Time Magazine

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  • Fox News Is Laying The Groundwork For Trump To Skip Out On Presidential Debates

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News figures are helping rationalize Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s threat that the 2016 presidential debates must have “fair” moderators or he won’t participate, pointing to Candy Crowley’s 2012 debate moderation in which she fact-checked Republican candidate Mitt Romney as an “unacceptable” example. But Fox’s attacks on Crowley are based on a lie, and they’re helping lay the groundwork for Trump to justify withdrawing from the debates.

  • How Conservative Media Enabled Trump’s Outrageous Lies

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & JARED HOLT

    Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and conservative media figures repeatedly enabled each other to spread baseless smears and outright lies throughout the Republican presidential primary election cycle. Voices in conservative media repeatedly legitimized Trump’s debunked conspiracies, policy proposals, and statistics, some of which echoed longtime narratives from prominent right-wing media figures.

  • Media Explain Everything Wrong With Trump’s Energy Speech

    ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump gave a speech about energy issues on May 26 at an oil conference in North Dakota in which he asserted that he would expand fossil fuel drilling and restore coal mining jobs and he ignored or downplayed renewable energy’s potential. Media figures have criticized Trump’s claims as “utter nonsense” that “defy free market-forces” and noted that his remarks displayed a “lack of basic knowledge” about the energy industry and were full of “absurd, impossible-to-keep promises.”

  • TIME Calls Error-Ridden Book Clinton Cash “Heavily Researched”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    TIME magazine’s Philip Elliott misleadingly called Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash “heavily researched” in an article about the book's film adaptation, despite the book’s numerous errors and the author’s history of shoddy reporting and partisan ties.

    Schweizer’s book, which alleged supposed corruption by the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation, had more than 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions and was dismissed by many media outlets and figures  -- including TIME itself -- for lacking evidence to back up its charges. Schweizer is a Republican activist and strategist with a history of faulty reporting.

    In a May 12 article, Elliott wrote that the film was based “on a heavily researched book by the same name,” and is “careful in laying out a series of facts that are mostly true, though both the book and the movie sometimes draws connections and conclusions that aren’t as solid as their evidence.” Elliott admitted the book and movie make “impossible to prove” assumptions, yet concluded that “as a work of persuasion, the movie is likely to leave on-the-fence Clinton supporters who see it feeling more unsure about casting a vote for her”:

    It would be easy to dismiss an hour-long film adaptation of Peter Schweizer’s book about the charitable-political-nonprofit complex of Bill and Hillary Clinton as nothing more than conservative propaganda. But sitting in a Manhattan screening room late Wednesday, it quickly became clear that conservatives weren’t the intended audience for Clinton Cash.

    Environmentalists. Anti-nuke activists. Gay-rights advocates. Good-government folks. They’re all going to find themselves increasingly uncomfortable over claims that the likely Democratic nominee, in the film’s words, takes cash from the “darkest, worst corners of the world.”

    The 60-minute indictment of the Clintons will soon find its way to an awful lot of televisions ahead of November’s elections. Based on a heavily researched book by the same name, Clinton Cash is careful in laying out a series of facts that are mostly true, though both the book and the movie sometimes draws connections and conclusions that aren’t as solid as their evidence.

    “When it comes to the Clintons, you have to follow the money,” Schweizer says in a rough-cut previewed for TIME.

    No doubt, there are many places where dotted lines are smudged into solid ones, and some assumptions are made where concrete evidence of quid pro quo is impossible to prove. But as a work of persuasion, the movie is likely to leave on-the-fence Clinton supporters who see it feeling more unsure about casting a vote for her. Made by the conservative Breitbart News’ executive chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, and director M.A. Taylor, this film rises above the traditional campaign hit job.

    [...]

