Media Structures & Regulations

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  • Congressional Black Caucus Demands Bill O’Reilly Apologize For Saying He Wants To “Slap” Rep. Jim Clyburn

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Congressional Black Caucus has demanded a public apology from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, after O’Reilly stated he wanted to “slap” Rep. Jim Clyburn for his push to strengthen gun safety laws.

    The Congressional Black Caucus’ call for an apology comes after O’Reilly’s June 16 appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, where O’Reilly attacked Clyburn’s call for stronger gun legislation, saying “I just want to slap him, with all due respect.” O’Reilly continued, asking “What is it going to take? Do the ISIS people have to come to your backyard, do they have to put you in a cage?”

    Politico reported that the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield stated “The Congressional Black Caucus is absolutely outraged” at O’Reilly, calling on O’Reilly to “disavow the statement and apologize” to Clyburn:

    The Congressional Black Caucus wants Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to disavow and apologize for remarks he made earlier Thursday on the network in which he said that he wanted to "slap" Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) "with all due respect" for focusing on gun control over terrorism in the wake of the Orlando attack.

    "The Congressional Black Caucus is absolutely outraged," Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told POLITICO, adding that the caucus is calling "upon [O'Reilly] to disavow the statement and apologize" to Clyburn.

    [...]

    "It's reminiscent of the reckless statements that are being made by the Republican nominee," Butterfield said.

    This is not the first time has O’Reilly faced backlash from congressional lawmakers for his attacks. O’Reilly has previously drawn criticism for his racial attacks on minority members of Congress, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (C-NY). Lee has previously condemned O’Reilly’s description of her as a “race hustler,” describing his attacks as “disgusting and divisive,” a “thinly veiled racial attack,” concluding comments similar to O’Reilly “should never be accepted in our national discourse.” Rep. Hanabusa has called for O’Reilly’s public apology after “insulting” comments on Asian-Americans, after O’Reilly claimed “Asian people are not liberal, you know, by nature. They’re usually more industrious and hard-working.” O’Reilly has additionally accused CBC members Rep. Charles Rangel and Rep. Yvette Clarke of wanting to “divide the country along racial lines, because that’s good for business.”

  • Trump Suddenly Encounters Media Attention He Doesn’t Want

    Citing “Sensationalism,” Trump’s Lawyers Fight To Keep Trump U. Videos Away From Media

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A media coalition is pushing for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to release video of his depositions in lawsuits against Trump University, his now-defunct real estate seminar business, but the candidate’s lawyers have expressed concern that the footage would be “used by media and others in connection with the presidential campaign.”

    On June 11, a coalition of media organizations filed a motion seeking the public release of video footage from Trump’s taped depositions connected to two of the three lawsuits Trump University currently faces. The coalition included all major television networks, aside from Fox News, and several major newspaper publishers. Fox News joined the effort yesterday.

    In response, Trump’s lawyers in the two related class-action lawsuits presided over by Judge Gonzalo Curiel -- whom Trump himself has attacked with racist remarks -- argued that media and rival groups would use the video footage out of context to smear Trump. As Politico reported:

    In a court filing late Wednesday night, Trump's attorneys argued explicitly for the first time that the deposition videos should be kept under wraps because they would become weapons in the ongoing presidential contest.

    "Undoubtedly, these videos...will be used by the media and others in connection with the presidential campaign," Trump's attorneys wrote in a motion filed with U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego.

    "'[V]ideotapes are subject to a higher degree of potential abuse than transcripts. They can be cut and spliced and used as "soundbites" on the evening news or sports shows....' And unlike in other cases where it was unclear that 'out of context snippets' would be broadcast because the 'media frenzy' around the case had died down...the 'media frenzy' surrounding this case is certain to continue through the election," Trump's legal team added, quoting cases from federal trial courts in Indiana and New York.

    [...]

