Fox News downplayed a recent report on questionable business dealings made by Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush after having ignored the story in the days after it broke.
On June 28, The Washington Post reported on Bush's business dealings in the years before and after he was governor of Florida and said Bush "often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk." As The Post also noted:
Five of his business associates have been convicted of crimes; one remains an international fugitive on fraud charges. In each case, Bush said he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and said some of the people he met as a businessman in Florida took advantage of his naiveté.
On the June 30 edition of Fox & Friends, correspondent Carl Cameron downplayed The Post's reporting, saying Bush, "like any kind of businessman," has had "some ups and some downs" and "some of the downs have been in the press lately." Cameron claimed Bush's decision to release 33 years of tax returns could be a response to reporting on his business dealings:
CAMERON: 33 years of tax returns, that's a lot.
STEVE DOOCY: I'm sure it's just a coincidence it's coming out today, not raining on anybody's parade, just a coincidence, right, Carl?
CAMERON: Wouldn't dream of it. And it's also worth noting, you know, that his business career, he made a lot of money, but, you know, like any kind of businessman, there were some ups and some downs, and some of the downs have been in the press lately, so this may be answering a little bit of that, but it's also sending a message to Chris Christie ... Look out, Hillary Clinton, when it comes to transparency.
Prior to Cameron's remarks, Fox had ignored The Post's reporting completely in its primetime coverage since the story broke.
Fox News Latino's coverage of NBC's decision to sever ties with Donald Trump differed dramatically from Fox News' rush to defend the presidential candidate's incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. While Fox hosts praised Trump's stance and reticence to apologize, Fox News Latino characterized NBC's move as a victory for Latino media advocacy leaders.
NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would sever ties with Trump after he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists," explaining in a statement: "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."
Fox News Latino highlighted how Hispanic advocates pressured NBC to end its relationship with Trump, writing that "Latino media advocacy leaders say NBC's decision Monday ... marked a watershed moment for Latinos." In particular, Fox News Latino profiled the efforts of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, whose chairman and co-founder published an op-ed encouraging the network to "dump Trump."
By contrast, Fox News hosts rallied to defend Trump, praising his reluctance to apologize for his offensive remarks and suggesting the backlash unfairly minimized his well-taken points about a so-called border-problem.
On June 25, Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language network, announced that it would no longer air Trump's Miss Universe pageant. The Mexican channel Televisa and the online outlet Ora TV also abandoned Trump. Before this week, NBC aired Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, as well as the reality show hosted by Trump, The Celebrity Apprentice. Trump faced widespread criticism following his incendiary campaign speech remarks targeting Mexican immigrants:
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you, they are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people.
Fox News also covered Trump's speech differently than Fox News Latino. During a June 18 interview with Fox News Latino's Rick Sanchez, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade defended Trump by hyping crime statistics to push the myth that immigrants commit crimes at a disproportionate rate, but Sanchez fought back by pointing out immigrants' far-reaching positive economic impact.
As national media begin to focus their political coverage on campaigning by Republican presidential candidates in the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary, it's incumbent upon journalists to disclose the history of misinformation and conservative bias of the state's top newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, as well as the ties between the Koch brothers and oft-quoted state political expert Charles Arlinghaus.
A June 30 report by Politico highlighted how the crowded field of GOP contenders are viewing next January's first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire as "do or die" and already jostling for position. The piece said, "Never before have so many White House hopefuls bet so much on a single primary," and included quotes from Charles Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Institute, and Drew Cline, editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. But Politico failed to mention Arlinghaus' ties to the Koch brothers and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), or the Union Leader's long history of publishing conservative misinformation.
As other New Hampshire newspapers have been closing their state house bureaus because of budget cuts, the Union Leader's voice in statewide politics has gained prominence. Fox News is co-hosting a debate in August with the paper and presidential candidates are lining up to be interviewed by the Union Leader's publisher via live streaming. With so much access to candidates, and hardly any competition, the Union Leader's outsized influence could push candidates further to the right.
Publisher Joe McQuaid enjoys a prominent role as a must-visit member of the media for presidential primary candidates. In addition to his publishing duties, McQuaid has written sensationalist editorials for the paper, including one that called for a travel ban during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa -- a move most experts agreed would only exacerbate the spread of the virus. As the Daily Beast pointed out in the run-up to the 2012 election, McQuaid "is one of the more influential voices in American politics." McQuaid himself "figures that the Union Leader 'may be able to sway a few percentage points in close elections,'" much of that due to the editorial stance of the paper, which is written by only two people: McQuaid and editor Cline, who also runs the editorial page.
