In the aftermath of the Charleston, SC shooting, iHeartMedia is planning a concert to "kick off A+E Networks' campaign to confront issues of race, and promote unity and progress on racial equity." However, a large part of iHeartMedia's brand is built on its syndication of several right-wing radio hosts -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Michael Berry -- who consistently take racially inflammatory positions on their shows and denigrate civil rights advocacy.
A study of CNBC's coverage of the crisis of money in politics ahead of its October 28 Republican presidential debate reveals that the network has rarely explored the implications of an out-of-control campaign financing system and its effect on the political process. Media Matters analyzed the financial news network's content beginning on March 23, when the first 2016 presidential candidate officially entered the race and found that it has failed to report on the expanding influence of wealthy individuals and corporations who donate to campaigns, or the impact of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which began a rollback of campaign finance reform measures that is negatively impacting not just elections, but the economy as well.
A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial raised several questions that were answered long ago about the September 11, 2012 attacks on American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in an effort to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to her October 22 hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The newspaper has a history of right-wing bias in its reporting and on its opinion page, and has often pushed Benghazi myths but never corrected its errors when facts proved those myths false.
The October 22 editorial claimed that the "Obama Administration has been lying about the attack since it happened" and suggested several questions members of the select committee should ask Clinton during her testimony:
Why did Clinton ignore Stevens' requests for more security? Why did Clinton push the White House to blame a fringe YouTube video for the attack, rather than radical Islamic terrorists? Why has Clinton been stonewalling attempts to get to the truth for the past three years?
The problem with the Union Leader editorial board's questions -- and for that matter, its longtime position on Benghazi -- is that these questions have already been asked and answered.
As the Washington Post and other media outlets reported, Clinton told Congress during previous testimony that the concerns over security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi had not been brought to her attention prior to the attack, which the State Department's independent Accountability Review Board report confirmed in its finding that the security situation had "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department." Even so, Clinton admitted responsibility for the attacks, calling the violence and its consequences "painful, absolutely painful" for her.
As a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review of Benghazi found, several pieces of intelligence were revealed after the attacks, including some that "suggest[ed] the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day's violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video..."
In addition, as The New York Times reported, the people who carried out the attacks "told bystanders that they were attacking the compound because they were angry about the video," and the suspected ringleader, Abu Khattala, "told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him."
The Union Herald seems to have decided to ignore these and other facts in the public record when they penned this editorial. Ten separate congressional committees have conducted Benghazi investigations, amounting to 32 hearings, approximately 54 hours of publically-available testimony, 2,780 questions asked of 204 witnesses, and 11 reports spanning 784 pages on the attacks.
This latest editorial continues the newspaper's tradition of repeating debunked reports to push its right-wing agenda on Benghazi.
An editorial in the Houston Chronicle called out the recent decision by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood over deceptively-edited videos, saying the decision "is about politics" not about "fighting for taxpayers or setting good policy."
An October 19 editorial by the Houston Chronicle discussed the circumstances around Abbott's decision to attempt to cut funding to the organization saying the decision was made due "to a series of surreptitiously recorded videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress" -- videos that have been thoroughly debunked despite being continuously touted by right-wing media. The editorial further explained that it was unlikely the state would find anything unpropitious happening in Texas because Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state do not participate in the fetal tissue donation program and other "[i]nvestigations in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota found no evidence of lawbreaking." Ultimately, the editorial explained that "the whole fight takes aim at an invented fear" that the reproductive health provider is using federal funds for abortion when "[w]hat Medicaid does fund is family planning services that help make abortions unnecessary":
The reason behind the Medicaid cut, according to inspector general Stuart Bowen, rests upon a series of surreptitiously recorded videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. Those videos, which were made public this past July and August, purported to show illegal trafficking of fetal tissue. Abbott quickly responded by instructing the Health and Human Services Commission to launch its own investigation into Planned Parenthood.
Investigations in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota found no evidence of lawbreaking. The Texas Attorney General's Office has yet to complete its own investigation into those videos, but it isn't hard to guess what they'll find - nothing. That's because Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas don't currently collect fetal tissue for medical research.
This whole fight takes aim at an invented fear. And even if the Texas Health and Human Services Commission successfully cut Planned Parenthood from its distribution of federal Medicaid dollars, abortion services will remain at the same funding level of essentially zero. The federal family planning program, Title X, provides no money for abortions. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, prohibits Medicaid from spending money on abortions except in the rare cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother.
What Medicaid does fund is family planning services that help make abortions unnecessary.
But in the war against abortion, fighting Planned Parenthood is easier than actually reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. So instead of better sex education or broader access to birth control, Texas will get another lawsuit. That won't do much to help everyday Texans, but politicians will be able to count it as a win. If only they could share the spoils of victory with a young woman who can't afford basic health care.
The National Review Online (NRO) published a blog and an op-ed authored by apparent non-scientists that attacked "Science Guy" Bill Nye for a recent video in which he explained the questionable science behind anti-choice legislative "personhood" proposals.
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who is under fire for suggesting that undocumented immigrants should become "property of the state" unless they leave Iowa, applauded a decision by Texas' Department of State Health Services to deny birth certificates to American children of undocumented immigrants.
On his August 28 show, Mickelson criticized what he called "street hustler" civil rights groups who have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services for refusing to issue birth certificates to U.S. citizen children born to undocumented immigrant parents. As Talking Points Memo explained, the plaintiff's complaint alleges that Texas stopped allowing "matricula consular" identifications -- official papers issued by the U.S.-based consulate of the immigrant parents' home country -- "to meet the requirements to acquire a birth certificate for their U.S.-born children" around two years ago.
