Martha MacCallum

Tags ››› Martha MacCallum
  • Despite Conspiracies, Gossip, And Race-Baiting, Fox News Says The Trump Campaign Is "Very Much On Message"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is hyping an “on message,” less-fringy Donald Trump, claiming that “we haven’t had a pop-off” from the Republican presidential nominee “for a few days now.” But over the past few days,Trump has cited “misleading” statistics to make the point that “everything is bad” in black communities and has gone on a Twitter tirade against MSNBC hosts, while those close to his campaign have continued to push conspiracy theories about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health.

  • Right-Wing Media Lambaste Obama For Not Visiting Flooded Louisiana, Despite Governor’s Request That He Not Come

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Right-wing media are criticizing President Obama for not visiting Louisiana following widespread flooding, saying “the feeling is, does [Obama] really even … care” and attacking him for not ending his “golfing vacation,” ignoring the fact that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has publicly requested that Obama not visit due to fear it would drain state resources.

  • Fox Hypes A Trump Pivot The Same Day Trump Says He Won’t Pivot

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News host Martha MacCallum breathlessly hyped that Donald Trump was going to “pivot” toward a more presidential tone, the same day that Trump himself said, “I am who I am. … I don’t want to pivot.”

    Trump told a Wisconsin television station on August 16, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot.”

    Just hours laters, MacCallum, awaiting a Trump rally billed as a “law and order” speech, repeatedly wondered “if perhaps the long-awaited pivot is underway, regardless of the fact that he says it absolutely is not.”

    MacCallum also said, “He says he is not going to pivot, and yet we are seeing some indications of pivots, in terms of the Muslim ban, in terms of the NATO stance that he took. He has pivoted”:

     

     

    Media figures have time and time again hyped an imaginary Trump pivot, often claiming that Trump’s occasional subdued tone (aided by the use of a TelePrompter) or his sporadic abstention of personal attacks evidence some “pivot” to becoming a more “serious-sounding candidate.”

    By constantly searching for Trump’s pivot, the media have effectively whitewashed all of the racist, sexist, slanderous, and conspiratorial attacks Trump doled out, and mainstreamed the idea that Trump’s past diatribes could be forgiven so long as he assumes a veneer of conventional, tempered behavior.

    Even after Trump himself has definitively said there is no pivot coming, some media figures refuse to put this false narrative to rest.

  • Fox Personalities Respond To Gretchen Carlson's Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Familiar Victim-Blaming

    Fox’s Response Serves As A PSA In How NOT To Cover Sexual Harassment Stories

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    After Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News personalities have rushed to defend Ailes while disparaging Carlson’s character, dismissing her allegations, and accusing her of having ulterior motives. Their response mirrors the false tropes the network hosts push in their sexual assault coverage.

    On July 6, former Fox News host Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Carlson also alleged that while she was a host of Fox & Friends, her co-host Steve Doocy “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” of Carlson. Carlson has been a witness to years of sexism from her male colleagues, plenty of it directed at her.

    Several other women have come forward with complaints or contacted Carlson’s law firm to report similar experiences of mistreatment.

    Numerous Fox figures have rallied to Ailes’ defense, falling back on the network’s long-held strategy of dismissing sexual harassment – and even sexual assault – allegations by blaming the victims, trying to discredit the allegations by disparaging the victims’ characters, and rushing to defend the character of the accused. Just as New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman predicted, the “Fox News PR machine” is fighting the sexual harassment allegations by “try[ing] to discredit Carlson’s claims and any of the other women’s claims who come forward.”

    Disparaging The Victim’s Character

    After Carlson filed her lawsuit, her former Fox colleagues defended Ailes by immediately disparaging her character, dismissing her allegations, and suggesting she may have had ulterior motives.

    Greta Van Susteren suggested Carlson may have falsely accused Ailes of sexual harassment because she was “unhappy that her contract wasn’t renewed.”

    In a flurry of tweets on July 12, Sean Hannity dismissed Carlson’s allegations, suggesting that if she had really been harassed, she would not have stayed, asked for more airtime, or written to Ailes:

    Brit Hume asked Carlson why she didn’t just quit following the alleged harassment:

    This behavior isn’t new for Fox figures. In the past, Andrea Tantaros has asked, “At what point do women need to take some responsibility” for sexual harassment. Hannity blamed a victim of sexual harassment for “staying in the car” with the accused offender after the alleged harassment. Greg Gutfeld claimed that victims allege sexual harassment “to safeguard future reputation-damaging things.”  

