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  • NRA's New Testimonial For Trump Features Man Who Promoted Sandy Hook Conspiracy

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A testimonial video for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released by the National Rifle Association prominently features a man who posted online content suggesting that some Sandy Hook Elementary School parents were actually actors.

    NRA News, the NRA’s media arm, published a nearly eight-minute testimonial in support of Trump on July 25. The NRA endorsed Trump on May 20 during its annual meeting in Louisville, KY.

    The testimonial echoes claims made at the annual meeting, focusing on the false claim that Hillary Clinton would abolish the Second Amendment as president. The testimonial also features video footage of terrorist attacks, including the recent attack in Nice, France, that left 84 people dead.

    Throughout the testimonial, the NRA presents interviews of people attending the NRA annual meeting expressing support for Trump. One individual identified by the NRA as Vince Resor is featured five times in the video.

    Resor first comments on gun-free zones (“Gun-free zones have cost us a lot of lives and it’s time to put an end to that”) and the future of the Supreme Court (“America won’t be America. The Supreme Court can make or break the country for the next generation”) before offering words of encouragement for Trump.

    Resor says that he is “excited” about Trump, that “he is right for the country at this time,” and “You either vote for Trump or you vote for a dim future for all Americans, and your kids, and generations to come.”

    The NRA video gives Resor the last word, with his pitch closing out the testimonial: “Keep your foot on the gas, Donald Trump. This is no time to let up. We’re sliding down the slippery slope and it’s time to put the hammer down and get the job done.”

     

    On his public Facebook page, Resor suggested that parents of two children who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a 2012 mass shooting, are actually actors. Sharing a false report from a conspiracy website about the parents of two Sandy Hook students, Resor wrote weeks after the shooting, “What is amazing here is not how despicable this is, but how unremarkable it is to learn that the mainstream media deceives us with propaganda to advance their cause. Disgusting.”

    He also referenced the same conspiracy in April 2013, writing, “Now are these the real Newtown parents or the actors from Florida?”

    The claim that certain people who made media appearances or appeared in news footage following the Sandy Hook mass shooting were actually “crisis actors” is a central tenet to the conspiracy theory that the shooting was a hoax.

    Other conspiracies appear on Resor’s page, including the claim that President Obama is a Muslim:

    Resor also operates a blog where he wrote that he is “all for racial profiling” and “and any other method that helps law enforcement civil servants rid us of the criminal element fouling our society,” arguing, “If you wear a towel around your head, you get searched. If your crack is exposed because your pants are too low, you get searched.”

  • Lies, Body-Shaming, And Character Attacks: Right-Wing Media Indignant During DNC's Second Night

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    During the second night of the Democratic National Convention, conservative media figures reacted on Twitter by spreading debunked lies about Planned Parenthood, criticizing Lena Dunham's body, and attacking Bill Clinton.

    Right-Wing Media Attack Planned Parenthood And President Cecile Richards

    Conservatives Body-Shame Lena Dunham 

    Right-Wing Media Criticize Bill Clinton

    Right-Wing Media Attack Planned Parenthood And President Cecile Richards

    Conservatives Body-Shame Lena Dunham 

    Right-Wing Media Criticize Bill Clinton

     

  • Fox News Completely Ignores The “Mothers Of The Movement” During Democratic National Convention

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    As CNN and MSNBC aired the emotional Democratic National Convention tribute by mothers who lost children to gun violence or police shootings in its entirety, Fox News completely ignored the appearance “Mothers of the Movement.” The mothers seek to rebuild police-community relationships and strive to end gun violence.

    On July 26, the nine women who comprise the Mothers of the Movement gathered on stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The women said that Clinton was a leader “who will say our children’s names” and one who “isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter” while stressing the need for criminal justice reform and “common sense gun legislation” to stem the tide of violence in their communities. Both CNN and MSNBC aired the full, heartrending remarks before concluding with a brief analysis.

    On Fox News, an outlet that has worked to demonize Black Lives Matter -- labeling it as “a hate group” and a “murder movement,” and equating it with the Ku Klux Klan -- and diminished its calls for necessary criminal justice reforms, the appearance went unmentioned.

