On April 29, Media Matters detailed how some mainstream media outlets were helping advance a misinformation campaign against Pope Francis that is being orchestrated by the fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute. That prompted a quick response by Heartland Institute President and CEO Joseph Bast, who vigorously sought to defend the honor of climate science deniers everywhere -- or as he calls them, "global warming realists."
The crux of Bast's argument is that the Heartland Institute and its allies "do not deny climate change." But he sure has a funny way of proving it -- by reiterating claims about the causes and impacts of climate change that directly contradict the nearly unanimous findings of scientists who study the climate for a living.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of what Heartland says about climate science juxtaposed with statements from some of the world's leading scientific bodies (emphasis added):
Peter Schweizer and conservative radio host Dana Loesch speculated that Schweizer could be murdered by "the Clinton machine" over his new book Clinton Cash.
During a May 4 appearance on The Dana Show, Loesch told Schweizer "there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered" and asked if he considered that possibility when "getting himself security." Schweizer replied: "Yeah, I mean look -- there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations."
Schweizer added that the security decision was made by his group, the Government Accountability Institute, and the "reality is we've touched on a major nerve within the Clinton camp. They are very, very upset, and they are pulling out all the stops to attack me in an effort to kill this book off."
Anti-Clinton pundits have for years pushed the deranged conspiracy theory that the Clintons had then-deputy White House counsel Vince Foster killed in 1993 and covered it up. Multiple investigations concluded that Foster actually died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Northern Virginia's Fort Marcy Park.
There are over 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions in Clinton Cash, which is being released on May 5. Schweizer is a Republican activist and consultant who has worked for Republican politicians like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal.
From the May 4 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
LOESCH: We're going to have more on the terror attack in Garland, Texas, last night. I'm glad that they had security, well-thought-out security for that event. And I was reading an article just the other day where author Peter Schweizer, whose new book Clinton Cash -- and this book is just, is really making a lot of people uncomfortable -- Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. I was reading the other day that Peter Schweizer who, the author who joins us by phone right now, was very smart and ended up getting himself security. And I know that Peter, first off, thanks so much for joining me. I know you don't want to talk too much about it, but there is that, there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered, and I'm sure that that was something that you took into consideration.
SCHWEIZER: Well, Dana, first of all thanks for having me on the show. I always love doing it. Yeah, I mean look -- there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations. You know, you don't like to go into too much detail, there were some things that were going on that we felt needed to be addressed. The decision on security wasn't actually made by me, it was made by board members of Government Accountability Institute, and you know, it's I think showing an abundance of caution. The reality is we've touched on a major nerve within the Clinton camp. They are very, very upset, and they are pulling out all the stops to attack me in an effort to kill this book off.
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver highlighted the standardized testing environment in many of today's schools, discussing the high stakes and stress often associated with testing in classrooms across the United States.
In contrast to recent calls for annual testing from some media outlets, Oliver spent nearly 18 minutes covering the current realities of standardized testing on the May 3 edition of HBO's Last Week Tonight, including high-stakes testing and value-added models that can negatively impact teachers and students. He also emphasized the connection to "publishing giant" Pearson, a company whom a Politico investigation found that "public officials often commit to buying from...even when there's little proof its products and services are effective."
Oliver also drew attention to the recent battle over testing in Florida, and to the stress some students face as a result of standardized testing. He specifically pointed to test instructions in Ohio, which include procedures for students who vomit on the test booklet.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee joined Fox News in 2008 after an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in that year's presidential election, launching the weekly Saturday night show Huckabee that ran for more than six years.
As Huckabee took several steps towards running -- including hiring staff, courting potential donors, and repeatedly hinting at a run -- he kept his Fox News show.
Huckabee openly acknowledged the balancing act required to stoke interest in his potential run while not crossing the line and losing his valuable Fox News perch. He told Fox News Radio host John Gibson last November that he needed to be "very, very careful with sort of the obligations that I have doing the show, doing the radio commentaries, to make sure that I stay on the right side of that threshold and not cross it and do something that would compromise, you know, the network, compromise me."
After The Washington Post laid out the many concrete ways Huckabee was seriously prepping for a presidential run last November, Fox News announced it was "evaluating his current status" as a contributor. He ended up sticking around at the network until January, making several appearances in the intervening weeks that confirmed his glaring conflict of interest.
Clinton Cash author and Republican activist Peter Schweizer acknowledged that, contrary to earlier reporting, there is no similar book in the works on the personal finances and policy decisions of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a claim journalists have previously cited to legitimize Schweizer's forthcoming book on the Clintons.
