Tucker Carlson

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  • Right-Wing Media Fail Occam’s Razor Test In Continued Push To Scandalize McAuliffe PAC Donation

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    After initially failing to scandalize a Wall Street Journal story about political donations made by Clinton ally and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) political action committee (PAC) to the wife of an FBI official, conservative media are trying to revive the story. Now they’re trying to hype flawed, speculative allegations of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s alleged role in the fundraising for McAuliffe’s PAC in hopes of undermining the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails.

    In an October 23 article titled “Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife,” the Journal reported, “The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.” The piece implied that the McAuliffe PAC’s donation may have influenced FBI official Andrew McCabe, who is married to the donation’s recipient, Jill McCabe, in his later investigation of Clinton’s email use.

    Not only did journalists deride the piece’s flimsy, “embarrassing” claim, but the Journal’s own reporting also failed to support the idea that there was any impropriety by McAuliffe or McCabe. Indeed, other media outlets noted that “there’s literally nothing” to the story, both because “the timing is complicated if you’re trying to prove a Clinton email connection” and because “McAuliffe’s support of Jill McCabe was part of a much broader effort at the time to try to win back a Democratic majority in the state Senate.”

    That didn’t stop right-wing media figures from hyping the “appearance of impropriety” and claiming that McAuliffe “acted as a bag man to pay off people sniffing around Hillary’s emails.”

    After briefly piercing into the mainstream media current, the toothless story seemed to fade away, until the Daily Mail reported on October 28 that “Clinton headlined a major fundraiser” for McAuliffe’s PAC “before the group steered nearly $500,000 to” Jill McCabe. The paper suggested that Clinton’s involvement in the fundraiser again “raise[s] questions about the impartiality of the FBI's investigation.”

    But just as the initial Journal story fell apart under scrutiny of the timeline -- Andrew McCabe didn’t become involved in the FBI investigation until several months after McAuliffe’s donation to Jill McCabe -- so too does the Daily Mail’s bizarre and complicated suggestion that Clinton headlined a fundraiser because she was able to foresee that resulting donations would months later go to the wife of a man who would later be promoted twice to play a lead role in an investigation that did not yet exist.

    After organizing a timeline of the fundraiser, donation, and investigation -- and lightly suggesting the optics don’t look good (a common media technique employed when investigating many of Clinton's nonscandals) -- Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley wrote:

    What hasn't been proven is that Hillary Clinton did anything improper. Clinton would have had to be a pretty advanced political chessmaster to do a June 2015 fundraiser with the knowledge that, in October 2015, it would benefit the wife of an FBI official who would be promoted to an oversight position into her email investigation the next February. And McAuliffe would have to be an even savvier operator to have recruited Jill McCabe to run for office in March 2015 in the hopes that, sometime down the line, her husband would get promoted to the point of overseeing an investigation that didn't yet exist. There's also no evidence Andrew McCabe actually influenced the email investigation in a way that benefited Clinton. For all we know, he could've been pushing for her prosecution only to be overruled by Comey.

    Indeed, perhaps a much simpler explanation for Clinton’s fundraising appearance and the McAuliffe PAC’s donation is that a leading Democrat raised money for the Virginia state party and the governor's PAC to try to swing the legislature to benefit the Democratic governor -- who is also an old friend -- during one of the few major off-year elections in the country.

    Yet, even though almost nothing about the story has changed, right-wing media are now hyping the Daily Mail’s “exclusive” to suggest impropriety by Clinton and McAuliffe and a compromised FBI investigation. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said the situation was “sleazy,” and the pro-Trump Breitbart News suggested the donations are “unusual” and raise questions, despite the continued lack of evidence of any wrongdoing.

  • Right-Wing Media Keep Pushing Myth Of "Partial-Birth" Abortion

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In the 2016 election cycle, right-wing media have spread misinformation about the Democratic position on abortion access by alleging that the party supports so-called “partial-birth” abortions, often invoking the term as a description of an abortion that takes place in the final months or “moments” of pregnancy. In reality, “partial-birth” abortion is a term coined by anti-choice groups to vilify and stigmatize individuals who elect to have an abortion. Here is what the media should know about this common anti-choice myth and why media figures should not deploy it.

