Andrew Lawrence

Author ››› Andrew Lawrence
  • Trump's Two Publication Endorsements: The National Enquirer And His Son-In-Law’s Newspaper

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    The New York Observer, a publication owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, endorsed Trump for president, joining The National Enquirer as the only publications to endorse the Republican front-runner for president.

    The Observer’s April 12 endorsement disclosed that “Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the Observer’s publisher,” but claimed “that is not a reason to endorse him.” The endorsement from the editorial board criticized “the media elite” for their inability to “grasp the profound alienation, anger and disillusionment” that fueled Trump’s rise and compared Trump to Ronald Reagan:

    Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the Observer’s publisher. That is not a reason to endorse him. Giving millions of disillusioned Americans a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity is.

    Explaining the phenomenon that is propelling the Trump candidacy is easy, despite the nattering of the cognoscenti—the media elite, the professional political class and the people largely insulated or directly benefitting from the failures of the last seven years. Their opinions have become increasingly irrelevant. For in the 10 months since Mr. Trump’s campaign announcement, their “insights” have been uniformly wrong and their influence has dwindled.

    […]

    In 1980 Ronald Reagan said, “The time is now for strong leadership,” and by 1984 was able to declare, “It is morning again in America.” Today, Donald Trump says it is time to make America great again. We agree.

    While the Observer’s endorsement praised Trump’s accomplishments as a businessman and attacked his GOP rivals, the paper failed to mention any of Trump’s controversial proposals, and extreme rhetoric.

    The Observer’s endorsement comes after the paper’s editorial staff issued a statement vowing they “would no longer aid or advise Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, after a report that the paper’s editor had helped write a major foreign policy speech,” according to The New York Times.   

    The Observer joins The National Enquirer as the only publications to endorse Trump despite dozens of newspaper endorsement made for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and John Kasich. The Enquirer’s endorsement also came under scrutiny after it was revealed that Trump and the CEO of Enquirer publisher American Media, Inc., David Pecker, were in fact close friends, with Trump even recommending Pecker become the next CEO of Time magazine.

     

  • Trump Denies Evidence, Says Breitbart Reporter "Made Up" Story Of Assault By Campaign Manager

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Front-runner Donald Trump denied accusations that his campaign manager pushed a Breitbart News reporter claiming, "perhaps she made the story up." The story has been corroborated by several reporters and Politico released audio evidence of the incident.

    On March 9, Politico reported that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields was "forcibly grabbed" by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to ask Trump a question. According to Politico, Fields was "clearly roughed up" and the incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris. Furthermore, on Twitter, Fields shared a photograph of bruises on her arm which she alleged were a result of the altercation with Lewandowski. Politico also posted audio of the incident after the Trump campaign and Lewandowski denied it took place.

    Following the March 10, CNN GOP Debate, Donald Trump refuted the incident took place saying, "nobody saw anything" and there was no video or photographic evidence. In another interview, Trump doubled down on his denial claiming, "Perhaps she made the story it up."

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Dana, Trump was not asked tonight about these allegations that his campaign manager assaulted a female reporter, who worked for the pro-Trump blog Breitbart.com. He's denied, Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager has denied that this happened. Trump was asked about it, here is what he said moments ago.

    [Begin Clip]

    DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely nothing happened. He didn't hear about it until, like, the next day. So, and I wasn't involved in it, but the Secret Service was surrounding everybody, they said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up, I think that's what happened.

    [End Clip]

  • The "150 FBI Agents" Fiasco Isn't The First Time Anonymous Sources Have Burned Fox's Herridge

    Facts Have Consistently Undermined Catherine Herridge's Unnamed Clinton Email Sources

    ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    In her articles on Hillary Clinton's use of private email while secretary of state, Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge has relied heavily on anonymous sources to push allegations that Clinton used her email inappropriately. But the facts have consistently undermined many claims Herridge has made in her reports, including the debunked assertion that 150 FBI agents were investigating Clinton's private email server -- a wildly exaggerated figure that The Washington Post also reported.

  • Trump's Abortion Comments Demonstrate The Importance Of Taking Away His Phone Privileges

    MSNBC's Chris Matthews Challenged Trump To Defend His Abortion Position In A Face-To-Face Interview

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    MSNBC's Chris Matthews demonstrated the importance of face-to-face interviews by challenging Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's extreme position that women who have abortions should be punished. Matthews' interview showed firsthand how face-to-face interviews can equalize the built-in advantage Trump relies on when given phone interviews.

