Media Buzz

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  • Why Won't Interviewers Ask Trump About Campaign Manager's Alleged Assault Of Reporter?

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sunday political talk shows on NBC, CNN, Fox, and CBS all failed to ask Donald Trump during interviews about the allegation that his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, roughed up Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.

    According to Fields, she was "grabbed" and "yanked" down while attempting to ask Trump a question as the GOP front-runner left a March 8 press conference. Audio of the incident obtained by Politico indicates that Fields told Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, "That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me," and that Terris identified Lewandowski as the assailant.

    Fields filed charges against Lewandowski but is encountering blowback from the Trump campaign, which denies the incident ever occurred, and from her own employer Breitbart News. Critics have noted that Breitbart News has an especially cozy relationship with the Trump campaign and have pointed out that the news organization has failed to strongly take Fields' side in the controversy.

    Although Sunday news shows Meet the Press, State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, and Face the Nation all asked Trump about his condoning of violence at his rallies during March 13 broadcasts, none of the shows asked Trump about Fields' assault allegation.

    By contrast, the two Sunday media criticism shows, CNN's Reliable Sources and Fox News' MediaBuzz, both mentioned the incident.

    On Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter provided an update on the story, reporting Fields "is hiring an attorney, she's the Breitbart reporter who was roughed up by someone, possibly Trump's campaign manager, at a press conference earlier in the week. The campaign denied that the campaign manager was involved, suggesting she made it all up."

    While Fox's MediaBuzz did air a pre-recorded interview with Trump where host Howard Kurtz did not ask Trump about Fields, later in the show Kurtz brought the incident up during a panel discussion.

    During that discussion, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky slammed Breitbart News, saying, "I don't think, of the 25 years I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever heard a news organization not stand by its reporter in a situation like this. It's just an unbelievable thing to me. It makes them a not a news organization, it makes them a Trump organization, at least with respect to this incident. It's just unbelievable."

  • Fox's Howard Kurtz Lets Frank Luntz Praise Marco Rubio Without Disclosing Past Financial Ties

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox News host Howard Kurtz invited Republican pollster Frank Luntz onto his show to praise Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) without disclosing Luntz's past financial ties to Rubio.

    During the February 28 edition of MediaBuzz, Kurtz spoke to Luntz about his focus groups with Republican primary voters and the media's coverage of the Republican presidential primary.

    Kurtz said there had been a notion that Rubio was "a media darling," but that "everybody in the media beat up on him and some practically said he was finished" after coming in fifth place in the New Hampshire GOP primary. Luntz in response said Rubio was "a great communicator," and that people thought "because he always sounds good, because he always sounds reasonable, therefore the media's in bed with him. That's not the case." Luntz also said that Rubio had "won the last two out of three debates," according to focus groups conducted by Luntz:

    HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): So people are convinced that Fox or some other channel or some other network is for or against Rubio or Trump or Cruz. As if there's -- everyone is getting marching orders.

    FRANK LUNTZ: I give you credit for putting that -- I'm shocked. That would never be on CNN. That would never be on MSNBC.

    KURTZ: If it were about that network.

    LUNTZ: If it were about their own network. So good for you for putting that on. Yes. And I get it all the time. If I go to the Trump blogs, then Fox is in the pockets of Rubio. If you go to Cruz blogs, it's in the pockets of Trump. If you go to the Rubio blogs, it's in the pockets of everybody else. People see what they want to see and they disregard the rest. We are all seeing things through rose colored glasses and it becomes almost impossible to be fair, which is why these debates are so important. Because it's the one time when you can actually hold the candidates accountable.

    KURTZ: But just briefly on Rubio. The notion he's a media darling, after he had that performance where he was sort of hammered for being robotic and then finished fifth in New Hampshire, everybody in the media beat up on him and some practically said he was finished. So it's not like the entire business is pumping up this guy.

    LUNTZ: He's a great communicator. And that's - they're conflating good communication with support from the media. They think that because he always sounds good, because he always sounds reasonable, therefore the media's in bed with him and that's not the case. But Rubio has won the last two out of three debates.

    KURTZ: In your view or the view of the public?

    LUNTZ: In the view of the focus groups and yet it hasn't moved numbers.

    A January 2012 Wall Street Journal article reported that Rubio hired Luntz to assist in writing his book 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future when he was in the Florida House of Representatives, which Kurtz failed to disclose.  

    Fox News has repeatedly failed to disclose Luntz's ties to Rubio while allowing him to praise the presidential candidate. Host Neil Cavuto let Luntz in January claim that Rubio "is the most optimistic, the most focused on the American dream of any of the candidates" and "what the public needs right now." The Kelly File later that month had Luntz host a focus group after a GOP debate in which he advised them to "watch how well [Rubio] did on immigration." And in early February host Megyn Kelly again invited Luntz on to discuss Rubio, where Luntz claimed "Rubio is in perfect position" to do well in upcoming primaries.

  • Marco Rubio's Poor Shaming Comments Come Straight From Fox News' Talking Points

    Rubio On Policies To Alleviate Child Poverty: "Ultimately, There's No Law I Can Pass To Make People Better Parents"

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET & CYDNEY HARGIS

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) blamed poverty on bad parents and a lack of strong family values during a CNN Republican presidential townhall, parroting Fox News' talking points and long history of poor-shaming.

  • Since Donald Trump Began Attacking Megyn Kelly's Debate Role, Fox News Has Given Him Nearly $1 Million In Free Airtime

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Since Donald Trump began attacking Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's participation in the network's January 28 GOP presidential primary debate, Fox has given him nearly 40 minutes of free airtime, amounting to about $1 million.

    According to a Media Matters analysis, Trump has been hosted by the network four times since he tweeted on January 23 that "Based on @MegynKelly's conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate." Trump has since said that he would not participate in the debate, citing Kelly's participation and Fox News' response to his criticisms.

    Following his tweet, he appeared on Justice on January 23, MediaBuzz on January 24, Special Report with Bret Baier on January 26, and The O'Reilly Factor on January 27, for a total of 39 minutes, 47 seconds of free airtime. According to IQ Media, which uses price data for advertising from Sqad to determine an equivalent advertising rate, those appearances were worth $936,347.76.

    While many affiliated with Fox News criticized Trump's decision to boycott the debate, other conservative media figures applauded the move. On Trump's nearly 16-minute appearance with Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News host repeatedly urged the candidate to return to the debate stage. That appearance alone netted Trump more than $500,000 in free airtime.

    Prior to his latest feud with Fox News, the network had given Trump nearly $30 million in free airtime from May 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters used IQ Media to ascertain the viewership and monetary value of Donald Trump's appearances on Fox News Channel from January 23, 2015, (the day Trump floated the idea that he might not participate in the January 28 debate) through January 27, 2015, between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.. The study includes all original appearances; repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Previous Media Matters studies have used a different program to calculate television dollar value.