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  • MSNBC's Chris Hayes Calls Out Sean Hannity's Hypocrisy In Praising Trump's Telepromter Use

    Hayes: "Sean Hannity, Who Has Repeatedly Attacked President Obama For Using A Teleprompter, Thinks It's Absolutely Fantastic When Trump Uses One"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes:

     

     

    CHRIS HAYES (HOST): For much of this presidential campaign, Donald Trump has utterly failed to stay on message. The candidate regularly undermining his campaign's best efforts with off-hand comments that have generated a seemingly endless string of controversies. But for the past few weeks, Trump has managed to steer clear of any truly disastrous gaffes. Sure, there have been boneheaded tweets and baffling policy inconsistencies, but there have also been no new fights with, say, the parents of a deceased soldier, no gratuitous insults of disabled reporters or a federal judge because of his heritage. And that's due in no small part due to his embrace of a device he once slammed as a sign of a candidate's weakness. 

    [...]

    Of course, that was then, and this is now. Turns out Trump actually really likes his teleprompters these days. He's been using them almost full time in recent weeks, and not just for speeches, but even at his rallies. Gone are the days of the free-wheeling, unpredictable Trump campaign event. Now he's just reading to everybody. In fact, Trump now uses a teleprompter far more than the average candidate. And his most ardent defenders wary of yet another off-message gaffe think it's a good idea. Fox host Sean Hannity, who has repeatedly attacked President Obama for using a teleprompter, thinks it's absolutely fantastic when Trump uses one.

    Previously:

    Ignoring Trump’s Prior Criticism Of Teleprompter Speeches, Right-Wing Media Lauded Trump’s Teleprompter Speech

    Hannity Praises Trump For Using A Teleprompter After Years Of Demonizing Obama For Using Them

  • Hannity: Glenn Beck Is On "A Holy War" Against Me For Supporting Trump

    Sean Hannity: "He's Off The Rails Attacking Me Every Day, Blaming Me For Trump"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The "Never Trump" dead-enders, that's what I call them, now have actually taken it another step further and they've launched a TV ad campaign, they want to sabotage any chance Donald Trump has of beating Hillary Clinton and they want to help Hillary Clinton become president. And let me be clear: if you're a Republican conservative and you're not supporting Trump, you are helping to make Hillary Clinton president. Whether you want to hear that or not, that is a fact, it's irrefutable. If you're supporting Gary Johnson over Trump to send a message, you're helping Hillary. That's my answer, that's what I believe, and I have a certain fidelity to the truth to always be honest with my audience, and that is the truth. You want to vote for Gary Johnson, that's a half a vote for Hillary. You want to oppopse Trump, you want to stay home, that's a half a vote for Hillary.

    [...]

    Well let me just say to all of you -- and that includes the commentator class, that includes the Jonah Goldberg class, that includes radio hosts, you know, Glenn Beck, it's a holy war for him at this point. I mean, he's off the rails attacking me every day, blaming me for Trump. Well no, I was fair to everybody Glenn, whether you want to admit it or not. I know I was fair, my conscience is clear, and I, frankly, I'll proudly pull the lever for Donald Trump with a clear conscience. 

    Previously:

    Sean Hannity: I'll Take Responsibility For Trump If He Goes Back On His Promises

    Sean Hannity Calls Wall Street Journal Editor A "Dumbass With His Head Up His Ass"

    The Continuing Conservative Media Civil War Zeroes In On Sean Hannity

    Hannity v. The World: Here Are The People Sean Hannity Has Attacked To Defend Trump (So Far)

  • Broadcast News Widely Covers Anthony Weiner Story, Ignores Abuse Accusations Against Trump Campaign CEO

    Wash. Post, NY Times Also Give More Prominence To Weiner Saga In Print Than Abuse Allegations Against Trump Campaign CEO

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Broadcast network news programs devoted significantly more time to lewd behavior from Anthony Weiner, the husband of an aide to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, than to allegations that Donald Trump's campaign CEO engaged in domestic violence and workplace sexual harassment. The outlets treated the Weiner story as a major campaign issue even though Weiner is playing no direct role in the Clinton campaign.

