Media Matters President Bradley Beychok: Lester Holt “Did A Very Good Job” As Debate Moderator Fact-Checking “Issues Of Big Importance”
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C-SPAN is set to air a Newsmakers interview with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone that gives Stone a friendly platform to promote Trump’s candidacy and float his conspiracy theory that the election may be “rigged” in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
C-SPAN is elevating Stone despite his long history of pushing conspiracy theories and making incendiary comments. In just the past two weeks, Stone has alleged that the Clintons orchestrated the recent murders of several people and claimed that Clinton aide Huma Abedin is a “terrorist agent” who married a Jewish man (Anthony Weiner) as “cover.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley, Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, and C-SPAN host Greta Wodele Brawner spoke to Stone on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers in an interview that C-SPAN posted online ahead of its August 21 airing.
In the course of the interview, the journalists asked Stone about several issues surrounding the campaign, including campaign strategy, Trump’s approach toward the presidential debates, the candidate’s leadership style, and Stone’s repeated criticism of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Langley asked Stone, “One thing that Trump and you have alleged frequently is that this election could be ‘rigged.’ Why do you say that, and do you think that’s a dangerous thing to be saying for a democracy?” Stone responded, “Actually, it’s a dangerous thing to not be saying.” He then suggested that polls are currently being intentionally “inflate[d]” to favor Clinton in order to lay the groundwork for electronic voting machines to be rigged to “reflect that outcome.” After Stone proffered his conspiracy theory, the questioners just shifted to discussing recent changes in Trump’s campaign staff.
Stone’s other conspiracy theories were not referenced at all. Along with his claim that the Clintons are responsible for multiple murders (including John F. Kennedy, Jr.), he has argued that Lyndon Johnson had John F. Kennedy killed, and that the Bush family tried to have President Ronald Reagan assassinated.
Newsmakers also ignored the series of racist and sexist tweets that spurred CNN and MSNBC to ban Stone from appearing on air. The interviewers also did not bring up his tweets advocating the execution of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
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While GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump recently suggested that voters should be allowed to ban fracking at a local or state level, one of Trump’s economic advisers believes that “to be against fracking is like being against a cure for cancer.”
During the August 1 edition of C-SPAN2's Book TV, while discussing his new book Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, conservative economist Stephen Moore stated that opposing fracking “is like being against a cure for cancer” because it is “one of the great seismic technological breakthroughs” that is “giving us huge amounts of energy at very low prices.” He criticized Florida high school students who oppose fracking, claiming they were “indoctrinated in their high school classes” to think that “somehow fracking is a bad thing.”
Moore also dismissed the widespread concerns about fracking contaminating drinking water supplies by claiming that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “said there were no findings of water contamination from fracking.” But the EPA’s report actually found multiple instances of water contamination from fracking, and that the EPA itself emphasized that its data was “insufficient” to evaluate how often fracking impacts water “with any certainty,” leading its own scientists to call its conclusions into question.
Days before C-SPAN2 aired the discussion, Trump told a local Denver television station that “voters should have a say" in whether to allow fracking, adding, "[I]f a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking I can understand that.” Many towns in Colorado have placed local bans or moratoriums on fracking, and Democrats are currently working to place an initiative for a statewide ban on fracking on the November ballot, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Moore is reportedly one of Trump's "council of wise men" and a campaign adviser, who was picked by Trump, along with CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, to re-write his tax plan. Moore, who is also a Fox News contributor and senior economist at the fossil fuel-funded Heritage Foundation, has compared fracking to a cancer cure in the past, and has also distorted a NASA study to claim that it was an "indication" that global warming is "actually not happening."
