MSNBC reported that former House Benghazi Select Committee investigator Brad Podliska, is suing the committee for defamation after allegedly facing retaliation for claiming the committee was "hyper-focus[ed]" on Hillary Clinton.
Podliska was fired in late June after working for almost ten months as an investigator for the committee partly for, according to Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), mishandling classified information. On October 11, during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union, Podliska called the committee's investigation "partisan" and claimed the focus shifted almost exclusively to Clinton after it was reported that she utilized a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.
Gowdy and the committee denied the allegations, and said Podliska was "terminated for cause." A committee spokesperson issued a statement accusing Podliska of his own bias in his work, claiming he participated in an effort to direct committee resources to create a "'hit piece' on members of the Obama Administration, including Secretary Clinton." The statement said the committee would not be "blackmailed into a monetary settlement for a false allegation." Gowdy also issued his own statement, claiming he never spoke directly with Podliska and was confident no one on the committee instructed him to focus on Clinton. This occurred just weeks after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) bragged to Fox's Sean Hannity that Clinton's "numbers are dropping" because of the Select Committee's work.
The Benghazi Select Committee is largely a creation of Fox News and other members conservative media, who endlessly called for Congress to investigate Clinton over the Benghazi attacks. After McCarthy acknowledged the partisan nature of the committee, Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Bill O'Reilly and Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume conceded that the purpose of the investigation was political.
MSNBC reported that Podliska is not seeking monetary compensation from the defamation suit, but rather for Gowdy to release a statement admitting his allegation Podliska mishandled classified information was false. He is also asking for an injunction to prevent Gowdy from repeating the claim:
Last month, Brad Podliska, an Air Force Reserve major, alleged the Benghazi committee terminated him based on his military obligations and his refusal to advance an agenda targeting Hillary Clinton. Now, Podliska is detailing those charges in court in a new filing that alleges Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy broke the law by defaming him in their public battle over Podliska's firing.
Gowdy previously said Podliska was terminated partly for mishandling classified information.
The suit cites Gowdy's claim from a press release and an interview with NBC News, and argues it was a damaging line of attack, since allegations of such a "serious crime" have "ended the careers of many professionals in national security-related industries."
But the charge was totally false, the suit says, because the information Podliska handled was drawn entirely from "sources from the Internet." Podliska adds that the committee staffer who made the allegation later admitted the material "was not classified." The committee has not withdrawn the allegation.
Suing Gowdy for defamation reflects a confrontational legal strategy, as Podliska is moving beyond the details of his termination - a largely staff-level issue - to directly impugning Gowdy's conduct afterward. It also means that Monday's filing goes further than expected, not only suing the Committee, but naming Gowdy as an individual defendant.
The filing emphasizes Podliska is not seeking money for the defamation claim. Instead, he is calling for a statement establishing that Gowdy's allegation was false, and asking the Court to bar Gowdy from repeating it.
Beyond the legal claims, the filing includes some other detailed accusations sure to draw attention in Washington.
The suit says Gowdy conveyed to staff that he thought his Staff Director and Deputy "were incompetent," that senior Republican committee staffers regularly drank alcohol together in the "office during the workday," and that a nonpartisan security staff member deleted documents to avoid detection by Democratic committee members.
Podliska is seeking a jury trial, raising the prospect of one of the most high profile Washington courtroom dramas since the 2007 prosecution of Scooter Libby, a senior aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Media outlets called out Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's "utterly wrong," "wildly misleading," and long discredited claim at the October 28 CNBC presidential debate that women held 92 percent of the jobs lost during President Obama's first term, pointing out that that statistic is recycled from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and newer data completely contradicts Fiorina's claim: women actually gained jobs by the end of Obama's first term.
Right-wing media have spent months promoting a deceptive data chart from the anti-choice Americans United for Life that on September 29 became the cornerstone of Rep. Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) cross-examination of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards at a House Oversight Committee hearing aimed at defunding the organization. The chart's data is out of proportion and neglects to document numerous services performed by the women's health care provider to make it appear as if most of what Planned Parenthood does is pregnancy terminations.
