Donald Trump reportedly met with Fox News president Roger Ailes before announcing his presidential candidacy.
According to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, "multiple sources" told him that before Trump announced his candidacy, he had a "'2-3 hour' private lunch with Ailes."
For years, Trump has been a fixture on Fox News, and had a regular segment commenting on the news on Fox & Friends. Since he became a presidential candidate, his exposure on the network has only increased. In Media Matters' most recent study of appearances by likely and declared Republican presidential candidates on the network, Trump topped the entire field. During the month of June, Trump appeared on Fox 10 times, racking up 1 hour and 48 minutes of airtime, 23 minutes more than his nearest competitor, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Since the beginning of May, Trump also has the most airtime of any of the candidates.
After Trump made remarks calling Mexican immigrants criminals and "rapists," several Fox figures jumped to his defense.
As part of the "Fox Primary," Republican candidates have been vying for a spot at the debate hosted by the network, while they have reportedly timed campaign announcements to coincide with the network's coverage. CNN's Brian Stelter has noted, "there really is no disputing Fox's power in influencing the GOP."
Trump isn't the first 2016 candidate to meet with Ailes. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reportedly met with Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in 2013 as part of an effort to "smooth concerns among Republicans and influencers about whether he shares his famous libertarian father's views on issues like national security."
From the July 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the July 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Breitbart.com inaccurately attributed a fake quote from a facetious tweet to Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in an attempt to smear the Obama administration for negotiating with Iran.
Rhodes sat down with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on June 29 at the Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss the U.S.' nuclear talks with Iran. When asked whether President Obama believes negotiations will lead to a change in Iran's behavior, Rhodes responded affirmatively and added, "We believe that an agreement is necessary and has to be good enough to be worth doing even if Iran doesn't change. If 10 or 15 years from now Iran is the same as it is today, in terms of its government, the deal has to be good enough that it can exist on those merits."
Brookings Institute senior fellow Mike Doran ridiculed Rhodes' response in a June 30 tweet, summarizing it as an effort to "turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince":
Ben Rhodes: "We believe that the kiss of the nuke deal will turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince" | https://t.co/F7SkdslCJw-- Mike Doran (@Doranimated) June 30, 2015
In a rush to attack Rhodes and Obama, Breitbart.com reported the mocking tweet as an actual quote from the interview, apparently neglecting to watch the discussion between Rhodes and Goldberg. Breitbart.com editor Joel Pollak claimed in a July 1 post that the phrase came from Rhodes' "own words," accusing him of telling "fairy tales to the American public" (emphasis added):
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes-who lacks any prior qualifications for the post-has explained to the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festivalon Monday that the administration believes that a bad Iran deal is worth doing because political reform inside the Iranian regime is more likely with the deal than without. Or, to use Rhodes's own words: "We believe that the kiss of the nuke deal will turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince."
A "fairy tale" analogy is appropriate indeed.
Goldberg called out Breitbart for "totally manufacturing quotes" on Twitter, and later Doran explained how he was merely "ridicul[ing]" Rhodes and it "did not occur to me that anybody would think he actually used those words":
@jvmadden I ridiculed him. It did not occur to me that anybody would think he actually used those words.-- Mike Doran (@Doranimated) July 7, 2015
Last year, Breitbart.com's Pollak similarly attacked the wrong Loretta Lynch in an attempt to smear the attorney general nominee, misidentifying a California based attorney for the president's pick for AG.
As of this posting, Breitbart.com has yet to correct their inaccurate report.
From the July 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Politico published inaccurate information about emails between Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal provided to the outlet by an anonymous source who distorted the emails' contents with the intention of damaging the former secretary of state, according to Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The Republican-led committee was formed more than a year ago with the mandate to investigate the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya -- attacks which had already been subject to investigations by the State Department and numerous House and Senate committees. Critics have argued that the committee's actions since its formation demonstrate a "singular focus on attacking Hillary Clinton and her bid for president."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the Committee, writes in a July 6 letter that "a Member of the Committee, a staffer on the Committee, or someone who has been given access to the Committee's documents inaccurately described to the press email exchanges obtained by the Committee in a way that appeared to further a political attack against" Clinton. Cummings describes this as "only the latest in a reckless pattern of selective Republican leaks and mischaracterizations of evidence relating to the Benghazi attacks."