    "The need to prevent such 'sensationalism' is particularly acute here because of Mr. Trump’s unique circumstances in running for President of the United States," wrote Trump attorneys Daniel Petrocelli and David Kirman of law firm O'Melveny & Myers and in-house Trump lawyer Jill Martin. They cited a federal appeals court ruling rejecting a media bid for access to videos of President Bill Clinton's testimony played in court during a criminal case related to the Whitewater affair.

    This is a notable shift from the Trump campaign’s previous attitude about the huge amount of media attention he receives. In March, The New York Times released a study showing that Trump had racked up $2 billion worth of free earned media throughout his presidential campaign to that point, and the paper stated that “he is far better than any other candidate -- maybe than any candidate ever -- at earning media.” Trump won the Fox Primary, doubling any other Republican presidential primary candidate in airtime on the news channel. Trump’s campaign has bragged about all the free media he has received, and it reportedly plans to “just use earned media to compete on the airwaves” instead of raising money for ads. But perhaps what Trump truly wants is only adulation, not actual scrutiny from the media.

     
  • Univision News Journalists Pen Open Letter To Trump Campaign In Support Of The Washington Post

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    More than a hundred Univision News journalists have signed an open letter to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump condemning his “unprecedented and dangerous” revocation of press credentials for The Washington Post.

    Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials after the paper published an article highlighting comments Trump had made linking President Obama to the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. Univision News reacted with an open letter to the candidate on June 14, echoing the sentiments of several other media outlets and journalists by condemning what the letter’s signatories describe as an “unprecedented and dangerous” action:

    Your action is unprecedented and dangerous. Mainstream press organizations in the United States are always granted access to presidential candidates events. Never before have so many of them been denied this access.

    Candidates for public office in the United States have always accepted that some of the news coverage they receive will be critical. Candidates often answer unfavorable coverage, arguing that it was inaccurate or unfair. What they don't do – not in the United States – is attempt to obstruct coverage by denying press organizations access to campaign events. There are too many places in the world where political figures use whatever is at their disposal to punish and silence unfavorable news coverage. The U.S. is not one of those places

    Hispanic media has a reason to be concerned about threats to free press. Such threats -- whether by criminal organizations or public authorities -- have been on the rise in Latin America. According to Freedom House, “criminal gangs and overweening authorities” were major threats to media in Latin America in 2015. While interviewing The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, back in May, Univision’s Enrique Acevedo asked whether he had any concerns that “during a Trump administration” there would be “issues related to freedom of the press in this country.” Baron responded, “I am concerned,”, noting that Trump was “sounding a lot like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela on the issue of the press:”

     

     

    Baron is not the only journalist to liken Trump’s battles with news media and blacklisting of reporters to the anti-free-press antics of dictatorial regimes. After he was booted from a Trump press conference in August, Univision’s Jorge Ramos drew a parallel between Trump and Fidel Castro’s treatment of the press, saying: “I thought that was impossible that I would ever see something like that in the United States, which is a direct attack on freedom of the press.”

  • Trump Revokes Washington Post's Press Credentials

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Donald Trump announced on his Facebook page that he’s “revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post” after the publication wrote an article highlighting comments Trump made linking President Obama to the deadly terror attack on an Orlando gay nightclub.

    Trump complained on his Facebook page that the Post wrote a headline stating, "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.” The Post published a June 13 article noting that “Trump seemed to repeatedly accuse President Obama on Monday of identifying with radicalized Muslims who have carried out terrorist attacks in the United States and being complicit in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend, the worst the country has ever seen.”

    The Trump campaign has repeatedly banned reporters from across the political spectrum from attending Trump events. The campaign has, however, provided credentials to disreputable media like Alex Jones’ Infowars.com and white nationalist radio host James Edwards.

    Trump has waged a war against the media that has gone far beyond the bounds of normal media criticism. Trump has pushed a plan to “open up our libel laws” that's been criticized by First Amendment advocates, threatened to retaliate against media outlets with the power of government agencies, issued scathing personal insults against journalists, and repeatedly sued or threatened to sue media figures over trivialities. 

    UPDATE: In a statementWashington Post executive editor Marty Barron called Trump’s decision “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished.”

