Brooke Baldwin

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  • Media Discover Due Caution When It Comes To Reporting About Trump

    But Where Was That Prudence On Clinton Email Reporting? 

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    The media’s four-alarm fire drill over FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would further investigate more emails related to its Hillary Clinton server investigation stands in stark contrast to the cautious, measured approach the press took when reporting on several stories about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russian entities. The divergent approaches to the so-called “October surprises” underscore the media’s double standard when reporting on Clinton and Trump.

    After Comey released a letter on October 28 to congressional leaders stating that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the [Clinton email] investigation” and that the bureau was going to “review these emails” (which may or may not be “significant”), the chorus of pundits hyping the DEFCON 1 “bombshell” was unrestrained, despite the dearth of information about the FBI’s decision or next moves.

    With scarcely any details about the new developments, cable news talking heads -- relying solely on Comey’s vague letter and Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) misleading spin that the investigation was “reopened” -- hyped the news as “damaging” and called it “a dramatic new twist” and “an exclamation point on the end of a horrible week for Clinton and the Democrats.” Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin crowed that the “presidential race has been rocked by another head-scratching, rally-bending, M. Knight Shyamalan-worthy plot twist.”

    CNN’s Brooke Baldwin even conceded that “there is so much we do not know,” yet nevertheless declared that “it’s a significant story … [with] 11 days to go.” Indeed, the media’s immediate email coverage relied solely on speculation, but it sounded as if the damage and implications were definitive: So much was made of so little. 

    Contrast the Clinton email reaction with that to the litany of stories that were published on October 31 about Trump: that Trump allegedly has a secret server that communicates with a shady Russian bank; that the Russian government has allegedly “for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump”; that the FBI is reportedly “conducting a preliminary inquiry” into the “foreign business connections” of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort; and that Comey was reluctant “to name Russia as meddling in the U.S. election” because “it was too close to Election Day.” The double standard becomes pretty clear.

    CNN’s Erin Burnett, referring to the CNBC and Huffington Post stories about Comey’s objection to naming Russia as an “election meddler,” said that “CNN has not been able to corroborate” the reporting. Likewise, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asserted that “reports about [the Trump] campaign’s links to Russia” were “uncorroborated.” On MSNBC, Bloomberg’s Megan Murphy called the series of Trump stories “Russian conspiracy theories,” and MSNBC host Craig Melvin calmly asked about the “new information” regarding “possible Russian business ties in the Trump campaign” (emphasis added).

    The media’s treatment of the Trump stories with a cautious eye is not unwelcomed -- in fact, it embodies the best possible way to report on new developments with limited information and uncorroborated claims. As it turns out, the veracity of some of the allegations about Trump’s Russian ties seemingly came into question hours after the initial reports, with The New York Times reporting that no FBI “investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.” The media’s measured approach to the initial spate of stories was thus a proper safeguard for reporting on stories that may or may not be true.

    But the overhyped media freakout, the rush to judgment, the presumption of guilt, and the reliance on GOP spin after the FBI letter was publicized couldn’t have been further from the media’s approach to the Trump stories, and the disparity falls in line with what James Carville calls the “Clinton Rule”: “There shall be one standard for covering everyone else in public life, and another standard for the Clintons.”

    Media figures qualified the Trump-Russia stories by noting that they were unproven allegations with little supporting information, yet they didn’t give that same benefit to the FBI email story (for which, to be sure, there is even less information). The cautious reporting isn’t the problem; the double standard is. 

  • Fox Only Cable News Network That Ignored Trump Supporters’ Racist Attacks On Hispanic Journalist

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Fox News was the only cable news network not to cover a revealing story by senior political writer Henry Gomez of Cleveland.com about the influx of racist “vitriol” he has received from his readers, most of which he said “parrot[ed] a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits,” referring to the Republican presidential nominee’s inflammatory rhetoric against Latinos.

    Gomez’s September 12 piece outlined the “racist, hateful messages” that Trump supporters have been sending him for months, telling him, as he noted in an interview, to “go back” to Mexico -- even though he was born in Youngstown, OH -- and claiming that he has a conflict of interest as a journalist because of his Mexican heritage.

    Both CNN and MSNBC gave Gomez airtime to discuss his perspective as a Latino journalist covering Trump, yet Fox News ignored the story.

    From the September 13 edition of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

    While Latino journalists continue to stress the point that Trump’s rhetoric has put Latinos across the country at risk of vicious attacks and even violence, right-wing media consistently go to Trump’s defense and downplay the damaging impact his racist fearmongering has had on the Latino community.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for interviews with Henry Gomez between September 12, 2016, when the story was first reported, and September 13, 2016, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC using the terms: “henry gomez” or “cleveland.com.”

