James Carville

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  • 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.

  • James Carville Calls Out The Media’s False Equivalence

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    Veteran political consultant and commentator James Carville says the media assumes false equivalence when covering major policy disagreements, allowing right-wing misinformation to overshadow clear evidence that Democratic policies on issues like the economy and health care have been successful.

    Carville, who is a guest contributor to Media Matters, recently released We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong, a sequel to his 1996 book We’re Right, They’re Wrong. In an interview with Media Matters, Carville explained that he wrote the book because “the Democratic Party does a very poor job of tootin’ our own horn” while “right-wing blowhards” successfully push misinformation about Democratic policies into mainstream media coverage.

    “The economy performs better under Democrats than Republicans -- there’s no debate there,” Carville explained. “You don’t even have to be an expert to go look up unemployment data. Look up growth. The deficit is remarkably lower under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents.” But Carville argues that reporters’ obsession with presenting “both sides” of policy disagreements -- rather than focusing on evidence -- ends up lending credibility to right-wing misinformation. Conservatives "don’t ever cite any facts for anything that they say. And they just move on.”

    Carville highlighted conservative fearmongering on issues like Obamacare, the Ebola virus -- which some warned was going to “kill us all” -- and climate change as notable examples. “It’s not a disputable fact. The earth is getting warmer; get over it. There‘s not another side of the argument.”

    Carville sees evidence of that same false equivalence in reporting about the presidential election. “I do interviews and they say, ‘Well, we have two unpopular candidates.’ Yes, that’s sort of true, but one is twice as unpopular as the other.”

    In Carville’s view, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy is the natural product of years of fact-free right-wing fearmongering. “I think Trump is the perfect nominee of a party that hates facts. Because he doesn’t know anything. He doesn’t know the nuclear triad from the federal triangle. And he is just exactly what they deserve. They’ve been a fact-denying party from evolution to global warming to economic policy to foreign policy, so why should they be surprised if they have a fact-denying nominee? He fits in perfectly for them.”

    At the same time, Carville sees a double standard in the way reporters handle each candidate's respective controversies. In a March piece for Media Matters, Carville laid out what he dubbed “The Clinton Rule” based on the Beltway media’s obsession with supposed Clinton “scandals”: “There shall be one standard for covering everyone else in public life, and another standard for the Clintons.”

    As a recent example, Carville pointed to the media’s recent scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation and the growing calls for the Clintons to shut it down. He urged Democrats to be blunt in their defense of the foundation: “People are going to die. Yes, people will die when you shut it down.” He dismissed potential hand-wringing over his proclamation: “‘Oh gee, do you think you should you really say that?’ Well it’s a fact.”

    “My message to Democrats is, you’ve been right, get over it. You can be nice, you can be polite about it, but you’ve just been right,” Carville said. “I’m sure it’s going to come a day where we’ll get something wrong and we’ll deal with that, too.”

  • Media Matters' James Carville: We'd Be Glad To Sponsor A GOP Debate Moderated By Talk Radio "Circus Clowns"

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    In a blog post for The Hill, Media Matters contributor James Carville proposed that Media Matters "sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" alongside Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham following the suggestion of conservatives who baselessly claimed previous Republican presidential debates have been moderated by "left-wing operatives."

    Unhappy with the October 28 CNBC Republican presidential primary debate, GOP politicians and campaigns have rallied to seek greater control over future debate formats. Their proposals, including a list of debate demands, have been openly mocked by the media. One recommendation, pitched by presidential candidate Ted Cruz, to hold a Republican "debate moderated by Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh" has been echoed across right-wing media, who have called for more conservative influence in the debate process.

    Carville explained November 4 that after the CNBC debate, "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators 'left-wing operatives' who were out to sabotage the debate," and suggested "that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate" the next one. Carville wrote that Media Matters would be "glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" moderated by Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham, saying "we could not be happier than to allow the clowns of right-wing radio to speak straight to the masses and reveal their true colors. Noting that these right-wing talk radio hosts have a problematic history when it comes to their coverage of most issues, Carville concluded, if "these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in":

    After the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators "left-wing operatives" who were out to sabotage the debate. Now folks, I don't know about you, but I don't think of a network that is full of hosts that regularly deny that climate change is real and is home to Rick Santelli who basically launched the Tea Party with an on-air rant is OUT TO GET the GOP candidates.

    Ladies and gentlemen I've seen a lot of things in my time. But I never thought I'd see a day when my colleague Joan Walsh agreed with Ted Cruz. And you know what, I do too. He made an interesting suggestion that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate a GOP debate. The Nation's Walsh had it right when she said of Cruz's suggestion, "I think the world should get a clear look at the unvarnished spectacle of a Republican Party that is now run by the 'conservative entertainment complex.'"


    Folks, I've been authorized by Media Matters Chairman David Brock to make the following proposal:

    We would be glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate alongside those "real journalists" Ted Cruz is so fond of, and the circus clowns who would be joining us. Let's see who we'd have:

    Rush Limbaugh -- You know the guy who once called a law student a slut for believing she deserved access to birth control, regularly calls high powered women "feminazis," who, on at least one occasion, said he hoped that President Obama "fails," and has a long history of attacking the LGBT community.

    Sean Hannity - The guy who in 2008 said it was "my job" to lead "the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.'" Later that year, Hannity received Media Matters' misinformer of the year award - and repaid us by giving Media Matters his "first annual Left-Wing Obamamania Media Propaganda PC Police Award." Hannity also has a history of race bating, fueling the birther movement, and defending attacks on Islam. Quite a stand up guy. And good news folks, Hannity says he's in!

    Mark Levin - The right-wing radio host who consistently complains that conservatives aren't conservative enough -- calling then-Speaker Boehner the "Benedict Arnold" of the Republican Party for attempting to compromise with Democrats and attacking incoming House Speaker Ryan for not being conservative enough.

    Laura Ingraham -- For good measure, let's also throw in this conservative radio host, who, on her show [Monday], endorsed the idea of co-moderating a GOP debate with fellow right-wing radio hosts. Ingraham claimed she would "be fair to all the candidates" -- but the Fox contributor has repeatedly attacked GOP candidates including Jeb Bush-- saying "there has to be something wrong with" him, that she's "not a fan," and suggesting that Bush and Hillary Clinton run on the same ticket. That's how "fair" she'd be as a debate moderator.

    So yes, Republican Party, if these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in. Media Matters would love to join with the GOP and expose for the public the true beliefs of the "real" conservative media.