FOX Broadcasting Company

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  • STUDY: Cable And Broadcast News Try To Cover The Economy Without Economists

    Economists Made Up 1 Percent Of Guests In The First Quarter Of 2016, While Shows Focused On Campaigns, Inequality

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Expertise from economists was almost completely absent from television news coverage of the economy in the first quarter of 2016, which focused largely on the tax and economic policy platforms of this year’s presidential candidates. Coverage of economic inequality spiked during the period -- tying an all-time high -- driven in part by messaging from candidates on both sides of the aisle, but gender diversity in guests during economic news segments remained low.

  • Bob Woodward Says Questions Remain Unanswered About Clinton's Email, Doesn't Say What Those Questions Are

    Despite Press Conferences, Presidential Debates, And Televised Congressional Testimony, Woodward Says Clinton Needs To Tell Voters, “I’m Going To Answer All The Questions” About Email

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & ALEX MORASH

    Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward asserted on Fox News Sunday that Hillary Clinton still has questions to answer about her emails – despite Clinton holding multiple press conferences on the matter, supporting the release of more than 50,000 pages of emails to the public, facing email questions during several presidential debates, and answering more than 50 questions about her emails during 11 hours of televised testimony before the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi.

  • AP Highlights The Growing Backlash To Trump's Reliance On Phone Interviews

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Associated Press highlighted the backlash to Donald Trump's "fondness" for phone interviews, writing that the practice "is changing habits and causing consternation in newsrooms, while challenging political traditions."

    Media critics have called out news channels' new habit of granting phone interviews to Trump -- an advantage AP explains has not been granted by Sunday political talk shows to any other candidate -- arguing that the format "lacks the balance of a face-to-face exchange because the audience and the interviewer are not allowed to see Trump's expressions and reactions" and "is also more difficult to follow-up and put the subject on the spot to answer questions more directly." Bloomberg View columnist Al Hunt also pointed out that "a phone interview is a lot easier than an in-person interview, and Trump almost always does well in those situations." As AP reported, Media Matters and MomsRising have launched petitions to ask the media to end Trump's phone privilege.

    In a March 26 article, AP examined Trump's phone interview privileges with the media and the growing backlash to them, writing that the practice "often put an interviewer at a disadvantage, since it's harder to interrupt or ask follow-up questions, and impossible to tell if a subject is being coached." AP also noted that Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace and Meet the Press' Chuck Todd are refusing to grant Trump phone interviews:

    In television news, a telephone interview is typically frowned upon. Donald Trump's fondness for them is changing habits and causing consternation in newsrooms, while challenging political traditions.

    Two organizations are circulating petitions to encourage Sunday morning political shows to hang up on Trump. Some prominent holdouts, like Fox's Chris Wallace, refuse to do on-air phoners. Others argue that a phone interview is better than no interview at all.

    Except in news emergencies, producers usually avoid phoners because television is a visual medium -- a face-to-face discussion between a newsmaker and questioner is preferable to a picture of an anchor listening to a disembodied voice.

    It's easy to see why Trump likes them. There's no travel or TV makeup involved; if he wishes to, Trump can talk to Matt Lauer without changing out of his pajamas. They often put an interviewer at a disadvantage, since it's harder to interrupt or ask follow-up questions, and impossible to tell if a subject is being coached.

    Face-to-face interviews let viewers see a candidate physically react to a tough question and think on his feet, said Chris Licht, executive producer of "CBS This Morning." Sometimes that's as important as what is being said.

    Trump tends to take over phone interviews and can get his message out with little challenge, Wallace said.

    "The Sunday show, in the broadcast landscape, I feel is a gold standard for probing interviews," said Wallace, host of "Fox News Sunday." ''The idea that you would do a phone interview, not face-to-face or not by satellite, with a presidential candidate -- I'd never seen it before, and I was quite frankly shocked that my competitors were doing it."

    [...]

    Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," has done phoners with Trump but now said he's decided to stick to in-person interviews on his Sunday show. He's no absolutist, though.

