Diversity & Discrimination

Issues ››› Diversity & Discrimination
  • Despite Widespread Condemnation From Jewish Leaders, Curt Schilling Continues To Defend His Bigoted Statements

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In an October 27 appearance on Newsmax’s America Talks Live, newly-hired Breitbart radio host Curt Schilling refused to apologize for asking CNN’s Jake Tapper to account for Jewish Americans' support of the “so clearly anti-Jewish Israel” Democratic Party.

    After the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish leaders criticized Breitbart radio host Curt Schilling for his “bigoted” and “tone-deaf” questioning of CNN’s Jake Tapper, who is of Jewish heritage, Schilling agreed with Newsmax host Steve Malzberg’s claim he “didn’t say anything wrong to Tapper.”

    Defending his widely criticized remarks, Schilling blamed the media, claiming “the narrative’s getting skewed” and “the media has no accountability”:

    STEVE MALZBERG (HOST): You've come under fire also from some Jewish groups -- now, I'm Jewish, and I saw the interview you did with Jake Tapper, and all you said to him is what people say to me all the time, and Curt, what I say to my Jewish friends all the time -- "How the heck could you, as a Jew, support Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party?"

    And you would have thought, you know, you -- you were praising Hitler. They're all after you now. Why?

    CURT SCHILLING: First of all, I don't say "Jew." Saying "Jew" makes me feel uncomfortable. I asked Jake Tapper "As a man of Jewish faith, why in his" -- and he clearly made it clear to me that he doesn't vote in the presidential elections, which I didn't know, but I always have found -- I have a neighbor who lives right down the street, who's a brilliantly smart guy.

    And I asked -- I talked to him a lot about the history of the Jewish state, and the history, the plight of the Jewish people, and I like to understand why things happen, so instead of relying on a media which is clearly askew and in the tank for liberal ideas and liberal narratives, I felt like asking someone of the Jewish faith why -- why they vote -- why they have voted considerably more Democrat.

    And it's been forever, I didn't realize it was as huge of a lean as it was, number one, and how long it's been that Jewish people -- people of Jewish faith -- because the Democratic Party is, you know -- this is the party that founded the KKK. they are anti-Israel. This administration, the only real reason I feel like they've done anything with Israel is because there were agreements in place before Obama got in, because I don't think he would have carried out any of that, had he not already been kind of handcuffed to it.

    But this -- this party has been anti-Israel, you know they call it ISIL, the Levant of ISIL. The L in ISIL is Levant, includes Israel which is why they say it. It's a -- I think it's a slight at Israel to begin with.


    MALZBERG: So you were -- Curt, Curt so you don't get this though, do you? I mean, you don't -- you didn't say anything wrong to Tapper. I don't think you did.

    SCHILLING: No, no no no, and here's the thing, any time you start to become something in the media that you're not, you realize the narrative's getting skewed. I'm starting to understand and feel a little bit of what it might be like to run for political office.

    The media has no accountability, they get to say and do whatever they feel like saying and -- listen, how many times have you heard Ivanka Trump had to answer for her father's comments? And on the other flip -- on the other side of the coin, how many times have you heard Chelsea Clinton been asked about her father being a rapist, or a sexual assaulter?

    MALZBERG: Never. Never, never, never, never, never.

    SCHILLING: Because that's not how the game works for them.

    Schilling had previously defended his questioning of Tapper by telling MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that “I’m not going to play the victim game because I’m a white male Christian, which apparently makes me a racist.”

    Schilling’s continued defense of his widely condemned remarks continue his tradition of bigoted social media posts, and fits Breitbart News’ history of promoting anti-semitic speech within the confines of its media outlets.

  • Fox News Contributor To Headline Hate Group Conference On “The Politically Incorrect Truth About Sexuality”

    SPLC Senior Fellow: “Coven Of Haters” Will Advocate For Harmful And Discredited Ex-Gay Therapy


    Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress is headlining the “Stand4Truth” conference scheduled for October 28 and 29 in Houston, TX, which is advertised as telling the “politically incorrect truth about sexuality and gender” and is sponsored by at least three anti-LGBT hate groups. Jeffress -- who is also a member of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” -- will be joined by fringe anti-LGBT extremists and hate group leaders, and proponents of discredited "ex-gay" reparative therapy. 

