Carol Costello

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  • The Worst Islamophobia Of 2015 (VIDEO)

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC WUESTEWALD

    Fleeing from terror and indiscriminate violence in parts of the Middle East, millions of people have packed up and left their homes to start safer lives for themselves and their families elsewhere. But if you tuned into Fox News anytime in the last year, you'd think the refugees themselves -- many of them Muslim -- were responsible for the violence. In fact, painting Muslims as terrorists, radicals, and tacit supporters of ISIS, baseless demonization of Islam was the channel's modus operandi in 2015. And it wasn't just right-wing media. CNN also joined the smears, asking a Muslim human rights lawyer if he supports ISIS, questioning a Michigan mayor if she's afraid of her majority Muslim-American city council, and forcing responsibility for the recent attacks in Paris onto an innocent French Muslim.

    From berating a teenager for his interest in technology to inventing so-called "no-go zones," watch how the media fearmongered about Muslims in 2015:

    As Columbia Journalism Review explains in their annual list of the worst journalism in 2015, the media has a special responsibility to get these stories right and not perpetuate Islamophobia, as inaccurate and "reactionary coverage" can "influence policy makers to take drastic measures under the guise of popular fears."  

  • Media Fixate On Clinton "Video" Remark, Ignore That ISIS Does Reportedly Recruit Using Trump's Islamophobia


    Hillary Clinton said during the December 19 Democratic presidential primary debate that ISIS is using Donald Trump's inflammatory anti-Muslim comments "to recruit more radical jihadists." Although experts say that ISIS and other terrorist groups are using Trump's remarks to attract recruits on social media, journalists have ignored that fact and fixated on Clinton's specific statement that the terrorists use Trump's comments in recruitment "videos" to suggest that Clinton "made the stuff up about Trump and ISIS."

  • Discredited Gun Researcher John Lott Calls It "Inflammatory" To Point Out San Bernardino Was The 355th Mass Shooting This Year In The U.S.

    CNN's Carol Costello: "Oh, John, Let's Be Serious, There Are Too Many Mass Shootings In This Country"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Discredited gun researcher John Lott called CNN host Carol Costello's citation of the fact that there have been 355 mass shootings in the United States in 2015 "inflammatory," causing an incredulous Costello tell Lott to "be serious" about the problem of mass shootings.

    Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics, who found serious flaws in his research.

    On the December 3 edition of CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, Costello asked Lott how Democrats and Republicans can "come up with a plan together" to stop mass shootings, noting that according to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 355 shootings in the United States this year where four or more people were shot. Lott characterized Costello's citation of the figure as "inflammatory," causing a visibly exasperated Costello to tell Lott to "be serious" because "there are too many mass shootings in this country":

    CAROL COSTELLO (HOST): That's how this incident is being reported overseas. The BBC calling it "just another day of gun violence in the United States." And according to at least one unofficial tally, the numbers support that claim. -- which defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire -- says San Bernardino was 355th. The 355th mass shooting this year alone. It was also, according to ShootingTracker's definition, the second worst mass shooting in the United States. The first took place early Wednesday morning in Savannah, Georgia, where a gunman killed one and wounded three others. So, let's talk about guns in America. John Lott is the founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of More Guns, Less Crimes. Good morning, John.

    JOHN LOTT: Good morning.

    COSTELLO: John, you know gun rights advocates and those in favor of more gun laws, they always talk at cross purposes. They can't seem to get on the same page. And I guess I don't feel like having an argument with you this morning. I kind of just want to find out how we can stop these shootings together. How can both sides come up with a plan together?

    LOTT: Well, sure. I mean, if you have proposals you want to talk about, I'm happy to do so. I suppose, part of it, though, is inflammatory claims, such as the two that you just went through from the BBC, as well as the tracking numbers there. I mean, first of all, these occur at about the same rate in Europe --

    COSTELLO: Oh, John, let's be serious. There are too many mass shootings in this country. John, let's be clear. There are too many shootings in this country.

    LOTT: Well, I'm just saying --

    COSTELLO: We've seen several in the past couple of weeks.

    LOTT: We should be accurate.

    COSTELLO: So let's just concentrate on that. There's a lot of gun violence in this country. We can all agree on that.

    LOTT: But the point was, I was just saying in order -- there's a reason why you started with those two things. I'm just saying, just to be accurate, Europe has about the same rate of mass public shootings as we have here in the United States. France, this year, has had 508 people killed or wounded in mass public shootings. In the entire Obama presidency, there has been a total of 424. And this tracking number that you just had, the vast majority of those are gang fights, which are bad. Gang fights over drug turf are bad things. But it's, I think, misleading.