Although the 2012 Union Leader-endorsed candidate, Newt Gingrich, failed to win the primary, Gingrich's polling numbers spiked following the endorsement. However, as Politico explained, because of the way the Union Leader operates, the endorsement the paper gives is more than just a "one-time front-page feature," because the paper "tends to interweave its endorsement with its news coverage, bolstering its pick and attacking the other candidates ... most likely in addition to the opinion columns that tend to run in the paper echoing the official choice."
The two-man editorial board of McQuaid and Cline often echoes national conservative media talking points. The board has fabricated a need for harmful voter ID laws, attacked successful Head Start programs -- which help provide a pre-K education for New Hampshire's children - and even downplayed the impact of sequestration's steep budget cuts.
The Union Leader's editorial board has been attacking President Obama and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since 2010 and published a massive amount of misinformation on the law. The board warned of spiking insurance premium prices that never came to pass, criticized cost-saving measures in the law, and said initial glitches in the rollout of the online exchanges meant the entire law was a failure. The board also attacked Medicaid expansion and promoted a misguided voucher program to privatize the program.
On foreign policy issues, the Union Leader has demonstrated reckless bias by calling opponents of the release of the Senate report on CIA torture "wusses," and pushed a false narrative that blamed Hillary Clinton for the kidnapping of hundreds of African girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Outside of its opinion pages, the Union Leader has also at times blatantly misinformed its readers. In 2013, the paper published a lightly-edited press release authored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) -- the Koch brothers-funded conservative advocacy group -- attacking the ACA. The article gave free publicity to AFP while helping to fulfill its larger mission, which, according to The Washington Post, is to "spread as much confusion and dishonesty about the [health care] law as possible."
The conservative slant to the Union Leader's news section is also apparent in what the paper chooses not to cover. A 2012 Media Matters study found that it failed to report on the "environmental, health, and economic benefits" of new government regulations in stories that emphasized how they would hurt the economy.
The Union Leader also publishes a regular op-ed by Charles Arlinghaus, the president of the Josiah Bartlett Institute, a think tank with strong connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council's conservative model-legislation mill (ALEC). In 2012, Arlinghaus and ALEC representatives co-hosted an event to denounce the Affordable Care Act.
The Josiah Bartlett Institute is part of the Koch brothers-funded State Policy Network -- state-based think tanks that incubate and legitimize conservative policy ideas that often benefit corporate sponsors. A representative for the Center for Media and Democracy told the Nashua Telegraph that Koch donations associated with Arlinghaus and the institute show that Arlinghaus is "working on a national conservative agenda, not a local, New Hampshire-based agenda."
In response to the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality ruling, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson claimed that many people become gay because of "abuse" and "parental issues."
On the June 29 edition of The Erick Erickson Show, Fox's Erickson claimed that it's "not really true in most cases" that people are born gay. Instead, "if you go back to it there's parental issues, there's abuse, and that has a lot to do with it":
ERICKSON: First of all, you're only talking 3 to 5 percent of the population. Now I know a lot of people, a lot of people the thought is that you're born gay. That's actually not really true in most cases. In some cases I think it probably is, but in a lot of cases if you go back to it there are parental issues, there's abuse, and that has a lot to do with it. And as you see a collapse of family - I don't think that it's a coincidence that a collapse of family is - is directly inverse proportional or inversely related to the rise in people who identify as being gay. [Emphasis added]
Erickson has a history of extreme anti-LGBT comments. He has previously said that countries with marriage equality are "bent on suicide," compared gay people to terrorists, and agreed that the "homosexual movement" is "destroying America." Erickson also regularly solicits support for an extreme anti-gay legal group working to criminalize homosexuality internationally.
On August 6-9, Erickson will be hosting the RedState Gathering - a conservative political conference - in Atlanta. A number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Gov. Jeb Bush and Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are slated to speak at the event.
The Sportsman Channel has decided to not renew the National Rifle Association's (NRA) weekday news show, Cam & Company, ending the program's two-and-a-half year run on the outdoor-themed network.
The hour-long show served as a vehicle for the NRA's frequent misinformation and extremism on the issue of gun violence. During the June 26 broadcast, host Cam Edwards announced the end of the series, effective that day.
Edwards said, "Beginning next Monday, you will be seeing a different program here at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sportsman Channel. We do want to thank all the folks at Sportsman Channel for our time here on the program. I wish I -- there's no drama, there's no dramatic backstory to this. It's just one of those decisions that has happened."
The NRA's three-hour weekday radio show, also called Cam & Company, will continue to air at NRANews.com and on SiriusXM.
Cam & Company debuted on Sportsman Channel on January 15, 2013. In a press release, the network claimed the show would be "the one and only news-talk series on television that can authoritatively address the issues that are vital to America's more than 80 million sportsmen and sportswomen."
