From the July 30 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Loading the player reg...
Fox News figures have been leading the praise of Donald Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric, and have even credited the 2016 presidential hopeful for injecting new life into the national debate over illegal immigration. It represents a significant departure from what Fox and other right-wing media were saying in the wake of the 2012 presidential election, when the deep rift between Republicans and Hispanic voters had become painfully clear to the GOP.
Trump is basking in -- and benefitting from -- the support of conservative media. He reportedly had a one-on-one meeting with Fox News President Roger Ailes before announcing his White House candidacy and is now leading the Fox Primary. During the month of June, Trump made 10 appearances on Fox News, racking up an hour and 48 minutes of airtime on the popular cable news network.
After Trump's incendiary remarks about Mexicans caused him to begin hemorrhaging corporate support, Fox News immediately rallied to defend him. Fox's Megyn Kelly even turned to conservative bomb-thrower Ann Coulter to defend Trump's anti-immigrant talk.
Fox host Bill O'Reilly said that while Trump may have inartfully articulated his point, he was "highlighting a problem...that is harming the nation." Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham applauded Trump for his comments, saying, "Finally, someone is taking on Bush," and calling Trump "someone who is channeling our frustration with the system." Fox News host Gretchen Carlson lashed out at the Republican National Committee (RNC) for reportedly scolding Trump, asking, "Don't you want to see what he might just say on the debate stage? I know I do."
Fox News contributor Monica Crowley suggested that GOP presidential candidates follow Trump's lead because he is "saying things that need to be said, and if the other candidates are smart," they'll follow suit.
Latinos don't agree. As the Washington Post pointed out, "Trump's unfavorable ratings among Hispanics rose sharply from 60 percent in May to 81 percent now."
Flashback to 2012, when a slew of conservative media figures were calling for a change in tone towards Latinos in the wake of GOP White House candidate Mitt Romney's disastrous "self-deportation" comments and the decisive Republican defeat at the polls. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said, "The language of dealing with Latinos has to be changed." Fox host Bill O'Reilly said, "The Republican party has to figure out what message in their philosophy is going to be accepted by black and Latino voters. They have to get a message to them. And they haven't done it."
According to Nexis transcripts from the November 20, 2012 edition of Fox News' Hannity, conservative commentator David Webb advised Republicans to "get better and engage in communities on policies, not because it's different for Hispanics or Blacks but because it is good for the American people."
Fox News host Gretchen Carlson offered that "you have to reach out to the Latinos. You have to have immigration reform," on the November 15, 2012 edition of The O'Reilly Factor. Fellow Fox host Jeanine Pirro agreed, saying, "And, you know, the Republican party is at a very crucial point. They have to make a decision as to what they're going to do to reach out to everyone, to be the party of -- and I have even using the word "inclusion" (via Nexis).
As Media Matters wrote back in 2013, "The schism among conservatives on how to approach immigration reform and Latino voters in general isn't going away." So even though conservative politicians are aggressively courting the Latino vote in battleground states, conservative media have been championing Donald Trump. This is placing conservative Latino civic involvement groups like the Libre Initiative in a difficult situation.
To be fair, current polling has found that a "clear majority of Hispanic voters recognize the difference between Trump and the Republican Party in this controversy." But nonetheless, Trump's popularity among Republicans continues to soar.
Fox News personalities and right-wing radio hosts are crediting Donald Trump with focusing national media attention on sanctuary cities and immigration with his incendiary comments that characterized immigrants as criminals and "rapists" -- leading Trump to brag about Fox's laudatory coverage of his racist remarks.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign launch speech viciously denigrated Mexican immigrants and strongly split conservative media figures on his candidacy. While some argue Trump is a "rodeo clown," others think he is "saying things that need to be said." Several conservatives disagree with Trump's rhetoric but claim he's raising important issues.
From the July 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Loading the player reg...
Right-wing media are rushing to champion Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after he officially announced his bid for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.
Fox News is burying Republican policy positions that exacerbate income inequality in order to help the GOP rebrand itself as a party for the middle class. This effort follows years of Fox figures blasting Democratic policies designed to alleviate income inequality as "class warfare."
Prominent media figures including News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch criticized Muslims following the Paris terror attacks, claiming that Muslims have not been outspoken against extremist violence, despite prominent Muslim organizations immediately denouncing the attack.
On January 11, millions of people rallied in Paris against violence after extremist attacks in France left 17 people dead earlier in the week. World leaders including leaders from predominantly Muslim countries Mali and Jordan, and Palestinian territory President Mahmoud Abbas marched with French President François Hollande to denounce the violence.
Prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations also denounced the attacks. As religious studies scholar Reza Aslan pointed out on the January 11 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, anyone who wonders whether Muslim organizations and individuals are denouncing extremist attacks "doesn't own Google," because "every single organization, major organization, Muslim organization throughout the world ... has condemned, not just this attack, but every attack that occurs in the name of Islam."
The French and British Muslim Councils and the Arab League denounced the attacks Charlie Hebdo. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called the attack "brutal and cowardly."
