MSNBC hosted a spokeswoman from a notorious anti-gay hate group twice in one day to discuss controversial "religious freedom" legislation, failing to identify her as an extremist who has opposed the decriminalization of gay sex.
On April 1, American Family Association (AFA) spokeswoman Sandy Rios appeared twice on MSNBC during segments discussing a number of controversial "religious freedom" laws being debated in state legislatures. The AFA has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its history of anti-gay extremism, including blaming gay men for the Holocaust and supporting the criminalization of homosexuality.
Rios herself is an anti-gay extremist who has denied that homophobia motivated Matthew Shepard's murder, opposed a Supreme Court decision decriminalizing gay sex, believes people can choose to "stop being gay," and has stated that being gay is "broken hearts, it's disease."
Rios appeared on NewsNation with Tamron Hall to defend Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), where she falsely claimed that RFRAs weren't intended to allow for anti-LGBT discrimination:
The annual Values Voter Summit will take place from September 26 through September 28 in Washington, DC. The convention is sponsored by hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and regularly features extreme rhetoric and hate from politicians and conservative media members. In 2013, Ben Carson said that Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." Here is some of what you can expect at the 2014 event:
Media figures speaking at the event are scheduled to include: Lt. General William Boykin, Fox News contributor Oliver North, Rick Santorum, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, David Limbaugh, Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor and Redstate.com Editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, Mat Staver, Mark Levin, Star Parker, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, Brigitte Gabriel, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
Fox News contributor Ben Carson is slated to be the keynote speaker at the first Gala dinner of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), becoming the latest Fox figure to appear before an extreme anti-gay group.
In a May 6 email to supporters, NOM President Brian Brown wrote that "it's 1972 for marriage," referring to the year before the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to an abortion and the growing expectation that the Court will take up marriage equality once again by 2015. To protest the frightening possibility that same-sex couples nationwide will soon enjoy civil equality, NOM will hold its second annual March for Marriage in Washington on June 19. Brown's email touted Carson's appearance - previously flagged by GLAAD's Jeremy Hooper - at NOM's gala that same evening (emphasis original):
It was a crisp winter day in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court issued their horrific decision in Roe v Wade. How much would you sacrifice to go back in time to a few months before that fateful decision, to the Fall of 1972, and mobilize the American people BEFORE the Supreme Court issued that infamous decree?
Just about anything, right? Well, when it comes to marriage, we have that chance!
You see, it's 1972 for marriage. Within the next 12 months, it is very likely that the United States Supreme Court will take up the marriage issue again. Many people have bought in to the lie that the courts redefining marriage is somehow "inevitable." Well, I refuse to believe that, because it's simply not true!
That's why the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is organizing its second annual March for Marriage this summer on June 19th in Washington, DC -- bringing together thousands of marriage activists from all across the country to make sure the elites in our nation's capital hear loud and clear: Marriage matters because every kid deserves a mom and a dad!
One incredibly courageous leader who is standing up for marriage is Doctor Ben Carson, who will be the keynote speaker at NOM's first ever Gala dinner on the evening of the March for Marriage. He said in a speech earlier this year that the "P.C. police" have "tried to shut him up" because he's willing to state his belief publicly that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Fox News contributor Sandy Rios made several extreme anti-gay remarks during her speech at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, including calling the murder of Matthew Shepard a "total fraud" and touting the existence of "ex-gays."
Speaking at this year's Values Voters Summit on October 11, Rios, a Fox News contributor and host of American Family Radio Talk's "Sandy Rios in the Morning," repeated the right-wing myth that the brutal murder of openly gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was actually motivated by drug use and not anti-gay bias. According to Huffington Post reporter Christinia Wilkie:
In his bombshell report on Groundswell, a coalition of prominent right-wing activists and journalists that gathers weekly "to concoct talking points" and "coordinate messaging," Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn reveals that that group is engaged in a "two front war" against not only progressives, but Fox News political analyst and former Bush aide Karl Rove.
At one point, Corn details, that effort was led by Rove's colleague, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios.
