Image at top via Flickr user Fintrvlr using a Creative Commons License.
The Houston Chronicle thoroughly debunked a popular myth being peddled by opponents of the Houston Equal rights Ordinance (HERO). Other Houston news outlets, which have been uncritically repeating the false talking point for months, should follow the Chronicle's lead.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, is a broad non-discrimination ordinance that was passed by Houston's City Council in 2014. HERO prohibits discrimination in areas like housing, employment, and city contracts on the basis of 15 characteristics, including race, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Anti-LGBT conservatives in Houston have fought to repeal the ordinance, successfully lobbying to put HERO up for a public vote on Houston's November ballot.
Since the start of the debate over HERO, Houston media outlets have made a consistent habit of uncritically repeating right-wing misinformation about the ordinance, including peddling the widely-debunked myth that HERO would allow sexual predators to sneak into women's restrooms by pretending to be transgender - a bogus talking point championed by HERO's opponents.
In an August 25 column, The Houston Chronicle's Lisa Falkenberg did what other local news outlets have failed to do - investigated and debunked the bogus "bathroom bill" claim:
The so-called HERO ordinance, which will appear on the November ballot, really has little to do with potty time. It's about protecting people against discrimination in employment, housing and other sectors. It protects gay and transgender people, but also bans discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. So why are we talking about bathrooms? Because one small aspect of it would let transgender people use the bathroom of their choice.
That means a transgender woman who may wear dresses and makeup can use the women's restroom, rather than turning heads at the urinals. A transgender man who may sport lumberjack attire and a burly beard can use the men's restroom. It's really quite simple. It's about reducing drama, not creating it. As one transgender activist explains in a popular Twitter hashtag, #wejustneedtopee.
This simple accommodation has become the bogeyman's best weapon. Critics suggest it will lead to men dressing up as women to assault women and girls in bathrooms.
As Richard Carlbom with the pro-ordinance Houston Unites campaign told the Chronicle: "Nothing in the equal rights ordinance changes the fact that it is - and always will be - illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people."
If this ordinance posed a real danger, opponents wouldn't have to find some future parent to feign fear of becoming a victim "one day." They could surely find a real victim in one of the other cities that passed anti-discrimination ordinances decades ago.
In 1997, the city of Cambridge became one of the first jurisdictions in Massachusetts to amend its human rights ordinance to include gender identity and expression, police spokesman Jeremy Warnick said Tuesday.
He sent me the full testimony of police Superintendent Christopher Burke before the state House in 2011, advocating for a statewide bill for transgender equal rights.
Burke, speaking "as a member of the law enforcement community, husband, father and citizen," testified that the bill would not harm women and children. He said there had been no incidents or issues regarding people abusing the Cambridge ordinance.
Massachusetts passed the law. Houstonians should do the same.
Even if you insist on voting against it, pick another reason. Maybe you don't want to condone a transgender lifestyle. Maybe you believe protections for some groups are already extended by federal law, and you don't want a local ordinance that could offer relief more quickly and less expensively for your fellow Houstonians.
But don't vote against the ordinance because of urban myths about sexual predators in bathrooms. Sexual predators exist. But if they wanted to attack you in a public bathroom, they wouldn't need a city ordinance to do it.
With some basic investigative reporting, The Houston Chronicle effectively debunked the "bathroom bill" claim as a baseless myth meant to scare and mislead Houstonians. Other Houston news outlets should do the same and give Houstonians the facts about HERO.
It seems like a different study attacking the EPA's Clean Power Plan pops up in the media every other week. But many of these studies are riddled with flaws and funded by fossil fuel interests, so media should think twice before repeating their claims.
A new briefing from the Energy & Policy Institute (EPI) detailed the fossil fuel funding and methodological flaws of six reports attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) carbon pollution standards. One of them, a study from NERA Economic Consulting, has been thoroughly debunked by multiple experts, who say the report is completely out of date, uses faulty efficiency cost assumptions and outdated renewable energy cost assumptions, and does not acknowledge any of the EPA plan's economic benefits, rendering its findings irrelevant.
