A segment on PBS' Newshour provided an example of how media should cover racial disparities in school discipline and educational achievement -- as well as a stark contrast with how right-wing media outlets have covered the same issues.
On the April 1 edition of PBS' Newshour, April Brown reported on the beginning of a new initiative in Washington, DC called the Empowering Males of Color initiative, and noted that some are concerned that the focus on boys of color leaves girls of color behind. The segment featured Kimberlé Crenshaw, a UCLA law professor, who pointed to the greater racial disparity in school discipline for girls than boys. The report went on to cover broader racial disparities in education, including the lower college graduation rate, and after-school programs such as Higher Achievement that are designed to help both boys and girls of color.
The Newshour segment was detailed and thoughtful -- providing a striking contrast with the way these issues have been discussed in right-wing outlets. Bill O'Reilly recently covered programs designed to reduce racial disparities in school discipline by declaring that "liberal mayors all over the country are making it easier for violent students to remain in public schools." National Review Online has published several articles that painted an image of black children as inherently more likely to need discipline: a post by Heather Mac Donald said it was "common sense that black students are more likely to be disruptive"; another post cited the "lack of impulse control" of black students (as evidenced, she argued, by higher crime rates among black people). An NRO editorial described optional guidelines from the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to address these disparities as being the administration's "most foolhardy idea yet"; Fox News host Megyn Kelly bashed that same DOJ policy as "handcuffing our educators" and needlessly "bringing race into it."
Newshour's nuanced discussion on racial and gender disparities in education seems far out of reach for outlets like Fox and NRO, which fall at the first hurdle in attributing racial disparities to the characteristics of children of color, and not systemic injustice.
Megyn Kelly continued her misinformation campaign in defense of Indiana's "religious freedom" law, claiming that the measure won't further discrimination against LGBT people because discrimination is already allowed in Indiana, due to a lack of statewide protections against anti-gay discrimination. In fact, the "religious freedom" law threatens to trump municipal non-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation, such as the one in Indianapolis.
On the March 31 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, Kelly hosted yet another misleading segment on Indiana's widely-criticized "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," a law that provides a legal defense for individuals and businesses who cite their religious beliefs against private plaintiffs or the government when refusing to serve LGBT people.
Kelly invited Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), to defend the law for the second night in a row. During the segment, Kelly argued that RFRA couldn't lead to discrimination because LGBT persons in Indiana are not guaranteed equal treatment under the law:
KELLY: Even though Governor Pence, for some reason, will not get specific about whether this law would specifically, in any case, allow a florist, for example, objecting to a gay wedding to decline to participate in the gay wedding - let's just assume for the purposes of this hypothetical that discrimination against gays was illegal in Indiana - which it's not, by the way -
KELLY: But if it were, do you believe that this law would then protect the religious objector?
KELLY: I want the viewers to understand this, that this law does not allow discrimination against gays.
KELLY: That is already legal in the state of Indiana!
KELLY: Until the state of Indiana - it is, Tony!
PERKINS: But how often does it happen?
KELLY: Until the state recognizes gays and lesbians as a protected class and passes an anti-discrimination law against them, they can be fired for any reason, they can not be served for any reason.
From the March 31 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Media outlets have argued that Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) mirrors RFRAs passed in other states as well as the federal RFRA signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. In fact, Indiana's RFRA is broader than other versions of the law, and experts say it could allow private businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of religion.
Fox's Megyn Kelly misleadingly compared Indiana's controversial anti-gay "religious freedom" law to laws in other states and claimed that the measure wouldn't allow for anti-LGBT discrimination.
On the March 30 edition of The Kelly File, Kelly invited Tony Perkins - president of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC) - and Truman National Security Project partner Mark Hannah to discuss Indiana's recently adopted "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA). The law, which has triggered a national backlash, provides a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cite their religious beliefs while discriminating against LGBT people.
During the interview, Kelly suggested that Indiana's RFRA was similar to federal law and RFRAs in other states and denied that the measure could be used to justify anti-LGBT discrimination:
From the March 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Right-wing media outlets -- led by Fox's Megyn Kelly -- helped the GOP execute a whisper campaign falsely accusing Hillary Clinton of committing perjury when she left the State Department and demanding to see a separation document to prove their charge. After the Associated Press accepted the premise that a separation document should be produced, the State Department made clear that neither Clinton nor her predecessors, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, were required to sign that document.
Megyn Kelly is using her platform and branding as an independent voice and legal expert on Fox News to make up laws and fabricate felony charges over Hillary Clinton's email use, accusing the former secretary of state of destroying evidence.
The State Department on Tuesday confirmed that it had no record of Clinton or her immediate predecessors, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, having signed a separation form (OF-109) upon leaving office, and that they were not required to sign that form.
Citing absolutely no independent legal authority, Kelly argued that "protocols" required Clinton to sign the document, only to quickly dismiss the fact that there is no evidence that Powell or Rice signed the form. She baselessly insinuated that Clinton destroyed documents to conceal perjury, claiming that the separation form "suddenly disappeared," and argued that Clinton was "committing a felony" by keeping email on a private server, which Kelly claimed amounted to concealing federal records.
Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails as part of a State Department initiative to update its recordkeeping. State Department officials have made clear that Clinton's use of a non-government email account during her tenure was well known throughout the department, undercutting Kelly's argument that Clinton was concealing anything, and the overwhelming majority of her work-related email was captured in real time.