Since the 2012 election, a civil war in the conservative movement has divided Rove and his allies from other right-wing elements who believe Rove is insufficiently ideological. Much of the debate has focused on The Conservative Victory Project, a new group Rove is launching with the help of allies of Crossroads political groups to support Republican officeholders against Tea Party challengers. That effort has drawn harsh criticism from some of Rove's Fox News colleagues.
As Corn explains, that conservative civil war is in part driven by Groundswell, which in March "initiated an effort to crush Rove, who they believed had helped shape a post-election post-mortem by the Republican National Committee that called on the party to temper its message to appeal to a broader swath of voters." Notes for the group's March 20 meeting explain that Rove "must become toxic among the grass roots and among his base," and notes his vast influence in the conservative movement, including that "FOX has given Rove a platform and just renewed his contract," in spite of the fact that "Rove no more represents conservatives then Jessie [sic] Jackson or Al Sharpton represent all Blacks."
Notes for a February 20 Groundswell meeting indicate Rios was in charge of the working group devoted to an "Alternative to Rove." Notes for the group's March 6 meeting describe her as responsible for the "Karl Rove Project." According to Corn, "Weeks later, though, a Groundswell memo noted that the Conservative Action Project -- a coalition of more than 100 right-wing organizations that is chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese -- would be 'taking the lead' on the Rove Project." It is unclear whether that means that Rios and Groundswell were no longer directly engaged in an effort to undermine Rove.
Rios has previously repudiated Rove's Conservative Victory Project. During a February 4, 2013, appearance on American Family Radio, Rios said it was "frightening" that Rove is "going after really conservative candidates that they consider to be a little bit too conservative, out of the mainstream." Rios pointed to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as an example of someone who is being unfairly targeted. She added that Rove "could not have been more wrong" about recent elections.
In May, Rios signed a letter opposing the bipartisan Senate proposal to reform immigration law that became the bill that passed in June. Immigration reform has been a key area of disagreement between Rove and more conservative elements of the party.
Fox News contributors Allen West and John Bolton are also reportedly Groundswell participants.
At least six Fox News contributors have reportedly signed on to an open letter opposing the comprehensive immigration reform legislation currently being debated in the Senate. Fox News, which has admitted it is the "voice of opposition" on certain issues, has long ignored and even fostered such unethical behavior from its personalities.
According to Yahoo! News, conservative radio hosts, along with tea party and other conservative groups, have signed a letter opposing the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a proposal from a bipartisan group of senators to reform immigration law. Among the "National Conservative Leaders" who have reportedly signed the letter are six current Fox News contributors:
However, their affiliation with Fox News was not mentioned in the letter.
Radio hosts Mark Levin and Lars Larson, who also signed the letter, are regular Fox News guests as well. Daily Beast editor and CNN contributor David Frum also signed the letter.
The letter expresses "serious concerns" with the bill and urges Senators to vote against it:
We oppose this bill and urge you to vote against it when it comes to the Senate floor. No matter how well intentioned, the Schumer-Rubio bill suffers from fundamental design flaws that make it unsalvageable. Many of us support various parts of the legislation, but the overall package is so unsatisfactory that the Senate would do better to start over from scratch.
Reforming our immigration system is an important priority. But S.744 is such a defective measure that it would do more harm than good. We urge you to vote against it and against any cloture vote to bring up the bill. Only then can a constructive, measured debate take place on how to improve America's immigration policy.
The letter also repeats some common myths about immigration, including the debunked notion that granting undocumented immigrants legal status "[h]urts American job-seekers, especially those with less education." The letter also compares the Senate immigration bill to the health care law, calling it "bloated and unwieldy."
Fox News has been criticized for unethical behavior in the past and for operating like a political organization. In fact, Crowley crossed the ethical line during the 2012 presidential election when she spoke at an anti-Obama rally sponsored by the Koch-funded conservative advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity.
Fox News has long styled itself as an anti-immigrant network even as it purports to reach out to Latino viewers. Rush Limbaugh, for example, stated in January that it's "up to me and Fox News" to defeat immigration reform. As Yahoo! News noted however, Limbaugh was "notably absent" from the list of signatories.
