Fox News figures attacked President Obama's new call for gun safety measures after a gunman killed two journalists as they delivered a live TV report in Virginia, saying Obama's remarks were "too soon" and was "politicizing tragedy." This comes a day after the father of one of the shooting victims also called for gun safety measures during an appearance on Fox News.
Conservative pundits are hailing Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while mainstream media and experts are pointing out how the costly proposal would disproportionately harm low-income Americans and those with preexisting conditions.
The New York Times' latest botched story on emails from former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shows why reporters shouldn't trust leaks from anonymous partisan sources, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote in an August 1 op-ed in The Huffington Post.
Cummings, the ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, detailed how the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks "has been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack" Clinton. The Times' recent rush to rely on anonymous "Capitol Hill" sourcing falsely claiming Clinton was the target of a potential criminal investigation -- which resulted in the paper having to issue multiple corrections and answer questions about its credibility -- is only the most recent example of reporters failing to verify information from anonymous sources when it comes to Clinton:
Congressional investigations into the attacks in Benghazi have been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many of these attacks rely on anonymous sources to describe -- and often mischaracterize -- documents reporters have not seen.
Last week, the New York Times fell victim to this ploy, reporting that "[t]wo inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information."
I believe the Times' errors, like many before them, could have been avoided. I learned the truth on Thursday -- before the Times' story ran.
The Times' Executive Editor has suggested that its reporters could not have done anything differently because they relied on anonymous senior government officials, which the paper's Public Editor later explained included tips from "Capitol Hill."
I disagree. The Times could have insisted on seeing the documents they were describing. Or, if the Times spoke with Republicans in Congress, even off the record, they could have checked their facts with me or other Committee Democrats.
Unfortunately, this rush to print anonymous, unverified claims against Secretary Clinton is not unique.
Just last month, Politico was forced to correct a front-page story that relied on an anonymous source who apparently provided doctored information about an email that was produced to the Select Committee, rather than seeing the documents or contacting my office. Chairman Gowdy refused to investigate or condemn this leak.
Similarly, in May 2013, an anonymous source provided a description of an email from NSC staffer Ben Rhodes that misrepresented statements he made about the Benghazi talking points. CNN ultimately reviewed the email and reported that the information had been "seemingly invented" by the source.
Reporters have an obligation to ask why these sources demand to remain anonymous while refusing to provide copies of the documents they are peddling. No scoop should be too good to verify.
But the core problem is that these anonymous sources have an agenda, which is to manufacture facts to attack Secretary Clinton.
Media outlets called out a conservative group for deceptively editing a video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortions. As many articles pointed out, the full, unedited footage shows the official discussing the reimbursement cost of consensual, legal tissue donations.
From HuffPost Live on June 12:
Univision and the Los Angeles Times have thoroughly debunked an ad by the anti-immigrant group Californians For Population Stabilization (CAPS) that blames California's drought-induced water shortage on immigration.
Although CAPS presents itself as an organization focused on "preserv[ing] the environment," numerous experts have pointed out that the group disingenuously uses environmental concerns to promote an anti-immigrant agenda. For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has described CAPS as "a nativist organization masquerading as an environmental group." Similarly, Huffington Post reported that the executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) remarked of CAPS: "They're basically trying to find any way to spin their anti-immigrant vitriol, so hey, why not choose the environment?" And NBC News reported that "[t]he National Council of La Raza said CAPS can say their concern is the environment, but that it is actually an anti-immigrant group."
According to SPLC, CAPS is part of an anti-immigration network that includes several organizations that have been labeled as "hate groups." Further, SPLC notes that CAPS has received funding from the Pioneer Fund, which has bankrolled "leading Anglo-American race scientists." The California drought is not the first example of CAPS exploiting a crisis in order to advance its anti-immigrant agenda -- in 2011, the group used California's unemployment rate to advocate for "slow[ing] legal immigration."
CAPS' television ad that plays on concerns about the drought features a young boy asking, "[i]f Californians are having fewer children, why isn't there enough water?" On the May 27 edition of Univision's Noticiero Univision, correspondent Luis Megid interviewed San Francisco State University professor Oswaldo Garcia about the ad:
Garcia, a meteorology professor and tropical climatology expert, dismissed CAPS' claims. He noted that although California's population has grown, 80 percent of the state's developed water supply is used for agricultural -- not residential -- purposes.