    Rather than hearing the stories of the grieving mothers,” Fox host Bill O’Reilly continued his show uninterrupted, interviewing guests on general election polling and border security:

  • Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin Downplays The Historical Importance Of First Female Presidential Nominee

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin downplayed the historic relevance of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, claiming that “the lack of suspense” over Clinton’s victory and that there have been “women in high places for decades” somehow made her nomination less historic.

    In her column, Rubin describes Clinton’s nomination as a “significant” rebuke of “the far-right media” and Donald Trump’s “nonchalant misogyny,” but claimed “gender simply is not as big a deal in 21st-century America as race still is”:

    Some of the “wow” factor is diminished by the lack of suspense. Clinton has been running for president forever (well, about 10 years), and despite a mild scare from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was always going to be the nominee. A surprise, this was not.

    Moreover, gender simply is not as big a deal in 21st-century America as race still is. We’ve had women in high places for decades, and we do not have a divide between the sexes (thank goodness) to the degree that we still have along racial lines. We fought a civil war and a brutal battle to do away with Jim Crow. I could go on, but most would agree that this is not as big a deal as nominating or electing the first African American. Frankly, seeing civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was repeatedly beaten and jailed in the 1960s, put Clinton’s name into nomination only underscored the lack of equivalence.

    Clinton’s nomination is nevertheless significant and a testament to Americans’ devotion to equality, which to a large degree defines the United States. It is a rebuke to the sophomoric and nonchalant misogyny of Donald Trump and some of the far-right media.

    We can hope this lowers the heat on the “war against women” rhetoric, but do not count on it. Americans, after nearly eight years of President Obama, are signaling record levels of pessimism about race relations. Let’s hope that if she wins, Clinton does not do for gender relations what Obama did for race relations.

    Rubin has a long  history of attacking Clinton including recycling debunked Clinton Foundation smears and perpetrating evidence-free Benghazi lies.

  • Trump Says He “Would Think About” Hiring Disgraced Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes To Work On Campaign

    Trump: Ailes Is A “Very Capable Guy,” And “A Friend Of Mine”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Donald Trump “would think about” hiring disgraced ex-Fox CEO Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson. Following the announcement of Carlson’s lawsuit, dozens of women have come forward to allege sexual misconduct by Ailes going back decades.

    Despite the allegations, which include sexual harassment that was “encouraged and protected” at Fox News under Ailes, Trump praised Ailes and described him as “a friend of mine” and “very capable”:

    There have been all sorts of rumors about Roger Ailes potentially helping the Donald Trump campaign now that he’s out as Fox News Chairman & CEO, and Trump himself isn’t discounting the idea.

    In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trump said, “You know, Roger’s been a friend of mine for a long time and he’s done an incredible job … but nobody has actually — Roger has never mentioned it to me at all.”

    That being said, Trump admitted he “would think about it.” He praised Ailes as a “Roger very capable guy and he’s a friend of mine.”

    [h/t Mediaite]

  • Fox Correspondent Corrects Own Network’s False Attack The DNC Showcases No American Flags

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin corrected her own network after Fox hosts falsely claimed that the Democratic National Convention featured no American flags in the arena.

    On the July 26 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling attacked the Democratic National Convention by falsely claiming that there were “no American flags” in the convention hall.  

    After the commercial break, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle reported that Fox correspondent Jennifer Griffin said “there’s a number of of American flags on stage and in the backdrop.” After being corrected on-air by her own colleague, Guilfoyle said, “we’re happy to hear it.”

    The urban-legend busting website Snopes also noted that the attack was “false,” writing that right-wing media promoting the myth “cherry-picked photographs in order to make it appear that no U.S. flags” were on display.

    Images of the flags throughout the convention hall were readily available from the C-SPAN feed of the convention:

  • Chris Hayes: Conservatives’ Climate Denial Explained By “The Alex Jonesification Of The GOP”

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    MSNBC host Chris Hayes explained in a series of tweets how conservatives’ denial of the evidence of human-caused climate change exemplifies “the rot in the conservative movement” and the Republican Party.