  • Media Debunk Pence’s Smear Of Clinton’s Reproductive Rights Positions

    In The Vice Presidential Debate, Pence Revived An Anti-Choice Myth To Attack Clinton’s Support For Reproductive Rights

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During the October 4 vice presidential debate, Republican nominee Mike Pence smeared Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s positions on reproductive rights. While Pence falsely alleged that Clinton’s position on abortion was extreme, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine pointed out that Clinton “support[s] the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience and make their own decision about pregnancy.”

  • Five Ways Fox Is Spinning The Release Of Trump's Tax Returns

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News is using five strategies to deflect criticism away from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump amid The New York Times’ release of portions of Trump’s tax returns. The network is hyping Trump’s claim that he can change the tax code because he knows it well, that most Americans do the same thing Trump did, that his tax avoidance shows how well his business career went, and that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did the same thing. It’s also pivoting to criticize the Clinton Foundation.

  • Fox Mischaracterizes Clinton's Hacked Remarks To Claim She's Smearing Millennials

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News is mischaracterizing remarks Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made at a private fundraiser in February, falsely claiming that she was mocking Bernie Sanders’ supporters as “broke and delusional.” In the audio of the remarks, which security officials believe was originally hacked by Russian government operatives and then later posted by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton is highlighting the “sense of disappointment among young people in politics” and why they were driven to support Sanders.

  • Twelve Reasons Fox Will Have A Hard Time Convincing Latinos The Network Cares About Hispanic Heritage

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Every year from September 15 to October 15, people in the United States celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, honoring the contributions of the Hispanic community and celebrating its history, heritage, and culture. Fox News in the past has paid lip service to Hispanic Heritage Month, but the network has consistently failed to curb its typical disparaging and vitriolic rhetoric against this community, making any segment aired to honor Latinos read like a transparent PR ploy.

    Fox News has also reliably defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Latinos, including his claims that Mexican immigrants are criminals and that a judge of Mexican heritage could not impartially preside over a lawsuit against him. And the network regularly features anti-immigrant programming and excludes Latino voices.

    Here are 12 reasons Fox News will have a hard time convincing anyone that the network genuinely cares about honoring Latinos during Hispanic Heritage month:

    1. Fox’s Sean Hannity: “I Agree With Mr. Trump” That Mexicans Are Criminals.

    Sean Hannity defended Trump’s assertion that Mexico is sending “rapists” and “criminals” to the U.S. during a June 29, 2015, panel discussion. Hannity said, "I agree with Mr. Trump. As somebody who has been down to the border 11 times, I have seen the drug warehouses, I was there when criminals were arrested, I know the human trafficking side and the impact on our educational system, criminal justice system, et cetera -- our health care system.

    2. Fox's Brian Kilmeade Has Repeatedly Criticized Use Of Spanish Language.

    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “I agree with Donald Trump” after Trump criticized presidential candidate Jeb Bush's use of Spanish, saying that when “the Spanish reporters” speak to Latino athletes in Spanish, "we sit around and go, ‘What country are we in?’" Kilmeade also lashed out at Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for speaking Spanish, saying, “Pick a language. … Don’t show off. Nobody thinks you’re Hispanic.” According to research from Pew, 95 percent of Latinos believe that it’s important for future generations to speak Spanish and believe the language “is an important part of Latino culture and identity.”

    3. Fox Chose Not To Air The Speeches By Latinas In Favor Of Immigration Reform During The Democratic National Convention.

    On July 25, the Democratic National Convention featured a speech by 11-year-old Karla Ortiz, an 11-year-old American citizen who relayed her fears that her undocumented parents may be deported. Ortiz said, “I’m scared that at any moment my mom and my dad will be forced to leave.” Ortiz also translated for her mother, Francisca, who said that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will fight for people like her. On the same night, DREAMer Astrid Silva -- who came into the country undocumented but whose deportation was deferred under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- described growing up in the United States without legal status. Fox chose not to show either of the speeches.

    4. Fox Marginalized Hispanic Voices In Discussions Of The Orlando Massacre, Even Though A Majority Of The Victims Were Latinos.

    A Media Matters study of the three major cable news networks’ coverage of the massacre that took place in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL, on June 12 found that Fox featured the least diverse guests discussing the attack. Out of a total of 80 guests invited to comment on the massacre during the period analyzed, only 6 percent were Hispanic, even though the tragic events disproportionately affected the Latino community.

