Elaine Quijano

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  • The Problem With Debate Moderators Making Abortion About Religion And Judges

    Since 1960, Moderator’s Questions About Abortion Have Almost Always Been Asked In Relation To Faith Or Judicial Appointment Litmus Tests

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN & OLIVIA KITTEL

    During the 2016 election, reproductive rights groups have consistently called on debate moderators to ask questions that would examine the candidates’ positions on abortion-related issues, but moderators have either ignored the call or centered their questions around  judicial appointees or the candidates’ religious views.

    Although faith and judicial appointments are important topics, limiting debate discussions of abortion to only these contexts deprives the public of an opportunity to understand the candidates’ positions on an essential issue: access to reproductive health care.

    On October 12, the Commission on Presidential Debates released the topics for the third and final presidential debate. Although the list includes the Supreme Court, it notably excludes any explicit mention of reproductive health or abortion -- making the likelihood of a question about the topic on its own merits unlikely.

    What is likely, however, is that if the topic comes up, the moderator will either frame it around the candidate’s religion or ask whether they would screen their judicial picks for pro- or anti-choice positions.

    In a recent analysis, Media Matters analyzed all abortion questions asked in presidential or vice presidential debates from 1960 to 2012 and found that 56 percent were framed around religion or used abortion as a litmus test for judicial appointments. In both instances, questions were often asked in a way that stigmatized abortion -- suggesting that the common and legal medical procedure was morally wrong or socially unacceptable.

    The pattern has been borne out in each of the debates this year.

    For example, the first presidential debate on September 26 did not include a single question about abortion or reproductive health care despite efforts by a coalition of reproductive rights advocacy groups. They encouraged NBC’s Lester Holt to ask the candidates how they would “address the crisis in abortion care in our country.”

    In the second presidential debate, on October 9, the only mention of reproductive rights came during a question about the nomination of Supreme Court justices -- when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton mentioned that her ideal nominee would support upholding Roe v. Wade. If history is a guide, this line of questioning will be repeated for the last presidential debate, as one of the topics is the Supreme Court.

    During the October 4 vice presidential debate, CBS’ Elaine Quijano asked Republican candidate Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine an open-ended question about how they “struggled to balance [their] personal faith and a public policy decision.” As ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Resser explained, Pence “quickly pivoted to abortion” in his answer, while Kaine, “followed up by saying he trusts women to make this moral choice for themselves.” Although the candidates addressed abortion, as Culp-Resser pointed out, “ the exchange was ultimately situated in a religious and moral context that does a disservice to the bigger issue.”

    In an October 5 article for The New York Times, Katha Pollitt explained why having candidates discuss their abortion positions only in relation to their faith was problematic. She wrote:

    “I wish we didn’t so often discuss abortion rights in the context of religion. We’re not a Christian nation, much less a Catholic or evangelical one. Why should women’s rights have to pass through the eye of a theological needle? Given that the next president will nominate at least one and probably two or three more justices to the Supreme Court, it’s discouraging that we are still talking about abortion as a matter for biblical exegesis.”

    Given the escalating assault on reproductive health care access, it's high time that debate moderators ask substantive questions about abortion that do not focus exclusively on religion or the court and that do not stigmatize the issue. There is a crisis currently underway, and it is likely the presidential nominees have differing views on how to address it -- distinctions the viewing public deserve to hear, and distinctions that can’t be determined by rote questions about religion and litmus tests.

    The final presidential debate will be held on October 19, and if the moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, doesn’t ask about abortion, the 2016 election will be the first since 1976 to include no direct debate questions about reproductive rights.

  • Six Ways Fox Demonstrated Its Disconnect From Latinos During Hispanic Heritage Month

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    From September 15 to October 15, while many in the United States celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the culture of the largest minority population in the country and commending its contributions, Fox News continued to demonstrate its disconnect from Latinos and the issues that affect them most. The network’s coverage of Hispanic Heritage Month was limited to highlighting one high-level Hispanic person during three-minute segments every Saturday, while simultaneously ignoring numerous relevant stories concerning Latinos, denying the impact certain issues have on Hispanic people, mocking relevant members of the community, and providing a platform for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to smear them. Here are six examples:

    Fox Was The Only Cable News Network To Ignore Trump Supporters’ Racist Attacks On A Hispanic Journalist

    On September 12, senior political writer Henry Gomez of Cleveland.com wrote a piece outlining the influx of “racist, hateful messages” from Trump supporters attacking his Mexican heritage, messages that he says “parrot[ed] a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits.” CNN and MSNBC interviewed Gomez and asked about the ethnic slurs he received while covering Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Fox News was the only prominent cable news network not to cover the story.