From the April 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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As women's health issues have dominated national media for the past few weeks, right-wing media figures have insisted that the current debate isn't about women's health, but is "a religious freedom issue," to quote Fox News' Gretchen Carlson. Carlson's comments came after the Obama administration had revised an earlier ruling that would have required some religiously affiliated schools and hospitals to cover employees' contraception costs; under the new rule, health insurers, not such religious institutions, would pay for contraception.
Now Fox figures are attacking another clarification of the rule issued on Friday, which stated that most colleges and universities must cover contraceptives, but that insurers will bear the costs for religious institutions. On the March 19 edition of Fox's America Live, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios was distraught over the ruling, shouting that it was "outrageous" for the administration to "make [universities] give these medications out to young girls." She later called the policy "social engineering at its worst."
Later, Rios attacked Title X, a federal program dedicated to family planning services. Rios was so "angry" about Title X that she claimed the "birth control" it provides once helped get a girl pregnant:
RIOS: For a long time, Title X has been giving birth control to minor girls without parental consent. This has been the law -- I've been angry about this for years. I know its effect. I know that there was a 14-year-old girl who got impregnated by her high school gym teacher in the Chicago suburbs because she got birth control from Title X.
Visibly baffled, Julie Roginsky, the Fox contributor opposite Rios, asked, "How did she get impregnated if she got birth control?" (Rios then walked back her comments: "No, she wasn't impregnated, I'm sorry. She was taking Depo-Provera.")
It's not clear what Rios was referring to, but it is clear that Title X has helped provide critical health services to millions of American women.
From the March 19 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the February 29 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Bill O'Reilly hosted Fox News contributor Sandy Rios to defend anti-LGBT group One Million Moms and their campaign to get Ellen DeGeneres fired as a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney, with Rios spewing that the campaign is responding to the "alarming ways" that "we are seeing homosexuality so embedded in our culture."
The New York Times reported:
J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Friday it fully backs its partnership with chat show host Ellen DeGeneres after a conservative group urged the retailer to reconsider hiring DeGeneres as a spokeswoman because she is a lesbian.
A spokeswoman for the retailer declined further comment on the issue but did say in an e-mail to Reuters, "jcpenney stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres" and added that its announcement of the agreement last week sums up the company's view of the popular TV personality.
The Times further quoted the Million Moms' statement: "Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families."
For his part, O'Reilly accused One Million Moms of conducting a "witch hunt" against DeGeneres. Rios dismissed that accusation, insisting that the group has "a legitimate complaint."
Defending the Million Moms' campaign targeting DeGeneres, Rios argued that the campaign was "not about Ellen DeGeneres," adding, "but it's about mainstreaming something that is not acceptable to Christian and traditional family people all over the country." She then criticized DeGeneres for having "chosen to act out her lesbian lifestyle," and opined that people who believe that children "should not be exposed and propagandized on homosexuality have a moral problem with that."
From the February 3 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the August 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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The July 20 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom included a segment on recent recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that listed eight categories of women's health care, including contraceptives, that should be classified as preventive services and therefore available under the health care reform law without co-pays or cost-sharing.
Not surprisingly, Fox's Heather Childers framed the story as being about whether the government should be involved in women's reproductive health.
But the segment took a particularly vicious and personal tone when Fox News contributor and vice president of Family-PAC Federal, Sandy Rios, attacked IOM recommendation supporter Dr. Cathleen London, calling her "a disgrace to our gender."
Rios criticized London as "a true feminist who makes no sense" and continued to display her own anti-woman agenda by proposing to "let women stop having irresponsible sex. ... Let's stop making excuses and providing a way to get women out of trouble when they should be responsible in their behavior."
Childers also jumped in agreed with Rios that it's "not too much to ask for everyone to stop having irresponsible sex."
Townhall Finance Editor John Ransom is the latest right-wing media figure to compare labor unions to terrorists:
That wasn't merely an overheated headline: Ransom reiterated the comparison in the body of his post:
If they can't get what they want at the negotiating table, the UAW will now try the economic equivalent of a suicide bombing of the economy. Never mind that they already destroyed the US automakers and their employees.