    USA Today reported on July 26 that according to the federal government’s Climate Prediction Center, “for the first time on record, every square inch of all 50 states is forecast to see above-average temperatures for the next three months.”

    Hayes cited this report in explaining the GOP’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of human-caused climate change. Hayes went on to say the conservative movement’s climate change denial represents “breathtaking epistemic nihilism” and that the three-decade-long “conspiracy theory” that climate change is a hoax is the embodiment of “the Alex Jonesification of the GOP.” (Alex Jones is a notorious conspiracy theorist and 9/11 truther who received special guest credentials at the Republican National Convention):

    Fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil have known for nearly three decades that fossil fuel emissions harm the climate, but have been working to “deceive the public,” according to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). An earlier UCS report explained that MSNBC’s climate coverage has been overwhelmingly accurate, especially when compared to conservative cable news channel Fox News.

  • New Research On Seattle's Minimum Wage Hike Shows “The Sky Has Not Fallen”

    University Of Washington Researchers Found Seattle Job Market “Exceptionally Strong” While City Raised The Minimum Wage

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Researchers at the University of Washington found the Seattle, WA, economy continued on a path of strong growth after the city began to raise the minimum wage -- counter to dire predictions from right-wing media.

    Seattle Weekly reported that Seattle’s economy has not been met with “devastation” since the city raised the minimum wage to $11 per hour on July 25, according to researchers at the University of Washington, who found that the Seattle economy saw a “boom in job growth” over the last 18 months. Seattle began phasing in its minimum wage increase in April 2015, raising wages to $11 per hour. The Washington cities of Seattle and SeaTac are in the process of phasing in the highest municipal minimum wages in the country -- $15 per hour. Researchers found that from mid-2014 to the end of 2015, “the Seattle labor market was exceptionally strong” and the city’s “job growth rate tripled the national average.” Seattle Weekly reported that the researchers’ findings debunk conservative predictions that the increase “would ‘devastate’ small businesses” and harm low-wage workers:

    The sky has not fallen. That’s the takeaway from a new report on the effects of Seattle’s newly heightened minimum wage.

    “Wages have risen, businesses have withstood the increase, work opportunities have declined modestly, [and] average earnings have changed by no more than a few dollars a week,” said the UW minimum wage research team, led by Jacob Vigdor, in a presentation to city council this morning. This outcome stands in stark contrast against the rhetoric used when the new minimum wage was being debated in 2013 and ‘14, when opponents claimed it would “devastate” small businesses.

    In fact, no such devastation has occurred. This has been clear for a while—Seattle’s minimum wage increase began April last year—and the new report from the UW research team further confirms it. “The City’s low-wage workers did relatively well after the minimum wage increased, but largely because of the strong regional economy,” the report says. “Seattle’s low wage workers would have experienced almost equally positive trends if the minimum wage had not increased.”

    The report shows that the minimum wage increase was not the source of the economic boom but also that the Seattle economy has not seen a major impact from the minimum wage increase. The researchers “caution that these results show only the short-run impact of Seattle’s increase to a wage of $11/hour” and that it will take many years for the full effect of raising the minimum wage to be seen.

    Conservative media smears against Seattle's minimum wage increase started soon after the city approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 over the course of a three- to seven-year period. In July 2015, Fox News' Dan Springer falsely claimed that Seattle was facing "unintended consequences" from the wage increase, with some low-income workers attempting to game the system so as to remain eligible for welfare benefits. In August, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) used cherry-picked data to claim Seattle's minimum wage increase "has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs." Fox Business host Stuart Varney echoed AEI's claim a month later on his show, weeks after the specific job loss claim had been debunked. Other right-wing outlets, including The Daily Caller and Investor's Business Daily, have combed through municipal jobs data in Seattle to exaggerate alleged side effects of the minimum wage.

    Right-wing media are staunchly opposed to increasing the minimum wage and dedicated to promoting the myth that wage increases result in job losses, despite a wealth of evidence showing that minimum wage increases have a negligible effect on employment.

  • The Trump Campaign Is Paying A Fox News Analyst $13,000 A Month

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News continues to employ contributor Walid Phares while Donald Trump's campaign pays him $13,000 a month. Phares regularly appears on the network to boost Trump on foreign policy issues.

