Media are calling Marco Rubio "robotic," and criticizing his "disastrous Republican debate gaffe" after the presidential hopeful "awkwardly pivoted four times to a well-rehearsed line," in an exchange with Gov. Chris Christie at the final Republican debate before New Hampshire voters cast ballots in the first primary of the election season.
With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton facing a barrage of criticisms over the tone of her voice during a recent speech, Media Matters looks back at the rampant sexism she faced from the media during her 2008 presidential bid.
The New York Post continues to publish dubiously sourced and baseless speculation about investigations around Hillary Clinton's emails as secretary of state. The paper is now reporting that there was a premeditated conspiracy to share classified information, citing claims from a former federal investigator who resigned after he was accused of corruption.
The New York Post published a discredited conservative writer's thinly-sourced report that former State Department aides to Hillary Clinton illegally "cut and pasted" classified materials and sent them to Clinton's personal email. The report seems to be based solely on the claims of a former State Department official who has worked with the anti-Clinton organization Judicial Watch.
In his January 24 report, Paul Sperry, a visiting media fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institution, reported that "former State Department security officials" say that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is "investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton's inner circle 'cut and pasted' material from the government's classified network so that it could be sent to her private e-mail address." Sperry gave no indication how the unnamed former officials would have access to information about FBI investigations.
Citing no sources at all, Sperry claimed that the FBI is "zeroing in on" former Clinton State Department aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Jake Sullivan for their alleged involvement in improperly circumventing government classification systems.
The bulk of Sperry's piece consists of speculation from retired State Department Diplomatic Security agent Ray Fournier, who reportedly "says it's clear from some of the classified e-mails made public that someone on Clinton's staff essentially 'cut and pasted' content from classified cables into the messages sent to her." Fournier theorizes that "Clinton's staff would have simply retyped classified information from the systems into the non-classified system or taken a screen shot of the classified document"; he concludes, "either way, it's totally illegal."
Sperry gave no examples of the emails that Fournier claims are "clear" evidence of illegal behavior or how he would know their redacted contents. While Sperry referenced "former State Department security officials" as the source of his claim that the FBI is investigating this allegation, he neither named nor referenced any other in his piece. Notably, Fournier has a history of conservative activism -- he conducted a review of the Benghazi terror attack on behalf of Judicial Watch, a right-wing organization with a decades-long history of attacking the Clintons.
In fact, Judicial Watch investigator Chris Farrell is the only other named source in the report -- Sperry quoted him claiming that Clinton's receipt of classified information outside secure channels "is a mortal sin" and that "a regular government employee would be crucified" if they engaged in such activity.
Sperry also baselessly claimed that "Clinton instructed Sullivan to convert a classified document into an unclassified e-mail attachment by scanning it into an unsecured computer and sending it to her without any classified markings." In fact, national security experts say it is not illegal to separate unclassified material from classified documents and send it through unclassified channels, which is what Clinton has said she was asking Sullivan to do.
Sperry -- a former Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily -- has a long history of producing baseless conspiracy theories.
In 2005, he published a book alleging that "Islamic radicals have worked their way into our government through intimidation and exploitation of religious tolerance." The book specifically cited conservative Grover Norquist's "ties to militant Muslim activists," a long-time bugaboo for Islamophobes. In 2009, he published a follow-up claiming that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an educational non-profit, was attempting to infiltrate Congress and undermine democracy -- by seeking to place Muslim interns in congressional offices.
Sperry recently contributed New York Post reports that claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is "a diehard communist" threat to American values, and that President Obama is building a secret racial database to allow "race cops and civil-rights lawyers" to control "virtually every aspect of society."
Right-wing media spent much of 2015 lashing out at celebrities. From seething over celebrities who spoke out against sexism and pay inequality in Hollywood and supported the Black Lives Matter movement, to objectifying female bodies, bashing the Pope, and telling an actress to "deport herself," Media Matters looks back at some of conservative media's most outrageous temper tantrums of 2015:
Hillary Clinton said during the December 19 Democratic presidential primary debate that ISIS is using Donald Trump's inflammatory anti-Muslim comments "to recruit more radical jihadists." Although experts say that ISIS and other terrorist groups are using Trump's remarks to attract recruits on social media, journalists have ignored that fact and fixated on Clinton's specific statement that the terrorists use Trump's comments in recruitment "videos" to suggest that Clinton "made the stuff up about Trump and ISIS."
A Media Matters analysis found that four of the ten largest-circulation newspapers in the country published op-eds, editorials, or columns that denied climate science while criticizing the international climate change negotiations in Paris, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Post, and The Orange County Register. Altogether, 17 percent of the 52 opinion pieces that the ten largest newspapers published about the Paris conference included some form of climate science denial, and many of them repeated other myths about the climate negotiations as well.