  • ABC Was The Only Broadcast Network To Ignore Report That “Trump Doesn’t Pay His Bills”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    In June 9 broadcast evening news programs and June 10 morning news programs, ABC was the only broadcast network to ignore a USA Today investigation that found “hundreds of people” who allege that Donald Trump “didn’t pay them for their work.”

    A June 9 USA Today report found that Trump, who “often portrays himself as a savior of the working class” has had at least 60 lawsuits filed accusing him and his businesses of “failing to pay” people “for their work.” From the report:

    Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will "protect your job." But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

    At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

    NBC covered the story during the June 9 edition of Nightly News with Lester Holt and the June 10 edition of Today, while CBS discussed it during the June 10 edition of CBS This Morning.

    The USA Today report noted the irony that Trump’s claims “he will bring jobs back to America” while waging legal battles “over small amounts of money that are negligible to the billionaire and his executives -- but devastating to his much-smaller foes,” including contractors, waiters, dishwashers, real estate brokers, and law firms:

    In 2007, for instance, dishwasher Guy Dorcinvil filed a federal lawsuit against Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Fla., alleging the club failed to pay time-and-a-half for overtime he worked over three years and the company failed to keep proper time records for employees.

    Mar-a-Lago LLC agreed to pay Dorcinvil $7,500 to settle the case in 2008. The terms of the settlement agreement includes a standard statement that Mar-a-Lago does not admit fault and forbids Dorcinvil or his lawyers from talking about the case, according to court records.

    Developers with histories of not paying contractors are a very small minority of the industry, said Colette Nelson, chief advocacy officer of the American Subcontractors Association. But late or missing payments can be devastating for small businesses and their employees.

  • O'Reilly: It's "Not My Job" To Defend Megyn Kelly From Trump Attacks

    O'Reilly Brushes Off Fox Colleague After She Said She Wished The Popular Host Had Defended Her From Trump's Vicious Attacks

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Months after Megyn Kelly expressed her disappointment that fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly refused to defend her following a string of attacks from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, O’Reilly has responded by stating “It was not my job” to defend Kelly from Trump.

    Donald Trump repeatedly attacked Fox host Megyn Kelly after the August 2015 Fox News primary debate calling her “crazy” and “unwatchable.” Trump faced widespread criticism after his attacks by journalists and media outlets, including a statement criticizing Trump allegedly written by Fox CEO Roger Ailes.

    But Fox host Bill O’Reilly, remained silent throughout the controversy, instead pleading with Trump not to pull out of the next Fox News GOP primary debate.

    In a March interview for More magazine, Kelly spoke out about the January interview O’Reilly held with Trump in which Trump spoke about having “zero respect” for Kelly and described her as “highly overrated.” Kelly told the magazine, “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump. I would have defended him more.” Trump responded to Kelly’s critique by describing her as “crazy” and criticizing her “bad show”:

     

    On June 8, Talking Points Memo noted that O'Reilly had broken his silence on the Trump and Kelly feud, declaring "It was not my job" to defend Kelly from Trump's attacks:

    Fox News' Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think it was his “job” to defend his colleague Megyn Kelly from a barrage of attacks by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

    “It was not my job to intrude on the Fox News Channel hierarchy, which was handling the controversy,” O’Reilly said in a Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday. “Why am I going to get in the middle of that? [Chairman] Roger Ailes is a genius at handling this stuff. I am not going to make his life harder by putting my big mouth in the middle of this thing.”

    […]

    Trump, who had spent months calling Kelly a “bimbo,” accelerated his attacks after Kelly's interview with More was published, tweeting that she was “crazy” and “highly overrated.”

    O’Reilly’s comments come amidst reports of a brewing feud between Kelly and O’Reilly.  A February report from CNN’s Brian Stelter on the “animosity between O’Reilly and Kelly” cited O’Reilly’s Trump interview as a visible example of the “strained relationship.” More recently, Kelly blasted “pundits” demanding the judge in the Trump U. case step down after Trump attacked the judge for being Latino. Her comments came immediately after O’Reilly called for the judge to recuse himself.