From the August 1 edition of C-SPAN2's Book TV:
STEPHEN MOORE: How many of you have seen that video from Gasland where the West Virginia -- they light the big lighter near the water and it looks like -- I'm sure you've seen that, it looks like a blowtorch -- and I remember when that came out, when did that come out? Four or five years ago or something like that? And I remember we went to West Virginia to give a talk about energy policy, and I was talking to these folks about it and I mentioned the Gasland scene, and these people burst out laughing, they were like, "This has been happening for 75 years in West Virginia." ... So the point is, that's not fracking. This is just a perfect example of a propaganda campaign that's going on. It's not fracking, it's natural seepage of that, just as you're describing, it seeps up into the -- so, if that being the case, how do you prevent it from getting into the drinking water? You actually drill it out. If you drill it out, it's less likely to contaminate drinking water. The EPA -- correct me if I'm wrong on this, you're the expert -- but, was it about a year or so ago, the EPA said there were no findings of water contamination from fracking. I've got to say, this is an amazing thing that's going on in this country. I gave a talk two years ago to the valedictorians, high school valedictorians of Florida. And there were about 50 of these kids, and they were incredibly impressive and bright and smart and they were inquisitive and so on. And I remember during my little talk to them -- I gave two or three minutes about this energy stuff and how great this is -- and I remember they started to frown. And I said, "Gee, this is kind of weird." And then all of a sudden I said, "Wait a minute. Wait, wait wait. How many of you in this room, of you 50 kids, how many of you think fracking is a good thing?" About 12 of them raised their hands. "How many of you think fracking is a bad thing?" Thirty of them raised their hands. Now, look, to be against fracking is like being against a cure for cancer. This is one of the great seismic technological breakthroughs. We're way ahead of the rest of the world. It's giving us access to huge amounts of energy at very low prices. How could anybody be against this? And it occurred to me, these kids have been indoctrinated in their high school classes that somehow fracking is a bad thing. And this is a tough thing to defeat, this kind of wacko propaganda campaign that infiltrates every area of our culture.
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C-SPAN allowed disgraced former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson to push numerous debunked Benghazi myths for over half an hour. Attkisson has a noted history of pushing a "Benghazi Campaign" and left CBS News after executives saw her "wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue."
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Now that the Obama administration and Congress are engaged in a debate over immigration policy, a Media Matters review of major news outlets has found that when it comes to immigration coverage, anti-immigrant commentator Mark Krikorian continues to be the media's preferred conservative voice. Krikorian heads the Center for Immigration Studies, a group associated with notorious nativist John Tanton and whose research has been called into question -- but these facts are routinely ignored in coverage of his remarks.
The Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky has been on the media circuit this week in a desperate effort to convince the American people that expensive and unnecessary voter ID laws are necessary to prevent widespread voter fraud from corrupting our democracy. After appearing on CNN Saturday morning, von Spakovsky was hosted on C-SPAN Tuesday morning to debate the matter with Jon Greenbaum of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. His misrepresentations about the prevalence of voter fraud in America began almost immediately.
When pressed about the claim that there is very little evidence of voter fraud in America, von Spakovsky cited as the perfect example of why Mississippi and other states need to pass voter ID laws the case of U.S. v. Brown, a lawsuit prosecuted by the Justice Department against Ike Brown, the Democratic leader in Noxubee County, MS. But it's hard to see how the voter ID laws could have prevented Brown's crimes.
VON SPAKOVSKY: Well, let's talk about Mississippi where they're voting today in a referendum about voter ID. Anyone who has any doubts about this can pull up a case called U.S. v. Brown, it's a lawsuit that was won under the Voting Rights Act in 2007 by the Justice Department, and the defendant in that case was convicted of all kinds of violations of the Voting Rights Act, discrimination, also he was engaging in voter fraud. And there was testimony in that case, cited in the court decision, by a former deputy sheriff, an African American, about how he witnessed the defendant in that case outside a polling place, telling a young black woman that she should go into the polling place and vote, that she could use any name, no one would question her about it. And how could she do that? Because Mississippi doesn't have a voter ID law.
One woman trying to vote under another name (and there's no evidence in the judgment against Brown that she either attempted this or was successful at it) is the least of their problems in Noxubee County. The complaint against Brown and the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee accused the parties of, among other things, recruiting unqualified African American candidates from outside the district to run against white candidates, excluding white people from participation in Democratic Executive Committee activities/decisions, manipulating voter rolls, prohibiting white people from voting, and rejecting valid absentee ballots.
The Mississippi law being supported by von Spakovsky would require voters at the polls to present a government issued photo ID before being permitted to vote. The former DOJ attorney suggests that a voter ID requirement would prevent Brown's crimes. But how? Brown was running the polling operations in the voting district - he seemed to have no trouble picking and choosing which laws to follow, so why would von Spakovsky expect him to honor the voter ID restrictions? In fact, it stretches the boundaries of reason to believe that any laws on the books would have prevented Brown from committing the crimes of which he was found guilty.