    The O’Reilly Factor Mocked Prominent Hispanic Journalist Jorge Ramos

    On the October 4 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly dismissed Tim Kaine’s Spanish language skills by arbitrarily taking a jab at one of the “most influential” Hispanic people in the U.S., journalist Jorge Ramos, commenting, “You can be boring if you speak Spanish. Have you ever seen Jorge Ramos?” Attempting to rehabilitate his unwarranted insult on Ramos, O’Reilly later called his remarks “a good line and a cheap line” and said that “Jorge Ramos is not boring” but did not apologize.

    Fox Gave Donald Trump A Platform To Further Attack Former Latina Miss Universe

    After it was revealed that Donald Trump had attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado about her weight and Hispanic heritage, Fox & Friends provided him with a platform to further smear the pageant winner, and he claimed she was “the absolute worst” and “impossible” to work with because she “gained a massive amount of weight.” Trump’s smears were met with no pushback from the Fox hosts.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity Advocated For Stop And Frisk, A Policy That Negatively Targets Blacks And Latinos

    After the October 4 vice presidential debate, Fox host Sean Hannity and Fox regular Rudy Giuliani made the case for stop and frisk. But the policy has been shown to have disproportionately "targeted blacks and Latinos," according to CNN's Jason Carroll, who noted that the practice was deemed unconstitutional in New York City in 2013 and that officials "say the practice severely eroded relations between police and the communities they serve.” Fox figures routinely laud the use of stop and frisk, even though Hispanic media and mainstream outlets have discredited the practice as ineffective and an example of racial profiling.

    Fox’s O’Reilly Misidentified CBS’ Elaine Quijano As “A Latina” And Speculated She Would “Go After Pence About Trump’s Statements And Miss Universe”

    During The O’Reilly Factor’s pre-vice presidential debate analysis, Bill O’Reilly misidentified debate moderator Elaine Quijano as Latina and commented that because of her ethnicity “you’ve got to assume that she’s going to go after Pence about Trump’s statements, and Miss Universe, and all of these other things.” Quijano is in fact Asian-American. Meanwhile, Latinos in the media had been blasting the debate commission for its failure to include a Latino moderator.

    Fox’s Eric Bolling Denied That Latinos Are Disproportionately Victims Of Police Brutality

    On the September 23 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling insisted that “the number of people killed [by police], whether white, black, or Hispanic, is proportional to the amount of violent crimes [they] commit.” This runs contrary to statistics and feeds into a deceiving right-wing media narrative that downplays police brutality against blacks and Latinos. In fact, many media outlets have been pointing out that police brutality against Latinos is often underreported, and Hispanics are increasingly more concerned about racial discrimination.

  • Journalists Shocked VP Debate Failed To Discuss Pence’s Anti-LGBT Record 

    ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    Following the 2016 vice presidential debate moderated by CBS’ Elaine Quijano, media figures were shocked that Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence was able to “escape” discussion of the “most controversial moment” of his career -- signing Indiana’s infamously anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law in 2015.Journalists highlighted Pence’s “aggressively” anti-LGBT track record, and noted that people were “up in arms on Twitter” at the “lack of discussion about Pence’s record on LGBT rights.”

  • Vice Presidential Debate Shows What Happens When Moderators Don’t Fact-Check

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Moderator Elaine Quijano failed to fact-check Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate, enabling him to freely lie about positions advocated by his running mate, Donald Trump, with no repercussions or corrections, highlighting the necessity of moderator fact checks.

    At the debate table, Democratic candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) challenged Pence to answer for a number of Trump’s previously criticized policy positions and statements, including a proposal to create a “deportation task force,” his praise for Vladimir Putin, his advocacy for a ban on Muslim immigrants, and his claim that there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who seek abortions. Pence responded by whitewashing Trump’s past and denying that Trump made the remarks he did. Media, in turn, criticized Pence for defending Trump “by conjuring a candidate who does not exist.”

    For her part, Quijano failed her obligation to clarify the facts to viewers and let audiences know that Pence was lying about Trump’s expressed positions. Quijano could have clarified that Kaine’s questions to Pence contained truth, but instead she allowed Pence to disavow Kaine’s questions as “insults” and deny the validity of his claims.

