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  • Media Falsely Accuse Clinton Of Making Up “Security Inquiry” Characterization Of Email Probe

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media mischaracterized comments by FBI Director James Comey to baselessly suggest that Hillary Clinton coined and used the term “security inquiry” to describe  the FBI probe into her email use  to downplay its severity. But the terms "inquiry" and "security referral" came from The New York Times’ original report on the probe, and it has reaffirmed that the “case began as a security referral.”

  • What Media Need To Know About Trump Economic Policy Advisers Steve Moore And Larry Kudlow

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Politico reported that Donald Trump is tapping conservative economic pundits Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow to assist in remaking the presumptive Republican nominee’s tax plan, which has been lambasted as a budget-busting giveaway to high-income earners and corporations. Media should be aware that both Moore and Kudlow have long histories of playing fast and loose with the facts while making outlandish and incorrect claims about the economy.

  • “A Republican Munich”: Conservative Media React To Cruz-Kasich Alliance To Stop Trump

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) announced a plan to mutually shift resources in upcoming contests to increase the odds of denying front-runner Donald Trump a majority of delegates before the GOP convention. Some conservative media figures have criticized the candidates' decision, calling it “unreal” and "the equivalent of a Republican Munich."

  • Right-Wing Media Can't Believe Hillary Clinton Has Hot Sauce In Her Bag

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media figures attacked Hillary Clinton for saying that she always carries hot sauce with her during an interview with a New York hip-hop radio show, attacking her for “pandering” and “casual racism.” But Salon reports that Clinton “has been talking about carrying hot sauce since 2008,” and various outlets over the years have reported that Clinton “packed pepper sauce” in her bag and had “a collection of more than 100 hot sauces” when she was first lady.

  • A Guide To The Myths & Facts On Obama’s Executive Actions On Immigration

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court “is weighing the fate” of President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration which “could shield roughly 4 million people from deportation” and grant them legal right to work. Right-wing media have spent years misinforming about the legality, and economic impact of the executive actions. Here are the facts.

  • How Right-Wing Media Attacks Against Celebrities Who Speak Out About The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    On Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how conservative media attacked female celebrities and athletes for speaking out about wage disparities in their industry and the need for a guarantee of equal pay for equal work. Right-wing media blamed wage inequality on women’s “self-esteem,” their willingness to sign and negotiate “bad” contracts, and so-called “fuzzy math” on the part of equal pay advocates; all while continuing to push the myth that the gender gap doesn’t exist.

  • Trump Denies Evidence, Says Breitbart Reporter "Made Up" Story Of Assault By Campaign Manager

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Front-runner Donald Trump denied accusations that his campaign manager pushed a Breitbart News reporter claiming, "perhaps she made the story up." The story has been corroborated by several reporters and Politico released audio evidence of the incident.

    On March 9, Politico reported that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields was "forcibly grabbed" by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to ask Trump a question. According to Politico, Fields was "clearly roughed up" and the incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris. Furthermore, on Twitter, Fields shared a photograph of bruises on her arm which she alleged were a result of the altercation with Lewandowski. Politico also posted audio of the incident after the Trump campaign and Lewandowski denied it took place.

    Following the March 10, CNN GOP Debate, Donald Trump refuted the incident took place saying, "nobody saw anything" and there was no video or photographic evidence. In another interview, Trump doubled down on his denial claiming, "Perhaps she made the story it up."

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Dana, Trump was not asked tonight about these allegations that his campaign manager assaulted a female reporter, who worked for the pro-Trump blog Breitbart.com. He's denied, Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager has denied that this happened. Trump was asked about it, here is what he said moments ago.

    [Begin Clip]

    DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely nothing happened. He didn't hear about it until, like, the next day. So, and I wasn't involved in it, but the Secret Service was surrounding everybody, they said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up, I think that's what happened.

    [End Clip]

  • Conservatives Are Already Preparing To Cry "Cover-Up" If Hillary Clinton Isn't Indicted

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures have been laying the foundation to allege a "scandal" and "cover-up" if the FBI's investigation into Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's email server does not result in Clinton's indictment, thus setting her up for a lose-lose situation. Yet multiple law experts have explained that an indictment is highly unlikely.