The deeply flawed NERA study also forms the basis for a new analysis from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) (not included in EPI's briefing), which concluded that the Clean Power Plan will result in 14,000 premature deaths. IER's analysis led to horrific (and completely false) headlines like this, from the conservative news site Daily Caller:
To arrive at their conclusion, IER used NERA's GDP loss estimate and converted it directly into increased premature deaths. However, using that method doesn't make much sense, as NERA failed to acknowledge the Clean Power Plan's projected life-saving health and economic benefits. Thankfully, IER's conclusion has so far been confined to the conservative media fringe.
However, numerous groups have touted the public health benefits of pollution standards, and the EPA estimates that its plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants would prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. So how does IER's analysis arrive at such a drastically different conclusion? A look at the chain of fossil fuel-funding behind IER and the NERA study may provide the answer.
The cover page of the NERA study states that it was prepared for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Association of American Railroads, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, Consumer Energy Alliance, and the National Mining Association. Combined, they're a who's who of fossil fuel industry trade groups and advocacy organizations. EPI put together a graphic showing many of the coal and oil companies that comprise these groups:
As for IER, the group lists former Koch lobbyist Thomas Pyle as its president and is partly funded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers and their political network. IER has also received funding from Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Koch-backed DonorsTrust and Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.
The other reports detailed in EPI's briefing include one from the National Black Chamber of Commerce, another from the Beacon Hill Institute, two from Energy Ventures Analysis (one of which was funded directly by coal giant Peabody Energy), and one from IER. These reports are often publicized through coordinated media campaigns and newspaper op-eds across the country.
EPI's report illustrates how multiple industry-funded studies work in concert to simulate a chorus of diverse voices attacking the EPA's flagship climate plan. But really, it's just the industry protecting its bottom line.
Image at top via Flickr user Fintrvlr using a Creative Commons License.
Politico helped legitimize the Center for Medical Progress' (CMP) David Daleiden in a recent interview with the founder behind the anti-choice organization that released a string of deceptively edited videos attempting to smear Planned Parenthood, failing to note how Daleiden's videos have been roundly exposed as highly edited and discredited and how CMP has ties to violent extremism.
In an August 26 article, Politico interviewed anti-choice activist David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, about his organization's string of undercover videos attempting to smear Planned Parenthood by falsely "accusing the women's health organization of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue." The article highlighted Daleiden's attacks on Planned Parenthood and intent to push out "four more videos" ahead of the upcoming fight to pass a government spending bill, but failed to note that the videos have been debunked as highly edited. The article went on to provide no counter to Daleiden's assertions about Planned Parenthood's activities aside from a statement provided by the health care provider and note that it has "explicitly denied any illegal activity, saying it legally donates fetal tissue for medical research only after receiving patient consent." Instead, Politico claimed:
Some had predicted diminishing returns if the shock value of the videos wore off, the group was discredited or the tapes simply stopped coming. But to the consternation of Planned Parenthood and its allies, that has yet to happen despite their insistence that the videos are full of distortions.
But numerous media outlets and investigations have backed up Planned Parenthood's explanation that the organization has done nothing illegal. Multiple media outlets, including The New York Times¸ The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast, have blasted the Center for Medical Progress' deceptively edited videos as the anti-choice organization continues to release them, noting that they show "nothing illegal" and that the full-footage contradicts allegations made in the shorter versions.
After the first video was released, FactCheck.org also debunked CMP's claim that Planned Parenthood was "selling aborted baby parts," detailing how it was inaccurate and unfounded.
What's more, a growing list of state and federal investigations have also thrown cold water on CMP's phony claim that Planned Parenthood receives a profit from fetal tissue donation. Despite investigations sparked by the string of deceptively edited videos being launched in at least 11 states, no evidence has yet been produced to back up CMP's assertions. The Department of Health and Human Services similarly found no violations of fetal tissue laws when it comes to tissue obtained from nonprofits after their own investigation.
