Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was paid between $200,000 and $2,000,000 by Fox News and The Washington Times. Carson used his job at both outlets to help build his profile among conservatives prior to entering the presidential race.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that between the start of 2014 and last month, Carson "drew between $200,000 and $2 million from his positions as a contributor at the Washington Times and Fox News," according to disclosure documents reviewed by the paper. (Those numbers likely exclude several months of his contracts at both outlets -- Carson joined the Times in July 2013, and was signed by Fox in October of that year.)
According to the Journal, Carson earned more than $4 million in speaking fees and $6 million in book royalties, numbers that were surely inflated thanks to conservative outlets helping to turn the retired neurosurgeon into a right-wing political celebrity.
Carson not only benefited financially from his employment at conservative media outlets -- he can thank Fox News and the Washington Times for essentially turning him into a political candidate. Fox News in particular repeatedly presented him to viewers as a viable potential presidential contender, with prominent network personalities fawning over him.
Fox News has routinely paid would-be politicians large sums while simultaneously boosting their political careers. The network gave contributor Scott Brown more than $136,000 while he used the network as a launching pad for his unsuccessful New Hampshire Senate run. (After he lost, Brown was rehired by Fox.) Former Fox News contributor Rick Santorum, who left the network to run for president in the 2012 election, was paid more than $239,000 by the network. Mike Huckabee was reportedly making as much as $500,000 per year from Fox News, as of 2011 -- like Carson, he left Fox News earlier this year to run for president.
From the June 3 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:
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Broadcast evening news programs on ABC, NBC, and CBS completely ignored likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's questionable delay in announcing his campaign while he sidesteps campaign laws and continues coordinating with his super PAC. Despite increasing scrutiny of a strategy that "tests the legal definition of [a] candidate," the nightly news programs have devoted zero coverage to the matter since The Associated Press (AP) first reported on it in April.
Former congressman Ron Paul criticized Republicans who "roll over" for Fox News. His son, presidential contender Rand Paul, has been a near-constant fixture on the network this cycle.
Ron Paul said he disagreed with Fox's control over the GOP debate process, Raw Story reported, and in particular the announcement that Fox will only invite ten Republican candidates to the debate based on who has the highest average polling numbers.
"I think there has to be a better way of choosing," Paul reportedly told Larry King. "I mean it's sort of like, why do the candidates roll over and abide by the rules of some commercial organization that has an agenda? And Fox certainly has a very powerful agenda." Paul also discussed his frustrations with the network during his own 2007 run for president, adding:
I know that even on their polling after the debates, I usually won all the polling, but they would say, well there's a mistake and they would ignore it, so I don't like the idea that somebody like Fox has sort of monopoly control of how a debate will be run.
According to a Media Matters study, from President Obama's second inauguration to April of this year, Sen. Rand Paul appeared on Fox News' evening and primetime programming and Fox News Sunday significantly more times than any other declared and likely Republican presidential candidate. In the month of May, Rand Paul made the most appearances across all programs on Fox News of the 16 declared and likely Republican presidential candidates. He was second in total airtime.
Rand Paul's current standing in polls suggests he may make the cut to participate in the Republican debate on Fox in August.
Former Fox News employee Mike Huckabee led all declared and potential Republican presidential candidates with 70 minutes of airtime on the network in May. Sen. Rand Paul, who was second in total time with 53 minutes, led all candidates with 12 appearances.
As we did during the 2012 presidential cycle, Media Matters will publish regular updates on the amount of interview time Fox News gives each declared and potential Republican presidential candidate. The network provides candidates with an invaluable platform with which to raise their profiles and pitch themselves to Fox's conservative audience.
This cycle, the Fox Primary may be more consequential than ever.
In a May 30 column for the Los Angeles Times, Doyle McManus argued that Fox News chief Roger Ailes "will decide which candidates can compete in Republican presidential primaries next year." In a move that has raised the ire of some conservative activists and members of the presidential field, Fox News announced that the first primary debate -- to be hosted on the network on August 6 -- will feature a maximum of 10 candidates, chosen based on polling.
