Elections

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  • Fox's Megyn Kelly Invites Julian Assange To Discuss His Future Plans To Attack Hillary Clinton

    Kelly: “Do You Believe The Information In Your Possession Could Be A Game-Changer In The US Election?"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ Megyn Kelly invited Wikileaks’ editor-in-chief Julian Assange to discuss the “significant” material on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton he plans to leak before the election day in order to damage her campaign. 

    Previously, Fox had repeated Assange’s conspiracy that a DNC staffer was murdered because of association with WikiLeaks, while a report on Fox and Friends cited Assange in a claim that Google buried stories about the “Clinton body count.” For his part, Assange has discussed an “October Surprise” with unofficial Trump adviser Roger Stone, who claims that the Clintons have murdered 40 people, including JFK Jr., for being “in the way.” From the August 24 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Julian, thank you very much for being here. So, let's start with the additional information you have regarding Hillary Clinton. When can we expect this information? 

    JULIAN ASSANGE: Well we're working around the clock. We have received quite a lot of material [INAUDIBLE] electoral process and by a major DNC revelation, which has now led to the resignation of five top officials at the DNC, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the president, the last one, late last week. It's a complex business, what we do. We have to assess the veracity, we have a perfect ten-year record, so far, in never getting it wrong. We want the keep that reputation. Understand how things should be formatted, what media should we be involved in, what is the best way to stage it out, do we accumulate everything, assess it, publish all in one batch or do we do several batches. The approach we have decided to take is that we do several batches.

    KELLY: Give us a general sense. Are we going to see it before the November 8th election? 

    ASSANGE: Yes, absolutely.  I mean, in the case of the DNC leaks, for example, we pushed as fast as we could to try to get it in before the Democratic nomination conference because obviously people have a right to understand who it is they're nominating and what sort of process was involved and the same is true here. For the US electoral process, people involved in that election have the right to understand who it is they're electing. 

    KELLY: Now, you've seen it, right? Can you tell us how significant you believe it is? I mean, compare its significance to what we saw released by WikiLeaks in July. 

    ASSANGE:  I don't want to scoop ourselves. We have a lot of pages of material, thousands of pages of material. So, no I have not read every single page, we’re hard at work in doing that, trying to understand, etc. I didn't want to give the game away but it's a variety of different types of documents from different types of institutions that are associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles that are, you know, quite interesting, some even entertaining. 

    KELLY:  Do you -- you know, right now according to the average of all polls, she's beating Donald Trump by 5.5 points nationwide. She's way ahead of him in most of the swing states, not all. Do you believe the information in your possession could be a game-changer in the US election? 

    ASSANGE:  I think it's significant. You know, it depends on how it catches fire in the public and in the media. 

  • Rudy Giuliani’s Latest Attack On Clinton’s Health Comes From Breitbart News And Sean Hannity’s Conspiracy Theories

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    When challenged by CNN to answer why he questions Hillary Clinton’s health, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani cited baseless smears reported by anti-Clinton Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity. These smears have been repeatedly debunked.

    In an August 24 CNN report on the Trump campaign’s attacks against Hillary Clinton, Murray confronted former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani over his baseless “questioning” of Clinton’s health. Giuliani cited two examples of Clinton’s purported illness from Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity -- Clinton’s late return to a debate stage last December and her head shaking in a recent interview -- as “rather bizarre” instances needing explanation. 

    SARA MURRAY: You don't see any problem with questioning the possibility of the Democratic nominee’s health based on no fact?

    RUDY GIULIANI: What do you mean not based on facts? There were rather bizarre things that happened, like that time that her head started shaking in the middle of an interview and the time she got off the stage for some period of time during a debate. 

    [...]

    This isn't based on no facts. Do those do those facts mean she's seriously ill? I don't know. 

    The two examples cited by Giuliani were circulated by Breitbart News and Sean Hannity as evidence that Clinton is in poor health. 

    In January, Breitbart news posted an article claiming Clinton’s “disappearance from the debate stage” during a commercial break was due to one of her “long-lasting symptoms stemming from a concussion and blood clot,” despite it being widely reported that Clinton’s late return was due to a restroom break. 

    Fox News’ Sean Hannity devoted a segment on his August 10 television show scandalizing Clinton’s “violent, out-of-control” and “seizure-esque” movements as evidence that she suffers from seizures. However AP reporter Lisa Lerer, who stood directly behind Clinton at the moment in question, wrote on August 12 that Clinton was "taken aback” by shouting and a bevy of questions by reporters during a campaign event and responded “with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously.” The AP reporter criticized Hannity for the “unfounded speculation” and using her to support his “conspiracy theory.”

