From the January 19 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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The New York Times editorial board called for stronger state and federal gun laws after highlighting "shortcomings" that in many cases allow domestic abusers to acquire a firearm even after being determined to be a threat by a court.
Noting that in 2013 61 percent of women killed by gun violence were killed by former or current intimate partners, The Times explained "people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against partners with whom they never lived are not prohibited from owning guns under federal law, nor are those convicted of misdemeanor stalking."
The editorial also noted that current federal law does not require so-called "private sellers" of firearms to run background checks on customers, creating another avenue for domestic abusers to obtain firearms.
From The Times January 16 editorial:
While the gun violence debate often focuses on mass shootings of strangers, hundreds of Americans are fatally shot every year by spouses or partners. In 2013, 61 percent of women killed with guns were killed by husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. And in 57 percent of shootings in which four or more people were killed, one of the victims was the shooter's partner or family member, according to an analysis by the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Yet shortcomings in federal and state law allow many domestic abusers to have access to firearms, even after courts have determined that the abusers pose a threat to their partners.
Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of any felony, or of misdemeanor domestic violence against a spouse, from owning a gun. People subject to a domestic violence restraining order issued after a hearing (not a temporary order issued before a hearing can take place) are also prohibited from owning guns. But people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against partners with whom they never lived are not prohibited from owning guns under federal law, nor are those convicted of misdemeanor stalking. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Debbie Dingell and Robert Dold have introduced bills to close these loopholes, but the bills have gained little traction.
Some states, like California and Connecticut, allow police to confiscate guns from someone who is determined by a court to be a threat to a partner, even if a domestic violence restraining order is not in place.
State and federal lawmakers need to follow the example of states that have closed loopholes and enacted surrender laws to prevent the dangerous from possessing deadly weapons.
From the January 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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It's true: campaign finance law is absurdly difficult for media to explain to American voters. The numbers are abstractly large, the rules are complicated, and everyone wonders if American voters actually care.
The polls certainly seem to say Americans are concerned. Across the political spectrum, voters consistently tell the media the tidal wave of money in politics is a grave problem and the case that opened the flood gates -- Citizens United -- should be overturned. Whether it's Republicans complaining about the "special interests" of Washington, D.C. or Democrats warning about the billionaires running our campaigns, the message is clear: clean elections matter.
The editorial boards and television pundits seem to agree. Like clockwork, with every new discouraging development handed down by the courts on campaign finance law, every new revelation of the monied power brokers pulling politicians' strings, every new failure to effectively enforce the election regulations on the books, solemn editorials are written and monologues are delivered warning American voters that the system has become at-risk to rampant corruption and conflicts of interest.
And yet here we are: live on Fox Business Network during their televised presidential debate, under questioning from FBN's Maria Bartiromo, a major presidential candidate just admitted he violated a basic campaign finance transparency rule in a fashion that runs antithetical to his core political image and he seems to think no one cares. He certainly doesn't seem to be afraid of the media calling him out, although some are trying. How else do we describe the embarrassing image of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), ostensibly one of the most intelligent legislators in Congress, brazenly admitting in a live presidential debate he broke the law as a senatorial candidate by taking a roughly million dollar campaign loan from Goldman Sachs and Citibank without properly disclosing the sources to the Federal Election Commission (FEC)?
Maybe the reason Bartiromo didn't follow up her original question with anything more than a "thank you" was that she was as stunned as the rest of us.
Yes, the candidate also misled about the details of his election violation on national television and media fact checkers duly called out the bait-and-switch after. Disclosing the possible conflict of interest in receiving a million dollars from Goldman Sachs (this Goldman Sachs) and Citibank while you're campaigning as a man of the people railing against the big bad establishment is not the same thing as disclosing the possible conflict of interest after you've been elected, a conflation the candidate nevertheless attempted to sell with a straight face during the debate. That's like a voter explaining they didn't properly register before they cast a ballot but did so afterwards, so it's all good.
That's not how it works.
Election disclosure laws are supposed to inform Americans before they vote so they can make an educated decision. In fact, this principle of mandated disclosure may have been the only reason Citizens United was allowed in the first place -- as a counterbalance to the obvious conflicts of interest the Supreme Court was about to tempt politicians with. The entire point behind the legal argument that led the conservatives on the Supreme Court to allow the 1% more unfiltered access to campaigning politicians was the idea that at least Americans would know who was potentially buying influence. In the case of Cruz, who rails against big money and the elite as a point of pride, such information may have been particularly interesting to the Tea Partiers who voted for him.