  • On Fox Business, Bigoted Lou Dobbs Claimed Trump Is Victim Of “Globalist” “Mormon Mafia”

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Lou Dobbs has claimed on his Fox Business show that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is the victim of a “globalist” conspiracy by the “Mormon mafia,” and he has derided former GOP nominee Mitt Romney for refusing to support Trump, saying maybe it’s because he is a Mormon and “getting visions.”

    Dobbs tweeted last night that Evan McMullin -- an independent candidate for president who is Mormon and polling strongly in Utah, which has a large Mormon population -- is “nothing but a Globalist, Romney and Mormon Mafia Tool.” Dobbs’ bigoted reference to a “Mormon Mafia” was widely derided.

    Dobbs hasn’t expressed such bigotry only on Twitter. He highlighted the “Mormon mafia” as one of the many foes Trump is “contending against” in his presidential run during the October 9 edition of his Fox Business show:

    During the August 11 edition of his Fox Business show, he claimed that “the Mormon church appears to be involved” in Trump’s weakness in Utah polls. He explained: “There is a globalist view, a perspective on the part of the Mormon church. Mitt Romney has addressed it, others. Again, now we've got an independent candidate who is himself a Mormon. These are not coincidences. These appear to be an organized and energetic effort to disrupt Donald Trump's candidacy.”

    During the segment, Fox contributor Eboni Williams claimed that in a speech, Trump had been “really not so thinly veiling a callout to kind of the Mormon mafia,” which Williams said included Romney and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). Watch:

    On his May 26 broadcast, Dobbs referenced Romney’s refusal to support Trump and said, “What is wrong with this man? I mean, is he getting -- he's Mormon, right? ... I mean, is he getting visions or something that nobody else can dial up?”

    In 2006, Dobbs criticized “the Mormon church” for purportedly seeking to encourage “as many of Mexico's citizens as they possibly could attract to the state of Utah, irrespective of the cost to taxpayers,” drawing a denial from the church. Dobbs left CNN in 2009 following months of controversy over his promotion of the racist conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the United States, but he was hired by Fox Business soon after.  

    Dina Radtke contributed research to this piece.

  • Megyn Kelly Is Hardly A “Feminist Icon”


    Media outlets praised Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly after her contentious interview with former Speaker of the House and current Fox contributor Newt Gingrich over allegations of sexual assault against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, declaring her a “feminist icon” and “a consistent voice for women’s issues.” But Kelly has hardly been consistent on “women’s issues.” She has a history of promoting falsehoods about Planned Parenthood, denigrating efforts to expand reproductive rights, disregarding the gender pay gap, and criticizing efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

  • Media Matters And Civil Rights Groups Release Media “Field Guide To Anti-Muslim Extremists”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Media Matters partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Center for New Community, and ReThink Media to release a journalist's guide to the network of anti-Muslim activists and surrogates spreading vitriolic rhetoric in the media and the best practices for countering these extremists’ misinformation.

    The report “profiles 15 prominent anti-Muslim extremists, many of whom are associated with organizations identified by the SPLC as hate groups,” who appear frequently in the media, “where they spread falsehoods that too often go untested.” Citing the “baseless” propaganda produced by these extremists who “have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith,” the full report details the way television news networks and leading newspapers have allowed these extremists to “routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods” about Muslims without providing any pushback. The report contends that the media have enabled these extremists to vilify American Muslims by accusing them of conspiring to “impose Shariah religious law,” thereby creating a false impression of the community and resulting in “hundreds of violent hate crime attacks” against them. From the October 26 report:

    Ever since the Al Qaeda massacre of Sept. 11, 2001, American Muslims have been under attack. They have been vilified as murderers, accused of conspiring to take over the United States and impose Shariah religious law, described as enemies of women, and subjected to hundreds of violent hate crime attacks. A major party presidential nominee has even suggested that America ban Muslim immigrants.