Presenting Daleiden as a legitimate voice ignores the activists ties to other discredited anti-choice organizations, as well his own Center for Medical Progress, that he has to noted extremists. Daleiden formerly acted as the director of research for the discredited anti-abortion group Live Action, which has been criticized before for deceptively editing undercover footage of abortion clinics in an attempt to smear Planned Parenthood. Serving on the board of Daleiden's CMP sits another extremist -- Operation Rescue's President Troy Newman -- who previously called the murder of abortion clinic doctors a "justifiable defensive action" and stalked clinic workers.
Fox News continued to chip away at Donald Trump after he renewed his attacks on host Megyn Kelly. This latest round includes Bill O'Reilly, Fox's highest-rated host, as the network turns on the candidate they built into the current Republican presidential front-runner.
Yesterday, Fox News anchors and hosts joined in a mass attack on Trump after he attacked Kelly as a poor journalist and promoted a tweet calling her a "bimbo."
Fox figures slammed Trump on-air and on social media as network CEO and chairman Roger Ailes issued a press release demanding that Trump apologize to Kelly.
It is the latest round in an on-again, off-again feud between the candidate and the network, prompted by aggressive questioning at the recent Republican presidential debate.
As the back and forth re-ignited, New York's Gabriel Sherman reported that according to a source, Ailes asked a Trump ally "What's wrong with this guy?" and added, "I don't know what to do." A source close to Ailes also told Sherman, "Roger says Trump is unelectable. His goal here is to save the country."
Later in the day at a press conference in Iowa, Trump complained that Fox News "treats me terribly," adding, "I don't think I get good treatment from Fox." He rejected Ailes' request for an apology to Kelly, and argued that Kelly "should be apologizing to me."
On last night's O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly called on Trump to stop attacking Kelly. O'Reilly noted, "The Kelly/Trump story is relevant to me because I'm friends with both of them. They both bring things to America that are worthy and positive. Ms. Megyn has taken the high road by not responding. Donald Trump should cease, and Roger Ailes is a stand-up guy."
Greta Van Susteren read Ailes' statement on the incident in full during On The Record, as had been done on the network earlier in the day.
This morning, Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said Trump should "stick to the issues" and "stop aiming at Fox News." In an exchange at the end of the show, anchor Gregg Jarrett joked with co-host Brian Kilmeade that he would get angry at him "like Trump."
Fox's aggressive posture towards Trump is a departure from how the first round of attacks were handled by the network.
According to an earlier report from CNN's Brian Stelter, Fox hosts wanted to publicly come to Kelly's defense but "the network wanted silence." Stelter wrote that "Ailes did not want to escalate the feud by appearing to fire back. His camp believed that Trump had to be handled delicately, given how disgruntled and unpredictable the candidate was."
On CNN's New Day, former Fox anchor Alisyn Camerota noted the irony of Fox going after Trump after building him up as a political voice. As Media Matters has documented, Trump is the presidential candidate that has benefitted from the most exposure on Fox.
Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.'s Fox affiliate, delivered a rare segment on gun policy for the station. Her report was appended with the disclosure from her employer that "she is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment."
Miller, who was previously one of the most prominent sources of conservative misinformation on gun violence, has largely been silent on the topic since February, following controversies related to her pro-gun advocacy.
The August 24 broadcast of Fox 5 News @ 10 and the August 25 broadcast of Fox 5 Morning News @ 5 both ran a Miller segment on Washington, D.C., police chief Cathy Lanier's recent discussion of a spike in gun violence in the city. Lanier said at a meeting of law enforcement professionals that officers are recovering more high-capacity ammunition magazines -- those that can hold 10 rounds of ammunition or more -- at crime scenes in D.C., including some incidents "where there are 40 to 50 rounds fired."
Miller's segment -- which included her questioning Lanier at a news conference -- sought to cast doubt on the claim that more high-capacity magazines are actually being recovered. Miller often submits adversarial reporting on Lanier for Fox 5. During Miller's previous stint as senior opinion editor for the conservative Washington Times, she frequently criticized Lanier with the claim that she is anti-gun.
Following both broadcasts of Miller's segment, one of the program's co-anchors said, "It should be noted that chief investigative reporter Emily Miller authored a book about the national political debate over gun control. She is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment."
