Fox News contributor Erick Erickson attacked transgender military members as "mentally ill" in response to the Pentagon's landmark announcement that the Department of Defense will create a working group to review "policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly."
On July 13, a press release from Secretary of Defense Carter Ash stated that the military's current ban on transgender service members is outdated and going forward, "must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve":
The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.
Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.
After this announcement, Erickson responded on Twitter that transgender individuals, specifically those serving in the military, are "mentally ill":
It is very kind of the Obama administration to allow the mentally ill to serve openly in the military.-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 14, 2015
In its report on this news, Time cited a report from the Williams Institute at UCLA that estimated 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military.
Note: This post has been updated for clarity.
Right-wing media outlets are pushing Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy's deceptive claim that Hillary Clinton inaccurately told CNN in an interview that she had never been subpoenaed about the private email system she used as secretary of state. In fact, Clinton refuted a suggestion that she deleted personal emails unrelated to her work while she was under subpoena.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly lashed out at President Obama for the June 26 illumination of the White House in rainbow colors following the Supreme Court's historic ruling in favor of marriage equality.
On the June 29 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked of the display, "what about all the Americans who believe that a redefinition of marriage is not the job of the Supreme Court?" He later said that President Obama "did an in your face to traditional Americans" by putting a display there.
A tease earlier in the show asked whether the illumination was a "White House insult?"
CNN reporter Dana Bash missed the opportunity to press Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on a 2001 Florida law he allowed to pass as governor that required single mothers to list their sexual histories in a newspaper before allowing children to be adopted.
In a prerecorded interview that aired on the June 14 edition of CNN's State of the Union, Dana Bash questioned Bush about his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, including how he will distinguish himself from his family's political record, but failed to press Bush on his record as governor of Florida.
Just days earlier, however, Bash highlighted Bush's record as governor, noting that he is "facing questions about a 2001 so-called Scarlet Letter law in Florida when he was governor, requiring single mothers to put a notice in the newspaper before they could give up a child for adoption."
Bash also highlighted a statement from Bush's 1995 book Profiles in Character, in which he "argued for the 'restoration of shame' in society." From Bush's book:
One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.
According to Huffington Post's Laura Bassett, Bush's book "points to Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red 'A' for 'adulterer' on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview."
And, as Bassett explained, Florida's Scarlet Letter law was an "opportunity to test his theory on public shaming," when he "declined to veto a very controversial bill," -- that Marco Rubio and five members of Congress also voted for -- "that required single mothers who did not know the identity of the father to publish their sexual histories in a newspaper before they could legally put their babies up for adoption."
NPR reported that part of Bush's rationale for the law was to decrease uncertainty about adoptions by "provid[ing] greater finality once the adoption is approved, and to avoid circumstances where future challenges to the adoption disrupt the life of the child."
But a 2004 Notre Dame Law Review article explained that the personal information required by the law to be listed in newspapers was extensive:
"The notice ... must contain a physical description, including, but not limited to age, race, hair and eye color, and approximate height and weight of the minor's mother and of any person the mother reasonably believes may be the father; the minor's date of birth; and any date and city, including the county and state in which the city is located, in which conception may have occurred."
And according to NPR, the ad "had to run once a week for a month, at the expense of either the mother or the people who wanted to adopt the baby, as that 2004 article explains."
While Bush objected to parts of the law, in part because, "there is a shortage of responsibility on behalf of the birth father," the 2001 law wasn't replaced until after a Florida court "declared the provision requiring women to list their sexual encounters unconstitutional because it was deemed an invasion of privacy."
Fox News host Megyn Kelly lashed out at "the left wing press" for highlighting comments she made about a viral video showing police officer Eric Casebolt manhandling a teenage girl at a pool party in McKinney, Texas. But Media Matters correctly described Kelly's June 8 comments where she claimed that the teenage girl attacked in the video shared some of the fault for the actions of the officer, arguing that the girl was "no saint either" because she didn't follow the officer's instructions. Kelly's remarks sparked widespread outrage in liberal and conservative media.