    During an interview with Trump scheduled to air on MSNBC, Matthews challenged Trump on his anti-choice position, asking "Should woman be punished for having an abortion?" In an attempt to dodge the question, Trump responded, that "people in certain parts of the Republican Party and conservative Republicans would say yes they should be punished," and adding "it's a very serious problem, and it's a problem we have to decide on." Matthews pressed Trump, telling him "this is not something you can dodge," forcing him to clarify his position on whether or not women should be punished. In total, Matthews interrupted Trump's attempts to filibuster 12 times in order to get him to answer the question.

    The face-to-face interview is a stark contrast to the way Trump has been able to steamroll over interviewers who have conducted questioning over the phone. Earlier the same day, Today hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie hosted Trump over the phone, a format which allowed him to dodge questions and shout over the hosts when faced with tough questioning about the battery charge facing his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

    The phone interview with NBC's Today was one of three phone interviews granted to Trump the morning of March 30. Trump's unprecedented phone interview privileges have extended to Sunday political talk news shows, making him the only presidential candidate granted such privileges.

    News outlets have faced increasing criticism for the phone privileges granted to Trump. The Baltimore Sun's media critic, David Zurawik told Media Matters that phone interviews "really shift control away from the interviewer," and former New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt explained that when networks give Trump a phone interview, it allows him to "set ground rules that they don't for others."

    You can add your voice to Media Matters' petition for the media to end Trump's phone privilege by signing here.

  • The Hill Uncritically Repeats Judicial Watch's Clinton Email Smear

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    UPDATE: Following the publication of this post, The Hill added the following editor's note to the article: "This story was corrected on March 23 to reflect that the 'commitments to action' included non-monetary assistance. A previous version contained incorrect information."

    The article previously read:

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

    It now reads (emphasis added):

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that it says show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation. 

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to organizations who had made a commitment to help the Clinton Global Initiative. Those "commitments to action" can include donations and non-monetary assistance, according to the Foundation's website.

    Original post:

    The Hill uncritically reported the latest smear from the conservative organization Judicial Watch, suggesting inappropriate behavior involving Hillary Clinton's emails and the Clinton Global Initiative.

    On March 22, The Hill reported that Judicial Watch released documents which showed "Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) project donors in 2009." The Hill claimed that "Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009":

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

    [...]

    Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009.

    "This is an exceptional gathering of people who have made exceptional commitments to bettering our world," she said on September 25, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y.

    In reality, Clinton did not discuss donors in her speech, and the emails in question show that the "commitments" The Hill describes as donors are in fact organizations promising a commitment to action to address issues and CGI initiatives around the globe. On the CGI website, "Commitments to Action" are described as, "a plan for addressing a significant global challenge. Commitments can be small or large and financial or nonmonetary in nature."

    The Hill's uncritical reporting on Judicial Watch's claims are not the first time the group's anti-Clinton smears have been parroted by the media. In September 2015, The New York Times also fell for Judicial Watch's chicanery, only to be forced several days later to correct the false report. 

    Judicial Watch has also peddled in conspiracy theories claiming the Department of Justice was organizing rallies against George Zimmerman, that ISIS set up a terrorist camp "just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," and it was also a leading voice in the false outrage over President Obama's "czars."

  • Breitbart News' Text Message Exchange With Trump Campaign Manager Reveals Breitbart's Problematic Relationship With Trump

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    A text message exchange presented by Breitbart News's Washington editor  in an effort to vindicate Donald Trump's campaign manager of having admitted that he assaulted a Breitbart reporter, actually reveals a problematic relationship between Trump's campaign and right-wing media outlet Bretbart News, which downplayed the event in the text messages as just a "misunderstanding."

    On March 9, Politico wrote that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields had been "forcibly grabbed" by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a campaign event as she attempted to ask the candidate a question. The incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris and Fields recounted the event in an article posted to Breitbart.com:

    Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken. 

    The Washington Post's Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.

    Following the incident, The Daily Beast reported that Lewandowski acknowledged to Boyle that he was responsible for the incident with Fields, but justified his actions by saying he had mistaken her for "an adversarial member of the mainstream media."

