Gender

Issues ››› Gender
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Smears Planned Parenthood Over Birth Control Access

    ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS & SHARON KANN

    During a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said birth control “should not be done by prescription.” A subsequent editorial by the Las Vegas Review-Journal used Trump’s remarks to falsely claim that Planned Parenthood is “the biggest obstacle” to “the availability of and access to birth control for women,” ignoring both media and medical groups’ concern that selling birth control over the counter could make it less affordable and accessible if health insurance does not continue to cover the cost.

  • Wash. Post Op-Ed Exposes The Dangers Of Double Standard In Reporting On Trump Conflicts Of Interest

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Two former chief White House ethics lawyers, Richard Painter from the George W. Bush administration and Norman Eisen from the Obama administration, suggested that there is a media double standard evident in reporting on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. They noted that while Clinton’s “actual or apparent conflicts … have been disclosed and publicly vetted,” Trump’s potential conflicts of interest are significantly more “obscure, profound and dangerous.”

    Multiple investigations have revealed ethical issues regarding Trump: He used a charitable foundation in his name for personal gain, made an illegal donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), and ran a fake “university” that defrauded thousands of people. Despite Trump’s unique ethical problems, media continue to devote an overwhelmingly unbalanced amount of coverage to (debunked) Clinton pseudo-scandals, obsess over her “optics”, and draw false equivalencies between the Clinton Foundation and fraudulent Trump Foundation. 

    In a September 21 op-ed, Painter and Eisen wrote that “a Trump presidency would be ethically compromised” by, among other things, his “refusal to disclose his tax returns,” a “lack of divestment” from Trump-branded properties, and “Trump’s propensity for dishonesty.” Painter and Eisen conclude that while Clinton’s potential and actual conflicts of interest “have been disclosed and publicly vetted,” “They are nowhere near as obscure, profound and dangerous as Trump’s.” From the op-ed (emphasis original): 

    As government ethics lawyers who have, respectively, counseled the most recent Republican president and the most recent Democratic one, we have watched Donald Trump’s campaign with increasing concern. We have come to believe a Trump presidency would be ethically compromised for the following reasons:

    Opacity. Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns shields critical information about his finances that is not found in the basic details he is required to provide on his candidate financial disclosure. 

    [...]

    Lack of divestment. Trump has said that if elected he would have his children manage his business and would not discuss business matters with them. That is not sufficient. Presidents for the past half-century have either converted assets to simple, conflict-free holdings such as U.S. government bonds, adopted blind trusts or done both. 

    [...]

    Domestic conflicts. Without considerable additional detail about Trump’s finances, we cannot be sure his decisions on domestic matters would be conflict-free. 

    [...]

    Foreign conflicts. Even more serious are the questions raised by Trump investments abroad. Those relate to some of the United States’ most important — and most sensitive — relationships, among them ones with Russia, China, India, South Korea and Turkey. 

    [...]

    Legal exposure. Because of Trump’s seeming unwillingness to set up a true blind trust, and the difficulty of his doing so, his potential foreign conflicts could raise immediate legal issues.

    [...]

    Veracity. Finally, we must address Trump’s propensity for dishonesty. It is disturbing that just 15 percent of his statements checked by PolitiFact are “true” or “mostly true.” No ethics program can work if the client is not honest.

    To be sure, counsel for a President Hillary Clinton would have to address actual or apparent conflicts posed by the Clinton Foundation, but those have been disclosed and publicly vetted. They are nowhere near as obscure, profound and dangerous as Trump’s. The ethics lawyer who would have President Trump as his or her client would face a far more daunting task than either of us — or any of our colleagues in recent years — has ever confronted.

  • Host Cites Low Female Representation In Congress To Prove US Doesn't Have Problem With Powerful Women

    Fox's Neil Cavuto Lauds Statistics Showing Women Representing Only Four Percent Of Fortune 500 CEOs And 20 Percent Of Congress 

    Blog ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Fox host Neil Cavuto argued that America doesn’t have a problem with strong women, evidencing his claim by noting 104 women currently serve in Congress and 21 are Fortune 500 CEOs, both figures well below the 50 percent population of women in America.

    On the September 20 edition of his Fox News show, Cavuto pushed back against a statement made by President Obama that America hasn’t had a woman president because we still grapple with the idea of “strong women,” arguing that Americans “have a problem with this woman.” Cavuto noted that because women are currently represented in government and business, “America doesn’t seem to have a problem electing women”:

    NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Now I know how the president will handle a possible Hillary Clinton loss. She wouldn’t have anything to do with it and god knows he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Turns out chauvinist unenlightened Neanderthal voters will have everything to do with it. Quoting the president from a new York fundraiser in Manhattan this past weekend: “There's a reason we haven't had a woman president. We as a society still grapple with what it means to see powerful women. And it still troubles us in a lot of ways unfairly, and that expresses itself in all sorts of ways.”

