From the January 28 edition of Fox News' Republican Presidential Primary Debate:
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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.
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.
Megyn Kelly is garnering another wave of misplaced praise, benefiting from Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's latest attacks on her. But outside of the debate scene, Kelly's role on Fox News is little more than to shill for conservative misinformation.
Journalists and pundits across the political spectrum are stepping up to defend the Fox News anchor after Trump labeled her a "lightweight journalist" leading up to Fox News' January 28 GOP primary debate, which he declined to participate in. Kelly's defenders have called out the sexism in Trump's attacks while lauding her as a "real journalist willing to stick her neck out to defend the vulnerable." But in doing so, they have bought into the distorted persona she has carefully crafted for herself -- that of the credible journalist, distinct from other Fox figures who are more obviously partisan.
That image has been bolstered by a series of glowing profiles of Kelly that describe her as a "take-no-prisoners newswoman" who "isn't afraid to throw hardballs at Republicans" and have called her "the brightest star at Fox News" who "transcends politics with her skillful skewering of windbags of both parties." Fox helped Kelly reinforce that image in Fox's first GOP primary debate, where Kelly posed a series of tough questions to the candidates -- most notably challenging Trump on his history of sexism -- and persuaded many of the 24 million viewers that she is a serious journalist. Fox's January 28 GOP debate will likely provide yet another opportunity for Kelly to amplify this deceptive image by deviating from her usual bigotry and right-wing misinformation to ask tough questions while all eyes are on her.
The media is right to call out the sexism of Trump's attacks on Megyn Kelly, but to argue that she is a serious, legitimate journalist while doing so misses the mark.
Outside of Fox's debate scene, Kelly has repeatedly used her authority to prop up conservative misinformation from The Kelly File's anchor desk. In the first two weeks of 2016, she spent over 1 hour and 22 minutes promoting Michael Bay's myth-filled Benghazi movie as "the gripping new film that may pose a threat to Hillary Clinton's hopes for the White House." Kelly regularly hosts the leader of an anti-LGBT hate group, and has a long history of offensive, discriminatory comments about minorities.
Kelly has also used her primetime Fox show to push falsehoods about Planned Parenthood, most recently asking whether the grand jury indictment of two members of the group that released deceptively edited smear videos to attack the organization was a "political hit job." Kelly once told Charlie Rose she's "not an opinion maker," yet she has repeatedly advocated for conservative causes and spread misinformation -- and has gotten away with it because there are journalists willing to call her credible.
Student loan debt in America has reached a staggering $1.3 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt. But right-wing media figures have criticized efforts to combat student loan debt by pushing misinformation and blaming students for pursuing higher education.
Conservative media have labeled higher education as a "privilege" and suggested students ought to choose fictional cheaper colleges. Some outlets have even defended schools that take advantage of students and leave them with significant debt. But research shows college matters now more than ever, and the cost to attend is rising across the board. The student debt crisis is especially damaging for poor students and students of color, who more frequently attend cheaper open-access and community colleges and are still forced to borrow in higher numbers to pay for their education.
Blaming students for the student loan debt crisis ignores the facts and distracts from finding real solutions to America's skyrocketing student debt burden.
Vanity Fair's Evgenia Peretz wrote a glowing cover story on Megyn Kelly for the February edition of the magazine, praising her as "the brightest star at Fox News" and even a "feminist icon of sorts." Nearly a month later, Peretz followed up with some of the less laudatory aspects of Kelly's right-wing rhetoric that was left out of the original piece, noting that Kelly and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump "have more in common than you think" and that Kelly's "talent for fearmongering may be even more insidious than Trump's own."
Peretz's original profile was the latest in a series of laudatory profiles that similarly describe Kelly as someone who "buck[s] the conservative party line" while often ignoring her history of problematic coverage. One such example is how Kelly has obsessed about issues surrounding race, including the New Black Panther Party, to which she devoted "45 segments and 3.5 hours to hyping politically motivated and completely discredited allegations" during a two-week stretch of time. Kelly's history of inflammatory remarks about minorities, such as calling a 14-year-old black girl who was violently manhandled by a police officer "no saint either," has been well documented.
