Salvatore Colleluori

Author ››› Salvatore Colleluori
  • Trump Supporters Howie Carr and Mark Simone Attack Megyn Kelly's Appearance Following Her Trump Meeting

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Donald Trump supporters Howie Carr and Mark Simone attacked Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly, saying she “looks like everybody’s ex-wife in court” and that she is no longer attractive because she has a more “manicured” look.

    On the April 14 edition of his radio show, Mark Simone hosted fellow Trump supporter and Boston radio host Howie Carr. Simone, who has said disparaging remarks about Fox News host Megyn Kelly several times in the past few days, asked Carr what he thought about Trump meeting with Kelly on April 13. Simone said Kelly “came crawling” back to Trump and then began discussing her looks, asking, “Doesn’t she scare you?” and saying “she looks like everybody’s ex-wife in court.” Carr responded by saying that he “liked her better when she had the … less manicured, the less made-up look” and that she “doesn’t attract me as much as her old look used to.” Listen:

    MARK SIMONE (HOST): She came crawling, I guess.

    HOWIE CARR: I don’t know, it’s good for both sides, isn’t it, to have a rapprochement.

    […]

    SIMONE: Doesn’t she scare you a little? She looks like everybody’s ex-wife in court, doesn’t she?

    CARR: You know, I used to be on with here sometimes in the afternoon, and you know, I liked her better when she had the sort of -- the less manicured, the less made-up look that she has on at night now. You’re right, she looks just like -- I don’t know what she looks like now, but it doesn’t attract me as much as her old look used to.

    SIMONE: No, too tough.

    Earlier this week Simone hosted his “longtime friend” Trump to discuss the presidential race, and together they questioned GOP rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) eligibility to be president because of Cruz’s birthplace in Canada. Carr has also expressed support for his “friend” Donald Trump and has hosted the candidate at least six times since February 1. Carr has vacationed with Trump at the businessman's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and often uses his radio show to attack Trump’s rivals. 

  • Trump And NY Radio Host Simone Question Cruz’s Eligibility To Run For President

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    New York radio host Mark Simone and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump questioned whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is eligible to run for president because “he was born in Canada.”

    Simone, a self-proclaimed longtime friend of Trump who recently said he "loves Donald Trump," hosted the businessman on the April 12 edition of his WOR show. After saying Colorado’s “system is rigged” because Cruz received the state's entire set of delegates, Simone brought up a hearing by the New Jersey secretary of state to determine Cruz's eligibility to be president because of his birthplace. Trump said Cruz isn't eligible because “he was born in Canada” and you need to be "natural born" which "means on this land." Listen:

    MARK SIMONE (HOST): For the first time, [Cruz] is really being challenged in court, in New Jersey, by the secretary of state about whether he's technically legally eligible to be president. That could turn the whole thing.

    DONALD TRUMP: I didn't even know that. Is that a fact?

    SIMONE: Well, it was reported in the papers, because any secretary of state, that's the guy that --

    TRUMP: Where did you read this? Is this today?

    SIMONE: Yesterday.

    TRUMP: Oh, where? I've got to get that.

    SIMONE: I'm pretty sure it was in the Post. You can find it online.

    TRUMP: Yeah, I'll check it. No he's not -- look, he was born in Canada. He lived in Canada for four years. He was a Canadian citizen 18 months ago.

    SIMONE: Yeah, but the guy that would have standing to bring the case is the secretary of state who has to put him on the ballot. So apparently in New Jersey, it was reported, the secretary of state is going to bring that to court.

    TRUMP: You know what? It’s a great case. I mean, it’s such a great case. That's really amazing. I didn't know that there was reporting on it. I know that he's got a big problem in a couple of states. Big, big problem. Look, he was born in Canada. You're supposed to be natural born. Natural born means on this land. Unless you're born on a military base or something like McCain, which I understand. I get that.

    This isn't the first time Trump has questioned Cruz's eligibility. He responded to a question in January about whether Cruz was eligible to run by saying, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. It depends.” Later that month Trump floated the idea that he might sue Cruz over his citizenship, noting that others have tried but lacked standing, yet as a candidate, Trump has “standing to sue.” Trump revisited the possibility of a lawsuit in February after Cruz released attack ads against him.