    "It's a much better viewer experience when it's in person," Todd said. "Satellite and phoners are a little harder, there's no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, you'll take something over nothing."

    [...]

    Since the campaign began, Trump has appeared for 29 phone interviews on the five Sunday political panel shows, according to the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America. Through last Sunday, ABC's "This Week" has done it 10 times, CBS' "Face the Nation" seven and six times each on "Meet the Press" and CNN's "State of the Union."

    None of these shows has done phoners with Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, said Media Matters, which is urging that the practice be discontinued.

    The activist group MomsRising said the disparity "sends the message that some candidates can play by different rules, without consequences, and that's just un-American."

  • "A Travesty Of Journalism": Experts React To Broadcast Networks' Decline In Climate Change Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    Networks climate

    It is nothing short of stunning that in 2015, a year that featured more newsworthy climate-related events than ever before, the broadcast networks' coverage of climate change declined. The networks have a responsibility to educate the public about the impacts that climate change is having on our security, our economy, and our health.

    In response to Media Matters' new analysis of climate change coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox in 2015, members of Congress, climate scientists, environmental advocates, and other experts criticized the networks for providing too little climate change coverage and too much climate science denial.

    Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI): "In a year when nearly 200 countries around the world collectively recognized the threat of climate change and the United States made historic commitments to cut carbon pollution, major networks actually cut their media coverage of climate change. In 2015, the network Sunday shows devoted just 73 minutes to climate change, a ten percent decrease from the year before. What makes these findings even more troubling is the fact that with the little time devoted to climate change, these Sunday shows continued to mislead their audiences by including climate denial as part of the discussion. The facts are clear. Scientists, governments, and major corporations around the world have accepted the facts about climate change and are having real debates on solutions. In this consequential election year, it's time for news broadcasters to do the same."

    Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY): "As the co-founder of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, I read Media Matters' new study and it's a wake up call to the news networks. The most important long term global and national issue shouldn't be getting short-thrift. People need more information, not less."

    Michael Mann, climate scientist at Penn State University: "It is unconscionable that so many purportedly mainstream media outlets continue to misinform the public when it comes to the matter of human-caused climate change. History will not look back kindly upon television news networks that had an opportunity to inform the public about this existential threat, and instead chose to serve as willing mouthpieces for denialist fossil fuel interests."

    Kevin Trenberth, climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research: "These results are disturbing. ... It is evident that the networks are gun shy about climate change, most likely because advertisers demand it.  It is a very sad state of affairs that the science of climate change and the continuing evidence about it is hidden from listeners.  What is done about the problem should be a separate matter entirely from whether we have a problem. Climate change is already with us and is causing mostly adverse effects every day, but the public is not well informed."

    Liz Perera, Sierra Club climate policy director: "This past year, we have seen unprecedented progress tackling the unprecedented danger that climate change poses to our families, yet the major networks seem to dedicate more time to covering the Kardashians than this public health crisis. Americans deserve to know the truth about how the climate crisis is affecting the world around us and how clean energy is helping solve the problem. Ignoring that reality only serves the interests of the big polluters and undermines the health and well-being of all American families."

    David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's climate program: "It is beyond shocking that broadcast network coverage of climate change declined in 2015. If we don't act quickly to mitigate climate change, it will cause devastating harm to our economy, our health, and our security. Last year's high temperatures shattered the previous record, set just one year earlier. At the same time, 2015 was probably the most momentous year in history on climate change, with a landmark Paris deal, the Obama Administration's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, the first-ever federal rules curbing carbon pollution from power plants, the Pope's encyclical, and more. The media should be covering climate change as if it were World War III, and they have plenty of material to work with. It's a travesty of journalism to commit such a small and declining amount of air time to the existential threat we face from runaway greenhouse gas emissions."