  • Conservative Media Push Conspiracy That Obama "Censored" "Islamic Terrorism" From French President's Remarks

    White House Updated The Video To Include All Remarks And Explained Technical Glitch Led To The Audio Being Dropped

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Conservative outlets quickly hatched a conspiracy theory that the White House "censored" French President Francois Hollande from using the phrase "Islamist terrorism" during a bilateral meeting with President Obama in Washington, D.C. The White House explained the issue was simply a technical glitch that was fixed immediately.

  • A Timeline Of The Anonymously Sourced FBI Agent Numbers That Distorted The Clinton Email Server Investigation

    The Numbers Have Changed From 150 To 12

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Since January, numerous outlets, including Fox News and The Washington Post, have cited anonymous or discredited sources to claim that up to 150 FBI agents were investigating Hillary Clinton's private email server. But the number of agents has been a moving target, with the Post later correcting itself to say it was "less than 50" and NBC saying March 30 that the number is closer to 12. NBC's source -- also anonymous -- called the earlier figures "ridiculous" and said, "You need an act of terrorism to get 50 agents working on something."

  • Washington Post Corrects Faulty Report That Nearly 150 FBI Agents Are Investigating Clinton Emails

    The Post Now Reports "The Number Of FBI Personnel Involved Is Fewer Than 50"

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    The Washington Post has retracted its anonymously sourced claim that 147 FBI agents are detailed to the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and is now reporting that the real number is fewer than 50. Media outlets trumpeted the Post's report of the supposedly "staggering" number of FBI agents working the investigation as bad news for Clinton.

    On March 27, the Post published a 5,000-word article detailing the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email and personal Blackberry device during her time as secretary of state. The original story reported: "One hundred forty-seven FBI agents have been deployed to run down leads, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey."

    The Post's claim spread throughout the media, with outlets frequently highlighting the 147 figure in their headlines and some using the report to attack Clinton. National Review termed the figure "a staggering deployment of manpower," while Breitbart News celebrated the "FBI recently kick[ing] its investigation into high gear." The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza highlighted the "eye-popping" 147 figure by commenting, "W-H-A-T?", adding that the reported number of agents seemed "like a ton for a story that Clinton has always insisted was really, at heart, a right-wing Republican creation," while MSNBC's Joe Scarborough called the number the "worst kept secret in DC for months." The story was also highlighted in several segments on Fox News.

    But the next day, Politico reported that the Post's story might be inaccurate. According to Politico, an official close to the investigation refuted the Post's report, saying that "The FBI does not have close to 150 agents working the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server" and that the Post's "number is greatly exaggerated."

    The Washington Post issued a correction to both their initial story on March 29, explaining that they incorrectly reported "that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation" and that multiple U.S. law enforcement officials "have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high" and the actual number of "FBI personnel involved in the case is fewer than 50":

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Clinton used two different email addresses, sometimes interchangeably, as secretary of state. She used only hdr22@clintonemail.com as secretary of state.  Also, an earlier version of this article reported that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey. Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50.

    Cillizza issued an update to his post, changing his headline but not the text of his piece to reflect the Post's correction and stating, "I apologize for the error."

    The Washington Post joins other media outlets that have been forced to issue embarrassing corrections after publishing faulty claims on Clinton's emails based on anonymous sources. The New York Times issued two corrections on stories claiming Clinton was the subject of a "criminal probe," based in part on unnamed "Capitol Hill" sources.  

    The media continues to scandalize Hillary Clinton during the FBI's probe, even though legal experts have repeatedly explained that Clinton is unlikely to face prosecution and have termed an indictment "ridiculous."

  • Huffington Post: Media Has Not Asked Trump About Disturbing Allegations Against His Campaign Manager

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A Huffington Post report found that in over a dozen TV interviews with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, not a single network has asked him about the alleged assault of Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

    Fields filed a police report against Lewandowski Friday after she was allegedly forcefully grabbed by Lewandowski at a Trump rally while asking a question. Breitbart News' weak response to the incident led to Field and others resigning from the outlet. On the March 14 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, Fields claimed that her former editor told her the incident would be "great" because it would lead to "more access to Donald Trump."

