Media covering Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's claim that exceptions to abortion restrictions in the case of rape are not necessary because rape victims can take the morning-after pill to avoid abortion should also note that Rubio repeatedly used his U.S. Senate seat to try to limit access to contraception for women.
During the August 9 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Rubio about his statement during Fox News' August 6 Republican presidential candidate primary debate that he does not favor exemptions for rape or incest in laws restricting abortion access.
Claiming that the number of abortions that occur after rape is "very small," Rubio stated, "Because of the existence of over-the-counter morning-after [pills] not to mention medical treatment that is now available immediately after the assault that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero."
CHUCK TODD: I want to just get this clarification. Will you support legislation that has exceptions, anti-abortion legislation that has exceptions for life of the mother, rape, incest, et cetera?
RUBIO: Yeah, I'll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions. So that means a 20 week abortion ban, at five months, a child, you'll recognize it as a human being in an ultrasound image, and I'll support that. That doesn't, obviously, cover the whole gambit, but it reduces the number of abortions. I'll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions, and there are those that have that exception in it. I've never, what I've never done is said 'I require that it must have or not have exceptions.'
TODD: Why not? Why don't you think there should be a requirement of an exception?
RUBIO: Well a couple points. I think, first of all, the questions that people ask about those two instances are horrifying. A rape is an act of violence; it's a horrifying thing that happens and fortunately the number of abortions in this country that are due to rape are very small, less than one percent of the cases in the world. But they happen, and they're horrifyingly -- and they're tragic, and I recognize that. I also recognize that because of the existence of over-the-counter morning-after [pills] not to mention medical treatment that is now available immediately after the assault that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero.
Media should not take Rubio's claim that exceptions for rape in laws restricting abortion access are not necessary due to the existence of over-the-counter emergency contraception at face value. Instead, they should take note of his repeated attempts to allow employers to deny coverage for contraceptives to women by claiming a moral objection in order to put his Meet the Press comment in proper context.
During a 2012 political fight over the scope of Obamacare's contraception mandate -- which requires all insurance plans to cover preventive services including contraception for women -- Rubio co-sponsored The Blunt Amendment, which according to The New York Times would have "let employers and health insurance companies deny coverage for contraceptives and other items they object to on religious or moral grounds." The amendment was defeated 51 to 48.
Rubio also introduced The Religious Freedom And Restoration Act of 2012, which according to the National Women's Law Center, "would [have] take[n] away the right of millions of women to have any insurance coverage for contraception, based on an employer or health plan's religious or moral beliefs -- whether affiliated or not with any religious entity." That bill died in committee.
While Rubio said he does not oppose the use of contraception, in 2014 he signed onto an amicus curiae brief in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case that "repeatedly equate[ed] contraception and abortion, pointing to emergency contraception and the IUD in particular, which they say can block implantation of a fertilized egg," according to MSNBC.
From the August 9 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
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Former MSNBC employee Pat Buchanan used an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press to frame immigration as a "massive invasion" and "conquest of the West" by "third-world ... border jumpers." During the appearance, host Chuck Todd did not mention Buchanan's past history of racist comments, or that NBC's cable channel MSNBC parted ways with Buchanan in 2012.
After Meet the Press announced that Buchanan would be a guest on Sunday's show, Todd told Media Matters that Buchanan was invited on to compare Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign to his own 1990s-era presidential runs.
On the July 26 edition of the show, Todd introduced Buchanan only as a former Republican presidential candidate. On-air text also mentioned Buchanan's former work as communications director at the White House during the Reagan administration.
After Todd asked whether Trump is conducting a campaign similar to Buchanan's past runs for the presidency, Buchanan said that there was a "similarity" in how Trump discusses immigration, and went on to describe "what people feel" is a "massive invasion" of "refugees, and border jumpers" (emphasis added):
TODD: Pat, when you see Trump, and what he's doing to the field, regardless of your views personally about him, and I know the two of you have had your own encounters in the past -- similar to what you rode in '92?