In 2014, many Muslim organizations condemned the terror group the Islamic State as "nothing to do with Islam" and "morally repugnant," with the Muslim Public Affairs Council calling on "all people of conscience" to "stand against extremism."
But prominent media figures ignored the condemnations, instead criticizing Muslims for supposedly not being outspoken enough.
On January 9, Murdoch, who chairs Fox News' parent company, tweeted that Muslims should be "held responsible" for radical Islam "until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer":
Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) January 10, 2015
Fox News hosts and guests also accused Muslims of not condemning extremist violence. Fox guest Monica Crowley said that Muslims "should be condemning" the violence. Bill O'Reilly went further, repeatedly shouting over his Muslim guests who tried to explain that Muslims are not only denouncing terrorism, but actually dying in the fight against it.
In another offensive display of the media's willingness to conflate Muslims with violent extremists, CNN's Don Lemon asked an American civil rights attorney who is Muslim, "Do you support ISIS?"
Fox figures have falsely suggested the Muslim community has not condemned the terror attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France despite the fact that Muslim leaders, advocacy groups and organizations, and leaders of Arab states have roundly denounced the attacks -- a fact that Fox reported on its website, but left off air.
Three former aides to Richard Nixon are defending the disgraced president surrounding the 40th anniversary of his resignation over the Watergate scandal. The aides-turned-pundits are using their media platforms to claim Nixon shouldn't have been impeached, Watergate was the product of "the malice and collusion of liberal elites," and that the former president was "a patriot" who "we desperately miss on the scene today."
The Watergate scandal involved vast criminality that eventually reached the top echelon of government. The New York Times noted: "Entangled in that skein were dozens of men implicated in the scandal, many of whom were top aides to the President. As it steadily unwound, the American people watched a parade of witnesses expose the details of a political crime whose proportions were nearly unfathomable: wiretapping, money laundering, destruction of documents, payment of hush money, character assassination, disinformation and deception -- all perpetrated by people at the highest levels of Government. More than 30 people pleaded guilty or were convicted of crimes like perjury, burglary, wiretapping and obstruction of justice."
In recent years, conservatives have been claiming that numerous supposed Obama administration scandals are equal to or worse than Watergate.
Three former Nixon aides, Pat Buchanan, Roger Stone, and Monica Crowley, have been attempting to rehabilitate Nixon through the media. The aides are discredited, though perhaps appropriate, messengers on behalf of the former president given their post-Nixon histories.
At least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors have recently campaigned with two political organizations created and heavily funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Many of those same Fox News personalities have also defended the Kochs from attacks and praised their political efforts on-air.
The controversial conservative brothers founded the 501(c)(4) group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and its 501(c)(3) sister group the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) in 2004. David Koch has called AFP the group he feels "most closely attached to and most proud of" and chairs AFPF's board. (The Washington Post notes of the IRS code distinction: "A 501(c)(4) is allowed to do considerably more issue advocacy work than a 501(C)(3), however. Neither group has to disclose the identity of its donors or the amounts of money those contributors have given.")
Politico's Ken Vogel reported that AFP "intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group." The Washington Post wrote that with a paid staff of 240, split between 32 states, AFP "may be America's third-biggest political party." In 2012, "More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in that election cycle came from Koch-linked feeder funds."
AFP and AFPF are part of a massive $400 million network of political groups spearheaded by the Kochs. The Huffington Post's Paul Blumenthal noted, "It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors' identities -- plus the vast sums of money they move -- that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters. There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts."
AFP states that it "mobilizes citizens to effectively make their voices heard in public policy issue campaigns" and "educates citizens about where their elected officials stand on our issues." AFP campaigns have included false attacks about health care reform, clean energy, economic issues, and elected Democrats like President Obama.
Fox News personalities are the public face of many AFP/AFPF events. Promotional materials heavily tout the speakers' affiliation with Fox News to increase attendance. According to a Media Matters review, the following Fox News personalities have participated in AFP and AFPF events since 2012: Guy Benson, Tucker Carlson, Monica Crowley, Jonah Goldberg, Greg Gutfeld, Mary Katharine Ham, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Andrew Napolitano, Sarah Palin, Charles Payne, Dana Perino, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Juan Williams.
The Koch/Fox News events are aimed at rallying attendees to support conservative causes and fight progressive initiatives. For example, an invitation for a May event featuring Tucker Carlson stated the rally will "send a message to the Left that we know the truth and support free market solutions." Information for a November 2013 rally with Monica Crowley said participants will "learn how you can fight back against government restrictions, taxes, and out-of-control spending." And an October 2012 event with John Stossel was a "Hands Off My Health Care Rally" which sought "to fully repeal Obama's deeply flawed health care bill."
Media Matters previously documented how numerous Fox News personalities campaigned for Republican candidates and organizations during the 2011-2012 election cycle.
Conservative media can't seem to agree whether or not Hillary Clinton's 2012 concussion was faked or was so serious she now has permanent brain damage, but whichever it is they seem ready to ignore all medical evidence in order to politicize her health.