The book referenced by Fox 5 is Emily Gets Her Gun: ... But Obama Wants To Take Yours, which was published in 2013 and advances conspiracy theories about a supposed desire by Obama to "disarm the populace" while pushing numerous falsehoods about gun violence.
Miller has not regularly reported on gun issues in D.C. since February, following controversy over her appearances at pro-gun rallies in Virginia and Maryland. During a January speech in front of an extremist gun group during a lobbying day at the Virginia State Capitol, Miller said that Washington D.C. "is not part of America, because they don't recognize the Second Amendment."
Miller's appearances at pro-gun rallies were criticized by journalism experts as a conflict of interest, given her coverage of gun issues in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Following the controversy, Fox 5 included a disclosure on one of Miller's reports that she "is a proponent for Second Amendment rights," but soon Miller left the gun beat entirely after a second controversy.
On February 25, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported that Miller had given different accounts of a 2010 "home invasion" in order to "squeeze the story for additional terror" in support of her pro-gun advocacy.
Miller's advocacy began with a series of blog posts for the Washington Times about her efforts to obtain a firearm license in Washington D.C. Miller explained that she wanted a gun in the wake of a "home invasion" in 2010.
Miller often told the story to pro-gun audiences, and in some instances described how she encountered a burglar inside of a residence she was housesitting and had to "talk him out of the house without" being harmed. Miller also had described being chased by more than a dozen of the burglar's accomplices after following him outside of the house.
But according to a series police documents obtained by Wemple, Miller told police that she encountered a suspicious man outside of the home, who gave her a business card for a tree service. Only hours later did Miller call the police after discovering that her credit card was missing from a wallet she had left inside of the house. Miller also made no mention of encountering more than a dozen of the suspected burglar's companions.
Fox 5's disclosure that Miller is "a strong advocate of the Second Amendment" is important given her long track record of spreading false information about gun violence, even while working as a reporter for the station.
During a May 19, 2014, segment on Fox 5, Miller reported on remarks about firearms given by Hillary Clinton during an appearance before the National Council for Behavioral Health. In her report, Miller claimed Clinton had "talked about hunting and fishing and all that stuff, now she is like, 'We need to pull back guns, nobody should have guns.'"
Clinton had actually said nothing of the sort. According to a video from the event, Clinton called for stronger gun laws but added, "I think you can say that and still support the right of people to own guns."
Breitbart News reacted to reports that two Virginia journalists were shot to death on-air by a disgruntled former co-worker by publishing an article with the headline, "RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES - ON LIVE TELEVISION!"
On August 26, two employees of Roanoke, Virginia CBS affiliate WDBJ were shot to death while reporting from Smith Mountain Lake, a public recreation area popular for boating and fishing. The gunman, who later shot himself but apparently survived, is reportedly a former employee of the affiliate.
Breitbart News reacted to the shooting with a race-baiting article authored by editor-at-large John Nolte. The piece was widely condemned by other members of the media, many of whom pointed out Breitbart News' lengthy history of racially charged reporting and commentary. The headline has since been changed.
*thinks to himself* i should definitely post my story about the scary BLACK murderer. pic.twitter.com/rvvRdqAmSe-- Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 26, 2015
at what point do we stop pretending breitbart is anything other than a white supremacist hate site? https://t.co/WfQEpUp6Ep-- Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) August 26, 2015
I'm too angry to be tweeting about these racist demagogues at Breitbart but I can't contain myself right now. pic.twitter.com/Jz3zTTr6HF-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
These are sick, hateful, twisted people who exploit our worst impulses, and they have real influence.-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
One of these things is something Breitbart dot com considers race-baiting. One is not. pic.twitter.com/lomZAdjbDm-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
Weird, none of these Breitbart headlines about Dylann Roof have the word "white" in them pic.twitter.com/d6kgaJUOcF-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
So, can all of us political folks stop pretending that Breitbart has any place in the mainstream discourse now? pic.twitter.com/fMimWU1agV-- Hunter Walker (@hunterw) August 26, 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has dismissed two of the most well-respected Hispanic journalists in the United States at two separate press conferences. He most recently kicked out Jorge Ramos from an Iowa press conference, an event the Univision anchor was later allowed to reenter.