    5. Fox’s Sunday Political News Show Did Not Host A Latina Guest For Three Years.

    A 2016 Media Matters study of guest appearances on the five network and cable Sunday morning political shows found that Fox’s show, Fox News Sunday, did not host a single Latina in three years. Based on the latest U.S. Census data, Latinas make up 9 percent of the general population in the U.S. Sunday political talk shows often set the media and political agenda, and Fox did not see fit to include Latina voices in that process, even though 2015 saw numerous pressing policy issues that disproportionately affect them, such as attempts to block access to reproductive health services, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and continued wage gaps between genders.

    6. Fox Analyst Lectured Young Latino Protesters On How To Protest Like Americans.

    While appearing on the May 3 edition of Fox & Friends, legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said young Latinos protesting outside of a Trump rally “should be suffused with the American ethic,” adding that he’d like to see “young Hispanic-American boys and girls holding the American flag” instead of Mexican flags, because “there needs to be an understanding that they are Americans now. They need to act as such.”

    7. Fox Host Tucker Carlson Told A Hispanic Attorney, “I’m Just Going To Speak Really Slowly So You Get This.”

    While discussing college tuition at New Mexico State University for Mexican students on the July 1 edition of Fox & Friends, host Tucker Carlson said to immigration attorney and activist Francisco Hernandez, “Mr. Hernandez, I’m just going to speak really slowly so you get this.”

    8. Fox’s Neil Cavuto Asked Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio For Advice On Republican Latino Outreach.

    While hosting his show Cavuto: Coast to Coast on Fox Business Network, Neil Cavuto asked Sheriff Joe Arpaio to offer advice to Republicans on Latino outreach, saying, “How would you advise them to win them over?” Arpaio’s staunch anti-immigrant stance has earned him the title of “the most hated man in the Hispanic community.”

    9. Fox’s Tucker Carlson Called Hispanic Journalistic Association “A Little Odd.”

    While hosting Fox & Friends Saturday, Tucker Carlson said the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) were “a little odd” and questioned why journalists should “coalesce around a racial identity.”

    10. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Joined Trump In Suggesting Judge Overseeing Trump University Case Should Recuse Himself Due To His Ethnicity.

    Fox’s Bill O’Reilly agreed with Trump’s statement that federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel -- who is overseeing the Trump University case -- could not objectively do his job because of his Hispanic ethnicity. During his June 7 show on Fox, The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly suggested that Trump’s “strong stand against illegal immigration” and “border wall” were valid reasons to believe a Hispanic judge could be biased against him.

    11. Fox Was The Only Cable News Network To Ignore The Racist Attacks Trump Supporters Launched Against A Hispanic Journalist.

    On September 12, Cleveland.com’s senior political writer Henry Gomez reported on the racist “vitriol” he has fielded while covering the 2016 presidential election, writing that most attacks were “parroting a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits.” Both CNN and MSNBC invited Gomez on as a guest to share his experience on September 13, yet Fox ignored his story.

    12. Fox’s Sean Hannity Joined Trump In Anti-Immigrant Fearmongering For Two Hours Of His Show.

    Sean Hannity hosted a town hall for Trump devoted to anti-immigrant fearmongering, and he dedicated two hours of his prime-time show Hannity on August 23 and 24 to airing it in full. The town hall served as an immigrant-bashing forum during which Hannity misinformed on crime and immigration and fearmongered about the “absolutely staggering” effects of undocumented immigration on the U.S. According to Pew, a large percentage of the undocumented population is comprised of Latinos.

  • Right-Wing Media Insist Clinton’s Pneumonia Diagnosis Is A “Cover For Some More Serious Condition”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media are claiming the statement from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign that she was diagnosed with pneumonia is actually “a cover for some more serious condition,” and that Clinton falling ill at a 9/11 memorial event “had virtually nothing to do with her having pneumonia.” Actual medical experts in the media have explained that “Clinton's wobbly incident Sunday is a near-textbook case of what can happen with ‘walking pneumonia.’”

  • Fox News’ Coded Language About School Safety 

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    It’s been one year since news figures seized on the story of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim American child in Texas who was taken from his school in handcuffs for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to class. Last September, Fox News’ coverage of Mohamed’s arrest revealed a long-held tendency to selectively invoke the language of “school safety” to conveniently push conservative stances on immigration, national security, LGBT rights, and guns, while ignoring threats to the safety of the most vulnerable populations in our schools.

