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  • A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & OLIVIA KITTEL

    After nearly four years of right-wing myths about the September 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, and as Republicans and Democrats on the House Select Committee on the attacks release their reports, Media Matters has compiled a list of more than 50 myths and facts regarding the origin of the attack, the security surrounding the compounds, the Obama administration’s handling of the attack during and after its occurrence, attacks on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other lies and misinformation regarding the Benghazi attack.

  • Right-Wing Media Echo Trump’s Criticism Of Obama For Not Calling Orlando Shooting “Radical Islamic Terrorism”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & CYDNEY HARGIS

    As President Obama delivered an address reacting to the shooting that resulted in 50 casualties at an Orlando nightclub, right-wing media figures attacked him for including “no mention of Islam or radical Islam or, for that matter, terrorists” in his remarks. This came after presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump urged the president to “finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism,” even though experts and former President George W. Bush noted that using “radical Islam” to define terrorism is counterproductive.

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & JARED HOLT

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.

  • Media Slam Trump’s “Insane” Plan To Default On U.S. Debt

    Analysts Explain That Real Estate Gimmicks Don’t Work For The American Economy

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    During a lengthy phone interview with CNBC, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump outlined a plan to partially default on the United States’ outstanding sovereign debt obligations in hopes of eventually negotiating lower rates of repayment. The tactic is common in the types of commercial real estate dealings Trump is familiar with, but journalists and financial analysts stressed that employing such a strategy with American debt would undermine global financial stability and potentially drive the American economy into a deep recession.

  • Conservatives Were Stunningly Wrong About Obamacare, New Report Finds

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    A New York Times analysis found “historic increases” in those covered by the Affordable Care Act, destroying right-wing media predictions about health care reform including that it would “topple the stock market” and enslave Americans. The Times analysis is just one of many pieces of research that have highlighted the successes of the Affordable Care Act.

  • USA Today, Bloomberg Contributors Obscure Role Of Industry-Funded Think Tank In “Exxon Knew” Scandal

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    Contributors at USA Today and Bloomberg View are echoing false attacks on attorneys general who are investigating whether oil companies deceived the public on climate change, and grossly misrepresenting why the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands has subpoenaed records from an oil industry-funded think tank as part of his investigation.

    A coalition of attorneys general has committed to holding fossil fuel companies including Exxon accountable if they obfuscated climate change research in order to protect their financial interests. This follows reports from InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times showing that Exxon’s own scientists confirmed by the early 1980s that fossil fuel pollution was causing climate change, yet Exxon funded organizations that helped manufacture doubt about the causes of climate change for decades afterwards. One of the climate denial organizations that Exxon funded was the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker is now subpoenaing CEI for “records of the group's donors and activities involving climate policy,” as InsideClimate News reported. CEI said it “will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena,” and called it "an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association.”

    Now, contributors at USA Today and Bloomberg View are defending CEI and Exxon by misrepresenting Exxon’s alleged wrongdoing. Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle authored a column on April 8 headlined, “Subpoenaed Into Silence on Global Warming,” in which she claimed the attorneys general are trying to “shut down dissenters” and criminalize “advocating for policies that the attorneys general disagreed with.” Similarly, USA Today contributor Glenn Reynolds proclaimed in an April 11 column that the attorneys general investigations look like “a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with,” and that their goal is to “treat disagreement as something more or less criminal.”

    In casting the issue as a matter of “free speech,” both McArdle and Reynolds ignored the real reason the attorneys general have launched investigations into Exxon and subpoenaed records from CEI. As InsideClimate News explained, despite Exxon’s “emerging understanding of climate change science in the 1970s,” the oil giant subsequently worked to “undermine the scientific consensus, in part by financing research organizations including CEI.” InsideClimate News added:

    CEI is one of several organizations that have been repeatedly named over the years by those who have criticized Exxon and other fossil fuel companies for financing the climate denial work of third parties. After the Royal Society of the United Kingdom castigated Exxon in 2006 for giving money to groups misrepresenting climate science, Exxon said it had stopped financing the CEI.

    Additionally, the Climate Investigations Center (CIC) uncovered that the year after CEI received $270,000 from Exxon for “Global Climate Change,” “Global Climate Change Outreach,” and “General Operating Support,” CEI released a climate science-denying TV commercial with the tag line: “Carbon Dioxide: They Call it Pollution, We Call it Life.” CIC stated that the commercial “caused such an outcry, we believe it triggered ExxonMobil to cut funding to CEI altogether.” 

    Bloomberg View’s McArdle warned that the attorneys general investigations could set a bad “precedent” that would “eventually be used against” the “enemies of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and ExxonMobil.” But that has already happened: climate science denier and then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was found by the Virginia Supreme Court to have overstepped his authority by demanding that the University of Virginia provide emails and other documents from climate scientist Michael Mann. Identical documents were sought by the American Tradition Institute, whose senior director of litigation, Chris Horner, was also a senior fellow at CEI.