    Fueling this hatred has been the propaganda, the vast majority of it completely baseless, produced and popularized by a network of anti-Muslim extremists and their enablers. These men and women have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith.

    Sadly, a shocking number of these extremists are seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers. There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested.


    This misinformation and hateful rhetoric have consequences. When huge numbers of Americans believe that a majority of Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, it can hardly be a surprise that some percentage of them engage in hate crime attacks. After all, they learned of the threat they believe Muslims pose from sources who were presented by the media as authoritative experts.

    This country faces an array of complex and daunting problems, the threat of terrorism indisputably among them. Let’s not make them worse by allowing self-described “experts” to propagandize our fellow Americans with defamatory and frightening falsehoods. Our media, in particular, has the opportunity to present an objective picture that illuminates, rather than distorts, reality.

    The 15 anti-Muslim extremists profiled in the report are Ann Corcoran, Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney Jr., Pamela Geller, John Guandolo, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, Ryan Mauro, Robert Muise, Maajid Nawaz, Daniel Pipes, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, and David Yerushalmi. The report lists various false and extreme claims from the extremists and calls on the media to stop presenting the extremists as “authoritative experts” and allowing them to “propagandize our fellow Americans with defamatory and frightening falsehoods”:

    The anti-Muslim extremists profiled here have, between them, claimed that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and other agencies; asserted that there are “no-go zones” in Europe where non-Muslims including police are afraid to enter; suggested that there is a Muslim plot to impose Sharia religious law on U.S. courts; and claimed that President Obama is a secret Muslim. These claims, along with many others, have been shown conclusively to be false.

    According to the report, the media coverage of and interviews with these anti-Muslim extremists fail to contextualize their “defamatory and false rhetoric and their hate group associations” and thus don't tell their audiences that these extremists “are far outside the mainstream, and that their factual assertions are very often completely baseless.” The report includes best practices for media, noting that “too often, television networks, newspapers and other media organizations turn to these groups’ spokespeople as credible sources on national security, immigration and religious liberty, and valid counterpoints to real issue experts.”

    The report’s best practices include:

    1. Research the background of extremist spokespeople and consider other sources.

    2. If you do use anti-Muslim spokespeople, point out their extremism.

    3. Prepare to challenge hateful rhetoric and misinformation.

    4. Don’t rely on opposing guests to challenge extremists.

    To read the full report, click here.

  • Some Context To Trump's “Desperate, Last-Minute” Florida Cuban-American Outreach

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Several Hispanic media reporters ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s meager attempt at Hispanic outreach -- which consisted of meeting with Cuban-Americans in the key swing state of Florida -- and explained that he once again failed to reach beyond his solidified base of support. The reports also pointed out the irony in the candidate casting himself as a hard-liner against the U.S.-Cuba embargo, which is the catalyst driving older Cuban-Americans’ support for him, when questions about Trump’s potential violation of the embargo remain.

    An October 25 Univision article by David Adams, Jessica Weiss, and Lorena Arroyo reported that Trump spoke to “some 40 Bay of Pigs veterans” in Miami, FL, a voting bloc that has historically voted Republican, but he failed to spearhead further outreach within the Latino community. The report notes that although Miami’s Cuban-Americans were “once a bastion of Republican support,” they are now “evenly split 41-41 percent between Trump and Clinton.” Political analysts commented that “Trump’s Cuban American strategy is running counter to a changing demographic reality,” taking into account young Cuban-Americans who are “increasingly registering as Democrats and Independents,” a point that other reports confirm.

    Trump’s event with the Bay of Pigs veterans also “did not offer any details of a plan to free Cuba” even though Trump was specifically “invited ‘to explain to [them] his plan for Cuba’s freedom,’” Univision reported. The article noted that this lack of specifics “has been customary in the [Trump] campaign.”