But again, here we are. A major presidential candidate seems to think either voters are idiots, or the media are.
So it's a challenge. The number is a cool million, easy for the typical news consumer to grasp. The case law and implementing disclosure regulations are cut and dry -- if you take money from a bank for your campaign, you have to identify the bank to the FEC. It boils down to the third problem of campaign finance reporting -- does the American public care? They say they do, over and over again, and the media keeps telling us this is an important part of American democracy, so what's the disconnect, if any?
With this ridiculously clear campaign finance violation on display for all to see, we're about to find out.
If media can't get the American public to understand why this sort of behavior, certainly not unique to Cruz, is a big problem, it's no longer the fault of the American public. They aren't the experts. It's the media's job to provide the expertise. But if the media can't effectively explain this one to its audience -- it's time to rethink how campaign finance reporting is done.
After all, Cruz is basically daring you.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sounded like a "dedicated Rush Limbaugh listener" at the January 14 GOP presidential primary debate, wrote Vox's Matthew Yglesias, highlighting how Cruz is gaining popularity among conservative voters by "espousing orthodox conservative views" and echoing many of Limbaugh's falsehoods and conspiracy theories.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto told Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Trey Gowdy (R-SC), that his on-going investigation into the attacks will only "carry currency" if the FBI acts against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or "recommends taking actions with the Justice Department."
Following the January 14 Republican presidential debate on the Fox Business Network, Neil Cavuto suggested to Gowdy that the only way for the Benghazi Select Committee to "carry currency" is "if the FBI acts on this or recommends taking actions with the Justice Department." Gowdy responded by suggesting that the committee's findings were a forgone conclusion, claiming "the smoking gun is the fact that she had her own unique server arrangement," but noted "whether or not there's any criminality ... the voters can judge that:
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): At the Benghazi hearings a lot of people were saying, alright, Gowdy's got to deliver a knockout blow here. And after all those hours, [people are] amazed by your legal skills and ability to parlay this and go after her, maybe the mainstream media attention, all that they said in the end they didn't lay a glove on her. What do you make of that?
TREY GOWDY: I think the smoking gun is the fact that she had her own unique server arrangement.
CAVUTO: And that ironically could be her real Achilles heel.
GOWDY: But you know the world we live in Neil, once people know that she had her own server, that's no longer the smoking gun. But go back two years ago. If you were told that a Benghazi committee would find her emails that nobody else found, Chris Stevens' emails that nobody else found, and Patrick Kennedy, Susan Rice, you would say "they did a great job." Those are all home runs.
CAVUTO: But it's like people almost want to say, this will only carry currency I think, and I think you raise a number of great issues to your point, if the FBI acts on this or recommends taking actions with the Justice Department. What do you think happens if that happens, Congressman, but the Justice Department doesn't act?
Gowdy: There's one jury that our framers gave us every four years in November and the fact that DOJ may or may not do something, the voters can certainly mete out their own discipline and to Senator Rubio's point the mishandling of information, the decision to have your own server, whether or not there's any criminality, the jury can judge that. The voters can judge that.
The latest admission by Cavuto and Gowdy that the goal of the select committee is to "deliver a knockout blow" to Hillary Clinton comes after months of allegations that the committee abandoned conducting a comprehensive investigation into the attacks, turning its mission instead into a political "sham" meant to damage Clinton.
In October 2015, The New York Times reported that Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Republican-led Benghazi committee, accused the committee of becoming "preoccupied with the State Department's role in the controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack and less interested in a comprehensive investigation."
A month earlier, in September 2015, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), came under fire for comments he made on Fox News' Hannity in which he boasted that the Benghazi committee was damaging Hillary Clinton's poll numbers. McCarthy's comments led to a repudiation from House Republicans with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) calling on McCarthy to apologize.
From the January 14 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the January 14 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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From the January 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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All of the major broadcast and cable networks in the U.S. suspended their programming on January 12 to air President Obama's last State of the Union address. All except Univisión and Telemundo, which instead aired their regularly scheduled telenovelas.
Univisión and Telemundo, respectively the largest and second largest Spanish-language networks in the United States, are among the most trusted sources of information for the growing Hispanic community.
