The Republican National Committee voted this morning to ban NBC News and CNN from hosting GOP primary debates in 2016. On paper, the vote was to protest plans by NBC and CNN to produce, respectively, a miniseries and a documentary on Hillary Clinton. But there's a whole lot more undergirding this move to exclude these outlets from the Republican debates. The long-standing animus toward the "liberal media" among conservatives has morphed into outright paranoia, and it came to a head during the 2012 campaign when George Stephanopoulos asked a debate question about contraception.
Here's what happened. Rick Santorum talked about contraception a lot during his 2012 presidential campaign. He railed against "the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea" in an October 2011 interview with an evangelical blog. He told NBC's Today on December 29 that contraception "leads to lot of sexually transmitted diseases, it leads to a lot of unplanned pregnancies." On January 2, 2012, just a few days before participating in a Republican debate co-hosted by ABC News, Santorum was asked by then-ABC reporter Jake Tapper about his belief that states should be able to ban contraception. "The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that," Santorum said.
Then, at the ABC/Yahoo News debate on January 7, moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney if he shared Santorum's belief "that states have the right to ban contraception." Romney responded: "George, this is an unusual topic that you're raising. States have a right to ban contraception? I can't imagine a state banning contraception." Shortly afterward, all hell broke loose.
From all corners of the conservative media came accusations that George Stephanopoulos, in asking about contraception, had "coordinated" with Team Obama to lure the Republican candidates into some sort of trap on birth control. Much of the speculation was driven by Dick Morris, which should have been a pretty big red flag in terms of reliability. The theory rested on the assumption that the contraception issue just came out of nowhere, which, of course, is not true -- Santorum was asked about it just five days before the debate by one of Stephanopoulos' colleagues.
In the latest edition of his daily video commentary, Dick Morris pleaded with Rush Limbaugh to "stop losing the elections" for Republicans by opposing efforts to reform immigration.
Morris, formerly of Fox News, backs the current bipartisan proposal to reform the immigration system, pitching it to his conservative viewers as a good way to eat into the Democratic Party's success with Latino voters.
Discussing the proposal's "path to citizenship" Morris notes, "it delays the path to citizenship by a good, long time which gives the Republican Party a long time to deal with the Latino vote."
Directly addressing Limbaugh's opposition to the proposal, Morris asks him, "What is your alternative?"
Morris goes on to implore Limbaugh to "stop losing the elections for us" by "insisting on some objective standard of purity" on the issue. Instead, Morris tells Limbaugh to focus on "what's practical" in order to "focus on the changes that are taking place in the country, and deal with them."
From the March 29 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:
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Dick Morris is working with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on a new television advertisement that will include Preibus seeking to attract Latino voters, Morris revealed during an appearance in New York City Thursday.
Speaking at the Poli Conference, a political consulting event for Latin American campaign professionals, Morris said the ad will feature Priebus reaching out to "those Latin Americans who've come to the United States to help us build our country, to help harvest our food, to help make our economy work and [Priebus'] message is 'welcome, we need you, you're making our country younger, more prosperous, harder working and we need you for the future.'"
According to Morris, the ad will make use of "that concept of reflecting back to people their own value and their own worth. In the advertisement he [Priebus] says, 'we honor our ancestors who took covered wagons to settle the west and brave the Indians, but you are the new pioneers, you are the new people in America doing that.' And I think that is a very, very interesting thing to do in a campaign."
Republican Party Spokesman Ryan Mahoney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ad. Asked about when it might run or where, Morris declined to offer more details.
Morris' work with the Republican National Committee is noteworthy given the implosion of Morris' stature and credibility following the 2012 election and his now infamous prediction of a "landslide" victory for Republican Mitt Romney. After the election Morris was effectively banned from appearing on Fox News, where he worked as an on-air contributor until the network declined to renew his contract in early February. Morris also brings with him a host of ethics problems -- Morris' group Super PAC for America reportedly spent significant amounts of money renting Morris' own email list in the months before the election, allowing him to simply pocket money raised by the group.
Former Fox News commentator Dick Morris says he still "love[s]" the network and expects to return to its airwaves.