  • Fox News Discussed Clinton And EpiPen Company Without Once Mentioning That She Just Condemned Them

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox Business contributor Liz Claman misleadingly suggested a spurious connection between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Mylan, the pharmaceutical company under fire for raising the price of the EpiPen. She based her claim on a picture taken of Bill Clinton and the former CEO Robert Coury and a donation Mylan gave to the Clinton Foundation to aid the fight against HIV in 2009. Using the guise of other Clinton Foundation stories that have equally little merit, Claman says that the 2009 photograph and donation "on a completely unrelated HIV issue" led "Fox and Fox Business" to look into "the Clinton Foundation issue" as an aspect of the EpiPen price change. However, the segment failed to note Hillary Clinton's statement denouncing the price hike as outrageous and calling on Mylan to immediately drop its prices. Both are evidence against the right-wing media smear that the Clintons shield Clinton Foundation donors from scrutiny or give them special treatment.

    SHANNON BREAM (CO-HOST): Well and you mention the name Hillary Clinton but now there are questions about if this company has links to the Clinton Foundation as well?

    LIZ CLAMAN: Well, it appears that back I think in about 2009 -- I could be incorrect on the exact date there, Robert Coury, who was the then-CEO, actually was heading the company, he appeared in a photograph with Bill Clinton. He had made about a $100,000 to $250,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation on a completely unrelated HIV issue that they felt was really important that the Clinton Foundation was doing good work on. Okay, fine. But what you have is a PR problem that has now turned into a PR tsunami disaster because they simply raised the drug price of the EpiPen so much for no apparent reason. So now everybody is looking into -- Fox and Fox Business -- the Clinton Foundation issue, the tax aversion where they dodged taxes. Because they have a sparkling headquarters that was just built in 2014 in Pittsburgh. Really? Because we thought you moved to the Netherlands. All these questions now surface. And then they don't return our phone calls.

  • Medical Experts: TV Doctors’ Diagnoses Of Clinton Are “Dangerous” And “Unethical”

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    Medical experts and ethicists are harshly criticizing news outlets and doctors who continue to spread false conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, warning that such irresponsible “diagnoses” are both unprofessional and dangerous.

    Republican nominee Donald Trump and his campaign have been pushing the conspiracy theory that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is secretly suffering from severe health problems. Trump’s allies in the conservative media, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, have also promoted the Clinton health conspiracy theory.

    And even some medical professionals, like Dr. Drew Pinsky, have appeared in the media and attempted to diagnose health problems with Clinton.

    But medical experts, some who represent hundreds of medical professionals, are warning that trying to diagnose Clinton without having examined her or researched her entire medical history is simply wrong.

    “Diagnosing a person who is not your patient without ever examining that person or reviewing his or her entire medical record, signifies a huge ethical lapse on the part of a physician,” said Len Bruzzese, executive director of the Association of Health Care Journalists. “Shopping for doctors willing to do this anyway, signifies a huge ethical lapse on the part of a journalist.”

    “To attempt to diagnose an individual without that information does them a disservice and can harm the individual with an inaccurate label or diagnosis which can negatively impact them,” said Dr. Robert Wergin, chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Board of Directors. “It can lead to speculation regarding the individual that could be far from the truth."

    Dr. Art Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, said, “unless you believe in psychic diagnosis it is completely irresponsible and unprofessional to do it.”

    He later added, “The bottom line danger is you are likely to be wrong. Second, you are just playing along with the politics. That is what is driving this. They don’t care about these people, they are just calling doctors to push the partisanship. ... I think it's lousy journalism ethics. You shouldn’t be fostering the notion that somehow these are experts who can divine the health status of people they’ve never met, talked to, or have no sense of their medical history. It’s farcical and to indulge it is one more example of journalists not knowing how to cover this campaign.”

    Lawrence McGinty, chair of the Medical Journalists’ Association, a British medical association, called such diagnoses “dangerous.”

    “My advice to doctors would be simply ‘Don't.’ And as a TV news journalist for three decades, my advice to journalists would be, ‘Don't ask.’"

    Karl Stark, a Philadelphia Inquirer health and science journalist and president of the Association of Health Care Journalists, added, “Guessing may be a staple of astrology but it's bad for medicine and bad for journalism.”

    Andrew Holtz, a former CNN medical correspondent and editor of The Holtz Report, agreed: “When reporters call up a doctor and ask for something, like diagnosis by video clip, that is beyond their expertise, they should refuse to play along … and tell the reporter or producer why they can’t do it.”

    Dr. Paul K. Bronston, National Chairman of the Ethics and Professional Policy Committee of the American College of Medical Quality, is a veteran medical expert in legal matters. He said such an approach would be dangerous in court, let alone on television.

    “I think it’s outrageous and it's irresponsible and it's unethical,” Bronston said of the unauthorized opinions. “They have no business doing that if they haven’t reviewed their medical records, haven’t listened to appropriate doctors who are taking care of her, and they have to have the requisite specialty to comment on that.”