In the midst of Donald Trump dropping out of Fox's January 28 Republican debate over Kelly's role as a moderator, Peretz penned another piece: "Megyn Kelly And Donald Trump Have More In Common Than You Think." In a sharp contrast, Peretz includes what was left out of the original profile, that "Kelly, like Trump, is not above playing to her audience's fears on dog-whistle topics when it suits her." As an example, Peretz writes that she questioned Kelly over the Black Lives Matter movement during her original interview, whose protesters Kelly called "obviously beyond the bounds of decency." This was not published in Peretz's high-profile cover story. Peretz also acknowledges what was inadvertently apparent in her original piece, that Kelly's "talent for fearmongering may be even more insidious than Trump's own. She, after all, is considered by many to be the reasonable one at Fox":
As I wrote in my cover profile about her, Kelly is seeking to accomplish something far greater with her career than simply staring down Trump: she would like to become an influential and sought-after interview host, akin to Charlie Rose, or even Oprah Winfrey. To pull that off, she has strived to prove she can handle our thorniest national issues with the nuance and measure that they require, and not just her trademark "toughness." Yet Kelly, like Trump, is not above playing to her audience's fears on dog-whistle topics when it suits her.
One of these topics--the Black Lives Matter movement--came up during the course of our interview for my piece. Kelly's perspective on the the issue was pointedly firm. "They're going out there and yelling in the cop's face 'Pigs in a blanket. Fry 'em like bacon.' It's obviously beyond the bounds of decency," she said of the protestors. "You don't want to say that, that's your business. If you think that's not an Edward R. Murrow moment, great. Good for you. Enjoy being that anchor. I'm a different kind of anchor." It seemed like classic Kelly defiance, but fair enough. There is a radical component to any protest movement, and reasonable people can debate how much media attention should be given to the fringe.
Kelly has chided guests for "adding to the hate," but in these moments, her talent for fearmongering may be even more insidious than Trump's own. She, after all, is considered by many to be the reasonable one at Fox.
If Kelly truly wants to improve the level of discourse in this country, to elevate the conversation and indeed lay claim to the mantle of Rose or Winfrey, tomorrow night's debate--Trump or no Trump--is a good place to start. Indeed, Kelly told me that she has a "spiritual side," under-utilized at Fox, that she would like to dig into in the future. "I'm not talking about self-help exactly, but just the improvement of one's life. Those segments are interesting to me, how to improve one's own life and our world and our children's world." Perhaps she can tap into that.
CNN's Dylan Byers outlined how Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's decision to boycott the Fox News sponsored GOP primary debate illustrates a "shift in the political-media landscape," where "ultraconservatives" no longer "worship Fox News."
Trump has been a regular fixture on Fox News since 2011, but has recently become embroiled in a feud with the network, that has culminated in his decision to boycott Fox's January 28 Republican presidential primary debate.
On January 28, CNN's Byers suggested that Trump's feud with the network illustrates a shift in Fox News' relationship with the Republican Party, noting that many conservative viewers don't believe that primetime hosts, including Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly, are conservative enough. Byers wrote that this "rift" between the "ultraconservative" base and Fox News "has enabled Trump to wage war against the very network that has historically been one of the most influential players in the Republican primary contest":
Trump's six-month war with host Megyn Kelly, which turned nuclear when he pledged to skip the Fox News debate that she is co-moderating on Thursday, has exposed a significant shift in the political-media landscape: The growing divide between ultraconservatives and Roger Ailes' Manhattan-based network.
Trump's attacks on the network -- like those he's made on Mexicans, Muslims, Sen. John McCain, and others -- are no random acts of emotion, conservative pundits and campaign strategists told CNN. Instead, they indicate calculated tactical moves designed to stoke support among a conservative base that no longer worships Fox News as it once did.
In 2016, that conservative base is coming to believe that Fox News is more in line with the increasingly despised Republican establishment than with the ultraconservatives who support insurgent candidates like Trump and Ted Cruz.
That rift has enabled Trump to wage war against the very network that has historically been one of the most influential players in the Republican primary contest.
For his part, Trump insists the reason he is boycotting the Fox News debate is Kelly and the last straw -- what he viewed as an insulting press release about him issued by the network.
"I don't like her. She doesn't treat me fairly. I'm not a big fan of hers at all," Trump said earlier this week. The next day, he posted an Instagram video in which he declared: "Megyn Kelly's really biased against me. She knows that, I know that, everybody knows that."
Fox issued a statement saying in part about Trump, "We can't give in to terrorizations of any of our employees."
Washington Post's Erik Wemple pointed out the irony in how "accusations of media bias," a ploy often used by Fox to boost "its own ratings" and undermine criticisms against conservatives, are what Donald Trump claims is motivating his boycott of Thursday's GOP primary debate.
During a January 26 press conference GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump announced that he will not participate in Thursday night's Fox News-hosted GOP presidential primary debate, because of alleged bias against him by Fox News host and debate moderator, Megyn Kelly.
Fox has given Trump over 24 hours of free airtime since May, significantly more than his fellow GOP candidates and has furnished several of the talking points Trump uses on the campaign trail. However, the network has stood by Kelly and several Fox News figures have attacked Trump over his decision to pull out of the debate.
Despite the massive amount of coverage given to Trump's campaign, Trump still maintains there is a bias against him, using a tactic Fox News helped create. As The Washington Post's Erik Wemple wrote in a January 26 blog post, Trump's accusations of media bias against him mirror the "great conservative tradition" of accusing the media of an anti-Republican bias. According to Wemple, Trump has taken advantage of the media bias trope to deflect "just about anything that has been critical of him", and now, he is using this narrative against the network that helped create it, making "the ironies here circular." (emphasis original):
Tempting though it is to game out the PR and political calculations between Fox News and Trump, there's something bigger going down here. Momentous, even: The right-wing penchant for nonstop media criticism is swerving across the median, zigzagging around the road, about to wrap itself around that oak tree around the curve. Like other planks of the conservative canon -- e.g., foreign-policy hawkishness -- it has been invoked and ultimately abused by Trump. Such that it can no longer stand on its own.
See any good -- or bad -- conservative politician on the stump, and listen for the broadsides against the liberal mainstream media. They don't give Republicans a chance; they distort things; they give weight to trivial stories that harm conservatives and ignore big stories that favor them -- it's a viewpoint that stretches back at least to a seminal anti-MSM speech by Spiro Agnew in 1969.
Into this tradition of media criticism stomped Trump's presidential campaign. Whereas previous practitioners of the critique looked for quite specific signs of bias in the media, Trump has found bias or misconduct in just about anything that has been critical of him. He has railed against Politico for pointing out various truths; he has railed against CNN and just about every other broadcaster for the bias of not showing the full extent of his crowds; he has ripped pundits -- and Post columnists -- such as Charles Krauthammer and George F. Will for reasons that haven't stuck with the Erik Wemple Blog; he has gone back and forth on whether Chuck Todd of NBC News is a nice guy; and so on.
All of which tees up the Kelly thing. "Megyn Kelly's really biased against me," said Trump in an Instagram video. "She knows that, I know that, everybody knows that. Do you really think she can be fair at a debate?" (Bold text added to highlight another clumsy Trump effort to co-opt a great conservative tradition.)
The ironies here are circular. Over the years, Fox News has boosted its own ratings by frequently airing accusations of media bias. Now its ratings -- at least for Thursday night's debate -- stand to suffer over just such an accusation. Everyone tunes in to see just how Trump will bring out the worst in those who surround him. And the National Review got tossed from hosting a February debate because it dared to exercise its prerogative as an opinion journal to editorialize against Trump.
From the January 27 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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Fox News slammed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after he announced he would not participate in the January 28 Republican presidential primary debate co-sponsored by Fox News because of his on-going feud with moderator Megyn Kelly.
