Michelle Leung

Author ››› Michelle Leung
  • Right-Wing Media Cherry-Pick Labor Dept. Emails To Create "Bombshell" White House "Cover-Up"

    ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Right-wing media cherry-picked from an email chain between the White House and the Department of Labor to claim that it reveals a White House "cover-up" of the schedule of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who was being investigated over allegations that she had violated political fundraising rules. In fact, the last email from the White House shows that it did not object to the planned release of information from Solis' schedule.

  • Fox News Worried That Referring To Michael Brown As "Unarmed Teen" Might Be Misleading

    Blog ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    A Fox News segment asked whether the "unarmed teen" description of Michael Brown is misleading and featured Fox contributor Linda Chavez arguing that such a description enhances racial fears and is an attempt to play the "race card."

    On August 25, Chavez and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy aired surveillance footage from the convenience store that Michael Brown allegedly robbed before his death, and used this to argue that describing Brown as an "unarmed teen" at the time of the shooting is misleading.

    In an op-ed Chavez wrote for the New York Postshe argued that "The actual images of Brown on the video surely do not bring to mind a harmless teen." During the segment on Fox, on-screen text asked if the "unarmed teen" description of Michael Brown was misleading while Chavez argued that Brown was an adult male "who is six foot four and weighs almost three hundred pounds":

    CHAVEZ: I think that what is happening is really not calming racial fears but is actually enhancing them by acting as if, you know, this mantra of the unarmed black teenager shot by a white cop. You know, that description in and of itself actually colors the way in which we look at this story. We're talking about an 18-year-old man who is six foot four and weighs almost three hundred pounds, who is videotaped just moments before the confrontation with a police officer strong arming an employee and robbing a convenience store.

  • Muslim Leaders Have Roundly Denounced Islamic State, But Conservative Media Won't Tell You That


    Conservative media figures have wrongly accused Muslim groups and leaders of failing to denounce the violent acts of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), despite the fact that numerous Muslim religious authorities, advocacy groups, and Imams have come together to denounce the Islamic State's un-Islamic crimes against humanity.

  • Fox News Falsely Portrays Federal Investigation In Ferguson As Unusual

    ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Fox News has repeatedly dismissed the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, calling it "political optics" and an example of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder playing "the race card." In fact, under long-standing civil rights law, the federal government has parallel investigative powers alongside local authorities and frequently investigates local police departments that may have a pattern or practice of abuse.

  • Fox News Defends Hate Speech With Misinterpretation Of The First Amendment

    Blog ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Fox News suggested HGTV ran afoul of the First Amendment when it canceled an upcoming reality show following reports of the hosts' extreme anti-gay and Islamophobic activism.

    HGTV cancelled its forthcoming reality show Flip It Forward following revelations that the hosts, Jason and David Benham, had an extensive history of anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Muslim activism. Examples of the brothers' reported hate speech include David Benham likening the fight against gay marriage to that against Nazi Germany, and participation in protests against "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation." Benham has publicly highlighted Leviticus' punishment of death for gay sex and protested in front of mosques shouting "Jesus Hates Muslims."

    After rushing to defend the brothers by claiming they were being punished for their Christian views, Fox News is now suggesting HGTV's decision to cancel the show violated the Benhams' First Amendment right to free speech.

    On July 10, Fox News host Steve Doocy interviewed Jason and David Benham while an on-screen graphic declared they had been "fired for faith." Doocy argued, "You were fired for having an opinion. I mean, there's this thing called the First Amendment where people are entitled to their opinion and their Christian beliefs as well." 

    But the First Amendment does not protect individuals from being fired by private employers, as it does not limit the actions that private employers may take based on employees' speech. The First Amendment Center explained:

    The First Amendment does not limit private employers. The Bill of Rights -- and the First Amendment -- limit only government actors, not private actors. This means that private employers can restrict employee speech in the workplace without running afoul of the First Amendment.

    HGTV did not violate the First Amendment rights of the Benhams by dropping their show. As Columbia Law's Suzanne Goldberg pointed out in an interview with CNN, it was most likely a decision to protect the business' brand following widespread outcry against the Benhams' comments. Even David Benham told CNN that he does not hold a grudge against the network, telling Erin Burnett, "It was too much for them to bear and they had to make a business decision."