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  • Is Trump’s Campaign Just Another Conservative Con? And Should The Press Cover It That Way?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    "Conservatism is a racket for a lot of people to get very, very rich. With no thought of winning elections.” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, 2012.

    Stunned reporters this week have been unrelenting in depicting Donald Trump’s campaign as one whose wheels have not only come loose, but whose doors and windows have also flown off the hinges.

    Journalists, who are fascinated by fundraising totals and are forever stressing their importance in terms of judging campaign strength, were gobsmacked to learn Trump has just over $1 million in his campaign coffers after raising just $3.1 million in May.

    The total is unbelievably paltry for a major party nominee,” reported The Huffington Post, which labeled Trump’s recently released campaign finance report a “dumpster fire.” By comparison, four years ago Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $23.4 million in May. And by comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $4.5 million in just one day of fundraising this month.

    Donald Trump’s May fundraising totals are disastrously bad,” announced a Washington Post headline.

    But it’s not just Trump’s finances. It seems with every important campaign measurement -- staffing, get out the vote, communications, etc. -- Trump not only languishes; he barely competes.

    It's certainly possible, given Trump's history and lack of political experience, that his campaign's problems stem largely from basic incompetence. But something else might be in play here.

    Republicans have been staging modern White House campaigns for decades. Sometimes they’re successful and sometimes they’re not, but the party always manages to build an apparatus and support system that’s designed to compete on the national stage. So why would that formula suddenly elude Trump? Why would this nominee not to be able to pull off Campaign 101 as the calendar readies its flip to July?

    Just as importantly, why is Trump’s campaign pouring so much money into paying Trump’s own companies for goods and services?

    Why would Trump, whose campaign is in crisis at home, set aside two days this week to fly to Scotland to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of a golf resort? The answer, of course, is that Trump owns the luxury golf club.

    Do the two red flags of Trump’s seeming unwillingness to commit resources to genuinely compete for the White House, combined with his desire to fill his companies’ own coffers, suggest that his campaign is actually some sort of large-scale scam or con? And if it is, is that how the press should cover his campaign and drop the assumption that the Trump run represents a traditional GOP march toward the White House?

    It’s true that journalists are aggressively detailing his campaign’s many shortcomings. But most of the coverage suggests Trump and his team just haven’t mastered the campaign game, or that Trump’s simply too mercurial, which is causing trouble for him.

    But if the whole endeavor turns out to be more focused on bolstering Trump’s brands and launching his future media career than mounting a serious campaign, shouldn’t that be reflected in the real-time coverage?

    The crass self-dealing isn’t a new trend in the conservative movement. Media Matters has documented for years how fundraising scams remain a constant on the right, with high-profile media and political figures cashing in.

    Ben Carson’s presidential campaign this year nicely captured the grifter angle as the candidate plowed a huge percentage of his fundraising donations into paying for more fundraising.

    It sure looks like Carson's campaign is a self-perpetuating machine in which money is raised to pay mostly for more money being raised — and the people doing the direct mail and phone calls are making out quite nicely,” noted The Week’s Paul Waldman last year. (This, while Carson gave lucrative paid speeches during the presidential campaign season.)

    Trump now seems determined to further that dubious GOP tradition.

    When Trump flies, he uses his airplane. When he campaigns, he often chooses his properties or his own Trump Tower in New York City, which serves as headquarters. His campaign even buys Trump bottled water and Trump wine,” the Associated Press recently reported.

    His campaign has been writing very large checks to Trump’s TAG Air, Trump Tower Commercial, the Trump Corporation, Trump’s private Mar-a-lago Club, Trump National Doral and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, according to the AP. And "Trump's relentless product branding while on the campaign trail" might also be boosting the bottom lines of companies like Trump Ice, his bottled water company.

    But again, it’s not just the obvious self-dealing within the Trump campaign that raises doubts about the possibility of a con. It’s also Trump’s refusal to mount an actual, physical campaign operation. “Trump essentially has no campaign at this point,” The Washington Post reported on June 20.

    For instance, Trump has not aired any general election ads in eight key battleground states.

    And speaking of swing states, Trump hasn’t been to the important swing state of Ohio since March, while Hillary Clinton made two Buckeye stops in the span of eight days this month. "Democrats say they now have 150 full-time employees on the ground in Ohio" working to help Clinton and state-level Democrats win their races. But “Trump doesn't have a campaign operation in Ohio,” CNN recently reported.