According to McManus, "One side effect, GOP strategists say, is that during the next two months, those candidates will be even more desperate to boost their name recognition -- by appearing on Fox News." He added, "Fox won't exactly be judge, jury and executioner, but it will be rule-maker, gatekeeper and moderator."
The Fox Primary has been well underway since President Obama's second inauguration. An April Media Matters study found that potential Republican presidential candidates had already made more than 800 appearances on Fox News' evening and primetime programming and Fox News Sunday.
In May, the 16 declared and potential Republican presidential candidates made a combined 68 appearances on Fox News, totaling more than 8 hours of airtime. Rick Perry was the only one to not appear on the network during the month.
Megyn Kelly's The Kelly File featured both the most candidate appearances and the most total interview time, though it should be noted that these numbers are inflated slightly by a special her show aired on May 22 featuring a compilation of previous interviews Kelly had done with various Republican candidates.
Most Total Airtime: Mike Huckabee (1 hour and 10 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Rand Paul (12 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime: The Kelly File (2 hours and 40 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances: The Kelly File (19 appearances)
Softball Question(s) Of The Month: In Fox & Friends' only interview with Christie, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked only a single question on "the controversy with the bridge and various other things":
KILMEADE: What did you learn over the last year where you had the controversy with the bridge and various other things about yourself and about who your friends are?
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List."
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel and Fox News Sunday for the 16 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
From the June 2 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News gave Ann Coulter a platform to use a deceptive video to claim that Hillary Clinton wants "old white people to die off."
In a June 1 tweet, right-wing opposition research organization America Rising PAC posted a seven second Vine video showing Hillary Clinton speaking to a supporter at a campaign event. When the unidentified woman asks Clinton to sign something, Clinton suggests the woman "go to the end of the line." Right-wing media outlets highlighted the video as evidence Clinton is out-of-touch with voters.
Ann Coulter used the video during an appearance on Fox News' Hannity as evidence that Democrats want "old white people to die off" so that they can further "the browning of America":
But the seven second video was taken out of context. In a post for Townhall.com, political editor and Fox News contributor Guy Benson acknowledged that the full context of the clip "casts the awkward exchange in a far less damaging light":
When I wondered about context on Twitter, one of the organization's representatives was kind enough to email me the full 17-minute video, which I've since examined. As I suspected, the added context casts the awkward exchange in a far less damaging light. Hillary emerges from the building and slowly makes her way down the line of well-wishers, taking photographs, shaking hands, and making small talk. She's not a natural politician, and many of the interactions feel stilted and perfunctory, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. When people start asking her to sign items (books, photographs, even baseballs), Hillary seems to make a snap decision that she'll accommodate their requests, but not until she's made it all the way through the crowd. Hence, the "end of the line" request.
Opponents shouldn't waste their time with this out-of-context encounter, which I'll go ahead and label a manufactured 'outrage.' There's much less to it than meets the eye.
Conservative media are promoting a deceptively edited video from a Republican opposition research firm that purports to show Hillary Clinton coldly demanding that a supporter "go to the end of the line," to allege that Clinton is out of touch with voters. But even as the dishonest attack made its way to Fox News, network contributor Guy Benson admitted the full context of the video "casts [Clinton] ... in a far less damaging light."
The raucous political warfare of the 1990s returned into view late last week with the stunning news that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is under indictment for allegedly agreeing to pay more than $3 million in hush money to cover up sexual abuse involving a male student at a high school where Hastert taught decades ago.
Hastert's unsettling case doesn't have anything to do with partisan politics, per se. But his rise to the speakership back in 1998 sure did. Like virtually everything else inside the Beltway at the time, Hastert's promotion revolved around the Republicans' relentless impeachment pursuit against President Bill Clinton. And today, Hastert's alleged crime once again throws into focus what a strange and hypocritical spectacle it was for GOP men to play sex cop and crusade for impeachment.