BUCHANAN: There is great similarity in the sense -- Trump's strength is the precise opposite of the distance of the Republican base from the Republican leadership in the country. He's exposing that and he's hitting two of the really strong populist issues. One of them, there's overlap with Bernie Sanders, and that's the trade issue, the export of American jobs and factories, and what's happening to the American middle class.
But the other one Trump is hitting, which is one of the hottest issues in the whole West, as well as the United States, is the massive invasion, if you will, of what people feel is the conquest of the West by massive third-world immigrations, coming from refugees, and border jumpers, and all the rest of them. He's wired into both of these and they're enormously popular issues.
These comments echoed ones Buchanan has made before. In his 2006 book State of Emergency, for example, he wrote of immigration: "This is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history," and "We are witnessing how nations perish."
Buchanan's anti-immigration rhetoric contributed to his early 2012 departure from MSNBC. Buchanan was suspended and then dropped from the channel specifically because of his book Suicide of a Superpower, which claimed to document how diversity and immigration are ruining the country, and featured chapters titles such as "The End Of White America."
But Todd passed on the opportunity to explain to viewers Buchanan's past with the network and his lengthy history of bigoted comments about immigrants.
NBC's Meet the Press this weekend will host Pat Buchanan, a homophobic and racist commentator. MSNBC parted ways with Buchanan in 2012 following blowback over his book Suicide of a Superpower, which claimed to document how diversity and immigration are ruining the country.
The Sunday show states on its website that it will interview Buchanan about "the return of populism" on the presidential campaign trail. Buchanan's brand of "populism" has long included bigotry against minorities, immigrants, and LGBT people during his career as a political candidate and commentator.
Buchanan has repeatedly defended Adolf Hitler and once labeled him "an individual of great courage." He claimed "in a way, both sides were right" during the Civil War. He declined to disavow the idea that minorities have inferior genes. He defended a school's ban on interracial dating. He opined that "this has been a country built, basically, by white folks" and falsely claimed only "white males" died at Gettysburg and Normandy. He once claimed "conservatives are the niggers of the Nixon administration" and urged President Nixon not to visit Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow because King was "one of the most divisive men in contemporary history."
On immigrants, Buchanan claimed America is "committing suicide" while "Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate." He complained that immigration will turn the U.S. into "a polyglot boarding house for the world, a tangle of squabbling minorities." He objected to states like California having a majority Hispanic population. He said of Mexican immigrants: "They are militant, and they have no interest, many of them, in becoming American."
Buchanan repeatedly appeared on a white nationalist radio program. He wrote the foreword to a book compiling the works of a white supremacist. He relied on the work of white supremacists for research in his own work. He praised David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, as having a "portfolio of winning issues."
Buchanan said "homosexual sex is unnatural and immoral" and "that kind of conduct should be discouraged in a good society." He's written of same-sex relationships: "In a healthy society, it will be contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized, carrying both a legal and social sanction." He once wrote of AIDS: "The poor homosexuals -- they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution."
Fellow Sunday show host Chris Wallace of Fox said Buchanan has said things "I'm not particularly fond of" including "some very incendiary things about Israel, about Jews, about blacks, about other minorities." As new CNN Sunday show host Jake Tapper once wrote, Buchanan leaves behind "a trail of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetorical dung" wherever he goes.
Why is Chuck Todd allowing him back on Meet the Press?
Todd tweeted in response to Media Matters research fellow Oliver Willis that Buchanan will be on the show "as part of a Trump segment. Trump 2015 and Buchanan 1992 share a lot of similarities on issues."
In a Q&A about the 2016 election on the Facebook page of NBC's Meet the Press, Blue Virginia's Lowell Feld asked: "Given that the most important issue facing humanity - by far - is climate change, why isn't your show devoting an appropriate amount of coverage to this topic?" Host Chuck Todd responded: "Fair critique on the lack of coverage; We plan to do more and do it soon."