    Are you kidding me? Hillary Clinton loses and it's because we have a problem with powerful women? Could it be if she loses we have a problem with this woman? Because looking around we Americans don’t seem to have a problem electing women. Last time I checked, there were 104 women in Congress, 84 in the House, 20 in the Senate, six women governors. And don't forget the 21 women who are Fortune 500 CEO's. Could we have more? Absolutely. But if we have a problem with powerful women our country sure has a funny way of showing it.

    While there have been gains in female representation in the U.S. government, women hold only 104 seats out of the 535 seats in Congress --  barely 20% of the government even though women make up half of the US population. The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University noted that three states have never had a female congressional representative: Delaware, Vermont, and Mississippi. Additionally, as of this year, 23 states have never had a female governor or elected a female senator.

    And while there are 21 female CEOs, that’s only 4 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs. That number is a drop from the previous year, where there were 24 female CEOs, according to a report by Forbes. Cavuto’s exaggeration of the presence of female CEOs in the business world mirrors the results of a survey of executives which found “Executives vastly overestimated the number of women who are chief executive officers.”

  • Cosmopolitan Set The Standard On Ivanka Trump Interviews

    Unlike ABC and Fox, Cosmopolitan Challenged Ivanka Trump On The Intricacies Of Her Father’s Child Care Plan

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ & KATIE SULLIVAN

    After appearing alongside her father, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, while he announced his child care plan on September 13, Ivanka Trump sat for several interviews, including with ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News’ The Kelly File and Fox & Friends, and Cosmopolitan magazine. But only Cosmopolitan successfully asked important follow-up questions and challenged Trump on the apparent inconsistencies and inadequacies of her father’s plan.

    Ivanka Trump has become an important surrogate for her father, often stepping in to sanitize his outrageous remarks, particularly those about women. When critics pointed out the GOP nominee’s misogyny, Ivanka described him as a “fighter” for women and an “equal opportunity offender,” and after her father offered a victim-blaming defense of former Fox CEO Roger Ailes, who was ousted from Fox following a sexual harassment lawsuit, she went on Fox to claim that the Trump Organization has “a very strong HR team … who is equipped to deal with these issues if they arise.” As The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum explained, Trump has chosen to “deodorize the stink of her father’s misogyny, to suggest that because he loves her that means he loves women -- to erase the actual policies he supports.”

    This was the role ABC and Fox allowed Ivanka Trump to play.

    Donald Trump’s child care plan lacks details on how it would be funded, and while Fox’s Megyn Kelly and Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt asked Ivanka about the fiscal aspects of the plan, they settled for her answer that everything would be clarified in her father’s September 15 economic speech. Both Fox interviews were fawning, with Kelly marveling at Trump’s (millionaire) working-mother status -- “I don’t know how you do it” -- and Earhardt focusing part of the 10-minute interview on Trump’s relationship with her father: “Tell me some stories. What’s he like? And what do the kids call him?” Kelly also let Trump get away with the lie that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton does not have a child care policy on her website.

    ABC’s Amy Robach did question Trump on why her father’s plan excludes paternity leave, and she clarified that Clinton does have a child care plan on her website. But she also allowed Ivanka to push her talking points unchallenged and say the Trump Organization offers paid maternity leave and adoption leave for all of its employees, a claim that Trump employees are now challenging.

    It was Cosmopolitan’s Prachi Gupta who successfully challenged Trump by questioning specifics of her father’s plan, like the fact that it doesn’t include same-sex parents when both of the partners are men. She also brought up (and readily provided the source for) Donald Trump’s 2004 statement that pregnancy is inconvenient for business. Gupta thoroughly questioned the financial feasibility of Trump’s child care plan by pointing out that the Republican candidate has promised both tax cuts and increases in infrastructure spending, while also saying he wants to build a border wall. Politico and Vox reported on Ivanka’s interview with Cosmopolitan, noting that she accused “the writer of ‘editorializing’ and instilling ‘hostility’” in her questions and pointing out that she got “combative” after being challenged.

    Nussbaum’s article about Ivanka’s speech at the July Republican National Convention highlighted that Ivanka has “stepped forward to blind female voters to who her father is and what he stands for.” Gupta defied this spin, and her Cosmopolitan interview got in Ivanka’s way as she tried to sanitize her father’s record, while exemplifying that women’s magazines and websites have been an undervalued asset in political coverage.

  • On Dr. Oz, Trump Ignores Reality Of His Exclusionary Leave Proposal To Claim “Child Care” Plan Helps Fathers

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to discuss, among other things, his child care policy proposals. Trump noted that “there are a lot of men involved” in child care and that “under the plan we’re doing they will be helped so much,” yet Trump’s child care plan explicitly excludes fathers from access to parental leave. Oz did not point that out.

    Trump’s child care proposal includes a plan for six weeks of maternity leave for new mothers paid through unemployment insurance. By specifying “maternity leave,” as The Associated Press reported, Trump’s “leave program would not apply to working fathers.” ThinkProgress economic policy editor Bryce Covert also noted that Trump’s plan would exclude not only working fathers, but “potentially all adoptive parents” and countless LGBT parents. Trump’s failure to include fathers in his child care proposals is one of several shortfalls journalists should be aware of when reporting on Trump’s plan. From the September 15 edition of ABC’s The Dr. Oz Show:

    DONALD TRUMP: In the case of Ivanka, the child care thing has been so important to her for so long, she used to say, “I don’t know who people do it.” Last night -- just one story quick -- we met with about 20 mothers and a couple of gentlemen, too, by the way, who are also, you know, there is a lot of men involved in this that are getting absolutely --

    DR. MEHMET OZ (HOST): Mister Moms.

    TRUMP: -- they are getting hurt so badly. But, we met with these 20 people, they were incredible people, and they had just unbelievable and sad, very sad stories to tell. And, I got a very heavy dose of what's going on. And, I will tell you, under the plan we're doing they will be helped so much. And Ivanka was always saying, "Dad, we've got to do something about child care. It's just so unfair." And we really talked with those people last night how tough it is. 

    IVANKA TRUMP: And most people don’t realize that it’s the single-largest household expense in much of this country, even exceeding the cost of housing.

  • After NCAA, ACC Pull-Out Of North Carolina, Editorials Slam Gov. McCrory For Continued Support Of HB 2

    ››› ››› LUKE BATEMAN

    North Carolina editorial boards are slamming Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to stand by his state’s discriminatory House Bill 2 (HB 2) following the NCAA and ACC’s recent plan to remove championship games from North Carolina. Newspaper editorial boards are highlighting the “casualty count” caused by backlash the “hateful” and “disastrous” law has caused and saying it needs to be repealed. 

  • NRA Claims NC Sen. Candidate "Opposed Your Right To Self-Defense" Because She Voted Against NRA's Pro-Domestic Abuser Bill

    Ross Voted Against Bill To Allow Domestic Abusers To Own Guns

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) against North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross falsely claims Ross “opposed your right to self-defense” while serving as a member of North Carolina’s legislature.  

    But the vote cited by the NRA was not on legislation about the meaning of the “right to self-defense” -- in fact, the bill contained a provision to allow people subject to protective orders for domestic violence to own guns.

    On September 14, the NRA released an ad that claims that, while a member of North Carolina House of Representatives, “Ross voted against personal liberty. Ross voted for gun control. Ross opposed your right to self-defense.”

    According to The Charlotte Observer the ad is airing in Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington and the ad buy brings the total amount spent by the NRA in favor of Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr to $3 million.

    The NRA ad cites Ross’ 2011 vote against House Bill 650 to support its claim Ross “opposed your right to self-defense”:

    HB 650 was an omnibus bill strongly backed by the NRA that contained numerous provisions loosening North Carolina’s gun laws. The bill was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bev Perdue in June 2011. Among the bill’s provisions was a change to Chapter 50B of North Carolina’s domestic violence law. While before the law was enacted, people subject to a protective order because of domestic violence were prohibited from both owning and possessing firearms, the law was changed by HB650 to allow domestic abusers to own guns so long as they were not in the abuser’s possession -- a provision that allows abusers easier access to firearms.

    According to academic research, “domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun.”

    Taking into account the other provisions of the bill -- which loosened rules on carrying guns in public buildings and on state property and made it easier for North Carolinians to buy guns across state lines and to buy machine-guns and silencers that are highly restricted under federal law -- voting against the legislation cannot be truthfully equated with opposing the right to self-defense. As it relates to firearms, the right to self-defense is presently described by the Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller to encapsulate the right of law-abiding people to have a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.

    Opposing the loosening of gun laws -- including making it easier for violent domestic abusers to access weapons -- does not mean opposing the core self-defense right defined by then-Justice Antonin Scalia in the conservative Heller decision. 

    Ross has responded to the ad with a statement that said it was being run “to distract from Sen. Burr’s reckless votes against a commonsense, bipartisan measure that would require dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to get a background check before buying a gun at a gun show or online.”

  • New Fox Chief Who Allegedly Covered Up Ailes’ Sexual Harassment Signs Multi-Year Deal

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News

    Fox News announced today that co-president Bill Shine has signed a new multi-year contract. Shine reportedly “played an integral role in the cover up” of sexual harassment allegations against former chief Roger Ailes, which led critics to point out that Ailes departure did not indicate a change in culture at the network following Shine’s promotion.

    Rupert Murdoch announced the new Shine contract in a September 14 press release in which he praised Shine for his role in the Fox’s “continued dominance in the ratings and historic earnings performance” and said that the deal ensured “stability and leadership to guide the network for years to come.”

    Former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson recently settled after suing Ailes last month for sexual harassment. Her lawsuit spurred numerous other women to come forward with similar claims against Ailes and an internal investigation of Ailes’ actions that led to his resignation but reportedly did not examine “the broader culture of Fox News.”

    New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman -- the leading source on the Ailes scandal -- previously reported that Shine “played an integral role in the cover up of these sexual harassment claims,” including “play[ing] a role in rallying the women to speak out against Roger Ailes’ accusers.” Sherman also reported that Shine played a key role in the silencing and “smearing” of “Rudi Bakhtiar, who says she was fired from Fox News after complaining about sexual harassment.” Shine also reportedly played a role in the handling of Laurie Luhn, a former booker who reportedly received a $3.15 million severance agreement and was allegedly “sexually harassed and ‘psychologically tortured’ by Roger Ailes for more than 20 years.”

    Former Fox host Andrea Tantaros also filed a lawsuit last month alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against Shine, Fox News, and Ailes. According to the complaint, when Tantaros met with Shine seeking “relief from Ailes’s sexual harassment and [Fox News publicist Irena] Briganti’s retaliatory media vendetta against her," Shine “told Tantaros that Ailes was a ‘very powerful man’ and that Tantaros ‘needed to let this one go.’”

    Media Matters President Bradley Beychok released the following statement last month after Fox News announced that the network was promoting Shine to co-president:

    "Fox News has an obligation to take allegations of sexual harassment seriously--  for the sake of its staff, and also for its audience. That is why Media Matters launched a petition calling on the network to release the findings of its internal review. The announcement that Bill Shine, who multiple reporters have linked to Ailes' harassment, will serve as co-president of Fox News is a disappointing signal that 21st Century Fox may not be ready to take serious the allegations and to end its culture of sexism and misogyny."

     
  • Laura Ingraham: "Who’s Been More Detailed On Policy Proposals, By The Way, Than Trump?"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Discussing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's child care plan, radio host Laura Ingraham asked, “Who’s been more detailed in policy proposals, by the way, than Trump? Whatever you think about these proposals, they're darn specific.” In fact, an Associated Press analysis has found that “By any measure, Clinton has released far more specific plans on far more topics than her GOP rival.” Others in media have also pointed out the lack of specifics and incoherence in Trump’s economic and foreign policies. From the September 14 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show:

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): So [Trump] proposed these new federal subsidies for child care, including tax deductions and rebates for lower income households, and tax-preferred savings accounts, as well as a promise of paid maternity leave for workers who don’t have it. Not all workers, but workers at a certain income level. "The proposal is the latest move by the Republican presidential nominee to build up a policy agenda that has been short on details.” Who’s been more detailed in policy proposals, by the way, than Trump? Whatever you think about these proposals, they're darn specific. And meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s nowhere to be found. 

  • Four Reasons Trump’s Parental Leave And Child Care Plan Doesn’t Add Up

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & ALEX MORASH

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has announced that he will unveil a plan for parental leave and child care affordability, which he claims he would pay for by ending unemployment insurance fraud. The plan would include six weeks of maternity leave, tax deductions for child care, and family savings accounts. Journalists reporting on the plan should know that it does not actually include paid family and paternity leave, it favors the wealthy, it does not include sufficient funding, and it contradicts his few previous statements on child care.

  • The Six Worst Media Reactions To Hillary Clinton's Pneumonia Diagnosis

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    While attending a 9/11 memorial event in New York, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton felt “‘overheated’” and left early, appearing “unsteady” as she entered her campaign van, NBC News reported, noting that she has been diagnosed with pneumonia. Some media figures used the episode to declare that Clinton was “as sick as a bitch” and “having a seizure of some kind.”