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch Ignores Facts To Dismiss Money's Impact On Elections

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    A Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial dismissed money's impact on U.S. elections by taking a campaign finance reform advocate out of context while ignoring the overwhelming instances where money has played a crucial role in the election process.

    The March 9 editorial claimed that the theory that "money buys elections ... has never been the case" and that "the facts continue to shatter the myth," citing the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker, well-funded candidates who dropped out of the race. The editorial continued:

    The hard reality has led even some of the nation's most persistent campaign-finance scolds, such as Rick Hasen -- author of "Plutocrats United" -- to concede that "In spite of the rhetoric of some campaign reformers, money doesn't buy elections." Others still insist that it does, or will, someday -- just you wait. Big-donor money hasn't bought the 2016 election, says The New York Times -- "yet."

    [...]

    But while unions, nonprofits, and businesses can talk themselves hoarse, they can't cast ballots. Only the voters can do that -- and they often vote in ways that resoundingly reject the efforts of so-called big money. Just ask Jeb Bush about that.

    First, the editorial selectively quotes UCLA professor Rick Hasen, whose piece in The Washington Post explains that while "money doesn't buy elections," it "increases the odds of electoral victory and of getting one's way on policies, tax breaks and government contracts." His article continued:

    And the presidential race is the place we are least likely to see money's effects. Looking to Congress and the states, though, we can see that the era of big money unleashed by the Supreme Court is hurtling us toward a plutocracy in which the people with the greatest economic power can wield great political power through campaign donations and lobbying.

    Hasen's argument was backed up by a recent release by U.S. PIRG, which found that "87.5% of higher fundraising candidates won their congressional [primary] race and now head to the general election."

    Even the New York Times piece the Times-Dispatch's editorial dismisses is grounded in reality. In the 2012 election, a majority of the money spent in the election by both parties and super PACs spiked in October, the month before the general election. The Times piece argues -- again in a section left out of the Dispatch's editorial -- that major donors "like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will come off the sidelines" in the general election.

    There are real impacts to more money in politics. When elected members of the judiciary know their rulings could be used against them during an election, they are less likely to rule in favor of defendants and more likely to hand down longer sentences. And as the Brennan Center for Justice explained in a blog post, even though there is a scientific consensus around man-made climate change, those who are less likely to believe the scientific consensus are more likely to receive money from "dirty energy sources."

  • Iowa Newspaper Editorial Boards Call Out Sen. Grassley's Supreme Court "Obstructionism"

    ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI & JARED HOLT

    On February 23, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined other GOP leaders in declaring his intention to refuse consideration of any person President Barack Obama nominates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia's February 13 death. Iowa newspaper editorial boards have criticized Grassley and other Senate Republicans' obstructionism, writing that it's "wrong," it's "shameful," and it "disrespects the Constitution."

  • Since Donald Trump Began Attacking Megyn Kelly's Debate Role, Fox News Has Given Him Nearly $1 Million In Free Airtime

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Since Donald Trump began attacking Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's participation in the network's January 28 GOP presidential primary debate, Fox has given him nearly 40 minutes of free airtime, amounting to about $1 million.

    According to a Media Matters analysis, Trump has been hosted by the network four times since he tweeted on January 23 that "Based on @MegynKelly's conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate." Trump has since said that he would not participate in the debate, citing Kelly's participation and Fox News' response to his criticisms.

    Following his tweet, he appeared on Justice on January 23, MediaBuzz on January 24, Special Report with Bret Baier on January 26, and The O'Reilly Factor on January 27, for a total of 39 minutes, 47 seconds of free airtime. According to IQ Media, which uses price data for advertising from Sqad to determine an equivalent advertising rate, those appearances were worth $936,347.76.

    While many affiliated with Fox News criticized Trump's decision to boycott the debate, other conservative media figures applauded the move. On Trump's nearly 16-minute appearance with Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News host repeatedly urged the candidate to return to the debate stage. That appearance alone netted Trump more than $500,000 in free airtime.

