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  • CNN’s Corey Lewandowski Says He's Traveling With The Trump Campaign

    Lewandowski Announced On Twitter That He's With Trump In New Hampshire

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN political commentator Corey Lewandowski announced in an August 25 tweet that he is with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign in New Hampshire.

    Lewandowski was hired by CNN as a political commentator in June, just days after he was fired from Trump’s campaign. The move drew sharp criticism from media experts, who questioned the network’s ethics after it hired the former campaign manager, who was reported to have a hostile and inappropriate relationship with reporters. Lewandowski has simultaneously received both severance from Trump’s campaign and a salary from the network while appearing on air to campaign for and defend Trump from media criticism. He’s defended Trump on his alleged solicitations from foreign entities, his attacks on a Gold Star family, and even Trump’s claims that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. It was reported this month that Lewandowski has returned to advising Trump despite his paid commentary position with CNN, and his firm was reportedly paid $20,000 by the campaign in July. In an open letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok has called on Zucker to publicly address questions regarding the hiring of Lewandowski or suspend him from the network.

    From Lewandowski’s August 25 tweet:

     For information on Media Matters’ petition for CNN to cut ties with Lewandowski, please click here.

  • The Four Ways Right-Wing Media Reacted To Trump’s Alleged Immigration Shift

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    The right-wing media reactions to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that he is considering softening his position on immigration, varied wildly, including criticizing his shift as a mistake, slamming his lack of policy consistency, praising him for “seeing the light on immigration reform,” and simply ignoring his latest comments entirely.

  • After Trump Calls Clinton A "Bigot," Cable News Pushes His Narrative

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Cable news outlets are giving oxygen to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s narrative that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is a “bigot” by repeatedly discussing his remarks and entertaining questions about whether Clinton is indeed a bigot. Several segments even whitewashed Trump’s history of racist remarks.

    During an August 24 rally in Mississippi, Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton is a “bigot” who “sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future.” The remarks, which were prepared on his teleprompter, have also been repeatedly uttered by Trump over the last week.

    Trump’s remark drove a large portion of today’s cable TV coverage, which examined Trump’s claim in multiple segments, many without any critical pushback by hosts or reporters. While some segments were critical of Trump’s remarks, they still allowed Trump to drive the conversation. Other segments actually entertained Trump’s claim, including by allowing a Trump surrogate to baselessly claim that Clinton had used racist rhetoric toward African-Americans in the past and a Republican operative to praise Trump’s “rising” rhetoric.

    Some coverage whitewashed Trump’s history of racist rhetoric altogether. Discussing the remark with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, CNN host Chris Cuomo agreed with Conway’s assertion that it was unfair for people to call Trump a bigot, saying, “When people call him a bigot, I’ll say, ‘why do you call him that,’” and adding, “They shouldn’t call him that” if they can’t justify it. In fact, Trump has repeatedly smeared Muslims, called Mexicans “rapists,” targeted a judge because of his Mexican heritage, discriminated against African-Americans, and courted the white nationalist movement. Some in the media have in fact explicitly urged colleagues to label Trump’s rhetoric “blatantly racist” in the interests of accuracy, and to stop mainstreaming his bigoted comments.

  • Rudy Giuliani’s Latest Attack On Clinton’s Health Comes From Breitbart News And Sean Hannity’s Conspiracy Theories

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    When challenged by CNN to answer why he questions Hillary Clinton’s health, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani cited baseless smears reported by anti-Clinton Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity. These smears have been repeatedly debunked.

    In an August 24 CNN report on the Trump campaign’s attacks against Hillary Clinton, Murray confronted former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani over his baseless “questioning” of Clinton’s health. Giuliani cited two examples of Clinton’s purported illness from Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity -- Clinton’s late return to a debate stage last December and her head shaking in a recent interview -- as “rather bizarre” instances needing explanation. 

    SARA MURRAY: You don't see any problem with questioning the possibility of the Democratic nominee’s health based on no fact?

    RUDY GIULIANI: What do you mean not based on facts? There were rather bizarre things that happened, like that time that her head started shaking in the middle of an interview and the time she got off the stage for some period of time during a debate. 

    [...]

    This isn't based on no facts. Do those do those facts mean she's seriously ill? I don't know. 

    The two examples cited by Giuliani were circulated by Breitbart News and Sean Hannity as evidence that Clinton is in poor health. 

    In January, Breitbart news posted an article claiming Clinton’s “disappearance from the debate stage” during a commercial break was due to one of her “long-lasting symptoms stemming from a concussion and blood clot,” despite it being widely reported that Clinton’s late return was due to a restroom break. 

    Fox News’ Sean Hannity devoted a segment on his August 10 television show scandalizing Clinton’s “violent, out-of-control” and “seizure-esque” movements as evidence that she suffers from seizures. However AP reporter Lisa Lerer, who stood directly behind Clinton at the moment in question, wrote on August 12 that Clinton was "taken aback” by shouting and a bevy of questions by reporters during a campaign event and responded “with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously.” The AP reporter criticized Hannity for the “unfounded speculation” and using her to support his “conspiracy theory.”

  • Media Hype “Optics” In AP Report On Clinton Foundation, While Admitting There Is No Evidence Of Ethics Breaches

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & JARED HOLT

    Media are attempting to scandalize a report from The Associated Press that revealed that “[m]ore than half the people outside the government who met with now-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money ... to the Clinton Foundation,” calling the report “breathtaking” and “disturbing,” because it “looks bad,” and the “optics” and “perceptions” are problematic, despite the fact that their programs also note that “it wasn’t illegal,” and there was no quid pro quo. The focus on the “optics” of the situation rather than the facts has led some in media to criticize the reporting, and explain that “consumers of the media [should] think twice about whether or not the narrative” media are pushing “fits ALL of the facts.”