    Riley Dunlap, environmental sociologist at Oklahoma State University: "I am not surprised that there was more TV coverage of climate change denial in 2015, as historically there is a pattern of the 'denial machine' ramping up its efforts whenever the possibility of meaningful action on climate change seems imminent.  This began with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and has continued, so I'm not surprised to see more coverage of denialists last year because of the Paris [climate agreement].  The conservative think tanks and front groups behind the denial campaign, and the small number of contrarian scientists aligned with them, have great success in obtaining media exposure in general.  And they really go into overdrive when they fear that national legislation or an international treaty could be enacted.  The disappointing thing is that mainstream media still give them a forum."

  • Why Won't Interviewers Ask Trump About Campaign Manager's Alleged Assault Of Reporter?

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sunday political talk shows on NBC, CNN, Fox, and CBS all failed to ask Donald Trump during interviews about the allegation that his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, roughed up Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.

    According to Fields, she was "grabbed" and "yanked" down while attempting to ask Trump a question as the GOP front-runner left a March 8 press conference. Audio of the incident obtained by Politico indicates that Fields told Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, "That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me," and that Terris identified Lewandowski as the assailant.

    Fields filed charges against Lewandowski but is encountering blowback from the Trump campaign, which denies the incident ever occurred, and from her own employer Breitbart News. Critics have noted that Breitbart News has an especially cozy relationship with the Trump campaign and have pointed out that the news organization has failed to strongly take Fields' side in the controversy.

    Although Sunday news shows Meet the Press, State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, and Face the Nation all asked Trump about his condoning of violence at his rallies during March 13 broadcasts, none of the shows asked Trump about Fields' assault allegation.

    By contrast, the two Sunday media criticism shows, CNN's Reliable Sources and Fox News' MediaBuzz, both mentioned the incident.

    On Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter provided an update on the story, reporting Fields "is hiring an attorney, she's the Breitbart reporter who was roughed up by someone, possibly Trump's campaign manager, at a press conference earlier in the week. The campaign denied that the campaign manager was involved, suggesting she made it all up."

    While Fox's MediaBuzz did air a pre-recorded interview with Trump where host Howard Kurtz did not ask Trump about Fields, later in the show Kurtz brought the incident up during a panel discussion.

    During that discussion, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky slammed Breitbart News, saying, "I don't think, of the 25 years I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever heard a news organization not stand by its reporter in a situation like this. It's just an unbelievable thing to me. It makes them a not a news organization, it makes them a Trump organization, at least with respect to this incident. It's just unbelievable."

  • Minorities Largely Excluded From Climate Change Discussions On Sunday Shows

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    latinos

    The African-American and Latino communities were badly underrepresented in climate change discussions on the network Sunday shows last year, according to a new Media Matters analysis, despite being among those who are most vulnerable to climate impacts.

    Of the 33 guests invited onto the major broadcast networks' Sunday news shows to discuss climate change last year, only 12 percent were non-white. The climate change conversations on the Sunday shows, which often set the media and political agenda for the week, included only two African-Americans, one Latino, and one Asian-American. This is a gross underrepresentation of the African-American and Latino communities in particular. African-Americans and Latinos made up 6 and 3 percent of the Sunday show guests who were asked about climate change, respectively. According to the most recent U.S. Census, African-Americans comprise 13.2 percent of the country's population and Latinos comprise 17.4 percent.

    Moreover, two of the four non-white guests -- including the only Latino -- were Republican presidential candidates who are also climate science deniers: Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. In an April 19 interview on CBS' Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer allowed Rubio to question the "percentage" of climate change that is "due to human activity," failing to point out in response that the vast majority of climate scientists say human activities are the primary factor in climate change. And on the February 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Carson to respond to criticism from "some Democrats" that "there are some elements in the Republican Party, both candidates and voters, who deny science, whether it is vaccinations, or climate change or evolution." Carson did not address climate change in his response, and then Wallace moved on to a discussion of "politics."

    The other African-American guest was American Meteorological Society president Marshall Shepherd, who was invited on Face the Nation on December 13 to discuss the landmark international climate agreement reached in December at a United Nations conference in Paris. The Asian-American guest was Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, who appeared on a Fox News Sunday panel discussion of the Paris climate agreement, also on December 13.

