Research

Conservative Media Wrongly Pin Democrats' Election Losses On Climate Change Focus

In the aftermath of the election, conservative media figures have alleged that Democratic candidates’ emphasis on climate change was a reason they lost, claiming this focus alienated or drove away voters. But numerous polls conducted in the run-up to the election indicated that a majority of Americans consider climate change an important issue and favor government action to address it, and an exit poll similarly revealed that most voters in Florida view climate change as a serious problem. While these polls indicate that a focus on climate change didn’t harm environmentally friendly Democratic candidates, a plausible explanation for why the issue may not have helped them is the lack of attention it received from the media, including during debates.

November 29, 2016 1:01 PM EST
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Trump Lies That Millions Voted Illegally, And Mainstream Outlets Uncritically Echo Him

Media outlets failed to hold President-elect Donald Trump accountable for his false claim that “millions of people” illegally voted in the 2016 presidential election by failing to state in their headlines and tweets -- which are what most news consumers see -- that the allegation was a lie. The claim, which Trump used to dismiss his loss in the popular vote and to attack a recount effort in Wisconsin, was originally pushed by far-right “conspiracy-theory hawking” websites. Even though fact-checking organizations debunked the idea, numerous mainstream media outlets writing about the issue on social media and in headlines either reported Trump’s lie without noting that it was false or hedged by writing only that it lacked evidence.

November 28, 2016 12:33 PM EST
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Media Should Not Sanitize Trump Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach’s Extremism, Ties To White Supremacists

Kobach “Wrote The Book” On Muslim Registry And Was Behind Anti-Immigrant SB 1070

A reported architect behind President-elect Donald Trump’s extreme immigration proposals, radio host and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has received significant media attention following the announcement that he was joining Trump’s transition team. However, media outlets are failing to note his ties to hate groups and nativist organizations and his attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ people.

November 21, 2016 4:30 PM EST
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A $25 Million Settlement Just Tanked Right-Wing Media’s Fraudulent Defense Of Trump University

President-elect Donald Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits alleging his for-profit business Trump University used aggressive sales tactics and unqualified instructors to scam students. Throughout the lawsuit’s litigation, right-wing news outlets helped shield Trump University from criticism by enabling Trump to lie about the institution and aiding his racist attacks on the judge overseeing the case.

November 18, 2016 6:41 PM EST
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Right-Wing Media's Failed Attempt To Downplay The Impact Of North Carolina's Anti-LGBTQ Law In Governor's Race

Right-wing media outlets are attempting to deny the impact of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law House Bill 2 (HB 2) in the state’s still too-close-to-call gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. Mainstream journalists and political scientists have repeatedly pointed to the “politically obvious” costs of the discriminatory HB 2 as a “key issue” in the governor’s race, the outcome of which could mark a potential “watershed” moment for LGBTQ equality. 

November 18, 2016 3:31 PM EST
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Trump's Anti-Muslim National Security Adviser Michael Flynn -- A Fox Favorite -- Is Rife With Conflicts Of Interest 

President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. Flynn, a Fox News favorite with conflicts of interest in Russia and Turkey, has frequently appeared on the network to push his anti-Islam views, has lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has made repeated appearances on Russian state television. 

November 18, 2016 3:23 PM EST
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Media Falsely Give Trump Credit For A Ford Plant Not Moving To Mexico

Media are uncritically hyping President-elect Donald Trump’s false claim that he should be credited for Ford Motor Co.’s decision not to relocate a plant from Kentucky to Mexico, despite the fact that the plant was never going to close and no jobs were going to be lost. While right-wing media hyped Trump’s claim on its face as proof of his political success, mainstream media echoed that pro-Trump spin in a series of misleading headlines, which critics have called out for being out of context and “completely wrong.”

November 18, 2016 12:23 PM EST
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Right-Wing Media Tout Trump’s “Lobbying Ban” As Draining The Swamp, While Other Outlets Question Ban’s Efficacy

Emphasis On Ban Also Ignores Trump’s Many Other Conflicts Of Interest

Right-wing media are touting new “promises” from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to implement five-year “bans on having folks go and lobby after being in the administration” -- and to allow no registered lobbyists on his transition team -- as “a signal that he's going to do the draining of the swamp he said he'd do.” But other media have explained why the ban wouldn’t necessarily work, as lobbyists could just avoid registering as such, and transition team members could undo their lobbyist registration. In addition, the proposed “ban” does nothing to address the “tidal wave of potential conflicts of interest” that “will arrive with” a Trump administration.

November 17, 2016 2:42 PM EST
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What To Know About Fox Contributor And Possible Trump Secretary Of State John Bolton

Trump Rumored To Be Considering Warmonger And Benghazi Conspiracy Theorist As Nation’s Top Diplomat

President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering numerous right-wing media personalities and cast-off Republican figures for key positions in his incoming administration. John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and a longtime Fox News contributor, is seen as a front-runner for secretary of state.

November 16, 2016 5:11 PM EST
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An Anti-LGBTQ Birther Who Leads An Anti-Muslim Hate Group Reportedly Advising Trump's Transition

Center For Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney Reportedly Advising Trump’s Transition Team On National Security Issues

Anti-Muslim hate group leader Frank Gaffney is reportedly giving President-elect Donald Trump national security advice for his transition to the White House. Gaffney has a long history of vile statements about Muslims, has embraced white nationalists, flirted with birtherism, and has stridently opposed allowing LGBTQ Americans to openly serve in the military.

November 16, 2016 2:49 PM EST
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David Clarke, Sheriff Who Appears On Fox News To Attack Minorities, Under Consideration By Trump For DHS Head

President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering right-wing talk radio host and Fox News favorite Sheriff David Clarke for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Not only is Clarke’s record as Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin questionable, he has repeatedly appeared on Fox News to spout racially-charged rhetoric, including comparing Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance to the Ku Klux Klan and calling Black Lives Matter a “subversive movement.”

November 16, 2016 10:41 AM EST
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Harry Reid, Democrats Condemn Former Breitbart Head Stephen Bannon's Appointment As White House Chief Strategist

After President-elect Donald Trump announced the appointment of Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist and senior counselor, numerous Democratic members of Congress led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and other national politicians condemned Trump’s “dangerous” selection. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and Trump campaign CEO, has a long history of promoting “racist” and “race-baiting ideas” on Breitbart News, a site that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says “promot[es] the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership -- much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people.”

November 15, 2016 6:11 PM EST
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Trump Says He Wants Roe v. Wade Overturned, Mainstream Media Ignore The Draconian Effects That Would Have

During a November 13 interview on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, president-elect Donald Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, upending a longstanding constitutional right to abortion access. Rather than calling out this extreme position and explaining its potential consequences for millions of Americans, outlets instead attempted to normalize and downplay Trump’s commitment to roll back legal abortion access in the United States.

November 15, 2016 6:00 PM EST
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Conservative Media Attempt To Sanitize Stephen Bannon’s Ties To White Nationalism And Anti-Semitism

Conservative media are defending Stephen Bannon, who was recently appointed as President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist, amid growing backlash over his ties to anti-Semitism and white nationalists. While Bannon’s appointment has been hailed as a victory by white nationalists, the push to normalize Bannon was aided by major newspapers that downplayed and ignored his extreme ties.

November 15, 2016 1:29 PM EST
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