Media Structures & Regulations

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  • Rupert Murdoch: GOP "Would Be Mad Not To Unify" Around Donald Trump If He Becomes Inevitable

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Rupert Murdoch, the executive co-chairman of Fox News' parent company, wrote on Twitter that the Republican "establishment ... would be mad not to unify" around the Republican front-runner Donald Trump if he continues his string of electoral successes following Trump's win of seven Super Tuesday primary contests. His call for unity behind Trump stands in sharp contrast to other right-wing media figures who have called for unity to stop Trump from winning nomination.

    Following Trump's win of seven Super Tuesday primary contests, Murdoch commented in a March 2 tweet that the Republican "establishment" would be "mad not to unify" around Trump if he becomes the inevitable nominee.

    Other conservative media figures have responded to Trump's victories by advocating several tactics to defeat Trump. After his dominant Super Tuesday performance, conservative media personalities warned that a Trump nomination would mean "the GOP in its current form ends," called for the GOP to "go all in against him," and a growing number of conservative pundits have vowed not to support Trump if he is the nominee.  Even Rush Limbaugh urged the Republican Party to "unify behind Ted Cruz," calling it the party's "smartest move." Right-wing media personalities have also begun to call on Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to unite in their opposition to Trump and combine on the same ticket.

    Murdoch's call for establishment Republicans to unify behind Trump comes 3 days after he asked establishment Republicans and Trump to "cool it and close ranks to fight the real enemy."

  • CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves Reveals Why Media Won't Stop Giving Wall-To-Wall Coverage To Donald Trump

    Moonves: Trump "May Not Be Good For America, But It's Damn Good For CBS"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    As The Hollywood Reporter noted on February 29, CBS executive chairman, president, and CEO Leslie Moonves "can appreciate" the ad money Donald Trump's presidential campaign and his competitors bring to networks. Moonves said of the presidential election "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS."

    This is not the first time Moonves cheered Trump's political ascent in the name of advertising dollars: according to a December 10, 2015, report from The Intercept's Lee Fang, Moonves said "Go Donald! Keep getting out there! ...this is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us" during an investor presentation.

    CBS is not the only network interested in the ratings Donald Trump can bring. Fox News has consistently given the candidate a disproportionate amount of coverage. Fox News spent nearly 4 hours interviewing Trump in January alone, and the candidate holds a massive lead in overall interview airtime since May 2015 (28 hours and 40 minutes, 16 hours more than any other candidate).

    Experts like Hector Sánchez -- chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda -- have pointed out that media's ratings-driven response to Trump could have "a deep impact in the quality of life of the Latino community."

    From The Hollywood Reporter on February 29, 2016, (emphasis added):

    Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.

    Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.

    "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race.

    Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues.

    "Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.

    "Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.

    "I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going," said Moonves.

    "Donald's place in this election is a good thing," he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

    "There's a lot of money in the marketplace," the exec said of political advertising so far this presidential season.

  • A Journalist Explains How Donald Trump Uses Twitter To Manipulate The Media

    Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson: Trump Masterfully Uses His Twitter Feed To Drive Cable News

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a tweetstorm on March 1, Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson explained how Donald Trump uses his Twitter feed to masterfully push narratives and drive the news:

    It has been previously reported that journalists are the largest group of verified users on Twitter, and there are regularly published lists of the most influential Twitter political journalists.

  • Wash. Post's Erik Wemple Calls Out Donald Trump's Attacks On Freedom Of The Press

    Wemple: "Donald Trump Just Declared His Intent To Destroy American Democracy"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    The Washington Post's Erik Wemple explained how Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's promise, that if elected president, he would change libel laws to sue media outlets that write negative stories about him is a "threat to American democracy" and a "logical extension" of Trump's attacks on the press.

    During a February 26 press conference, Trump announced his intention to fight against unfavorable news coverage, pledging that if elected president, he would "open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."

    Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple pointed out that Trump's plan to attack media law is a "threat to American democracy" that he would definitely carry out given his rhetoric and treatment of reporters during his campaign:

    An attack on media law is a logical extension of Trump's rhetoric, not to mention a threat to American democracy. After all, he has displayed a highly undemocratic annoyance with the idea that the media is independent. For months he has been attempting to get the cameras at his rallies to properly pan around the thronged arenas, the better to capture his out-of-control popularity, even when the camera operators' job is to stay on him. He has ridiculed reporter after reporter for reporting the facts of Trump's march through the GOP primaries. Whenever he has been busted out by investigative journalism, he has attacked the institutions that have compiled it.

    Though Trump in his remarks issued no specifics -- he never does -- about the shortcomings of existing policy or the exact changes he'd make, he appears to be upset with the degree to which media outlets are protected by longstanding First Amendment law. And protected they are, especially when reporting on people like Donald Trump, the sort of person that libel law sees as "public figures." Media types can go after public figures with a great deal of aggressiveness because the law of the land sees those in the public eye as inviting scrutiny and thrusting themselves into the glare of accountability.


    What's so comical and pathetic about Trump is how, as per usual, he speaks so loudly without knowing anything about the topic. Roll back the tape on one part of his riff: "I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."

    Trump wouldn't need to "open up our libel laws" in order to accomplish this end. As currently laid out, our libel laws enable him to do just that. In fact, the "actual malice" standard discussed above applies almost precisely to those instances when news outlets write "purposely negative and horrible and false articles."

    Read carefully, in other words, Trump's words delivered a thundering endorsement of the status quo in libel jurisprudence. Surely he didn't mean as much -- if elected he would doubtless move ahead with this plan to make it harder for news outlets to call him out. Though for a guy who spends much of his day writing over-the-top slams of other public officials, maybe Trump should give thanks for the First Amendment.