Instead of giving the presidential address primetime coverage, Univisión aired the telenovela Pasión y poder, and Telemundo aired Bajo el mismo cielo, opting to live-stream the address online. NBC Universo -- an NBC Universal-owned Spanish-language Telemundo affiliate -- did broadcast the speech, but the channel is only accessible to cable-TV viewers.
According to recent census data, Hispanics are now the largest minority in the United States: Latinos constitute a little over 17 percent of the United States population. In 2016, over 26 million Latinos will be eligible to vote for the next president. Though the Latino voting bloc is becoming increasingly important, engaging them politically remains a challenge, as they repeatedly lag behind other demographics in voter turnout.
Univisión and Telemundo did a disservice to the community they serve by not broadcasting the president's State of the Union speech, which largely focused on issues that Latinos prioritize. Contrary to common media misconceptions, Latinos are not single-issue voters. In fact, evidence consistently shows that Latino voters are most concerned about jobs and the economy, healthcare, education and immigration, all of which received significant mentions during President Obama's address.
Telemundo and Univisión's lack of coverage did not go unnoticed. The Daily Show tweeted "If you're not into #SOTU, here are some other programming choices" with a graphic reading "Bored? Other things that are on TV right now." The graphic showed that, unlike ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News, Univisión wasn't broadcasting the State of the Union. Instead, Pasión y poder is listed.
California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33), who has championed immigrant rights in the California legislature, also criticized the lack of coverage in a statement to Media Matters:
It is very disappointing that neither Telemundo nor Univision aired the President's State of the Union address on live TV. Are Novelas, which perpetuate sexism, racism, homophobia and classism, more important than the civic engagement and education of our community? This is a blatant missed opportunity and disservice to Latinos during such a crucial presidential election year. This is simply unacceptable and I call on the executives at all major Spanish-language broadcast outlets to do the community a service and carry this important address in years to come!
From the January 13 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei pointed out that the Republican Party presented a "decidedly softer" immigration stance in its Spanish-language response to President Obama's January 12 State of the Union address than in its English-language reply.
Mazzei's January 12 post on the Herald's blog Naked Politics compared the responses, the first delivered in English by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and the second in Spanish delivered by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), which Mazzei called "decidedly softer." The responses offered "different messages" on immigration; while the English version emphasized the need to fix "our broken immigration system" by closing borders, the Spanish version focused on "a permanent and human solution" to immigration reform and for "those who live in the shadows." The contrasting responses reflect "the Republican Party's immigration split" and the ongoing attempts by the GOP to improve relations with Latino voters, which are often discouraged by conservative media and thwarted by the inflammatory rhetoric of some of their candidates.
According to Mazzei, while some discrepancies in the speeches reflected Haley's and Díaz-Balart's different backgrounds, "the Spanish version" of the response "was decidedly softer" on the topic of immigration. From Mazzei's post (emphasis added):
The Republican Party's immigration split was reflected Tuesdayin the two responses hand-picked party members gave -- one in English, one in Spanish -- to President Obama's final State of the Union address. The Spanish version, offered by a Cuban-American congressman from Miami, was decidedly softer.
Here's what South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in English:
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.
At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can't do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.
We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.
I have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty and our citizens, all while remaining true to America's noblest legacies.
Here's what Miami Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart said in Spanish (translation is ours):
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love the United States should ever feel unwelcome in this country. It's not who we are.
At the same time, it's obvious that our immigration system needs to be reformed. The current system puts our national security at risk and is an obstacle for our economy.
It's essential that we find a legislative solution to protect our nation, defend our borders, offer a permanent and human solution to those who live in the shadows, respect the rule of law, modernize the visa system and push the economy forward.
I have no doubt that if we work together, we can achieve this and continue to be faithful to the noblest legacies of the United States.
Right-wing media are mocking President Obama's decision to honor victims of gun violence during his January 12 State of the Union address by leaving an empty seat in First Lady Michelle Obama's guest box, calling the decision "dangerous" and "empty rhetoric."
From the January 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Fox News' Fox & Friends hyped debunked claims about the FBI investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of private email, including that she "[told] an aide how to break the law" by requesting talking points from a classified document be sent to her "nonsecure[ly]," that she is the target of the FBI's investigation, and that "you will see massive resignations" of FBI agents if the Justice Department does not indict Clinton. But national security experts and the State Department have refuted these claims. Furthermore, Clinton is not the target of the FBI's investigation, which is not criminal in nature.