Issues ››› Elections
  • The Fox Primary By the Numbers, December 12 - 18

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    After the Republican debate last Thursday, Fox host Sean Hannity broadcast a live, post-debate special featuring several of the candidates. During his interview with frontrunner Mitt Romney, Hannity revealed that he wasn't going to challenge the candidates with any uncomfortable questions. As he meanderingly told Romney some things that he didn't know about the former Massachusetts governor before the debate, he let this slip: "I will not ask you about Romney care."

    So who's winning the Fox Primary? Each week at Media Matters, we watch the interviews, crunch the numbers, and tell you what Fox is up to in the presidential campaign.

  • Fox News And The Sagan Standard

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Famed astrophysicist and skeptic Carl Sagan is well known for popularizing the maxim that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This is apparently not a standard of proof that has reached the Fox News "brain room."

    On Sunday, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream cited a "stunning claim in a new fundraising letter sent from the Democratic National Committee. It's asking for support by implying that alleged Republican efforts to suppress voters are worse than Jim Crow-era laws." The network's caption writers helpfully removed Bream's "implying," running throughout the segment the chyron, "DNC Fundraising Letter: GOP Efforts Are Worse Than Jim Crow":

    Bream and Priebus

    The recently passed statutes are no small thing; according to one estimate, they could make it "significantly harder" for more than 5 million voters to cast a ballot. But of course, it would be absurd for Democrats to claim the restrictions are "worse than Jim Crow," under which racial minorities were effectively banned from voting altogether, with those restrictions enforced by paramilitary campaigns of violence.

    One would expect, in claiming that Democrats had made such an absurd claim, that Fox would have read to its audience the portion of the email in which that comparison was made. But that never happened; Bream instead introduced Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who attacked Democrats for their position on voter ID requirements.

    The punch line, of course, is that the DNC fundraising email did not claim that the new voting rights restrictions are "worse than Jim Crow." Instead, the email cites the example of an African-American woman who "grew up in a Jim Crow-divided South, and saw the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965," but has "never had a problem voting -- until this year."

    In other words, the appeal cites Jim Crow laws as an historic example of restrictions on the franchise and notes that Republicans are acting to enact restrictive voting laws today. There is no claim that the latter is worse. Fox simply made it up.

    Extraordinary claim. No evidence. That's the Fox Standard.

    Below the fold, video of the segment and the complete fundraising letter.

  • Misinformer Of The Year: Rupert Murdoch And News Corp.


    "This is the most humble day of my life."

    That's how Rupert Murdoch began his July 20 testimony to Parliament about the phone hacking and bribery scandal that had already resulted in the resignations and arrests of key News Corp. officials.

    Murdoch's son, James, was equally contrite. "I would like to say as well just how sorry I am and how sorry we are, to particularly the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and to their families," he told the committee. "It is a matter of great regret to me, my father and everyone at News Corporation. These actions do not live up to the standards that our company aspires to everywhere around the world."

    The story had begun spiraling out of Rupert Murdoch's control two weeks earlier, when the Guardian reported allegations that employees of Murdoch's London tabloid News of the World had hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of a British schoolgirl who had gone missing, and who was later found dead.

    "I cannot think what was going through the minds of the people who did this. That they could hack into anyone's phone is disgraceful," lamented Prime Minister David Cameron as the scandal quickly engulfed the U.K., and spread throughout Murdoch's global media reach. "But to hack into the phone of Milly Dowler, a young girl missing from her parents, who was later found to be murdered, is truly despicable."

    Allegations of phone hacking within Murdoch's newspapers had been simmering for years in the U.K., and News Corp. had been forced to make public apologies for the systematic invasions of privacy, often sponsored by News of the World and targeting celebrities, athletes and members of the royal family.

    And while parts of the Dowler story have since been called into question, News Corp. agreed to pay her family 2 million pounds, and Murdoch himself delivered an apology in person. Moreover, the story set off a cascade of damning revelations that have continued to this day.

    Evidence quickly tumbled out indicating the hacking been widespread, and that multiple, high-ranking executives had known about the intrusions. That meant previous explanations to Parliament, when Murdoch managers claimed the crimes had been limited, had been misleading at best. At worst, Murdoch chiefs lied to lawmakers in an effort to cover-up massive wrongdoing.

    For years, Media Matters has documented the stream of purposeful misinformation that flows from Murdoch's American properties, most notably Fox News, where the misinformation has taken an epic turn for the worse under President Obama. Yet the corporate spectacle on display this year is even more troubling. This has been Murdoch overseeing a corrupt enterprise and one whose transgressions extend well beyond tapping into phone messages.

    And for that dubious distinction, as well as for starring in a media unraveling that has attracted multiple police and government investigations on several continents, Rupert Murdoch and his international media behemoth are the recipients of this year's Misinformer of the Year award.

  • Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim AG Holder "Openly Rejected Election Integrity"

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Right-wing media outlets are falsely claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder stated an "unwillingness to enforce laws to prevent voter fraud" during a December 13 speech on voting rights. In fact, Holder said in his speech that voter fraud "will not be tolerated by this Justice Department," but new state restrictions on voting will receive a "thorough -- and fair" review by the department.

  • Fox's Graphics Department Fails (Mislabeling States Edition)

    Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

    In the last two weeks, we've pointed out that Fox News' graphics department stunningly failed to accurately portray the fact that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent in November.

    But Fox's graphics woes apparently aren't limited to misrepresenting the unemployment rate. Tonight, the network's premiere "straight news" political program, Special Report with Bret Baier, did a segment on possible paths to victory for President Obama's re-election campaign. And in one graphic, Fox mislabeled Utah as Nevada:

    Nevada graphic

    Soon afterward, Fox mislabeled Vermont as New Hampshire:

    New Hampshire graphic

    It seems that Fox's 2009 pledge of "zero tolerance for on-screen errors" has not worked very well.

    (h/t Twitter user DiagnosticsCT)