    In May, Trump had just 69 paid staffers in total, compared to Clinton’s 685. Trump’s entire communication outreach effort seems to consist of Hope Hicks, “who is essentially the lone media contact for reporters,” MSNBC reported.

    Ground game? Last week in Phoenix, Trump’s rally drew approximately 4,500 supporters to an arena that accommodates 15,000. As for Trump’s field organization, it consists of “a patchwork of aides, some paid, some retained on a volunteer basis and many left over from the Republican primaries,” according to CNN.

    It would be one thing if Trump crassly touted and boosted his myriad businesses while running a muscular presidential run. But to try to cash in while running an at-times-invisible campaign certainly raises doubts about his pursuit.

    If the whole thing is built to be a con, shouldn’t the press say so?

  • O’Reilly Ignores The Most Embarrassing Aspects Of Trump FEC Report

    Trump Paid His Family Owned Businesses With Campaign Funds

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Bill O’Reilly ignored the fact that Donald Trump's campaign May financial report showed the campaign paid his own businesses and family for campaign events, instead choosing to debunk a controversy regarding a payment to what some initially believed to be a fictitious advertising firm.

    During a June 22 discussion with Fox contributor Martha MacCallum, O’Reilly focused on a $35,000 advertising  payment to New Hampshire ad firm Draper Sterling. The payment drew scrutiny because the company’s name was similar to lead characters in a fictitious television series about an ad agency, Mad Men.

    Media outlets have confirmed that Draper Sterling appears to be a real ad firm, although as ThinkProgress noted, it remains unclear what work the company actually did for the Trump campaign.  

    But O’Reilly ignored the most scandalous aspects of Trump’s May FEC report. New York Magazine explained that the “embarrassingly bad” report showed that Trump raised just $3.1 million in May but paid out $6.7 million. Furthermore, roughly 20 percent of the money spent by the Trump campaign in May went to either companies owned by Trump and his family, or to travel reimbursements for his children. The Trump campaign also spent more than $900,000 on T-shirts, hats, mugs and signs. CNBC reported:

    About 20 percent of May spending went to Trump companies or reimbursements for his children. That includes a roughly $423,000 payment to the Trump Organization's Mar-a-Lago club.

    […]

    Trump's campaign also spent a solid portion of its May haul on "collateral," like T-shirts, hats, mugs and signs. It spent more than $900,000 on those categories, more than 13 percent of its total spending.

    "Trump's failure to develop an effective fundraising operation has his campaign at this point without the resources to scale up its staffing, build a field organization, or begin advertising in crucial states," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College and campaign finance expert. "His campaign spending is largely devoted to the costs of personal paraphernalia, such as hats and mugs, which can be sold or distributed by the campaign as a means of raising small sums of money."

  • NY Times Highlights Emotional Coming Out Stories Following Orlando Tragedy

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In the wake of a deadly shooting at an LGBT nightclub, the sexuality of both the victims and survivors have moved to the forefront of the narrative of communities and families coming to grips with the trauma and loss of life trying to heal.

    The New York Times highlighted the coming out stories of several people impacted by the June 12 massacre at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL. The Hispanic community was devastated by the violence-- a majority of the 49 murder victims were Hispanic. The June 22 article featured stories of those who were grieving in the aftermath of unthinkable violence, as well as navigating the newly exposed sexuality of themselves or their loved ones. From the June 22 article:

    Some had their sexuality revealed by accident: Gertrude Merced learned that her 25-year-old son, Enrique, was gay only after she heard the news of his death. Others, though, have chosen to expose their inner lives, stirred by the outpouring of support for Orlando’s gay community or wrought with sorrow and unable to keep their secrets in anymore.

    Cory Richards was in Pulse with his boyfriend, Enrique Rios, on the night of the attack; neither were out to their family. After surviving the attack, Richards came out to his father. Rios lost his life that night and that's how his mother found out he was gay:

    Cory Richards, 24, spent the early hours of June 12 dancing under the strobe lights at Pulse with his boyfriend, Enrique L. Rios Jr. Neither man had told his parents he was gay. But around 9 a.m., as Mr. Richards emerged from the carnage, he cried into his phone to his father.“I can’t find my baby,” Mr. Richards recalled saying. “I can’t find my baby.”

