Issues ››› Elections
  • Three Ways Fox Is Attempting To Delegitimize Clinton’s Lead In The Polls

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News has attempted to delegitimize Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls for months, claiming that the polls are skewed due to oversampling, that the size of rallies Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds is more indicative of his support than polls, and that there are “secret” Trump supporters who are too embarrassed to tell pollsters whom they support. However, other media outlets have explained that concerns about oversampling are “laughably incorrect,” and that claims that crowds are more accurate than polling are some of “the most idiotic claims out there.”

  • 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.”

  • Leading Up To The Election, Media Outlets Highlight The Importance Of LGBT Voters


    Over the past few weeks, media outlets have pointed out the potential impact of LGBT voters in both swing states and local races in the 2016 election, highlighting the “biggest and most sophisticated get-out-the-vote effort ever” organized by the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign, and noting that LGBT voters “might help tip the scale red or blue.” Journalists have also focused on the swing state of North Carolina, where anti-LGBT law House Bill 2 (HB 2) has the potential to be a “critical driver” of voter turnout.

  • Trump Ally Roger Stone’s Plan To Intimidate Voters At The Polls

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Trump ally Roger Stone is leading efforts to place “exit poll” watchers in pivotal swing states to prevent Democrats from purportedly trying “to steal the election from Donald Trump.” Voting experts have said Stone’s efforts could lead to voter intimidation, and Stone has a history of issuing violent and intimidating threats.

  • Study Confirms Network Evening Newscasts Have Abandoned Policy Coverage For 2016 Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Walking away from a long-standing tradition of covering issues and presidential policies during campaign season, the network evening newscasts have all but abandoned that type of reporting this year, according to recent tabulations from Tyndall Report, which for decades has tracked the flagship nightly news programs.

    Since the beginning of 2016, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News have devoted just 32 minutes to issues coverage, according to Andrew Tyndall.

    Differentiating issues coverage from daily campaign coverage where policy topics might be addressed, Tyndall defines issues coverage by a newscast this way: “It takes a public policy, outlines the societal problem that needs to be addressed, describes the candidates' platform positions and proposed solutions, and evaluates their efficacy.”

    And here’s how that kind of in-depth coverage breaks down, year to date, by network:

    ABC: 8 minutes, all of which covered terrorism.

    NBC: 8 minutes for terrorism, LBGT issues, and foreign policy.

    CBS: 16 minutes for foreign policy, terrorism, immigration, policing, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

    And this remarkable finding from Tyndall [emphasis added]:

    No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits. To the extent that these issues have been mentioned, it has been on the candidates' terms, not on the networks' initiative.

    These numbers are staggering in terms of the complete retreat they represent from issues-orientated campaign coverage. Just eight years ago, the last time both parties nominated new candidates for the White House, the network newscasts devoted 220 minutes to issues coverage, compared to only 32 minutes so far this year. (CBS Evening News went from 119 minutes of issues coverage in 2008 to 16 this year.)

    Note that during the Republican primary season alone, the networks spent 333 minutes focusing on Donald Trump. Yet for all of 2016, they have set aside just one-tenth of that for issue reporting.

    And look at this: Combined, the three network newscasts have slotted 100 minutes so far this year for reporting on Hillary Clinton’s emails while she served as secretary of state, but just 32 minutes for all issues coverage. (NBC’s Nightly News has spent 31 minutes on the emails this year; just eight minutes on issues.)

    Indeed, this approach used to be a hallmark of presidential campaign reporting; outline what candidates stand for, describe what their presidency might look like, and compare and contrast that platform with his or her opponents. i.e. What would the new president’s top priorities be on the first day of his or her new administration?

    It seems clear that the media’s abandonment of issues coverage benefits Trump since his campaign has done very little to outline the candidate’s core beliefs. Clinton, by contrast, has done the opposite.

    As the Associated Press reported, “Trump’s campaign has posted just seven policy proposals on his website, totaling just over 9,000 words. There are 38 on Clinton’s ‘issues’ page, ranging from efforts to cure Alzheimer’s disease to Wall Street and criminal justice reform, and her campaign boasts that it has now released 65 policy fact sheets, totaling 112,735 words.”

    Tyndall’s findings echo what other media researchers have found this campaign season, and what commentators have been noting for months:

    A study released last month from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy confirmed that during the time of both parties’ conventions this summer, just eight percent of news coverage centered on policy and issues.

    “During the convention period, even though questions of policy and leadership were on the agenda within the halls of the national conventions, they were not on journalists’ agenda,” wrote Harvard University professor Thomas Patterson. “Polls, projections, strategy and the like constituted about a fifth of all coverage, whereas issues took up less than 1/12 and the candidates’ qualifications for the presidency accounted for less than 1/13.”

    Part of the purpose of campaign coverage, including at the flagship network newscasts, is to help inform voters about key issues of public concern. It’s troubling that the networks have decided this year to walk away from that responsibility.

  • Fox Pushes Lie That George Soros Is Using Voting Machines To Rig The Election

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox & Friends hosts falsely speculated that billionaire and Democratic Party donor George Soros is manipulating voting machines that they claimed he owns in order to rig the 2016 elections and push his “agenda.” In fact, Soros does not have any ownership in the company he is alleged to control voting machines through, and the company’s voting machines are not even being used in the 2016 election.