    Boyle responded claiming The Daily Beast's article was "entirely inaccurate and untrue." Boyle released screenshots of his correspondence with Lewandowski in attempt to vindicate his claim that he never acknowledged an altercation with Fields.

    The text conversation reveals a cozy relationship between Breitbart News and the Trump campaign with Boyle suggesting that the incident which happened to his colleague was just a "misunderstanding nothing bad" and emphasizing that he wanted to "make sure that this doesn't turn into a big story."

    Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov is also being accused of downplaying the event after he released a statement casting doubt that the incident ever took place:

    But in a statement issued late Tuesday night, Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov seemed reluctant to take the word of Fields and other witnesses, instead framing the incident as something that maybe happened, but maybe didn't:

    "It's obviously unacceptable that someone crossed a line and make physical contact with our reporter. What Michelle has told us directly is that someone "grabbed her arm" and while she did not see who it was, Ben Terris of the Washington Post told her that it was Corey Lewandowski. If that's the case,

    Michelle Fields has since reportedly filed charges against Lewandowski.

  • Trump Denies Evidence, Says Breitbart Reporter "Made Up" Story Of Assault By Campaign Manager

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Republican front-runner Donald Trump denied accusations that his campaign manager pushed a Breitbart News reporter claiming, "perhaps she made the story up." The story has been corroborated by several reporters and Politico released audio evidence of the incident.

    On March 9, Politico reported that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields was "forcibly grabbed" by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to ask Trump a question. According to Politico, Fields was "clearly roughed up" and the incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris. Furthermore, on Twitter, Fields shared a photograph of bruises on her arm which she alleged were a result of the altercation with Lewandowski. Politico also posted audio of the incident after the Trump campaign and Lewandowski denied it took place.

    Following the March 10, CNN GOP Debate, Donald Trump refuted the incident took place saying, "nobody saw anything" and there was no video or photographic evidence. In another interview, Trump doubled down on his denial claiming, "Perhaps she made the story it up."

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Dana, Trump was not asked tonight about these allegations that his campaign manager assaulted a female reporter, who worked for the pro-Trump blog Breitbart.com. He's denied, Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager has denied that this happened. Trump was asked about it, here is what he said moments ago.

    [Begin Clip]

    DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely nothing happened. He didn't hear about it until, like, the next day. So, and I wasn't involved in it, but the Secret Service was surrounding everybody, they said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up, I think that's what happened.

    [End Clip]

  • Rupert Murdoch: GOP "Would Be Mad Not To Unify" Around Donald Trump If He Becomes Inevitable

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Rupert Murdoch, the executive co-chairman of Fox News' parent company, wrote on Twitter that the Republican "establishment ... would be mad not to unify" around the Republican front-runner Donald Trump if he continues his string of electoral successes following Trump's win of seven Super Tuesday primary contests. His call for unity behind Trump stands in sharp contrast to other right-wing media figures who have called for unity to stop Trump from winning nomination.

    Following Trump's win of seven Super Tuesday primary contests, Murdoch commented in a March 2 tweet that the Republican "establishment" would be "mad not to unify" around Trump if he becomes the inevitable nominee.

    Other conservative media figures have responded to Trump's victories by advocating several tactics to defeat Trump. After his dominant Super Tuesday performance, conservative media personalities warned that a Trump nomination would mean "the GOP in its current form ends," called for the GOP to "go all in against him," and a growing number of conservative pundits have vowed not to support Trump if he is the nominee.  Even Rush Limbaugh urged the Republican Party to "unify behind Ted Cruz," calling it the party's "smartest move." Right-wing media personalities have also begun to call on Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to unite in their opposition to Trump and combine on the same ticket.

    Murdoch's call for establishment Republicans to unify behind Trump comes 3 days after he asked establishment Republicans and Trump to "cool it and close ranks to fight the real enemy."

  • Ted Cruz Celebrates Super Tuesday With Bigoted Radio Host Michael Berry

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Texas radio host Michael Berry posted a picture of himself and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) backstage following Cruz's Republican primary victories in Texas and Oklahoma.

    Houston's KPRC reported that Cruz watched the election results from Berry's "Redneck Country Club" which was identified as his "campaign headquarters." Berry's relationship with Cruz goes back more than twenty years and Berry even introduced Cruz on stage in Iowa the night before the caucuses.