    Donald Trump's campaign has a history of problems with the press, including a Time magazine photographer being choked by a Secret Service agent. Lewandowski himself has been previously accused of making "sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists." Media Matters previously found that the March 13 Sunday political talk shows on NBC, CNN, Fox, and CBS failed to ask Trump about the incident.

    The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone wrote in a March 17 article that "Fields' charge hasn't come up once" in "more than a dozen TV interviews [with Trump] amounting to over two and a half hours of airtime." Calderone noted that "Trump notably brought Lewandowski up on stage during his Tuesday night victory speech in Florida, praising him while he berated the reporters in attendance as 'disgusting' and 'horrible people'":

    Since former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields filed a police report Friday alleging that Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted her after a press conference, the GOP front-runner has done more than a dozen TV interviews amounting to over two and a half hours of airtime.

    And in all that time, Fields' charge hasn't come up once.

    Neither have more recent allegations against Lewandowski. Politico reported Tuesday that the top Trump aide has treated reporters roughly and made "sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments" to and about female journalists covering the campaign. Lewandowski denied the claims.

    As Lewandowski's behavior has gone unquestioned in Trump's recent interviews on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, the business mogul has only helped thrust his campaign manager further into the national spotlight.

    Trump notably brought Lewandowski up on stage during his Tuesday night victory speech in Florida, praising him while he berated the reporters in attendance as "disgusting" and "horrible people." Lewandowski enjoyed the media-bashing while Trump refused to take reporters' questions, even though the gathering was purportedly a "press conference." One of the Politico reporters behind Tuesday's story was barred from the event, the latest in a pattern of retribution against news outlets that are critical of Trump.

    Television journalists have subjected Trump to tough questions over the past week about encouraging violence at his events, with Friday night's cable news takeover understandably focused on the candidate's decision to cancel a Chicago rally. Some have also pressed Trump on the $40 million fraud lawsuit involving Trump University, his employment of foreign workers, his lack of a foreign policy team, and his past misogynistic remarks, resurrected in a new ad from an anti-Trump super PAC. They've also, of course, asked about Trump's recent victories and the state of the primary race.

    Still, the lack of questions about the police report Fields filed against Lewandowski has been maddening to Trump's critics, who see it as a serious issue that's going completely unaddressed. Several journalists have pointed out when TV interviewers fail to bring it up, despite the incident's relevance to other questions about violence at Trump's campaign events and his treatment of women.

  • Right-Wing Media Distort Hillary Clinton's Comments About Libya Intervention

    Conservative Media Follow RNC Lead In Smearing Clinton For Accurately Stating No Americans Died In Military Campaign To Oust Gadhafi

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ, TYLER CHERRY & BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing media figures are distorting a comment made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a MSNBC town hall, where Clinton said "we didn't lose a single person" during the 2011 U.S. military intervention in Libya. Conservative commentators parroted the GOP in berating Clinton for allegedly "forgetting" about the four Americans who were killed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks, when in reality Clinton was referring only to the military intervention in Libya, which ended nearly a year before the Benghazi attacks.

  • Trump, Breitbart, And The Right-Wing Media's Hunger Games Showdown

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Two data points from early in the week: President Obama currently enjoys some of the highest approval ratings of his second term, while the conservative media shit show surrounding Donald Trump descends into a Hunger Games-like round of final elimination.

    And yes, there's something deeply poetic about that contrast.

    It's ironic because when Obama was first elected, the conservative media, including key outposts such as Breitbart, hoped they were going to check his every move. They were going to break his presidency. Instead, the only thing broken these days is the spirit of most of the conservative press as Trump stands poised to run away with the Republican nomination and conservative commentators form a circular firing squad lamenting the party's future, as well as Trump's potential November loss.

