A quote sourced to disgraced writer Ed Klein's book Unlikeable has appeared on a campaign flyer for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Klein's work has been widely criticized for including distorted quotes and implausible situations and conveying an overall lack of credibility.
In Unlikeable, Klein quotes an anonymous source -- a staple of his purported "reporting" -- who claims that while speaking about Rubio, former President Bill Clinton said, "We've got to destroy him before he gets off the ground."
According to a photo circulated by CNN executive producer Katie Hinman, the quote appears on a flyer from Rubio's presidential campaign circulating in New Hampshire ahead of its presidential primary. The quote is being used to validate the campaign's contention that a matchup in the general election between Rubio and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be advantageous to Republicans.
Rubio's campaign has gotten considerable mileage out of Klein's material. In an October 2015 fundraising email, Rubio's communications director referred to the quote as a "bombshell report in a new book about the Democrats' secret plan to take out Marco." The campaign even created a Photoshopped image of President Clinton watching Rubio on television alongside the quote.
The fundraising page with the image also included video of Klein on Fox & Friends pushing the book. The website included text telling supporters to "donate $7 today and show Bill Clinton that he can't destroy Marco Rubio."
Ed Klein's work has been thoroughly discredited. Over the years he has produced a series of books and reports (published primarily in right-wing outlets) about major politicians like President Obama and Secretary Clinton that have been debunked and criticized by reporters, including many conservatives. Klein's writing has been described as "smut," "junk journalism," "fan fiction," and "devoid" of "basic journalistic standards."
The allegations made in his books are often outrageous and outlandish, including his claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary Clinton. A prior Klein book was reportedly dropped by publisher HarperCollins because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." It was later put out by the conservative publisher Regnery, which also published Unlikeable.
When not using unverifiable claims from allegedly anonymous sources, Klein has also used completely distorted quotes in his work, or utilized quotes that sound, as one reporter described them, like "dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."
Despite his journalistic failures and deception, Klein continues to be a fixture in some quarters of the conservative media, particularly the Fox News and New York Post outposts in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. As a result, he has unfortunately become a part of the presidential election.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney pushed the discredited claim that a recent set of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails that are being withheld from public release contain "the names of our intelligence people on the ground overseas involved in active intelligence work" in order to suggest that Clinton should be indicted by the FBI for mishandling classified information.
On January 29, the State Department announced that seven email chains from Clinton's private email server were withheld from public release because they had been retroactively determined to include Top Secret information.
Following the announcement, conservative media touted anonymously sourced claims that the email chains include "Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover."
NBC News debunked this claim in a February 4 article, explaining that several of the emails in question forwarded to Clinton reportedly contained "references to undercover CIA officers ... [b]ut contrary to some published reports, three officials said there was no email on Clinton's server that directly revealed the identity of an undercover intelligence operative." NBC News also reported one "now-classified email chain originated with a member of the CIA director's staff, leading some officials to question how Clinton could be blamed." A former senior CIA official told NBC News that "any suggestion that this email contained confirmation about the person or his cover, or any inappropriate information, is flat wrong."
During the February 4 broadcast of Varney & Co., host Varney repeated the debunked claim that the withheld emails had "the names of our intelligence people on the ground overseas involved in active intelligence work":
STUART VARNEY (HOST): From what you've been told openly in Congress by [Rep.] Chris Stewart [R-UT] and others, is there any way that the FBI will not recommend indictment?
REP. JORDAN (R-OH): Stuart, good to be with you. Look, that's the FBI's call, that's the Justice Department's call. Obviously, what Congressman Stewart had to say, I think, is pretty revealing, but they get to make the final decision. What we do know is from the start when Hillary Clinton, I happened to serve on the Benghazi Select Committee, we know that Secretary Clinton took her emails and decided which ones were public and which ones were private. She got to make that determination, we have no idea what search terms, what date parameters, who oversaw all that process, who made the decision, then the FBI goes in and gets the server and now we find out the FBI and State Department people are saying a number of these contain classified information. But in the end the FBI will decide.
VARNEY: I know the FBI will decide, but I just don't know see how they cannot indict, information of that kind naming the names of our intelligence people on the ground overseas involved in active intelligence work on her private server in her barn in Chappaqua available to all who can hack into it. I mean are you with me on this, can you see anyway the FBI cannot indict her, will not indict her?
