David Brock

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  • Media Matters Founder David Brock Calls For Reconsideration Of Fox News’ Chris Wallace As Debate Moderator

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Media Matters founder David Brock is calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates to reconsider the eligibility of Fox News’ Chris Wallace as moderator of the October 19 presidential debate. Brock writes that former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ position advising both Rupert Murdoch -- the head of Fox’s parent company -- and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump represents a “glaring conflict of interest” that infringes on the credibility of any Fox News moderator.

    Read the full text of his letter to the commission’s co-chairs, as first reported by Politico:

    Mr. Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
    Mr. Michael D. McCurry
    Commission on Presidential Debates
    1200 New Hampshire Ave NW #445 Washington, DC 20036
     

    Dear Co-Chairmen Fahrenkopf and McCurry:

    I am writing to request that you reconsider the eligibility of Chris Wallace as a debate moderator as a result of​ startling new public facts. I urge you to consider these facts and remove Mr. Wallace as the moderator of the third and final presidential debate.

    I was concerned to read a September 8 CNN report noting that “in recent weeks, [Roger] Ailes has become one of the most influential voices in the room as [Donald] Trump prepares” for the first presidential debate. According to the CNN report, Ailes and Trump “met in person several times between June 2015 and June 2016” and since late July, Ailes “has taken on a much more active role in Trump’s campaign.”

    Earlier this week on Good Morning America, Trump’s campaign manager ducked a question about whether it is appropriate for Ailes to be advising Trump. Simply put, the answer is no. It is a glaring conflict of interest that Roger Ailes, who resigned from Fox News in July, simultaneously provides advice to Donald Trump while serving as a paid adviser to Fox News chief Rupert Murdoch—debate moderator Chris Wallace’s boss.

    Also troubling is Chris Wallace’s explicit pronouncement that he doesn't intend to press the candidates to be truthful during the debate he moderates. When Wallace's Fox News colleague Howard Kurtz asked what Wallace would do if either candidate made "assertions that you know to be untrue," Wallace asserted, "That's not my job. I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It's up to the other person to catch them on that." Ailes and Trump may already be unduly influencing Wallace to favor Trump in the debate. The New York Times' James Poniewozik was correct when he noted that Wallace's stated fact-free approach to debate moderating helps Trump the most. The Times noted that "the fact-checking website PolitiFact has found far more false statements from Mr. Trump than from Mrs. Clinton."

    I am disappointed that an organization that prides itself on being non-partisan would make such a selection. I would respectfully ask that you reconsider your selection of Chris Wallace -- or any current Fox News employee -- as a presidential debate moderator until Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch cut ties with Roger Ailes.

    Sincerely,

    David Brock
    Founder, Media Matters for America
  • The NY Times' Shoddy And Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Following former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson's acknowledgment that The New York Times gives an unfair "level of scrutiny" to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Media Matters takes a look back at some of the Times' most ludicrous, false, and sexist attacks on Clinton.

  • Former NY Times Executive Editor Tells Politico: David Brock Is Right, The Times Gives Hillary Clinton Unfair Scrutiny

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    According to Politico's Glenn Thrush, Jill Abramson, the former New York Times executive editor, said in a recent interview that she agreed with Media Matters founder David Brock that the Times has given an unfair "level of scrutiny" to Hillary Clinton.

    Over the past year, the Times has repeatedly bungled reporting on Hillary Clinton's use of email, falsely claiming in a July report that Clinton was under criminal investigation, a story for which they issued numerous corrections. The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan criticized the paper for publishing a "sensational" story with "major journalistic problems." In response to that report and several other issues with the paper's journalism David Brock called on the Times to commission a review of its reporting on Clinton.

    Politico's Glenn Thrush reported March 21 that Abramson, in an interview, said she "agree[d]" with Brock that the Times gave the Clintons "an unfair 'level of scrutiny,'" saying Hillary Clinton "'does get more scrutiny" than other candidates - especially male candidates.'" From Politico:

    A couple of years back, a friend of Hillary Clinton's told me the candidate-to-be was "disappointed" that the first woman to edit the New York Times -- veteran investigative reporter Jill Abramson -- wasn't more sympathetic to her plight as a feminist pioneer in politics.

    In fact, both the candidate and her more volatile spouse went a lot further, venting to people around them that they saw the country's most powerful paper as a kind of special prosecutor in a blue plastic bag, whose top editors were bent on scouring them with an alacrity not directed at other politicians ("They are out to get us," the former president told a friend more recently).

    No way, says Abramson, whose personal association with the Clintons goes back nearly 40 years. (Little-known fact: the woman who led coverage of the Clintons at the Times for a decade -- as Washington bureau chief, and then as executive editor -- briefly worked as a consultant on one of Bill Clinton's campaigns in Arkansas.) But Abramson lingers on the larger point of media fairness to Hillary Clinton, and gingerly concedes something few editors would ever admit. 

    "She does get more scrutiny" than other candidates - especially male candidates, Abramson told me during a 50-minute interview for POLITICO's "Off Message" podcast last week. When I asked her if Clinton's arch-defender David Brock had a point when he lashed the Times for giving the Clintons an unfair "level of scrutiny," she interrupted - to agree. 

    "Yeah, I do," said Abramson - who was ousted in 2014 after reportedly complaining that her compensation package was inferior to that of her male predecessor, Bill Keller. 

    "[W]e, for some reason, expect total purity from a woman candidate," added Abramson, who rose to the top job in 2011. "I did not feel, during my regime, that we were giving her way more scrutiny than anyone else." But, she said, "Where I think Hillary Clinton faces, you know, certainly more of a burden is that the controversies she's been in are immediately labeled, you know, Travel-gate or Email-gate... if you actually asked people what about any of these controversies bothers them, they don't know anything specific about any of them." 

    [...] 

    And Abramson isn't overly impressed by the one Clinton storyline getting the most attention: the lingering probe into the former secretary of state's "homebrew" email server during her Foggy Bottom tenure. Like Whitewater, the scandal was uncovered by a New York Times reporter; like Whitewater, it is regarded as a deus ex machina by Republicans facing political gloom; and like Whitewater, it will likely turn out to be more froth than flood, in Abramson's view. "I won't say nothing - but very little," she said, referring to the sum significance of Clinton's scandals. 

    When I asked if the Times email stories (executed after her departure, in 2015) were "a big deal," Abramson - who has taken pains not to criticize her former paper or its current editors - paused. 

    "It depends on, you know, what your definition of "big deal" is, but I'm not going to play Bill Clinton for you here," she said, referring to the former president's infamous what-is-is monologue during his Monica Lewinsky deposition. "The issue, to me, that's at the crux is that everything that we know that was classified was classified after the fact, after the emails were sent. And so, why is that a big deal? And the fact that she had this private email is something that, you know, I've read widely, a lot of people in the government - Colin Powell, let's face it, got much bigger speaking fees than Hillary did."