    In an opinion piece for the Miami Herald, Florida journalist Fabiola Santiago also pointed out the irony of the interaction between the businessman and the Cuban-American veterans. Santiago recalled reports by Bloomberg and Newsweek documenting two occasions in which Trump “sent teams to Cuba to research business opportunities,” which was “most likely in violation of the U.S. embargo.” She opined that “Donald Trump’s campaign engaged the Bay of Pigs veterans because he’s falling behind in Florida, a must-win state where the Hispanic vote counts, and it’s massively favoring Hillary Clinton, Cuban-Americans included."

    But research about the Latino vote demonstrates that among the Hispanic community, “Cuban-Americans are, in many ways, a group apart. As a whole they are wealthier, better educated and more Republican than other Hispanics.” Therefore, Trump’s meeting with Cuban-Americans doesn’t help him breach the enormous gap between him and Clinton in polls of the Latino community, where he only has 17 percent support.

    The message of these Hispanic media reporters to the Trump campaign is clear: this “desperate, last-minute” attempt to reach out to Cuban-Americans will not make up for its ongoing rejection of the Hispanic community. Nevertheless, the approach isn’t surprising, as it’s in step with Trump’s overall campaign strategy of remaining within his comfort zone and ignoring groups that break with his radical proposals, particularly when it comes to Latino outreach.

  • What It's Like To Cover Donald Trump As A Spanish-Language Reporter

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken the precedent set by presidential candidates before him by avoiding speaking to major Spanish-language media networks and outlets since June 2015, posing an unexpected challenge for the Spanish-language reporters covering his campaign, and forcing them to rely on campaign press releases, televised news conferences, the candidate’s Twitter account and the work of other journalists. Media Matters interviewed La Opinión’s Washington correspondent Maria Peña to find out what it’s like to cover Trump for an audience of Spanish-speakers in such conditions.

    While Trump’s animosity toward the major Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo has been well documented, the fact that his Hispanic media blackout has also affected print outlets is less discussed. La Opinión -- the Los Angeles-based largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the U.S. -- has a strong digital and print presence among Latino readers. La Opinión’s Maria Peña told Media Matters that “the main difficulty” in covering Trump for a Spanish-language outlet has been “access” since the campaign “does not even respond to emails.”

    Trump has set himself apart from other candidates -- Democratic and Republican -- by repeatedly ignoring Spanish-language media figures’ requests for access. Peña said she had “no problems whatsoever with [covering] Mitt Romney’s campaign,” and was able to interview Romney’s wife and son during the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, FL, and “almost always got written responses or helpful info[rmation]” from the other campaigns during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

    In this election cycle, Peña has interviewed “Hillary Clinton and Gary Johnson, as well as some of their surrogates” about the issues that “Latinos care [about] the most this year” such as “jobs, health care, education, national security, and immigration.” While a growing portion of the Hispanic community gets their news in English, Spanish-language media is still the tool many Latinos rely on to help them “navigate America.” According to Peña, “for many Latino voters who are just now flexing their political muscle, or learning about the electoral process in this country, getting reliable and accurate information in their own language is very important.”

    Spanish-speaking audiences have yet to hear Trump’s unfiltered views on the things that matter to them the most, since even when his campaign caved to Hispanic media’s pressure and conceded a short interview to a local Miami, FL, Telemundo station, Trump was neither challenged on issues that Hispanics prioritize nor questioned on his dismal Latino outreach strategy.

    Trump’s shirking of Spanish-language media is just one prong of his media strategy wherein he seeks exclusively fawning press coverage by denying interviews if he cannot have the questions in advance, or changing his mind seconds before interviews with local Hispanic journalists his campaign has already agreed to. Trump also has an extensive record of attacks against media figures and outlets he perceives as critical, and has a tendency to retreat to the protection of the sycophantic right-wing media bubble, often to whine about the “very evil” press.

    To many Hispanic journalists, Trump’s “unprecedented and dangerous” antics with the news media echo those of “political figures” who “use whatever is at their disposal to punish and silence unfavorable news coverage.” But, as Peña pointed out, Trump’s ignoring Spanish-language media figures “at his own peril” because "this voting bloc has the power to swing elections.”