There are at least 20 documented errors, fabrications, and distortions in Schweizer's forthcoming book Clinton Cash, where the conservative author speculates about allegedly unethical ties between the Clinton Foundation and actions Hillary Clinton purportedly made as secretary of state. His allegations of impropriety by the Clintons and their family foundation have been picked apart by ABC News, BuzzFeed, MSNBC, NBC News, and ThinkProgress, among several other news agencies, and Schweizer has even been accused by one of his sources of taking comments "badly out of context" in hopes of slighting the Clinton family.
Bloomberg Politics reported on April 23 that in contrast to the "left-wing clamor that Schweizer is simply out to get Hillary Clinton," "Schweizer is working on a similar investigation of Jeb Bush's finances that he expects to publish this summer." Politico and CNN subsequently reported this would be a "book" on Bush.
But days later, Schweizer admitted that no similar book on Jeb Bush will be published. On the May 3 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz asked about accusations that the book is "pursuing an agenda" based on his conservative political affiliations and activism. Schweizer acknowledged that while he's been researching Bush's finances, there are no plans to publish a book similar to Clinton Cash:
KURTZ: To be fair, you have been digging into Jeb Bush's finances --
KURTZ: -- So the Clintons aren't the only ones you're going to be looking at. But that's not going to result in a book, as I understand.
A spokesperson for Schweizer's current publisher, HarperCollins, previously told Media Matters that it has no plans to publish a book on Bush's complex finances. Instead, it expects Schweizer to issue a follow-up report at his far-right think tank, the Government Accountability Institute.
See the full segment here:
After Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced she was charging six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the Daily Caller reported on how she's a "sexy," "smoldering civil servant."
Gray's death and treatment while in police custody has sparked national outrage and contributed to riots and peaceful demonstrations in Baltimore over the last week. Mosby, who is Baltimore's chief prosecutor, announced during a May 1 press conference she had filed the charges against the officers after a medical examiner's report ruled the death a homicide.
Daily Caller Sports Editor Christian Datoc reported on the press conference by calling Mosby a "smokeshow" with "'crazy girl' eyes":
Throughout the presser, the 35-year-old prosecutor managed to maintain a fiery, authoritative demeanor AND flashed some serious "crazy girl" eyes, a combination which -- if truth be told -- I found incredibly sexy.
I wouldn't mind being unrestrained in the back of Ms. Mosby's paddy wagon.
Datoc's post also featured tweets from individuals calling Mosby attractive, writing "it looks like we weren't the only ones smitten with this smoldering civil servant."
The Daily Caller has an extensive history of sexist commentary demeaning women. Recently, the Caller's founder and Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson dismissed controversy surrounding an email his brother sent, which called New York City Major Bill de Blasio's female spokesperson a "self-righteous bitch" with "dick-fright." Previously, Caller writer Patrick Howley came under fire for inappropriate comments about a female reporter. The conservative website also published a sexist cartoon attacking Meghan McCain which featured a photograph of McCain with speech bubbles emerging from her breasts. Tucker Carlson told Politico in 2014 that the site frequently publishes "slideshows of the female form" because they "care about traffic."
Who is more likely to be influenced by money: The vast majority of climate scientists who agree with the scientific consensus that human activities are driving global warming, or the small pool of climate change deniers funded by the fossil fuel industry? The answer probably seems obvious, but some deniers are doing their best to play the "conflict of interest" card against respected climate scientists.
Right-wing media are promoting the myth that scientists who agree with the consensus of human-caused climate change have been "corrupt[ed]" by "massive amounts of money." Most recently, National Review published an op-ed from the Cato Institute's science director, Patrick Michaels, who wrote that the U.S. government disburses "tens of billions of dollars" to climate scientists "who would not have received those funds had their research shown climate change to be beneficial or even modest in its effects."
Here's the bizarre thing: After arguing that money "corrupts" science that supports the consensus on man-made climate change, Michaels then tried to defend the industry funding behind the research that's used to deny climate change. Michaels wrote: "Are the very, very few climate scientists whose research is supported by [the fossil fuel] industry somehow less virtuous?"
It should come as no surprise that Michaels himself works for an organization funded by the fossil fuel industry. The Cato Institute was co-founded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers and has received millions from the Koch family, while also receiving funding from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is again raising conservative media talking points in court, advancing the debunked idea that the definition of marriage has remained unchanged for a "millennia."
On April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that will determine whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. During arguments, the conservative justices, including Scalia, expressed concern about "redefining" the institution of marriage to include gay couples. In one exchange with Mary Bonauto, the lawyer representing the same-sex plaintiffs, Scalia wondered if it was appropriate for the court to "decide it for this society" since marriage has applied only to heterosexual couples "for millennia."