    Politico reported on August 25 that Trump’s campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, “was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness following an incident with his then-wife in 1996.” The charges were later dropped, but the police report says that Bannon’s wife claimed that he “pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account.” BuzzFeed on August 29 reported that Bannon had also been accused of sexual harassment by a co-worker while working as an investment banker in the 1990s. 

    On August 29, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, announced that she was separating from Weiner following reports that he had sent lewd photos of himself to another woman.

    One might think media would focus more on the Bannon story, which involves allegations of criminality against the CEO of a presidential campaign, than on the dissolution of the marriage of a candidate's aide. That was not the case.

    ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted more than half an hour of coverage to the Weiner-Abedin story -- roughly 10 minutes for each network -- according to a Media Matters review of their morning and evening news shows (NBC’s Today and Nightly News, ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, and CBS’ CBS This Morning and Evening News) on August 26, August 29, and the morning of August 30. Those same programs devoted only 39 seconds in total to covering either of the Bannon stories, with all of that coverage coming from Good Morning America.

    Two of the nation’s leading newspapers for national political coverage, The New York Times and The Washington Post, similarly gave the Weiner-Abedin story more emphasis in their print editions. Both papers devoted 1,400-word front page articles to their separation. By contrast, the Times placed its August 26 story on Bannon’s alleged abuse on page 13, along with a portion of a page 10 August 27 piece and a single sentence of a page 1 August 27 piece. The Post devoted a large portion of a page A04 article on August 27 to the allegation. Neither paper covered the sexual harassment allegation in their respective print editions.

    Not only was the amount of coverage uneven, but in its coverage the broadcast news shows repeatedly framed the Abedin-Weiner story as something that could harm Clinton’s campaign as well as recall for voters Clinton’s own marital problems, a frame that wasn’t applied to the Bannon story. 

    NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell on Today claimed “of course” there would be political fallout for Clinton, connecting the Abedin story to Clinton not having a press conference and suggesting that it would remind voters “about Hillary Clinton's own choices 20 years ago, 19 years ago,” an apparent reference to Clinton’s decision not to leave her husband after he had an affair.

    CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell on Evening News said it was “about the last thing Hillary Clinton's campaign needed, a scandal involving the husband of her top aide Huma Abedin.” O’Donnell also asked CBS political director John Dickerson if the story “change[d]” things for Clinton and her campaign. 

    ABC correspondent Cecilia Vega on Good Morning America noted that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attempted to turn the separation “into a political attack,” adding that Trump “is not holding back, so is the Clinton campaign worried that this will be a distraction for them?” ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd also claimed the story “is a problem for the Hillary campaign” because “independents out there look at it and say, ‘Do we really want to go back to all this again?’”

    The Times and the Post’s coverage made the same connection. The Times alleged the Weiner story “threatens to remind voters about the troubles in the Clintons’ own marriage over the decades” and “evokes the debates that erupted over Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the [Monica] Lewinsky affair.” The Post also pointed to “a different ending to the parallel between Bill and Hillary Clinton and each wife’s public embarrassment by the sexual indiscretions of her politician husband.”

    The only mention of either Bannon story on broadcast news shows was during Good Morning America’s August 26 edition, which treated Bannon’s alleged spousal abuse as a passing issue. ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl briefly stated that the domestic violence allegation could cause “more turmoil ahead for the Trump campaign CEO,” but he didn't mention any impact on the overall campaign or Trump specifically. ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos also briefly brought up the domestic violence allegations with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to ask if Trump was “aware of [the allegation], is he OK with it,” to which Conway claimed ignorance and Stephanopoulos quickly moved on. 

