Media outlets refuted Rep. Jim Jordan's (R-OH) baseless claim that Hillary Clinton deliberately misled the public about the cause of the Benghazi, explaining that his allegations disregarded how intelligence evolved in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and ignored the possibility that "the attacks could be both an example of terrorism and influenced by outrage over the video."
From the October 23 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
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In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, oil industry billionaire Charles Koch made two false or highly implausible claims that were not addressed by CBS' Anthony Mason: that all of his political spending is "reported" and that he opposes all government subsidies. In reality, Koch-backed dark money groups are heavily involved in elections, and Koch Industries officials have lobbied to protect oil industry subsidies.
Sitting for a rare one-on-one network television interview with President Obama that aired on 60 Minutes this week, CBS' Steve Kroft repeatedly pressed Obama about Hillary Clinton's use of private email when she was secretary of state. But CBS was apparently far less interested in the pressing public policy issue of gun violence, which has dominated the news in recent weeks. It's also a topic Obama has been speaking out on publicly.
The interview seemed to be the latest example of the press giving the seven-month-old email story a disproportionate amount of time and attention.
The bulk of the 60 Minutes interview centered on the unfolding foreign policy challenges in Syria. In the second part of the lengthy 24-minute interview that aired, Kroft repeatedly pressed Obama about Clinton using a private email account years ago. In response, Obama said he agreed with Clinton's assessment that using a private email account was a mistake, and emphasized that it posed no national security risk and that the allegations against her were being "ginned up" by her political foes.
Still, Kroft again and again raised the topic with the president:
STEVE KROFT: Did you know about Hillary Clinton's use of private email server?
STEVE KROFT: Do you think it posed a national security problem?
STEVE KROFT: What was your reaction when you found out about it?
During the interview that aired Sunday night, Kroft pressed Obama six times about Clinton's emails.
No questions about gun violence made it into the portions of the interview CBS aired. But it turns out Kroft actually did actually raise the topic of gun violence with Obama during the Q&A, but 60 Minutes editors cut that portion out of the final TV interview. (Viewers can only see Obama and Kroft's exchange about gun violence online.)
In other words, the portion of the Q&A that focused on the well-worn process story of Clinton's emails was deemed by CBS to be far more newsworthy than Obama's discussion of gun violence, even though the interview came in the wake of several campus shootings this month.
And at no time when addressing the email issue did Kroft mention that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently made headlines when he seemed to acknowledge that the Benghazi select committee, which is now focused almost exclusively on the email issue, was created in order to sabotage Clinton's White House run.
CBS' Face the Nation was the sole network news Sunday political talk show to ignore the claims of a former staffer for the House Select Committee on Benghazi alleging that the committee has turned into a "partisan investigation" with a "hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton."
On October 10, The New York Times reported that Bradley Podliska, who worked as an investigator for the Benghazi committee and was allegedly fired unlawfully, accused the committee of focusing "primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton" instead of leading a comprehensive investigation into the September 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
CNN's State of the Union treated the story as breaking news and opened with an exclusive television interview of Podliska. In his CNN interview, Podliska said that the Benghazi probe "has become a partisan investigation," that has shifted its focus "to go after Hillary." On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace questioned Benghazi committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the accusations made by Podliska. On NBC's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd briefly mentioned Podliska's accusations, noting that both Podliska and the Republicans on the committee "agree that Hillary Clinton was being targeted," and asked, "doesn't that hurt the committee?" And on ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz asked Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) about Podliska's statement that "he was fired from that committee because he was told to focus too much on Hillary Clinton instead of finding out answers about Benghazi."
But John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation, failed to mention this news at all. The only mention of Benghazi came from panelist Ron Fournier, who also neglected to mention this news story, despite bringing up both Clinton and Benghazi:
RON FOURNIER: Let me talk a little bit about emails if I could, which is her untrustworthy problem, and the Democrats are pointing at Republicans, and McCarthy is saying we just want to bring her down as mitigating for her. We have two sets of facts. One is, we know that the Republican Party did everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton with Benghazi -- hyper-partisan Republican Party. And they caught Hillary Clinton red handed creating a improper covert server that undermined the Freedom of Information Act, that subverted legislative oversight, and jeopardized U.S. secrets.
Both of those things can be true. As a matter of fact, both of those things are true, but the Democrats try to use the one thing to mitigate them, and the Republicans try to use the other to mitigate them. And meanwhile, both parties think that - most voters think that the leaders of the parties are lying to them, because they are.
