From the January 17 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz:
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It's true: campaign finance law is absurdly difficult for media to explain to American voters. The numbers are abstractly large, the rules are complicated, and everyone wonders if American voters actually care.
The polls certainly seem to say Americans are concerned. Across the political spectrum, voters consistently tell the media the tidal wave of money in politics is a grave problem and the case that opened the flood gates -- Citizens United -- should be overturned. Whether it's Republicans complaining about the "special interests" of Washington, D.C. or Democrats warning about the billionaires running our campaigns, the message is clear: clean elections matter.
The editorial boards and television pundits seem to agree. Like clockwork, with every new discouraging development handed down by the courts on campaign finance law, every new revelation of the monied power brokers pulling politicians' strings, every new failure to effectively enforce the election regulations on the books, solemn editorials are written and monologues are delivered warning American voters that the system has become at-risk to rampant corruption and conflicts of interest.
And yet here we are: live on Fox Business Network during their televised presidential debate, under questioning from FBN's Maria Bartiromo, a major presidential candidate just admitted he violated a basic campaign finance transparency rule in a fashion that runs antithetical to his core political image and he seems to think no one cares. He certainly doesn't seem to be afraid of the media calling him out, although some are trying. How else do we describe the embarrassing image of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), ostensibly one of the most intelligent legislators in Congress, brazenly admitting in a live presidential debate he broke the law as a senatorial candidate by taking a roughly million dollar campaign loan from Goldman Sachs and Citibank without properly disclosing the sources to the Federal Election Commission (FEC)?
Maybe the reason Bartiromo didn't follow up her original question with anything more than a "thank you" was that she was as stunned as the rest of us.
Yes, the candidate also misled about the details of his election violation on national television and media fact checkers duly called out the bait-and-switch after. Disclosing the possible conflict of interest in receiving a million dollars from Goldman Sachs (this Goldman Sachs) and Citibank while you're campaigning as a man of the people railing against the big bad establishment is not the same thing as disclosing the possible conflict of interest after you've been elected, a conflation the candidate nevertheless attempted to sell with a straight face during the debate. That's like a voter explaining they didn't properly register before they cast a ballot but did so afterwards, so it's all good.
That's not how it works.
Election disclosure laws are supposed to inform Americans before they vote so they can make an educated decision. In fact, this principle of mandated disclosure may have been the only reason Citizens United was allowed in the first place -- as a counterbalance to the obvious conflicts of interest the Supreme Court was about to tempt politicians with. The entire point behind the legal argument that led the conservatives on the Supreme Court to allow the 1% more unfiltered access to campaigning politicians was the idea that at least Americans would know who was potentially buying influence. In the case of Cruz, who rails against big money and the elite as a point of pride, such information may have been particularly interesting to the Tea Partiers who voted for him.
But again, here we are. A major presidential candidate seems to think either voters are idiots, or the media are.
So it's a challenge. The number is a cool million, easy for the typical news consumer to grasp. The case law and implementing disclosure regulations are cut and dry -- if you take money from a bank for your campaign, you have to identify the bank to the FEC. It boils down to the third problem of campaign finance reporting -- does the American public care? They say they do, over and over again, and the media keeps telling us this is an important part of American democracy, so what's the disconnect, if any?
With this ridiculously clear campaign finance violation on display for all to see, we're about to find out.
If media can't get the American public to understand why this sort of behavior, certainly not unique to Cruz, is a big problem, it's no longer the fault of the American public. They aren't the experts. It's the media's job to provide the expertise. But if the media can't effectively explain this one to its audience -- it's time to rethink how campaign finance reporting is done.
After all, Cruz is basically daring you.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sounded like a "dedicated Rush Limbaugh listener" at the January 14 GOP presidential primary debate, wrote Vox's Matthew Yglesias, highlighting how Cruz is gaining popularity among conservative voters by "espousing orthodox conservative views" and echoing many of Limbaugh's falsehoods and conspiracy theories.
From Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, to the establishment of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, to a landmark international climate agreement, 2015 has been full of major landmarks in national and global efforts to address global warming. Yet you wouldn't know it if you inhabited the parallel universe of the conservative media, where media figures went to ridiculous and outrageous lengths to dismiss or deny climate science, attack the pope, scientists, and anyone else concerned with climate change, and defend polluting fossil fuel companies. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things conservative media said about climate change in 2015.
Right-wing media spent 2015 defending, praising, and peddling several of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's debunked falsehoods, which PolitiFact rounded up as one big "lie of the year."
Mientras CNN se prepara para producir el quinto debate presidencial de las primarias republicanas el 15 de diciembre, un análisis de Media Matters demuestra que los moderadores de anteriores debates republicanos no le han preguntado al senador Marco Rubio (R-FL) sobre sus cambios de postura acerca de una reforma migratoria, mientras a otros candidatos sí les han preguntado sobre sus posiciones en el tema migratorio.
As CNN prepares to host the fifth GOP presidential primary debate on December 15, a Media Matters analysis has determined that moderators of the past GOP debates have not asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about his shifting positions on immigration reform, while other candidates have been asked about their immigration stances.
Right-wing media have repeatedly exploited the November 13 ISIS-led terror attacks in Paris to stoke fears about Syrian refugees posing a terror threat in the U.S., falsely claiming that the United States lacks a rigorous refugee vetting system, that most Syrian refugees are adult males "of fighting age," and that, like the attacks in Paris, the Boston Marathon bombing and Ft. Hood shooting were perpetrated by refugees.
