Issues ››› Elections
  • GOP campaign arm: Fox & Friends chyron asks if Jeb Bush will be the "Third 'Bush' in Office?"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
  • Politico kid-gloves the tea party's NJ recall fantasy

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    Josh Marshall rightly observes this morning that Politico's feature story on the New Jersey tea party's legal efforts to recall Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gives pretty short shrift to a key flaw in the cunning plan -- "the fact that recalling a federal senator is clearly unconstitutional." Indeed, the article is a masterpiece of non-committal, "not everyone agrees"-type hedgery, and the closest they come to acknowledging this substantial hurdle is observing that "it's not entirely clear whether their approach will meet constitutional muster."

    The Politico also missed a fine opportunity to explore the tea party's schizophrenic attitude toward the Constitution. They will talk your ear off about how the country has supposedly deviated from the principles enumerated in the founding document and how the only way to save ourselves from socialism or fascism or Democrats or whatever is to strictly adhere to its precepts. But it's also clear, at least in the case of the New Jersey recall efforts, that they're willing to ignore the parts of it they find inconvenient to their short-term political goals.

  • NY Times falsely reports that Obama took BP PAC money for 2008 campaign

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    The New York Times reported that "in the 2008 election cycle," Barack Obama "took in $77,000" from BP "executives and its political action committee." In fact, Obama received $71,051 in BP-linked donations in 2008, and all of that money came from BP employees, not from BP's PAC, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Fox & Friends' softball treatment of Angle is just business as usual

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Following Fox & Friends' whitewashing of Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle's views on Social Security, falsely suggesting it's "not true" that Angle wants to "get rid of" the program (in fact, it's very much true), Nevada journalist Jon Ralston and the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas both assailed the show's softball treatment of Angle.

    But that treatment was not unusual at all: Fox & Friends regularly provides a friendly, non-challenging forum to Republican candidates. Here are some recent examples:

    • Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade performed a similar whitewashing job on Florida congressional candidate Allan West, stating that West's "personal enhanced interrogation tactic" got him "essentially a forced retirement" from the Army. Kilmeade didn't mention that West's resignation came after he admitted that he "threatened to kill" an Iraqi detainee in his custody, after which West, according to military prosecutors, fired a pistol near the detainee's head, and four soldiers in West's battalion beat the detainee. West was also curiously not identified as a Republican.
    • Steve Doocy, Fox & Friends' chief softball-tosser to Angle, asked Kris Kobach, a candidate for Kansas secretary of state, to respond to "misconceptions" about Arizona's immigration law. At least two of the "misconceptions" Doocy asked Kobach about exactly tracked "major criticisms" of the law Kobach sought to "rebut" in a New York Times op-ed a few days earlier.
    • Kilmeade plugged New York congressional candidate Gary Berntsen by claiming: "He knows how to get things done."
    • Kilmeade introduced Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio as "soon to be senator, according to some."
    • When New York Senate candidate Joe DioGuardi appeared on the show, Kilmeade sympathized with him about how "it's going to be hard" to run as "a Republican in New York," and he and co-host Gretchen Carlson asked questions about the career of DioGuardi's arguably more famous daughter, American Idol contestant Kara DioGuardi.

    Nobody should be surprised that Fox & Friends treats Republican candidates with exceptional deference -- after all, Fox News is the communications arm of the Republican Party.

  • Why are we not surprised?

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    The front page of Fox Nation today carries this promo:

    fox nation

    Oh, it's amazing, all right … just maybe not in the way they think it is. The link leads to an ad for Rick Barber, a candidate for a House seat from Alabama who did well enough in the primary election to force a runoff. In it, he apparently has traveled back in time to speak to Founding Fathers George Washington, Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams. It begins mid-conversation with Barber saying, "And I would impeach him" -- an apparent reference to President Obama -- and, after Barber presents his case against the IRS and "what they call a progressive income tax," climaxes with one of the Founders ominously declaring, "Gather your armies."