Media outlets are highlighting the drastic consequences that implementing Texas' House Bill 2 (HB2) -- a law restricting women's access to safe, legal abortions by imposing "several medically unnecessary requirements" on providers -- would have on women in the state trying to access reproductive health care after news broke that Texas abortion providers have asked the Supreme Court to a hear a challenge to the restrictions.
Univision Noticias falló a su audiencia al no revelar adecuadamente los vínculos financieros entre un columnista y organizaciones alineadas en contra de un aumento federal al salario mínimo, permitiéndole al autor decir, de manera engañosa, que subir el salario mínimo resultaría en un daño a las minorías trabajadoras y que destruiría empleos.
En una columna del 6 de julio, Daniel Garza, de la organización de extrema derecha Iniciativa Libre, alegó que la "inconveniente realidad de subir el salario mínimo" sería un daño a los "más vulnerables" al aumentar los costos de producción y reducir la demanda de trabajadores. Garza citó un reporte de febrero de 2014 elaborado por la Oficina de Presupuesto del Congreso (CBO, por sus siglas en inglés) como prueba aparente de que aumentar el salario mínimo traería consecuencias negativas a "los más vulnerables", y culpó un aumento del salario mínimo en 2009 de haber destruido cientos de miles de empleos -- ignorando por completo a la verdadera culpable de la pérdida de empleos, la recesión. De su columna en Univision.com:
La Oficina de Presupuesto del Congreso (CBO) pronosticó una pérdida de aproximadamente 500,000 trabajos. Cuando el Congreso aumentó el salario mínimo un 10.6 por ciento en el 2009, más de 600,000 jóvenes perdieron sus trabajos. Actualmente, el salario mínimo contribuye significativamente al desastre fiscal por el que atraviesa Puerto Rico, donde la ley ha contribuido a un alto nivel de desempleo según el Washington Post.
Univision no reveló los profundos lazos financieros existentes entre Daniel Garza, la Iniciativa Libre y la red de activistas anti-salario mínimo financiada por los multimillonarios conservadores Charles y David Koch, lazos que documentó recientemente Media Matters. Univision.com le ha estado brindando una plataforma a Garza y a la Iniciativa Libre sin revelar su agenda financiada por los Koch desde, por lo menos, el 18 de marzo 2015.
"No es un desarrollo positivo tener a alguien como Trump menospreciando la contribución de los inmigrantes a la corriente conservadora, especialmente a la marca Republicana", dijo Daniel Garza - director ejecutivo de la Iniciativa Libre, un grupo financiado por la red de los hermanos Koch, dedicado a vender el conservadurismo a los latinos - en una entrevista con MSNBC.
El argumento de Garza en contra del salario mínimo se encuentra basado enteramente en su mala interpretación de un estudio de la CBO de 2014. La CBO no predijo una "pérdida de aproximadamente 500,000 trabajos", como alega Garza. Predijo 500,000 empleos netos menos creados entre 2014 y 2016 como resultado de aumentar el salario mínimo a $10.10 por hora. El mismo estudio también predijo que un salario mínimo federal de $10.10 aumentaría los ingresos por hora de 16.5 millones de trabajadores estadounidenses, a la vez que sacaría a 900,000 estadounidenses de la pobreza e inyectaría miles de millones de dólares a la economía. El error de Garza no es sorprendente; de acuerdo al Center for American Progress (CAP, por sus siglas en inglés), el estudio de la CBO ha sido malinterpretado ampliamente. Traducido de CAP:
Primero que todo, las proyecciones de la CBO no son que las oportunidades laborales para trabajadores de bajos ingresos disminuirán en los próximos tres años si el salario mínimo se subiera del actual $7.25 a $10.10 la hora, como muchos han reportado. Apenas hace un par de semanas, la CBO publicó su panorama económico y presupuestario para 2014 a 2024, que estima que el empleo en Estados Unidos crecerá en 7 millones de empleos entre ahora y 2018. Por supuesto, esa proyección se basa en un número de supuestos sobre el futuro que consisten en poco más que conjeturas.