In the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks, Republicans rushed with their conservative media allies to call for a halt to the admission of Syrian refugees into America, claiming that they would pose a significant threat to the United States. Major editorial boards slammed Republicans for "def[ying] what the nation stands for" and pushing divisive rhetoric that could "provide propaganda benefits to the Islamic State."
Right-wing media seized on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris to make at least five false or misleading claims about Syrian refugees, past statements from Hillary Clinton, President Obama's strategy against ISIS, the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and how guns in civilian hands could have supposedly changed the outcome of the attacks.
Moderators of Republican presidential debates have repeatedly used the slur "illegal immigrants" to refer to the undocumented immigrant population living in the United States, despite recommendations of Hispanic journalists' advocacy organizations to the contrary and the growing trend among news organizations moving away from use of the term.
During the November 10 Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox Business Network in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moderator Maria Bartiromo asked candidate Donald Trump what he would do about "the effect that illegal immigrants are having on our economy," using a term that "many in the Latino community regard as a racial slur" to refer to a significant portion of the nation's population.
Despite recommendations from the Associated Press Stylebook which advises the term "illegal" only be used in reference to an action and not to people, and calls from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) for the media to stop the use of "illegal immigrants" and similar smear terms like "illegal alien" or "illegals," the slur has been used by moderators in three out of the four Republican presidential debates to this date. According to Mekahlo Medina, president of NAHJ, "Using the word in this way is grammatically incorrect and crosses the line by criminalizing the person, not the action they are purported to have committed."
During the first debate, hosted by Fox News Channel, host Chris Wallace repeatedly used the term "illegal" in reference to immigrants, including when he pressed candidate Jeb Bush on a statement about "illegal immigrants," and later asked candidate Marco Rubio whether "all of these illegals coming over are criminals."
In the second debate, hosted by CNN, moderator Jake Tapper referred to undocumented immigrants as "illegal immigrants" while questioning candidate Ben Carson. Tapper's use of the term followed CNN Vice President of Diversity Geraldine Morida's statement -- made in response to the NAHJ petition -- that "the word illegal alone should never be used as a standalone noun to refer to individuals with documented or undocumented immigration status."
Jorge Ramos set the gold standard for media figures when he pushed back on candidate Donald Trump's use of the word during an August 25 press conference, stating "no human being is illegal." When moderators introduce the slur, they can effectively close the window of opportunity to pushback on candidates' use of disparaging language.
While many media outlets are moving away from or have banned altogether the use of the "illegal immigrant" slur and substituting it with the more humane term "undocumented immigrant," Fox has a history of clinging to the disparaging term and praising its use. Neil Cavuto, one of the moderators of the fourth Republican debate, has previously ridiculed concerns that disparaging language could be dehumanizing to immigrants, saying "what's dehumanizing" is "all these people being here illegally."
From the November 10 edition of Fox Business' Republican Presidential Candidates Debate:
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Conservative media like Fox News have waged a campaign against the Clinton Foundation and the media's connections to the nonpartisan charity. One of the moderators for the upcoming Fox Business Republican debate was heavily involved in the charity, complicating any potential debate efforts to fearmonger about the group's "fantastic" work.
Maria Bartiromo is co-moderating Fox Business' November 10 Republican primary debate. She is the host of Mornings with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business and Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News.
Bartiromo moderated or participated in at least eight Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) events between 2008 and 2013 during her prior employment at CNBC.
CGI is a nonpartisan program of the Clinton Foundation that annually convenes world leaders to pledge charitable commitments for "solutions to the world's most pressing challenges." CGI and the Clinton Foundation have been widely praised, with attendees and donors including leading Republican politicians and conservative media moguls. But during the current presidential campaign, conservatives have turned on the organization, painting it as a partisan extension of Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Bartiromo was listed as a "member" of the Clinton Global Initiative on the program's website. She called CGI a "fantastic" and "nonpartisan" event that has received commitments "valued at more than $73 billion." She praised the Clinton Foundation for doing "good work" and trying to "really make a difference."
In 2008, Bartiromo was the master of ceremonies for a CGI event honoring "extraordinary citizens of the world." She said she "was privileged" to host it for President Clinton.
21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son, 21st Century Fox CEO James R. Murdoch, have also been involved with the Clinton Foundation as donors and attendees at events. 21st Century Fox is the parent company of Fox Business.
Conservative media previously complained about CNN debate moderator Anderson Cooper's ties to CGI. The Weekly Standard claimed "Cooper helped Hillary Clinton raise money, and now he's presented as an impartial moderator for tonight's debate." Truth Revolt wrote that Cooper's ties show he's "Part of Clinton Circle."
UPDATE (11/10): Trish Regan, who is hosting Fox Business' undercard debate, also participated in Clinton Foundation events during her prior employment with Bloomberg TV.
Regan moderated a CGI panel on "Our Generation's Greatest Challenge: Winning the Race to a Clean Energy Future" in 2014. She also hosted "sessions where top government, business, and nonprofit leaders will address the U.S. economy" for CGI in 2013, including interviewing President Clinton.
From the November 4 edition of Fox Business' Mornings with Maria:
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From the July 22 edition of Fox Business Network's Mornings With Maria Bartiromo:
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