The idea that the definition of marriage has had a fixed tradition or definition "for millennia" is untrue, although right-wing media have pushed that notion in varying forms for years -- and Scalia's propensity for embracing right-wing talking points is well-known. In 2012, he repeated the idea that if the Affordable Care Act was upheld, the federal government might be allowed to force Americans to buy broccoli -- an argument borrowed from Rush Limbaugh's talk show. Earlier this year, Scalia claimed that if the court struck down the availability of health care subsidies, Congress would move quickly to fix the problem -- apparently convinced by right-wing media's false claims that Senate Republicans had a viable back-up plan if the court hobbled the Affordable Care Act. When the Supreme Court struck down Arizona's notorious anti-immigrant racial profiling law in 2012, Scalia dispensed with legal arguments to instead attack the unrelated deferred action program for DREAMers and scaremonger that the "state's citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants." Professor Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University said Scalia's commentary in that case "sound[ed] more like a conservative blogger or Fox News pundit than a justice."
Kwame Rose, the Baltimore resident who confronted Fox News' Geraldo Rivera over media's biased coverage of the city, responded to Rivera's personal on-air attacks in an interview with Media Matters. Rose reacted to video of his interaction with Rivera going viral, discussed the media landscape in Baltimore, and highlighted racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
National media has swarmed to cover the Baltimore protesters who have taken to the streets to voice concerns about the criminal justice system following the shocking death of Freddie Gray, a young Baltimore resident whose spine was fatally severed while in police custody. Fox's Rivera was among those pundits reporting on the protests when Rose confronted the Fox personality and expressed frustration that the network failed to spotlight Gray's death in favor of hyping the unrest that ensued, an exchange that quickly found a large audience online.
Rivera later used his platform on Fox News to bash Rose as a "vandal," "annoying," and an "obstructionist" on-air. He accused Rose of displaying "exactly that kind of youthful anarchy that led to the destruction and pain in that community."
Rose has responded to Geraldo and to the video's popularity, in an email exchange with Media Matters.
"I want people to know that this issue is bigger than some clip of me, it's about Black Lives," said Rose, after emphasizing that being featured in a viral video was never his intention. His frustration lies with establishment media and its depictions of Baltimore in the wake of the unrest.
"I have been out protesting for almost two weeks now without being on one camera," Rose explained. "After Monday night when the media started pouring in, I sat at work and watched how the media basically forced people to believe that Baltimore was some Third World city. I just wanted to set the record straight and let it be known that this generation refuses to be misinterpreted."
Rose noted how the media paid attention to the violence in Baltimore, but failed to cover the community's efforts to unite and clean up the city.
"I sat and watched the media set up their camps in front of boarded up homes ... while we were cleaning up the streets as one community. The cameras weren't rolling, nobody cared. Outside agitators such as Fox News came onto the scene trying to exploit the situation. I don't care about the people watching Fox News, but I will not let you report lies about the people of this city."
Emily Miller, chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG (Fox 5) reported on the alleged rape of a Maryland woman, repeatedly emphasizing claims that the woman was a "virgin."
According to Miller, police said a man sexually assaulted a Catholic nun during a home invasion in Prince George's County, MD on April 29. Miller's April 30 write-up of the assault on Fox 5's website noted that "Sources tell FOX 5 the victim, an older woman, was a virgin." In her televised report, Miller said "according to our sources, a Catholic nun, who was a virgin, was raped in her home last night." Miller repeated that the woman was a virgin later in the segment, saying "according to police sources, the victim was a Catholic nun who was a virgin."
MILLER: Tony, this is one of those stories you just hate to believe is true. According to our sources, a Catholic nun who was a virgin was raped in her home last night. The suspect got away, but he was caught early this morning in Northeast, Washington. D.C. police cornered the alleged rapist this morning in this apartment in Northeast. He was hiding in a kitchen cabinet. Juan Randolph, seen in these photos, was arrested and is going to be extradited to Prince George's County to face charges including rape and home invasion.
CPL. NICOLE HUBBARD: At about 10:00 last night, officers responded to the five thousand block of Sixteenth Avenue in Chillum for the report of a sexual assault. They got there and found out that the victim -- or that the suspect, Randolph, had broken into the victim's home, assaulted her and fled the scene.
MILLER: According police sources, the victim was a Catholic nun who was a virgin. She is an older woman. The spokeswoman would not comment on the sexual assault victim. She would only say this --
HUBBARD: This is just a very disturbing crime. When something like this occurs, it just really affects our entire community -- affects our police department.