The press wrote this script a very long time ago: Senator Marco Rubio could become the favored establishment candidate in the Republican Party primary as party elites search for answers to the insurgent campaigns of outsiders Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.
That note has been hit especially hard in the press since the Trump circus arrived on the campaign trail last summer: The GOP is hoping for a tempered, pragmatic savior who can appeal to mainstream voters and help Republicans avoid disaster come November. ("Allowing Trump to have its nomination would saddle Republicans with the worst nominee any party has had in decades," wrote Jonathan Chait at New York.)
Rubio's third-place finish in the Iowa caucus has only cemented that claim, with the press essentially anointing him the Iowa winner. He "may have won the establishment credibility he needs to stay near the top of the Republican presidential race for the long-term," according to CNN. Reuters agreed, crowning "Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the Republican establishment" as one of the big Iowa winners on the GOP side.
But what happens when the facts change but the script does not? What happens when a so-called Establishment candidate like Rubio starts espousing ugly, divisive rhetoric that's synonymous with the darker regions of Fox News and the Republican Party? What happens when he adopts radical policy positions that just years ago would have been seen as borderline even for AM talk radio? (i.e. Outlawing abortions even for victims of rape and incest.)
In other words, what happens when Rubio takes a very hard right turn and obliterates meaningful differences between himself and Trump? Between himself and Cruz? Don't calming, feel-good code words like Establishment then become irrelevant and misleading?
I don't think there's any doubt that, overall, Rubio has benefited from very generous press coverage. Whether it's the sweeping conclusion that he's a "charismatic" communicator, the media happily running with his campaign's spin that it essentially won in Iowa by finishing third, or the press' steadfast refusal to delve deeply into the senator's questionable finances, watching Rubio at the Republican debate last year attack the press as a liberal super PAC for Democrats was amusing. The truth is, pundits seem to revere him.
One way that affection is displayed is to ignore the substance of Rubio's campaign; to whitewash the extremism now at the base of his pitch. To acknowledge that Rubio occupies the far reaches of the political spectrum, and that he's actually sprinted there in recent months, taints the portrait the press likes to paint of him: establishment savior.
To me, establishment sounds like a placeholder for "moderate." And in the case of Rubio, that's a complete myth.
By placing the Florida senator in that wider establishment lane, pundits and reporters seem to suggest that he's somehow part of a pragmatic Republican wing (does that even exist?) that practices common sense conservatism; that he's separate and above those outlier disrupters like Trump and Cruz who embrace more political chaos.
This week, a New York Times dispatch placed Rubio outside of the Republican "hard right" that seems to be flocking to Trump. Reuters explained what distinguished Rubio from the so-called outside, even though Rubio seemed to agree with Trump and Cruz on so many issues, including their disdain for President Obama: "[Rubio] embedded his criticism within a more optimistic, inclusive message."
But just because an extremist coats his divisiveness in "optimistic" language, doesn't mean the campaign press should play along and portray him as something he's clearly not. And yet ...
Forecasting Rubio's White House chances, FiveThirtyEight recently claimed that Democratic strategists are "terrified to face Rubio in the fall." Why? Because of his establishment ability to broaden the GOP's "appeal with moderates, millennials and Latinos."
"Rubio is aiming to be the GOP candidate with the establishment credibility and broad appeal needed to win in a general election, a unifier who can bring together young, moderate voters, along with conservatives and evangelicals," the Christian Science Monitor reported.
A unifier? Rubio walked away from his one stab at establishment legislating with the immigration reform bill that he, as part of the Gang of Eight, helped shepherd through Congress. But quickly finding himself out step with a rabid Republican base that's adopted anti-immigration as its defining litmus test, Rubio sprinted so far to the right on this issue that not only does he oppose his own reform proposal, he's connecting the issue to the rise of ISIS.
No unity there.
As for Rubio's potential appeal to young voters and moderates, a central part of the media's establishment narrative, the senator's increasingly right-wing agenda certainly raises doubts.
Rubio opposes expanding background checks for gun owners, even though 90 percent of Americans support the measure, as do an overwhelming majority of gun owners and even NRA members. He opposes marriage equality and "believes some kinds of businesses, like wedding photography, should be allowed to turn away gay customers." He doesn't want to increase the minimum wage (even though he thinks it's currently too low). He doesn't believe in climate change.
From PolitiFact [emphasis added]:
Rubio will support anti-abortion legislation that includes an exception for rape and incest, but he prefers that the procedure be illegal even in cases of rape and incest.