Cummings' letter specifically details inaccuracies in a June 18 Politico story that relied on "a source who has reviewed the email exchange" between Clinton and Blumenthal, a Media Matters consultant and former Clinton White House aide. In its original version, the story claimed:
While still secretary of state, Clinton emailed back and forth with Blumenthal about efforts by one of the groups, Media Matters, to neutralize criticism of her handling of the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, sources tell POLITICO.
"Got all this done. Complete refutation on Libya smear," Blumenthal wrote to Clinton in an Oct. 10, 2012, email into which he had pasted links to four Media Matters posts criticizing Fox News and Republicans for politicizing the Benghazi attacks and challenging claims of lax security around the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, according to a source who has reviewed the email exchange. Blumenthal signed off the email to Clinton by suggesting that one of her top aides, Philippe Reines, "can circulate these links," according to the source. Clinton responded: "Thanks, I'm pushing to WH," according to the source.
The emails were not included in documents originally turned over by the State Department.
Cummings notes that Clinton's email reading "Thanks, I'm pushing to WH" came not in response to Blumenthal's email with the Media Matters links, as Politico indicated, but rather in response to a "completely different" Blumenthal email from nine days earlier "forwarding an article from Salon.com reporting that Republicans were planning to claim inaccurately during the presidential debates that the White House had advance knowledge about the Benghazi attacks and failed to act on it."
The day after publication, Politico updated its story with a correction noting that "A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a Clinton email as a response to the Blumenthal email." As MSNBC.com's Steve Benen notes, "Politico obviously didn't make this up; it relied on a source that provided misleading information, apparently with a specific partisan agenda in mind."
Politico was also wrong to report that Clinton's email was "not included in documents originally turned over by the State Department," according to Cummings. He explained that "that email was turned over to the Select Committee by the State Department on February 13, 2015, marked with Bates number STATE-SCB0045548-SCB0045550. The Select Committee has had that email for four months."
As both Cummings and Benen point out, this is not the first time reporters have fallen from deceptive Benghazi leaks that appear to come from Republican sources. Reporters who relied on sources' characterizations of Benghazi-related documents rather than reviewing them directly have previously had to issue embarrassing corrections.
As more Republicans have officially declared their presidential bids, Fox News' Sean Hannity has solidified his role as a media gatekeeper in the Republican primary. In June, Hannity featured nearly four hours of interviews with declared and potential Republican presidential candidates, far more than any other program on the conservative network. Donald Trump led all candidates in both appearances (10) and airtime (1 hour and 48 minutes) for the month.
Politico's Dylan Byers has dubbed Hannity the "conservative kingmaker," noting that this cycle, "GOP hopefuls have given Sean Hannity dibs on their first interviews as candidates and been rewarded with hour-long 'special events' on his primetime Fox News program."
Since the beginning of June, Hannity has hosted five Republican presidential candidates -- former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, business mogul Donald Trump, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- for these "hour-long 'special events.'" As a result, Hannity surged ahead as the Fox program that devoted the most time to Republican primary candidates in the month of June. The second place show was Fox & Friends (which airs for 3 hours, compared to the one-hour Hannity), with 1 hour and 22 minutes of candidate airtime.
Despite initial reservations about the seriousness of his candidacy, Trump took the lead as the Republican presidential hopeful with the most time on Fox for June, with a total of 1 hour and 48 minutes spread over 10 appearances. Trump faced heavy backlash over offensive remarks he made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement, but was repeatedly defended by Fox News personalities and given a platform to defend himself on the network.
Univision, a Spanish-language media conglomerate, dropped Trump's Miss USA Pageant. Trump, meanwhile, responded by suing the media company for $500 million. NBC and Macy's followed suit: NBC has reversed course on airing Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and Macy's will remove Trump brand merchandise from its stores.*
Overall, Hannity has aired the most interview time with Republican candidates, with 4 and a half hours since May.
Trump holds a strong lead over other candidates in airtime on the network since May, with 2 hours and 39 minutes -- nearly an hour more than the next candidate, Fiorina, who has spent 1 hour and 53 minutes on the network so far.
June saw a slight jump in appearances from May, with 73 over May's 68; however, Fox spent 4 more hours on the Republican presidential candidates in June than the network did in May. Nearly 12 hours were devoted to the candidates in June while only 8 hours were spent on the candidates in May. This brings the Fox primary's total time to just more than 20 hours over 141 candidate appearances.