    Unlike Hillary, Clinton Cash is a more narrowly focused production with a clear-cut thesis that it repeats through a litany of perceived shifty associations. One alleges that that the Clintons helped the Russian nuke agency get control of 20% of American uranium as part of a deal that involves a Canadian billionaire, Kazakhstan mining officials and Vladimir Putin. Another claims that the Clintons got into bed with African strongmen with horrendous human rights records. “Paul Kigali is a friend of Bill Clinton’s,” the film tells audiences of Rwanda’s leader and suggests the Clintons are engaging in neo-colonialism in exploiting African countries’ natural resources.

    The film also accuses Hillary Clinton of flip-flopping on the Keystone XL pipeline after an investor booked Bill Clinton for lucrative speeches. Schweizer also says Clinton’s State Department spared Sweden’s Ericsson of troubles over selling technology to Iran after it, too, booked Bill Clinton for a paid talk. The list goes on: that Bill Clinton pocketed KGB money, a mining company put Hillary brother, Tony Rodham, on its board after it won concessions.

    The individual facts are largely true and based on widely reported events and public documents. The conclusions, however, are not as cut-and-dried as the film makes them out to be when assembled together. In general, the film’s reasoning is that if one thing followed another, it was a case of cause-and-effect.

    [...]

    This is not a movie that is going to dissuade the #imwithher crowd from supporting Clinton. But it is a movie that might keep disaffected liberals at home, energize the Sanders supporters to keep up the fight even after their preferred candidate bows to reality and serve up new fodder for conservative talking heads on cable news. This isn’t a game-changing movie, but one that could keep some less enthusiastic voters on the sidelines.

  • Major News Outlets Fail To Identify The Hate Group Boycotting Target

    The American Family Association Has Been Designated An Anti-LGBT “Hate Group” By The SPLC

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Major news outlets have largely failed to identify the American Family Association (AFA) -- the group organizing a boycott of Target over its transgender inclusive restroom policy -- as an anti-LGBT "hate group," often only referring to the group as a "Christian" or "conservative" organization.

  • It's Time For Reporters To Break Out Of The Trump Rally Press Pens

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Is the only thing more shocking than Donald Trump's campaign manager being charged with simple battery of a reporter the fact that the crime isn't all that startling, given the bullying campaign's open contempt for reporters?

    Enough is enough.

    With Trump's top aide, Corey Lewandowski, now facing charges, focus has shifted back to the increasingly abusive relationship between the GOP front-runner and the campaign press, and the unprecedented barrage of attacks journalists have faced, including constant insults hurled at them by the candidate himself. (Reporters are "disgusting" "horrible people," Trump regularly announces.)

    Sadly, news organizations have brought some of the degradation on themselves by acquiescing to all kinds of Trump campaign demands, such as the rule that they camp out inside mandatory press pens at events. Basically, the Trump campaign disparages the media, and news organizations do nothing in response -- except shower him with even more coverage. (Talk about a win-win for him.)

    "For ratings and clicks, they've allowed themselves to be penned up like farm animals at his rallies and risked scuffles with the Secret Service for covering the events like actual reporters," wrote Eliana Johnson at National Review.

    In fact, the press pens have become a hallmark of Trump's war on the press.

     "Unlike other presidential campaigns, which generally allow reporters and photographers to move around at events, Trump has a strict policy requiring reporters and cameramen to stay inside a gated area, which the candidate often singles out for ridicule during his speeches," Time reported.  

    And Time should know.

    In February, a Secret Service agent lifted Time photographer Chris Morris up off the ground and choke-slammed him onto a table after Morris momentarily "stepped out of the press pen to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that interrupted the speech."

    It's long past time for journalists to demand their freedom from Trump press pens. It's like deciding to finally stop taking Trump's phone-in interviews. Escaping from the pens represents a simple way for news organizations to assert their obvious right to cover the Trump campaign on their own terms, rather than being penned in at campaign events and living in fear of having access denied if coverage is deemed to be too critical. 