From the October 11 edition of CBS' CBS Sunday Morning:
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CBS News analyst Frank Luntz pushed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for House Speaker, claiming "he's got a brain for policy, which is what we need in Washington right now," adding, "if Paul Ryan says no, God help us." CBS News and Luntz did not disclose that Ryan has paid Luntz's company over $100,000 in consulting fees in recent years.
A CBS Evening News segment in response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College featured Sheriff David Clarke, a frequent Fox guest with a history of inflammatory statements, pushing the debunked myth that gunmen in mass shootings target "gun-free zones."
On October 2, CBS Evening News host Scott Pelley announced a new series called "Voices Against Violence" as part of "the national conversation about violence" after the recent mass shooting that killed nine and wounded nine more at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. One of the featured speakers was Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who claimed that shooters target "gun-free zones" because they "know that nobody is going to be able to interrupt [them] until mass carnage occurs":
SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE: I'm Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Any time we have a horrific incident like a mass shooting, these things have a tendency to become politicized. One of the things that I would do to reduce -- we're not going to be able to eliminate these entirely -- but to reduce the likelihood that there's mass carnage, is to get rid of these gun-free zones. These gun-free zones -- theaters, churches, college campuses, elementary schools -- are chosen by the perpetrator for a reason. He knows that nobody is going to be able to interrupt him until mass carnage occurs. And we ought to give people the individual freedom, the individual right to -- under certain circumstances like a concealed carry license -- to go armed in these venues in case something like this happens for their own protection, and to have a chance. Look at Chicago, Illinois. Look at Washington, D.C., the federal district. If gun control really worked, those would be two of the safest areas in the United States. In fact, they're two of the most violent.
Clarke's "gun-free zones" claim is not supported by any evidence. According to an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety, only 13 percent of the 133 mass shootings that occurred between January 2009 and July 2015 took place in "gun-free zones." An analysis by Mother Jones found that, of 62 public mass shootings over a 30 year period, not a single shooting was stopped by a civilian carrying a firearm. Mother Jones also found that gunmen do not choose to target locations because guns are not allowed, but rather for personal reasons such as a workplace grievance.
Clarke has a history of making outrageous statements and associating with fringe personalities and organizations. During a 2013 appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show, Clarke responded to Jones' claim that "the Obama Marxist types" wanted to confiscate guns, stating, "I believe that if somebody tried to enforce something of that magnitude you would see the second coming of an American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison." He also claimed that Obama had encouraged violence in Ferguson, Missouri after a police officer killed resident Michael Brown by calling for calm "with a wink and a nod." Clarke was named "sheriff of the year" by the far-right fringe group Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), whose leader proposed using women as human shields during a 2014 dispute between Cliven Bundy, a lawless Nevada rancher, and the Bureau of Land Management. And in a 2014 speech to the National Rifle Association, Clarke said, "If you're going to stand with me, you have to be willing to resist any attempt by government to disarm law-abiding people by fighting with the ferociousness of a junkyard dog. For it says in the Declaration of Independence that it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for our future security."
A Media Matters analysis of the three months of broadcast evening news' coverage of Hillary Clinton following her 2016 presidential campaign launch found that there were more than twice as many segments covering Clinton's use of a personal email server than there were of her more than a dozen announced policy proposals and positions.
Numerous media outlets have covered GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush's new fossil fuel-friendly energy plan without mentioning his extensive ties to the industry. Both Bush's campaign and his super PAC have received significant donations from oil and gas interests, Bush met secretly with coal industry executives in June, and he recently appointed fossil fuel industry ally Scott Pruitt to oversee his campaign policy agenda.
Broadcast evening news programs were once again virtually silent on congressional Republicans' attempt to restrict women's access to reproductive health care by pushing an extreme 20-week ban through the Senate. The same outlets ignored a GOP-controlled House vote on a similar bill in May.
After the Department of Justice (DOJ) told a federal court that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had full authority to delete what she determined to be personal emails without involvement from the agency, most of the Sunday political talk shows covering the Clinton email story failed to mention this development.
Broadcast evening news programs entirely ignored Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign finance reform proposal, instead continuing to focus on speculation about Clinton's email use and poll numbers, according to a Media Matters review.
A Media Matters analysis of the Sunday morning political talk shows found a plurality of the guests hosted to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement since it was announced in July opposed the deal. Notably, 63 percent of guests hosted on Fox News Sunday to discuss the deal opposed it, while only 13 percent supported it.
Cable and network TV news devoted more segments to coverage of economic issues during the first half of 2015 compared to the last six months of 2014, an increase driven by heightened public interest in the debate over economic inequality and a flurry of economic policy proposals from nearly two dozen 2016 presidential candidates.