It's important to note that in terms of the "Establishment" branding, a string of recent Republican Establishment nominees for president, including Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and George W. Bush, all agreed that allowing abortions to be legal in the case of rape and incest was the best approach. Rubio, though, has broken from that model and staked out a far more radical stance.
And when Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering America, Rubio seemed to out-flank him in the fevered swamps, at least initially. "It's not about closing down mosques," he soon told Fox News' Megyn Kelly. "It's about closing down anyplace -- whether it's a cafe, a diner, an internet site -- anyplace where radicals are being inspired." (Rubio later said Trump hadn't thought through his Muslim ban.)
Overall? "He's been Trumped," noted Peter Beinart at The Atlantic.
There may still be an establishment candidate lurking in the Republican field who can try to save the party from its own extremism, but based on the media's apparent definition of Establishment, Rubio isn't that person.
Media Matters and a coalition of activists, leaders, and advocates are calling on the media to stop enabling the attacks of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) against Planned Parenthood and legal access to abortion and reproductive health care. The below letter details lapses in the coverage of CMP's David Daleiden and his accomplice Sandra Merritt, who were both recently indicted.
The signatories are: ColorOfChange, Courage Campaign, Feminist Majority Foundation, Feminist Weekly, League of United Latin American Citizens, Media Matters for America, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Institute for Reproductive Health, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Network of Abortion Funds, National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Reproaction, The Sea Change Program, UltraViolet, Women, Action, & the Media, and Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press.
Fox News scandalized ordinary Iowa Democratic caucus procedures to baselessly suggest former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won a Des Moines, IA, precinct through "voter fraud."
During the February 3 broadcast of Fox & Friends, host Heather Nauert claimed that "voter fraud" benefiting Clinton may have occurred because "Votes at a Des Moines high school were counted by hand. The first count had Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders just separated by five votes. After a second count, Clinton gained more votes but counted different people."
Fox & Friends then aired video from Des Moines Democratic Precinct No. 43 of three apparent supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) questioning Clinton's vote total after a second count of voters.
In scandalizing the multiple voter counts, Nauert misunderstands the mechanism by which voters are counted at Democratic precincts.
Fox News also deceptively chose which portion of video from the precinct site to air, focusing only on the complaints of three voters. Fox News did not air the caucus chair explaining that it was extremely unlikely that a further recount of voters would change the delegate apportionment from Precinct No. 43. Fox News also failed to air the caucusgoers' vote on whether an additional recount was needed. According to full video available online, the vast majority of Sanders supporters joined Clinton supporters in declining to recount.
Here are several ways in which Fox's segment distorted and misunderstood the Iowa Democratic caucus process:
Multiple Voter Counts Are A Normal Part Of The Process. When caucusgoers arrive at their precinct they divide themselves into what are called "preference groups" for various candidates. After everyone has formed preference groups, a count is made. Any "preference group" that does not include at least 15 percent of total on-site voters is not considered viable. These voters then have the option of joining a "preference group" that is viable. Unless every single caucusgoer initially joins a viable "preference group," there is always going to be a reshuffling of voters and second count.
As The Caucus Chair Explained, It Was Highly Unlikely That A Recount Would Have Changed Delegate Appointment From The Precinct. Video of the Precinct No. 43 dispute indicates that three Sanders supporters were concerned that several Clinton supporters were included in her total count despite possibly having left the Clinton "preference group" after the first vote. The caucus chair explained that in his belief, this discrepancy had been accounted for, with three people having been identified as leaving, but he said that he would put forward a motion to recount anyway. Before the motion, the chair explained, "By the way, just so you know, the difference here will not change the delegate math. There are only nine delegates, I do not believe it will change the delegate math, but that being said I could be wrong." Even in the unlikely event that a recount did change delegate apportionment, it would have been a swing of one of approximately 11,000 county-level delegates awarded during the caucuses. (And as The Des Moines Register explained, the county-level delegates awarded at individual precincts have far less significance compared to the statewide delegate equivalents that "determine the outcome on caucus night.")