    Prior to his latest feud with Fox News, the network had given Trump nearly $30 million in free airtime from May 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters used IQ Media to ascertain the viewership and monetary value of Donald Trump's appearances on Fox News Channel from January 23, 2015, (the day Trump floated the idea that he might not participate in the January 28 debate) through January 27, 2015, between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.. The study includes all original appearances; repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Previous Media Matters studies have used a different program to calculate television dollar value.

  • Megyn Kelly Turned Her Show Into A Junket For Michael Bay's Benghazi Movie

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    In recent weeks, Fox News has been aggressively promoting Michael Bay's myth-filled Benghazi movie in an effort to criticize the Obama administration and damage Hillary Clinton's presidential run. Megyn Kelly, the host that Fox News tries to position as more news-minded than the network's most opinionated personalities, has been leading the charge.

    According to a Media Matters study, from January 4 through January 19, Fox News devoted more than 2 hours and 53 minutes to discussing Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. The Kelly File made up nearly half of that time, with more than 1 hour and 22 minutes of coverage. (By comparison, The Five, the show that devoted the second most time to promoting 13 Hours, spent less than 24 minutes on the movie.) 

    Kelly showed Fox's hand early, kicking off a segment about the movie on her January 4 program by touting an "exclusive" report on "the gripping new film that may pose a threat to Hillary Clinton's hopes for the White House." The idea that the film might have an impact on Clinton's presidential run was a regular feature of The Kelly File's coverage, coming up in seven segments.   

    The effort to use Bay's movie to hurt Clinton politically comes a few short months after the Republicans' House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing featuring hours of Clinton testimony fell "flat on its face." Though Hillary Clinton is not mentioned in Bay's movie, Kelly was nonetheless intent on making her 13 Hours coverage about Clinton.

    The Kelly File revived the myth that Clinton dismissed the deaths of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack during a congressional hearing. In seven separate segments, Kelly or her guests raised the myth that Clinton and senior White House officials deliberately lied about the attackers' motives. Kelly's show also featured five segments promoting the myth that the Obama administration issued a "stand down" order during the attacks.

    At times, Kelly sounded more like a paid spokeswomen for the film, rather than a news anchor. She introduced her January 18 hour-long special on the film by calling 13 Hours "a blockbuster movie ... that could change everything you thought you knew about Benghazi. And directly impact the 2016 race for the White House." She also called the movie "extraordinary" and "a dramatic, compelling, white knuckled experience," while advising her viewers "don't plan on getting popcorn, don't plan on needing to use the restroom, because you will not leave your seat for two hours."

    As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Kelly's praise of the film was so strong that Paramount Pictures, the studio which released the film, "even inserted quotes from Kelly ('riveting') and Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes ('extraordinary') into a TV commercial for 13 Hours ... presumably because these two news personalities are more trusted by conservatives than are the movie critics who typically show up in such advertising." The studio also reportedly "supplied Fox News behind-the-scenes footage" that Kelly used on-air, and "arranged for Kelly to interview three of the real-life heroes portrayed in the film."

    According to a Media Matters analysis, Kelly also promoted the movie more on her show from January 4 through January 19 than the syndicated entertainment news shows Extra!Entertainment Tonight, and Access Hollywood combined. Those shows covered the movie for a total of 7 and a half minutes over the same period.

    Kelly's dedication to promoting right-wing misinformation surrounding the Benghazi attack is unsurprising given her track record at the network. As an otherwise-glowing profile of Kelly in Vanity Fair highlighted earlier this month, despite Kelly's attempt to cast her show "as a 'news' show as opposed to an opinion show, like Hannity or The O'Reilly Factor, [it] is made up largely of the kind of stories you'd find on many other Fox News shows at any other time." As Media Matters noted in 2013 when Kelly's new time slot was announced, Kelly regularly uses her perceived journalistic bona fides to cast conservative misinformation as "news."

    The Washington Post's Erik Wemple noted of the network's 13 Hours coverage: "Fox News, even after hyping the bona fide revelations in the book version of '13 Hours,' is promoting the Bay movie for its potential to revive Benghazi as a problem for Clinton. In so doing, Fox News isn't acting as a news organization, which reports events as they arise; it's acting as an advocacy organization, verily rooting for the movie to tilt the contemporary political debate."

