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ABC News' moderators did not ask the candidates about climate change or anti-choice domestic terrorism during the December 19 presidential debate, but did find time to inquire about whether the role of the presidential spouse should change.
On November 27 a gunman killed three at a Planned Parenthood clinic. He subsequently said he was trying to ensure there were "no more baby parts" and described himself as a "warrior for the babies" in court. The attack started a debate over the link between violent rhetoric directed against women's health providers and terrorist attacks on those clinics.
On December 12, leaders from every country in the world struck a historic climate change agreement in Paris to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
Moderators David Muir and Martha Raddatz did not raise either of these topics during the debate, but did find time to ask all three candidates about the role their spouses would have if they were elected. CNN's moderators previously ignored both the Planned Parenthood attack and the climate agreement during the December 15 Republican primary debate.
Newly-elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) came under fire for accepting the position under the condition that he be able to spend time with his family, while also opposing a federal paid family leave policy. When he appeared on CBS' Face The Nation and ABC's This Week, both interviewers neglected to ask Ryan about his opposition to paid family leave policies, which benefit employees, employers, and the economy.
On October 20, Paul Ryan announced that he would run for Speaker of the House as long as a number of conditions were met, one being that he would not "give up [his] family" for traditional requirements of the job, such as "spending hundreds of days on the road raising money for Republican candidates." After Ryan's announcement, Politico noted that "when it comes to federal policies on family leave, Ryan has opposed virtually every measure proposed over the past several years."
Since announcing his candidacy for Speaker of the House, Ryan has been widely criticized for his hypocrisy on family leave. EMILY's List asserted that Ryan is "totally in favor of family-friendly workplace policies for Speakers of the House named Paul Ryan." Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, issued a statement criticizing Ryan for having "refused to sign on to two bills that would provide Americans time to care for a loved one during a routine or even a serious illness, namely, the Healthy Families Act and the FAMILY Act. When Rep. Ryan had the opportunity to vote for paid time for federal employees to bond with a new child, he voted no - twice." Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project told Politico "Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job's impact on his spouse and children ... yet [he] isn't willing to guarantee that all workers ... have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations."
Ryan made the rounds on the November 1 Sunday talk shows the week after the Speaker election. Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, and State of the Union asked Ryan about his opposition to federal paid family leave legislation, noting his condition that he not give up his own family time. However, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS' John Dickerson of This Week and Face the Nation, respectively, neglected to question Ryan's hypocrisy, even as Raddatz mentioned his family as part of his hesitation to take on the job, and Dickerson asked Ryan what he told his children about the new position.
Paid family leave was brought up earlier this year in President Obama's State of the Union address. Economists have found that increasing paid parental leave could incentivize more women to join and remain in the labor force, boost the economy, increase wages, and keep families out of poverty and reduce their reliance on public assistance.
ABC's Martha Raddatz debunked GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson's claim that Planned Parenthood engages in racist population control by targeting black communities.
On the August 16 edition of ABC's This Week, Carson spoke with Raddatz on the campaign trail in Iowa. Raddatz asked Carson about his controversial comments he made on August 12, when he said Planned Parenthood is targeting African-American communities to control their population by placing "most of their clinics in black neighborhoods." Raddatz debunked this claim, saying, "Planned Parenthood estimates that fewer than five percent of its health centers are located in areas where more than one-third of the population is African-American":
NPR also debunked Carson's statement in an August 14 fact check:
In 2014, the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research center, surveyed all known abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood clinics, in the U.S. (nearly 2,000) and found that 60 percent are in majority-white neighborhoods.
[R]esponding to a request for demographic information, the organization said that in 2013, 14 percent of its patients nationwide were black. That's nearly equal to the proportion of the African-American population in the U.S.
UPDATE: An August 18 post by Glenn Kessler for The Washington Post's Fact-Checker blog also deemed Ben Carson's claim that Planned Parenthood targets black communities to be false. Giving the claim "four pinnoccios," Kessler explained that "the evidence shows that a relatively small percentage of clinics are in black-majority neighborhoods - or even in neighbothoods where blacks are more than one-quarter of the population."