The Vast Majority Of Voters, Regardless Of Who They Supported, Did Not Want A Recount. In video that Fox News failed to air, nearly all the people in the room can be seen raising their hands against having an additional count of voters. Sanders supporters are on the right side of the image:
The type of conduct that Fox News falsely claimed occurred at Precinct No. 43 wouldn't even fall within what experts consider to be voter fraud. As the Brennan Center for Justice explained, voter fraud is "fraud by voters" and "occurs when individuals cast ballots despite knowing that they are ineligible to vote, in an attempt to defraud the election system," which bears no resemblance to what Fox News purported to demonstrate in its video. Fox News frequently makes baseless claims about widespread voter fraud -- often in support of restrictive voter ID laws -- even though actual in-person voter fraud is extremely rare.
In his new book set to be released this February, Fox News contributor and prominent conservative media figure Erick Erickson will explain how the "leftist-homosexual mafia" is waging a "war on Christians."
On February 22, Erickson will release his new book You Will Be Made To Care: The War on Faith, Family And Your Freedom To Believe, co-authored with Christian blogger Bill Blankschaen. The book explores how "religious liberty is under attack in America." According to its website, the book will teach readers (emphasis added):
- How lawyers are raking in millions through politically correct lawsuits against religious groups that don't affirm homosexuality as "normal"
- How there is nowhere to hide: no matter how small your bed and breakfast, or your wedding chapel, or your flower shop--the leftist-homosexual mafia will shut you down if you don't share their beliefs
- How Christian clergy will be forced to perform gay weddings or see their churches forced into bankruptcy
The book will likely be a rundown of the right's greatest horror stories in the bogus "war" on Christians led by the "leftist-homosexual mafia." These stories tend to be misrepresented cases of business owners who violate non-discrimination laws by refusing to serve LGBT people, or long debunked myths about marriage equality's impact on "religious liberty."
These examples of "Christian persecution" are essential to the right-wing campaign for "religious freedom" laws that seek to create broad legal protections for businesses that discriminate against LGBT people. They also give conservatives cause to oppose basic non-discrimination protections for LGBT people under the guise of protecting "religious liberty."
In the past, Erickson has referred to the LGBT community as terrorists, suggested that businesses serving gay couples are "aiding and abetting sin," and predicted that the arrest of Kim Davis could lead to "another civil war."
On January 25, a grand jury assembled by the Harris County District Attorney's office in Texas elected to clear a local Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing alleged by deceptively edited videos from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and instead indicted its founder, David Daleiden -- Media Matters' 2015 Misinformer Of The Year. This indictment elicited objections from right-wing media outlets, claiming that the investigation was "biased" and violated Daleiden's First Amendment rights. They dubiously argued that despite his dishonesty, Daleiden should be considered a journalist because he relied on "the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades" and that his indictment would constitute a chilling effect on other journalists.
But these First Amendment arguments are a red herring - as Slate's legal expert Dahlia Lithwick explains, it is crucial that media remember Daleiden is not and never was an investigative journalist.
In a February 2 article for Slate, Lithwick argued that the distinction between Daleiden and real journalists is that "journalists seek truth" while Daleiden "allegedly falsified evidence" to bolster "a truth he cannot quite prove but wants us to believe anyhow." Given that CMP's website was "only recently revised" to include any mention of being "citizen journalists," Lithwick noted Daleiden's claim to a journalist's First Amendment protections is even more unconvincing and a "nihilistic and cynical view of the profession." Drawing on a wide variety of expert testimony and case law, she concluded Daleiden's smear campaign "can be called many things, but 'journalism' probably isn't one of them":
[I]s it so simple to say that what CMP was doing was truly journalism? Amanda Marcotte has argued at Salon that Daleiden "has no right to call himself a journalist," in part because when the hours of footage he shot failed to turn up any examples of criminal conduct on the part of Planned Parenthood, Daleiden didn't back off the story but doubled down on it. Indeed he allegedly falsified evidence, so the videos would show through trickery--including flawed transcripts and stock images--that which he could not prove. In an interview in On the Media this week, Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, similarly explained that American courts have almost always found that general criminal laws apply to the press, unless a story is so terrifically important it couldn't have been unearthed any other way. That might justify allowing journalists to be immune from prosecution, but only a small handful of such cases exist, and as Kirtley points out, it will be difficult for Daleiden to claim that his actions were critical to exposing vast criminal wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood, given that the grand jury's own investigation, and 11 independent state investigations, have unearthed no wrongdoing. The difference between journalism and what CMP did is that journalists seek truth, while Daleiden seeks to show that somewhere in between the edited seams and faked voiceovers of his films there lies a truth he cannot quite prove but wants us to believe anyhow. That can be called many things, but "journalism" probably isn't one of them.