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched for the terms "Benghazi" and "13 Hours" in IQ Media from January 4, 2015 to January 19, 2015 in the shows, Extra!, Access Hollywood, and Entertainment Tonight. For the methodology for the original study, click here

  • Fox News Has Given Donald Trump Nearly $30 Million In Free Airtime During The Presidential Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Fox News gave GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump at least $29.7 million in free airtime from May 2015 through the end of the year.

    According to a previous Media Matters analysis, Trump far outpaced the other Republican presidential candidates in Fox News interview airtime in the second half of 2015. From May through December 15, Trump appeared on the network for nearly 23 hours -- no other candidate had more than 10 hours on the network during that time period.

    For this study, we updated Trump's airtime totals through the end of 2015, which brought his time on the network to well over 24 hours for the year. Using this platform, including partaking in several-hour long interviews which were subsequently re-broadcast, Trump was able to benefit from at least $29.7 million in free airtime on the network and broadcast his message to a total audience of 306,104,725, according to media monitoring service IQ Media.

    IQ Media uses Nielsen data to determine the viewership of a given program and price data for advertising from Sqad to come up with an equivalent advertising rate. The total audience number does not represent unique viewers but the total aggregate viewership number -- including viewers who likely watched the same programs on multiple days -- during the study period.

    Trump himself has boasted about needing to spend very little on advertising because of the nearly constant coverage Fox News and other networks have given him. While Trump released a campaign ad earlier this month -- which has garnered millions more in free airtime through media coverage -- as of December, Trump and his allies had spent significantly less on TV ads compared to several other candidates and the groups supporting them.

    Methodology

    Media Matters used IQ Media to ascertain the viewership and monetary value of Donald Trump's appearances on Fox News Channel from May 1, 2015- December 31, 2015 between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The study includes all original appearances and repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.

    Due to a technical glitch in IQ Media's software, Donald Trump's appearance on Fox and Friends on December 22, 2015 was not included in the study data. His appearance as part of Fox News' New Year's Eve celebration was also not included. Previous Media Matters studies have used a different program to calculate television dollar value.

  • Cruz Endorser Steve Deace Deflects From "Full Vagina" Comment By Discussing Fake Planned Parenthood Videos

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Iowa-based radio host Steve Deace, a key endorser for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) presidential campaign, attempted to deflect criticism he received following a vulgar tweet he sent during the December 15 Republican presidential debate by bringing up the deceptively-edited Planned Parenthood videos.

    During the December 15 GOP debate, Deace tweeted in response to Carly Fiornia's opening statement, "Wow ... Fiorina goes full vagina right away." Deace, who has a history of making offensive and intolerant comments, later apologized, saying that his wife told him his tweet was "too vulgar."

    After receiving a media backlash, Deace attempted to deflect from his comments by bringing up the widely debunked and deceptively-edited Planned Parenthood videos produced by the anti-choice fringe group Center for Medical Progress (CMP):

    Deace also claimed it was "intellectually dishonest" to link his comments to Cruz.

    But Deace has a close relationship with the Texas senator, which began well in advance of Deace's official endorsement in August. Since his endorsement, Deace has helped the Cruz campaign by introducing the candidate at the opening of one of Cruz's campaign offices and was with him prior to the October 28 GOP presidential debate "discussing [the] debate."

  • Charleston Gazette-Mail Promotes Biased Anti-Labor Studies To Attack AFL-CIO Ads

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    An editorial published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail purporting to fact-check AFL-CIO radio ads targeting so-called "right-to-work" laws being pushed by West Virginia legislators identified no errors in the advertisements, but still attacked the labor union by promoting flawed and biased studies funded by anti-union donors.

    The December 14 editorial was authored by the editorial board of the Charleston Daily Mail (in July the Charleston Daily Mail and Charleston Gazette merged to form the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The paper retains two independent editorial boards).*

    The editorial discussed a West Virginia radio network's decision to pull three AFL-CIO ads from its airwaves, which reportedly cited them as "inflammatory." The editorial board claims the ads "mislead by quoting studies that don't necessarily address correlation and causation." The editorial continues by juxtaposing the claims in the AFL-CIO ad with "conservative" studies in an attempt to prove the AFL-CIO's claims are flawed:

    The 54 percent increase in injury and death statistic comes from a 2014 AFL-CIO report "Death on the job, the toll of neglect," using Bureau of Labor statistics.