    Quijano also missed several opportunities to correct Pence’s lies that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supports aborting full-term babies (she doesn’t), is responsible for withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 (she’s not), and wants to turn the Affordable Care Act into a single-payer system (not true).

    Journalists have repeatedly stressed the “obligation” moderators have to their audiences to fact-check candidates during debates, arguing that journalists selected to moderate a debate must distinguish reality from fiction by “asking tough follow-up questions” and adding “clarity if needed.” Research suggests that people who encounter fact-checked news feel more confident that they know what is fact than those contemplating unchecked “he-said-she-said” information.

    Last month, Lester Holt’s moderation of the September 26 presidential debate demonstrated the need for moderators to prove real-time fact checks of blatantly false information, and Matt Lauer’s moderation of the NBC News Commander-in-Chief Forum demonstrated the risks of having moderators who won’t.

    Pence’s freedom to deceive and smear during the vice presidential debate reminds us of the duty moderators have to hold political candidates accountable to the public. Quijano’s failure to push back on Pence’s falsehoods demonstrates the consequences of moderating debates unchecked.

    Fox News host Chris Wallace, who will moderate the final debate this fall, has already declared that he does not intend to ensure candidates are honest, claiming it is not his job "to be a truth squad." Media Matters founder David Brock has penned a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates asking members to reconsider Wallace's selection.

  • Pence Runs With Flawed AP Report To Smear The Clinton Foundation

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    During the 2016 vice presidential debate, Republican Gov. Mike Pence referenced a flawed Associated Press (AP) report to baselessly allege Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was involved in “pay-to-play politics.” The cited AP report falsely suggested that Clinton granted special State Department access to Clinton Foundation donors but included no evidence of wrongdoing. Pence also left out the fact that the AP was forced to take down its misleading tweet on the report, saying it did not meet its journalistic standards.

  • These Are Five Issues Latinos Will Be Expecting Elaine Quijano To Ask Pence About

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    CBS’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the debate between the Republican and Democratic vice presidential nominees, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

    Since no debates will feature a Latino moderator, Hispanic voters are relying on the journalists who were selected to challenge the candidates on issues that matter most to their communities. Pence has a problematic record on issues that are important to Latinos, including the minimum wage, gun violence prevention, climate change, immigration, and access to reproductive rights. Will debate moderator Elaine Quijano challenge him on these topics?

    Minimum Wage

    Pence Signed Law Capping Indiana Minimum Wage, Employee Benefits. In 2013 under Pence’s governorship, the Republican State House rejected a proposal that would have increased Indiana’s minimum wage to $8.25 per hour, at a time when national support for raising the wage to $9 was at 76 percent. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, Pence had previously signed legislation “prohibit[ing] local governments from requiring businesses [to] pay a higher minimum wage, or offer any working condition or benefit, such as paid sick leave, if it's not mandated by state or federal law.” On May 6, 2015, Pence signed another bill ending a system in which workers on publicly funded construction projects earned a prevailing wage.

    Hispanics Support Raising The Federal Minimum Wage And Would Benefit Greatly From The Change. According to Pew, 84 percent of Hispanics support increasing the federal minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage was raised, “nearly 6.8 million Latino workers would benefit” and the wages of Latinos would increase by $8.5 billion, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.

    Gun Violence Prevention

    The NRA Praised Pence For Adopting Its Radical Agenda. The NRA endorsed Pence’s run for governor in 2012, awarding him an “A” rating while noting in a statement, “Mike Pence has a proven record of defending the Second Amendment.” The statement praised Pence for several votes he cast while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, including to support a controversial immunity law that makes it difficult for victims of gun violence to sue gun dealers and manufacturers that arm dangerous people through negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct.

    Latinos Favor Gun Safety Measures. Polls conducted by Pew Research Center demonstrate that, by a wide margin (71 percent to 25 percent), Latinos “prioritize gun control over gun rights.” The numbers are backed by findings from the organization Latino Decisions, which confirmed in a poll that “a solid majority of Latino voters support gun control measures,” according to The Huffington Post. A majority of Latinos also support background checks, a national database of gun owners and a ban on mentally ill people purchasing guns. The Hispanic community has a reason to be concerned about this issue, as a July 2015 study from the Violence Policy Center found that “Hispanics are disproportionately affected by firearms violence in the United States,” with a “homicide victimization rate for Hispanic victims” that is “nearly twice as high as the murder rate for white victims.”