[It]'s entirely possible that even while Daleiden attempts to argue that what he did--or at least what he now says he was doing--is genuine journalism, there are real risks to the rest of us in allowing him to make such broad claims. We aren't merely risking our privacy and our livelihoods by allowing anyone with a camera and an inextinguishable fantasy to call himself a reporter. We are courting the possibility that his nihilistic and cynical view of the profession could someday become the norm.
The Washington Post highlighted research demonstrating "only a weak relationship" between increased economic growth and increased economic security in the United States. The findings undermine a core tenet of conservative economic philosophy, often parroted by Republican presidential hopefuls and conservative media outlets, which claims that so-called "pro-growth" strategies like tax cuts are the best policy for alleviating insecurities faced by millions of Americans.
In a February 2 post for The Washington Post's Wonkblog, reporter Emily Badger outlined how recent research from the Brookings Institution reveals a "weak relationship" between economic growth rates and improved economic inclusion in the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas. According to the Brookings report, from 2009 through 2014 the "growth/inclusion relationship was relatively weak" and consistent economic growth "hasn't revealed much about whether we are resolving larger challenges around providing improved economic opportunities for all."
The Post concluded by highlighting how the Brookings data seemingly debunks economic policy talking points promoted by Republicans including Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, which fixate on economic growth as one of the major solutions to poverty. From The Washington Post (emphasis added):
Look across all 100 of these metros, and there's only a weak relationship between economic growth and inclusion. Areas with rapid growth haven't necessarily swept up the poor and working class. In many places where relative poverty has declined (like Jackson, Miss.), the economy isn't growing much:
This non-pattern is notable precisely because the rising-tide theory remains so alluring, particularly among Republicans. Grow the economy, they argue, and that will improve job prospects and living standards for everyone -- the poor, the working class, minorities and other groups that have been left behind. Economic growth, they add, will achieve far more than any targeted program or government spending.
"The best anti-poverty program is economic growth," Paul Ryan declared in the Wall Street Journal two years ago, as he was beginning to roll out his own poverty agenda.
"Economic growth is the key to everything," offered Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Here's Jeb Bush's take, in arguing that 4 percent growth will create jobs enough for everyone: "So many challenges could be overcome if we just get this economy growing at full strength."
Rand Paul insists that this logic will specifically lift up African Americans, who should reconsider "the Republican promise" for policies that boost economic growth.
The data that we have, though, shows that inclusion doesn't work on autopilot. Sometimes -- often -- economic growth happens without broad benefits. And that means we have to actually be intentional in bringing everyone along, in connecting poor communities to transportation, or unemployed men to job training, or minority children to better education.
The Brookings research seems to support a hypothesis endorsed by economists Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute, who argue that economic growth alone is not enough to reduce economic insecurity in the face of persistent inequality.
Despite this evidence, conservative media have claimed for years that growing the economy is the best and only solution to alleviating economic insecurity and that crafting policies to reduce inequality as a means of reducing poverty would be counterproductive. Making matters worse, the tax cuts frequently endorsed by conservative media as a means of spurring economic growth have failed to generate the promised economic returns, though research suggests cutting taxes can worsen economic inequality.
According to Media Matters' analysis of evening and prime-time economic news coverage in 2015, segments about policies focused on creating jobs and growing the economy were frequently featured on major cable and broadcast programs, outnumbering discussions of economic inequality.**
During the course of a 12-month survey, Media Matters recorded 382 segments on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC focused on economic growth -- most of which came from Fox News. The same 12-month period produced 301 segments focused on economic inequality -- two-thirds of which came from MSNBC alone.
Even as Donald Trump waged another public battle with Fox News in January, he continued to maintain a huge lead over other Republican presidential candidates in interview airtime on the network.
The January feud between Trump and Fox News culminated in the real estate mogul refusing to participate in the network's Republican primary debate days before the Iowa caucuses. Despite the tension, Trump was interviewed on Fox News for almost 4 hours during the month, nearly 90 minutes more than Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished in second place with 2 hours and 31 minutes of airtime. Sen. Ted Cruz finished third with 2 hours and 30 minutes. Trump, who holds a massive lead in overall interview airtime since May 2015 (28 hours and 40 minutes, 16 hours more than any other candidate), was unable to translate the publicity advantage into a win in Iowa, finishing behind Cruz and slightly ahead of Rubio in the state's caucuses.