    The fact that Washington implemented the first federal tax and authorized militias to enforce it notwithstanding, this is catnip to the residents of Fox Nation. (Barber, meanwhile, is spinning the ad's implied endorsement of violent revolution, insisting that "It's definitely not an inciteful call to arms.")

    You know who else loves Barber's ad? Pam Geller. She calls Barber a "Great American" and endorsed him in the primary. Geller goes on to say, "I love this guy. He gets better and better."

  • Nevada journalist notes Fox & Friends' whitewashing of Angle's Social Security position

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Earlier today, we noted how Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy falsely suggested that it is "misinformation" and "not true" that Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle wants to "get rid of Social Security" -- in fact, that's exactly what Angle wants to do, according to her own website and Fox's own prior reporting.

    We're not the only ones who noticed the whitewashing Angle received on Fox. Politico's Ben Smith highlights comments by Nevada journalist Jon Ralston:

    U.S. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle said that during an astonishing interview on "Fox and Friends" this morning in which the hosts claimed she is a political newcomer (not so) and was endorsed by Sarah Palin (not so).

    The interview climaxed with Steve Doocy saying to her, "Perhaps it's a misinformation or mischaracterization but some have said you are out to get rid of Social Security. That's not true, right?"

    Angle: "Well, that's nonsense. I have always said we need to make the lockbox a lockbox, put the money in there for our senior citizens. They came here in good faith paying into a system and Harry Reid has put an IOU in for 24 years. He has been raiding Social Security. What we need to do is personalize Social Security so the government can no longer raid it."


    That's quite the different spin from Angle after her past comments about privatization --and her onetime view that Social Security is "hard to justify." (Of course, Reid is going to have to justify his policies on Social Security, but Angle clearly has been told to massage (no, not the Scientology massages) her position for popular consumption.)

    Follow-up? Don't be silly....

  • In NY Times op-ed, Bush ethics lawyer rejects claim that job discussions were illegal

    Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    We've noted that conservative media have accused the Obama administration of breaking the law by discussing possible positions for Democratic Senate candidates Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff. In a New York Times op-ed today, Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter rejects that claim:

    Despite what some Republicans might claim, such politicking is not illegal; in fact, this sort of thing has been business as usual in presidential administrations for a very long time. Nonetheless, these recent incidents should prompt us to rethink whether overtly partisan work has a legitimate place in the White House and, if so, who should be doing it.

    Painter goes on to say that to minimize "such politicking" in the White House, "Congress should amend the Hatch Act, or the president should issue an executive order, to prohibit all White House staff members from participating in partisan political activity in any capacity during the relatively short time they serve in government."

  • NewsMax e-mails fundraising appeal from NV-Sen. candidate Sharron Angle (R)

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    NewsMax.com today e-mailed to their readers "a special message from our sponsor;" a fundraising appeal from Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who asked NewsMax readers to donate so that she might have "the ammunition I need to run an aggressive campaign and tell the people of this state who Harry Reid really is: a tax-and-spend liberal, one of the architects of Obamacare, the intellectual Godfather of Cap and Trade."

    Screenshot of NewsMax.com's e-mail below the fold:

  • Smerconish asked by Fox News to say Obama is "cocky and that his cockiness will hurt him"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a Washington Post op-ed, radio host Michael Smerconish decries the "artificial presentation of attitudes on cable TV and talk radio," which present "only two, diametrically opposed philosophical approaches to the issues."

    Smearconish recounts CNN insisting that he give a partisan identification when appearing on Larry King Live during the presidential campaign. He goes on to describe this interaction with a Fox News producer:

    Another time, a Fox News producer invited me to appear on a program to discuss then-candidate Barack Obama. I was told they were "looking for someone who would say he's cocky and that his cockiness will hurt him, if not in the primary, definitely in the general election against McCain." I declined. A few hours later, the same producer made a new pitch: "What about a debate off the top of the show on whether or not Hillary is trustworthy? We have someone who says she is and we're looking for someone who says she isn't."

    The message of both episodes is clear: There is no room for nuance. Either you offer a consistent (possibly artificial) ideological view or you often don't get a say.