In a nod to the fact that the show debuted just one month after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the release stated, "With national passions running high on the issue of firearms ownership and rights in America, the series launch is especially timely."
The NRA's executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre added, "The partnership expansion of these two great American brands, the Sportsman Channel and the NRA, comes at a critical time in the history of preserving our Second Amendment freedom."
The launch of the show kicked off a growing partnership between Sportsman Channel and the NRA, with the network participating in both the 2014 and 2015 NRA annual meetings. In January 2015, Sportsman Channel was acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a media company that has a "strategic partnership" with the NRA through its Outdoor Channel.
In a June 24 press release, Sportsman Channel announced several changes to its lineup for the third quarter, including 13 new series, beginning on June 29.
Sportsman Channel issued the following statement to Media Matters about the end of the Cam & Company television show:
We have enjoyed our relationship with Cam & Company and appreciate their efforts over the 2 1/2 years they were on our air. Sportsman Channel was proud to be the first network to take the forward step to air a daily show focused on our second amendment rights. Unfortunately, we are not able to continue with the program. We continue to support Cam & Company and the NRA, as well as to air a robust schedule of the best in class firearms programming.
Viewers can continue to watch the Cam & Company show on NRANews.com from 2-5 p.m. each weekday. Also, previously aired shows and interviews are available at http://www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-company and podcasts can be found on iHeartRadio and iTunes. In addition, Cam & Company is simulcast on SiriusXM.
The complete schedule can be viewed at www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-and-co-schedule.
Washington Free Beacon staff writer Stephen Gutowski falsely reported that the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence must pay more than $200,000 to ammunition dealers that supplied a gunman who attacked moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. The misleading article was published after a court dismissed a lawsuit against the companies.
In fact, the plaintiffs in the case - parents of one of the victims - were ordered to pay the ammunition companies' legal fees because of a special carve-out in Colorado law for the gun industry.
On July 20, 2012, a man wearing body armor and carrying an arsenal of firearms and tear gas fatally shot 12 people and wounded 58 others during a midnight screening at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. The Brady Center subsequently filed a lawsuit against companies that had supplied the gunman, on behalf of Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, whose daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was killed in the shooting.
The lawsuit alleged that Lucky Gunner and several other companies had negligently supplied the gunman with thousands of rounds of ammunition, body armor, a high-capacity drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds of ammunition, and canisters of tear gas.
In April, a federal court dismissed the lawsuit and Lucky Gunner and other defendants moved to collect attorney's fees from the plaintiffs. On June 17, a judge granted that request, ordering the Phillipses to pay $203,000. The decision is currently under appeal.
On June 29, Beacon staff writer Gutowski reported on this development, but botched his analysis to claim that the Brady Center, rather than the Phillipses, was ordered to compensate companies that supplied the Aurora gunman.
In an article headlined, "Federal Judge Orders Brady Center to Pay Ammo Dealer's Legal Fees After Dismissing Lawsuit," Gutowski wrote, "A federal judge has ordered that the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence pay the legal fees of an online ammunition dealer it sued for the Aurora movie theater shooting." The actual order, which is cited in the article, contradicts this claim by describing at length how the plaintiffs, who are listed at the top of the order as Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, must pay fees to companies that enabled their daughter's killer.
Chris Christie "reduces me to a 14-year-old girl at a Beatles concert." MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, December 20, 2010.
"Chris Christie is someone who is magical in the way politicians can be magical." Mark Halperin appearing on Meet The Press, November 10 2013.
It's hard to miss the aura of a letdown that surrounds the news coverage of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's long-awaited announcement of his presidential candidacy. Set to address supporters today at his alma mater of Livingston High School in New Jersey, Christie enters a very crowded Republican field of White House hopefuls and does so with some extraordinary baggage, which explains the Hail Mary flavor of the coverage, which comes with almost a tinge of sadness, or what-could-have-been regret.
Detailing his "long-shot presidential bid," Politico noted it now revolves around a "bank-shot strategy, a narrowly tailored approach that leaves Christie with little room for error." The Associated Press headlined its article, "As He Launches 2016 Bid, Christie Embraces Underdog Role."
Starting with the Bridgegate revelations in January 2014, Christie has been riding a year-and-a-half worth of bad news that has translated into his lowest approval ratings ever in New Jersey. Christie hasn't just drifted off course. His political standing has completely collapsed to the point where it's not clear whether he will even qualify to be among the 10 candidates on the stage of the first Fox News-sponsored debate.
Yet of all the announced Republican candidates -- and those still queuing up this summer -- Christie without question enjoyed the most unique and encouraging relationship with the Beltway press corps. For years there was an almost tribal affection for Christie and his bullying personality among the Acela media class. (aka The "liberal" media.)