    McArdle did mention in her column that her husband Peter Suderman had “briefly worked for CEI as a junior employee.” While she was at it, she could have disclosed that Suderman currently works for Reason magazine, and that the Reason Foundation has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Exxon.

  • Ten Journalists Who Have Called Out Trump's "Shocking" Phone "Advantage"

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & JARED HOLT

    As scrutiny has mounted against cable and network news programs regularly allowing Donald Trump to call in to their broadcasts, rather than appearing in person or by satellite, several journalists have said they will no longer allow him that privilege. Others have called for an end to the "shocking" special treatment across all networks and pointed out the ways the practice gives Trump a strategic "advantage."

  • President Obama Critiques Media Coverage Of Presidential Primary

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    President Obama criticized media coverage of the 2016 presidential race during a speech given for Syracuse University's Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting in Washington D.C. During his keynote address at the ceremony, Obama said the media was responsible for more than just handing someone "a microphone" or reporting on a "slap-dash tweet."

    Obama's critique was an apparent reference to media coverage of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump who has enjoyed unprecedented coverage from a media that continues to cover him irresponsibly. From Bloomberg Politics:

    Obama said the U.S. was "the place where you can't afford completely crazy politics." He warned of the news media's role in letting politics become "entirely untethered to reason and facts and analysis," even as many journalism outlets struggle with shrinking budgets and seek to attract viewers and readers with shorter attention spans.

    [...]

    Obama said that while he took "some" responsibility for the worsening tone of politics, the media also needed to accept responsibilities. The president told reporters that the American people depended on them to sort through the theatrics of the presidential campaign and remained "hungry for the truth."

    "These are folks who trust you when you tell them there's a problem in their schools or their water is poisoned or the political promises a candidate is promising don't add up," Obama said.

    Reporting involves more than just handing someone "a microphone" or publishing some "slap-dash tweet," he said. Moreover, Obama said, in-depth investigative work would be remembered decades from now, rather than stories that got "the most hits."

    In discussing the importance of a free press, he said there exists "an inherent tension between the president and journalists and added, "it's supposed to be that way."

  • Is The Media Tide Finally Turning Against The GOP's Radical Supreme Court Obstruction?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Mitch McConnell

    As Republicans cement their extraordinary desire to deny President Obama the chance to even have his next Supreme Court nominee be heard on Capitol Hill this year, there are signs that the Beltway press is finally addressing radical Republican obstructionism head-on. No longer shying away from being factually accurate in their description of an extremist Republican blockade, reporters are at last conveying to news consumers how unusual today's GOP behavior is.

    Better late than never.

    Almost since Obama's inauguration, Media Matters has been documenting how the press has so timidly danced around Republicans' incessant obstructionism. Even worse, media outlets have routinely found ways to blame Obama for the GOP's blockading ways.

    When Republicans announced hours after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death that they'd likely oppose any Obama nominee, we saw lots of examples of that tell-tale press tentativeness: Obama was picking a "fight" by merely following the Constitution by moving to fill a court vacancy.

    The New York Times in particular has seemed oddly committed to portraying the GOP's radical actions as part of a Both Sides Are To Blame confrontation.

    But now, just a week later and with Republicans putting their blockade into action, more reporters seem to have decided there's no other way to describe the Republicans' radical behavior than by being honest. (Even Fox News is telling the truth.)

    And the key here is that the accurate descriptions are showing up in straight news reports. Plenty of commentators have condemned the Republican ploy in recent days. But in the news pages the GOP's shutdown approach was often presented as a "bipartisan" bickering; as more uncontrollable gridlock.

    More reporters are clearly spelling out what's happening. Hopefully the shift is a real and sustained one. It's certainly long overdue.

    Bloomberg News [emphases added]:

    Senate Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting Tuesday committed to maximum obstruction of any nominee by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court -- no hearings and no votes."

    Politico:

    The issue became heated on Tuesday as the GOP leader flashed rare emotion under intense questioning from the media about how his extraordinary blockade might play politically.

    CNN.com:

    In an unprecedented move, Senate Republicans vowed to deny holding confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee -- even promising to deny meeting privately with whomever the President picks.

    The Hill:

    The unprecedented decision, made before the president has named a nominee, marks a new chapter in Washington's war over judicial nominations.

    New York Daily News:

    Throughout American history, even the most divisive nominees for the high court have received a hearing before the Judiciary Committee, and the election-year decision to deny such a session marks a radical departure from the Senate's traditional "advise and consent" role.

    And no, there's nothing biased or misleading in any of those dispatches. They're simply factual accounts of how off-the-rails Republican behavior has become.

    The fact that Republicans' behavior is now in unprecedented territory should temper the media freak-out when the next "see, both sides do it!" gotcha video inevitably emerges.