    Looking at the results by show, two of the four non-white guests -- Shepherd and Rubio -- appeared on CBS' Face the Nation, comprising one-third of Face the Nation's six total guests who were asked about climate change. The other two non-white guests, Carson and Tanden, appeared on Fox News Sunday, which hosted 18 total guests to discuss climate change in 2015. Neither ABC's This Week nor NBC's Meet the Press hosted a single non-white guest to discuss climate change in 2015. 

    Ethnicity chart

    The African-American and Latino communities were largely left out of the climate change discussion even though climate change affects them disproportionately. The NAACP has noted that African-Americans are particularly at risk from climate impacts such as rising sea levels, food insecurity, and heat-related deaths because they are more likely than whites to live in urban and coastal areas. New Hispanic immigrants are also more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to the National Climate Assessment, due to "[l]ow wages, unstable work, language barriers, and inadequate housing."

    Furthermore, minority communities have the most to gain from the shift away from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council found that low-income communities face disproportionate health impacts from fossil fuel pollution, and that shifting to low carbon energy sources can lessen these impacts. In 2014, a report from the NAACP found that nearly three-quarters of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. African-Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to die from asthma-related causes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Hispanic children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic whites.

    This may help explain why African-Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. overwhelmingly support acting on climate change, according to multiple polls. And why prominent civil rights organizations have expressed support for the the Obama Administration's flagship climate policy, the Clean Power Plan -- including the NAACP, The League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council of La Raza, and many more.

    The lack of minority voices in the Sunday shows' climate coverage is in line with a broader lack of diversity on the Sunday shows that Media Matters has continued to observe. According to a new Media Matters study of diversity on the Sunday shows in 2015, the percentage of guests on the four network Sunday shows -- and CNN's State of the Union -- who were people of color ranged from 17 percent on Face the Nation to 25 percent on Meet the Press. And no more than a quarter of the guests on any of the Sunday shows were people of color in 2014, either.

    chart

    Civil rights and environmental justice advocates have previously spoken out against the underrepresentation of communities of color in the media. Prominent advocates for the nation's Latino community have highlighted how the media's nearly complete lack of Latino representation ranges from the dearth of Latino voices and perspectives included in English-language news to the absence of substantive coverage of issues that matter most to Latinos.

    As Elizabeth Yeampierre, the executive director of the environmental justice organization Uprose, has explained to Media Matters, "understanding the intersectionality" between climate change and social justice is "really important. We can't pick, we can't choose. It all matters to us, all of these issues."

    Yeampierre further wrote in The Guardian:

    Those of us from low-income communities of color are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. US cities and towns that are predominantly made up of people of color are also home to a disproportionate share of the environmental burdens that are fueling the climate crisis and shortening our lives.

    *This post has been updated to incorporate the newly-published study of diversity on Sunday shows in 2015.

  • Sen. Schatz, Rep. Israel Call Out Broadcast Networks' Lacking Climate Coverage As "Troubling," "Wake Up Call"

    Media Matters Study Found Major Networks Aired Less Climate Coverage In 2015 Despite Landmark Actions

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    schatz israel

    Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) responded to a Media Matters study revealing that the major broadcast networks' climate change coverage declined in 2015. The analysis found that the nightly news and Sunday show programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox collectively spent 5 percent less time covering climate change than in 2014, even though there were more newsworthy climate-related events than in previous years. Additionally, the networks rarely addressed the impacts of climate change on national security, the economy, or public health, yet most still found time to provide a forum for climate science denial.

    In an email to Media Matters, Israel called the study's findings "a wake up call to the news networks," adding that climate change is the "most important long term global and national issue" and should not be overlooked. And in a March 7 press release, Schatz called the findings "troubling," and stated: "The facts are clear. Scientists, governments, and major corporations around the world have accepted the facts about climate change and are having real debates on solutions. In this consequential election year, it's time for news broadcasters to do the same." Read their full statements below:

    Rep. Israel's statement:

    As the co-founder of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, I read Media Matters' new study and it's a wake up call to the news networks. The most important long term global and national issue shouldn't be getting short-thrift. People need more information, not less.