Un estudio de febrero de 2013 del Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR por sus siglas en inglés) demostró que décadas de investigación sobre el salario mínimo no han revelado ningún "efecto discernible en el empleo" como resultado de aumentos incrementales al salario mínimo. No hay evidencia de que aumentar el salario mínimo afecte los niveles de empleo, pero hay investigaciones considerables mostrando los impactos positivos para trabajadores de bajos ingresos cuando se aumenta el salario mínimo -- especialmente para las mujeres y las minorías raciales.
Univision Noticias failed to adequately disclose for readers the financial ties between an op-ed contributor and organizations aligned against raising the federal minimum wage, allowing the author to misleadingly claim that increasing the baseline hourly wage would actually hurt minority workers and destroy jobs.
In a July 6 Spanish-language op-ed published by Univision.com, Daniel Garza of the far-right Libre Initiative claimed that the "inconvenient reality" of a minimum wage hike is that it would hurt "the most vulnerable" by increasing labor costs and reducing demand for workers. Garza cited a February 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as apparent proof that raising the minimum wage would bring dire consequences to "the most vulnerable" among the population, and blamed a 2009 minimum wage increase for destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs -- completely ignoring the actual culprit for job loss that year, the recession. Translated from Univision.com:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted a loss of approximately 500,000 jobs. When Congress raised the minimum wage by 10.6 percent in 2009, more than 600,000 youths lost their jobs. Currently, the minimum wage contributes significantly to the fiscal disaster by running through Puerto Rico, where the law has contributed to a high level of unemployment, according to The Washington Post.
Univision failed to disclose the extensive financial ties between Daniel Garza, the Libre Initiative, and the network of anti-minimum wage advocates funded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, which was recently documented by Media Matters. Univision.com has been providing a platform for Garza and the Libre Initiative without disclosing their Koch-backed agenda since at least March 18, 2015.
Other media outlets, like MSNBC, have done a better job in disclosing Garza's financial backers, putting the bias in his opinion columns in context:
"It's not a positive development to have someone like Trump disparage the contribution of immigrants to the conservative brand, especially the Republican brand," Daniel Garza - executive director of the LIBRE Initiative, a group backed by the Koch brothers' donor network devoted to selling Latinos on conservatism - told msnbc in an interview.
Garza's entire anti-minimum wage argument is based on his misinterpretation of a 2014 CBO study. The CBO did not predict "a loss of approximately 500,000 jobs," as Garza claims. It predicted 500,000 fewer net new jobs created from 2014 through 2016 as a result of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The same study also predicted that a $10.10 federal minimum wage would increase the hourly earnings of 16.5 million American workers, while lifting 900,000 Americans out of poverty and injecting billions of dollars into the economy. Garza's mistake isn't surprising, according to the Center for American Progress, the CBO study has been widely misinterpreted:
First of all, CBO does not project that job opportunities for low-wage workers will decline over the next three years if the minimum wage were raised from the current $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, as so many have reported. Only a few weeks ago, CBO published its economic and budget outlook for 2014 to 2024, which estimated that U.S. employment will grow by 7 million jobs between now and 2018. Of course, that projection is based on a number of assumptions about the future that are little more than educated guesses.
A February 2013 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) showed that decades of minimum wage research reveal no "discernible effect on employment" resulting from incremental increases. There is no evidence that raising the minimum wage affects employment levels, but there is considerable research showing the positive impacts of increasing the minimum wage for low-wage workers -- specifically women and people of color.
From the June 24 edition of MSNBC.com's Road Map:
MSNBC.com host Maria Teresa Kumar discussed the media's lack of inclusion of Latinos on issues important to Hispanics like education, the economy, and foreign policy, highlighting a Media Matters study, which found that Latinos were only included in policy discussions on Sunday news shows to talk about immigration.
During the March 17 edition of Changing America, Kumar discussed the findings of the Media Matters report with Danny Vargas, founder and president of VARCom Solutions and Raben Group's Lawrence Gonzalez. Vargas responded to the study commenting that for Latinos, "immigration is important, but so is education, jobs," and foreign policy. Gonzalez chided the news shows asserting that "people who are making these decisions at the news stations need to be thinking about what their impact is in our community."