On the June 10 edition of her show Kelly said that "some of the left-wing press continue to use this incident to dishonestly push their own agenda." She claimed that Salon.com "repeat[ed] a Media Matters lie" that Kelly leapt to Casebolt's defense "by saying that this teen was, quote, 'no saint either.'"
But Media Matters included the full context of Kelly's comments in a June 8 post detailing Fox News personalities' reaction to the controversial video:
Fox News host Megyn Kelly responded to the brutal video showing a teen girl being manhandled by a Texas police officer by commenting that "the girl was no saint either. He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger. And when the cop tells you to leave, get out." She followed this by saying "I'm not defending his actions, let me make that clear."
Conservative media outlets also criticized Kelly's coverage. The Washington Examiner reported that "Megyn Kelly defends Texas cop's aggressive response to McKinney teenagers," noting that "Kelly claimed that while she was not defending Casebolt, [the girl] was not completely blameless either." Reason.com also criticized Kelly in a post, writing:
Some conservatives, unfortunately, are falling over themselves to defend the police--the one kind of public employee who can do no wrong in the eyes of all-too many people on the right. Media Matters compiled a disheartening list of Fox News personalities raising baseless hypotheticals that could (maybe) justify Casebolt's rash actions.
Some media outlets are distorting comments made by President Obama claiming he admitted he doesn't have a "complete strategy" to fight the terrorist group the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). But the full context of the remarks -- which were reported correctly by a number of media outlets -- shows that Obama was only referencing the complete strategy of training and equipping of Iraqi soldiers.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly resorted to anti-Semitic imagery in an effort to smear George Soros, describing the Jewish philanthropist and businessman as a "shadow puppet master" who "has his tentacles into political organizations."
On the March 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly warned viewers that the American people have a responsibility to counter so-called "anti-capitalist violence on display" in Europe. He deplored what he claimed is "crazy left-wing economic stuff" on its way to taking root in the United States as a result of the economic agenda championed by President Obama, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and 84-year old philanthropist George Soros, whom O'Reilly declared "the most frightening of all." He continued (emphasis added):
O'REILLY: Soros has now taken his ill-gotten gains and is financing the most radical left-wing organizations in America. He is the shadow puppet master behind corrupt far-left groups like Media Matters. Soros has his tentacles into political organizations like the Center for American Progress, which has provided operatives for the Obama administration, some of whom are now going over to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Few Americans even know who Soros is, but the 84-year old uber-leftist is behind much of the political strife in this country.
Depictions of Jewish people as "puppet masters" controlling the government and the media are anti-Semitic stereotypes that go back decades. O'Reilly's claim that Soros' "tentacles" have infiltrated the upper echelons of political society is also a play on overtly anti-Semitic imagery. The white supremacist, neo-Nazi online forum Stormfront.org contains a trove of examples, including a March 19, 2013 post called "The 6 Tentacles of Jewish Supremacy Revealed." The image of a Jewish octopus engulfing the globe or ensnaring political institutions dates back to at least the 1930s, when it was a common theme in Nazi propaganda.
In 2010, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck was condemned by Jewish groups in part for using similar negative stereotypes and for accusing Soros of being a Nazi collaborator who helped "send the Jews" to "death camps."
An Argentine historian has discredited Bill O'Reilly's claim that the riot he covered in 1982 as a CBS News correspondent was a combat situation, where "many were killed." In fact, according to the historian -- an expert on the Falklands war -- "there were no people killed at the protests."
As Mother Jones and many of his CBS News colleagues have casted doubt on his claims, O'Reilly has continued to defend his accounts of covering the Falklands War as a reporter for CBS News, which repeatedly created the impression he was in a combat zone.
In his book The No Spin Zone, O'Reilly claimed the 1982 Buenos Aires protest he covered was "a major riot" where "many were killed." In a September 27, 2008, interview on CNN's The Kalb Report, O'Reilly described the protest, saying, "the Argentine troops shoot the people down in the street. They shoot them down. It's not like rubber bullets or gas, people are dying ... it's unbelievable, I mean, people just falling, like bing, bing, bing, bing, bing." And on the March 25, 2008, edition of his show The Radio Factor, he said:
O'REILLY: When I got shot at I was covering the Falklands war and I was based in Argentina in Buenos Aires [...] And when the Argentines surrendered to the British there was a huge riot in Buenos Aires. I was in the middle of that riot when Argentine soldiers came out of the barracks and got into the streets and actually shot people dead in the street, because people were rioting. And it wasn't like warning shots or rubber bullets or teargas. They were shooting people dead.
