From the August 27 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the August 27 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
The host of the National Rifle Association's radio show reacted to the fatal shooting of two journalists in Virginia by attacking "anti-gun politicians" and "anti-gun activists" for using the tragedy to call for stronger gun laws, claiming they "politicized" it and demonstrated "a lack of shared humanity."
But not only is the NRA hypocritical for saying gun policy debates should be off-limits after a shooting -- it has used mass shootings to call for looser gun laws -- it's also self-serving, because its political agenda benefits when potential new laws that it opposes are not debated and discussed.
The NRA's declaration that this is not the time to discuss gun policy also stands in stark contrast to comments made just hours after the shooting by the father of one of the victims, who said publicly that he will make it his life's work to convince politicians to close loopholes in gun laws.
During the morning of August 26, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, of Roanoke, Virginia's ABC affiliate station WDBJ, were gunned down while doing a live report from a recreation area. The shooter, who later that day committed suicide, was a disgruntled former co-worker. The tragedy quickly made national headlines and prompted calls for stronger gun laws and action by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife (D).
Later that same day during an afternoon broadcast, Cam Edwards, host of the NRA radio show, Cam & Company, lashed out at people who consider this latest incident of shocking public gun violence as more evidence the nation needs stronger gun laws.
Edwards complained, "Before we know any of the details, we are seeing anti-gun politicians, anti-gun activists trying to turn this tragedy into some sort of political advantage," and went on to characterize calls for new gun laws as "the wrong response to take here. I think it shows a lack of shared humanity."
He went on to lament, "It has been really disheartening to see in a matter of minutes how this story became politicized," and said, "This is a community that is absolutely heartbroken right now and you've got people who are trying to turn this tragedy into some sort of political advantage for them[selves]. I just think it's gross."
That reaction typifies the gun group's strategy whenever a shooting captures national headlines. Hiding behind expressions of concern for the victims of the attack, the NRA condemns anyone who sees the violence as a reason to change or reform laws and accuses them of "politicizing" a tragedy.
This argument is nonsensical. As Ezra Klein explained for The Washington Post following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, saying that it's not appropriate to talk about new gun laws "is a form of politicization":
When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid "politicizing" the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for "don't talk about reforming our gun control laws."
Let's be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It's just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.
With statements that attempt to police what can and can't be said following a shooting, the NRA not only seeks to shut down debate that could lead to tougher gun laws, it also purports to speak for the victims and their family members.
But no one who has been personally affected by gun violence needs the NRA to speak for them. Certainly not Parker's father, who appeared on Fox News the night his daughter was shot and made an impassioned plea for gun reform.
Noting that he had spoken by phone with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Andy Parker said: "I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes in background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," adding that McAullife told him, "I'm right there with you":
ANDY PARKER: And, you know, I'm not going to let this issue drop. We've got to do something about crazy people getting guns. And, you know, and the problem that you guys have is that -- and I know it's the news business and this is a big story. But next week it isn't going to be a story anymore and everybody is going to forget it. But you mark my words, my mission in life -- and I talked to the governor today. He called me and he said -- and I told him, I said, I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes in background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns. And he said, you go, I'm right there with you. So, you know, this is not the last you've heard of me. This is something that is Alison's legacy that I want to make happen.
Fox News figures attacked President Obama's new call for gun safety measures after a gunman killed two journalists as they delivered a live TV report in Virginia, saying Obama's remarks were "too soon" and was "politicizing tragedy." This comes a day after the father of one of the shooting victims also called for gun safety measures during an appearance on Fox News.
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, environmental justice advocates feel the time is long overdue for the media to start connecting the dots between climate change and social justice.
There may be no clearer example of this intersection than in the impact and aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Between the devastating effects of the storm itself, and the decade-long effort to restore destroyed communities afterwards, the region's African-American population has demonstrably suffered the most.
In media coverage of the storm's upcoming 10-year anniversary, a few reports have discussed how the hurricane's strength was exacerbated by climate change -- warmer seas lead to stronger storms, and global warming-driven sea level rise causes catastrophic storm surges. Others have looked at how African-American communities have suffered -- and continue to suffer -- disproportionately compared to white communities from the storm's impacts.
But rarely do media discuss the relation between the two.
There have been a handful of excellent exceptions, including a Guardian op-ed from Elizabeth Yeampierre, the executive director of Uprose, an organization that fights for environmental justice. Yeampierre wrote:
Those of us from low-income communities of color are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. US cities and towns that are predominantly made up of people of color are also home to a disproportionate share of the environmental burdens that are fueling the climate crisis and shortening our lives. One has only to recall the gut-wrenching images of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath to confirm this.