    When Fox News talks about “school safety,”  the ensuing conversation is exactly what you’d expect from a network with a median viewer age of 68 and a prime-time viewership that’s only 1.1 percent black. For Fox and its viewers, a predictable line exists between those individuals worthy of protection and those who represent perceived threats. Here’s what we’ve seen on Fox since Ahmed’s arrest made headlines last fall.

    Fox Pushes Islamophobic Rhetoric While Muslim Students Get Bullied

    Fox News Pushed Islamophobic Talking Points In Ahmed Mohamed Coverage

    In September 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at his Irving, TX, middle school and brought to a local police station in handcuffs after he was reported for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to his classroom. In the weeks of national media coverage of the incident that followed, Fox News figures dismissed Mohamed’s traumatic experience and used the incident to justify profiling.

    The network aired segments vilifying the child, claiming that progressives were hypocritical or willfully exploitative for suggesting Mohamed’s arrest was influenced by Islamophobia, and hyping so-called connections between Mohamed’s family members and terrorists. The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld summarized this convoluted position: “Try bringing a clock that looks like a bomb to the White House. Actually, no, don’t try it; you’ve seen what they do to people who jump fences. So why is this school’s safety a joke, but President Obama’s isn’t? Because for [Obama], and the media, the story fits the assumption of an America that hates Muslims. Yup, it’s our fault for reacting when a kid brings a wired-up box to a place filled with kids in a state where terror has occurred.”

    Muslim Students Are Experiencing More Bullying And Fear Because Of Their Faith

    According to a survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, classroom teachers are reporting more incidents of identity-based bullying and fear particularly among students from immigrant and Muslim families, a trend that appears to be connected to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric -- which Fox News has actively legitimized for years. A California study released just months after Mohamed’s arrest found that the majority of American Muslim students in the state reported experiencing physical and verbal bullying because of their faith in 2014. An in-depth report from The Guardian explained the trend:

    Words are the most common weapon of school bullies, but in the past month, anti-Muslim sentiment in schools is increasingly manifesting in physical attacks, particularly against girls who wear the hijab. On 19 November, three boys allegedly beat up a sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab, calling her “Isis”. A 2014 study by Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) study found 29% of students who wore hijab experienced offensive touching or pulling of their scarves.


    Fifty-five percent of Muslim students surveyed by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) last year reported that they were bullied at school in some form because of their Islamic faith. That’s twice the national percentage of bullying reported by all students, regardless of their religion. According to the CAIR survey, verbal harassment is the most common, with non-Muslims calling Muslim students terrorists or referencing bombs. But physical assaults also occur.

    These incidents are taking a psychological toll on Muslim youth. “At a crucial time in their identity development, they’re suffering from chronic trauma,” says Dr Halim Naeem, a psychotherapist and president of The Institute of Muslim Mental Health. Dr Naeem says that in the past few months alone, he has seen increased cases of depression, anxiety, image issues, paranoia, and substance abuse among Muslim American youth. In the short term, the constant stress wreaks havoc on students’ immune systems and destroys their focus, disrupting learning ability.

    Fox Pushes Guns In Schools, But Experts Say That Doesn’t Help

    Fox News Believes Having More Guns In Schools Helps Create Safe Environments

    In the wake of recent mass shootings, Fox News figures voices have repeatedly pushed arming educators or allowing more guns in schools as a way to improve student and teacher safety, and irresponsibly spread dangerous misinformation about school safety best practices. Immediately following the 2012 mass shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Fox News began calling for teachers to be armed -- even as school security experts, educators, and others argue that bringing guns into schools would make classrooms more dangerous and worsen learning environments for students. When a Texas school district moved to arm some of its teachers in 2014, the network devoted at least two segments to celebrating the decision and pushing the long-debunked myth (peddled by the NRA) that “a good guy with a gun” would prevent mass shootings. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade praised the initiative: “If you want to drop your kid off and know that they are going to be protected, you know at least in that school they are going to be protected.” Last year, Fox & Friends co-hosts again demonstrated a misguided understanding of school safety when they encouraged young children to physically confront gunmen, rather than first try to escape, and then hide -- and only confront the guman as a last resort -- as experts advise in the event of an active shooter situation.