In February Fox confirmed that it had declined to renew Morris' contract. The network had benched him from bookings for several months following his repeated on-air prediction of a Mitt Romney "landslide" in the days leading up to Romney's defeat.
During a March 14 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC) just south of Washington, D.C., Morris told Media Matters, "I love Fox, you know. You come and you go in this business, I'll come again."
Asked if he thought he would return to the network in the future, Morris said, "Sure, probably."
Dick Morris, cut loose from Fox News after years of embarrassingly wrong political analysis, is still gainfully employed by The Hill, which continues to publish his weekly column. The very public battering Morris took following the 2012 election has done nothing to improve the quality of his commentary, and his most recent Hill column demonstrates as much. Headlined "Latinos could be GOP allies," the column is based on a Republican-funded push poll conducted by a pollster whose work in the 2012 Mexican presidential election distinguished itself with near-Dick Morris levels of inaccuracy.
"A new poll taken by Mexico's leading public opinion researcher shows that U.S. citizens of Latino descent are potentially strong allies of the Republican Party," writes Morris. The poll, as Morris acknowledges, was "organized and funded by John Jordan of Jordan Winery, a prominent Republican donor," but that's really the least of its problems. The questions asked, as quoted by Morris, are so over-the-top and one-sided that it's no real surprise the results are so favorable to the GOP:
By 59-34 percent, U.S. Latinos agreed that "Democrats are closer to the leaders we had in Latin America, always giving handouts to get votes. If we let them have their way, we will end up being like the countries our families came from, not like the America of great opportunities we all came to."
By 78-16 percent, U.S. Latinos agreed that Latino immigrants must "not go the way some have gone into high unemployment, crime, drugs, and welfare.
They must be more like the hard working immigrants who came here and worked their way up without depending on the government." More important, when asked which party most shares this sentiment, they chose the Republicans, by a margin of 45-29 percent.
By 47-31, Latinos agree that Republicans would do more to "strengthen churches so they can help the poor and teach values of faith and family." By 89-8, they think that "too many people depend on the government and its handouts. That way of thinking is very bad and leads to lifetimes of unemployment, poverty, and crime." And, by 45-37, they believe the Republican Party is more likely to share their view than Democrats are.
The poll's methodology does little to enhance its credibility. It combined telephone and in-person interviews conducted over the course of an entire month, January 15 to February 15. What's the problem with having a poll in the field that long? Something big could happen that might alter the opinions of the population being sampled -- like, say, the president of the United States laying out an immigration reform plan.
From the February 17 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From the February 10 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From the February 7th edition of Current TV's The Bill Press Show:
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After Fox News officials confirmed that they were not renewing his contract, Dick Morris appeared on Piers Morgan's CNN show. Despite being faced by his numerous failed political predictions, Morris went on to discuss the future of the Republican Party and was invited back by Morgan to provide further analysis.
Morris appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss, among other things, his split from Fox after nearly 15 years, which Morris described by saying that "the divorce isn't final, but I am seeing other people." Morgan began the interview by playing several clips of Morris predicting a landslide victory for Mitt Romney during the 2012 general election, asking if there was "any rational explanation for why you got it so wrong?" Morris began by attributing President Obama's victory to Hurricane Sandy before finally admitting that "I was wrong and I was wrong at the top of my lungs":
But Morris has been wrong about more than just Romney not winning the presidential election in a landslide. He predicted Republicans would win "10 seats in the Senate" in 2012, thought it was "very possible" that Obama would drop out of the race, and that Donald Trump would run and defeat Obama. In the 2008 election, Morris predicted the race would be between Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, that the GOP would never nominate Sen. John McCain, and labeled Arkansas, a state McCain won by 20 points, "leaning Obama."
Fox News recently confirmed that it has decided to part ways with longtime analyst Dick Morris. His departure follows numerous on-air ethical lapses and a long record of wildly inaccurate predictions.
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported, "Inside Fox News, Morris's Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line." In recent years, his now former colleagues at Fox News have called him "often wrong," a self-promoter, and "creepy," and a Fox News vice president publicly rebuked Morris for attempting to auction off a Fox News studio tour to benefit a local Republican party.
