Fox News claims new bombshell evidence finds that President Obama was in the White House during the 2012 attacks on Benghazi, a fact that was public knowledge since January 2013.
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."
Right-wing and even mainstream media have eagerly pushed the suggestion that the recent increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "Obama's Katrina" -- an inane comparison that repeatedly surfaces inside the conservative media echo chamber.
The racially charged and conspiratorial rhetoric protesters spewed at child migrants on their way to temporary housing in Murrieta, California, closely mirrored some of conservative media's favorite xenophobic talking points.
In the first week of July, hundreds of protesters gathered in Murrieta to voice opposition to the planned housing of migrant detainees at the federal Border Patrol station in the city, blocking buses and forcing them to return to the Border Patrol station in San Diego. The buses contained unaccompanied minors and women with children, awaiting deportation proceedings after crossing the U.S. border in Texas to flee violence in Central America.
These protests, along with a preceding Murrieta town hall on July 3, were full of invective -- protesters charged that the "illegal aliens" carried dangerous diseases and were possibly members of gangs and drug cartels. The crowds demanded that the government simply send the children back, screaming chants of "go home" and "U.S.A."
The protestors were so full of vitriol that immigration officials rerouted the migrants' buses to San Diego, citing safety concerns for the women and children aboard.
Media Matters for America researcher Lis Power contributed to this post.
The Daily Signal revealed its biased reporting on education by only covering negative Common Core news since the site's launch one month ago.
On July 1, Education Week reported on a survey it completed with Gallup that showed about two-thirds of school district superintendents said they believe that the Common Core State Standards "will improve the quality of education in their communities," and that the standards were "just about right" in terms of level of difficulty.
This news on the standards from educators was summarily ignored by the Heritage Foundation's new digital news site, The Daily Signal, which has a dedicated section to the subject of Common Core. The Daily Signal purports to provide "straight-down-the-middle journalism" according to Geoffrey Lysaught, vice president of strategic communications at the Heritage Foundation, but one month after its launch, the website's coverage of Common Core has limited its reporting to bad news for the state-based education standards.
Ignoring the positive Gallup and Education Week research on Common Core, The Daily Signal instead published a piece the same day based on findings from the Friedman Foundation, an organization that aims to "amplify the national call for true education reform through school choice."
In the past month, The Daily Signal's Common Core reporting has focused on Common Core opposition from states and governors, like Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, and portrayed them in a negative light. Meanwhile, Jindal is a contributor to the site and an outspoken opponent of Common Core.
In addition to The Daily Signal's skewed reporting on Common Core, the outlet also misinforms on the actual standards by referring to them as "national standards" when in fact, the Common Core is a set of state standards that were developed by education commissioners, governors, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and state leaders. It comes as no surprise that The Daily Signal is distorting Common Core given the Heritage Foundation's mission to push conservative, though apparently misinformed, education policies.
The Washington Post misleadingly described the timeline of the Obama administration's response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks by privileging the conservative media myth that President Obama did not immediately identify the attacks as an act of terror.
On July 1 the Washington Post reported on the suspected leader of the attacks Abu Khattala's arrest and indictment, and attempted to lay out the controversy over the timeline of the administration's public statements. From the Post:
The exact cause of the attack in Benghazi became the source of a bitter political dispute in Washington, in part because U.S. officials initially said it had begun as one of a number of spontaneous anti-U.S. street demonstrations sweeping across the Arab world as protesters denounced an anti-Muslim Internet video. The Obama administration later labeled what happened in Benghazi a terrorist attack.
But the day after the attacks, in his first public remarks, Obama identified the tragedy as an act of terror. In his September 12 Rose Garden speech, Obama said "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for."
The attacks appear to have been both an act of terror and a response to an anti-Islam video. The suspected ringleader of the Benghazi attacks, Abu Khattala, reportedly told other Libyans at the time that his actions were in retaliation for the video.
Conservative media dismissed the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which granted closely-held corporations the right to deny employees contraceptive coverage through their employer's health plans if they believe the contraceptives conflict with their religious beliefs, claiming that women still have access to contraception because a generic form of birth control is available at drug stores for low cost.
CNN repeated a fringe right-wing conspiracy theory that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is paying to escort child migrants "across the border" into the U.S.
On June 24 CNN's John Berman spoke with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) about the recent influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to escape violence in Central America. Berman referenced a government contractor procurement advertisement DHS had posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website on January 29, describing it as a solicitation for "escort services to help children across the border."
The notion that DHS solicited companies to help undocumented children cross into the U.S. actually started on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' website InfoWars.com, which cited the January 29 ad to claim that DHS was set to pay for "illegal minors up to the age of 17 to be escorted into the United States."
The Drudge Report later highlighted the InfoWars story with the headline "Claim: 'Homeland' Paying For Illegals to be Escorted Into USA," while the Washington Examiner asked, "Does this Jan. 29, 2014, contract bid request 'prove' Obama planned migrant child flood at the border?"
But the January 29 procurement contract did not seek help transporting child migrants into the U.S.
Instead, the contract requested help transporting children who have already been apprehended within the U.S., moving the migrants to temporary shelters while they await deportation proceedings. The advertisement made clear that the carriers would only be contracted to operate within the U.S.:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has a continuing and mission critical responsibility for accepting custody of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) from U.S. Border Patrol and other Federal agencies and transporting these juveniles to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters located throughout the continental United States. ICE is seeking the services of a responsible vendor that shares the philosophy of treating all UAC with dignity and respect, while adhering to standard operating procedures and policies that allow for an effective, efficient, and incident free transport.
Service Area: Throughout the Continental United States.
The area(s) or region(s) serviced may occur either with a phased approach over a period of several months to a full year. Alternatively, the Contractor shall perform the entire transportation function upon full funding. For example, the following two circumstances may occur: (1) The contractor could initially provide transportation services only in the Southwest Region of the U.S. for those juveniles who are apprehended in the state of Texas; or, (2) The Contractor may be required to provide transportation services for all juveniles who are in DHS custody throughout the continental U.S.
Right-wing media have dishonestly portrayed recent reports of children fleeing across the U.S.-Mexico border to escape violence in Central America, even portraying the immigrants as dangerous disease-carriers, terrorists, and cartel members.
Right-wing media are criticizing the Obama administration for bringing Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged leader of the Benghazi attacks, to trial in a U.S. criminal court. But federal civilian courts have proven significantly more successful at convicting terrorists than military commissions, give terrorists tougher sentences, deprive terror suspects of the "honor" of being considered enemy combatants, and do not prevent the gathering of intelligence.