Yeampierre explained to Media Matters that "understanding the intersectionality" between climate change and social justice is "really important. We can't pick, we can't choose. It all matters to us, all of these issues." When asked why media should report on the connection between the two issues, Yeampierre said: "On top of generations and generations of struggling to have their human rights respected, now [communities of color] are dealing with climate change on top of that. That's the story for front-line communities all over the country."
Yeampierre also noted the problem with dealing with these issues in "silos," adding that climate change "is demanding something different":
Our communities have always known that there is an intersection, that's not new. We've always known that. ... The way that people usually solve problems is in silos, so because they think and provide resources and attention in a way that's siloed, it slows down the ability to really address our communities' needs in a holistic way. This is a problem that goes across issues.
Climate change is demanding something different. Climate change is demanding that we build just relationships. Climate change is demanding that, because we know that by 2040 people of color will be the majority in this country, at a time when climate change will have fully taken a hold, it's important that we are developing intergenerational indigenous relationships on the ground right now.
Yeampierre is not alone in her views. Tracey Ross, associate director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, told Media Matters that she hopes the Katrina anniversary will bring renewed media attention to "just how vulnerable low-income communities and communities of color are to extreme weather events":
Following Hurricane Katrina, news reports revealed to the country just how vulnerable low-income communities and communities of color are to extreme weather events. While days of hurt turned into years of struggle for families, news coverage largely shifted its focus away from the impacts of the tragedy. Today, low-income communities in New Orleans remain in disrepair, and the intersections of climate change, racial inequality, and poverty are more pressing for the country than ever before. We hope that the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina brings renewed attention to these important issues.
Vien Truong, the national director of Green for All -- which works to "make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement" -- told Media Matters that the real story of Katrina's devastation on low-income communities "has been under-reported":
Hurricane Katrina showed the country the devastating impacts extreme weather events have on us all -- and especially to low income communities. The impact of the storm -- the loss of homes, lives, and livelihood -- revealed the importance for all communities to engage in the conversation around environmental equity. This is a story, however, that has been under-reported.
She added: "As we remember the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let us also reaffirm the importance of environmental justice."
Image at the top from Gulf South Rising, a movement created to highlight the impact of the global climate crisis on the Gulf South region.
From the August 26 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the August 26 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the August 26 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.'s Fox affiliate, delivered a rare segment on gun policy for the station. Her report was appended with the disclosure from her employer that "she is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment."
Miller, who was previously one of the most prominent sources of conservative misinformation on gun violence, has largely been silent on the topic since February, following controversies related to her pro-gun advocacy.
The August 24 broadcast of Fox 5 News @ 10 and the August 25 broadcast of Fox 5 Morning News @ 5 both ran a Miller segment on Washington, D.C., police chief Cathy Lanier's recent discussion of a spike in gun violence in the city. Lanier said at a meeting of law enforcement professionals that officers are recovering more high-capacity ammunition magazines -- those that can hold 10 rounds of ammunition or more -- at crime scenes in D.C., including some incidents "where there are 40 to 50 rounds fired."
Miller's segment -- which included her questioning Lanier at a news conference -- sought to cast doubt on the claim that more high-capacity magazines are actually being recovered. Miller often submits adversarial reporting on Lanier for Fox 5. During Miller's previous stint as senior opinion editor for the conservative Washington Times, she frequently criticized Lanier with the claim that she is anti-gun.
Following both broadcasts of Miller's segment, one of the program's co-anchors said, "It should be noted that chief investigative reporter Emily Miller authored a book about the national political debate over gun control. She is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment."
The book referenced by Fox 5 is Emily Gets Her Gun: ... But Obama Wants To Take Yours, which was published in 2013 and advances conspiracy theories about a supposed desire by Obama to "disarm the populace" while pushing numerous falsehoods about gun violence.
Miller has not regularly reported on gun issues in D.C. since February, following controversy over her appearances at pro-gun rallies in Virginia and Maryland. During a January speech in front of an extremist gun group during a lobbying day at the Virginia State Capitol, Miller said that Washington D.C. "is not part of America, because they don't recognize the Second Amendment."
Miller's appearances at pro-gun rallies were criticized by journalism experts as a conflict of interest, given her coverage of gun issues in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Following the controversy, Fox 5 included a disclosure on one of Miller's reports that she "is a proponent for Second Amendment rights," but soon Miller left the gun beat entirely after a second controversy.
On February 25, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported that Miller had given different accounts of a 2010 "home invasion" in order to "squeeze the story for additional terror" in support of her pro-gun advocacy.
Miller's advocacy began with a series of blog posts for the Washington Times about her efforts to obtain a firearm license in Washington D.C. Miller explained that she wanted a gun in the wake of a "home invasion" in 2010.