The Los Angeles Times also rebutted CAPS in both a news article and column. Addressing CAPS' claims in a May 24 article, the Times reported:
Some drought experts have taken issue with [CAPS'] claims, pointing out that the majority of the state's water supports agriculture.
Blaming the drought on immigrants "doesn't fit the facts," said William Patzert, a climatologist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The drought is caused by meager snowpack and poor planning, he said, "not because the immigrants are drinking too much water or taking too many showers.
Others point out that many immigrants probably use less water than the average California resident because they tend to live in multi-family dwellings, not higher-consuming single-family homes.
"It's unlikely that the 'burden' of immigrants is very significant," said Stephanie Pincetl, professor in residence at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA."
Additionally, in a May 26 column, the Times' Michael Hiltzik wrote that CAPS was "exploit[ing]" the drought by "immigrant bashing," and added that "pointing the finger at immigrants" is "cynical, dishonest and factually incorrect." Hiltzik noted that even with population growth, "a sharp reduction in urban per capital water use" has allowed the state's total water consumption to go down (emphasis added):
The truth is that California has been able to sustain that huge increase in population without a commensurate increase in water consumption--actually, with a decrease in water consumption. In 1990, when the census placed the state's population at 29.8 million, the state's freshwater withdrawals came to 35.1 billion gallons per day, according to the authoritative U.S. Geological Survey. In 2010, with a population of 37.3 million, that state drew 31.1 billion gallons per day.
How did that happen? Chiefly through a sharp reduction in urban per capital water use, which has been falling steadily since the mid-1990s, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, and especially in the populous coastal zone.
CAPS' anti-immigration claims, which were recently echoed by the National Review, are reminiscent of other conservative media outlets that have used the California drought as an opportunity to baselessly attack environmental policies.
Republican presidential-hopeful Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has faced criticism from Hispanic news media for his extreme conservative policy positions on health care and immigration, which are out of line with the majority of Latino voters.
Medios en inglés con interés en audiencias hispanas cubrieron recientemente las declaraciones del Senador de la Florida, Marco Rubio, en las que confirmaba su cambio de postura frente a la reforma migratoria que antes apoyaba, y que habría significado la estabilidad migratoria para millones de latinos. Sin embargo, los principales medios televisivos en español reaccionaron a las declaraciones de Rubio con silencio absoluto.
Rubio reafirmó su oposición a una reforma comprensiva de inmigración durante el segmento de preguntas y respuestas en su participación como ponente el 27 de febrero en la conferencia de la derecha conservadora CPAC (por sus siglas en inglés), en la que le dijo al presentador de Fox News Sean Hannity que "ha aprendido" desde la época en que apoyaba la reforma migratoria:
Traducido de sus declaraciones en CPAC:
Y sí, tenemos entre 10 y 12 millones de personas que han vivido aquí, algunos por más de una década, que no han roto ninguna ley migratoria, entiendo todo eso. Pero lo que he aprendido es que no se puede siquiera tener una conversación al respecto hasta que la gente crea y sepa - no solo crea, sepa - que la inmigración ilegal futura puede ser controlada.
Medios en inglés con interés en audiencias latinas cubrieron prontamente esta afirmación del cambio de postura de Rubio con respecto a la inmigración. Fusion calificó las declaraciones como de arrepentimiento, sugiriendo que el cambio tenía como meta ganarse el cariño de la base conservadora. De manera parecida, el Huffington Post consideró las declaraciones como un intento de Rubio por ganarse la simpatía de los conservadores.
Rubio, que ha dicho que quiere ser mucho más que la etiqueta del "candidato hispano", pertenecía al grupo bipartidista de ocho senadores que prepararon el proyecto de reforma migratoria que el Senado aprobó en junio de 2013, pero que la Cámara de Representantes, liderado por el partido Republicano, jamás llevó a votación. Rubio públicamente cambió su postura luego de que los medios conservadores y la derecha le hicieran fuerte oposición. El Nuevo Herald citó al director ejecutivo del grupo pro-inmigración America's Voice opinando al respecto del cambio de postura:
"Fue valiente. Hizo una labor brillante con el proyecto de ley del Senado. Entonces le dio miedo", dijo Frank Sharry, director ejecutivo de America's Voice (La Voz de EEUU), un grupo de activistas de inmigración. "Pasó de ser un ejemplo de coraje en el tema de la inmigración a un asqueroso político más". [El Nuevo Herald, 2/21/15]
Sin embargo, los principales medios de TV en español, que se refieren a Rubio como un candidato hispano, respondieron a sus declaraciones en CPAC con un silencio notable. La falta de estos medios al no resaltar lo que el Washington Post está llamando un énfasis por parte de Rubio para poner distancia entre él y la reforma migratoria que apoyó en el pasado, impacta negativamente la información política de sus audiencias - las mismas a las que Rubio apela con su fluidez en español - y que son, también, las que pueden ser directamente afectadas por la falta de acción legislativa en el tema migratorio.