    He cited Dr. Drew Pinsky’s recent claims as an example of one of the worst offenders.

    “I am very concerned about Dr. Drew making medical evaluations and a diagnosis regarding Hillary Clinton’s alleged medical problems in areas outside his medical expertise,” Bronston said. “I also believe that he would probably be disqualified to give medical testimony in certain areas of Hillary’s medical condition in a California court. What he is doing is unethical.”

    Jonathan Moreno, a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, also cited doctor-patient ethics.

    “Ethically, unless you have entered into a therapeutic relationship with a patient, you are not supposed to diagnose their medical condition,” he said. “And if you do that you are not supposed to reveal it under the doctor-patient relationship. It doesn’t do the profession any favors when you do these things.”

    Dr. Richard Allen Williams, president of the National Medical Association, which represents African-American doctors, noted Trump’s role in the spread of accusations about Clinton.

    “In the case of the particular political campaigns, it seems that most of the commentary regarding one’s health status has flowed from the Trump side to the Clinton side,” Williams said. “We do not see that as action that would be warranted and it is unethical from the standpoint of someone making a medical comment without having examined the individual or having knowledge of that person.”

  • Fox Business Guest Completely Dismantles Any Economic Case For Trump’s Presidency

    Robert Powell: “The Reality Is Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees”

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    During an appearance on Fox Business, former Economist editor Robert Powell dispelled claims from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign that the candidate’s tax and economic policy proposals would generate at least five consecutive years of economic growth in excess of 4 percent annually.

    Powell, who is now the global risk briefing manager for the Economist Intelligence Unit, a forecasting and advisory business operated by The Economist, was interviewed on the August 24 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co. Host Stuart Varney opened the segment by asking for a response to Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore’s guarantee earlier this week that the massive tax cuts proposed by the Republican nominee would generate sustained economic growth far outpacing anything witnessed in the United States since 1966. Along the way, Powell poked holes in the arguments in favor of the budget-busting supply-side tax cuts Trump and other Republicans have advocated for years as a silver bullet solution to economic malaise.

    Powell mocked Moore’s guarantee, noting that “the reality is money doesn’t grow on trees,” and slammed Trump’s tax plan for promising to add trillions of dollars to the debt -- far more than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s proposal might. He undermined Varney’s unsubstantiated claim that cutting taxes will kickstart economic expansion, and reminded the Fox Business audience that President Reagan actually had to raise taxes to regain revenue lost to early tax cuts. Powell noted that to make up for built-in revenue losses, the rate of economic expansion would actually have to hit 10 percent or more -- which is not a “feasible” rate of growth. Most importantly, he questioned why Varney and his Fox Business cohort are gripped with so much economic anxiety when “unemployment is 4.9 percent” and the American economy is doing “relatively well” and is “a star performer” when compared with other developed countries around the world. From Varney & Co.:

    Powell mentioned during the interview that The Economist does not believe either Trump’s or Clinton’s plan can meet Moore’s arbitrary growth threshold, stating that “we’re perfectly reasonable, and we don’t think Hillary Clinton will deliver 4 percent growth either.” But Powell did argue that Trump’s position on taxes and economic policy is “less responsible” than his Democratic opponent’s.

    Trump’s inherent lack of responsibility is why the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global risk forecast for September 2016 ranks Trump being elected president as a threat to the global economy that is as big as “the rising threat of jihadi terrorism” and “a clash of arms in the South China Sea,” the site of a territorial dispute between China and other neighboring countries, including U.S.-allied Taiwan:

    One of the things that went unsaid during the interview was how absurd it was for Varney to accept Trump’s 4 percent growth target in the first place. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the United States has not witnessed five consecutive years of growth in excess of 4 percent in five decades. When failed Republican candidate Jeb Bush first promoted the target in June 2015, experts slammed it as “impossible” and “nonsense.” Since then, arbitrary targets of 4 or 5 percent growth have been adopted by other GOP hopefuls, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and now Trump. For its part, Fox News has consistently fixated on setting arbitrary growth targets for the American economy in excess of 3 percent, which it claims is proof of a failed economic recovery under President Obama.

  • Media Hype “Optics” In AP Report On Clinton Foundation, While Admitting There Is No Evidence Of Ethics Breaches

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & JARED HOLT

    Media are attempting to scandalize a report from The Associated Press that revealed that “[m]ore than half the people outside the government who met with now-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money ... to the Clinton Foundation,” calling the report “breathtaking” and “disturbing,” because it “looks bad,” and the “optics” and “perceptions” are problematic, despite the fact that their programs also note that “it wasn’t illegal,” and there was no quid pro quo. The focus on the “optics” of the situation rather than the facts has led some in media to criticize the reporting, and explain that “consumers of the media [should] think twice about whether or not the narrative” media are pushing “fits ALL of the facts.”