Miller often told the story to pro-gun audiences, and in some instances described how she encountered a burglar inside of a residence she was housesitting and had to "talk him out of the house without" being harmed. Miller also had described being chased by more than a dozen of the burglar's accomplices after following him outside of the house.
But according to a series police documents obtained by Wemple, Miller told police that she encountered a suspicious man outside of the home, who gave her a business card for a tree service. Only hours later did Miller call the police after discovering that her credit card was missing from a wallet she had left inside of the house. Miller also made no mention of encountering more than a dozen of the suspected burglar's companions.
Fox 5's disclosure that Miller is "a strong advocate of the Second Amendment" is important given her long track record of spreading false information about gun violence, even while working as a reporter for the station.
During a May 19, 2014, segment on Fox 5, Miller reported on remarks about firearms given by Hillary Clinton during an appearance before the National Council for Behavioral Health. In her report, Miller claimed Clinton had "talked about hunting and fishing and all that stuff, now she is like, 'We need to pull back guns, nobody should have guns.'"
Clinton had actually said nothing of the sort. According to a video from the event, Clinton called for stronger gun laws but added, "I think you can say that and still support the right of people to own guns."
Breitbart News reacted to reports that two Virginia journalists were shot to death on-air by a disgruntled former co-worker by publishing an article with the headline, "RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES - ON LIVE TELEVISION!"
On August 26, two employees of Roanoke, Virginia CBS affiliate WDBJ were shot to death while reporting from Smith Mountain Lake, a public recreation area popular for boating and fishing. The gunman, who later shot himself but apparently survived, is reportedly a former employee of the affiliate.
Breitbart News reacted to the shooting with a race-baiting article authored by editor-at-large John Nolte. The piece was widely condemned by other members of the media, many of whom pointed out Breitbart News' lengthy history of racially charged reporting and commentary. The headline has since been changed.
*thinks to himself* i should definitely post my story about the scary BLACK murderer. pic.twitter.com/rvvRdqAmSe-- Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 26, 2015
at what point do we stop pretending breitbart is anything other than a white supremacist hate site? https://t.co/WfQEpUp6Ep-- Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) August 26, 2015
I'm too angry to be tweeting about these racist demagogues at Breitbart but I can't contain myself right now. pic.twitter.com/Jz3zTTr6HF-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
These are sick, hateful, twisted people who exploit our worst impulses, and they have real influence.-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
One of these things is something Breitbart dot com considers race-baiting. One is not. pic.twitter.com/lomZAdjbDm-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
Weird, none of these Breitbart headlines about Dylann Roof have the word "white" in them pic.twitter.com/d6kgaJUOcF-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
So, can all of us political folks stop pretending that Breitbart has any place in the mainstream discourse now? pic.twitter.com/fMimWU1agV-- Hunter Walker (@hunterw) August 26, 2015
A flack for the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA) used the Jim Crow-era term "poll tax" to describe a new Seattle ordinance that imposes a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to fund research on gun violence, which the NRA has challenged in a lawsuit.
On August 10, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a new tax on firearm and ammunition sales. Beginning in January, firearms will be subject to a $25 tax, while most types of ammunition will be taxed at 5 cents per round. Seattle has embraced a research-based approach to preventing gun violence and already has a "hospital-based intervention program for gun violence victims." Revenue from the new tax will fund additional research. Seattle City Council data shows that in 2014, Seattle taxpayers paid $12 million to cover the direct medical costs of gunshot wounds.
During the August 21 broadcast of the NRA's radio show, Cam & Company, NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) media liaison Lars Dalseide -- who has been attacking the tax in media interviews -- compared the measure to a "poll tax" that is "meant to punish a certain group."
Dalseide said, "Basically what this really is is a poll tax. It's something to stop people from doing something. I know traditionally here in the states a poll tax is tied to voting, but if you go worldwide, a poll tax is just meant to punish a certain group, and this is exactly what this is doing."
In the United States, poll taxes were voter registration fees aimed primarily at disenfranchising African-Americans that began during the 19th century following the ratification of the 15th Amendment. Poll taxes also disenfranchised poor people and women in some states. The practice was barred in federal elections by the 24th Amendment and state poll taxes have been found to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Outside of the United States, the term "poll tax" is synonymous with a "head tax" -- a fee imposed on certain immigrants depending on their country of origin that was most infamously levied against Chinese immigrants to Canada and New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Dalseide's inflammatory comparison ignores the fact that firearm sales are already taxed -- gun and ammunition sales have been subject to a federal excise tax for decades that is used to fund conservation programs.