En un nuevo informe sobre el "síndrome monotemático", Media Matters encontró que los programas dominicales en español continúan dedicando considerable atención al tema migratorio, aparentemente a expensas de temas que son de igual importancia para la comunidad latina. Adicionalmente, a pesar de que los latinos constituyen más del 17 por ciento de la población estadounidense, solo cuatro por ciento de los invitados a los programas dominicales en inglés entre el 4 de enero y el 3 de mayo de 2015 eran latinos - una reducción de un 42 por ciento en los niveles de participación para finales de 2014.
A new Media Matters report on the "single issue syndrome" found that Spanish-language Sunday shows continue to devote considerable attention to immigration at the apparent expense of issues equally important to the Latino community. In addition, although Latinos make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population, only 4 percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows between January 4 and May 3, 2015 were Hispanic - a drop of 42 percent from their 2014 appearances over a similar time period.
Amid widespread condemnation of Donald Trump from his fellow Republican presidential candidates following his attack on Sen. John McCain's military service, media are highlighting Republicans' collective failure to denounce Trump's past bigotry and xenophobia.
From the July 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
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From the July 5 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
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A new Media Matters study has found that outside of MSNBC, major broadcast and cable television outlets are failing to fact-check climate science denial by presidential candidates 75 percent of the time. But it's worth taking a closer look at how television program hosts have handled their face-to-face interviews with presidential candidates, since these high-profile interviews often get a substantial amount of attention and can shape media discussions for days or even weeks to come.
So how are TV hosts responding when presidential candidates spout climate science denial in real time? It depends which channel you're watching.
Several months into the 2016 presidential campaign, the media is frequently failing to fact-check statements by presidential candidates denying the science of climate change. Seven major newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters have thus far failed to indicate that candidates' statements conflict with the scientific consensus in approximately 43 percent of their coverage, while the major broadcast and cable news outlets other than MSNBC have failed to do so 75 percent of the time.
From the June 21 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
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Although there have been several major campaign finance stories this year, so far the media has paid significant attention only to one: the retired postal worker from Florida who landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn to raise awareness about the need for reform -- and the coverage has barely noted his motivations.
On April 15, Doug Hughes landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn "to save our democracy," as he wrote in The Washington Post, because "91 percent of Americans see the corrosive influence of money in our political system as a problem that demands attention." Hughes continued:
It is clear these issues will be among the most important in the 2016 election, when every candidate for any office needs to answer one simple question: Which approaches to reducing money's corrupting influence on our democracy do you support? Journalists, especially at the local level, need to ask tough questions, then report the truth and let people decide.
Sadly, most Americans don't know about [campaign finance reform] solutions or how to engage. That's why I chose civil disobedience, taking 535 stamped letters and my message to the seat of power where the problem is. Big money is a threat to our democracy just as security threats are.
Hughes is right -- according to Bloomberg, "spending by candidates, parties and outside groups and individuals" in the run-up to the 2016 election "may approach $10 billion." Thanks to a series of Supreme Court decisions that have relaxed Watergate-era campaign finance reform laws, it's easier than ever for an elite few to exercise disproportionate influence in the democratic process.
Hughes' landing was marginally successful in getting some media coverage of campaign finance reform in the days following. A Media Matters analysis of the network evening news broadcasts and the Sunday political talk shows found 17 total segments dedicated to Hughes and the gyrocopter landing. But other than a discussion on the April 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, none of the Sunday shows or evening news broadcasts dedicated any substantive coverage to the message behind Hughes' protest. Understandably, most of these segments focused on the security issues raised by the fact that Hughes was able to fly undetected into the District of Columbia's no-fly zone, rather than his reasons for his flight in the first place.
Mainstream media are highlighting the Clintons' recent disclosure of their personal finances to suggest that Hillary Clinton will not be able to address poverty and income inequality as a 2016 presidential candidate, ignoring how her past policies and work have helped to alleviate these issues.