Justice & Civil Liberties

Issues ››› Justice & Civil Liberties
  • Debate Guide For Media On Trump And Gun Policy

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While the issue of gun violence and gun policy was a common topic of discussion during the Democratic presidential primary debates, Republican nominee Donald Trump gave less than three minutes worth of answers on the issue across 12 GOP primary debates. But gun-related issues have caused several flashpoints throughout Trump’s campaign, including when he claimed that “Second Amendment people” could do something about the election of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

  • Fox Lines Up Behind Trump's Stop-And-Frisk Proposal, Despite Overwhelming Evidence That It Doesn't Work

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Fox News praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s call for police departments across the country to engage in a stop-and-frisk policing policy based off of the unconstitutional New York City program. However, the policy is ineffective, unconstitutional and has increased “animosity between minority communities and law enforcement.”

  • NRA’s Ted Nugent Promotes His Trump Campaign Ad Appearance By Comparing The Present To Revolutionary War Times

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent promoted his appearance in a campaign video for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with a message claiming that politicians currently engage in the “very stuff our forefathers declared their independence from, fought a revolution over, died for and warned us against allowing.”

    Nugent appeared in a September 18 ad about hunting and the Second Amendment released by the Trump campaign where he claimed that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American.”

    In a September 21 post on his Facebook page promoting the video and urging people to vote for Trump, Nugent wrote, “The list of high crimes and misdemeanors professional politicians have committed against us is the very stuff our forefathers declared their independence from, fought a revolution over, died for and warned us against allowing”:

    Nugent has previously invoked revolutionary times to threaten political violence. During an appearance at a 2013 gun industry trade show, Nugent claimed the Obama administration "is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George" and that "if you want another Concord Bridge, I got some buddies." The Battle of Concord, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War, was fought at the North Bridge in Concord, MA.

    That same year at a concert, Nugent said, “When the British came to take our guns we met them at Concord Bridge and we blew their fucking brains out ... 2013, happening all over again, we got to be ready.”

    Nugent has recently repeated a similar line at a July concert, saying, “I love when American shit-kickers hear that the British are coming to Concord Bridge to take away our guns, so we went to Concord Bridge and we shot the motherfuckers dead. So next time if any assholes try to come and try to take your guns, meet them at the bridge and shoot the motherfuckers dead. That’s what I said. I don't care who the fuck they are.”

    Earlier this year Nugent called for Clinton and President Obama to be hanged for treason.

    Nugent has a long history of making racist and other inflammatory commentary. In 2016 alone, Nugent has promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck,” and smeared Minnesota police shooting victim Philando Castile as a criminal. In 2015, Nugent devoted an entire column to praising the use of the word “nigger,” even in a racist context.

    In May, Nugent, who has endorsed Trump for president, promoted a fake video of Clinton being shot. In an August post on his Facebook page calling for people to vote for Trump, Nugent termed Clinton a “lying hypocrite bitch.” He has also called the former secretary of state a “toxic cunt.” In a viral 2007 concert video, an assault-rifle-wielding Nugent called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and said that she should ride on his machine gun.

  • NY Times Editorial Board Calls For Repeal Of North Carolina’s Discriminatory HB 2

    Editorial Board: HB 2 Is “Based On The Specious Notion That Transgender People Are Sexual Predators”

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    The New York Times' editorial board slammed North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for his “desperate” offer to repeal the state’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 (HB 2) on the condition that Charlotte, NC, drop its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The board called for McCrory to “come to his senses” and “admit ignorance and error and repeal the law.”

    In the immediate aftermath of the NCAA and ACC pulling events out of North Carolina because of HB 2, McCrory proposed a widely condemned “compromise” to repeal the discriminatory law. McCrory called for the Charlotte City Council to first drop the city’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. If Charlotte were to comply, he indicated, the General Assembly might call a special session to repeal HB 2 -- which, among other measures, requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate.