In late December 2012, shortly before she was scheduled to testify before Congress regarding the attacks in Benghazi, Clinton sustained a concussion after she fainted due to dehydration from the flu, and was subsequently hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening blood clot in her head. The State Department postponed her testimony, and she ultimately appeared before Congress in January after her doctors confirmed she would make a full recovery.
Karl Rove reportedly dismissed this medical evidence last week when he claimed Clinton might have brain damage from the episode. Rove doubled down on his remarks today on Fox. Rove insisted that while he did not use the phrase "brain damage," he did believe she had "a serious health episode" and "she's hidden a lot" of information about the extent of her injuries. Wildly speculating about her health was reasonable, according to Rove, because she might someday run for president.
But back in December 2012, conservative media weren't worried that Clinton's health might impede a presidential run; instead, right-wing media immediately accused Clinton of faking her concussion to avoid testifying on Benghazi, taking a potentially life-threatening incident, which the former Secretary of State thankfully recovered from, and making it a political cudgel.
Fox contributor John Bolton accused Clinton of faking a "diplomatic illness." Monica Crowley dismissed the illness, calling it a "virus with apparently impeccable timing." Fox's The Five took the attacks a step further by mocking the Secretary's health, accusing Clinton of running "a duck and cover" and joking, "How can she get a concussion when she has been ducking everything [related to Benghazi]?" On Special Report Charles Krauthammer quipped she was "suffering from acute Benghazi allergy," a joke Sean Hannity liked so much he laughed about it later on his own show. When this mockery came under fire, host Greg Gutfeld attempted to defend Fox's actions by dismissing their remarks as mere "skepticism" and accusing journalists of "ginning up fake hatred, or outrage, towards skeptics." It wasn't just Fox, though; The Los Angeles Times, for instance, posted an online poll giving credence to the concussion conspiracy theories, asking readers "did she fake it?"
As The Wire noted, some of these conspiracy theorists quickly flipped when conservatives realized mocking a serious health condition, including the blood clot, was not a winning strategy. The New York Post, which had initially featured the headline "Hillary Clinton's head fake," followed up with a sober report on her condition noting that "Cynics in the media and in Congress sneered that Clinton was faking the concussion to avoid testimony about the attack" -- without acknowledging their own previous coverage. The Daily Caller similarly reported in February that "whispers" suggested Clinton's health was so bad she "may not even be capable of making it to Iowa and New Hampshire," after having wondered two months before why "we're supposed to just take her word for it" that she collapsed and hit her head. Fox, however, seems to be sticking with concussion trutherism; just this month, host Eric Bolling claimed Clinton purposefully "hit her head" so someone else could "take the bullet" on Benghazi.
So she either lied about a serious injury in order to avoid testimony (which she still gave), or she's now lying about being healthy in order to run for president (which she isn't currently doing). Either way, Rove's comments continue conservative media's stubborn insistence to politicize her health in whichever direction suits them at the moment, regardless of medical evidence.
From the May 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Loading the player reg...
A Mississippi bill that will severely limit access to reproductive health is being promoted by conservative lawmakers using misleading arguments that mirror those pushed by right-wing media outlets.
In 2012, Mississippi passed House Bill 1390, legislation that would require all physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed the law, stating, "To further protect patient safety in the event of a complication during the procedure, this bill also requires the physician to have staff and admitting privileges at a local hospital." The governor's spokesman noted that Bryant felt the law was "an important step in strengthening abortion regulations and protecting the health and safety of women."
Rep. Sam Mims, HB 1390's sponsor, said in a CNN interview that the purpose of the law is "to make sure that women who are receiving these abortions are receiving abortions by a professional physician who is certified," and that "If something goes wrong, which it might -- we hope it doesn't, but it could -- that physician could follow the patient to a local hospital. That's the intent. And what happens afterwards, we'll have to see what happens." In a May 8, 2012 blog, the Mississippi Republican Party wrote "HB 1390 will require all physicians performing in abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital; a necessity to protect life in case of an emergency during an abortion."
In July of that year, however, the law was partially blocked by a federal judge after the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit alleging that the law is unconstitutional. The law made headlines again in 2014 as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether to uphold the injunction.
Talking Points Memo argued that, despite the governor's purported concern for women's health, the law has more to do with restricting reproductive access than it does with women's health, arguing that medical organizations oppose requiring admitting privileges and pointing to Bryant's history of anti-choice advocacy. Diane Derzis, the owner of Jackson Women's Health Organization, agreed, telling Politico, "These people hide behind words like 'safety,' 'women's health,' 'concern' and 'compassion.' "
But the same could be said for choice opponents in the right-wing media, who frequently couch their anti-choice activism as concern over women's health.
Conservative media are latching on to the climate change denial of Patrick Moore, who has masqueraded as a co-founder of Greenpeace. But Moore has been a spokesman for nuclear power and fossil fuel-intensive industries for more than 20 years, and his denial of climate change -- without any expertise in the matter -- is nothing new.