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Fox News Fear Mongering Lie Of The Day: Obama Is Coming After Your Yard Sale

Reported by Ellen - September 18, 2009 -

Fox News is so eager to smear the Obama administration that it doesn’t even seem to mind if its own news story contradicts the smear. A headline, at the top of the Foxnews.com home page blares:

SELLER BEWARE: Yard Sales Targeted In Fed Crackdown. Thinking of emptying out the attic to sell that Easy-Bake Oven or SpongeBob spiral notebook? Think again — each could cost you a $100,000 fine.
But if you actually read the article, it says clearly, albeit buried in the eighth paragraph, that "The CPSC says it won't be sending enforcers to garage sales or yard sales." (H/T reader Rich H)

The inflammatory headline is followed by a similarly incendiary first paragraph:

Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.

But eventually, the article makes it clear that there is no government campaign against yard sales; what's really being targeted are commercial resellers:

The "Resale Round-up," launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.

The strict standards were set in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys.

The standards were originally interpreted to apply only to new products, but now the CPSC says they apply to used items as well.

"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Resale stores should make safety their business and check for recalled products and hazards to children."

In order to comply, stores, flea markets, charities and individuals selling used goods — in person or online — are expected to consult the commission's 24-page Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers and its Web site for a breakdown of what they can't sell.

After that, Fox finally gets around to telling its readers that there's no intention to go after yard sales. But what justifies the fearmongering (in their minds) is that a Fox legal analyst says it MIGHT happen:

Though the CPSC says it won't be sending enforcers to garage sales or yard sales, FOX News Legal Analyst Bob Massi says the law makes no distinction for families and small resellers.

Reason to reword the law, maybe, but grounds to frighten its readers into thinking the Obama administration will soon be snooping around your yard sale? Doubtful.