    Sen. Schatz's statement:  

    In a year when nearly 200 countries around the world collectively recognized the threat of climate change and the United States made historic commitments to cut carbon pollution, major networks actually cut their media coverage of climate change. In 2015, the network Sunday shows devoted just 73 minutes to climate change, a ten percent decrease from the year before. What makes these findings even more troubling is the fact that with the little time devoted to climate change, these Sunday shows continued to mislead their audiences by including climate denial as part of the discussion. The facts are clear. Scientists, governments, and major corporations around the world have accepted the facts about climate change and are having real debates on solutions. In this consequential election year, it's time for news broadcasters to do the same.

  • REPORT: Women's Voices Shut Out Of 2015 News Coverage Of Foreign Affairs And National Security

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Weekday evening cable news overwhelmingly booked men to discuss foreign affairs and national security issues in 2015, with women accounting for only 20 percent of the total featured guests and commentators on prime-time CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC broadcasts. Women made up just 23 percent of guests on segments about foreign affairs and national security on prominent Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC during the same time period.

  • Chris Wallace Ignores Fox's Role In Legitimizing Trump While Pressing Romney On Accepting Trump's 2012 Endorsement

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace ignored the role Fox News played in paving the ascent of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump while suggesting former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney "legitimiz[ed]" Trump by accepting his endorsement during the 2012 election.

    On March 3, Romney delivered a speech highly critical of Trump, saying that, if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president, "the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished." Romney criticized Trump's economic plans, his past business failures, and his foreign policy stances, and called Trump "a con man, a fake" who is "playing the members of the American public for suckers."

    During a March 6 interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace asked Romney whether his "legitimizing" of Trump by accepting his endorsement in 2012 -- given Trump's past business failures and history of "making the birther argument" against President Obama -- was partially responsible for his current status as Republican presidential front-runner (emphasis added):

    CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): While you took down Donald Trump pretty hard this week, you had a very different view of him four years ago when he endorsed you. Take a look.

    MITT ROMNEY (VIDEO CLIP): There are some things that you just can't imagine happening in your life. This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people.

    WALLACE: Governor, what changed?

    ROMNEY: Oh, let me tell you, this is a guy, if we look at the past, this is a guy who was very successful, made a lot of money for himself. But at the same time, take a very close look and look how many small people he crushed along the way and how many failures he had. And so we can talk about the past at great length. I had a lot of people who endorsed me who I wouldn't endorse for president. Donald Trump just happens to be one of those who endorsed me I do not want to see as president of the United States. And there's a long list of those who are endorsers. Sixty-one million people voted for me. I don't think all 61 million people ought to be president of the United States.

    WALLACE: But you were talking at the time about his extraordinary ability to create jobs, his understanding of the economy. I mean, it's not like everything that Donald Trump that you believe he did wrong has happened in the last four years. A lot of those business failures that you talk about happened before 2012. Before 2012 he was making the birther argument that President Obama needed to show his birth certificate because he wasn't born in the United States. I guess part of the question is, by legitimizing him back then, were you part of the reason he's where he is now?

    But Fox News shares guilt for legitimizing Donald Trump. In 2011, Trump became a fixture on Fox & Friends when the cable news channel announced that Trump would have a regular weekly segment called "Monday Mornings with Trump" on its flagship morning show. In March and April 2011, multiple Fox News hosts and personalities hyped Trump's fallacious demands that President Obama release his birth certificate and promoted Trump's birther myths in at least 52 segments.

    Since May 2015, Fox News has given Donald Trump more than double the airtime than any other Republican presidential candidate. And since Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015, Fox hosts have repeatedly defended the worst of his toxic rhetoric and controversies, including his failure to disavow support from the Ku Klux Klan.