Of Myth And Reality
By Fred Mittag
Here are the top five myths propagated by Fox News, myths which their viewers accept as fact, and which contribute to their low ranking compared to better informed people who rely on other news sources. These Fox News myths were identified by diverse sources, including the Washington Post, the Guardian, U.S. News and World Report, and ABC News, and others:
Myth #1: The congressional Super Committee failed because both sides refused to compromise.
Reality: They failed because Republicans’ number one, non-negotiable priority is to protect billionaires from paying even one more penny in taxes. Democrats repeatedly offered deep spending cuts that they did not like, in exchange for raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes. The Republicans’ pledge to Grover Norquist, not elected to any public office, is more important to them than their oath to the Constitution.
Myth #2: Nobody knows what Occupy Wall Street is about.
Reality: Anybody who’s been paying attention knows that the protesters are concerned that corporations have too much power in our political system, that Wall Street banks messed up our economy and were never held accountable, and that the richest 400 Americans have more than 156 million Americans combined.
Myth #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job.
Reality: There aren’t any jobs out there, and that’s one reason for the protests. Statistics from only two months ago show that there were four times as many unemployed people as there were job openings. Furthermore, those who found jobs had to accept lower wages than ten years ago. That’s not social progress.
Myth #4: Occupy Wall Street is intent on provoking violence, especially against banks and the police.
Reality: The movement is committed to nonviolent protests, having learned from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Some protests have been met with police violence, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and billy clubs. In many cases police brutality was met with chants of “Who do you serve? Who do you protect? You are part of the 99%, too.” Helping to promote this myth of protester violence was Bill O’Reilly, when he suggested the UC Davis police were in danger because the students are “liberals.”
Myth #5: The biggest crisis facing our country is out of control government spending.
Reality: The two biggest causes of the deficit by far are the Bush tax cuts and the economic crash. Unemployment means falling government revenues. Corporations are hoarding cash and factories are idle because there is no market for their goods. We can put people back to work by rebuilding infrastructure, something that is needed, in any case. That will shrink the deficit and make the economy stronger in the long run. We can easily afford it if we make the rich pay their fair share. Top economists have understood these basics since the Great Depression. It is dismaying to see the anti-intellectualism of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, either because they are brain-washed or because of willful ignorance.