Media Matters utilizó TVeyes para hacer una búsqueda entre los archivos de video con los términos "Rubio AND inmigración OR inmigracion OR frontera"entre el período de tiempo iniciado el27 de febrero hasta el presente.
Media Matters Founder and Chairman of the Board David Brock called on The New York Times to issue a "prominent correction as soon as possible" after publishing what he called a "wholly inadequate" article about Hillary Clinton's use of a non-government email account during her tenure as secretary of state.
In a March 2 report, the Times insinuated that Clinton violated the law by using a non-government email address while serving as secretary of state. The Huffington Post published an excerpt of Brock's letter on Tuesday.
"Michael Schmidt's March 2 article alleging that Hillary Clinton may have been 'breaking rules' by using a personal, non-government email account while serving as secretary of state has unraveled under scrutiny, and I am writing to ask that the Times issue a prominent correction as soon as possible," Brock wrote. He concluded:
The Schmidt article failed to meet the highest journalistic standards that readers expect of The New York Times. Since it was published, the Times has been leaning on other reporters to vet the story after the fact. Our hope is that after reviewing the situation, the Times will do the right thing and correct this sloppy, innuendo-laden report in a prominent place.
Read Brock's open letter to The New York Times:
The Washington Post's recent controversial reporting on the Secret Service is facing fresh scrutiny after new revelations put in question the Post's reliance on unnamed sources.
In late October, it was revealed that David Nieland, the lead investigator in the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) 2012 review of the Secret Service prostitution scandal, had resigned from DHS after facing allegations he personally solicited a prostitute. The Post had relied heavily on Nieland in addition to an anonymous source for its prostitution story on October 8. On November 1, The Post was forced to correct a story that improperly alleged an armed "felon" entered an elevator with President Obama during his visit to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in September - while he had an arrest record, the armed security guard "had not been convicted of a felony." Finally, a report from an independent Inspector General described "problematic" monitoring of an employee's home as lasting a few days, not more than two months, as the Post had originally alleged.
Now, Huffington Post senior media reporter Michael Calderone has questioned the Post's heavy reliance on unnamed sources in light of these revelations. In a November 3 article, Calderone turned to the Post's latest correction as an example of a troubling trend:
News outlets are often forced to update stories with additional details that emerge after publication. But for the Post, whose reporting led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, the correction could prove costly. Its coverage of the embattled agency was widely praised in media circles and had been expected to rack up journalism prizes, but now, three separate stories have come under scrutiny.
Taken together, these instances raise questions about the sources, often anonymous, the Post relied on for its coverage of the Secret Service. Even so, executive editor Marty Baron has continued to defend the paper's reporting, as he did again Monday in an email to The Huffington Post.
[...]Baron did not respond to a question about how the Post remains confident in the other details provided by its anonymous sources, given that the claim that Tate was a felon is inaccurate.
CNN co-host and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for Secretary of State John Kerry's resignation for comparing climate change to a "weapon of mass destruction." However, media coverage of Gingrich's call has largely left out that Gingrich once agreed with Kerry on climate change, even standing with him on stage touting Kerry's book, in which he called climate change the "single largest threat" to mankind.
On February 18, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kerry discussed climate change as a national security threat, saying "in a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." Gingrich responded in a misspelled tweet, calling for Kerry's resignation:
The Huffington Post claimed in an article on his tweets, that "Gingrich has repeatedly dismissed the dangers of man-made climate change." But that article, like similar ones in The Washington Post, The Hill, and conservative media, failed to mention that less than a decade ago, Gingrich was sitting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on a couch, agreeing we should act on climate change.