    Climate Change

    Pence Has Been A Climate Science Denier And Has Opposed Governmental Action To Combat Climate Change. Asked on the February 21, 2014, edition of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown about climate change, Pence said, “I don’t know that that  is a resolved issue in science today,” adding, “Just a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven't seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the ‘70s we were talking about the coming ice age." In 2014, he sent a letter to Indiana’s congressional delegation encouraging them to defund the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which combats climate change by placing the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. On June 24, 2015, The Associated Press reported that Pence said that “Indiana won't comply with President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change unless there are significant changes” and that he“threatened to use any legal means available to block the plan.”  Pence tried to soften his denial of climate change on the September 27 edition of CNN’s New Day, saying that “there’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate” -- but rather than offer solutions, Pence advocated “end[ing] the war on coal” and “continu[ing] to develop clean coal technology.”

    Latinos Support Governmental Action On Climate Change, Understand That It’s Caused By Human Action. Latinos are “significantly more likely than whites to say the Earth is warming because of human activities,” and a significant share favor governmental action to protect the environment. Moreover, because the Hispanic community is more likely to be affected by the consequences of climate change, a majority of Hispanics rate climate change as “extremely or very important to them personally,” and 63 percent support governmental action to address this issue.

    Immigration

    Pence’s Record Isn’t Favorable To Undocumented Immigrants, Children Of Immigrants, Or Comprehensive Immigration Reform. According to La Opinión, Pence’s record on immigration issues is “worse than Trump’s” because he has a legislative history on the issue. Pence supported a 2009 measure that would have limited birthright citizenship to children of citizens, people who immigrated legally, and and non-citizens serving in the military.  He also pushed for “self-deportation,” and, as governor of Indiana, he joined a lawsuit to halt the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

    A Majority Of Latinos Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Pew has found that the number of Latino voters that say it’s important that immigration reform passes soon has risen, with 66 percent saying it’s either extremely important or very important in 2014 compared to 60 percent in 2013.

    Reproductive Rights

    Pence Signed “Kitchen Sink” Anti-Choice Bill That Would Place Multiple New Restrictions On Abortion, And He Opposes Planned Parenthood. In March, Pence signed Indiana’s House Enrolled Act 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason the pregnant person gave for the procedure was the fetus’s race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill, which The New York Times called “exceptional for its breadth,” days after the Supreme Court released its decision in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt.

    A Majority Of Latinas Would Support Candidates Who “Protect Abortion Rights.” Recent data contradicts the idea that Latinos lean conservative because of deeply held religious beliefs (more than half are Catholic), and that because of this they have “presumed conservative views on abortion.” The data shows that close to three-quarters of Latinas lean Democrat and 63 percent would back candidates who would “protect abortion rights.”

  • Here Are The Top Investigative Pieces The Moderator Should Read Before The Vice Presidential Debate

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    In light of the upcoming vice presidential debate, here are some of the most important investigative pieces written about Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence -- which CBS News’ Elaine Quijano, the vice presidential debate moderator, should read as part of her preparation. The articles examine Pence’s slow response to an HIV outbreak in Indiana, his close ties to gambling and tobacco interests, and his support for gun restrictions despite rising gun violence in Indiana.

  • At The VP Debate, Mike Pence Should Be Asked About Anti-LGBT "Religious Freedom" Laws

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Before he was chosen as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was arguably best known for the controversy over the “religious freedom” bill he signed into law in 2015. The continuing nationwide debate over “religious freedom” bills and Pence’s repeated refusal to stake out his position on anti-LGBT discrimination makes the vice presidential debate the perfect opportunity to find out where Pence really stands on so-called “religious freedom” laws.

    In March 2015, Pence signed Indiana's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) into law, a move The New York Times called the “most consequential - and controversial” decision Pence made as governor. The law -- which was criticized by religious leaders, members of the business community, legal scholars, and even the Republican mayor of Indianapolis -- provided a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cite their religious beliefs while discriminating against LGBT people.

    The furious backlash to the law put Pence in the center of a nationwide media firestorm, which included a disastrous interview on ABC’s This Week where Pence repeatedly refused to answer a question about whether the RFRA legalized discrimination against LGBT people. At a town hall this past February, Pence again refused to answer whether anti-LGBT discrimination should be legal. 

    The Indiana RFRA is just one component of Pence’s longheld opposition to LGBT equality. Previously, Pence has:

    • said that gay couples signaled a “societal collapse” as part of a 2006 speech advocating for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman;
    • pledged to oppose allowing gay people to serve in the military under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” because “the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion”; and
    • called the 2009 expansion of federal hate crime legislation to include crimes based on sexual orientation a “radical social agenda.”