    On September 21, the New York Times editorial board lambasted McCrory for having “some nerve” in his “desperate” move to propose a compromise on HB 2. The Times called out the “specious notion that transgender people are sexual predators” and debunked the talking point that’s been used by McCrory and the North Carolina GOP to justify HB 2. The board noted that HB 2 was never even enforceable, as police can’t “reasonably be required to inspect people’s genitals” outside of all public restrooms, highlighting that the “point of the law was to harm and humiliate L.G.B.T. citizens.” The board called for McCrory to repeal the harmful law, writing that it’s “not too late for Mr. McCrory to come to his senses” and admit his “ignorance and error.”

    From the September 21 edition of the New York Times:

    Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina has some nerve. Alarmed by the rising financial fallout from the discriminatory law he and Republican lawmakers hastily passed in March to bar transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity, the governor seemed desperate for an off-ramp last week.

    [...]

    It was a desperate move by Mr. McCrory, who appears likely to lose his re-election bid in November, in large part for championing a measure based on the specious notion that transgender people are sexual predators.

    Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte sensibly refused. Although she was under pressure from some in the business community, including the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, it would have been wrong to cave in to Mr. McCrory’s demand.

    [...]

    It’s not too late for Mr. McCrory to come to his senses and take the only way out — admit ignorance and error and repeal the law. While he and lawmakers are at it, they can acknowledge that no one has been made safer by preventing transgender people from using appropriate public restrooms, the ostensible reason for passing the law. The rule was never enforceable, since police officers can’t reasonably be required to inspect people’s genitals outside bathroom stalls. The point of the law was to harm and humiliate L.G.B.T. citizens, and for that all North Carolinians are having to pay an ever growing price.

  • Media Credulously Repeat NRA’s False Claim That Clinton Opposes Gun Ownership

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Media outlets reporting on the NRA’s new $5 million ad buy that claims Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “could take away” your “right to self-defense” failed to hold the gun organization to account for the falsity of that claim. While media reporting on the ad repeated and gave credence to the NRA’s claims, they often failed to cite Clinton’s actual positions on gun regulation or mention the fact-checkers who have debunked a nearly identical NRA ad targeting Clinton as “false.”

  • Trump’s Extreme New Anti-Choice Agenda Is Full Of Right-Wing Media’s Favorite Misinformation

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On September 16, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a letter announcing a new “pro-life coalition,” led by a known anti-choice extremist. As part of the announcement, Trump also pledged a commitment to four anti-choice policy priorities that have been long promoted by right-wing media, involving defunding Planned Parenthood, banning abortion, and entrenching the Hyde amendment as federal law.

  • “Always A Good Point”: Fox News Anchor Boosts NRA’s New False Attack Ad On Hillary Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News aired a new attack ad from the NRA that misrepresents Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s record to falsely claim she “could take away” your “right to self-defense.” Before and after airing the ad, Fox personalities gave credence to its faulty premise.

    A new $5 million ad buy from the NRA depicts a home invasion attack where a woman is awoken in her home as a man kicks in her door. The woman begins to open a gun safe to retrieve a weapon but the gun vanishes as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense.” The premise of the ad, which suggests Clinton would ban gun ownership, is false: Clinton has repeatedly said that legitimate Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing guns. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” Fact-checkers have repeatedly rated as false the claims that Clinton opposes gun ownership by law-abiding Americans and that she would abolish the Second Amendment.

    Fox’s The Real Story aired the NRA ad on September 20. Fox News national correspondent John Roberts credulously gave credence to the ad’s claim with his lead-in: “It's a $5 million buy in five battleground states in which they take aim at Hillary Clinton and her push for new gun control and what that means -- might mean, rather, for people's safety. Watch this.”

    After the ad aired, Roberts said an NRA representative told him that “this ad is particularly timely right now considering what happened in New York City and New Jersey over the weekend and the fact that Donald Trump last week called out Hillary Clinton for wanting to implement new gun controls while at the same time keeping a phalanx of armed guards around her.”

    Real Story host Melissa Francis responded, “Right. Right. Always a good point.”

    In fact, the Republican nominee's claim that Clinton’s Secret Service detail should disarm, which echoes a common NRA attack on Clinton, is also based on the falsehood that Clinton opposes private gun ownership.

    From the September 20 edition of The Real Story:

     

  • Flashback: Trump Was Silent When The NRA Cased A Real Mall To Show How To Carry Out The “Perfect” Terrorist Attack

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump recently suggested that “freedom of the press” should be limited because of the existence of magazines that show terrorists how to build bombs, but had nothing to say in July when the NRA released a video in which they cased an Oklahoma mall to demonstrate how to carry out a successful terrorist attack.

    While discussing the weekend bombings in New Jersey and New York on Fox News, Trump made critical statements about “freedom of the press” and “freedom of expression,” claiming, “It’s called ‘freedom of the press,’ where you buy magazines and they tell you how to make these same bombs that I saw.” Trump added, “we should arrest the people that do that because they’re participating in crime”:

    The Huffington Post called Trump’s remarks “chilling” because of Trump’s “casual dismissal of ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of speech,’ bedrocks of American democracy, as potentially disposable in fighting terrorism.” Fusion also criticized Trump’s remarks, noting that they should be examined in the context of Trump’s widely panned past comments about wanting to “open” up libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists.

    Despite Trump’s recent comments connecting terrorism and "freedom of the press," Trump was not as critical in July when the National Rifle Association, which has endorsed Trump for president, released a video where an NRA employee cased a real shopping mall in Oklahoma to show how to carry out the “perfect” mass shooting terrorist attack.

    In the video, released as part of an online series, NRA News commentator Dom Raso warned of a hypothetical, forthcoming mass shooting at a shopping mall carried about by “a radical Islamic terrorist” who “is looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms.”

    Although there is no evidence that mass shooters choose their targets based on whether or not guns can be legally carried at those locations, the NRA attempted to illustrate its point by sending a member of its video crew to record cell phone video footage showing how to case a shopping mall.

    The NRA video blurred out some faces and store signs, but not others, making the mall identifiable as Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, OK, which is less than a mile from the offices of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.

    As footage of the mall and shoppers was shown in the NRA video, Raso explained how to maximize casualties in a mass shooting incident, describing a would-be shooter’s planning, “As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he’s looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between -- hard to find in a panic, and easy to block. He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people.”

  • NRA Ad Uses Home Invasion Footage To Lie And Fearmonger About Clinton And Guns

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) depicting a woman as a victim of a home invasion falsely claims Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “could take away” your “right to self-defense.”

    The ad is false because Clinton has repeatedly said that she favors allowing law-abiding gun ownership and that she supports the Second Amendment while also calling for measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing weapons. Fact-checkers have ripped a previous false ad that claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense” and the false claim by Republican nominee Donald Trump that Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”

    The NRA’s new September 19 ad depicts a woman being awoken in her home as a man kicks in her door. She begins to open a gun safe to retrieve a weapon but the gun vanishes into thin air as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense”:

    NARRATOR: She’ll call 911. Average response time: 11 minutes. Too late. She keeps a firearm in this safe for protection, but Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense. And with Supreme Court justices, Hillary can. Don’t let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone.

    According to The Guardian, the ad is part of a $15 million effort by the NRA, which has endorsed Trump, to defeat Clinton. Federal Election Commission documents indicate that the NRA, through its Political Victory Fund and Institute for Legislative Action, has been the second biggest spender on independent expenditures opposing Clinton, only second to pro-Trump Super PAC Rebuilding America Now.

    The ad is premised on the lie that Clinton opposes gun ownership by law-abiding Americans. Clinton has never said she opposes gun ownership. In fact, Clinton’s campaign website says she “knows that gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.”

    And in recent months Clinton has repeatedly said that legitimate Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” (According to PolitiFact, Clinton’s legal view of the Second Amendment appears similar to the Bush administration's position “recognizing the right but allowing reasonable curtailment.”)

    During her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton said, “I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

    In May, PolitiFact rated the claim Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment” false, finding “no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite.”

    The previous NRA ad claiming Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense,” which ran throughout August, was rated as false by PolitiFact North Carolina and The Washington Post Fact Checker, with PolitiFact noting “Clinton has never said that” and Glenn Kessler at the Post writing that the ad is “a classic example of a fear-mongering ad based on little evidence but leaps of logic.”

    The juxtaposition of images of a home invasion with false claims about a candidate’s record is a common tactic in NRA election ads. Earlier this month the NRA launched a home invasion-themed ad that used the same b-roll seen in the NRA’s new Clinton ad to falsely claim that Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander “voted against your right” to “protect your home with a firearm.” (Kander, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, responded with a viral ad of his own showing him assembling a firearm blindfolded while talking about the need to protect Second Amendment rights while keeping guns away from terrorists.)

    In 2014, an NRA ad showed the same home invasion footage while claiming that then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu “voted to take away your gun rights.” In that ad, the NRA cited Landrieu’s vote in favor of expanding background checks on gun sales following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

    PolitiFact rated the ad “pants on fire,” calling it “downright scary” and noting that it “can only be described as fear mongering.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker similarly gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” -- its worst rating -- citing the “hyperbolic disconnect between the images on the screen and the practical impact of the law in question.”

  • New Trump Ad Features NRA Board Member Ted Nugent, Who Has Called For Clinton To Be Hanged

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new advertisement from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign about hunting and the Second Amendment features National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, who claims Hillary Clinton “will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American.” Earlier this year, Nugent called for Clinton to be hanged for treason.

    The eight-minute video features other conservative media figures including Fox News host Sean Hannity, frequent Fox News guest and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and Mark Geist, the co-author of 13 Hours, about the 2012 attacks on American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    Nugent has a long history of making racist and other inflammatory commentary. In 2016 alone, Nugent has promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck,” and smeared Minnesota police shooting victim Philando Castile as a criminal. In 2015, Nugent devoted an entire column to praising the use of the word “nigger,” even in a racist context.

    Nugent, who has endorsed Trump for president, this year has called for Clinton to be hanged for treason and promoted a fake video of her being shot. In an August post on his Facebook page calling for people to vote for Trump, Nugent termed Clinton a “lying hypocrite bitch.” He has also called the former secretary of state a “toxic cunt.” In a viral 2007 concert video, an assault-rifle-wielding Nugent called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and said that she should ride on his machine gun.

    In August, Bud Light pulled sponsorship of a Nugent concert following reporting from Media Matters about the beer company's association with Nugent. Nugent caused a national controversy in 2014 by campaigning with Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Abbott was slammed -- including by fellow Republicans -- for the association after Nugent called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel."

    In Trump’s ad, Nugent says, “The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Ten Commandments, the golden rule. We the people, choosing our own pursuit of happiness: It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Hunting, fishing, trapping: We the people own these precious renewable natural resources. It’s a way of life, which is why conservation is the greatest success story in the world here in America. Hillary Clinton is against all these things. She will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American. Donald Trump will safeguard the things that make America the greatest place in the world.”

    Nugent is promoting the Trump ad on his Facebook page, just hours after claiming victims of a September 17 stabbing spree at a Minnesota mall are “pathetic” and “embarrassing” because they were unarmed.

    At the end of the ad, Trump says, “Political correctness, Hillary Clinton, and Washington insiders are trying to take away our Second Amendment rights and they’re really trying hard like never ever before. That’s wrong, and it won’t happen when I’m president. I will protect your rights. I will protect your Second Amendment.”

    Trump’s full ad: