Fox Business will host the fourth Republican presidential debate tonight. Unlike its sister network Fox News, many are unfamiliar with the low-rated Fox Business. But Media Matters has been watching since the network's debut in 2007. Here are 35 of the worst things to appear on the "business" network.
ERIC BOLLING: I need to know this. You see this fold. This has clearly been photocopied from a book. You see that? It kind of folds back to, like, almost like a binding of a book. And then for some reason, there's a green border around it that had to be Photoshopped in. Trying to figure out why they would do that.
PAMELA GELLER: Well, this whole border is suspect. I mean, if you're taking a scan of something, it would, to your point, it would be white. Why is this the color of the same --
BOLLING: Note this - note this, you guys, April 25, 2011 -- two days ago -- is when this was requested from the state registrar, Alvin Onaka. So we'll keep our eye on it. We'll keep digging. Hey, listen. It may or may not be, but certainly opens up the can of worms that there are at least questions for it.
OK, Pam. Hang on. Let me bring in the rest of our all-star panel. On the left, we have Fox News contributor Tamara Holder; on the right, Dr. Ablow rejoins us, along with Fox News contributor Monica Crowley.
I'm looking at you over there, Tamara. I'm looking at you smirking a little bit. What's wrong? I mean, at least it's certainly -- you have to ask the question, has this been Photoshopped?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Do you believe he's dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?
MICHAEL SCHEUER: Well, Judge, I think what I go with is the men and women on the ground. If they didn't get him, they would admit it. The really, the success story here is not the president who did the right thing at last, but the true story is the young men and women who serve the United States in the military and the intelligence services. They risked their lives, they did their job. And if he's not dead, they'll never be able to keep that a secret.
NAPOLITANO: All right, but the intelligence services of which you were once a part want as much closure to this as the American public does. So with the body gone, or sleeping with the fishes, won't there always be that lingering doubt amongst Americans: "Well, where is the body? How do we know he's dead? Why isn't there a picture of it? Why didn't we see it before they shipped it off to sea?"
SCHEUER: I think much more than just a likelihood, Judge, I think we're already in it. The conspiracy people are going to spin this up to a very high degree and even if they release the pictures they claim they have, with Photoshop and other programs, you can doctor any, any photograph to make it look however you want. So I think it perhaps might have been wiser to keep the body or at least show the body before they buried it.
Fox host Neil Cavuto devoted much of his two-hour Fox Business show to criticizing President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Over the course of his show, Cavuto questioned whether climate change is man-made, suggested Keystone XL would have been "one of the cleanest pipelines ever made," likened pipeline opponents to protesters in London who "got pretty violent," mocked Obama for rejecting the pipeline to appease "the French," claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin "must be liking this," and told coal company CEO Robert Murray that Obama is "kind of sticking a knife in you guys."
ERIC BOLLING: [N]ow, tornadoes devastating the heartland, killing scores, and leveling just about every building in Joplin, Missouri -- Mr. Obama, you've decided that chugging a few 40's and rediscovering you're Irish is more important than a presidential visit to a community trying to figure out what just hit them. Leadership, Mr. Obama, leadership; it's about choices and you seem to be fresh out of the right ones.
During the December 2, 2011, edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, host Eric Bolling discussed the plot to the Muppets movie with Media Research Center's Dan Gainor. Noting that the antagonist of the film is an oil tycoon named "Tex Richman," Bolling asked, "Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to kind of brainwash our kids?" Gainor responded by saying: "Yeah, absolutely. And they've been doing it for decades." During the segment, on-screen text asked, "Are liberals trying to brainwash your kids against capitalism?"
Eric Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon by saying, "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse."
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Before I let you go, tell me about your new series. What's the next conspiracy you're investigating?
JESSE VENTURA: Well, we open up with Plum Island, just down the road from here a little bit. We will do water, we will do 9-11 again, looking specifically at the Penta - the alleged Pentagon plane that hit there. We do J.F.K., which I'm thoroughly thrilled over because as I said you will get the first confession to the murder of John F. Kennedy on Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory.
NAPOLITANO: Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill John F. Kennedy on the lawn?
VENTURA: I don't believe so, not at all.
NAPOLITANO: Governor, it's a pleasure. Thanks very much for joining us.
VENTURA: Alright, thank you judge, appreciate it.
NAPOLITANO: We'll be watching that show.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I am sighing because the Holy Father is a challenge for traditionalist Roman Catholics, of which I am one. Particularly, traditionalists who came of age under John Paul II and then under Benedict XVI. Who, though they had impulses that were not exactly Ayn Rand on capitalism, were far more into philosophy and theology, and far less into the economy ... This particular Pope, who has proclaimed himself a Peronist, is somewhere between a communist with a lowercase "c" and a Marxist with an uppercase "M." At the same time he is trying to be a Roman Catholic -- uppercase "R," uppercase "C."
The Pope is infallible on faith in morals. Thank God it is just limited to faith and morals because he is, he is -- he sounds like a left-wing professor at the London School of Economics when he blames the mass migration on economic inequality.
ANDREA TANTAROS: I should try it because, do you know how fabulous I'd look. I'd be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds ten pounds.
A Fox Business host said he got a "big smile" when he heard that Australia backed out of its previous pledge to send aid to developing nations coping with climate change. His response comes as an official from the Philippines tearfully called for developed nations to make good on their promises to the climate fund in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
On November 13, Stuart Varney, host of Varney & Co., celebrated Australia's decision, saying he "do[esn't] want to pay" to help the Philippines and other developing nations adapt to a rapidly changing climate.
During a news update on Fox Business' Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, contributor Cheryl Casone said the rule was being called "frankly, a job killer." On Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney complained that President Obama was attempting to lift wages "by fiat," and claimed that the overtime rule would harm "the assistant managers of this world, who will no longer become assistant managers." On Cavuto: Coast to Coast, host Neil Cavuto quoted Rep. Tim Walberg's (R-MI) opposition to overtime protections, adding that "you can't fathom" why the Labor Department would act to expand overtime.
Neil Cavuto and Dagen McDowell made light of Jenner's transition on Fox Business' Cavuto: Coast to Coast, asking, "What the hell is going on?" and calling her outfit "very Playboy bunny-esque" before introducing guest Charles Payne as "Charlene Payne."
The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and Fox Business are aggressively criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for accidentally spilling toxic wastewater into Colorado's Animas River while attempting to treat pollution from an abandoned gold mine. But over the years, these same conservative media outlets have almost completely ignored pollution that was caused by the fossil fuel industry, devoting more attention to the EPA spill than to seven recent cases of industry-caused pollution combined.
Fox Business Network invited Jan Morgan, the owner of a gun range in Arkansas that bans Muslim customers, to fearmonger that the Obama administration's plan to accept 10,000 refugees from civil war-torn Syria "is an open door to an enemy invasion." Calling for Islam to be "reclassified as a terrorist organization," Morgan suggested that when refugees are admitted into the U.S., Americans may have to use their "right to bear arms to defend life."
LOU DOBBS: Erick, your thoughts on this study and what it portends?
ERICK ERICKSON: Lou, I'm so used to liberals telling conservatives that they're anti-science. But this is -- liberals who defend this and say it's not a bad thing are very anti-science.
When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it's not antithesis, or it's not competing, it's a complementary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it's tearing us apart.
And what I find interesting in the survey is that three-quarters of the people surveyed recognize that having moms as the primary breadwinner is bad for kids and bad for marriage, and reality shows us that's the truth.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Let me move on to some policy issues, because Hillary Clinton, Al Gore -- you know what's coming here -- more than 40 of the country's leading environmental and social justice groups are demanding a federal investigation of ExxonMobil, accusing the company of deceiving the American public, basically, about the risks of climate change to protect profits. What do you say to it?
REX TILLERSON: Well, the charges are pretty unfounded, you know, without any substance at all, and they're dealing with a period of time that happened decades ago, so there's a lot I could say about it. I'm not sure how helpful it would be for me to talk about it, particularly as we're leading up to some very important meetings that are going to occur in Paris, here in just a few weeks. I don't want to be a distraction, I really don't want this to be a distraction, there's some serious issues that need to be talked about at that -- at that convention. I think, as -- all I would say is that we were very open during that period of time with all the research we were doing, we were spending a lot of time trying to understand this issue in the early days. We were very open with the work we were doing, most of it was done in collaboration with academic institutions and many government agencies, for us to understand this better, and I think as we began to understand that then people began to think about policy choices, we had a view on policy choices, which has not changed very much over the years, and we've been very open about that, so --
BARTIROMO: We should point out that you actually helped finance accurate scientific research about climate change, and yet Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Al Gore -- they're basically saying you and your industry are hiding the risks of climate change, just like the tobacco companies hid the risks of smoking.
TILLERSON: Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Again, as you point out, we've been very active participants in supporting scientific discovery. We funded some of the very early attempts to model the climate.
BARTIROMO: Right, I know that.
TILLERSON: And still do. At MIT we were the only major oil company that has been a participant in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, since its inception, and we still are a participant. Our scientists have peer reviewed the work done by the IPCC, we have authored many of the IPCC's reports and have published more than 50 of our own reports on subject, so we're hardly hiding from the issue.
ANN COULTER: I'm a student of American history, so I'm appalled by -- though I would really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America's history. The flag we're talking about --
KENNEDY: You think immigrants can't understand the history?
COULTER: Well, she doesn't. The Confederate flag we're talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.
In a story discussing how the truth is "starting to look deeply out of fashion" during the 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times bent over backwards to create the impression of a "bipartisan" trend by equating unambiguous falsehoods from several Republican candidates with incomplete retellings of stories about Hillary Clinton and false statements made by Democratic candidates decades ago.
The Times noted Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's false debate claim attacking Planned Parenthood has been "roundly disputed" by media fact-checkers yet the candidate has refused to admit she exaggerated when pressed about its veracity.
The article also described the current controversy around Ben Carson and the authenticity of several stories in his autobiography, including claims that he was offered a scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy, and that he attempted to stab a childhood friend. The story goes on to relate several verifiably false claims Donald Trump has made on the campaign trail, conceding that he "utters plenty of refutable claims," and "has set the tone for the embroidery" by "generat[ing] an entirely new category of overstatement in American politics."
Yet the paper claimed that "the tendency to bend facts is bipartisan."
As evidence, the Times cited falsehoods told by presidential candidates Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Joe Biden more than two decades ago.
The stories the Times cited as evidence of current falsehoods from a Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, are specious examples and simply not on par with what they detailed about the Republicans.
First the paper reported that "Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that all of her grandparents were immigrants, even though her paternal grandmother was born in Pennsylvania."
But that story is more complex than its presentation by the Times. Clinton's grandfather, but not grandmother, was an immigrant. When this was pointed out, the campaign told Buzzfeed, "Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants" adding, "As has been correctly pointed out, while her grandfather was an immigrant, it appears that Hillary's grandmother was born shortly after her parents and siblings arrived in the U.S. in the early 1880s."
The Times also refers to Clinton's private email server:
Mrs. Clinton has rationalized her reliance on a private server for both her personal and State Department emails by saying she preferred using a single electronic device, even though she used multiple devices, like an iPad, to read and send email.
But Clinton using an iPad to access her email does not make her earlier statement a falsehood. When Clinton first set up her email in 2009, the iPad did not exist. It was not released until 2010, a year after Clinton became secretary of state. According to her campaign, "Clinton relied on her Blackberry for emailing. This was easiest for her. When the iPad came out in 2010, she was as curious as others and found it great for shopping, browsing, and reading articles when she traveled. She also had access to her email account on her iPad and sometimes used it for that too."
The two examples are very different from the straight-out falsehoods being used by the Republican campaigns. And the concession from the Clinton campaign is very different from the Fiorina campaign's response to disparities in her past statements about Hewlett-Packard, in which the Times noted "Mrs. Fiorina's campaign aides seemed unperturbed by the discrepancies and declined to make the candidate available for comment."
Rather than report on the phenomenon of falsehoods from Republican candidates and how those campaigns are responding to reporting and fact checking of those stories, the Times instead chose to create a false equivalence and pretend that the problem is "bipartisan."
Political journalists responded critically to the Republican National Committee's decision to suspend their partnership with NBC News during the February 26 presidential debate, which was the only scheduled GOP debate with a Spanish-language media partner, NBC Universal's Telemundo.
After President Obama and congressional Republicans announced a tentative budget deal which would fund the government for two years, conservative media figures attacked the deal and described it as capitulation to Obama.
Citizens United is a conservative activist group with a long history of promoting discredited smears and attacks. Along with fellow right-wing group Judicial Watch, they have been one of the driving forces behind the mainstream media narrative about Hillary Clinton's emails.
A Media Matters survey of media coverage of the email story in the Nexis database found that Citizens United has been cited or quoted in reports about Clinton's use of private email in multiple major outlets, including ABC News, Fox News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Just last week, The Wall Street Journal based an October 15 story on emails parceled out to the newspaper by Citizens United, in a continuation of a pattern utilized by the organization and its leader David Bossie of selectively leaking partial information to news outlets in order to attack Democrats. The story later made the leap to Fox News.
The emails, which show Clinton aides experienced occasional IT problems when working with Clinton's private server (similar to many agencies, organizations, and businesses), are described by Bossie in the Journal story as "another troubling revelation." Bossie has also been calling for a "special counsel" to investigate the emails.
This is the type of scandal-mongering that Citizens United has done for years in order to further conservative crusades against prominent progressives. Bossie himself has been targeting the Clintons for more than two decades. In 1998, he was fired from a job with the House Oversight Committee for his role in releasing selectively-edited transcripts that smeared Hillary Clinton.
Citizens United has been pushing for the release of Clinton communications from the State Department, and is a party in several lawsuits demanding Clinton-related materials from the agency. In the course of those requests, Citizens United has often insinuated -- without evidence -- that wrongdoing took place. Citizens United President David Bossie told Politico after a recent hearing, "If it weren't for our FOIAs and subsequent lawsuits, these records would remain exactly where Hillary Clinton wants them -- in the shadows."
One set of emails released to Citizens United and then doled out to mainstream news organizations supposedly revealed a "tangled web" between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, Bossie told the Washington Post. In fact, the emails mostly showed mundane communications amongst Clinton's team, including arrangements to organize a dinner.
Citizens United was created in 1988 by conservative activist Floyd Brown. Early on, the organization ran political campaigns promoting the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, as well as campaigns against Democratic presidential candidates like Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton.
Brown was behind the infamous race-baiting Willie Horton political ad that was used to attack Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign. He was chairman of Citizens United until 2006, a position former congressional investigator and anti-Clinton activist David Bossie now holds.
Since leaving Citizens United, Brown has promoted the birther conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the United States, and demanded his removal from the White House for trying to construct a "totalitarian regime." Brown also ran political attack ads falsely claiming that President Obama is Muslim.
In 2008, Citizens United produced an anti-Clinton film called Hillary: The Movie. After the group was barred from advertising the film due to its political content and possible influence on the election, the resulting 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, opened the floodgate of money now influencing elections.
In addition to Hillary: The Movie, the organization has produced films attacking the left and promoting the right. These include Occupy Unmasked, Battle for America with Dick Morris, and Hype: The Obama Effect.
Citizens United also has an affiliated political action committee, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2006 and 2014 to support Republican candidates and attack Democrats. They also have a super PAC, Citizens United Super PAC, which has already spent $128,199 so far in the 2016 election cycle.
CBS reported in 1992 that as part of an "unusually brazen dirty-tricks operation," Brown sent his agents, including David Bossie, to prove a conspiracy theory that a woman named Susann Coleman had committed suicide after an affair with Bill Clinton. In order to do so, Bossie followed Coleman's mother to an Army hospital in Georgia, where she was visiting her husband who was recovering from a stroke. CBS said, according to a Nexis transcript, that Bossie and an accomplice "burst into the sick man's room and began questioning the shaken mother about her daughter's suicide." (The operation was not technically on behalf of Citizens United -- Brown at the time was heading a group called the "Presidential Victory Committee.")
Brown also called Coleman's sister and harassed her about the affair. The calls were recorded. On the tape, Brown told her, "If there's any truth to this proposed story, I want to be very private. I want to basically have my lawyers approach Clinton's lawyers and tell him that we want him out of the race because he's not morally qualified to be president."
CBS said that George H.W. Bush's re-election campaign "disclaims any connection with Floyd Brown and describes his anti-Clinton tactics as despicable."
Bossie has served as the president of Citizens United since 2000 (and chairman since 2006). Before that, he was chief investigator for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a position he was fired from for releasing selectively-edited transcripts of interviews with former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell in order to leave the false impression that then-first lady Hillary Clinton was involved in wrongdoing.