    Where Pence now stands on so-called “religious freedom” legislation and anti-LGBT discrimination is also a question of importance for Republicans. After the fierce criticism of the RFRA, Pence signed a “fix” to the law aimed at preventing businesses from using the measure to to justify discriminating against LGBT people. That decision drew ire from Christian conservatives who felt betrayed by the move. A Politico article in July noted that evangelicals are “still peeved” over his backtracking on the RFRA, with right-wing Iowa radio host Steve Deace calling it “the worst we’ve ever been stabbed in the back by a Republican.”

    The Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has already made it clear that he supports nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. The October 4 vice presidential debate gives CBS News' Elaine Quijano the chance to ask Pence -- running as part of a presidential ticket that’s attempted to appeal to LGBT voters -- for a definitive answer on whether he supports “religious freedom” legislation that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people. 

  • Trump’s Efforts To Influence Debate Moderator Selection Seem To Have Paid Off

    Moderator Selections Don’t Include A Latino Journalist, But Do Include Someone From Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Donald Trump’s accusations of media bias seem to have paid off as the Commission on Presidential Debates moderator selections for the 2016 presidential debates will include a moderator from Fox News for the first time, but will notably lack Latino representation. Trump had previously warned that he would object to moderators that he considered unfair, and given the selections, it seems that the Republican presidential nominee got his way.

    CNN reported on September 2 that the commission has chosen NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News’ Chris Wallace to be moderators in the three presidential debates, while CBS News’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the debate between vice presidential candidates.

    It was previously reported that the commission was struggling to select moderators who wouldn’t be subjected to accusations of bias, a particular problem this election due to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “aggressive attacks on the media and complaints about unfair treatment.” According to CNN’s Dylan Byers:

    The delay is due in part to an unprecedented challenge the bipartisan Commission faces in selecting individuals who are immune (or at least as immune as possible) to accusations of bias. While that is always a concern for the Commission, the sources said it is more challenging than ever this time around due to one factor: Donald Trump.

    The last thing the Commission wants is for the moderator to become part of the story about a debate. Yet Trump's aggressive attacks on the media and complaints about unfair treatment have effectively guaranteed that the moderators will come under scrutiny from conservatives.

    This has made the Commission even more cautious than usual in researching potential moderators, sources said. The Commission fears that Trump would use even the slightest whiff of a pro-Clinton bias to attack a moderator and undermine his or her credibility.

    With the commission taking into account Trump’s previously levied attacks, it’s not surprising that the commission didn’t include a Latino journalist in their selection of presidential debate moderators. After all, the candidate is on record saying he believes people with Hispanic heritage might not be objective when dealing with him because he has promised to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

    The exclusion of a Hispanic moderator comes as a loss for audiences who could’ve gotten the added perspective of someone with unique understanding of the second largest demographic in the country, a value Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arrarás displayed when moderating the February 25 Republican presidential primary debate. Arrarás pressed the candidates on the nuances of issues that Latinos care most about, spotlighting the value of newsroom diversity.

    Trump had also previously hinted at who he thought would be acceptable and unacceptable as debate moderators, noting “he would ‘object to moderators who he considered to be ‘unfair.’” While discussing possible debate moderators Trump claimed that “certain moderators would be unacceptable,” while also noting that NBC’s Lester Holt, who the commission chose, “is a good guy.” .

    Another area in which it appears Trump got his way is the commission’s choice of Fox News’ Chris Wallace, marking the first time someone from Fox News had moderated a presidential debate and who some have argued presents a “massive conflict” of interest. Until recently, Wallace reported to Roger Ailes, the ousted head of Fox News, who is a close adviser to Trump and is reportedly helping him with debate preparation. Wallace “has been fiercely loyal to Ailes,” publicly defending him amid the sexual harassment allegations that led to his resignation, and his Sunday show has received praise from Trump himself.

    With the choice to include Wallace and to exclude Latinos, it seems like the commission let Trump dictate the conditions for the debates.

  • News outlets contrast McCain and Bush on taxes without noting McCain wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent

    ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

    Reports by ABC, USA Today, and CNN purported to contrast the positions of President Bush and John McCain on tax cuts by noting only McCain's initial opposition to Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. None of the outlets noted, however, that McCain has changed his position and now supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent, or that McCain has repeatedly claimed that he initially opposed the tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts, reasoning he did not mention in his 2001 floor statement explaining his vote.