Most Total Airtime: Donald Trump (1 hour and 48 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Donald Trump (10 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime: Hannity (3 hours and 57 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances: Fox & Friends (14 appearances)
Softball Question(s) Of The Month: On the June 30 episode of the O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked Trump whether he believes NBC has an "anti-conservative bias":
O'REILLY: All right. Last question. Do you believe there is an anti-conservative bias at NBC? You worked for them a long time.
TRUMP: Absolutely. You have sleepy eyes Chuck Todd who does "Meet the Press" which is failing in the ratings. You have all sorts of bias. MSNBC -- nobody watches it but it's a total disaster in terms of bias. I mean you absolutely have a tremendous bias.
So much so that I told my daughter, my daughter came up to me -- Ivanka. She said "Dad what do you think?" I said well, I would love you to be a conservative Republican but in terms of your life it's a lot easier to be a Democrat who happens to be liberal. Because I will tell you can go through life a lot easier.
We have to fight like hell but we're going to make the country great again.
Previous Fox Primary Reports
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.
*Separate from his work at this organization, Media Matters' Angelo Carusone has led a campaign urging Macy's to drop Trump.
From the July 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Conservative blog The Daily Caller posted an article with the headline: "Barack Obama, Wife Beater."
The July 1 post, posted just before midnight with an anonymous "Daily Caller contributor" byline, featured just five words -- "He's wearing a wife beater" -- accompanied by two pictures of President Obama, in which a "wife-beater" sleeveless shirt is visible under his white dress shirt. The headline read "Barack Obama, Wife Beater."
As of Thursday morning, the piece was featured on The Daily Caller's homepage.
From the July 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the July 1 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom:
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Fox News host and senior vice president Neil Cavuto responded to President Obama's expansion of federally guaranteed overtime pay to 5 million additional American workers by fear-mongering that the regulatory change would lead the United States down a path toward financial ruin similar to Greece while hurting the workers it is meant to protect.
In a June 29 op-ed in The Huffington Post, President Obama announced his plan to update federal overtime regulations in 2016 by increasing the salary threshold at which qualifying employees are legally guaranteed overtime pay. Under current law, salaried employees earning less than $23,660 annually are legally required to be paid time-and-a-half when their position requires that they work in excess of 40 hours per week. Obama's proposal would more than double the income threshold to qualify for overtime -- covering qualifying employees earning up to $50,400 annually, or roughly 40 percent of the salaried workforce. Current overtime standards only extend to about 8 percent of salaried workers.
In response to the president's proposal, Cavuto expressed concern that paying more Americans for the hours they work could contribute to an economic disaster in the United States. On the June 30 edition of Fox's Your World, Cavuto proclaimed that the U.S. was becoming "Greece on steroids," a reference to the disastrous fiscal and financial circumstances that have unraveled the comparatively tiny European economy for more than six years. Cavuto was joined by discredited economist Art Laffer, who lamented the "huge burden on these companies" that will now be required to adequately pay their employees:
Despite Cavuto's dire predictions, economists expect that expanded overtime protections will be a boon for the American workforce.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the majority of the workers who will directly benefit from the overtime change are women, and nearly 30 percent of affected workers are minorities. In an op-ed co-authored with philanthropist Nick Hanauer, economist Robert Reich blasted overtime opponents for warning of "unintended consequences" from stronger wages "without an ounce of empirical data to back it up." They also likened the policy to a "minimum wage hike for the middle class," and explained that it will either boost workers' pay or give them additional leisure time while adding new jobs. Economist Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argued in a blog published by The Washington Post that expanding overtime protections is "a critical labor standard with the potential to boost the paychecks of millions of middle-wage workers."
Fox has a long history of attacking overtime protections, recently complaining that the then-rumored proposal amounted to "left-wing economic engineering" and was "probably going to hurt a lot of other people."
Evening news programs on cable and broadcast news channels were completely silent in the immediate aftermath of a Washington Post story about business dealings by Jeb Bush "that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk." Their complete lack of coverage stands in stark contrast to the nearly three hours of coverage by cable and broadcast evening news programs devoted to The New York Times' faulty allegation that Hillary Clinton's State Department was influenced by Clinton Foundation donors when it signed off on the purchase of Uranium One the same day the story came out.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly lashed out at President Obama for the June 26 illumination of the White House in rainbow colors following the Supreme Court's historic ruling in favor of marriage equality.
On the June 29 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked of the display, "what about all the Americans who believe that a redefinition of marriage is not the job of the Supreme Court?" He later said that President Obama "did an in your face to traditional Americans" by putting a display there.
A tease earlier in the show asked whether the illumination was a "White House insult?"
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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