After Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped out of the race to be Speaker of the House, sending Republicans soul-searching, Fox News figures were quick to attribute the sudden turn-of-events to the powerful House Freedom Caucus and its Tea Party movement roots. What Fox News has chosen not to mention, however, is its own role in creating and fostering the movement that has caused such dysfunction in Washington.
CBS News analyst Frank Luntz pushed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for House Speaker, claiming "he's got a brain for policy, which is what we need in Washington right now," adding, "if Paul Ryan says no, God help us." CBS News and Luntz did not disclose that Ryan has paid Luntz's company over $100,000 in consulting fees in recent years.
Donald Trump told right-wing radio host Michael Savage there would be "common sense" if Trump appointed him head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as president. Savage has called autism "a fraud, a racket," said PTSD and depression sufferers are "losers," advised people not to get flu shots because you can't trust the government, theorized liberals have been driven insane because of seltzer bubbles, claimed President Obama was intentionally trying "to infect the nation with Ebola," and once told a caller he was a "sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die."
A Media Matters review found that cable news shows and leading newspapers around the country remained largely silent on arson attacks that targeted Planned Parenthood clinics following the release of a series of deceptively-edited, anti-choice videos smearing the health care provider. Prime-time cable news shows and the nation's three highest-circulation newspapers dedicated minimal coverage to the arson attacks. The LA Times and Spokane's Spokesman Review provided the most coverage of the attacks.
In addition to repeating debunked claims that a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ozone standard will harm the economy and do nothing to improve public health, conservative media are pointing to ozone that naturally occurs in national parks as supposed evidence that the EPA standard is unfair and unnecessary. But while some "background ozone" does come from natural sources like wildfires -- and from industrial pollution drifting into a state from outside the U.S. -- levels of background ozone are not high enough to prevent states from meeting the EPA's new standard, and states are not responsible for reducing it.
During an interview with Charlie Rose, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly insisted that she is different than her prime-time colleagues Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity because she is "not an opinion-maker" or an "issue advocate," but rather, a straight "newsperson." But that's a false image that Kelly and her employer have sold the public in an attempt to boost the popular anchor's credibility, making her a particularly effective purveyor of misinformation. In actuality, Kelly has a long history of scandalmongering and promoting her personal views from the anchor desk, from excusing police brutalityto defending the "Christian values" of a designated hate group.
House Republicans have voted to form a special committee to investigate Planned Parenthood, following a months-long campaign by right-wing media and anti-choice groups pushing deceptive attacks against the women's health organization. Multiple recent state investigations and a federal investigation have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.
Several media outlets have refuted Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio's claim that his tax reform plan sets him apart from GOP rivals because it would balance the federal budget in 10 years.
An October 5 editorial by the Wall Street Journal used anti-union rhetoric and pro-privatization arguments to celebrate Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's resignation and replacement by Acting Deputy Education Secretary John King. The editorial perpetuated several well-worn education policy myths, and mischaracterized the economic outcomes of for-profit colleges and the effects of voucher programs for low-income students of color.
Fox News reported a bogus story about a California mom who claims to have been kicked out of an REI sporting goods store for complaining about a man frightening her daughter in the store's women's restroom. Fox's reporting was based on statements made by an anti-LGBT hate group with a history of fabricating similar incidents in order to fearmonger about transgender people using public restrooms.
Cable morning news shows mostly ignored The New York Times' editorial board's call for House Republicans to "shut down the Benghazi committee" now that it has lost "any semblance of credibility." The editorial was mentioned in only one segment on CNN's New Day, and ignored by Fox News' Fox & Friends, as well as by MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts -- who stayed silent about the editorial during an interview with committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as he vigorously defended what is now one of the longest congressional investigations in history.
Fox & Friends mounted a full-throated defense of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson after his comments on the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon garnered national media attention. During an October 6 appearance on Fox & Friends, Carson explained that if confronted by a shooter asking about his religion, he would not only refuse to "cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me." Fox hosts and contributors accused "mainstream media" of "completely irresponsible" coverage, saying his comments had been overblown and taken out of context.
Matt Drudge appeared on The Alex Jones Show, where he pushed bizarre conspiracies and falsehoods, and attacked Hillary Clinton as "old" and "sick." The Drudge Report is a big driver of traffic to Jones' Infowars website and the interview cemented their relationship, with Drudge and a "star-struck" Jones heavily praising each other.
Simon Conway, an Iowa conservative radio host who frequently hosts Republican presidential candidates, has consistently attacked and promoted falsehoods about Planned Parenthood in recent months following the release of heavily edited videos by an anti-abortion group.