The impeachment of Bill Clinton defined American politics in the 1990s. It also defined the Beltway press, which still clings to many of the bad Clinton-related habits it formed that decade. The impeachment farce, where the press teamed up with Republicans to wage war on a Democrat, could also explain why the Clintons today might not fully trust the media as Hillary Clinton expands her presidential run and the press stands "primed" to take her down.
Why won't Hillary Clinton open up to the press? Why can't Bill and Hillary handle the media? Why has she "withdrawn into a gilded shell"? Why does she wear media "armor"? Those questions have been rehashed in recent months as journalists focus on themselves and what role they'll play in the unfolding nomination contest.
A suggestion: Follow the path back to Dennis Hastert's impeachment era for clues to those Clinton press questions.
During the 1990s, Hastert remained a firm advocate of impeachment, at one point condemning the president for his "inability to abide by the law." Hastert stressed, "The evidence in President Clinton's case is overwhelming that he has abused and violated the public trust."
Of course it was the impeachment imbroglio that elevated Hastert, indirectly, to his lofty position of speaker of the House; a position he later leveraged into millions by becoming a very wealthy lobbyist.
The background: Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced to resign in 1998 after the impeachment-obsessed GOP faced disastrous midterm losses. (Gingrich later admitted he was engaged in an affair with a Congressional aide at the time.) Up next was Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. "One of the loudest of those calling for the House to impeach Clinton over an extra-marital affair," noted the National Journal, Livingston was soon ousted after he was forced to publicly confess to committing adultery "on occasion."
Into that void stepped Hastert.
That means all three Republican House leaders who pursued Clinton's impeachment have now confessed or been accused of sexual and moral transgressions themselves. Those were the people the D.C press took its cues from during the impeachment charade?
As Orin Kerr noted in the Washington Post following the Hastert indictment:
If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.
While some in the press have conceded that the '90s impeachment was a strange circus, the truth is the Beltway press basically served as executive producers for the GOP's doomed theatrical run. It was the media elite who legitimized for years the right-wing's Javert-like pursuit of all things Clinton. "So much of the media was invested in breathless, often uncritical coverage of Clinton's impeachment," wrote Josh Marshall at Salon in 2002, while detailing the final release of the independent prosecutor's $70 million Clinton investigation.
Put another way, the same D.C. press corps that openly taunted the Clintons for years in the '90s, culminating with impeachment, is the same D.C. press corps that's now openly taunting them, for instance, regarding the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton's emails, and anything/everything else that can be presented as a Clinton "scandal" story.
That's why when the New York Times story about Hillary Clinton's email account first broke in March, "The media and politicos and Twitterati immediately responded with all the measured cautious skepticism we've come to expect in response to any implication of a Clinton Scandal," noted Wonkette. "That is to say, none." And that's why Times columnist and chief Clinton sex chronicler Maureen Dowd has, to date, published 100 columns mentioning "Lewinsky."
More than twenty years ago, the Clintons understood that the so-called liberal media was working with conservative activists and Republican prosecutors to try to destroy Bill's presidency. For the GOP, the motivation was purely partisan. For the press, it seemed to be a mix of careerism (Clinton bashing proved to be good for business), combined with a genuine dislike of the Clintons.
Today, it's often difficult to recapture just how completely bonkers the D.C. media establishment went during the impeachment saga, and how on some days it seemed journalists were more pruriently obsessed with the Clintons than their tireless Republican tormentors. The recent Hastert sexual abuse allegation helps bring into focus the absurdity of the era, and reminds us why, as a new campaign season unfolds, the Clintons might not fully trust the Beltway media.
Some conservative media pundits suggested 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) may have disqualified himself from the presidency after his opposition to the National Security Agency's bulk phone collections program caused parts of the PATRIOT Act to lapse.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced today he's running for president, has previously suggested he fears attacks from Fox News. Graham has attempted to placate the conservative network with nonstop appearances and praise of their coverage of issues like Benghazi and immigration reform.
Ryan Lizza reported in The New Yorker that during 2010 negotiations on a climate bill, Graham warned fellow senators "that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill 'before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process.'"