    As a radio host, Berry has become known for his racially charged rhetoric, including describing black people as "jungle animals," regularly hosting a comedian in blackface whose stage name is "Shirley Q. Liquor," claiming that "black people don't believe that black lives matter."

  • Fox's Hannity Attacks A NY Times Article For Showing How Marco Rubio Used Him To Push Immigration Reform

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Fox News host Sean Hannity lashed out at a New York Times article detailing how Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pushed the "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill with the help of right-wing media. Hannity criticized the article as a "bald faced lie," despite calling the immigration reform proposal "thoughtful" during a 2013 interview with Rubio.

    A February 27 New York Times article detailed efforts Rubio took to push his immigration reform bill with executives and hosts at Fox News as well as right-wing talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham:

    A few weeks after Senator Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan push for an immigration overhaul in 2013, he arrived alongside Senator Chuck Schumer at the executive dining room of News Corporation's Manhattan headquarters for dinner.

    Their mission was to persuade Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the media empire, and Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of its Fox News division, to keep the network's on-air personalities from savaging the legislation and give it a fighting chance at survival.

    Mr. Murdoch, an advocate of immigration reform, and Mr. Ailes, his top lieutenant and the most powerful man in conservative television, agreed at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to give the senators some breathing room.

    [...]

    Mr. Rubio also reached out to other conservative power brokers, including the radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, telling them that the legislation did not amount to amnesty. The Fox anchors Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly became more supportive.

    [...]

    Mr. Rubio publicly and privately worked to assuage the fears of Mr. Limbaugh, who on air called him a "thoroughbred conservative" and assured one wary listener that "Marco Rubio is not out to hurt this country or change it the way the liberals are."

    Hannity responded by attacking The New York Times article on the February 29 edition of his show claiming author Jason Horowitz does not have "the decency to pick up a phone" to discuss article before publishing and describing the article's claims "a blatant lie."  

    But on January 28, 2013, eleven days after the reported meeting with Fox News, Rubio appeared on Fox's Hannity to discuss the immigration proposal. Hannity applauded Rubio's bill, calling it "the most thoughtful proposal that I have heard." During the interview Hannity also admitted to taking a meeting with Rubio stating, "I read the framework and when you first explained it to me last week and I spoke to you, I said this was the most interesting proposal that I had ever heard."

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): How do you respond to those people -- I read the frame work and when you first explained it to me last week and I spoke to you.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (GUEST): Yes.

    HANNITY: I said, this was the most interesting proposal that I had ever heard. It seemed like you were really sincere in putting this to bed once and for all and also, it seemed like a very, very difficult process with a lot of penalties involved for people who did not respect our laws and sovereignty. What do you say to people that say, "Well, ultimately in the end if people can get a green card, they can stay, that it's a back door form of amnesty." What's your response to that?

    RUBIO: Well, first of all, the bottom line is, that it would have been cheaper and easier for them to have done it the legal way than the way they're going to get it now. In essence, we're not creating an incentive and we're not rewarding it. Because, quite frankly, for many of these people, they would have been better off doing it the right way.

    This is going to cost them penalties, this is going to cost them taxes, this is going to cost them a significant wait and then after they do all of that, the only thing they're going to have access to is the opportunity to apply for a green card. You still have to qualify for the visa you're applying for. So they would have been better off doing it the right way from the beginning. Amnesty is different from the proposal in 2007 that created a brand new thing called a Z-visa, which basically was a blanket and you had to do very little to qualify for it. So, look, the reason, this is not, we're not trying to punish anybody here. This is not about that we're angry at immigrants. This is about the fact that we don't want this to ever happen again and we don't want to be unfair to the people that have done it in the right way.

    Sean, I have hundreds of people a month come to our offices to talk about the fact that they have family members that are waiting in line to come here the right way. Our message to them cannot be come illegally because it's cheaper and quicker. On the other hand this is a reality. We have 11 million human beings in this country that are going to be here for the rest of their lives. We have to solve that problem in a way that takes care of --

    HANNITY: They go back to the back of the line that will be part of the legislation, correct?

    RUBIO: Yes, not only do they go to the back of the line and wait behind everybody who applied before them the right way. But when their turn comes up they have to qualify for the visa they're applying for. Not a special pathway.

    HANNITY: And there's going to be a lot of penalties and security checks -- I will say this Senator, it's the most thoughtful proposal that I have heard and you've explained it better than anybody, but the devil will be in the details. (emphasis added)