    “What?” his father responded.

    “That’s my boyfriend, that’s not my friend,” Mr. Richards said he told him of Mr. Rios. “That’s my boyfriend.”

    “I don’t care what you are,” he recalled his father saying. “You’re my son. I didn’t know, but I accept it.”

    Mr. Rios had died. A thousand miles away, his mother, Ms. Merced, 48, learned of her son’s death. And then received a call from his boyfriend.

    For Enakai Hernandez, a former regular at Pulse, news of the tragedy hit too close to home:

    Enakai Hernandez, is a 27-year-old artist who had partied at Pulse for years. On the weekend of the attack, he was staying at his parent’s home in a gated community here, sick in bed.

    When he woke and the depth of the tragedy revealed itself, his mother took him in her arms as he cried.

    “Sabes que te quiero mucho?” she has told him over and over in recent days. “Que tú eres el amor de mi vida?” Her message: that she loved her son and considered him the love of her life.

     
     
  • NRA Radio Show Compares Participants In Rep. John Lewis’ Gun Violence Sit-In To “Criminals And Terrorists”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s radio show compared participants in a sit-in in the U.S. House of Representatives being led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to “criminals and terrorists” reasoning that like terrorists, the sit-in participants were not following the rules.

    While the House was in session on June 22, Lewis and other Democratic members of Congress sat on the floor of the House, refusing to return to regular order until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to call a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence.

    CNN.com described the move as “a dramatic protest inside the House of Representatives” that was “rich with historic symbolism.” Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organized numerous sit-ins to protest racial discrimination during the 1960s, has been described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.”

    During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company, as the sit-in proceeded, host Cam Edwards claimed, “So in order to push legislation that the sponsors say would not have prevented the attacks in Orlando, Florida, they’re also going to flout the House rules. Kind of like, you know, criminals and terrorists flout the rules that we have in place right now and will continue to do so?”:

     

     

  • STUDY: Huge Disparity In Cable News Coverage Of This Week’s Trump, Clinton Speeches

    MSNBC And Fox Covered Trump’s Anti-Clinton Tirade Three Times Longer Than Both Clinton Speeches Combined, CNN Twice As Long

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    A review of coverage of major speeches this week by presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finds that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all devoted at least twice as much coverage directly before and after the speeches to commenting on Trump’s speech than they did Clinton’s two speeches combined.

    Media Matters counted how much time the three networks spent discussing the speeches before and after they aired. Comparing how much attention the networks give to the speeches is a way of determining the relative importance they are assigned. In their coverage of this week’s speeches, the networks have treated Trump speaking as a major event worthy of substantial coverage both before and after he begins speaking. They did not afford the same status to Clinton.

    On June 21, Clinton delivered a speech criticizing Trump’s economic record, which all three cable networks carried in full. CNN provided roughly nine minutes of coverage leading up to the speech and less than five minutes after, for a total of about 14 minutes of continuous coverage leading into and following the speech. MSNBC and Fox both turned to the speech from coverage of other topics, and they dedicated less than five minutes to post-speech analysis before again turning to different topics.

    Clinton delivered a speech the following day billed as a “case for ‘progressive’ economic reforms,” which again was covered in full by all three networks. Again, the networks provided little coverage leading up to and following the speech. CNN’s continuous coverage of the speech lasted just over seven minutes, totaling more than 21 minutes of additional coverage for both speeches; MSNBC’s coverage lasted approximately 11 minutes, totalling nearly 16 minutes of coverage for both speeches; and Fox’s coverage lasted just over three and a half minutes for a total of nearly eight minutes of coverage for the two speeches.

    The three cable networks devoted more than twice as much consecutive coverage before and after Trump’s speech on June 22, which was billed as an attack on Clinton, as they did the two Clinton speeches combined. CNN had the most continuous pre- and post-speech coverage, with nearly 44 minutes of commentary. This was more than twice as long as their coverage of both of Clinton’s speeches, and included nearly 25 minutes of discussion leading up to Trump’s speech, much of it over live shots of Trump’s empty podium.