    Evidence Shows Guns In Schools Only Increase The Likelihood Of Violence, Especially For Students Of Color

    As the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, wrote back in 2014, educators have long expressed an overwhelming desire to keep firearms out of classrooms and to strengthen gun violence prevention measures. Research has shown that greater access to guns in general creates greater risk for accidents and misfires. Gun access corresponds with increased risk of homicide, and gun-related deaths in the home are now the second most likely cause of death for children and teens. There’s also little evidence the presence of armed security staff in schools makes them any safer. Advocates are pushing for better training and reformed responsibilities for these positions to emphasize restorative justice and de-escalation techniques, as well as student and community needs, in order to combat current racial disparities in schools’ use of armed security officers.

    Fox Pushes Debunked “Bathroom Laws” That Actually Threaten LGBT Safety In Schools

    Fox News Believes Bogus “Bathroom Laws” Keep Children Safe From So-Called “Predators”

    Fox News figures have been instrumental in pushing the right-wing myth that gender-inclusive bathrooms in schools allow adult men to prey on children. The network has routinely either fearmongered about schools’ efforts to make their bathrooms safe for all students to use or mocked inclusive bathroom policies altogether. More than two years after Media Matters first debunked the “bathroom predator” myth, Fox News continues to push dangerous rhetoric about nondiscrimination policies. In April, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt hyped the disingenuous claim that nondiscrimination laws could lead to “a grown adult man” with “bad intentions” sneaking into “the little girls’ bathroom.” In May, Sean Hannity mocked inclusive bathroom policies on his radio show, proposing “liberal bathroom areas” where “you can have all the transgendered back-and-forth that you want.” In June, Tucker Carlson called the Democratic National Convention’s gender-neutral bathrooms “disgusting.”

    But There Is No Evidence Of Predatory Incidents In School Bathrooms, And “Bathroom Bills” Threaten The Safety Of LGBT Students

    After speaking to officials at 23 school districts and four universities that allow transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, Media Matters failed to find any evidence of incidents of inappropriate bathroom behavior. Law enforcement experts and people who work with survivors of sexual assault have referred to this persistent myth as “beyond specious” and “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

    In fact, school officials and educators’ groups continue to support efforts to boost nondiscriminatory bathroom policies and have pointed out the need for LGBT students to have these types of basic protections. Research shows LGBT students overwhelmingly report experiences of bullying in schools today, and efforts to distract from the needs of LGBT students with fearmongering and mockery certainly don’t help. In its guidelines for supporting transgender and gender diverse students, the American Psychological Association recommends that schools provide accessible facilities that match a student’s gender identity as one way to address the high rates of victimization and hostility transgender students report. In fact, opposition to nondiscrimination policies can further stigmatize and single out transgender students, leading to more reports of bullying and an increased risk of suicide. Advocates for survivors of sexual assault have also pointed out that perpetuating the “bathroom predator” myth can have dangerous consequences: Relying on stereotypical predator imagery to talk about sexual assault diverts attention and resources from finding solutions to keep women and girls safe.   

  • Denial Redux: Fox News, WSJ Pundits Dispute The Reality Of Climate Change

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News and The Wall Street Journal have once again reminded us that their heads are deep in the sand when it comes to the scientific reality of climate change.

    During a discussion about the presidential campaign on the September 7 edition of Fox News’ America's Newsroom, Fox host Tucker Carlson denied the findings of major scientific institutions around the world when he asserted that “there’s literally no proof” that climate change is caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. He added that the notions that humans are causing climate change and can reverse it by cutting emissions are “articles of faith”:

    Meanwhile, on September 6 the Journal posted another interview on its website between editorial board member Mary Kissel and Rod Nichols, chairman of the climate science-denying CO2 Coalition. Kissel introduced Nichols as a “guy who takes no coal money or big energy money, as far as I know.” However, Nichols has served on the boards of the Manhattan Institute and George C. Marshall Institute, which have each received funding from ExxonMobil and foundations run by the oil billionaire Koch brothers.

    During the interview, Kissel and Nichols agreed that climate change is “a non-problem,” because according to Nichols, carbon pollution “is going to be good for the world.” He also claimed that there has been “practically no warming” in order to suggest that climate change is not a cause for concern:

  • Right-Wing Media’s Supposed “Benghazi Bombshell” Of 30 New Clinton Emails Falls Flat

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    State Department lawyers announced that 30 emails the FBI recovered from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private server regarding the September 2012 Benghazi attacks contained only one “all-new” email, which was a personal message to Clinton. The announcement contrasts right-wing media hype that scandalized the emails as a “Benghazi bombshell” and fodder for conspiracy theorists, and implied that they might reveal new information to negatively implicate Clinton in the Benghazi attacks.