A U.S.-based Muslim advocacy organization is criticizing the New York Post for displaying the phrase "Muslim Killers" on its cover after the release of the identities of the alleged shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
On December 2, two people opened fire at a holiday party in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 and wounding 21 more. After they left the scene, the suspects were confronted by police and killed in a gun battle. After the names of the suspects were released late that night, the New York Post changed the headline of its front page from "Murder Mission" to "Muslim Killers." As Matt Ford of The Atlantic explained:
The front page on the left is from the subscriber edition, which prints late at night so it can be mailed out in the early morning. The front page on the right is from the newsstand edition, which prints later and is also used online. Police confirmed the names of the two suspects, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, at a press conference late last night; the Post's editors rewrote the headline accordingly for the later edition.
Ford went on to describe the cover as indicative of "uniquely paranoid bigotry" toward Muslims that could "have dire consequences for American Muslims." Vox.com's Jennifer Williams similarly wrote of the cover, "The only reason to highlight the religion of the attackers at this point is to link Islam to murder, which spreads fear and hatred of Muslims -- in other words, Islamophobia."
In a statement accompanying a petition, the grassroots Muslim group MPower Change wrote that the cover is indicative of "inflammatory, irresponsible and inciting media reporting that fuels an environment of hate and violence against innocent people" and that the Post and other outlets must "report based on facts":
The New York Post has labeled the San Bernardino shooters "Muslim Killers" in their web version, without any information on motive. What did they call the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter or Charleston Shooter or Aurora Movie Theater shooter?
It is this type of inflammatory, irresponsible and inciting media reporting that fuels an environment of hate and violence against innocent people.
We are not surprised--the NY Post is, after all, a part of the same family of companies as the right-wing infotainment channel Fox TV--but we are tired of being victimized.
We say enough is enough. The Post, and all media outlets, have to report based on facts and act more responsibly--and we have to hold them accountable.
In the days after the November 13 Paris terror attacks, conservative media figures advocated for aggressive bombing of ISIS-controlled cities in Syria and dismissed concerns over civilian casualties, calling for an end to targeting restrictions that aim to prevent collateral damage.
At least 30 state governors -- 29 Republican, 1 Democratic -- are parroting right-wing media myths about security concerns presented by incoming Syrian refugees to argue against taking part in expanded refugee resettlement programs. However, the overwhelming majority of refugees pose no credible threat to the United States, and the vetting process for refugee applicants is thorough. Furthermore, state governments lack the legal authority to dictate immigration policy in the United States.
Right-wing media mischaracterized President Obama's remarks that ISIS has been "contained" to suggest that he downplayed the international threat posed by the terrorist group. However, fact-checkers have determined that "references or suggestions that Obama claimed ISIS no longer presents an active threat are incorrect."
Conservative media used the terrorist attacks in Paris to fearmonger about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, claiming that the U.S. cannot effectively vet potential refugees, ignoring experts who say that the thoroughness of the U.S.'s refugee vetting process sets it apart from those of European countries.
Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin wrote in a New York Post column that in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, President Obama has two choices: "Lead us or resign."
After Obama condemned the November 13 Paris attacks as an "attack on all humanity," right-wing media panned his remarks for failing to describe the "Islamic nature of the attacks."
Striking a similar tone in his November 14 column, Goodwin broadly criticized the president's counter-terrorism efforts, writing that "President Obama has spent the last seven years trying to avoid the world as it is." Goodwin claimed that Obama denies the threat of terrorism, complained that "[h]e refuses to say 'Islamic terrorism,'" and ignored everything that the U.S. is doing to defeat the terrorist group ISIS. Writing that "there is no more time to avoid the truth of war," Goodwin concluded that if Obama "cannot rise to the challenge of leadership in this historic crisis, then, for the good of humanity, he should resign":
In any time and place, war is fiendishly simple. It is the ultimate zero-sum contest -- you win or you lose.
That eternal truth is so obvious that it should not need to be said. Yet even after the horrific slaughter in Paris, there remains a distressing doubt about whether America's commander in chief gets it.
President Obama has spent the last seven years trying to avoid the world as it is. He has put his intellect and rhetorical skills into the dishonorable service of assigning blame and fudging failure. If nuances were bombs, Islamic State would have been destroyed years ago.
He refuses to say "Islamic terrorism," as if that would offend the peaceful Muslims who make up the vast bulk of victims. He rejects the word "war," even as jihadists carry out bloodthirsty attacks against Americans and innocent peoples around the world.
Paris is the final straw. Obama's exemption from reality has expired. He must either commit to leading the free world to victory, or step aside so someone else can.
There is no more time to avoid the truth of war. America must organize the combined forces of the civilized world before Islamic State makes good on its vow to "taste" more American blood.
If Obama cannot rise to the challenge of leadership in this historic crisis, then, for the good of humanity, he should resign. Those are the only options and it is his duty to decide.
Right-wing media outlets hyped the misleading research conclusions of the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, which claimed the $15 minimum wage bill proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) would kill half a million jobs in the state and would hurt workers.
After an almost 11-hour hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right-wing media conceded that House Select Committee on Benghazi members "didn't accomplish much."