Here are ten Fox Newsers who have mocked or rebuked Morris:
Following nearly fifteen years of countless ethical violations, inaccurate electoral predictions, and offensive, false, and dishonest comments, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris is done at the network.
His exit is long overdue.
After Morris announced on his website that he would be appearing on the February 6 edition of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Fox News officials confirmed that the network had declined to renew his contract.
Though Morris had made dozens of appearances on Fox News in the months before the 2012 election, he has been absent from the network's airwaves since a November 12 appearance on Hannity. Prior to the election, Morris repeatedly told Fox's audience that Mitt Romney was headed to a "landslide" election victory over President Barack Obama.
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported in December that Fox News had benched Morris, requiring producers to get permission from high-ranking network executives before booking him on their shows. According to Sherman, "Morris's Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line" inside the network. In recent years the network's executives had also repeatedly been subjected to inquiries from reporters concerning Morris' pattern of ethical misdeeds.
During a May 2012 appearance on the O'Reilly Factor -- a program that featured Morris hundreds of times during his tenure at the network -- host Bill O'Reilly told Morris that he was so far "out on the limb" predicting a Romney win, that if Obama were to be re-elected, Morris would be "through."
At least as far as Morris' Fox employment is concerned, O'Reilly was right.
In this report:
From the February 5 edition of MSNBC's The Last Word:
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Fox News political analyst Dick Morris, who has been absent from the network for nearly three months following a directive that any segments with him would have to be cleared by a top network executive -- will appear on CNN February 6.
Morris announced the appearance -- his first on CNN since 2002, according to a search of the Nexis database -- on his website, writing, "You read it right! I will be a guest on The Piers Morgan Show on CNN, yes CNN, this Wednesday night at 9 PM EST."
After appearing dozens of times to provide political analysis in the weeks leading up to the 2012 election, Morris has not appeared on Fox News since a November 12 interview on Hannity, according to a Media Matters review of the Nexis and TVEyes.com databases. By contrast, following the 2008 presidential election, he appeared 19 times on Fox's primetime alone from November 13, 2008, through February 5, 2009, making regular appearances to discuss the political news of the day on The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes/Hannity, and On the Record.
Morris' shoddy prognostication and unethical behavior has been a perpetual source of humiliation for Fox News. He has been a paid contributor to the network since 1998.
In December, New York magazine's Gabe Sherman reported that both Morris and fellow Fox political analyst Karl Rove had been benched by the network, with producers requiring approval in order to book either pundit. According to Sherman, Morris was considered a "punch line" by his colleagues due to his "Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions." While Rove has returned to the network in recent days and even had his contract renewed, Morris has been absent.
According to TVEyes, the last time Morris was even mentioned on Fox News was in mid-December and it was a mocking reference made by a puppet. On the December 12 edition of Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, "Pinch" -- a puppet that's comprised of a stack of New York Times papers and voiced by Bill Schultz -- said that Nate Silver is "sort of like Dick Morris but, you know, accurate."
UPDATE: A CNN spokesperson confirmed to Media Matters that Morris will appear as a guest on the February 6 edition of Piers Morgan Tonight.
Dick Morris' lawyers have reportedly confirmed that the conservative commentator's website received money in a fundraising scheme involving his mailing list, the conservative outlet Newsmax, and his organization Super PAC for America. Morris is also reportedly distancing himself from the super PAC despite previously stating that he "formed" the group and it's "my organization."
Media Matters wrote on December 7 that Morris aggressively fundraised for the super PAC, which then apparently funneled money back to Morris through rentals of his DickMorris.com email list.
According to Federal Elections Commission data, Morris' Super PAC for America paid Newsmax Media roughly $1.7 million for "fundraising" in October and November. Dick Morris' email list is operated by Newsmax. In the month before the 2012 election, Morris sent at least 21 emails to his mailing list featuring fundraising pitches that were "paid for by Super PAC for America," meaning that a significant portion of the super PAC's money likely went to renting Morris' own email list. Super PAC for America also "paid for" at least 25 emails to Newsmax.com's main email list during the same period.
On her January 4 program, Rachel Maddow reported that she received a letter from Morris' lawyers confirming that "some of" the money paid to Newsmax "was to broker the DickMorris.com mailing list, but they dispute that it was a substantial portion."