    Since announcing his candidacy, Trump has repeatedly attacked reporters that challenged him. In November, Trump was roundly criticized for mocking the disability of a New York Times reporter who helped debunk Trump's claim that "thousands" of Muslim-Americans celebrated in New York City after 9/11. In January, Trump called NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, "Little Katy, third-rate journalist" after she reported on Black Lives Matter protesters at his events. Trump has been criticized by reporters at his events for "overly aggressive" tactics, sequestering reporters until they pledge not to speak to his supporters. And Trump has even removed reporters from events for publishing articles and asking questions unfavorable to him.

  • During GOP Debate, Telemundo's Maria Celeste Arrarás "Showed The Value Of Spanish-Language Media"

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Telemundo, the second largest Spanish-language network in the U.S., and Maria Celeste Arrarás -- co-anchor of the network's daily news show Noticiero Telemundo -- illustrated the value of Spanish-language media as they joined CNN to host the February 25 Republican presidential primary debate. Arrarás' understanding of the Latino community helped her press the candidates and provide clarity on the issues that Latinos care most about. And her participation shined a spotlight on both the value of diversity in newsrooms and the important role Latinos in the media play in empowering their communities to "engage at a higher level."

    The Republican National Committee (RNC) avoided further alienating the Hispanic community by reinstating the only RNC-sanctioned debate to air on a Spanish-language network, which had originally been canceled back in October.

    The Washington Post's Callum Borchers wrote that Telemundo "showed the value of Spanish-language media," in the debate, and Arrarás "made meaningful contributions" as a panelist, by pressing "all the candidates on the GOP's outreach to Latinos." He said she forced Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to clarify his shifting immigration policies, including his pledge to end President Obama's executive action on immigration "on his first day in office," and confronted Trump with the reality of his consistently unfavorable polling numbers with Latinos. She also framed the border-wall issue in a manner that "might make some voters think about it in a new way."

    While many journalists have called out Rubio for his shifting positions on immigration, Arrarás' push to get specifics out of the candidate was particularly poignant for the Hispanic community, which has greatly benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Rubio says he would end.  

    While moderators in other GOP debates have used the slur "illegal immigrants" to refer to undocumented immigrants, the Telemundo debate was free of that language. Arrarás' presence created a more diverse panel, and her understanding of the Latino community may have deterred others from referring to immigrants offensively.

    Arrarás' performance at the debate illustrated experts' finding that diversity in the media has the benefits of reaching new audiences and improving the quality of coverage. It can also help combat problematic trends. Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis has explained that pundits, anchors, and newsrooms often contribute to criminalized media depictions of people of color, portraying them as inherently criminal, violent, adverse to authority, lacking innocence, and deserving of brutal treatment. A lack of newsroom diversity greatly affects the accuracy of media narratives. According to Dori J. Maynard, president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education "there are stories being missed due to a dearth of diverse perspectives ... not to mention critical nuances tied to culture and background, all of which ultimately make for better journalism."

    Yet Latinos -- who make up 17 percent of the population and whose voting power is expected to deeply impact the 2016 election -- like other people of color, are still underrepresented in the media. This underrepresentation leads not only to an absence of substantive coverage of the issues that matter the most to Latinos, but also to inaccurate portrayals that perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Prominent Latino leaders have remarked on the need to improve Latino visibility in the media. The National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) Janet Murguía has emphasized the importance of Hispanic media figures, saying they have "a real understanding of the Latino community" and are therefore uniquely positioned to make "sure that our community is more informed" and "can engage at a higher level."

  • After Being Banned From CNN, Roger Stone Is A No-Show For His Scheduled Fox News Appearance

    Stone Has Missed Two Fox News Appearances In Two Days

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Hours after CNN announced the network would stop booking regular guest and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone following an outburst of misogynistic and racist tweets directed at a CNN political contributor, Fox News scheduled Stone to appear on the network. But for the second day in a row, and without explanation, Stone was a no-show on Fox.

    Stone failed to make his scheduled appearance on the February 22 edition of Fox's The Kelly File and was also a no-show to appear alongside Sean Hannity on the February 23 edition of Fox's Hannity.



    Stone's absence on Hannity comes hours after a February 23 statement from CNN to Media Matters, in which CNN confirmed that Stone would "no longer appear on CNN." Stone's ban came after Media Matters highlighted his bigoted rhetoric towards Navarro, in which he called her a "pompous shithead," an "Entitled Diva Bitch," and suggested that "Black beans and rice didn't miss."

    Stone's disappearance from scheduled appearances at Fox also follows Media Matters highlighting Stone's history of attacking Fox News personalities. Stone has tweeted about Fox host Megyn Kelly's "nice set of cans," mocked the paralyzed Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer by telling him to "stand the fuck up," described Fox contributor Herman Cain as a "Mandingo," and called Fox contributor Allen West an "arrogant know-it-all negro." 

    The notorious "dirty trickster" Stone was a frequent guest on Fox, appearing on Fox News and Fox Business seven times in February, according to Media Matters research of live and recorded shows.


    Media Matters searched Nexis and transcripts for Roger Stone's guest appearances on Fox News and Fox Business. Stone has appeared as recently as February 19 on Fox News' The Kelly File (2/192/102/1), February 19 on Fox News' Hannity (Fox News: 2/10), February 9 on Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight  (2/9), and February 22 on Fox Business' After the Bell  (2/222/17).