At the time, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), the chairman of the committee, "I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee." (The Washington Post reported at the time, "While Burton defended his senior investigator publicly and said Bossie was leaving of his own accord, Gingrich told the conference yesterday that Bossie, who had survived repeated previous attempts, had been fired.")
During the 1992 Clinton-Bush election, Bossie was involved in the production of a campaign ad featuring apparently doctored tape-recorded conversations, which was then repudiated by George W. Bush on behalf of his father, President George H.W. Bush. The younger Bush reportedly "even sent out a letter to 85,000 Republican contributors encouraging them not to contribute to" Bossie's campaign effort.
Bossie kept up his behavior at Citizens United, coordinating a campaign of leaks and misinformation designed to hurt the Clinton administration and the first lady:
Bossie, the twenty-eight-year-old political director for Citizens United, a conservative Republican operation, runs an information factory whose Whitewater production lines turn out a steady stream of tips, tidbits, documents, factoids, suspicions, and story ideas for the nation's press and for Republicans on Capitol Hill. Journalists and Hill Republicans have recycled much of the information provided by Citizens United into stories that have cast a shadow on the Clinton presidency.
A 1994 Chicago Tribune profile reported that Bossie was part of the campaign to use the Whitewater controversy to attack President Bill Clinton, pointing out that he "harvests tales of alleged wrongdoings from a network of Clinton enemies, then peddles them to Capitol Hill and media contacts in hopes of prompting scandalous stories."
Bossie is still doing the same, but now he's on the Clinton-email beat.
Fox's Bill O'Reilly described a meeting of Reagan advisers over concerns about President Ronald Reagan's mental fitness for office as the "linchpin" of his book Killing Reagan, but the story was originally published in 1988.
Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve who worked as an investigator for the House Select Committee on Benghazi is accusing the committee of focusing their investigation solely on Hillary Clinton, rather than the entirety of the Benghazi incident, and unlawfully firing him for taking leave to go on active duty.
From an October 10 New York Times report:
A former investigator for the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi plans to file a complaint in federal court next month alleging that he was fired unlawfully in part because his superiors opposed his efforts to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in the Libyan city. Instead, they focused primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said.
The former investigator, Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve who is on active duty in Germany, also claims that the committee's majority staff retaliated against him for taking leave for several weeks to go on active duty. If true, the retaliation would violate the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which Major Podliska plans to invoke in his complaint, according to a draft that was made available to The New York Times.
Podliska was also interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper. In the October 11 interview on State of the Union, Podliska claimed the "partisan investigation" shifted focus to almost exclusively focus on Clinton after it was reported that she utilized a private email server. Podliska told Tapper, "The victims' families are not going to get the truth and that's the most unfortunate thing about this."
Media Matters has extensively documented that Fox News and the conservative media have been one of the driving forces behind the creation of the House Benghazi Committee, particularly its focus on Clinton.
Judicial Watch is a conservative activist group that has been one of the organizations driving the media narrative on Hillary Clinton's emails. They have a history of dishonest activism, promoting conspiracy theories, and pushing false or misleading narratives.
The organization was formed in the 1990s by conspiracy theorist Larry Klayman, who used the technique of filing spurious lawsuits in an attempt to bring down the Clinton administration. It is now headed by Tom Fitton, who has continued Klayman's methods in an ongoing campaign to antagonize the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats.
The organization has played a key role in the ongoing controversy over the email system Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. Records obtained from the State Department by Judicial Watch have served as fodder in the media and for the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
This week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the frontrunner for the soon-to-be vacant Speaker's office, boasted on Fox, "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought and made that happen."
Judicial Watch has tried to stake its own claim to denting Clinton, with Fitton claiming in a press release, "Judicial Watch has had more success investigating the IRS, Benghazi, and Clinton email scandals than any House committee under Boehner's direction."
Since it was reported in March that Clinton used a private email server, Judicial Watch has been mentioned dozens of times in reports on the story, including in major outlets like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
But if history is any indication, media outlets risk credibility and accuracy by relying on Judicial Watch.
The media's reliance on Judicial Watch's work comes with a significant risk, as the conservative group often overreaches in its attacks on Democrats and progressives.
For example, on September 24, Judicial Watch released records it had received from the State Department which it claimed "reveal former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a special government employee."