Kelly's fallacious legal opinion has been flatly rejected by actual legal experts who have said that Clinton's use of a private email while serving as secretary of state was perfectly legal, and by the undisputed fact that Clinton was under no deadline to turn over her private emails to the State Department.
Neil Koslowe, an expert on the Federal Records Act, told The National Law Journal, "There's not any blanket prohibition on any federal employee from using a personal email account to conduct government business." Fox News legal analysts Jonna Spilbor and Arthur Aidala agreed that Clinton did not violate any laws. Jason Baron, the former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration and a critic of Clinton's use of private email, acknowledged that Clinton did not violate any laws.
Even conservative columnist and Fox News regular Byron York acknowledged that the absence of separation forms from Powell and Rice "is exculpatory for Clinton."
Kelly has been obsessed with the question of whether Clinton signed a separation form, discussing it every night on her show since March 11. Her specious accusations and wild conspiracy theories, delivered with the veneer of legal authority, underscore her unique positioning at Fox News.
Since moving into the Fox news primetime lineup, she has been treated to a steady stream of glowing profiles that help Fox market Kelly as "break in the clouds, an interlude of lucidity," between hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, obvious purveyors of misinformation.
But for every one of the "Megyn moments" that show Kelly breaking from the perceived Fox orthodoxy to speak truth to power, there are even more, often subtle examples of her using her platform to advance the core Fox mission.
Conservative media fabricated perjury charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, demanding to see a copy of a separation form they argued she violated through her use of her personal email. Those same media figures did not demand to see the same form from Colin Powell -- whom State Department officials say did not sign the same form.
In the March 13 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the March 10 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:
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Fox News figures are adopting an impossible standard to launch unprovable allegations against Hillary Clinton, arguing that the absence of an email can insinuate that Clinton either withheld or destroyed evidence.
Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, claimed on the March 8 edition of CBS' Face The Nation that there are "gaps of months" in Clinton's email documents turned over by the State Department for the committee's investigation. To prove his claim, Gowdy referenced a photo of Clinton on her phone during a trip to Tripoli, Libya, and the absence of any email from that day related to Benghazi. According to Gowdy's logic: "It strains credibility to believe that if you're on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there's not a single document that's been turned over to Congress."
Fox News personalities quickly adopted Gowdy's absurd line of attack against Clinton. On his radio show, Sean Hannity asserted that "you can't tell me that it was an accident that 55,000 pages of emails were turned over but not one was about Benghazi." Fox contributor Andrew Napolitano took the attack further alleging that Clinton's control of her documents means Gowdy "does not know if she gave him everything he subpoenaed." Bill O'Reilly echoed Gowdy's allegations on the March 9 edition of his show, saying "there's already a gap brought out by Congressman Gowdy" because "the day that she traveled to Libya, there's no emails that came out on that and it's inconceivable that she wouldn't have any." And during an interview with Gowdy, Megyn Kelly agreed with demands that Clinton turn over her private email server stating that Clinton "chose to create a situation" where questions about her emails would need to be answered.
According to that fallacious reasoning, the absence of evidence proves wrongdoing on Clinton's part.
The reality is, the State Department turned over Clinton emails related to Benghazi to the Select Committee months ago. In a March 6 letter chastising Gowdy for "the very partisan and political turn" to issue a subpoena to Clinton, Democratic members of the House Select Committee noted that the State Department already turned over 300 Clinton emails related to Benghazi, and those emails confirm the findings of the Accountability Review Board:
These documents include no evidence to suggest that Secretary Clinton ordered the Secretary of Defense to "stand down," no evidence to suggest that she was personally involved in denying requests for security for Benghazi, and no evidence to suggest that she ordered the destruction of documents. Nothing in these emails contradicts or calls into question the findings of the independent Accountability Review Board.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens dismissed the Department of Justice (DOJ) report on Ferguson Police Department's disproportionate targeting of blacks as a "case of bad apples." Despite serious findings of racial bias and stereotyping in the department, Kelly called the report "problematic," arguing that "there are very few companies in America...[where]...you won't find racist emails."
A Department of Justice investigation into the Ferguson Police Department found that the city's "approach to law enforcement both reflects and reinforces racial bias, including stereotyping." The report also found that the disproportionate arrests and citations of African Americans could not be explained by differences in the rate of crime committed by blacks and whites.
According to NBC News, the investigation also "highlighted seven racist emails sent by police and court employees." CNN reported that the emails "resulted in three Ferguson, Missouri, city employees resigning or being fired," noting:
[T]he racist emails include one sent in October 2011 that showed a photo of bare-chested dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption "Michelle Obama's High School Reunion." A June 2011 email described a man trying to put his dogs on welfare because the canines were "mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and have no ... clue who their Daddies are."
During the March 9 edition of her Fox News show, Kelly hosted Stephens who downplayed the DOJ's report as merely a report about traffic citations, "not a story of institutional racism." Kelly agreed, saying it is unfair to "tar the entire organization" as racist because "there are very few companies in America, whether they are public or private" where "you won't find any racist e-mails, [or] any inappropriate comments."
Media figures are exploiting the feeding frenzy over Hillary Clinton's email to engage in wild speculation, including wondering if she committed a felony. Numerous independent legal analysts have said that Clinton did not violate the law through her use of a non-government email account.
From the February 13 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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