Ashleigh Banfield

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  • With Her Stanford Rape Case Reporting, CNN's Ashleigh Banfield Set The Standard For Media Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    With her outstanding, deep-dive examination of the issues surrounding a case of rape on Stanford University’s campus, CNN's Ashleigh Banfield set the standard for media coverage of sexual assault.

    During the June 6 edition of Legal View, host Banfield dedicated more than 20 minutes to reading -- without interruption -- most of the heart-wrenching letter that the Stanford rape survivor wrote and read aloud in court to her attacker, Brock Turner, who was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault. Banfield said Judge Aaron Persky chose a sentence far less than the maximum because he feared a negative impact on Turner, and she asked, "What about the impact that the crime has had on the victim?":

    Banfield's coverage continued on the June 7 edition of her show, in which she interviewed Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor whose attackers were never prosecuted. Tracy condemned the use of excuses like alcohol in trying to lessen the severity of rape, saying that "alcohol is absolutely not an excuse":

    On the next segment, Banfield discussed rape culture with Daily Beast columnist and CNN political commentator Sally Kohn, who slammed "the conservative movement" and "men's rights" activists for the "sort of notion that" rapists should be pitied. She also called out a relentless crusade to attack the "notion that there is rape culture," specifically naming conservative columnist George Will, who has a decades-long history of attacking sexual assault victims.

    SALLY KOHN: And this sort of notion that we should sort of pity him, it's related to, it is very much related to, the men's rights and by extension the conservative movement in general for the last several years has attacked this notion that there is rape culture, has attacked this idea that we're getting too politically correct on campuses by trying to educate boys and girls about sexual assault and safety and responsibility, and said, “Oh no, no, no, we're turning boys into -- they're too careful now, and everything is rape now, blah, blah, blah.” You know what? This is what happens. This is what happens.

    [...]

    This is what happens when you -- George Will in a Washington Post column attacked this sort of “alleged” crisis of sexual assault. Well, this is what we're talking about when we're talking about sexual assault. It is wrong. It is far too prevalent, and this culture we've had in this country in politics of masking it and masquerading it and making excuses for it, it's time it ends.

    Banfield deserves praise for giving considerable airtime to such an important topic and providing a platform for the voices most capable of contextualizing the issue. Other media figures and outlets should pay heed.

  • Media Surprised By Obamacare's Effect On Insurance Coverage Admin Explained Years Ago

    ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY & MICHELLE LEUNG

    Media reports suggested that it was previously unknown that some in the individual insurance market would have to seek new health care plans due to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) regulations. In fact, the administration announced in 2010 that some insurance policies would not be "grandfathered" in under the new law, largely due to regular turnover in the health insurance marketplace.

  • Media Keeps Up False Equivalency Reporting On Government Shutdown

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Media outlets continue their campaign of false equivalency to misleadingly assign President Obama an equal share of the blame for not negotiating with Republicans to repeal, defund, or delay the Affordable Care Act to end the government shutdown. But polls show the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of GOP actions that led to the shutdown.

  • CNN Bungles Reporting On Michigan's Anti-Union Law

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    CNN's Ashleigh Banfield and Poppy Harlow

    CNN aired a segment on Michigan's passage of a right-to-work law that was littered with misinformation, including the right-wing myth that workers in states without such laws are forced to join unions. In reality, federal law already prohibits unions from requiring workers to be members.

    On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed the right-to-work legislation, which bans "requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services," the Associated Press reported. Unions strongly opposed the law, and heated protests have been taking place in and around the Capitol in Lansing.

    On Erin Burnett OutFront, guest host Ashleigh Banfield began her coverage of the issue by claiming that the new Michigan law made it "illegal to force any workers to join a union." Similarly, reporter Poppy Harlow said workers in Michigan now "won't have to be part of a union." However, compulsory union membership is already illegal nationwide, and unions must still represent nonmembers under collective bargaining agreements. Right-to-work laws actually allow workers to receive these union benefits without having to pay fees.

    The segment also featured footage of Harlow interviewing Gov. Snyder, who said, "I think we'll see thousands of jobs coming to Michigan." After the footage aired, Harlow stated that while union members typically earn higher wages than nonmembers, Michigan will be "more competitive for businesses to come in" if wages are lower because of the right-to-work law.

    Harlow's claim is contradicted by economic research that says right-to-work laws have little impact on employment or economic growth.

    Later in the segment, Banfield asked CNN contributor John Avlon to explain the difference between the labor protests in Michigan and those in Wisconsin last year. Avlon said the difference is that "Wisconsin was all about public-sector unions" and Republicans' push to eliminate collective bargaining for most government employees there. Avlon added, "There is a world of difference" in Michigan, "which is about right-to-work for private-sector unions."

    But Avlon is wrong: The right-to-work legislation in Michigan affects private-sector workers and public-sector workers. The AP reported that the Michigan Legislature approved two bills: "One measure dealt with private-sector workers, the other with government employees. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed them both within hours."