    Covering the Trump campaign on a daily basis today appears to be a rather miserable media existence. Reporters are threatened by staffers, and the Trump communications team seems to be utterly nonresponsive to media inquires. ("There is no Trump press operation," one reporter told Slate.)

    But it's even worse than that. Just ask CBS News reporter Sopan Deb. In January at a Trump rally in Reno, a Trump supporter demanded to know if Deb was taking pictures on behalf of ISIS. Then, in March, after Trump's raucous would-be rally in Chicago was canceled, Deb was covering mayhem unfolding on the streets when he was "thrown to the ground by Chicago cops, handcuffed, arrested, and detained in jail."

    I give journalists on the Trump beat credit for trying to make the best of a very bad situation. My question is why aren't bosses standing up more forcefully for their staffers on the Trump front line? Why aren't executives saying "enough" to the campaign bullying? And why don't they take collective action and fix the obvious problems with how the Trump campaign is mistreating the press?

    In case you missed it, last year 17 journalists representing scores of news organizations met for two hours in Washington, D.C., because they were so angry with how Hillary Clinton's campaign was limiting access for journalists.

    "The problems discussed were the campaign's failure to provide adequate notice prior to events, the lack of a clear standard for whether fundraisers are open or closed press and the reflexive tendency to opt to speak anonymously," The Huffington Post reported.

    Looking back, the press's Clinton complaints seem minor compared to the disrespect and invective the Trump campaign rains down on the press. But at the time, news organizations banded together and insisted that changes be made. ("The Clinton campaign is far less hostile to reporters than Donald Trump's campaign," The Huffington Post recently noted.)

    So why the relative silence in light of the constant Trump mistreatment of the press? Why did news outlets quickly marshal their forces when Democrat Clinton was the target of criticism, but they apparently do very little when the Republican front-runner is trampling all over the press? Why the obvious double standard for covering Trump and Clinton?

    Note that last November, several news organizations discussed their concerns with the Trump campaign. "Representatives from five networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN -- discussed their concerns about the Trump campaign restrictions on a Monday conference call, but did not present the campaign with any specific access requests," according to The Huffington Post.

    But very little came of it. "Facing the risk of losing their credentialed access to Trump's events, the networks capitulated," BuzzFeed reported.

    Indeed, in the wake of that meeting, press pens at Trump rallies have recently become even more restrictive, with longer avenues of exit and entries created to separate journalists even further from rally attendees.

    More recently, BuzzFeed reported, "Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face."

    So yes, news organizations have had behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Trump campaign. But the result has been to let Trump "dictate specific details about place of cameras at his event."

    Just amazing.

    And note that it's not just the press pens. Here's a list of the news organizations that have had reporters banned from previous Trump events, presumably because the campaign didn't like the news coverage: The Des Moines Register, Fusion, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Daily Beast, and Univision.

    Over and over we've seen this pattern play out: Report something negative about Trump and watch your press credentials get yanked. This kind of bullying, of course, is unprecedented for American presidential campaigns. The tactic goes against every principle of a free press, inhibiting the news media's unique role in our democracy to inform the public, without fear or favor.

    Yet to date, I'm not aware of outlets banding together to make concrete ultimatums in response to the Trump campaign's bullying. Instead of collective action, we get sporadic, nonbinding complaints from editors.

    But what kind of signal does that send, other than capitulation

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • Myths And Facts On The Nomination Of Judge Merrick Garland To The Supreme Court

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT, TIMOTHY JOHNSON & PAM VOGEL

    Since the lead-up to President Obama's March 16 nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the judge has faced misleading and false attacks, as well as a concerted push for continued obstruction of any Supreme Court nominee chosen by Obama. Here are the facts about the nominee, previous lines of right-wing attack, and information on the nomination and confirmation processes going forward.

