Steve Benen

Tags ››› Steve Benen
  • Pence Runs With Flawed AP Report To Smear The Clinton Foundation

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    During the 2016 vice presidential debate, Republican Gov. Mike Pence referenced a flawed Associated Press (AP) report to baselessly allege Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was involved in “pay-to-play politics.” The cited AP report falsely suggested that Clinton granted special State Department access to Clinton Foundation donors but included no evidence of wrongdoing. Pence also left out the fact that the AP was forced to take down its misleading tweet on the report, saying it did not meet its journalistic standards.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & OLIVIA KITTEL

    After nearly four years of right-wing myths about the September 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, and as Republicans and Democrats on the House Select Committee on the attacks release their reports, Media Matters has compiled a list of more than 50 myths and facts regarding the origin of the attack, the security surrounding the compounds, the Obama administration’s handling of the attack during and after its occurrence, attacks on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other lies and misinformation regarding the Benghazi attack.

  • Trump Ridiculed After Insinuating Obama Is Complicit In Orlando Attack

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Media figures criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for “casually [and] darkly” suggesting that President Obama sympathizes with Islamic terrorists and was complicit in the Orlando terror attack, calling his comments “indefensible,” “distasteful,” and part of his “latest escalation in his years-long campaign to smear” Obama.

  • Will The Media Fall For Paul Ryan’s Sham Poverty Proposals Again?

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    With Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan slated to release a new proposal to “reform” American anti-poverty programs on June 7, media should be aware of his long history of promoting “far-right” and “backward-looking” policies that would enact draconian cuts to vital programs for families in need and actually "exacerbate poverty, inequality, and wage stagnation."

  • The Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen Slams Media’s False Narrative That Trump Appeals To Progressives

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    MSNBC producer Steve Benen criticized media outlets for their "plainly wrong" portrayal of some of Donald Trump’s policies as “progressive.” Benen lamented the failure of The Washington Post and The New York Times to explain the contradictions between Trump’s policies and historically liberal ideology, and slammed their misleading thesis that Trump may have something to offer progressive voters.

    Media have reported Trump’s false claim that he originally opposed going to war in Iraq to claim that he is to the left of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, while ignoring his openness to nuclear proliferation, his support for military intervention in both Iraq and Libya, and his call to send tens of thousands of ground troops to Syria. And despite his support for reductions in Medicare and Social Security, ​The New York Times compared Trump's positions on entitlements to those of Bernie Sanders.

    In the May 18 blog post, Benen criticized The Post and the The Times for reporting Trump's stances as progressive, saying that “given it’s historical underpinnings, there’s nothing liberal about Trump’s “America’s First” vision” and slamming the media for falsely reporting that Trump is willing “to shift ‘to the left on the minimum wage and tax policy.’” Benen explained that the media may find it appealing to tout Trump as having national appeal that transcends political ideologies, but this “thesis is belied by reality” given that Trump’s position “offers literally nothing for progressive voters” (emphasis added):

    Some of the political media establishment has apparently settled on a new “narrative”: Donald Trump will appeal to Democrats by breaking with Republican orthodoxy and endorsing some progressive goals. It might be a compelling thesis, if it were in any way true.

    The Washington Post got the ball rolling last week with a provocative, attention-getting headline: “How Donald Trump is running to the left of Hillary Clinton.” As proof, the article noted, among other things, Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, and his willingness to shift “to the left on the minimum wage and tax policy.”

    The problem, of course, is much of this is factually incorrect. Given its historical underpinnings, there’s nothing liberal about Trump’s “America First” vision, and the media hype surrounding Trump’s purported shifts on the minimum wage and tax policy turned out to be completely wrong. The Post’s entire thesis struggled under scrutiny.

    And yet, there it was again in the New York Times yesterday.

    [...]

    Again, if these observations were rooted in fact, the thesis might have merit, but it’s important not to fall for shallow hype and bogus narratives. Trump did not endorse a minimum-wage hike; he actually said there shouldn’t be a federal minimum wage at all. He did not call for higher taxes on the wealthy; he proposed literally the exact opposite.

    And far from “attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left on … Wall Street,” a few hours after the Times article was published, Trump insisted he would repeal Dodd-Frank reforms – which represents an attack from the right, not the left.

    [...]