The New York Times reported on Judicial Watch's findings, writing that the documents "show that Mrs. Clinton personally signed forms establishing a new title and position for the aide, Huma Abedin, in March 2012." Politico, Fox News, and other outlets also published stories based on the document.
Those stories were wrong.
As the Times reported a few days later, the document that Judicial Watch had given to the media had the signature redacted "in a box intended for the aide's supervisor," and the assumption was apparently made that Sec. Clinton had signed it. But later a copy of the document was given to the Times and it showed that it was signed by Cheryl Mills, who was then Clinton's chief of staff.
In other words, the entire premise of the Judicial Watch release was false (the uncorrected headline remains on the Times website).
Judicial Watch has often started stories that are simply untrue and collapse almost immediately under scrutiny.
For example, Judicial Watch alleged that the Obama administration had appointed 45 "czars" to serve under him, a claim which then became the basis for a viral email attacking the president. As explained by PolitiFact in 2014, Judicial Watch stretched the truth by listing senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as a czar, crediting the Obama administration for czars created under the Bush administration, and describing Ray Mabus as the "Oil Czar" when in reality he was Secretary of the Navy, a Senate-confirmed position.
Judicial Watch accused then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of engaging in "boorish demands for military travel" that are "more about partying than anything else" and highlighted expenditures of "$101,429.14 ... for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol." After conservative outlets regurgitated the claims, FactCheck.org investigated and found that "costs are not as high as critics claim, and they're comparable to those of her Republican predecessor."
Last year, Judicial Watch alleged that a company had been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "for requiring workers to speak English." But in reality, the EEOC said it sued the company for violating its employees' rights by subjecting them to a "sham performance improvement plan" that focused on their English language skills.
Judicial Watch has concocted conspiracy theories that end up being amplified by conservative and mainstream media, as well as elected officials.
Judicial Watch claimed that the Justice Department was helping to "organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman," the Florida man who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin. In reality, the unit of the DOJ was sent to Florida in order to defuse tensions in the community, and as the Orlando Sentinel reported, they "reached out to the city's spiritual and civic leaders to help cool heated emotions."
Judicial Watch claimed that the Islamic State (ISIS) had set up a terrorist camp in Mexico "just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," facilitating the smuggling of terrorists into the United States. Conservative media outlets picked up Judicial Watch's claim.
Authorities in the United States and Mexico rejected the group's fearmongering.
A spokesman for the National Security Council said there was "no indication that this claim has any validity to it," while an FBI spokesperson told PolitiFact, "there is no credible information to support" the allegation. The government of Mexico stated: "The government of Mexico dismisses and categorically denies each of the statements made today by the organization Judicial Watch on the alleged presence of ISIS's operating cells throughout the border region." Similarly, the Texas Department of Public Safety said they had "no credible information to corroborate or validate this story."
PolitiFact rated the claim as "false." A similar claim by Judicial Watch in September of 2014 became the basis of a statement by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) that ISIS is "present in Ciudad Juarez" in Mexico. Government agencies denied that allegation as well, and PolitiFact rated it "mostly false."
Throughout the Obama administration, there have been repeated news stories discussing the cost of travel arrangements for the Obama administration, particularly for first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters.
These stories have often been based on reports generated by Judicial Watch, and their website boasts an archive of releases on the topic (despite the organization's existence during the Bush administration, the "First Family" Vacations archive is limited to travel from 2010-present).
Many of these releases also exaggerate the truth. In 2010, Judicial Watch alleged that the Obamas went on a "private family safari" at taxpayer expense, but the safari was paid for with the Obama's own funds. They also claimed the trip "was as much an opportunity for the Obama family and friends to go on a safari as it was a trip intended to advance the administration's agenda in Africa" but the schedule was filled with official events:
The six-day trip was dominated by official events and meetings with world leaders. Mrs. Obama met with the South African president's wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma; spoke to the Young African Women Leaders Forum; participated in community service events in Johannesburg; visited U.S. embassies and consulates; spoke at the University of Cape Town and met with students from poor communities; held a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu; met with Botswanan president Ian Khama; and gave interviews to several news outlets, including NBC, ABC, BET, and CNN.
Judicial Watch was designed almost two decades ago to use the courts and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to trip up and raise implications about Democrats and other related elected officials. It does so through dishonest claims and inaccurate document releases. Despite their history, the media has continued to rely on them, only to sometimes be caught hyping inaccurate supposed scoops.
