this entry →