For some unknown reason, on Friday, C-SPAN decided to host Roy Beck, executive director of anti-immigration group NumbersUSA, to talk about immigration policy. And Beck, whose strategy centers on advocating for an immigration system that will leave immigrants with no choice but to depart the United States en masse, appeared on the network's Washington Journal program unchallenged. Not once during the more than half-hour interview did he go head-to-head against an immigrants' rights activist or face off against a caller with an opposing viewpoint. This is odd considering the network and the show's stated aims.
The network states that it "does not endorse" any comments made by guests, and that hosts step in when callers make "ad hominem attacks or use indecent language or obviously racist language." Moreover, says C-SPAN, "[e]ach program strives to educate the viewing public about national issues and to learn from them." But how is airing the "heir apparent" to an "anti-immigration crusader," whose organizations have been accused of being "in bed with racist hate groups," educational or even helpful to understanding vital immigration policy?
NumbersUSA is a well-known anti-immigration organization that aims to reduce the overall numerical levels of annual legal and illegal immigration. The group was founded and funded by controversial activist John Tanton, "the anti-immigration crusader" who "spent decades at the heart of the white nationalist movement." According to The New York Times:
[Tanton] increasingly made his case against immigration in racial terms.
"One of my prime concerns," he wrote to a large donor, "is about the decline of folks who look like you and me." He warned a friend that "for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that."
Dr. Tanton acknowledged the shift from his earlier, colorblind arguments, but the "uncomfortable truth," he wrote, was that those arguments had failed. With a million or more immigrants coming each year -- perhaps a third illegally -- he warned, "The end may be nearer than we think."
Beck has tried to downplay his close relationship with Tanton, but he nevertheless has welcomed Tanton naming him the "heir apparent" to his vast right-wing, anti-immigration network. Moreover, Beck has spoken at a conference of Tanton's Social Contract Press, a pseudo academic outfit that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists." Beck's views of immigrants are akin to Tanton's in that he doesn't think too highly of them. For instance, Beck has called them "thieves" because they "are people who came to steal a job."
C-SPAN is a public service created by the American cable television industry: To provide C-SPAN's audience access to the live gavel-to-gavel proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and to other forums where public policy is discussed, debated and decided -- all without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view.
It's surprising, then, that C-SPAN has repeatedly simulcast the show of Iowa radio bigot Jan Mickelson, an apparent birther who is virulently anti-gay. In a speech at a conservative event last month that was broadcast by C-SPAN, Mickelson said that because President Obama "has left out 'equally endowed by our Creator" in his recitation of the Declaration "even after he's been told several times that he's an Arab" for doing so, his actions must be "deliberate" and are therefore "evil."
On Tuesday, C-SPAN dedicated two and a half hours of airtime to giving Mickelson's show, which he describes as "fairly right of center," a national audience.
It's unclear how a hateful voice like Mickelson's fits into the thoughtful, balanced and bipartisan tone that C-SPAN and its corporate funders say they are seeking to undertake. In a statement to Media Matters, C-SPAN declined to comment on Mickelson's rhetoric, but acknowledged that the network has aired Mickelson's show ten times as a part of their efforts in "simulcasting local radio stations... with the intent of giving national audiences a sense of local debate and discussion."
So for C-SPAN, broadcasting Mickelson's record of vitriol is justified since it is just part of the local flavor of Iowa. Below the fold are just a few of the incendiary remarks C-SPAN disregarded when deciding to provide a national platform to Mickelson's "local debate."
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Tonight is the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, otherwise known as "nerd prom." You can watch all the insidery beltway media festivities on CSPAN - check local listings for time and channel.
For those of you on Twitter, folks will be tweeting all night under a few hashtags: #nerdprom, #whca and #whcd. I'll be at a few parties and you can follow me @KarlFrisch.
It will be interesting to see what news comes out of tonight's dinner. You may recall in 2006 how Stephen Colbert, the night's comedic entertainment, was roundly criticized for being too "tough" on President Bush. Some even said he didn't bring much laughter to the room -- I was there and my perception was a bit different... everyone seemed to love Colbert at least until the following Monday when the media finger wagging began. Of course some in the media chose to ignore Colbert entirely.
For those of you who missed it, I present to you Stephen Colbert's remarks via YouTube in three parts.
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3
On C-SPAN, Jerome Corsi, author of The Obama Nation, asserted that, if Sen. Barack Obama were elected president and someone were to write a book critical of him or to publish "a cartoon like The New Yorker," "Obama might just have to create a department of hate crimes and put them in jail."