  • Right-Wing Media's Sexist Obsession With Clinton's Voice Following Her Primary Victory Speech

    Media Labeled Previous Attacks On Clinton's Voice "Sexist"

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Right-wing media personalities reacted to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's Florida primary victory speech by claiming she was "shouting angrily" and "screech speech," with MSNBC's conservative morning show host Joe Scarborough telling Clinton to "smile" during her speech. Media outlets previously blasted similar attacks on Clinton in February as "sexist."

  • Will Moderators Finally Discuss Voting Rights At Tonight's GOP Debate?

    Republican Candidates Have A Record Of Supporting Measures That Disenfranchise Communities Of Color

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Debate moderators at the nine Republican (and six Democratic) presidential primary debates so far have not asked a single question regarding voting rights or restrictive voter ID policies despite the Republican presidential candidates' long histories of supporting policies that undermine voting rights.

    The February 25 Republican debate, hosted by CNN and Telemundo, presents a particularly important opportunity to question candidates on their stances regarding voting rights, as it will be "the only RNC-sanctioned Republican debate broadcast by a Spanish-language network," catering to an audience that is likely familiar with voting rights discrimination.

    The absence of questions regarding Republican candidates' positions on voting rights and voter ID laws during the first nine Republican debates -- hosted by Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, ABC News, and CBS -- was especially jarring during the first one, which was hosted by Fox News on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

    While Democratic debate moderators have not asked questions about voting rights either, it is the Republican candidates who have a long history of undermining voting rights:

    • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) supported a 2012 purge of voter rolls despite concerns that it disproportionately targeted minority and likely Democratic voters, and he "blew off" concerns about the impact of restrictive voter ID laws;
    • Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed off on legislation that rolled back voting rights by limiting early voting and eliminating same-day voter registration;
    • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) not only praised the Supreme Court for a resolution that weakened the Voting Rights Act, but also attempted to amend voter registration laws to require proof of citizenship before registration;
    • Dr. Ben Carson has given voter ID laws an "enthusiastic endorsement" in his book One Vote; and
    • Front-runner Donald Trump has baselessly speculated that the "voting system is out of control" saying that, in his opinion, people "are voting many, many times."

    Evidence strongly discredits the candidates' alarmist rhetoric about voter fraud and the need for voter ID laws, which disproportionately disenfranchise racial and ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged voters. And experts agree that such laws tackle a "virtually non-existent" problem: Voter impersonation is "more rare than getting struck by lightning," data shows that the systems already put in place to verify voters actually work, and election experts have explained both that rare instances of double voting seldom turn out to be fraud and that they would not be prevented by strict voter ID laws.

    There is no shortage of questions moderators could ask Republican presidential candidates about voting rights, given their public support for measures that would make voting more difficult for minorities. Since Spanish-speaking media play a crucial role in informing the increasingly significant Latino vote, tonight's Telemundo debate presents an important opportunity to hold politicians accountable.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched the Time magazine transcripts of the August 6, 2015, September 16, 2015, November 11, 2015, and January 15, 2016, Republican debates, the Washington Post transcripts of the October 28, 2015, December 15, 2015, January 28, 2016, and February 13, 2016, Republican debates, and the CBS News transcript of the February 6, 2016, Republican debate, as well as the New York Times transcript of the October 14, 2015, Democratic debate, the Time magazine transcripts of the November 14, 2015, February 4, 2016, and February 11, 2016, Democratic debates, and the Washington Post transcripts of the December 19, 2015, and January 17, 2016, Democratic debates for the terms "voting rights," "voter ID," "disenfranchise," and "voter fraud."

  • Right-Wing Media Use Walmart "Bait-And-Switch" To Falsely Attack Minimum Wage

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    After building three stores in rapidly developing Washington, D.C., neighborhoods, Walmart announced it would not build two additional stores planned for low-income communities. Right-wing media are falsely claiming that the District's recent increase in its minimum wage killed these stores when in fact, Walmart originally agreed to build them only to get support for the three stores it wanted to open in better-off areas, and the company has since decided to close over 150 stores in the U.S. this year due to poor sales.