As Republicans gear up to filibuster yet another of President Obama's highly-qualified judicial nominees, Democrats are mulling Senate rule changes to allow a straight up-or-down vote on these picks. After unprecedented obstructionism on the part of the GOP, media should note that the so-called "nuclear option" may be the only way for these nominees to get a vote.
Media coverage of nuclear power often suggests that environmentalists are illogically blocking the expansion of a relatively safe, low-carbon energy source. However, in reality, economic barriers to nuclear power -- even after decades of subsidies -- have prevented the expansion of nuclear power. While nuclear power does provide meaningful climate benefits over fossil fuels, economic factors and the need for strict safety regulations have led many environmentalists to focus instead on putting a price on carbon, which would benefit all low-carbon energy sources including nuclear.
Conservative media have championed the recent spate of state-restrictions on women's constitutional right to abortion access as necessary to protect women's health. But a new report reveals the heavy toll the laws have taken on women's health clinics around the country.
After the 2010 midterm elections, state legislatures passed a record number of restrictions on abortion, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Twenty-four states enacted 92 provisions restricting access to abortion services, a number which tripled the former record set in 2005. The next year, 2012, was the second-highest year on record for new abortion restrictions, with 19 states passing 43 provisions limiting women's access.
Fox News and conservative media championed this flood of abortion restrictions, claiming the measures are necessary to protect women's health and denying that the laws would affect women's access to clinics. In June, Fox contributors Kirsten Powers and Monica Crowley claimed that reproductive rights groups' fears over Texas' infamous SB5 bill -- predicted to force most of the state's clinics to close -- were exaggerated and "ridiculous," because, as Powers stated, "I don't think that many clinics are going to close."
But according to a nationwide analysis released August 26 by the Huffington Post, at least 54 abortion providers in 27 states have closed their doors or ended abortion services since 2010, and "several more clinics are only still open because judges have temporarily blocked legislation that would make it difficult for them to continue to operate." The report found that the states which enacted severe new abortion restrictions and slashed funding planning funding also lost the most clinics -- Texas has lost nine clinics, or more than 20 percent of the state's total abortion facilities.
The state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute explained to Huffington Post that this level of clinic closures is "incredibly dramatic." She went on, "What we've been seeing since 1982 was a slow decline, but this kind of change ... [is] so different from what's happened in the past."
Rather than protecting women's health, these new restrictions -- and the striking number of clinic closures they force -- place women in severe danger. Requiring women to travel long distances in order to exercise their constitutional right to abortion means procedures will often be delayed, which puts women's health in jeopardy.
Right-wing media have marked the 40th Anniversary of Title IX by attacking equal opportunity efforts for women in the "STEM" fields of science, technology, engineering, or math. The historic civil rights law prohibits discrimination in federally-funded education programs or activities on the basis of sex.
Conservative media has not only argued that such affirmative action is unconstitutional, but has gone farther and argued that the law does not apply beyond scholastic sports and requires quotas. They also insist that women simply do not want to study or work in science-or math-related fields. The first three claims are demonstrably incorrect; the fourth assertion contradicts numerous studies and cannot satisfactorily explain the disproportionate under-representation of women in these educational fields.
On the July 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson hosted a segment that touched on all of these discredited arguments in an interview with Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects for the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bader concluded the interview by asserting that women are heavily underrepresented in the STEM fields because they naturally choose "organic subjects like people, plants, animals, biology, psychology." Carlson then ended the interview, noting that there "could be" a counter argument to this last claim.
Bader's Fox and Friends appearance is only the most recent example of conservative attacks on the Obama Administration's efforts to utilize Title IX for the promotion of equal opportunity in science and math education.
For example, Sabrina Schaeffer and Carrie Lukas of the conservative Independent Women's Forum did the same on June 18 and June 22 in the Huffington Post and U.S. News, respectively, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers took aim at sex-based affirmative action on July 17 in USA Today, and New York Post columnist Kyle Smith used the front page to launch a July 14 op-ed that was particularly reliant on sex stereotypes.
These conservative commentators repeated Bader's false claims: that Title IX's scope is limited to athletics, the Obama administration is proposing quotas, equal opportunity efforts disregard women's aversion to science and math, and affirmative action on the basis of sex is unconstitutional.
All of these conservative critiques are incorrect or unsubstantiated.