Jorge Ramos, Univision and Fusion news host, was ejected from a Dubuque, Iowa press conference being held by presidential candidate Donald Trump on August 25, after Ramos attempted to ask questions about the candidate's controversial stances on undocumented immigrants and immigration reform. Trump told Ramos, "Go back to Univision!" before Ramos was escorted out by Trump's security team. Eventually, he was invited back in and allowed to question the candidate.
This isn't the first altercation Trump has had with a prominent Hispanic journalist. On July 23, Trump traveled to Laredo to visit the Texas-Mexico border where he also refused to engage MSNBC and Telemundo's main anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, telling the reporter "You're finished!" and that Telemundo should be "ashamed" before touting his $500 million lawsuit against Univision. Unlike with Ramos where Trump claimed he wasn't answering the questions because the Univision host hadn't been called on, Trump called on Diaz-Balart, only to tell the Telemundo host his network "should be ashamed" after Diaz-Balart asked him about his characterization of Mexican immigrants as rapists.
Ramos and Diaz-Balart are arguably the most popular and visible Hispanic journalists in the United States with an immense media following among Spanish-language speakers. Vox recently called Ramos "the most trusted name in Latino news" noting that he is "generally considered to be the most authoritative newscaster on Spanish-language television." Diaz-Balart previously hosted a presidential town hall on immigration.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) condemned GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for ejecting Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from his press conference after Jorge Ramos attempted to ask a question about Trump's immigration proposals. Ramos was later permitted to return to the conference to question Trump.
Media have criticized Trump's immigration plan for its high cost, ineffectiveness, and unconstitutionality. The NAHJ's condemnation comes in the wake of increased efforts by the Trump campaign to reach out to the Hispanic media. NAHJ's statement:
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists condemns presidential candidate Donald Trump for allowing Univision journalist Jorge Ramos to be ejected from a news conference for simply asking questions.
"Mr. Ramos was doing what journalists have done for decades - asking questions!," said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. "Ramos was simply trying to hold a candidate for president accountable for statements he made about a very important topic to the American people. Mr. Trump has avoided Mr. Ramos' attempts for an interview to reasonably discuss Mr. Trump's opinions and ideas about immigration and American children born to undocumented immigrants."
Mr. Trump's recent attacks on FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly is also unacceptable and disturbing. NAHJ stands with journalists everywhere who are simply working to pursue the truth and hold people in power accountable for their statements and their actions.
NAHJ invites Mr. Trump to answer questions by Mr. Ramos & other Latino journalists at #EIJ15 national conference in Orlando on September 18th.
[Update: Ramos was allowed back into the news conference after several other reporters questioned Trump on why Ramos was ejected. Ramos was able to ask several questions after being allowed back into the news conference]
When you hear of a media outlet peddling debunked and misleading research in order to argue against providing transgender people with important medical care, you probably don't think of The New York Times.
But that's exactly what happened in the August 23 Sunday edition of the paper. In an op-ed titled, "How Changeable Is Gender?" Richard Friedman, a Times contributing opinion writer and professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, grossly misrepresented empirical research in order to raise doubts about gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender people, including transgender youth.
The post was quickly debunked by Think Progress' Zack Ford and Vox's German Lopez, who criticized -- among other things -- Friedman's conflation of gender identity and gender expression, his misreading of empirical data, and his dismissal of evidence showing the benefits of gender-affirming treatment.
The errors in Friedman's research aren't minor -- his op-ed is based on a series of blatant oversights that undermine his conclusions. But as of Wednesday morning, The New York Times has failed to issue a correction or clarification to the op-ed. As Lopez noted, the New York Times' decision to publish "error-ridden articles like Friedman's" will likely make it harder for trans people to find supportive home and medical environments.
The Times declined to comment on criticism of Friedman's op-ed.
Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident for the Times, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent months for its willingness to publish misleading and harmful commentary about the transgender community.