All three saw a bump in their January Fox Primary numbers from December. Second and third place finishers Trump and Rubio, respectively, were on Fox approximately another 30 minutes each, while Iowa winner Cruz was on Fox about 48 minutes more in January than in December.
Behind them in January airtime were Governor Chris Christie with 1 hour and 52 minutes and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 1 hour and 43 minutes. Former Senator Rick Santorum continued to barely register on Fox News -- where he formerly worked as a contributor -- clocking only 22 minutes.
Overall, Trump continues to lap the field in airtime since the beginning of our study:
Overall, Fox spent 19 hours and 28 minutes on the Republican candidates over 171 interviews in January, an increase over previous months where the network spent between 16 and 17 hours a month. Hannity once again featured the most interview airtime with candidates:
Since May 1, 2015, Fox has broadcast 1,171 interviews with the candidates that make up 144 hours and 51 minutes of airtime. Hannity has basically served as candidate central, with more than 31 hours of interview airtime for candidates:
Most Total Airtime In January: Donald Trump (3 hours and 59 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In January: Donald Trump (20 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In January: Hannity (4 hours and 15 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In January: Hannity (29 appearances)
Softball Question Of The Month: During the January 26 episode of Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked Rubio an important question about camera phone operation:
HANNITY: Have you figured out the selfie -- how to and switch it around and make it work?
RUBIO: Yes, we've made that work. Most people want to take their picture, but every now and then, they'll do it themselves, too, so that's good.
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (28 hours and 40 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (153 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (31 hours and 40 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (203 appearances)
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. Rick Perry's data extends until September 11, Scott Walker's data extends until September 22, Bobby Jindal's data extends to November 17, Lindsey Graham's data extends to December 21, and George Pataki's data extends to December 29, which is when each candidate respectively ended their campaigns. Appearances from these former candidates after those dates were not included in this study. Mike Huckabee ended his campaign on February 1 after the Iowa caucuses and will not appear in future reports. Rand Paul ended his campaign on February 3 after the Iowa caucuses and will not appear in future reports.
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 12 current presidential candidates: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.
This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016. Repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
A new report from researchers at Stanford University found that the United States is "dead last" among other developed countries on poverty and inequality measures, which highlights the need for media outlets to focus more on these issues.
On February 1, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality published a special edition of Pathways magazine featuring the university's "State of the Union Report" for poverty and inequality in 2016. The report found that among 10 similarly developed nations -- including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom -- the United States had the highest levels of income inequality and wealth inequality, and the worst-rated social safety net. The U.S. placed near the bottom (eighth) in terms of both economic mobility and labor market strength, and finished only fifth in terms of poverty. According to the report's authors, a weak safety net, stagnant economic mobility, and rampant economic inequality are the primary reasons for the United States' poor performance, but a "moderate increase" in public spending on safety net programs would push poverty in the U.S. down to the levels of its peers (emphasis original):
The research shows that, among the well-off countries for which comprehensive evidence is available, the U.S. has the lowest overall ranking, a result that arises in part because the U.S. brings up the rear in safety net performance, income inequality and wealth inequality. When the comparison set is expanded to include other less well-off countries, America still ranks 18th (out of 21 countries), with only Spain, Estonia and Greece scoring worse.
The report also notes some bright spots. It shows, for example, that a relatively moderate increase in U.S. safety net spending would push the poverty rate down to levels observed in other well-off countries. The rate of disposable-income poverty, which is the rate that people actually experience after transfers play out, is especially high not because market incomes are all that low but because the safety net is relatively small.
These findings create greater urgency for American media to adequately report on issues related to poverty and economic inequality. According to a recent Media Matters analysis of cable and broadcast economic news coverage in the second half of 2015, media's focus on economic inequality slipped to its lowest point since late 2013. In the second half of 2015, just 23 percent of qualifying economic coverage contained significant discussions of economic inequality:
The findings also highlight a need for media to counter prevailing myths that public assistance programs are expensive and ineffective. According to the study, the United States could measurably improve its poverty rate compared to the rest of the developed world with "a relatively modest increase" in safety net spending at a time when Republican lawmakers, including Speaker Paul Ryan, have proposed doing the opposite. Calls from conservative lawmakers to gut the social safety net are propped up by right-wing media outlets notorious for shaming those that need assistance, and progressive calls to preserve and expand vital programs are openly attacked by the same right-wing outlets.