    MSNBC devoted nearly 38 minutes to covering Trump’s speech, more than three times more coverage than both Clinton speeches received. Fox dedicated over 26 minutes to Trump’s speech, which was three times longer than their coverage of Clinton’s two speeches. Both provided roughly eight minutes of coverage leading into the speech, again frequently showing footage of the empty podium.

    To their credit, both MSNBC and CNN devoted some of their post-speech coverage to fact-checking Trump’s numerous false claims.

  • The Important Way Spanish-Language Media’s Orlando Massacre Coverage Outshined Other News Networks

    Univision And Telemundo Offered Representation To The Overlapping, Diverse Communities Affected

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    In their June 13 coverage of the Orlando, FL, massacre, Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo uniquely provided a crucial platform for intersectional voices that included Spanish-speaking, gay Latinos. The distinctly diverse coverage outshined other national cable news networks which underrepresented the affected communities in their coverage.

    A Media Matters study of the diversity of guest appearances on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC the day after the June 12 attack on LGBT nightclub Pulse found that “none of the three networks hosted a significant number of Latino” guests.

    In a tragedy that overwhelmingly impacted the Hispanic community -- more than 90 percent of the victims were Hispanic -- Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo were uniquely equipped to provide a much-needed space for Spanish-speaking voices in their coverage the day after the massacre. Both networks featured survivors and family members of victims, who shared their stories in their own language (and some of them spoke only Spanish), while emphasizing the many communities -- sometimes overlapping -- that the tragedy impacted. Jorge Ramos said the attack was “truly a tragedy, for the Latino community, and truly a tragedy for the Latino gay community”:

    In the aftermath of the tragedy, many family members of the victims were “in dire need” of “Spanish-language interpreters” in order to identify their missing loved ones, according to Fox News Latino:

    Hundreds, if not thousands, across the country are lining up to donate blood to help the victims of Orlando’s tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Others wanting to help are donating money for funerals and health care costs.

    But in Orlando, for family members of the victims, there is also a dire need for something else: Spanish-language interpreters.

    Dozens of people waiting to hear from their loved ones at the Hampton Inn in Downtown Orlando, near the nightclub where tragedy struck early Sunday morning, are heart-broken, confused — and compounding matters is that many do not know English.

    Many of the people interviewed on Univision and Telemundo referenced the language barrier, and both networks included reports of Hispanic organizations that were providing resources and support for those with cultural or linguistic obstacles, emphasizing the need for “bilingual help”:

    Hispanic media’s proximity to the Latino community -- Telemundo itself lost one of its producers to the attack -- aided the networks in providing coverage of the Orlando massacre that accurately represented the experiences of affected Hispanics, while providing valuable resources to grieving families. Just as Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arrarás demonstrated when co-hosting the February 25 Republican debate, newsroom diversity -- and in this case, particularly Latino media representation -- empowers Latino audiences to “engage [with news content] at a higher level.”

  • Houston Public Media Report Demonstrates Dangers Of “Abortion Training Taboo” Created By Texas’ Anti-Choice Law

    HB 2 Is Keeping Abortion Training Out Of Medical Curricula, Which Could Have Dire Consequences For Reproductive Health Care

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    This June the Supreme Court will release its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt -- a landmark abortion rights case challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ extreme anti-choice law HB 2.

    HB 2 requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic and that clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Although supporters claim that these restrictions are medically necessary and that they protect patient’s health, the vast majority of experts agree that HB 2’s mandates are based on medically inaccurate information. The Supreme Court's decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt could set the precedent for all future abortion restrictions.

    Even if the court rejects HB 2, Texas clinics still face an uncertain future. As Molly Hennessy-Fiske wrote for the Los Angeles Times, the process of reopening or reauthorizing clinics that closed when the law was implemented to perform abortions would be arduous. The piece quoted Whole Woman’s Health president Amy Hagstrom Miller, who said, “We can’t reopen clinics overnight.” Hennessy-Fiske explained that the process of reopening clinics is difficult because, as Miller noted, “providers have had to sell buildings, give up leases, lay off staff and allow doctors to take other jobs.”

    A two-part report from Houston Public Media confirmed these warnings: Thanks to political attacks on abortion access, Texas may be facing a shortage of medical professionals capable of performing abortions. In the piece, Carrie Feibel reported that “the battle over reproductive rights has penetrated academic medicine in Texas” and deterred medical programs from providing abortion education and training. Feibel explained that this “abortion training taboo” in Texas was a result of the logistical challenges of and stigma surrounding abortion care after HB 2.