    The recent breakdown at Breitbart News is just the latest dumpster fire drawing attention. The site continues to implode in public view after feverishly pro-Trump editors failed to adequately defend reporter Michelle Fields when she was reportedly grabbed by Trump's campaign manager while trying to pose a question to the candidate.

    It represents the latest skirmish in the unfolding civil war. In January, National Review declared war on Trump. Later that month he once again opened fire on Fox News. And now Breitbart staffers are jumping ship because the site's so clearly inside Trump's pocket. ("Trump lackeys," according to National Review.)

    Trump's the wrecking ball candidate. But so far, it looks like the only damage he's doing is to the GOP and the conservative press.

    Lots of conservative media jaws remain dropped on the floor as their loyal readers, listeners, and viewers embrace Trump as their triumphant hero. Lots of conservative voices are belatedly chasing after the bandwagon urging voters to jump off. But it's too late. The right-wing media built this Frankenstein monster and now it's marauding around the countryside with a massive, GOP pitchfork crowd following in its wake, eager and willing to ransack whatever stands in its way.

    Is brainwashed too harsh of a term for what has happened to hardcore conservative voters in recent years, thanks in part to the far-right press?

    There's little doubt that Trump, a bullying bigoted nativist, has emerged as the mirror image of the Obama-hating far-right press. He's clearly won over the demagoguery wing of the Republican Party, which for years obsessed over every Fox News Benghazi report, cheered every Rush Limbaugh I.R.S. condemnation, and watched Trump's birther campaign with great fascination.

    What's inescapable today about the mounting Trump carnage is that it's all self-inflicted. Trump's flourishing on the fertile playing field of bigotry and resentment that the conservative media helped cultivate for years. Anti-intellectualism became a hallmark of the conservative press under Obama. Today, that's what is powering Trump's run.

    Look no further than Breitbart. This is from an item I wrote in 2010, cataloging the site's already-rich history of getting everything wrong:  

    This, from the site that can't read WH visitor's logs, doesn't understand pop culture, can't read polling data, doesn't know what a hate crime is, is clueless about the law, openly mocks Christmas, has trouble reading English, and launched one of the most incompetent smear campaigns in internet history. 

    And yet appearing on Fox News recently, Breitbart's former publicist Kurt Bardella, who resigned in protest last week, attributed Trump's rise to the fact that "facts no longer have their place in the political conversation and discourse in this country." Trust me, conservative sites like Breitbart have been dismantling "facts" for many, many years.

    "All movements are vulnerable to populist excesses and the self-destructive impulses of their core supporters," wrote Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, as he castigated the conservative press for Trump's rise. "Good leaders can help to mitigate those pathologies. Bad leaders magnify them."

    Leaders of the Republican Party chose to magnify them, as they deputized the right-wing media in their pursuit of Obama. The move represented a complete abdication of leadership. But after the Obama landslide in 2008, the strategy was easy, it was cheap and it produced short-term excitement, bordering on hysteria, within a conservative movement.

    So off came all the mechanical governors and the right-wing media engine was revved for seven years. Obviously, we're now watching the colossal -- and predictable -- malfunction.

    The dirty little media secret about "conservative journalism" is that today, very little of it constitutes journalism. Not even close. (It more often resembles opposition research designed to trip up Democrats and little else.) And on the extreme boundaries, you have supposed news outlets like Breitbart acting like a "de facto super PAC" for the Trump campaign.

    There simply is no mirror relationship on the left. The Nation, for instance, doesn't relentlessly publish fabrications in the name of trying to damage the GOP. Mother Jones doesn't launch ridiculous smear campaigns against Republicans in hopes of boosting the chances of the Democratic Party. There is no liberal version of Breitbart, or The Drudge Report, or Fox News.

    That's because those conservative entities don't operate -- they're not weighed down -- by guidelines of fair play. Instead, it's anything goes. And when the target was Obama (i.e. he's a traitor who sides with terrorists), the cheers were deafening on the far end of the political spectrum.

    For many, those cheers have been replaced by groans while Trump stands poised to pad his primary lead. As the staff defections pile up, it's not known if Breitbart can survive the unfolding civil war.

    The same goes for the Republican Party.