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade criticized the Republican National Committee (RNC) after Donald Trump announced he will not participate in the final Republican primary debate before the Iowa caucuses. Donald Trump announced that he would "definitely" boycott the January 28 debate hosted by Fox News because moderator Megyn Kelly has a "conflict of interest and bias" against him. Kilmeade argued that "the RNC could actually do their job and make sure the people of Iowa get a full debate stage." The RNC has said it will not get involved in the dispute between Trump and Fox News. From the January 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump backing out of Fox News' debate is a damning indictment of the creature that the right-wing media helped create and that the rest of the media enabled for far too long.
Not only did Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media manufacture many of the lies that serve as the refrain of Trump's campaign, but they also fomented much of the racial antipathy and sexism that Trump is using to fuel his campaign.
In this conservative universe, facts don't matter. Which is exactly why Donald Trump can claim that he is backing out of the Thursday's debate due to the fact that Fox News doesn't treat him well, despite the fact that Trump has appeared on Fox News at least two and a half times more than any of his GOP primary opponents. (I'll save the irony of Fox News being burned by the same kind of fact free attacks that the network conditioned its audience to respond to for another day.)
In his rationale, Trump also cited concerns about the debate being moderated by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump has openly attacked Kelly since the first Fox News debate in August. But make no mistake, Donald Trump does not have a problem with Megyn Kelly because she's a serious journalist who asks really tough questions (she isn't). Nor is it because she challenges Trump's policies. Remember, Kelly was one of the first media figures to defend Donald Trump's claim that Mexican immigrants are rapists and killers.
Trump has a problem with Megyn Kelly because at the first Republican primary debate, Kelly asked Trump about his misogyny and his long record of sexists attacks against women. Trump reacted by attacking Kelly, suggesting that she was on her period and subsequently threatening to boycott Fox News.
Media Matters' John Whitehouse succinctly summed up the connection between the Kelly/Trump dynamic at play here and the right-wing media: "For decades, conservatives have not only made it clear that misogyny is allowed and acceptable, but that any attempts to silence it are wrong." Indeed. In 2012, Rush Limbaugh went on a multi-day tirade against then law school student Sandra Fluke, calling her a "slut," a "prostitute" and demanding that she post sex videos online among other attacks. Instead of condemning the attacks, conservatives lined up to defend Limbaugh's comments (including Megyn Kelly and then presidential candidate Mitt Romney.)
Kelly's confrontation of Trump's misogyny was inconsistent with the values that the right-wing media audience has been steeped in. In this universe, facts don't matter, sexism is acceptable, and trying to stop misogyny is a punishable offense. Trump made gains within the conservative movement because of his prolific misogynistic offensive against Kelly, not in spite of it. With this latest gambit, I suspect his calculus is that he'll either make additional gains or suffer no consequences.
Meanwhile, the rest of the news media has enabled Trump's bigoted bullying and chicanery by creating a consequence-free climate for Trump to operate in. Put aside that they have not given the Republican front-runner any meaningful scrutiny consistent with front-runners in previous elections. And, put aside the perverse incentive they advance by rewarding Trump with attention for each drop of vitriol. They have sat mostly idle while Trump intimidates and suppresses the news media in a way not seen in modern politics. Trump has thrown reporters out of events, had security guards threaten journalists not to interview rally attendees and banning entire media outlets from attending his public events. Instead of standing up for their colleagues and profession, the rest of the news media not only ignored Trump's attacks on the 4th Estate, but tripped over each other to give Trump even more attention.
As this campaign season unfolded, we have seen the coalescence of fact free and consequence free.
Just a few days ago, Donald Trump (who is fond of reminding people that he often carries a gun on his person) bragged that he believes his supporters are so devoted that he could shoot someone in cold blood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and in cold blood and not suffer any political consequences. Is it any wonder that he thinks he can get away with skipping this debate, especially among an audience that is already conditioned not to care about the facts?
From the January 26 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the January 26 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the January 26 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
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