But, back in Washington, Graham warned Lieberman and Kerry that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill "before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process," one of the people involved in the negotiations said. "He would say, 'The second they focus on us, it's gonna be all cap-and-tax all the time, and it's gonna become just a disaster for me on the airwaves. We have to move this along as quickly as possible.' "
Graham later abandoned the efforts, which were heavily attacked by Fox, and said he did not believe human-caused emissions "are contributing overwhelmingly to global climate change."
In 2011, Graham told reporters that Fox News was making it difficult for him on immigration reform. He said: "When Fox News is saying 'amnesty' 24 hours a day, it makes it harder for me to get people on my side."
In 2013, however, Graham told the Wall Street Journal that Fox News chief Roger Ailes "supported fixing the broken immigration system and that his network was 'far more balanced' in covering the debate":
But Mr. Graham, an architect of last year's Senate immigration bill, said in an interview that the chief of Fox News supported fixing the broken immigration system and that his network was "far more balanced" in covering the debate than it had been during the 2006-2007 effort. Mr. Ailes has also been quoted on the record supporting the immigration overhaul, including its most contentious piece, a path to citizenship for those here illegally.
"I met with him at least three to four times in person and talked to him a lot," Mr. Graham said. He said he and others aggressively courted Mr. Ailes in hopes of toning down what Mr. Graham described as vocal opposition on Fox in the past. "People who observed the debate noticed that the tone was different and not so one-sided. It wasn't 'amnesty' every 15 minutes."
Graham has been a solid ally of Fox News' obsession with Benghazi. A 2014 Media Matters study found that Graham was the elected official interviewed most frequently on the network about the September 2011 attacks. Graham said in May 2013 of Fox's Benghazi coverage: "Thank God for Fox."
The senator has been a frequent presence on Fox News' evening and primetime programming and Fox News Sunday. Since President Obama's second inauguration to early April, Graham made 72 appearances, including 46 on Greta Van Susteren's program.
While most of the Sunday political news shows ignored accusations that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) may be unlawfully coordinating with his super PAC, CBS' Bob Schieffer asked the prospective presidential candidate if he was "violating the spirit of the law."
Bush has recently come under scrutiny for coordinating with his super PAC, Right to Rise. As the Washington Post reported, "Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center -- sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch [on May 27] asking that the Justice Department investigate whether Bush and his PAC 'are engaged in knowing and willful violations of federal campaign finance laws.' The groups are calling on Lynch to appoint an independent Special Counsel to investigate potential violations."
In a May 31 editorial, The New York Times editorial board endorsed the idea and urged the Justice Department to get involved, describing Bush's relationship with Right to Rise as "brazen," and "cynical" and noted that Bush is "obviously" running for president:
Ideally, the F.E.C. should be doing its enforcement job. Given that agency's dereliction, the Justice Department must exercise its authority to enforce the law. The abuses of runaway political money will only grow when candidates believe there's no one to stop them.
During the May 31 edition of Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer questioned Bush over his questionable PAC coordination. Asserting that it was "pretty obvious" that Bush was running for president, Schieffer pointed to criticism and requests for investigation into his dealings with Right to Rise, asking if he thought he "may be just at least violating the spirit of the law" by coordinating with the group. Bush dismissed Schieffer, claiming that he "wouldn't ever do that" and simply was "trying to get a sense of whether [his] candidacy would be viable or not" prior to deciding if he would officially run for president:
The media have largely continuously ignored that likely Republican presidential contenders in 2016 are using dark money and secretive nonprofit groups to sidestep campaign finance laws. Face the Nation was the only Sunday broadcast network political show to even broach the subject.
In March, Bush gave his "tacit endorsement" to Right to Rise Policy Solutions, a nonprofit organization that allows him to side-step campaign finance laws that cap donations from individual donors and require donations to political action committees (PACs) to be publicly reported, permitting "individuals and corporations" to "give as much as they want while remaining anonymous," according to the Post. The news garnered little media attention at the time, with just a scattering of articles and two segments on broadcast and cable news outlining the dark money connections.
From the May 28 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show:
From the May 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the May 28 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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