ABC News left out key facts about Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)'s changing stance on immigration during their interview with the GOP presidential hopeful.
On the February 1 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, guest host Martha Raddatz prompted Walker to discuss his proposals on immigration, asking "What would you do about the 11 million undocumented who are still here?" Walker replied that "We for sure need to secure the border. I think we need to enforce the legal system. I'm not for amnesty, I'm not an advocate of the plans that have been pushed here in Washington... we need to find a way for people to have a legitimate legal immigration system in this country, and that doesn't mean amnesty."
But this is a significant change in Walker's position on immigration. Previously, he questioned the need for greater border security, and supported a pathway to citizenship that was advocated by lawmakers in Washington.
As The Washington Post reported, during a 2013 interview with the Wausau Daily Herald editorial board, Walker advocated for a focus on "a saner way to let people into the country" rather than a focus on border security (emphasis added):
"It's all is about the 11 million [undocumented immigrants]," Walker said. "You hear some people talk about border security and a wall and all that. To me, I don't know that you need any of that if you had a better, saner way to let people into the country in the first place."
Walker added: "If people want to come here and work hard in this country, I don't care if you come from Mexico or Canada or Ireland or Germany or South Africa or anywhere else. I want them here."
In the same interview, Walker said "I think they need to fix things for people who are already here, find some way to deal with that." When asked specifically about the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, and whether he could "envision a world where with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements where those people could get citizenship," Walker replied "sure ... I mean I think that makes sense."
Media figures across the board have endorsed right-wing author Dinesh D'Souza's latest film, America: Imagine a World Without Her, despite the fact that the film is based on a book with extreme, racist rhetoric. Here are five media figures who have given D'Souza's works their stamp of approval.
Broadcast and cable Sunday political talk shows featured previously debunked myths about the September 11, 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
ABC News is falsely suggesting there is a contradiction between the Obama administration removing references to terrorist groups in Libya from talking points about the September 11 attacks on diplomatic facilities in that country and pointing to President Obama's statements that those attacks were an "act of terror."
The original September 14 version of a set of talking points compiled by the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis stated that "Islamic extremists with ties to al Qa'ida participated in the attack," and specifically suggested the involvement of the group Ansar al Sharia. Those specifics were subsequently removed, with the final version of the talking points stating only that "extremists participated" in the attacks.
In closed congressional testimony following his resignation as CIA director, Gen. David Petraeus reportedly said that these specifics had been "removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them." Administration officials have also said that there were other intelligence and legal concerns with naming the suspected perpetrators:
"The points were not, as has been insinuated by some, edited to minimize the role of extremists, diminish terrorist affiliations, or play down that this was an attack," said a senior official familiar with the drafting of the talking points. "There were legitimate intelligence and legal issues to consider, as is almost always the case when explaining classified assessments publicly."
Some intelligence analysts worried, for instance, that identifying the groups could reveal that American spy services were eavesdropping on the militants -- a fact most insurgents are already aware of. Justice Department lawyers expressed concern about jeopardizing the F.B.I.'s criminal inquiry in the attacks. Other officials voiced concern that making the names public, at least right away, would create a circular reporting loop and hamper efforts to trail the militants.
Indeed, ABC News has reported that in an email in response to the initial talking points, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland "objected to naming the terrorist groups because 'we don't want to prejudice the investigation.'"
By contrast, in his September 12 and September 13 remarks, President Obama described the attacks as an "act of terror," but did not specify who the perpetrators of that act might be. Presumably such comments would not alert the perpetrators that they were being tracked or jeopardize the criminal probe in the same way that the naming of the specific group might.
Despite that clear distinction, ABC Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz and White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl both suggested that the White House is trying to "have it both ways."
In their reports on subpoenas issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee over the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, media outlets uncritically quoted the White House claim that "[i]t's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation" to suggest that Democrats were solely responsible for the committee's action. In fact, three Republicans voted with the Democrats to approve the subpoenas.
Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.