    COSTELLO: John, let's just concentrate on the matter at hand: gun violence in the United States and how we can stop it. And how we can prevent these mass shootings, how we can prevent mentally imbalanced people from getting a hold of guns. How can we do that? How can we all get on the same page?

    LOTT: Right. Well, I think you're going to have a hard time stopping terrorists or others from getting a hold of weapons. I mean, if you really believe someone is a danger to others, you should lock them up. But simply going and telling them they're not going to be able to legally buy a gun when these individuals, such as the ones in San Bernardino, I wouldn't be surprised if they were planning this a year or more in advance. It's very common for these types of mass public shootings to be planned at least six months, and sometimes even a couple years in advance. And if somebody's planning that long in advance, they're going to make the pipe bombs. They're gonna go and get a hold of the other the weapons that are there and this is very difficult to stop them. The question is, what's your backup plan? What do you do when you can't stop these individuals from making these types of weapons? And I hope we're beginning to get to the place where we allow individuals to go and defend themselves. California, it's extremely difficult for anybody to go and get a concealed carry permit, to be able to go and defend themselves against these types of attacks. The type of attack that occurred at Planned Parenthood on Friday or this or at the Oregon school or all places where --

    COSTELLO: But let's be honest about one thing, John. Two of the weapons that these suspects used were purchased legally. In fact, all the guns, as far as we know, were purchased legally. So even though there are tight gun controls in the state of California, it's still easy to buy a high-powered weapon in the United States. And that's because there are so many guns out there. Over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, 185,000 firearms were purchased. That's a record for the holiday season. Lots and lots of people have guns in this country. Yet these mass shootings keep happening. So, how can more guns be the answer?

    LOTT: Well, the question is where people are allowed to have guns. If you ban guns from certain areas, people like these killers don't -- aren't stopped by the bans. The people who obey the laws are law abiding good citizens, who are no longer able to defend themselves, who are essentially sitting ducks. You make it safer for the attackers to go and commit these crimes because they don't have to worry about law-abiding citizens being able to stop them.

    COSTELLO: Alright. I have to leave it there, John.

  • Michigan Mayor Responds To CNN Anchor Asking Her If She Is "Afraid" To Govern "A Majority Muslim-American City"

    Karen Majewski: "The Focus On Terrorism And Fear Caught Me Completely By Surprise"

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    A Michigan mayor who was asked by a CNN anchor whether she is "afraid" to govern "a majority Muslim-American city" told Media Matters she was caught "completely by surprise" by the line of questioning.

    Karen Majewski, mayor of Hamtramck, Michigan, appeared November 23 on CNN Newsroom and was asked by anchor Carol Costello, "You govern a majority Muslim-American city. Are you afraid?" Majewski responded by explaining that she is "not afraid," and clarifying that she does not think the city is actually majority Muslim population-wise, though it did recently elect a majority-Muslim city council.

    "I was very surprised," Majewski said of Costello's questioning during a Monday interview with Media Matters. "What I had expected and what people usually ask me about is the diversity of this city and the changing demographics and something about the way that reflects changing American demographics in general. So the focus on terrorism and fear caught me completely by surprise."

    "We just never think about it in those terms and we don't think of our Muslim neighbors in those terms," she added. "There may be tensions, but they're not tensions over something like terrorism."

    Majewski, who has served as mayor since 2006 and runs a vintage clothing shop in town, said CNN producers did not tell her beforehand about the terrorism-focused line of questioning.

    "No, they didn't," she said. "I just assumed it was about the election and the kind of change from a Polish-dominated city to a city where the demographic is changing."

    "I didn't ask and they didn't tell me that there was a kind of national security person who was going to be the co-interviewee," she added. "If I had known that it might have clued me to what kind of angle they were going to take." (The other person on the panel was Buck Sexton, a conservative radio host for Glenn Beck's The Blaze and CNN political commentator.)

    Majewski speculated that the interview focus might have been prompted by a November 21 Washington Post article that she contends misstated that the city's population was now Muslim-majority, not just the city council, and raised unfounded terrorism fears.

    "I think the misinterpretation came from the headline of The Washington Post article," Majewski said. "The article itself seemed truncated and cut off at the knees and the headline was completely misleading."

    Asked if CNN or Costello had reached out to apologize or discuss the interview, Majewski said, "I imagine she might be getting some flack. I wouldn't expect any kind of apology. I just thought it was an odd line of questioning."

    CNN's interview of Majewski: