Media Structures & Regulations

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  • O'Reilly: It's "Not My Job" To Defend Megyn Kelly From Trump Attacks

    O'Reilly Brushes Off Fox Colleague After She Said She Wished The Popular Host Had Defended Her From Trump's Vicious Attacks

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Months after Megyn Kelly expressed her disappointment that fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly refused to defend her following a string of attacks from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, O’Reilly has responded by stating “It was not my job” to defend Kelly from Trump.

    Donald Trump repeatedly attacked Fox host Megyn Kelly after the August 2015 Fox News primary debate calling her “crazy” and “unwatchable.” Trump faced widespread criticism after his attacks by journalists and media outlets, including a statement criticizing Trump allegedly written by Fox CEO Roger Ailes.

    But Fox host Bill O’Reilly, remained silent throughout the controversy, instead pleading with Trump not to pull out of the next Fox News GOP primary debate.

    In a March interview for More magazine, Kelly spoke out about the January interview O’Reilly held with Trump in which Trump spoke about having “zero respect” for Kelly and described her as “highly overrated.” Kelly told the magazine, “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump. I would have defended him more.” Trump responded to Kelly’s critique by describing her as “crazy” and criticizing her “bad show”:

     

    On June 8, Talking Points Memo noted that O'Reilly had broken his silence on the Trump and Kelly feud, declaring "It was not my job" to defend Kelly from Trump's attacks:

    Fox News' Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think it was his “job” to defend his colleague Megyn Kelly from a barrage of attacks by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

    “It was not my job to intrude on the Fox News Channel hierarchy, which was handling the controversy,” O’Reilly said in a Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday. “Why am I going to get in the middle of that? [Chairman] Roger Ailes is a genius at handling this stuff. I am not going to make his life harder by putting my big mouth in the middle of this thing.”

    […]

    Trump, who had spent months calling Kelly a “bimbo,” accelerated his attacks after Kelly's interview with More was published, tweeting that she was “crazy” and “highly overrated.”

    O’Reilly’s comments come amidst reports of a brewing feud between Kelly and O’Reilly.  A February report from CNN’s Brian Stelter on the “animosity between O’Reilly and Kelly” cited O’Reilly’s Trump interview as a visible example of the “strained relationship.” More recently, Kelly blasted “pundits” demanding the judge in the Trump U. case step down after Trump attacked the judge for being Latino. Her comments came immediately after O’Reilly called for the judge to recuse himself.

  • Vox’s German Lopez: Media Need To Call Trump’s “Clear Racism” Like It Is

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Vox’s German Lopez criticized the media for being “too scared” to call out Donald Trump as “blatantly racist,” following his assertion that the judge overseeing the civil case against Trump University has a conflict of interest because of his Hispanic heritage.

    Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Judge Gonzalo Curiel wasn’t qualified to oversee the Trump University case due to his “Mexican heritage.” Trump’s criticism of the judge alarmed legal experts, with some scholars saying it “threatened the rule of law.” The Republican presidential candidate’s remarks were followed by the endorsement of Speaker Paul Ryan, which is being interpreted by some as the GOP’s embracement of Trump’s racist politics and conspiracy theories.

    Lopez criticized media’s coverage of Trump’s remarks, saying they used “weasel words” like “racially charged” to “describe racism,” and asked  “What would it take for them to finally call Trump or his remarks just plainly racist?” 

    Lopez highlighted the lack of diversity in the media and explained it can often lead to inaccuracies in reporting. From German Lopez’s June 3 Vox article:

    Donald Trump, the actual Republican candidate for president, now endorsed by his party leaders, openly said he wants to exclude someone from a government job because of his race and ethnicity.

    As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, Trump said he wants to disqualify the federal judge overseeing the Trump University case because of his "Mexican heritage" and membership in a Latino lawyers association[.]

    [...]

    This is pure racism. There's no subtlety, no dog whistle, no coded language.

    [...]

    Reading this, it's hard for me, a Hispanic American, to avoid feeling a little personally insulted. This suggests that Trump would probably dismiss my opinion — indeed, this article — because of my name. Yet millions of Americans — and a major political party — want him to be president, despite his clear racism.

    Maybe the media plays a role here. After all, instead of calling it like it is, CBS News,MSNBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have called Trump's comments about Curiel "racially charged" and "racially tinged," the weasel words the media typically uses to describe racism. It makes one wonder: What would it take for them to finally call Trump or his remarks just plainly racist? If claiming a qualified, vetted judge shouldn't be able to do his job because of his race and ethnicity isn't racist, then what the hell is?

    Perhaps the problem is Hispanic people are vastly underrepresented in media. As the journalism organization ASNE found, racial minorities make up less than 13 percent of the field — despite making up about 38 percent of the total US population. That might make it harder for a lot of journalists to see just how racist Trump's remarks are.

    If that's the case, maybe it would be helpful for the predominant white journalists in the field to consider: If President Barack Obama or President Marco Rubio said all white people should be banned from acting as judge in a court case against them, would that be considered racist? And how is that any different from what Trump is doing?

    There should be no doubt about it now: Donald Trump is racist. He wants to exclude people from government jobs because of their race and ethnicity. That is the literal definition of racism. The media shouldn't shy away from pointing that out, and the people supporting Trump should know that's exactly what they're supporting.

  • Exodus Of Minority Staffers Continue At RNC As GOP Embraces Trump

    Head Of Hispanic Media Relations Resigns Amid Trump's Latest Attacks On Latinos

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    The head of Hispanic media relations at the Republican National Committee, Ruth Guerra, announced her resignation amid reports that she was “uncomfortable working for Mr. Trump.” The announcement comes after a week in which presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump repeatedly attacked  the ethnic background of a U.S. District Court Judge, and criticized the first Latina governor in U.S. history, Susana Martinez.

    Trump has made insulting Hispanics a cornerstone of his presidential bid, including describing Latino immigrants as “rapists,”claiming that the Mexican government was intentionally sending criminals to the US, suggesting that Jeb Bush’s immigration views were shaped by his Mexican born wife, chalking up the beating of a Hispanic man by his supporters as them being “passionate,” and declaring “I love Hispanics” by tweeting out a picture of a taco bowl.

    Guerra’s resignation also comes a month after two high ranking African American’s resigned from the RNC. On March 31 NBC News reported that the RNC’s Director of African American outreach was leaving which was preceded by the resignation of the RNC’s Communications Director of Black Media.

    The New York Times reports:

    The head of Hispanic media relations at the Republican National Committee is resigning this month in what appears to be another indication of the lingering discomfort some party officials have about working to elect Donald J. Trump president.

    […]

    Ms. Guerra told colleagues this year that she was uncomfortable working for Mr. Trump, according two R.N.C. aides who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the difficulties surrounding the party’s presumptive standard-bearer.

    It is relatively rare for party staff members to leave the national committee in the midst of a presidential campaign unless they are going to work directly for the nominee.

  • Trump Gave Money To Organization With “Years-Long” Relationship With Fox Host Sean Hannity

    While Hannity Defended Trump On Fox News, He Failed To Disclose Personal Ties To Veterans Group That Received Trump Donation

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Best Friends!
    Fox News host Sean Hannity has vehemently defended Donald Trump from criticism surrounding his alleged donations to various veterans groups. But Hannity failed to disclose his own ties to one of the veteran’s organizations that received a donation from Trump.

    According to The Washington Post, as Hannity went to bat for Trump on the issue of donations to veterans groups on the May 31 edition of his Fox News show, he failed to disclose his “years-long relationship with one of the groups Trump had just chosen for a donation”:

    What Hannity didn't say on air was that he had a years-long relationship with one of the groups Trump had just chosen for a donation. The charity, Freedom Alliance, received a $75,000 gift.

    That money had originally come from other big donors, who had entrusted it to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, on the promise that Trump would pass it along to individual veterans groups.

    On Wednesday, there were conflicting accounts of Hannity's current connection to the group. In a statement, a Fox News spokeswoman said Hannity no longer works with Freedom Alliance.

    "Sean Hannity has generously donated to, and proudly worked in the past with the Freedom Alliance organization, but has not worked with them for a number of years, including the current election cycle,” a Fox News spokeswoman wrote.

    But the president of Freedom Alliance told The Washington Post in a telephone interview that Hannity still remained informally connected to the group, telling others about its work. Hannity is not listed as an officer or employee of the group in its tax filings.

    Trump has enjoyed a cozy relationship with Hannity since declaring his candidacy, with Trump at one point suggesting their close relationship was as if the two were “twins.” Hannity has also been heavily criticized for being “very soft” with Trump in interviews.

    Hannity has defended himself by asserting, “I’m not a journalist, I’m a talk show host” and said on his radio show, that he’s not critical of Trump or Cruz because he wants the Republican nominee to win. He has also said he “absolutely plead[s] guilty” to “going soft in interviews on Republicans.”

    Fox News as an institution has also defended Trump’s delayed donations to veterans groups, with various hosts suggesting they were “disturbed by” media “giving [Trump] a hard time” and that “there’s something to be said for” the donation. Even Bill O’Reilly dishonestly argued that “there was no data … that said [Trump] didn’t give the money” to veterans groups and that the story was “fabricated by anti-Trump people in the press.” But according to CBS News, much of the money that was donated was dated “May 24, the day The Washington Post published the story questioning whether he had distributed all of the money."

  • The Right-Wing Media Figures Praising Trump’s Attacks On Press

    Major Media Figures Slam Trump’s Attacks For “Showing Little Regard For Democratic Accountability.”  

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Mainstream media figures criticized presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on the press during a May 31 press conference as showing “a fundamental misunderstanding of reporters’ roles” and “little regard for … the legitimate role of a free press in a free society,” while right-wing media lauded the attacks as a “smart move” against the “corrupt media.”

  • O’Reilly’s Dishonest Attempt To Shield Trump From Media Scrutiny Over Vague Veteran Donations

    Many Veterans Organizations Report They Didn’t Get Money Until After Washington Post Report Criticized Trump’s Lack Of Disclosure

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox host Bill O'Reilly defended presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump from criticism about the transparency of his donations to veterans groups after multiple Washington Post reports revealed that Trump had not donated the alleged $6 million to veterans organizations in the months following a fundraising event on January 28th.

    Donald Trump announced on May 31 that he had donated $5.6 million raised in a televised benefit for veterans charities. During his announcement Trump attacked the media for pressuring him to disclose his donations:

    “I wasn’t looking for the credit, but I had no choice but to do this because the press was saying I didn’t raise any money for them,” Trump said.

    The donations Trump announced on Tuesday were related to a Jan. 28 fundraiser for veterans that he held in Des Moines, on a night when Trump skipped a GOP debate due to a feud with its host, Fox News. That night, Trump said he'd raised $6 million. Most of it came from other donors, but Trump said he would give $1 million of his own.

    Later that evening Bill O’Reilly defended Trump on the May 31 edition of The O’Reilly Factor. During the show, O’Reilly argued that "there was no data" proving Donald Trump "didn't give the money," and argued that media scrutiny directed at Trump's fundraiser was "basically a supposition, fabricated by anti-Trump people in the press."

    But according to reports,Trump had not donated all of the money he raised for veterans until after his campaign received scrutiny from journalist, and could not provide a total accounting of how much money was raised or which organizations it had been donated to.

    On May 21, The Washington Post’s David Farenthold reported that Trump’s campaign manager revealed that Trumps fundraiser “actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced” for veterans groups:

    Lewandowski blamed the shortfall on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he had raised $6 million. But Lewandowski said those donors backed out and gave nothing.

    “There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it,” Lewandowski said in a telephone interview. “I can’t tell you who.”

    Lewandowski also said he did not know whether a $1 million pledge from Trump himself was counted as part of the $4.5 million total. He said Trump has given that amount, but he declined to identify any recipients.

    [...]

    Even with the lower total, Trump’s fundraiser brought in millions of dollars for veterans’ charities. The Washington Post’s accounting, based on interviews with charities, has found at least $3.1 million in donations to veterans groups.

    The Washington Post also reported that 4 months after his initial pledge, Trump gave his own $1 million donation only after he received scrutiny from the press:

    Almost four months after promising $1 million of his own money to veterans’ causes, Donald Trump moved to fulfill that pledge Monday evening — promising the entire sum to a single charity as he came under intense media scrutiny.

    Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, organized a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ causes in Des Moines on Jan. 28. That night, Trump said he had raised $6 million, including the gift from his own pocket.

    “Donald Trump gave $1 million,” he said then.

    As recently as last week, Trump’s campaign manager had insisted that the mogul had already given that money away. But that was false: Trump had not.

    And CBS News reported that much of the money that was donated was dated “May 24, the day The Washington Post published the story questioning whether he had distributed all of the money."

  • How Donald Trump Dodged A Media Discussion Over Trump University

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Trump

    Donald Trump used a press conference about millions of dollars in donations he says he raised for veterans’ groups to hijack the cable news discussion and largely avoid coverage of an anticipated document release today as part of  a lawsuit alleging misrepresentation by his now-defunct Trump University business. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News devoted more than five hours to previewing, airing, and discussing Trump’s press conference between 6 am and 4 pm, compared to less than one hour of discussion of the Trump University lawsuit.

    After intense and admirable pressure from the press, Trump last week finally took steps toward personally donating $1 million to a veterans’ charity, four months after he falsely claimed he had done so. Trump had organized a January 28 nationally televised fundraiser as a substitute for appearing at a debate moderated by Fox News, which Trump was feuding with at the time. That night, he claimed to have raised $6 million, including his own gift. He subsequently avoided repeated questions about where the donations had gone.

    Trump’s campaign originally scheduled a press conference for May 30 to discuss the donations. But on May 29, he moved the appearance to today.

    It’s not hard to see why. On May 27, a federal judge ordered the release this week of internal documents from Trump University, a Trump-owned real estate seminar business that is facing several pending fraud and misrepresentation lawsuits brought by former students and by the state of New York. CNN reported that the documents would begin coming out today.

    Donald Trump does not want the media talking about whether he defrauded thousands of people who trusted his company to give them good business advice. By moving his veterans event to today, Trump was able to use what The New York Times has termed his “unrivaled ability to hijack a news cycle,” ensuring that the media would spend the day focusing on his comments rather than coming back from the holiday weekend with a focus on the contents of the pending Trump University lawsuits.

    All three cable news networks broadcast the entirety of Trump’s 40-minute press conference live, and devoted substantial time afterwards discussing his comments, which included both a detailed list of donations he had channeled to veterans and attacks on the press. As Politico noted, Trump “game[d] the media, again.”

    While the cable news coverage of the Trump event was by no means universally flattering, with many journalists criticizing the candidate’s attacks on the press, it did move the subject of that coverage to Trump’s preferred topic. As CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield noted after one such segment, “The question needs to be asked: what about this news conference and what happened, and is it overshadowing another case?”

    It did. While both CNN and MSNBC devoted segments to discussing Trump University -- and CNN’s Jim Acosta used a question during the press conference itself to ask Trump about the lawsuits -- all three networks devoted significantly more time to discussing Trump’s veterans event. (Acosta’s question and Trump’s response during the press conference, and a single 11-second tease on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, represented the entirety of that network’s coverage of Trump University.)

    And that’s exactly what Trump wanted to see happen.

    Research by Rob Savillo and Cydney Hargis, graph by Sarah Wasko.

    Methodology. Media Matters​ reviewed our internal video archive for discussion of Trump's press conference about raising money to donate to veterans’ organizations and discussion of the allegations against Trump University. We reviewed all mentions of "Trump" for these two topics between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, and we then timed the relevant discussion. Trump's press conference was included in the data, with all discussion related to veterans during the event coded as time devoted to the Trump Veterans Presser and all discussion of Trump University during the event coded as time devoted to Trump University.