Conservative media used the terrorist attacks in Paris to fearmonger about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, claiming that the U.S. cannot effectively vet potential refugees, ignoring experts who say that the thoroughness of the U.S.'s refugee vetting process sets it apart from those of European countries.
Fox News has repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration for linking the 2012 Benghazi attacks to protests over an inflammatory anti-Islam YouTube video in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but on the night of the terror attack Fox News reported the alleged connection on several shows. Several investigations into the aftermath of the attacks also show that the intelligence was fluid and the motivations for the attacks "continued to change throughout the week."
CBS' Face the Nation was the sole network news Sunday political talk show to ignore the claims of a former staffer for the House Select Committee on Benghazi alleging that the committee has turned into a "partisan investigation" with a "hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton."
On October 10, The New York Times reported that Bradley Podliska, who worked as an investigator for the Benghazi committee and was allegedly fired unlawfully, accused the committee of focusing "primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton" instead of leading a comprehensive investigation into the September 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
CNN's State of the Union treated the story as breaking news and opened with an exclusive television interview of Podliska. In his CNN interview, Podliska said that the Benghazi probe "has become a partisan investigation," that has shifted its focus "to go after Hillary." On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace questioned Benghazi committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the accusations made by Podliska. On NBC's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd briefly mentioned Podliska's accusations, noting that both Podliska and the Republicans on the committee "agree that Hillary Clinton was being targeted," and asked, "doesn't that hurt the committee?" And on ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz asked Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) about Podliska's statement that "he was fired from that committee because he was told to focus too much on Hillary Clinton instead of finding out answers about Benghazi."
But John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation, failed to mention this news at all. The only mention of Benghazi came from panelist Ron Fournier, who also neglected to mention this news story, despite bringing up both Clinton and Benghazi:
RON FOURNIER: Let me talk a little bit about emails if I could, which is her untrustworthy problem, and the Democrats are pointing at Republicans, and McCarthy is saying we just want to bring her down as mitigating for her. We have two sets of facts. One is, we know that the Republican Party did everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton with Benghazi -- hyper-partisan Republican Party. And they caught Hillary Clinton red handed creating a improper covert server that undermined the Freedom of Information Act, that subverted legislative oversight, and jeopardized U.S. secrets.
Both of those things can be true. As a matter of fact, both of those things are true, but the Democrats try to use the one thing to mitigate them, and the Republicans try to use the other to mitigate them. And meanwhile, both parties think that - most voters think that the leaders of the parties are lying to them, because they are.
CNN host Jake Tapper failed to correct a Republican congresswoman's false claim that 94 percent of Planned Parenthood's health services are related to abortion, instead telling his guests to "agree to disagree."
ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos passed on the opportunity to question Republican presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker about how his health care plan would harm low-income Americans. Stephanopoulos failed to question Walker on this topic despite mainstream media outlets highlighting the issue in articles detailing Walker's plan.
On August 18, Walker revealed his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act if he is elected president. A key feature of his plan is to issue tax credits based on age rather than income to help Americans purchase health insurance plans, but mainstream media outlets quickly detailed how this change would hurt the ability of low-income Americans to afford robust health insurance coverage.
The Upshot blog from The New York Times explained how Walker's plan is "much less concerned about ensuring health care access for the poor," and "appears to be less generous for many poor Americans":
Governor Walker's plan appears to be less generous for many poor Americans. It would roll back the Medicaid expansion that has provided free insurance to low-income adults. It would distribute tax credits to those with private coverage on the basis of age, not income.
But it means that for people without a lot to spend on insurance, a comprehensive health plan may slip back out of reach. For others, an affordable plan might be so bare-bones that it wouldn't kick in before a major health catastrophe.
Wealthier people, on the other hand, could fare better under this plan, as long as they're healthy. They would get more federal money to buy insurance plans, and they would have the choice of buying cheaper, less comprehensive plans than those offered under Obamacare rules.
Vox highlighted the detrimental impact Walker's plan would have on the poor and demonstrated how an age-based tax credit plan could help the rich while hurting low-income earners of the same age:
For high earners, this might be great. Under Walker's plan, Taylor Swift would get $1,200 to help buy coverage because she's 25, while Obamacare would give her nothing on the grounds that she's superrich. For lower-income people, this is a lousy deal: A 25-year-old earning $17,000 at a low-wage job would get a $1,962 credit under Obamacare.
A world in which Obamacare is repealed, and the Walker plan enacted, is one in which the individual market is friendlier to higher-income, healthy shoppers -- but likely worse for the poor and the sick, both those seeking private coverage and those on Medicaid.
Instead of questioning Walker about this pressing problem with his health care plan, harming the ability of low-income Americans to afford quality health insurance compared to Obamacare, Stephanopoulos only asked him about criticism from an opponent, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), about the cost of his plan and how he would fund it. Watch:
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan agreed with concerns that the paper subjects Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to tougher scrutiny than other 2016 contenders, promising to evaluate the Times' future coverage of Clinton for its fairness.
Sullivan already strongly criticized the paper on July 27 for its now twice-corrected report that relied on anonymous sourcing to claim that two inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into Clinton's email use. In reality, the probe was not criminal and was not focused on Clinton personally. The faulty report, for which Sullivan condemned the Times' for running a "sensational" story with "major journalistic problems" before it was ready and for not being transparent with readers about revisions, is still facing heavy criticism from veteran journalists.
On August 1, Sullivan highlighted critiques from readers and media observers who expressed concern that the error-riddled Clinton email story reveals the Times' pattern of taking "an unfairly critical edge" against Clinton, and Sullivan agreed (emphasis added):
Arlene Williams, a longtime subscriber, wrote and objected to "what I see as jaded coverage concerning Hillary Clinton." News articles and opinion columns are "just consistently negative," she said. And Ben Lieberman of Acton, Mass., said The Times seemed to be "on a mission to cut her down to size."
These readers aren't alone. The press critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen wrote on Twitter: "I have resisted this conclusion over the years, but after today's events it's fair to say the Times has a problem covering Hillary Clinton." Rachel Maddow said last week on MSNBC that the attitude of the national press corps, including The Times, is, "Everything Hillary Clinton does is a scandal." And James Fallows of The Atlantic called what he sees as a Times "Clinton vendetta" a "serious lapse," linking to a letter the Clinton campaign wrote in response to the Times story.
Mr. Purdy and the executive editor, Dean Baquet, insist that this scrutiny is necessary and that it is being done fairly. Because Mrs. Clinton stirs such strong emotions, they say, there are bound to be unending complaints from both her supporters and detractors.
But I agree with this sentiment from a reader, Evan Hannay, who is troubled by some of the Clinton coverage: "Hillary deserves tough questions when they are warranted. But it is undeniable that she is already facing significantly tougher coverage than any other potential candidate." He thinks The Times should make "a promise to readers going forward that Hillary is not going to be treated unfairly as she so often is by the media."
Last Thursday, I handed Mr. Baquet a printed copy of Mr. Hannay's email and asked him to address it.
To that end, he told me that he has urged reporters and editors to focus anew on issues stories. And he pledged fairness. "I'm happy to make a promise that she'll be treated fairly," he said, though he added, "If you look at our body of work, I don't believe we have been unfair." One testament to that, he said, was an investigative piece written by David Kirkpatrick shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attacks, with conclusions seen as favorable for Mrs. Clinton, who was then secretary of state. It came under heavy attack from the right.
But the Times's "screw-up," as Mr. Baquet called it, reinforces the need for reporters and their editors to be "doubly vigilant and doubly cautious."
Times readers (and on their behalf, I, too) will be watching and evaluating that over the next months. No one should expect a free ride for Mrs. Clinton. But she certainly deserves a fair shake.
The New York Times' latest botched story on emails from former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shows why reporters shouldn't trust leaks from anonymous partisan sources, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote in an August 1 op-ed in The Huffington Post.
Cummings, the ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, detailed how the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks "has been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack" Clinton. The Times' recent rush to rely on anonymous "Capitol Hill" sourcing falsely claiming Clinton was the target of a potential criminal investigation -- which resulted in the paper having to issue multiple corrections and answer questions about its credibility -- is only the most recent example of reporters failing to verify information from anonymous sources when it comes to Clinton:
Congressional investigations into the attacks in Benghazi have been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many of these attacks rely on anonymous sources to describe -- and often mischaracterize -- documents reporters have not seen.
Last week, the New York Times fell victim to this ploy, reporting that "[t]wo inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information."
I believe the Times' errors, like many before them, could have been avoided. I learned the truth on Thursday -- before the Times' story ran.
The Times' Executive Editor has suggested that its reporters could not have done anything differently because they relied on anonymous senior government officials, which the paper's Public Editor later explained included tips from "Capitol Hill."
I disagree. The Times could have insisted on seeing the documents they were describing. Or, if the Times spoke with Republicans in Congress, even off the record, they could have checked their facts with me or other Committee Democrats.
Unfortunately, this rush to print anonymous, unverified claims against Secretary Clinton is not unique.
Just last month, Politico was forced to correct a front-page story that relied on an anonymous source who apparently provided doctored information about an email that was produced to the Select Committee, rather than seeing the documents or contacting my office. Chairman Gowdy refused to investigate or condemn this leak.
Similarly, in May 2013, an anonymous source provided a description of an email from NSC staffer Ben Rhodes that misrepresented statements he made about the Benghazi talking points. CNN ultimately reviewed the email and reported that the information had been "seemingly invented" by the source.
Reporters have an obligation to ask why these sources demand to remain anonymous while refusing to provide copies of the documents they are peddling. No scoop should be too good to verify.
But the core problem is that these anonymous sources have an agenda, which is to manufacture facts to attack Secretary Clinton.
Former MSNBC employee Pat Buchanan used an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press to frame immigration as a "massive invasion" and "conquest of the West" by "third-world ... border jumpers." During the appearance, host Chuck Todd did not mention Buchanan's past history of racist comments, or that NBC's cable channel MSNBC parted ways with Buchanan in 2012.
After Meet the Press announced that Buchanan would be a guest on Sunday's show, Todd told Media Matters that Buchanan was invited on to compare Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign to his own 1990s-era presidential runs.
On the July 26 edition of the show, Todd introduced Buchanan only as a former Republican presidential candidate. On-air text also mentioned Buchanan's former work as communications director at the White House during the Reagan administration.
After Todd asked whether Trump is conducting a campaign similar to Buchanan's past runs for the presidency, Buchanan said that there was a "similarity" in how Trump discusses immigration, and went on to describe "what people feel" is a "massive invasion" of "refugees, and border jumpers" (emphasis added):
TODD: Pat, when you see Trump, and what he's doing to the field, regardless of your views personally about him, and I know the two of you have had your own encounters in the past -- similar to what you rode in '92?
BUCHANAN: There is great similarity in the sense -- Trump's strength is the precise opposite of the distance of the Republican base from the Republican leadership in the country. He's exposing that and he's hitting two of the really strong populist issues. One of them, there's overlap with Bernie Sanders, and that's the trade issue, the export of American jobs and factories, and what's happening to the American middle class.
But the other one Trump is hitting, which is one of the hottest issues in the whole West, as well as the United States, is the massive invasion, if you will, of what people feel is the conquest of the West by massive third-world immigrations, coming from refugees, and border jumpers, and all the rest of them. He's wired into both of these and they're enormously popular issues.
These comments echoed ones Buchanan has made before. In his 2006 book State of Emergency, for example, he wrote of immigration: "This is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history," and "We are witnessing how nations perish."
Buchanan's anti-immigration rhetoric contributed to his early 2012 departure from MSNBC. Buchanan was suspended and then dropped from the channel specifically because of his book Suicide of a Superpower, which claimed to document how diversity and immigration are ruining the country, and featured chapters titles such as "The End Of White America."
But Todd passed on the opportunity to explain to viewers Buchanan's past with the network and his lengthy history of bigoted comments about immigrants.
Amid widespread condemnation of Donald Trump from his fellow Republican presidential candidates following his attack on Sen. John McCain's military service, media are highlighting Republicans' collective failure to denounce Trump's past bigotry and xenophobia.
Fox News pundits repeatedly pushed -- and then walked back -- a false narrative propagated by an anti-Islam blogger that an "ISIS-linked" Twitter account warned of the Tennessee shooting prior to the attack.