    In part one, Feibel detailed the logistical hurdles created by HB 2 that have made providing abortion training “increasingly difficult,” if not impossible, for many medical programs. According to Feibel, only “three out of the 18 programs in Texas have made arrangements for residents to spend time learning at an outpatient family-planning clinic” -- the type of facility “where most abortions in Texas take place.” In many cases, program directors argue that providing such training is difficult when “the nearest abortion clinic is now closed.”

    Dr. Robert Casanova, a recent residency director at Texas Tech University, told Feibel, “The limited choices for our patients pretty much parallels the limited choices for our residents to get training, to where they feel comfortable doing something along those lines.” Texas Tech is located in Lubbock, TX, where the last abortion clinic in the area closed after HB 2 went into effect. As Manny Fernandez reported for The New York Times, because there are no remaining clinics in or near Lubbock, many patients now must make “a five-hour trip to Dallas or to Albuquerque, some 320 miles away” in order to receive abortion care.

    Lubbock is not unique in this sense. According to research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), since HB 2 went into effect nearly half of Texas’ abortion clinics have closed. In an article about the study, Rewire’s Andrea Grimes described the results in terms of their political ramifications. Grimes wrote that since May 2013 -- shortly before Texas lawmakers passed HB 2 -- “Forty-six percent of Texas’ legal abortion providers have closed.” In addition to the loss of clinics, the overall number of physicians who perform abortions in Texas has also decreased since HB 2 went into effect. In a February 2016 research brief, TxPEP researchers also reported that HB 2 had decreased the number of “physicians providing services in the state” drastically:

    In the fall of 2013, before HB2 went into effect, there were 48 physicians providing abortion across the state. Currently there are 28 physicians with admitting privileges providing abortions in Texas. This represents a decline of 42% in the number of physicians providing abortion in Texas since HB2 went into effect. An additional three physicians are currently providing services in El Paso and McAllen due to a partial stay of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling issued by the US Supreme Court. These physicians would not be allowed to continue to provide abortion services if the Supreme Court ruled to allow the Fifth Circuit decision to go into effect.

    Of the 28 physicians with admitting privileges currently providing abortion services in Texas:

    • 15 (54%) were providing in Texas prior to HB2 and had admitting privileges prior to October 2013.

    • 6 (21%) were providing in Texas prior to HB2 and were able to get admitting privileges after the law went into effect.

    • 7 (25%) are new abortion providers with admitting privileges.

    The lack of available resources for training medical students in abortion care is not entirely a product of accessibility challenges. As Feibel explained, for many programs, HB 2 has had a chilling effect on institutional willingness to support abortion training. “Academic medical centers in Texas receive tens of millions of dollars a year in state funding,” reported Feibel. Because of this funding relationship, “Doctors working in these institutions are walking a very delicate line,” Carol Joffe, a medical sociologist who studies abortion providers, told Houston Public Media. Joffe explained that even when doctors want to provide abortion training, “they are fearful of the other sectors of the university coming down on them and saying ‘You’re threatening our funding.’”

    Although abortion is both common and overwhelmingly safe, Feibel explained that institutional concerns coupled with a fear of “backlash from anti-abortion groups and politicians” means that when medical students receive abortion training, it “happens quietly, almost in secret.”

    Abortion stigma is defined as the “shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong and/or socially unacceptable." This belief is reinforced through media coverage, popular culture, and by a lack of accurate information in the general public about the procedure itself. Right-wing media and anti-choice groups have worked relentlessly to “exploit the stigma of abortion” -- describing the procedure as sickening, “grisly,” and “selfish” while calling abortion providers “villains” and comparing them to Nazis.

    According to Feibel, one of the best ways to combat stigma is for residents to work with patients and understand their motivations for seeking an abortion. She wrote:

    There’s another intangible, but critical, experience residents get from abortion training, though it has nothing to do with technique. Jane, the resident, summed it up this way: “Every woman has a different story and a different reason why she chooses to end her pregnancy.”