Mickelson, who denies that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship applies to the children of undocumented immigrants, said he thinks it is "cool" that Texas is refusing to issue these birth certificates and expressed his appreciation of Texas' approach as "Iowa passive-aggressive," which will prevent such children "to start this process of looting." Listen (emphasis added):
JAN MICKELSON: The Mexican government has now filed its amicus brief -- that's 'a friend of the court' -- supporting a coalition of undocumented parents who are suing the state of Texas because they were denied birth certificates for their kids. So all of the usual suspects, the ACLU, La Raza, and every street hustler organization that has its hooks in us, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid Society and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Friends of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala, have all decided to sue the state of Texas because they can't get documentation of the birth of their kids, that were illegitimately born here in the United States and they're not following form. Now Texas is doing the Iowa passive-aggressive thing, "Okay, you can be born here, just no record of your existence and you can't use anything from us to start this process of looting." That is cool.
Mickelson has come under fire recently for comments he made on his August 17 radio show advocating that undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave Iowa after being warned become "property of the state" and be forced into "compelled labor." It was the latest of Mickleson's many anti-immigrant remarks, which include his assumption that anyone with a Hispanic-sounding name who gets involved with the police is an undocumented immigrant, and his declaration that educating undocumented children in public schools is "a scam."
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who don't leave his state, misrepresented a comment made in 1866 by one of the authors of the 14th Amendment to argue that the U.S. Constitution doesn't grant automatic citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants, a wildly revisionist misreading of both American history and legal precedent
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who don't leave Iowa after being warned, attacked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for questioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's extreme views on birthright citizenship and deportation, and said Americans should "applaud" the billionaire businessman for starting a debate.
On his August 24 radio show, Mickelson -- who has recently come in for withering criticism for suggesting that undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave Iowa should become "property of the state" forced to do "compelled labor" -- brought up O'Reilly's recent interview with Trump. Mickelson criticized a question O'Reilly asked Trump about his position on birthright citizenship, complaining that O'Reilly's hypothetical example of two illegal immigrant parents with two legal American-born children -- he asked if Trump would order immigration agents to 'put them in a van [and] bring them to a detention center' for deportation -- was "a scam starting with the notion of birthright citizenship":
When he finished critiquing the Trump-O'Reilly interview, Mickelson read aloud an entire National Review article titled, "The Very Real Economic Costs of Birthright Citizenship," which relies heavily on data and analysis from the anti-immigrant nativist organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, to claim that birthright citizenship is harming America. Citing that data, Mickelson heaped praise on Trump and declared, "We owe Donald Trump at least a round of applause for bringing these issues to the forefront":
Mickelson has a long history of attacking immigrants and Hispanics in America. He has said that he assumes anyone with a Hispanic-sounding name who is involved with police is "not here legally" and that it's "a scam" to let undocumented students attend public schools in the United States.
But despite his racist rhetoric towards immigrants and Hispanics, Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 election have appeared on Mickelson's show over 40 times so far this year. Not even wide condemnation of his undocumented immigrant enslavement plan could keep them away: candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared on his show four days after he said it. Mickelson's slavery plan did not come up.
In the aftermath of Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson's public call to make undocumented immigrants who don't leave voluntarily the "property of the state of Iowa" and forced into "compelled labor," the state's largest newspaper published two opinion columns condemning Mickelson's rhetoric and calling for an end to attacks on immigrants.
On the August 17 broadcast of his radio show, Mickelson proposed a plan to drive undocumented immigrants out of Iowa by posting signs around the state saying that after an allotted time, any undocumented immigrant who remained in Iowa would become "property of the state of Iowa" and as such, would be forced to perform manual labor such as building a wall between Mexico and the United States.
Two columnists at The Des Moines Register called out Mickelson's comments, rebuking his rhetoric and calling for more civility in the immigration debate. In her August 22 column for The Register, Rekha Basu called Mickelson "this year's chief demagogue" for attacking undocumented immigrants and warned that by putting ideas immigrant slaver on the table, "people assume it has legitimacy." She urged that the debate over immigration be held "in a responsible way," and continued:
This inflammatory rhetoric is a long way from the approach of past GOP leaders like former President George W. Bush and former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel. Iowa's beloved former Iowa Gov. Bob Ray, who welcomed Southeast Asian war refugees in the 1970s, issued a statement earlier this year supporting Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free legal services to unaccompanied undocumented minors. "Iowa is a welcoming state!" Ray declared. At least it was then.
I'm hopeful most Iowans will respond to Mickelson's slave-ownership plan by showing it still is.
Kyle Munson also criticized Mickelson's comments in an August 23 Register column, writing that after he heard what was said, he went to talk to Mickelson at the Iowa State Fair. Munson told readers that Mickelson "reaffirmed in person what he said on air," and added:
I just can't wrap my mind around Mickelson's proposal, whether as an intentionally controversial rhetorical device or serious policy. Makes me think of the horrific workhouses of Victorian England.
Like Basu, Munson -- who is hosting a forum on immigration where audience members will be able to discuss and debate the issue with panelists and presidential candidates -- called for civility in the immigration debate. He wrote, "As a columnist it would be easier for me to radicalize this immigration issue than to try to bring everybody beneath a big tent to be more productive. But I believe wholeheartedly that it's worth it."