  • Fox Defends Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” Proposal As Other Journalists Criticize It

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Fox News figures are praising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to have “extreme vetting” of immigrants wanting to come into the United States and using questionnaires to vet their beliefs, saying “we’ve done it before,” that it “made sense,” and that it was part of a “a solution-based program.” Meanwhile, other journalists and media outlets are saying the idea “just beggars belief” and is an “impractical” attempt “to recast his Muslim ban in other, less obviously offensive terms.”

  • On CNN, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Editorial Page Editor Repeats Sentinel’s Call For Paul Ryan To “Disavow Donald Trump”

    David Haynes: “We Think Trump Has Crossed Many Lines, But This Final Line Was His Essential Denigration Of A Gold Star Family”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial editor repeated the Sentinel's call for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to disavow GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, explaining that he "must choose his party or his principles."

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial board denounced Trump in the August 2 edition of the paper, describing his attacks on the Khan family a “national embarrassment,” and called for Paul Ryan to “stand on principle” and “disavow Donald Trump,” because his “candidacy cannot accommodate both”:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan still seems to think he can have it both ways with Donald Trump. But he must choose his party or his principles. The Trump candidacy cannot accommodate both.

    [...]

    Ryan still believes he can have it both ways with Trump — that he can support Trump and still manage the billionaire’s frequent eruptions of ignorance. He cannot. His principles and Donald Trump's candidacy are simply not compatible. What will it take, Speaker Ryan? If not small-minded contempt for a Gold Star family, then what? How far must Trump go? Stand on principle. Disavow Donald Trump.

    Editorial page editor for the Sentinel, David Haynes, discussed the publication with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on August 3, telling the host that “it’s really time for [Paul Ryan] to say ‘I was wrong’ and to take back that endorsement” of Trump. Haynes stated “we think Trump has crossed many lines, but this final line was his essential denigration of a gold star family, the Khan family.”

    Haynes continued, stating “there is a certain baseline that a person has to meet in order to be qualified for the nation’s highest office,” arguing “this would be an unusual move for a House Speaker,” but “maybe it’s time for that unusual move.” From the August 3 edition of CNN’s CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:  

    BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): Meantime, the headline over the course of the last 24 hours in this interview with the Washington Post, he refused to endorse the top Republican congressman, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. And in fact today, Wisconsin hometown paper is calling him out. David Haynes is with me, editorial page editor with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Nice to have you, sir. Welcome.

    DAVID HAYNES: Thank you. Good to be with you, Brooke.

    BALDWIN: So, you just published a piece calling on Paul Ryan to disavow Trump once and for all, writing quote, "Ryan still believes he can have it both ways with Trump, that he could support Trump and still manage the billionaire's frequent eruptions of ignorance. He cannot." What exactly are you asking for Paul Ryan to do?

    HAYNES: Well, we have a tremendous amount of respect for Paul Ryan. We've disagreed with him on issues from time to time, but it's always been an issue based disagreement. We have a lot of affection for Paul Ryan, but we think that he needs to stand on principles and not party in this case. It's really time for him to say "I was wrong," and to take back that endorsement. We think Trump has crossed many lines, but this final line was his essential denigration of a gold star family, the Khan family.

    BALDWIN: The saying "I was wrong," or even President Obama saying from the East Room yesterday to leaders like Paul Ryan, you know, "You need to say enough," -- wouldn't that make him look weak?

    HAYNES: Actually -- I think actually it makes him look strong. Paul Ryan has a great deal of respect within the conservative movement and his own party. Polling in Wisconsin and nationwide shows he is still very popular. It certainly isn't going to hurt him in his election in the primary. He has a primary challenge this year, but all polling we've seen shows that he is doing quite well. And what it says is that he is standing up for his own conservative principles, but beyond that, for the idea that there is a certain baseline that a person has to meet in order to be qualified for the nation's highest office.

    BALDWIN: And let me -- it is fascinating, also just talking you to you there in Wisconsin, because of Reince Priebus, right?

    HAYNES: Correct.

    BALDWIN: So, he is in a curious place, the chair of the RNC, but, you know, good, good buddies with Paul Ryan. They go back to -- he chaired his first congressional race, and you know, we know he has been on the phone back and forth with Donald Trump in the last couple of days. What do you think Reince Priebus is thinking right now?

    HAYNES: We have heard that Reince Priebus for a number of weeks has been tearing his hair out, because there is very little he can do. I understand Reince Priebus continues to support the candidate. I think he has to. But we think Paul Ryan is in a very different position. It's a very odd election, I understand that, and this would be an unusual move for a House Speaker, to essentially disavow a candidate from his own party. But maybe it's time for that unusual move, at least that's our opinion.