    The network’s victim-blaming isn’t limited to sexual harassment. Hosts have blamed victims of sexual assault for “wearing a miniskirt,” characterized victims as “bad girls … who like to be naughty,” and altogether disputed the prevalence of sexual assault.

    Defending The Character Of The Accused

    Fox figures also responded to Carlson’s lawsuit by touting Ailes’ character.  

    Jeanine Pirro called Carlson’s allegations “absurd” and called Ailes a “no-nonsense guy,” saying, “I just loved him.”

    Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed that of the women she’s talked to at Fox, “Nobody believed” Carlson’s allegations, adding that Ailes “is a man who champions women.”

    Bret Baier said that’s “not the Roger I know,” and added, “I can’t say enough good things about Roger.”

    Neil Cavuto called Carlson’s allegations “sick” and said they “don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know” because Ailes “is ALL professional.”

    Ainsley Earhardt, Martha MacCallum, and Harris Faulkner have also vigorously defended Ailes, calling him a “father figure” and a “terrific boss.”

    By focusing on defending the character of the accused, reporters treat the accused offender as the victim. And it’s not just Ailes. Fox has a history of treating accused offenders as victims, including by claiming  that the focus on campus sexual assault amounts to “a war happening on boys” and dubiously hyping the frequency of false accusations of sexual assault against men, even though  false accusations are rare.  

  • Fox Damage Control: Network Sends Out Three More Female Staffers To Praise Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Fox News has continued its campaign to defend the network’s chairman and CEO Roger Ailes from sexual harassment allegations, most recently reaching out to Mediaite to interview three female contributors who denied the allegations made by former host Gretchen Carlson.

    Former Fox News host Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Carlson also alleged that while a host of Fox & Friends, her co-host Steve Doocy “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” against Carlson. Incidents of sexism against Carlson have been well documented on live television, and Carlson has been a witness to years of on-air sexism from her male colleagues.

    While several other women have come forward with complaints or contacted Carlson’s law firm, numerous Fox figures have rallied to Ailes’ defense, including primetime hosts Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity. The Five host Kimberly Guilfoyle also responded to the allegations, asserting that “nobody believed” Carlson’s allegations.

    According to Mediaite, Fox News reached out to them, offering the outlet interviews with three women who work with Ailes in New York City. Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt, Martha MacCallum, and Harris Faulkner vigorously defended Ailes, calling him a “father figure,” a “terrific boss,” and claiming that Carlson’s lawsuit “brought people together” in support of Ailes:

    Faulkner praised him for his pep talks, his ability to follow up on every promise he makes, and, finally, his willingness to stand behind his employees, which Carlson claimed he never did for her. Faulkner, who is a woman of color, explained where her deep respect for Ailes came from like this:

    “Here’s what I know: My rise and success have been a direct result of the merits and fabulous opportunities from mentors, including Roger Ailes. Without him, my journey would be quite different. He has changed the arc of my career. He believed in me when people who looked like me were not in network news. He put me in primetime and included me in the process of developing Outnumbered. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities he gave me and not once have I ever been ashamed to say these five words: Roger Ailes believes in me.”

    Earhardt called him a “father figure” not once, but twice. She also revealed that when Carlson’s lawsuit hit the headlines, she called her bosses and told them that if the need arose, she would be happy to speak out in support of Ailes because she simply believes in him that much. One reason for her ardent support of him is simple: Where most working women are afraid to tell their bosses they are pregnant and fear losing their jobs while away on maternity leave, Ailes gave Earhardt a promotion while she was gone on her leave.

    “Roger is such a terrific boss,” mused MacCallum. “I don’t like to see anything that reflects negatively on him. If anything, [Carlson’s lawsuit] sort of bonded us. It’s brought people together.”

    New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman predicted that the “Fox News PR machine” would fight the sexual harassment allegations, noting that Ailes and Fox “will try to discredit Carlson’s claims and any of the other women’s claims who come forward.” Sherman also reported that the charges “could be curtains for Ailes.”

    Fox has also downplayed the story on-air. Fox’s first report on the allegations only included Ailes’ statement denying the allegations and Fox’s MediaBuzz -- a show dedicated to coverage of the media world -- only dedicated a three-minute segment to the scandal and defended Ailes by attacking Carlson’s ratings.

  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.