    Yet a 2012 study by the conservative Meighen Institute suggests that union workplaces have more injuries than non-union workplaces. And a 2012 report from a Michigan group supporting right-to-work legislation cites a reduction in injuries and illnesses in Oklahoma over a 10-year period after right-to-work laws went into effect in 2001.

    "It's true that right-to-work states have a greater incidence of fatal workplace injuries, but the very dangerous occupations are concentrated ... in occupations like farming, fishing and forestry regardless of whether the state has a right-to-work law," the CAPCON report says.

    The AFL-CIO says that right-to-work states have lower average wage rates. That too is true, but as Daily Mail columnist Laurie Lin covered last week, those states also generally have much lower cost-of-living rates.

    "When adjusting for cost of living, workers in right-to-work states have 4.1 percent higher per-capita personal incomes than workers in non-right-to-work states," reports the Mackinac Institute.

    The editorial notes multiple times that the AFL-CIO's statements are true, even citing sources that back up the union's claims.

    For example, the editorial cites "CAPCON" or Michigan Capitol Confidential -- an online outlet created by the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy to push the organization's studies -- agreeing with the AFL-CIO's argument that states with so-called "right-to-work" laws have higher incidences of fatal workplace injuries. CAPCON and the editorial noted that "It's true that right-to-work states have a greater incidence of fatal workplace injuries," but caveat the fact by claiming these right-to-work states engage in more dangerous occupations without providing any evidence of the fact. The studies and reports cited by the editorial fail to adequately counter the claims made by the AFL-CIO, as neither of the sources cited by the paper address workplace fatalities in their data, except to agree with the AFL-CIO's argument that right-to-work states lag behind other states in terms of workplace safety.

    The editorial also claimed that the AFL-CIO's contention that "right-to-work states have lower average wage rates [...] is true," but defended the typically low wages of states with right-to-work laws by claiming that these states "generally have much lower cost-of-living rates."

    The AFL-CIO's claim of higher workplace fatalities in states with anti-union laws is backed up by several studies, including one published in the American Journal of Public Health, which found similarly that, "Higher rates of fatal occupational injury were associated with a state policy climate favoring business over labor."

    In addition, as a report in the Kennedy School Review notes, one study looking at unionization and coal mine safety from 1993 to 2010, found that "unionization predicted a substantial and significant decline in fatalities and traumatic injuries." The report also notes that while unionization also coincided with an increase in injury reporting, the phenomenon is most likely due "to more stringent injury reporting practices in union versus non-union mines." In essence, the Kennedy School Review found that injury reporting was held to higher standards after unionization, causing such reports to increase, while safety standards were also improved as a result of unionization, causing fatalities to decrease.

    The AFL-CIO's claim that right-to-work states have lower average wages is also backed up by evidence, which contradicts the Mail's claim that incomes in states with restrictive union laws are higher after adjusting for cost-of-living. As the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) pointed out in an April 22 report, when accounting for a larger set of variables, not just cost-of-living differences, and "subject[ing] the results to a series of robustness tests," the AFL-CIO claim holds true - "wages in RTW (right-to-work) states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states."

    The Mail's failed attempt to discredit the AFL-CIO relied on a number of biased anti-union sources. The Mackinac Center, part of the conservative State Policy Network group of think tanks, has received millions of dollars from anti-union donors such as the DeVos family, the Walton family, and Donors Capital Fund -- the "dark money ATM" of the conservative movement funded in part by the anti-union Koch brothers. Lastly, as SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, explains, Michigan Capitol Confidential (CAPCON) "produces articles and blog posts intended to appear like those of traditional news sources, but with a demonstrated conservative bias and pushing a right wing agenda."

    *This piece has been updated throughout to clarify the relationship between the Charleston Gazette-Mail and its multiple editorial boards.

  • The Other Face Of iHeartMedia, The Company Behind "A Concert For Progress On Race In America"

    iHeartMedia Subsidiary, Premiere Networks, Syndicates Some Of The Worst Race-Baiters In The Business Who Have Belittled Recent Civil Rights Movements

    ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI, DANIEL ANGSTER & MICHAELA HALNON

    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.