    It’s easy to get the impression that the media likes the idea – not the reality, but the idea – of Trump having broad national appeal, enough to woo disaffected Democrats and Bernie Sanders’ most ardent backers, and defeat Clinton in a general election. But the thesis is belied by reality. Trump’s platform – on the economy, on immigration, on taxes, on policies towards women, on race, on torture – offers literally nothing for progressive voters, which is probably why Sanders has said he’s prepared to fight as hard as he can in the coming months to ensure Trump’s defeat.

     

  • Media Highlight The “Misleading” Evidence Used During Congressional Panel’s Attack On Planned Parenthood

    Second Select Panel Hearing Was Just Like “A Bad House Of Cards Plotline”

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following the Congressional Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ second hearing, multiple media outlets heavily criticized the Republican members’ continued lack of objectivity. The select panel was established by Republicans in October 2015 based on discredited allegations against Planned Parenthood from the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Despite claiming to be “impartial,” Republican members during both hearings have relied on CMP’s deceptive work as evidence.

  • Media Incorrectly Equate Biden's 1992 Comments "Bemoaning Politicization" Of Hypothetical SCOTUS Nomination To GOP's Ongoing And "Unprecedented" Obstruction

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Media outlets have dubiously likened Vice President Joe Biden's 1992 speech suggesting the Senate Judiciary Committee might not hold confirmation hearings for a hypothetical Supreme Court vacancy following a resignation during an ongoing presidential campaign to the unprecedented determination by Senate Republicans that they will not consider anyone President Obama nominates after Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

  • Media Fall For Paul Ryan's Sham Poverty Forum

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Media figures have credited House Speaker Paul Ryan with thrusting the supposedly "forgotten" issue of poverty into the 2016 Republican presidential race following his participation in the January 9 presidential forum on poverty, but failed to mention that despite his new rhetoric, Ryan has a long history of promoting harmful policies that would "exacerbate poverty, inequality, and wage stagnation."

  • A "Laughable Crusade": Media Call Out The "Political Fakery" Of The Benghazi Committee

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Media figures and editorial boards are calling out the "political fakery" of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, criticizing it as a "laughable crusade" against Clinton rather than a legitimate investigation into the Benghazi attacks, after two congressmen and an ex-committee staffer admitted to the partisan nature of the committee.

  • MSNBC's Benen Points Out Rubio/Clinton Double Standard In Coverage Of Deleted Emails

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    In sharp contrast with its intense scrutiny of Hillary Clinton's private email server, the media has largely remained mum on Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) own habit of deleting official emails sent from a private email account. MSNBC's Steve Benen pointed out that the hosts of Fox News' The Five gave Rubio a free pass on his email history, while continuing to disparage Clinton's private server.

    According to a statement by Clinton's lawyer, the former Secretary of State's email server was wiped clean after she turned over approximately 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that not only did Rubio correspond with reporters on a private email account while he served as a leader in the Florida House, but when the Orlando Sentinal requested those emails, Rubio's spokesperson said they had been deleted. 

    In a March 31 article for MSNBC.com's MaddowBlog, Benen pointed out that while co-hosting the March 30 edition of The Five, Rubio failed to answer a direct question about whether he would publicly disclose his own private emails, writing, "At this point, Dana Perino, the former press secretary in the Bush/Cheney White House, jumped in to criticize Clinton in more detail, and Rubio never responded to the question. Which is further evidence that the politics of emails is trickier than Republican would like." 

    Benen went on to describe how similar the two email stories actually are:

    But in an unexpected twist, it was a question from a Fox News co-host that demonstrates how easy it is to remove "Clinton" out of that sentence and put in the name of several Republican presidential candidates, including "Rubio." Consider:

    In Rubio's case, the senator concedes he did official work on his private account, but he insists the deleted private emails had nothing to do with his official duties. Perhaps the way to be certain is to pursue full disclosure - up to and including careful technology scrutiny of computer servers - just to make sure he didn't do anything wrong.

    Why should Rubio be trusted to make decisions on his own about which of his emails should be deleted?

    I suppose the obvious answer is that the Florida senator isn't accused of any official wrongdoing, so there's no need to review his communications. But - and this is key - Clinton isn't facing any serious allegations, either, Benghazi conspiracy theorists notwithstanding.

    The media also ignored former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's email habits. In the wake of a Clinton feeding frenzy, the major networks paid minimal attention to the seven years it took for Bush to comply with a Florida statute requiring him to turn over private emails.