The NRA -- which is joined in its lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and a gun industry trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- says the tax violates a Washington state law limiting the kinds of gun regulations localities can enact. The Seattle City Council contends that the new tax does not regulate firearms and falls within their taxation authority.
In an August 24 NRA-ILA press release, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane also referred to the tax as "nothing but a 'poll tax' on the Second Amendment..."
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros bizarrely used the thwarted terror attack on a train in France to criticize the "very strict" gun laws in that country, ignoring the fact that French laws had nothing to do with the suspect's attempted attack or the successful efforts by unarmed passengers to stop him.
On August 21, two American service members and several other passengers on a crowded, high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris confronted and overpowered a gunman as he allegedly prepared to open fire with an AK-47 assault weapon. According to French authorities, the passengers who stopped the suspected terrorist attack saved many lives with their actions.
During the August 24 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros used the incident as an opportunity to criticize gun laws in France. Tantaros said, "The same problems that they have over there are major debates over here. So in France, gun control, very strict laws."
Tantaros' attempt to connect the train attack to France's gun laws makes no sense because nothing happened because of, or in spite, any law. While it's true that guns are more regulated in France than they are in the United States, no French law prevented unarmed passengers from subduing the alleged gunman. Furthermore, the suspect's weapons were reportedly smuggled on board at the train's point of origin, which was the Netherlands, not France.
The fact that the passengers who stopped the attack were unarmed directly contradicts the oft-heard talking point from right-wing media and the National Rifle Association that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." In fact, according to an analysis of mass public shootings in the United States over a 30-year period, ordinary armed civilians have not stopped any public attacks but unarmed bystanders have.
For example, in the 2011 public shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six people dead and grievously wounded then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the gunman was overpowered by bystanders when he stopped to reload. (A bystander carrying a concealed gun later acknowledged that he almost mistakenly shot one of the people who disarmed the gunman.)
To bolster her argument, Fox's Tantaros also mischaracterized the thwarted attack last May on a Garland, Texas cartoon-drawing contest of the Prophet Mohammad. Tantaros said: "What happens when there are not Americans there to take down these terrorists? I mean the same thing happened in Texas, in Garland, Texas, it was citizens in Texas who took down what could have been two men who took out 300 people, they could have potentially taken down."
Tantaros' exploitation of the train attack to criticize France's gun laws was similar to how several Fox News figures used last January's attack on the office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to criticize the country's gun laws. They ignored the fact that in the United States, where there are more privately-owned guns and much looser gun regulations than in France, there are many times more mass public shootings and the gun homicide race is more than 14 times higher.
Breitbart News compared Planned Parenthood to Nazis, writing that the organization's president, Cecile Richards, "is well on her way to personally matching Hitler's body count."
In the wake of the release of a series of deceptively-edited videos from anti-choice group The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) -- all of which have been consistently debunked and called-out by the media for showing no evidence that Planned Parenthood broke any laws in obtaining fetal tissue donations from consenting patients -- right-wing media were quick to compare the health care provider to Nazis.
Breitbart News again pushed the comparison in an August 24 article that featured the Planned Parenthood logo in the shape of a Nazi swastika and stated, "Planned Parenthood has since 1970 performed 7 million abortions, comfortably surpassing Hitler." Going on to attack Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, the article claimed that she has "earned her 'half Holocaust' status" by "presid[ing] over three million abortions" during her time there:
Planned Parenthood can attribute a good portion of their boffo baby-killing business to their president since 2006, Cecile Richards. Richards is well on her way to personally matching Hitler's body count. Breitbart has done the grim maths so you don't have to.
Using a conservative estimate of 300,000 abortions a year -- or 300 kiloscrapes, using the technical metric measure -- Cecile Richards has presided over three million abortions, or three megascrapes in her ten years as president of the organisation. This has earned her "half Holocaust" status. Full Holocaust seems eminently reachable given Planned Parenthood's growing hegemony in the abortion industry.
But under Richards the numbers have skyrocketed such that in just the last ten years, at least 3 million young lives were ended. If Cecile stays in her post another decade, she will reach "full Hitler," by matching the six million deaths of the Holocaust. In fact it'll probably be sooner than that, given the acceleration during her reign.
There are many comparisons to be made here. Some of the revelations coming out about Planned Parenthood remind us of the ghoulish experiments of Dr. Mengele and the odious Unit 731 in Japan, both of which performed terrible tests on living subjects in the name of furthering medical science.
Fox News Sunday allowed a former George W. Bush administration official and current Jeb Bush adviser, Michael Mukasey, to baselessly claim Hillary Clinton is being investigated by the FBI. In fact, numerous news accounts report that she is "not a target" of the investigation into her emails.
From the August 23 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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