Research

Right-Wing Media Attempt To Absolve Trump Of Alleged Russia Ties After Strike On Syrian Regime Airbase

Right-wing media are dismissing possible ties between President Donald Trump and his associates and Russian officials after he ordered U.S. warships to launch a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase after a chemical weapons attack killed dozens of civilians, claiming the strike “may be undercutting allegations of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Right-wing media have also recently spun a report regarding a cybersecurity firm that “was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors,” in an attempt to discredit the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to aid Trump.

April 11, 2017 2:40 PM EDT
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New Reporting Exposes Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Suing This Pennsylvania School District

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is the anti-LGBTQ hate group leading the national fight against transgender student equality. ADF recently filed a lawsuit against the Boyertown School District in Pennsylvania claiming that the district’s transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policy “intentionally” violated a student’s “right to bodily privacy.” In reports, op-eds, and columns about the lawsuit, local print outlets in Pennsylvania are accurately labeling ADF as a hate group and exposing the group’s history of anti-LGBTQ extremism -- important context that national outlets often fail to provide when reporting on ADF.

April 10, 2017 5:07 PM EDT
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Media Praise Trump For Ordering Missile Attack On Syrian Airbase

Media figures and pundits celebrated President Donald Trump’s “swift, decisive” order to destroy a Syrian airbase in retaliation for what is believed to be a chemical warfare attack against Syrian rebels that killed dozens of people, including children. Pundits praised Trump’s “readiness to act on instinct” and declared that Trump “made Americans proud.”

April 7, 2017 3:01 PM EDT
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Right-Wing And “Alt-Right” Media Mischaracterize VOA Report To Lie About Russian Hacking

Right-wing media are attacking CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that in June 2016 “was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors,” in an attempt to discredit the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to aid President Donald Trump. In fact, CrowdStrike’s apparently erroneous findings are in reference to a different example of Russian hacking, and have no bearing on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions, which have independently “identified Russian officials who fed material hacked from the Democratic National Committee and party leaders to WikiLeaks.”

April 7, 2017 11:22 AM EDT
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When O'Reilly Urged People To Boycott An Advertiser That Featured "A Man Who Degrades Women"

Nearly 15 years ago, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly used his television and radio shows to call for an advertiser boycott of Pepsi “for using a man who degrades women” in an ad, a reference to the rapper Ludacris. In recent days, O’Reilly has been losing advertisers for his show following a report that he and Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, paid nearly $13 million in settlements to five women after they accused him of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

April 5, 2017 4:04 PM EDT
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STUDY: Gorsuch Supporters Vastly Outnumbered Opponents On Fox News And CNN

During the week of the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, prime-time shows on CNN and Fox News hosted seven times as many Gorsuch supporters as opponents, contributing to media’s pattern of normalizing the very conservative nominee.

April 5, 2017 3:17 PM EDT
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Bill O’Reilly Repeatedly Smeared Women Who Spoke Up About Sexual Harassment And Assault

O’Reilly Has Barely Responded To Accusations Made Against Him

Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor has lost at least 20 advertisers since a New York Times report revealed that host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, paid $13 million to five women who made sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly. O’Reilly denied all wrongdoing in a brief statement on April 1, and he has refused to address the situation on air. In the past, O’Reilly has repeatedly smeared women who accused men of sexual harassment and assault and defended multiple men against a variety of such allegations.

April 5, 2017 12:41 PM EDT
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The Latest Wiretap "Bombshell" Turns Out To Be Another Dud

Right-Wing Media Scandalize Report That Susan Rice Allegedly Asked For Legal Unmasking Of Trump Officials Found In Intel Reports About Russians

On April 2, alt-right media figure Mike Cernovich reported that former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the unmasking of Trump officials. The next day, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake confirmed that Trump administration lawyers accused Rice of requesting “the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign.” Right-wing media figures quickly ran with the report as a “BOMBSHELL,” but according to numerous legal and national security experts, “Rice’s actions are likely legal.”

April 3, 2017 9:23 PM EDT
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Republicans Threaten To Use Nuclear Option On Gorsuch, Media Blame Democrats

Media figures, many of them conservative, are pushing the false talking point that Senate Democrats are to blame for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s threat to change the rules and allow Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. In fact, past Senate rule changes effectuated by Democrats have not applied to Supreme Court nominees, and they were made in response to historic GOP obstruction of noncontroversial Obama nominees. Gorsuch, on the other hand, is considered to be a highly ideological nominee who falls to the right of Antonin Scalia.

April 3, 2017 2:02 PM EDT
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STUDY: Fox News Barely Covered Bill O'Reilly's Harassment Settlements

CNN’s Brian Stelter Provides Exemplary Coverage Of The Accusations

Fox News gave minimal coverage to a New York Times report detailing $13 million in settlements host Bill O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox paid to five women who accused him of harassment. When Fox did cover the report, the coverage was merely a host reading statements from O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox denying the allegations, echoing the network’s coverage of Fox founder Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment allegations. Meanwhile, CNN’s Brian Stelter provided exemplary coverage of the report, contextualizing it and speaking to people close to the accusers.

April 2, 2017 4:18 PM EDT
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Kansas Nightly News Fails To Educate The Public About The Medicaid Expansion 

A Media Matters study of broadcast TV coverage in the Kansas City market found that NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox collectively spent less than eight minutes over a 43-day period covering the state legislature’s debates over the proposal to accept the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which would extend coverage to more than 150,000 Kansans. 

March 31, 2017 11:56 AM EDT
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As Senate Investigates Russia's Role In Proliferation Of Fake News, Fake News Purveyors Deny Any Trump-Russia Connection

Many Fake News Purveyors Also Push Debunked Claim About Clinton And Russia

As the Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on the role Russia played in trying to influence the 2016 election in favor of President Donald Trump -- and its use of fake news to do so -- fake news purveyors in recent days have been dismissing any possible connection between Trump and Russia. They are calling allegations about Trump’s connections to Russia “bogus,” “fake news,” and “slander[ous],” because there is “zero evidence” behind them. At the same time, many of them are pushing a debunked conspiracy theory that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while in office, gave 20 percent of American uranium to Russia in exchange for favors.

March 30, 2017 2:05 PM EDT
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Right-Wing Media Misinterpret Weeks-Old Interview To Justify Trump’s Wiretap Lie

Right-wing media figures and fringe outlets are taking a weeks-old interview with Evelyn Farkas, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia under President Barack Obama, out of context to claim she “admitted” that the Obama administration surveilled President Donald Trump’s campaign and that it proves Trump was right when he claimed Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. But Farkas did not mention surveillance in the interview; instead, she discussed a New York Times article about preserving intelligence related to Trump and Russia. The claims are yet another attempt by right-wing and fringe media to bolster Trump’s allegation that Obama wiretapped him, which the intelligence community and government officials have repeatedly debunked.

March 30, 2017 11:01 AM EDT
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The Conservative Dark-Money Groups Infiltrating Campus Politics

College campuses have long served as unique places for the free exchange of ideas -- but increasingly they’ve also become playgrounds for ideologically driven, right-wing billionaires and the dark-money groups they fund. Media Matters has mapped out some of the biggest actors behind astroturf conservative campus activism, creating an echo chamber of seemingly grass-roots right-wing student media and campus groups that are actually propped up by a handful of the same conservative funders and, sometimes, even prominent hate groups.

March 29, 2017 10:01 AM EDT
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