  • TV News Misses Golden Opportunity To Recognize Title IX During Rio Olympics

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    As thousands of athletes from around the world descended on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, broadcast and cable news programming missed a golden opportunity to discuss the incredible legacy of the legislative reform largely responsible for the growth and success of women’s sports in the United States and around the world -- Title IX.

    One of the biggest stories coming out of the 2016 Summer Olympics was the sheer dominance of American athletes in general, and American women in particular. American swimmer Katie Ledecky and gymnast Simone Biles finished the games with four gold medals each (and five medals overall) and, at just 19 years old, they both are widely considered the most dominant athletes in their respective sports. Meanwhile, as the United States men’s basketball team struggled before coalescing in the gold medal match, the American women’s team blasted every opponent en route to a sixth consecutive Olympic championship.

    According to The New York Times, the United States brought home 121 medals from Rio, far outpacing China (70) and Great Britain (67) for first place, and became the first nation in 40 years to lead all nations in each medal category: gold, silver, and bronze. As was the case in 2012, more than half of that total medal haul (61) was won by American women, whose unparalleled athletic success would have been unlikely without the unique progressive legacy of the Title IX provision in federal education policy, which prevents sex discrimination in federally funded programs like school sports. From the Times:

    The United States is one of the few countries to embed sports within the public education system. And equal access to sports for women comes with legal protections, gained with the education amendment known as Title IX in 1972 and the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act in 1978.

    About one of every two American girls participates in sports in high school. Of the 213 American medalists in individual and team sports in Rio, according to the [United States Olympic Committee], nearly 85 percent participated in university-funded sports.

    “Those things don’t exist elsewhere in the world,” said Donna Lopiano, a former executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “We have the largest base of athletic development. Our women are going to dominate, not only because of their legal rights but because women in other parts of the world are discriminated against.”

    Broadcast And Cable News Ignored Importance Of Title IX Despite Flood Of Olympic Coverage

    A Media Matters review of broadcast evening news coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, as well as cable evening and prime-time coverage on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC between the days of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics revealed only two substantive mentions of Title IX as it relates to current or former American or international Olympians. A similar lack of interest was on display on the major Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC.**

    A review of available Nexis transcripts from August 5 through August 21 returned 259 results mentioning the Olympics in Rio, including just two references to Title IX’s role in encouraging and supporting female athletes and women’s sports: NBC Nightly News and PBS NewsHour each mentioned the legislation during Olympic segments on August 18 and August 19, respectively. By contrast, there were dozens of mentions of American swimmer Ryan Lochte’s infamous and unsubstantiated story of being robbed at gunpoint outside a Rio gas station.

    Major print outlets including like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today gave Title IX special attention in 2016, but their television counterparts once again dropped the ball. Title IX was also conspicuously absent from print and television coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to a February 2014 Media Matters analysis.

    Title IX’s Global Legacy At The Olympic Games

    As noted above, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which was authored by Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN) and Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI) and signed into law by President Richard Nixon, has left an indelible mark on women's sports over the past 44 years. But American women aren't the only beneficiaries of the legislation; Title IX’s prohibition against gender discrimination at most educational institutions is a major contributing factor in making American universities a magnet for athletes from around the world.

    Stanford University, the most successful athletic institution in the world this year in terms of Olympic medals, produced a number of American women medalists -- including burgeoning swimming stars Ledecky, Maya DiRado, and Simone Manuel. It also produced Greek pole vault gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi. If not for Ledecky, the most successful women’s swimmer of the summer would have been Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, an alumna of the University of Southern California. (Controversial Russian swimmer and two-time silver medalist Yulia Efimova, though not an alumna of the school, is coached by Southern Cal head coach Dave Salo.) Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller, an alumna of the University of Georgia, edged out former Southern Cal sprinter Allyson Felix to win gold in the women’s 400-meter. Canadian swimmer Chantal van Landeghem, another Georgia alum, took home a bronze medal in the women’s 4x100-meter freestyle relay alongside teammate and Ohio State University graduate Michelle Williams. Canadian track and field star Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who won a bronze medal in the heptathlon, attended the University of Oregon.

    This is just a snapshot of the Title IX impact that was on display at the 2016 Summer Olympics, but broadcast and cable news almost completely ignored the success story, despite offering a torrent of Olympic-centered stories and features.

    Methodology

    Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of transcripts of evening and prime-time (defined as 5 p.m. through 11 p.m.) weekday programs on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, and network broadcast news (ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS) from August 5, 2016, through August 21, 2016. Media Matters also reviewed Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC during the same time period. We identified and reviewed all segments that included any of the following keywords: olympics or rio or title nine or title 9 or title ix.

    The following programs were included in the data: World News Tonight, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS Evening News, Face the Nation, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press**, PBS NewsHour, The Situation Room, Erin Burnett OutFront, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight, The Five, Special Report, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, The O'Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, Hannity, MTP Daily, With All Due Respect, Hardball with Chris Matthews, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. For shows that air reruns, only the first airing was included in data retrieval.

    **NBCUniversal pre-empted Meet the Press on August 14 and August 21 to air exclusive coverage of the Olympics on NBC.