    The coverage of Bannon’s alleged abuse in the Times and the Post​, while given less prominence than its Weiner-Abedin coverage, did mention a potential negative impact to Trump’s campaign. The Times claimed that while Bannon’s appointment was “part of an effort to reset a candidacy that has stumbled with minority and female voters,” Bannon “brings to the post his own bumpy background that includes misdemeanor charges of domestic violence.” In an article the next day, the Times noted the abuse allegation has “created distractions for Mr. Trump’s campaign and raised questions about [Trump’s] management style.” The Post also made the same case in an article that same day. However, none of this coverage, in broadcast or print, noted that the Bannon allegations came on the heels of other women claiming Trump had sexually harassed them in the workplace.

  • Sean Hannity: I'll Take Responsibility For Trump If He Goes Back On His Promises

    Hannity:“If Trump Wins And Doesn't Keep The Promises I Mentioned, Blame Me”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): His agenda is infinitely better than hers, and if you can't see that, then that's your problem. You own it. You own her. You own every dumb thing she's about to do. I blame you. Got it? I'm going to name names regularly if she wins. Now, on the flip side of it, if Trump wins and doesn't keep the promises I mentioned, blame me. I'll take the blame and responsibility. OK? Gladly. I will proudly pull the lever for Trump.

    Previously:

    Sean Hannity Has Given Donald Trump $31 Million In Free Publicity

    Here Are The People Sean Hannity Has Attacked To Defend Trump

    Donald Trump Praises Sean Hannity For Their Indistinguishable Views on Torture

  • Trump Pushes Right-Wing Media’s Nonsense Conspiracy Theory That Huma Abedin Is A Threat To America

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump implied that Huma Abedin, an aide to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, is a security risk because of her mother’s current and her own former employment at an academic journal that writes about Muslims. Trump’s attack follows years of smears about Abedin from informal Trump adviser Roger Stone and right-wing media outlets, which said that Abedin is disloyal to the United States and that she is a secret “Muslim Brotherhood” agent. 

  • Limbaugh: Caller Who Was “Chiding Me” For Not Calling Out Trump’s Primary Immigration Promises Doesn’t Get Trump Supporters

    Rush Limbaugh: “I Have Tried All Last Fall To Explain To People Why People Like You And Others Support Trump And Why You Are Not Going To Abandon Him”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

    CALLER: These things that the media pick on with [Donald] Trump and what he says and trying to say things about flip flopping with this immigration issue and these other policies, they are just nitpicking at his words. And to me, it displays nothing but a lack of common sense. Some of the things that I hear these media people say, and you had a caller on yesterday who made that comment, you know,  he’s going to lose his base flip-flopping – it only takes common sense to read between the lines and the big deal is this --  

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Wait, now, wait. Let’s go back to that caller because the caller was in part chiding me and in part chiding Fox News because his specific complaint was that during the fall campaign, Trump kept assuring people that illegal immigrants were going to be rounded up and deported. He kept saying, they gotta go. They gotta go. They gotta go back. And all the other candidates were out saying, is this going to happen? We’re not going to round up 11 million, I’m not going to do it, I’m telling you the truth and he’s not. And then so Trump goes on to get the nomination. Now that the media is reporting Trump is flip-flopping on this and may not send them back -- that guy called yesterday, he was livid that some in the media, including me, didn’t call Trump out on it at the time. And you’re calling that nit -- I’m not arguing with you I’m just recasting what this guy said so people know what you’re referring to. And you’re saying, you’re saying that that’s nitpicking, that’s not the point, whether Trump is going to deport them or not. Not that that has nothing to do with why you support him, right?

    CALLER: You answered it Rush, you said they don’t care. And that is so true, those are minor details to the majority of people who are supporting Trump. And it’s the same thing with the tax return thing. I do not care what is in Donald Trump’s tax returns. You know why? Because he’s not a career politician. He made his money in the private sector, doing something else, and I don’t care where his money came from or what his tax return says. If he were a career politician, I would say that it is required. But I just don’t feel like it is a big deal.

    LIMBAUGH: I have tried, and I’m sure you’ve heard this if you are a regular listener, I have tried all last fall to explain to people why people like you and others support Trump and why you are not going to abandon him. I got blue in the face trying to explain it.   