    Hearing those stories from patients is crucial to an ob-gyn’s professional development, said Dr. Jody Steinauer, an ob-gyn professor and researcher at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

    Counseling patients teaches doctors valuable bedside skills like compassion, empathy, and political awareness.

    “When they spend time in a setting that provides abortion care, they have real epiphanies,” Steinauer said. “They become more aware of their biases. They’re surprised that more than half of women having abortion are already mothers, for example.”

    Challenging abortion stigma by encouraging greater dialogue is a familiar strategy for many reproductive health advocates. Organizations including Sea Change, #ShoutYourAbortion, and the 1 in 3 Campaign all encourage people to speak out about their abortion experiences through a variety of media.

    Aside from the social benefits of addressing abortion stigma, exposing medical residents to abortion procedures is beneficial for their development overall. As one doctor told Feibel, “The technical procedure is the same, whether you are doing it for a miscarriage, or whether you’re doing it to terminate an ongoing pregnancy.” Another resident explained that a number of the skills practiced during her time at an outpatient abortion clinic would improve her proficiency in other aspects of the field:

    Jane spent about a month at this family planning clinic during the third year of her residency. Abortion is just one of the skills she learned. She counseled patients about abortion, contraception and sexually-transmitted diseases. She also learned techniques for pain management and dilation of the cervix.

    Many of those skills will be useful in other practice areas, Jane said. For instance, ob-gyns use ultrasounds for many different reasons.

    “Before in residency, we were doing ultrasounds maybe once during a clinic afternoon, or a few ultrasounds in the o-b triage area,” Jane said. “But here we do 30 ultrasounds in a morning, so it’s a lot of good learning about how to do ultrasounds.”

    Despite these tangible benefits from providing abortion training to medical students, many training programs won’t embrace the practice; contacted by Feibel, program representatives refused to answer questions about whether they train students to perform abortions. One hung up on her, another cancelled the interview, and six more “simply refused to answer the questions about how the training takes place.”

    If the Supreme Court upholds HB 2, the need to “train the next generation” of abortion providers will only grow. To underscore this point, Feibel included comments from Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld, a 74-year-old abortion provider who “hasn’t been able to line up a successor” to lead his medical practice. According to Rosenfeld, although he’s reached out to other doctors, “none of them are interested in the political consequences of providing abortions.”

  • Trump’s Benghazi Lies Came From Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump used his June 22 campaign speech to parrot Fox News’ lies about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s response to the 2012 attack on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    In his speech, Trump claimed Ambassador Chris Stevens was a “victim” of Clinton’s actions while she served as secretary of state, claiming that she was asleep throughout the September 11, 2012, attack at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. He later claimed that “to cover her tracks,” she “lied about” whether an anti-Islam YouTube video -- which led to widespread protests throughout the Middle East at the time -- inspired the attack.

    DONALD TRUMP: Among the victims of our late Ambassador Chris Stevens, I mean, she, what she did with him was absolutely horrible. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. That's right. When the phone rang, as per the commercial, at three o’clock in the morning, Hillary Clinton was sleeping. Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. They were desperate. They needed help. Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all. She started the war that put them in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die. To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about the video being the cause of death, the famous video, all a lie, another Hillary lie.

    Fox News has long pushed the myth that both Clinton and President Obama were not responsive during the attack. But the fact is, congressional testimony has confirmed that Clinton was in close contact with military officials and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon throughout the night of the attacks. The former deputy chief of mission in Libya testified in 2013 that Clinton called him during the attack to be briefed on developments. Clinton also testified in 2013 that she spoke with administration officials and President Obama from her office at the State Department throughout the night.

    Fox also spent years denying the role the inflammatory anti-Islam YouTube video had in inspiring the attack and suggesting that administrations drawing such a link were politically motivated. But the intelligence community initially indicated that the video played a role in the attack, and interviews with some of the attackers revealed that the attack was “fueled in large part by anger” over the video. Fox News itself even reported -- the night that the attack occurred -- that the attack was “triggered by a movie produced in the United States that … is anti-Muslim.”

  • New Trump Adviser Tony Suarez Spoke Out Against Candidate's "Polarizing" Rhetoric Earlier This Month

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    New Donald Trump adviser pastor Tony Suarez deleted anti-Trump Facebook posts and previously attacked the presumptive Republican nominee as “a promoter of hate, division and insult.”