Pope Francis is making his first visit to the United States this week. Prior to his visit, conservative media figures have attacked him over his efforts to combat climate change and inequality, labeling him a "Marxist" who is a "danger to the world."
While leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News waged a protracted public feud for much of August, the network continued to lavish the business mogul with far more interview airtime than the other sixteen contenders. After being given nearly 5 hours of airtime in August, Trump now has 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime since the beginning of May, nearly double that of former Fox host Mike Huckabee, who is second with 5 hours and 16 minutes.
Fox News and Trump engaged in a war of words after Megyn Kelly questioned Trump about his history of sexism during the network's August 6 Republican presidential debate. The argument culminated the last week of the month after Trump promoted a tweet calling Kelly a "bimbo," which prompted a statement from Fox News chief Roger Ailes demanding an apology -- Trump, of course, declined.
Following a press conference in which Trump complained that Fox News "treats me terribly," he announced on Laura Ingraham's radio show on August 26 that he and "good friend" Roger Ailes had once again smoothed things over. Despite yet another truce, Trump has not had a new interview on the network since an August 24 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, the night he promoted the "bimbo" tweet about Kelly. (Though O'Reilly Factor did re-air an edited version of Trump's August 24 interview on August 28.)
Trump led all candidates in airtime during August, though his lead is bolstered by lengthy interviews on both Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine that the network re-aired multiple times in primetime.
Lagging well behind Trump's 4 hours and 48 minutes of airtime were Carly Fiorina (1 hour and 30 minutes), Mike Huckabee (1 hour and 22 minutes), Chris Christie (1 hour and 15 minutes), Ben Carson (1 hour and 13 minutes), and Scott Walker (1 hour and 2 minutes). No other candidate had more than an hour of airtime.
In overall airtime, Trump is lapping the field. His 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime dwarf runners up Huckabee (5 hours and 16 minutes), Fiorina (4 hours and 18 minutes), and Rick Perry (4 hours and 12 minutes).
For August, Hannity once again featured the most candidate interview airtime, with 3 hours and 21 minutes.
Overall, Hannity continues to far outpace other programs in candidate interview airtime. His show has featured more than 13 hours of interviews since May 1.
Most Total Airtime In August: Donald Trump (4 hour and 48 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In August: Donald Trump (17 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In August: Hannity (3 hours and 21 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In August: Fox & Friends and The O'Reilly Factor (20 appearances each)
Softball Question of the Month: During the August 4, 2015 episode of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly pressed hard to pin down just how nervous Donald Trump was feeling about the August 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate [transcript via Nexis]:
O'REILLY: Ok. Now, are you nervous? Do you get nervous? I mean, you know, it's a big deal, 48 hours, this is probably the biggest thing in your life. I mean, you can tell Geraldo that he is a pinhead on your other show that you are not doing anymore, but that's nothing compared to this worldwide debate. Are you nervous?
TRUMP: Well, I mean, the biggest thing in my life is my family and my children in all fairness -- Bill. This is a different kind of a thing.
O'REILLY: Ok. But I'm now talking professional. Right.
TRUMP: This is a different kind of a thing. This is a big league deal. There is no question about it. Everybody is talking about it. I'm getting calls from the biggest people in the world. They are watching. They are watching.
O'REILLY: Well, you are on the biggest show in the world right now. Come on. You know where you are.
TRUMP: Well, I'm on a great show.
O'REILLY: But do you get nervous? Are you apprehensive? You know, are you staying up at night? I know you don't sleep much at all. But are you a little apprehensive?
TRUMP: I would think so. I mean you don't know what's going to come at you. You don't know where these other people are going to come. You don't know whether or not the three folks that are asking the questions, I mean they are going to try to trick you up which is unfortunate because all of that has nothing to do with being a great president.
But I'm doing it because it's something you have to do. And, again, I have never debated. My sort of my whole life has been a debate, but I have never debated before. These politicians all they do is debate.
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (10 hour and 21 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (54 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (13 hours and 11 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (64 appearances)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30.
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the 17 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
Beginning with the August report, Media Matters has collected appearances on weekend shows in addition to weekday shows and Fox News Sunday. All weekend data from May 1 onward is now included.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.