It was a strange, cozy relationship that's worth recalling on the eve of his candidacy. Rarely has the political pundit class bet so heavily on a particular politician. And rarely has a bet paid off as poorly as the media's wager on Christie.
Fox News contributor and First Baptist Dallas Rev. Robert Jeffress told his congregation that the recent marriage equality ruling was "the greatest, most historic, landmark blunder in the history of the United States Supreme Court."
Jeffress made his remarks during his June 28 Sunday prayer service, as reported by Dallas' KTVT and the Dallas Observer. Several conservative pundits have had unhinged reactions to the June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, which found that states must recognize same-sex marriages.
Los Angeles Times Supreme Court reporter David G. Savage wrote in January 2009 that when it comes to determining the worst Supreme Court decisions, "Historians and court scholars agree on a pair of 19th century opinions":
Historians and court scholars agree on a pair of 19th century opinions: Dred Scott v. Sandford, the 1857 ruling that upheld slavery even in the free states, and Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which condoned segregation as "separate but equal."
The World War II decision Korematsu v. United States (1944) is usually cited as well. There the court upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans.
Jeffress also compared the Supreme Court's marriage decision to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews. He told the Christian Post in a June 26 interview: "I think today's decision is just one more step in the marginalization of conservative Christians. I made this argument and have been ridiculed for doing so, but I think it is very legitimate. The Nazis did not take the Jews to the crematoriums immediately ... The German people would not have put up with that. Instead, the Nazis begin to marginalize the Jewish people, make them objects of contempt and ridicule. Once they changed the public opinion about the Jewish people, then they engaged the [Holocaust]."
Fox News employs Jeffress as a contributor despite his long and controversial history of bigotry against LGBT individuals and members of certain religions.
During the 2012 campaign, Jeffress created controversy when he denounced Mitt Romney's Mormon faith as a "cult." Then-Romney challenger Rick Perry was forced to distance himself from Jeffress, who had introduced Perry at an event.
He's said that "religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism ... lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell." He's called Islam an "evil, evil, religion," referred to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as "false religions," and said Catholicism is a "counterfeit religion" that rose from a "cult-like, pagan religion." Jeffress said of Judaism: "Judaism, you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ."
Video of Jeffress' June 28 remarks is below:
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?"
Television and radio host Sean Hannity defended GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who faced widespread backlash by media outlets following comments made during a speech where he called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "murderers." Hannity agreed with Trump arguing that immigrants wouldn't leave their home countries if they were successful.
On June 16, Trump announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for president. During his speech, Trump railed against Mexican immigration, claiming that the "U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," and referred to people coming across the southern border as "rapists" and criminals:
When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
Trump faced widespread outrage following his incendiary remarks. In a June 25 press release, Univision announced their intention to cut ties with Trump and drop Trump's Miss Universe pageant, in response to his "insulting remarks" about Latino immigrants. And in a June 29 statement released by NBC, the company expressed its intentions to no longer air Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and to exclude him from participating in NBC's reality-show The Apprentice, because of his "derogatory statements" regarding immigrants.
But on the June 29 edition of his radio show, Sean Hannity defended Trump's incendiary rhetoric. After highlighting NBC's announcement that they will be cutting ties with Trump, Hannity asserted that Trump was correct, immigrants coming to the U.S. are criminals, and argued that they would not be leaving their country if they were successful (emphasis added):
HANNITY: We've got a problem in this country. If he [Trump] can make that statement and CNN refers to it as "racially-tinged," because [inaudible...] could play this on TV. Floor to ceiling drugs confiscated by people crossing our southern border. You want to talk about crime? Well what do you think -- who's coming from Latin America and Mexico? Are they rich, successful Mexicans, Nicaraguans, El Salvador residents? No! Why would they leave if they're so successful? It's people who have not had opportunity in Mexico and so they will raise all this money and give it to these human traffickers, human traffickers take full advantage of them, take every penny they've got and then maybe get them across the border in a perilous journey which some people don't make it. Now if we really care about our fellow human beings, we owe it to them not to put that -- sort of like a sign up that says "Take a risk you can try and come across because we're gonna make it easy for you" and it turns out not to be so easy. But if we had a fence, if we wanted to secure the border, it wouldn't be a problem. So when Trump says, "are they sending their best, their brightest?" In other words, if you have a pool of people, if we opened up America's borders, and who would apply to come to America? We probably would have our choice of doctors, and lawyers, and computer programmers, everybody wants to come to America. You know that's a great thing, we're not building a fence to keep people in, we're building a fence to prevent people from coming in because the world would flood here, which they've been doing.