    Suarez is the executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), a Republican activist, and a television host and commentator. He is a member of Trump’s newly convened “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board,” which will “provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America.” A press release states that those participating on the “board were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.”

    The board also includes Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress, who has attacked LGBT people for purportedly leading "miserable" and "filthy" lives, and called Catholicism a "cult-like, pagan religion," Islam an "evil, evil religion," Mormonism a "cult" from the "pit of hell," and Judaism and Hinduism religions that lead people to "an eternity of separation from God in Hell."

    Suarez is advising Trump despite lambasting the “embarrassing” Republican as “a promoter of hate, division and insult” who alienates Hispanics and has no chance of winning the general election.

    Media Matters previously documented how political commentator Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Republican National Committee’s new director of Hispanic communications, deleted numerous tweets trashing Trump and previously criticized him during Hispanic media appearances.

    In a now-deleted Facebook post from November 13, 2015, as the Washington Examiner noted, Suarez wrote that it’s “embarrassing” to see “preachers support Trump.”

    In August, Suarez wrote that “Trump is putting on a clinic on how to NOT win the Latino vote or the White House.”

    Time quoted Suarez in October declaring of Trump: “I don’t believe he would have the support of anyone in this room and I don’t think he has a chance of winning the general election.”

    NBC News quoted Suarez stating of Trump: "Mr. Trump has become a promoter of hate, division and insult and if Mr. Trump were to be the Republican nominee - I don't think he has a chance at winning the general election.” Suarez also reportedly called for Trump’s campaign “to be canceled like his last reality TV program."

    Suarez was publicly criticizing Trump and his “alienating” rhetoric earlier this month. During an interview on the June 5 edition of MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Suarez related that his boss “the Reverend Sam Rodriguez, the president of the NHCLC, recently said everyone’s waiting for Donald Trump to build a wall. He’s already actually built walls. He’s built walls with rhetoric that is polarizing and alienating the Latino electorate from his campaign.” He added at the time he wasn’t sure if he would vote for Clinton instead of Trump.

    The Huffington Post reported that “Suarez said he remained uncommitted to Trump, even after meeting with the candidate. But he said he saw the creation of the board as a positive step, if only for providing him and others a chance to urge Trump to think and talk differently about certain issues”:

    The author of that passage, the Rev. Tony Suarez, told HuffPost he probably did it out of desperation (it’s now deleted). Suarez, an executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for president.

    Like others who gathered in New York on Wednesday, Suarez said he remained uncommitted to Trump, even after meeting with the candidate. But he said he saw the creation of the board as a positive step, if only for providing him and others a chance to urge Trump to think and talk differently about certain issues.

    “I was very frustrated with Mr. Trump in the fall,” Suarez said. “But in the spirit of reconciliation and believing that everyone deserves a second chance, I’m giving Mr. Trump that opportunity. Okay, you’re talking about building bridges, you say you love Latinos, you want us to love you — then okay, let’s come to the table.”

  • O’Reilly Can’t Remember The Last Time An Abortion Clinic Was Attacked: Here Are A Few Examples

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Fox Host Bill O’Reilly downplayed the dangers of anti-abortion attacks claiming he was unable to remember the last time an abortion clinic was attacked by right-wing extremists, ignoring the long history of attacks against abortion clinics.

    On the June 21 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly argued with contributor Kirsten Powers over remarks made by CNN’s Van Jones claiming that “young white” right-wing extremists are seven times more likely to kill an American citizen than Muslim terrorists. During his discussion with Powers, O’Reilly dismissed the prevalence of right-wing Christian attacks by asking, “When is the last time a Christian blew up an abortion clinic?”

    The National Abortion Federation reports there have been 42 documented cases of bombing or attempted bombings of abortion clinics since 1977. Most recently, in 2005 a man confessed to two deadly bombings at women’s clinics in Georgia and Alabama. After pleading guilty to the crimes, he told the court “abortion is murder.”

    From 1977-2014, 6,948 incidents of violence have been reported at abortion clinics, including the Nov. 27 deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that was inspired by false claims that alleged the network of clinics illegally sold “baby parts.”

    Reproductive health clinics have faced a surge of violent threats following conservative media’s wave of anti-abortion attacks that tailed the release of the deceptive video that inspired the Colorado shooter.