    Two weeks ago, Fox News suspended the contributor contract of Newt Gingrich “due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection” as Trump’s running mate and “to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise.” It does not appear to be concerned with any “conflicts of interest that may arise” with Phares.

    Fox News states on Phares' biography page that he “joined Fox News in January 2007 and serves as Middle East and terrorism expert.” Trump’s monthly Federal Election Commission report shows that the campaign paid Phares $13,000 in both May and June for “policy consulting.”

    Phares frequently appears on Fox News, where he is introduced as a Fox News analyst and Trump adviser.

    “The Obama administration, unfortunately, has not accepted the principle that we're fighting an ideology,” Phares said on the July 14 broadcast of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (via Nexis). “That is what Mr. Trump is talking about. Now, to find a policy he needs to be in government not just a candidate.”

    During a June 17 appearance on Hannity, Phares called for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s finances and said Clinton’s foreign policy “concerns me.” While guesting on the June 23 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Phares responded to developing news about a German theater attack by claiming that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”

    Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still receiving severance from the Trump campaign while serving as a CNN analyst. While Lewandowski no longer holds an official spot with the campaign, he “has been pitching his own super PAC to donors,” he has served as a Trump New Hampshire delegate, and he is reportedly still giving advice to Trump. Media ethicists have harshly criticized CNN over Lewandowski’s hiring.

  • Wash. Post Debunks Trump’s Conspiracy Theory About The "Artificial" Employment Rate

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien countered Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's "conspiracy theory" that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has "massaged" the unemployment statistics, explaining that there is "zero evidence [the BLS] has changed the numbers" and that “anyone who suggests otherwise is either uninformed, or trying to uninform others.”

    Right-wing media boasts a long history of pushing the claim that the BLS artificially manipulates employment statistics in a partisan effort to portray the Obama administration as having a positive impact on the economy. Most recently, these efforts have been spearheaded by Trump, who, with the help of his family, has attempted to downplay economic progress and hype the debunked claim that 42 percent of Americans are unemployed.

    The Post explained that, while Trump hasn’t revealed the source of his unemployment statistic, “the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work” -- a figure that, right now, is 40.4 percent. But that number is problematic because it “counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally ‘unemployed’ as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any.” From the July 26 article (emphasis original):

    For a year now, the alleged billionaire has insisted that the "real" unemployment rate is something like 42 percent instead of the 4.9 percent it actually is. He hasn't said how he's gotten this — maybe it's from the same "extremely credible source" who told him President Obama's birth certificate was fake? — but the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work. That's 40.4 percent right now. The problem with using that number, though, is that it counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally "unemployed" as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any. So it doesn't tell us too much, at least not on its own, unless you think it's a problem that we have more 70-year-olds than we used to.

    Or unless conspiracy theories are one of your favorite accessories, as seems to be the case with the father, and now the son, Donald Trump Jr. On Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that the official unemployment numbers are "artificial" ones that are "massaged to make the existing economy look good" and "this administration look good." How do they supposedly do this? By, he claimed, defining "the way we actually measure unemployment" to be that "after x number of months, if someone can't find a job, congratulations, they're miraculously off [the jobless rolls]." The only problem with this theory is it's false. The BLS hasn't changed the way it measures unemployment during the Obama years, and there is zero evidence it has changed the numbers themselves. Not only that, but Donald Trump Jr. doesn't even seem to know how unemployment is defined in the first place. As the BLS explains, everyone who doesn't have a job but is trying to find one counts as "unemployed." It doesn't matter how long you've been looking as long as you are in fact still looking.

    But that's not to say the unemployment rate tells us everything we need to know about the labor market. It doesn't. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will tell you that herself. There are still a lot of people who want full-time but can only find part-time jobs. Still a lot of people who want to work but weren't able to find anything for so long that they've given up looking for now. And still a lot of people who would want to work again if wages were high enough to make worth their while. But none of this is a secret. The BLS publishes this all, too. So-called broad unemployment includes all these people who technically aren't unemployed but aren't fully employed either. That's 9.6 percent today.