    Previously:

    Rush Limbaugh: "I Never Took" Trump "Seriously" On Immigration Proposals

    Rush Limbaugh Warns Republicans Against Supporting Immigration Reform 

    Rush Limbaugh Warns Pro-Trump Poll Truthers They Could "End Up Creating A False Reality"

  • Vox’s Matthew Yglesias Explains The Need For Journalists To Contextualize Clinton Stories

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Vox’s Matthew Yglesias used the example of former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s charitable organization to show that journalists need to properly contextualize their reporting on Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation because such scrutiny “can be misleading” in a media environment where Clinton is presumed to be corrupt and “every decision she makes and every relationship she has is cast in the most negative possible light,” while others who pursue similar actions are given “the presumption of innocence.”

    Over the past few weeks, new information about Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation has beenscandalized by the media, with coverage focused on “optics when they find no evidence of wrongdoing, and misrepresenting stories that lack proper context. The sensationalist reporting on Clinton has sparked serious criticism of the media coverage, illustrating double standards and flawed reporting.

    In an August 30 article, Yglesias argues that the media must properly contextualize stories about Hillary Clinton, because while “it’s natural to assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” in the instance of the Clinton Foundation, “the smoke… is not a naturally occurring phenomenon” but rather “the result of … editorial decisions by the managers of major news organizations to dedicate resources to running down every possible Clinton email lead.” He criticizes the media for extending the “presumption of innocence” to politicians like Colin Powell, who turned his charity -- which accepted corporate donations -- over to his spouse while he served as secretary of state, while they depict Hillary Clinton as “a uniquely corrupt specimen operating with wildly unusual financial arrangements and substantive practices” because “people ‘know’ she is corrupt”:

    The value of the presumption of innocence

    Because Colin Powell did not have the reputation in the mid- to late ’90s of being a corrupt or shady character, his decision to launch a charity in 1997 was considered laudable. Nobody would deny that the purpose of the charity was, in part, to keep his name in the spotlight and keep his options open for future political office. Nor would anybody deny that this wasn’t exactly a case of Powell having super-relevant expertise. What he had to offer was basically celebrity and his good name. By supporting Powell’s charity, your company could participate in Powell’s halo.

    But when the press thinks of you as a good guy, leveraging your good reputation in this way is considered a good thing to do. And since the charity was considered a good thing to do, keeping the charity going when Powell was in office as secretary of state was also considered a good thing to do. And since Powell was presumed to be innocent — and since Democrats did not make attacks on Powell part of their partisan strategy — his charity was never the subject of a lengthy investigation.

    [...]

    The perception that Clinton is corrupt is one of her most profound handicaps as a politician. And what’s particularly crippling about it is that evidence of her corruption is so widespread exactly because everyone knows she’s corrupt.

    Because people “know” that she is corrupt, every decision she makes and every relationship she has is cast in the most negative possible light. When she doesn’t allow her policy decisions to be driven by donors, she’s greeted by headlines like “Hillary Blasts For-Profit Colleges, But Bill Took Millions From One.”

    [...]

    Hillary Clinton is running for president. Her opponent, Donald Trump, is unusually weak and will probably lose. Scrutinizing her, her activities, and her associations is appropriate, and it’s difficult for any responsible citizen to argue that the likely next most powerful person on the planet is under too much scrutiny.

    But the mere fact of scrutiny can be misleading.

    It’s natural to assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But the smoke emanating from the Clinton Foundation is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the result of a reasonably well-funded dedicated partisan opposition research campaign, and of editorial decisions by the managers of major news organizations to dedicate resources to running down every possible Clinton email lead in the universe.

    Whatever one thinks of that decision, it’s at least appropriate to ask editors and writers to put their findings on these matters into some kind of context for readers’ benefit. To the extent that Clinton is an example of the routinized way in which economic elites exert disproportionate voice in the political process, that’s a story worth telling. But it’s a very different story from a one in which Clinton is a uniquely corrupt specimen operating with wildly unusual financial arrangements and substantive practices.

    Much of what we’ve seen over the past 18 months is journalists doing reporting that supports the former story, and then writing leads and headlines that imply the latter. But people deserve to know what’s actually going on.