In July, the Times published an op-ed titled "What Makes A Woman?" in response to Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover photo. The piece, written by journalist Elinor Burkett, was a trainwreck of harmful and offensive stereotypes about transgender women and essentially suggested that trans women haven't earned the right to be seen as 'real' women. The op-ed, which also framed trans equality as a threat to feminist politics, was condemned for peddling offensive and outdated tropes about transgender women.
Despite the criticism, the Times rejected a rebuttal column by Meredith Talusan, a transgender writer and advocate. Talusan self-published her response, writing, "I find the way The Times keeps centering white cisgender women's perspectives on Jenner deeply disturbing."
"[A]rguing for my existence feels par for the course this week as The New York Times has already sparked a situation where I and other trans women have been constantly put in the position of having to debate our humanity," she added.
And then there's the Times' bizarre defense of research suggesting that some transgender women are actually just men who are sexually aroused by the idea of being a woman, sometimes referred to as "autogynephilia."
In April, the Times published a glowing review of Galileo's Middle Finger, a book written by bioethicist Alice Dreger. Dreger is notorious for defending the widely disputed and controversial research of psychologist J. Michael Bailey, who helped popularize the idea that many trans women are actually men acting out sexual fetishes. But rather than lay out the criticisms of "autogynephilia" research, the Times' David Dobbs lauded Bailey and Dreger's work, describing them as truth-tellers facing down "enraged" transgender activists.
This notion enraged advocates who insisted that transsexuality came invariably from an unavoidable mind-body mismatch -- a mistake of nature -- and never from a variation in taste, which some might consider an indulgence. These advocates sought not only to refute Bailey but to ruin him. When Dreger defended him, they targeted her too.
In the end, as Dreger tells it, she and Bailey won a rough victory. When Dreger's book-length paper on the issue was written up warmly in The Times, formerly gun-shy allies were encouraged to speak out.
The Dreger fiasco reveals why the Times' missteps in transgender coverage are so potentially devastating: when the paper publishes something about the transgender community, people pay attention.
That's because, unlike the fringe right-wing media outlets that publish transphobic pseudoscience on a regular basis, the Times has a reputation for positive and affirming coverage of the transgender community. The paper has worked to avoid misgendering transgender news subjects, elevated the issue of violence against transgender women, published thoughtful editorials about the fight for transgender equality, and given transgender people an opportunity to tell and share their own stories. This week, a reader viewing Burkett's "What Makes A Woman?" on the paper's website likely saw an ad for a TimesTalk event featuring transgender actress Laverne Cox at the top of the page.
It's that juxtaposition -- positive transgender coverage alongside damaging and misleading commentary -- that troubles advocates for the transgender community. When The New York Times publishes content that suggests trans children shouldn't be affirmed, trans women aren't 'real' women, or trans people are secretly sexual fetishists, it has more of an impact than any extreme right-wing media outlet could hope to have. It lends the paper's tremendous credibility to discredited and problematic myths about trans people. Harmful content makes up a fraction of the Times' total transgender coverage, but it's that rarity that makes the misinformation so pernicious.
And, in the case of Friedman's most recent op-ed, it could end up doing real damage to the most vulnerable members of the transgender community.
Image at top via Flickr user Alec Perkins using a Creative Commons License.
New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) disproves allegations promoted by Fox News that the 2015 increase in Seattle's minimum wage has destroyed restaurant jobs.
Earlier this month, Media Matters debunked an anti-minimum wage report produced by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and promoted by Fox News that relied on cherry-picked data to allege that Seattle's decision to increase its minimum wage to $11 per hour in 2015 was negatively affecting the city's job market. The report pointed to a less than 1 percent change in total food service employment after the wage increase went into effect on April 1 as proof of the right-wing media myth that raising wages hurts more workers than it helps.
Now, newly-released data from the BLS reveals that Seattle's food service industry has actually added 1,800 jobs since the start of the year, despite the higher wage:
Fox and other right-wing media have a long history of attacking federal, state, and local minimum wages laws, and have a particular affinity for misleading the public about the supposed downsides of Seattle's incremental increase to $15 by 2017. The fact is, Seattle's minimum wage implementation was met with little anxiety in the business community, and has had no discernible effect on employment in the city.