Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fox Freeloaders: Today's Lies

Today we have lies from Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson.

GIBSON: In part of their campaign to shift Katrina (non)response blame from Bush, Gibson weirdly pushed FOX's hackneyed blame-the-French misdirection, stating, "... After all, when the French President presided over the deaths of 15,000 elderly in Paris in a heat wave, he took the international derision, not the mayor of Paris."

Well, this is wildly inaccurate. It wasn't 15,000 in Paris, a city of 2.5 million, it was 15,000 in France, a country of 60 million. Slight difference - entire country or one city.

And a big lie.

To say Chirac "presided" over the deaths from a heat wave means you have to say Bush also "presided" over the deaths of Katrina, and an awful lot of other deaths as well, including 9/11, Iraq, and so on, for all of which he bears responsibility.

But, as it was a problem well beyond the scope of one municipality, a national problem, the French President and his government were much to blame.

And it happened because the right-wing French government (right-wing to most of the world, though, since even they believe in basic societal well-being, I guess they would "extreme left" for FOX) had cut the services that used to regularly check on isolated elders.

(The government at first tried to blame it on people not returning from their vacations, a myth Gibson, ever wanting to vilify all things French, repeated.)

There's also, we might add, the question of how well the US does in dealing with elders during heat waves. (This isn't a stupid Democrat-Republican thing: The toll from Chicago's '95 heat wave was, proportionately, far worse than in France's heatwave.)

And FEMA was (and is) still a basket case, whatever the problems of local and state authorities.

O'REILLY: Then we have O'Reilly, who tried to paint Bush America as better than Clinton America for people in poverty.

He said in 1996, in the middle of Clinton's reign, the poverty rate was 13.7 percent; at the midpoint of the Bush reign the poverty rate is 12.7 percent.

OK, but... as usual, they grab a couple things out of context to lie, because here's the background:

Clinton came into office at the end of one of the only two times the poverty rate had increased since they started tracking it. It has, in that time, twice climbed, both times to over 15 percent - first under Reagan, then under Bush I.

Bush I left office with it having become a runaway train.

In 1996, the Clinton administration had it under control and it was steadily declining, which it did until... Bush II took over, and it's been growing ever since.

So, with Bush, we're seeing the numbers on their way up, after he'd inherited a huge surplus, low unemployment, and a declining poverty rate.

With Clinton at the same point we saw the numbers going down, having inherited massive debt, high unemployment and peak poverty rate.

Simple facts: Poverty went down every year Clinton was in office; poverty has gone up every year Bush II has been in office.

The only increases in the poverty rate since they started keeping track in 1959 have been under Reagan (starting in the tail end of Carter, but most of it was during Reagan, until he borrowed a trillion dollars from Japan), Bush I, and Bush II.

Brit Hume was also doing his usual nonsense, but I won't bother.

I guess I just never see this stuff because I never watch FOX, only watched a bit on the Net recently because there'd been that Geraldo/Smith freakout, when they both suddenly dropped the FOX everything-is-peachy, go-make-money nonsense and started (horror) actually reporting. (Very weird, were so unaccustomed to it.)      


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