Kumar also explained that Spanish-language media has also fed into the stereotype that immigration is the only issue important to Latinos, ignoring important needs of the Hispanic community which can affect their future. Watch:
From the June 19 edition of MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes:
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Mitt Romney's remarks at Solyndra were full of falsehoods that went unchecked by many major media outlets. The media also largely failed to point out that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney invested in several companies that subsequently went bankrupt or defaulted on state loans.
MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan has a long history of bigoted commentary in his books, columns, speeches, memos, and media appearances. Here are a few of his worst moments on MSNBC.
From the November 10 edition of MSNBC's Morning Meeting:
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With Glenn Beck and various other lunatics complaining about President Obama's speech to schoolchildren about the importance of education, despite the fact that previous Republican presidents also spoke to schoolchildren, some reporters knew just what to do.
That's right: it's time for a round of news reports suggesting that the complaints from conservatives like Beck are just like complaints from Democrats when George H. W. Bush spoke to school children.
Here's Byron York in the Washington Examiner:
The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.
The more things change...
Posted: Thursday, September 03, 2009 10:42 AM by Mark Murray
From NBC's Mark Murray
... the more they stay the same, we guess.
As it turns out, a controversy over a president giving an education speech to students isn't new.
One, George H.W. Bush gave a speech to students back in 1991. And two, Democrats criticized him for it.
I'm not really in the mood to mince words today, so I'll just say that this is absolutely idiotic. Anyone who thinks that criticizing the president for spending taxpayer money on a speech to schoolchildren is equivalent to criticizing the president for "indoctrinating" schoolchildren and comparing him to Mao and Hitler should give serious thought to resigning so someone who is competent can have their job.
From a September 4 post on MSNBC.com's First Read blog:
*** Remind us again how the media is biased...: Finally, here's one more thought about the entire controversy over Obama's education speech on Tuesday: Since the White House has said the text of the speech will be available for 24 hours before he delivers it and since they altered the lesson plan language, why is this still a controversy? The ability of the conservative media machine to generate a controversy for this White House is amazing. In fact, this is an example of a story that percolates where it becomes harder and harder for some to claim there's some knee-jerk liberal media bias. (Does anyone remember these kinds of controversies in the summer of 2001?) The ability of some conservatives to create media firestorms is still much greater than liberals these days. How effective is the conservative media machine? Just ask Van Jones...
(h/t Greg Sargent)
The conservative movement has been very effective attacking the media (broadcast and print) for its liberal biases. The refusal of the media to disclose and discuss the ideological leanings of reporters and editors, and the broader claim of objectivity, has made the press overly anxious, and inclined to lean over backwards not to offend critics from the right. In many respects, the campaign against the media has been more than a victory: it has turned the press into an unwilling, and often unknowing, ally of the right.
From a July 29 post on the NBC News blog First Read by political director Chuck Todd, deputy political director Mark Murray, political researcher Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg:
*** On the Glenn Becks and Howard Beales: The White House doesn't want to give Glenn Beck a bigger platform or extra oxygen -- especially regarding his remark yesterday that the president has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture" -- so they won't comment, even off record. Beck, after all, is a radio DJ who somehow ended up getting a national platform to give his opinion on politics. What's most amazing about this episode is that what Beck said isn't a fireable or even a SUSPENDABLE offense by his bosses. There was a time when outrageous rants like this would actually cost the ranters their jobs. But not anymore; if anything, it's now encouraged. And all of this could turn ACTUAL journalists into the next Howard Beales. It's getting nuts that the folks who are creating the perception of an ideological/polarized media world are people who have never really spent their lives being journalists. Whether it's former political consultants-turned-TV execs or former radio DJs, or former California socialites, the folks helping to accelerate the public's perception of the media off a cliff made their livings trying to do other things. Of course, Beck's crazy language could have one unintended consequence: It could cost him bookings with any Republicans who want to be popular outside Beck's hard-core bizarro-land viewers.