  • Jewish Leaders Call Out New Breitbart Radio Host Curt Schilling For His “Offensive” And “Bigoted” Commentary

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    Breitbart News’ hiring of disgraced broadcaster Curt Schilling for an online radio show is drawing criticism from Jewish leaders who contend his history of anti-Semitic and offensive commentary should disqualify him from the job.

    Schilling is a former baseball star who was fired from ESPN in April after he shared an anti-transgender image on Facebook. He had previously been suspended from the network for comparing Muslims to Nazis on Twitter.

    In other social media postings, Schilling has repeatedly demonized Muslims as killers, shared a picture calling Hillary Clinton a drunk murderer, and suggested civil rights leaders like Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) aren't patriotic.

    Schilling, who plans to run for the Senate in Massachusetts as a Republican, recently drew criticism for asking CNN anchor Jake Tapper to explain how “as a person who is practicing the Jewish faith … people of Jewish faith can back the Democratic Party” given that the party has supposedly been “so clearly anti-Jewish Israel.” Tapper responded that while he doesn’t “speak for Jews,” he believes that Jewish Americans prioritize what they see as the interests of their own country over those of Israel.

    Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, called his remarks “tone-deaf.”

    “Curt Schilling may have been a major league pitcher, but he’s a bush league commentator,” Moline said. “His tone-deaf remarks about Jewish Americans are just the latest in a long line of offensive statements that call into question his judgment and values. His Facebook page alone, where he has compared Muslims to Nazis and praised the Confederacy, renders him unfit for public office. Sadly we should expect no better from Schilling after he joins on with Breitbart – an outlet that wears its bigotry as a badge of honor.”

    Ben Shnider, national political director of J Street, said the only way Schilling could get on the air now is through discredited groups like Breitbart.

    “It’s clear that mainstream media outlets would not hire him,” Shnider said. “His comments to Jake Tapper were incredibly offensive. He has a long track record of incredibly offensive statements whether it’s about our community or other Americans. It’s simply unthinkable that any outlet would give him a mouthpiece.”

    Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, echoed that view.

    "Schilling, Breitbart, Breitbart's former-CEO-turned-Trump-campaign-manager Steve Bannon, and Trump himself all have two things in common: a love of Donald Trump and a willingness to employ bigoted statements and images about Muslims, Jews and members of the LGBTQ community that resonate with the alt-right,” she said in a statement. “The elevation of someone as blatantly bigoted and anti-Semitic as Schilling to a national media position is yet another side effect of the Trump campaign and a preview of what a Trump presidency could look like, and that is why Bend the Arc Jewish Action has been working so hard for over a year to oppose Trump's campaign."

    Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judiasm, also called out Schilling, saying, “Of course, Breitbart is free to hire whoever they would like. Curt Schilling has expressed simplistic, offensive and bigoted perspectives about Jews, Muslims, women, transgender people and civil rights activists.”

    He added of Schilling’s recent comments to Jake Tapper (and his subsequent appearance on MSNBC to defend himself), “I disagree with Schilling’s analysis of the US-Israel relationship. American Jews, like every other religious group in our country, hold diverse political views. Many of us are focused on the ongoing work of racial justice, economic opportunity, religious freedom and pluralism, women’s rights, environmental protection and the full inclusion of transgender people in our religious and civic institutions. These are values and issues that many American Jews reflect on when they decide which candidates to support for elected office.”


    Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, also criticized Schilling in a statement to Media Matters: 

    Curt Schilling’s remarks over the weekend to Jake Tapper on the political preferences of American Jews demonstrate a lack of awareness and understanding both of the issues that matter to our community, and of what it means to be pro-Israel. American Jews, as a whole, support public policies that protect those who are most vulnerable -- including racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; immigrants and refugees; women, and LGBT people -- as well as the long-term security of Israel, living in peace with its neighbors. Schilling has shown that he is out of his depth in the political arena and should stick to commentary on baseball.