But an Argentine historian told The Washington Post's Erik Wemple that "there were no people killed at the protests":
Seven of Bill O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were with the Fox host in Buenos Aires have challenged his account of the riot he has recently come under fire for describing as a "combat situation." As contradictions to O'Reilly's account of his 1982 reporting on the Falklands War build, O'Reilly has responded to critics with personal attacks.
After Mother Jones called into question O'Reilly's accounts of covering the Falklands War as a reporter for CBS News, which repeatedly created the impression he was in a combat zone, O'Reilly lobbed personal attacks at Mother Jones writers David Corn and Daniel Schulman. Calling Corn a "guttersnipe liar," and a "disgusting piece of garbage," O'Reilly denied the allegations and insisted the riot he covered in Buenos Aires was "certainly combat."
But according to a February 22 CNN report, seven of O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were present with him in Buenos Aires have also challenged his account of the riot as a "combat situation," and his "description of a CBS cameraman being injured in the chaos":
Did O'Reilly's photographer get "run down" and bloodied?
CNN has interviewed seven people who were there for CBS, and none of them recall anyone from the network being injured.
"If somebody got hurt, we all would have known," Alvarez said.
In a Friday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, O'Reilly said the photographer's last name was Moreno. Roberto Moreno was there for CBS. He now lives in Venezuela, and he declined to comment to CNN.
But Mia Fabius, who was the office manager for the CBS Miami bureau at the time, has stayed in touch with Moreno for decades, and she said Moreno has never spoken about any injury in Argentina.
Further, Fabius said no injury report was ever filed.
ABC News and CBS News helped potential GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dredge up discredited attacks on Hillary Clinton in their reports on an upcoming speech by Romney. The attacks smear Clinton's diplomatic work with Russia as secretary of state and scandalize comments she made on trickle-down economics that were taken out of context by the media.
Reports from two news networks hyped excerpts from Romney's planned speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday night that will be targeted at Clinton. Both ABC and CBS News articles uncritically reported that Romney will be criticizing Clinton's "clueless" efforts to "reset" U.S.-Russia relations during Mr. Obama's first term.
But the "reset" moment that media outlets frequently cite as the primary example of Clinton's dealings with Russia while serving as secretary of state does not accurately portray her tenure. Clinton's successful negotiations with Russia resulted in in an agreement that allows the "U.S. military planes to transport lethal materiel over Russia to Afghanistan," reducing reliance on Pakistan for transporting cargo. Clinton also expressed serious concerns with Russia's 2011 elections, and warned that Russia was trying to "re-Sovietize" Eastern Europe and that Vladimir Putin would attempt to consolidate Russian control over eastern Ukraine if the opportunity presented itself.
Both ABC and CBS also highlighted another misleading attack against Clinton from Romney's upcoming speech, where he will assert that Clinton "doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place," an apparent reference to a scandal invented by the media over Clinton's statement that tax breaks for the rich don't cause companies to create jobs. CBS portrayed Clinton's remarks on tax breaks for the rich as a slip-up:
In his speech text, Romney takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton for telling voters during the 2014 midterm campaign, "Don't let anybody tell you it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."
"How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place?" Romney is expected to ask. "We need a president who will do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses."
After her remarks sparked a round of mockery from her opponents on the right, Clinton claimed she misspoke and said she meant to say that the economy grows when companies create good-paying jobs in America, "not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas."
This attack on Clinton's remarks, omits crucial context used by right-wing media outlets to scandalize the comments. The full context shows that Clinton's statement was in reference to tax breaks for the rich, and argued that trickle-down economics is not successful at creating jobs (emphasis added):
CLINTON: Don't let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I've been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That's what we want to see here, and that's what we want to see across the country.
And don't let anybody tell you, that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.
One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn't add up.