Chris Stirewalt

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  • Fox Contributor Blames The Victims Of Water Crisis: "The People Of Flint Should Have Been Protesting In The Streets"

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    victim

    Fox News' Chris Stirewalt placed blame on the residents of Flint, Michigan for the city's drinking water crisis, saying that "[t]he people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets" after noticing that their water was poisoned. Stirewalt also appeared to blame Flint parents for giving their children contaminated water, declaring: "[I]f you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street."

    Stirewalt overlooked the protests that took place last year in January, February, April, July, and October, and this year in early January. Most recently, there have been at least three rallies since January 16, when hundreds of people gathered at Flint's City Hall to confront Governor Rick Snyder and demand justice.

    This has been an ongoing crisis since April 2014, when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron (via the city of Detroit) to the Flint River. Residents started lodging complaints about the drinking water shortly thereafter. The new water system was later found to be contaminated with chemicals that can cause nervous system problems and increase the risk of cancer, and General Motors refused to use the water because it was rusting car parts. Snyder declared a state of emergency on January 5, 2016, months after children in the city were found to have high levels of lead in their blood. There's a "very strong likelihood," according to Virginia Tech drinking water expert Marc Edwards, that Flint's water is linked to Genesee County's recent spike in Legionnaire's disease, which has killed 10 residents

    Victim blaming is a common occurrence on Fox News, as are disparaging remarks about protesters.

    From the January 20 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): But now the city manager apparently knew. I mean it's not -- the thing that's so egregious about this is, correct me if I'm wrong, is, that they had knowledge. They knew, Chris, that there was something was wrong with the water. And they let the people that were too proud to give up but too poor to matter continue drinking it, including children!

    CHRIS STIREWALT (CONTRIBUTOR): Well, look, I will say that an individual -- people have no choice, right? If you are poor you have no place to go and you don't have resources to move -- but if you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street. You know, we've had a lot of demonstrations of late in the United States. We've had a lot of demonstration movement about justice for this, and don't do that and don't say this. The people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets. 

  • Fox News Ignores Evidence To Absolve Cruz Of Wrongdoing In FEC Filing

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox's Chris Stirewalt deflected concerns raised in a New York Times report that GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) allegedly received two loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank during his 2012 Senate campaign that were not disclosed properly.

    On January 13 The New York Times reported that Cruz "put 'personal funds' totaling $960,000 into his Senate campaign. Two months later, shortly before a scheduled runoff election, he added more, bringing the total to $1.2 million." However, The Times reported that the Cruzes' took out "two bank loans, each valued at $250,000 to $500,000" from Goldman Sachs and Citibank during the first half of 2012 and that "[n]either loan appears in the reports the Ted Cruz for Senate Committee filed with the Federal Election Commission."

    On the January 14 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox News' digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt tried to downplay the lack of disclosure on Cruz's 2012 FEC form by saying that the loans were "essentially a loan from the Cruzes to themselves" and that Cruz had reported the loan on other documents:

    CHRIS STIREWALT: Ted Cruz is right, this is stuff he did disclose. If he didn't disclose it on the FEC, he disclosed it on the ethics forms. But most importantly here, this was essentially a loan from the Cruzes to themselves. They borrowed against their investments so that they could take that, dump the money into the Senate campaign, and then pay it back later. So this was not money from somebody else. This was not favorable treatment from somebody else. This is in a way, like somebody borrowing against their 401k so they can take out a mortgage loan.

    While The New York Times report does admit that "there would have been nothing improper about Mr. Cruz obtaining bank loans for his campaign, as long as they were disclosed," he could be violating campaign finance laws by failing to disclose the sources of the loans -- Goldman Sachs and Citibank -- on the FEC form. Importantly, "other campaigns have been investigated and fined for failing to make such disclosures." Even though Cruz disclosed these loans on other forms -- which Stirewalt points to in defense of Cruz -- as campaign finance law expert and former election commission lawyer Ken Gross explained in The New York Times report, that would not be enough to satisfy the FEC requirement:

    Kenneth A. Gross, a former election commission lawyer who specializes in campaign finance law, said that listing a bank loan in an annual Senate ethics report -- which deals only with personal finances -- would not satisfy the requirement that it be promptly disclosed to election officials during a campaign.

    "They're two different reporting regimes," he said. "The law says if you get a loan for the purpose of funding a campaign, you have to show the original source of the loan, the terms of the loan and you even have to provide a copy of the loan document to the Federal Election Commission."

    The New York Times speculates that to disclose these big bank loans "might have conveyed the wrong impression for [Cruz's] candidacy," as Cruz had spoken out about "the political clout of Goldman Sachs in particular" when he said, "Like many other players on Wall Street and big business, they seek out and get special favors from government."

  • The Conservative Media War Over Donald Trump

    ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS & BEN DIMIERO

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign launch speech viciously denigrated Mexican immigrants and strongly split conservative media figures on his candidacy. While some argue Trump is a "rodeo clown," others think he is "saying things that need to be said." Several conservatives disagree with Trump's rhetoric but claim he's raising important issues.

  • "There Goes The Neighborhood": Right-Wing Media Reactions To HUD's Neighborhood Diversity Plan

    ››› ››› NICHOLAS ROGERS & KATIE SULLIVAN

    Right-wing media outlets are attacking a new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to increase diversity in American neighborhoods, calling it an attempt by President Obama to dictate where people live. But the program merely provides grant money to encourage communities to provide affordable housing and greater access to community resources.

  • Where Is Fox News' Outrage Over Keystone XL Land Rights?

    Fox Only Cares About "Land Grabs" When Attacking Environmental Regulations

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    KXL route

    Fox News consistently pushes fears of government "land grabs" surrounding environmental regulations. But the network celebrated the recent court decision allowing TransCanada to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on private land  -- with no mention of the threat to landowner rights.

    The Nebraska Supreme Court recently overturned a lower court ruling that would have protected the property rights of landowners who do not want the Keystone XL pipeline built on their land  and fear that a spill could devastate region's drinking water and agriculture-based economy. As CBS reported, the ruling upheld a 2012 law allowing Canadian oil firm TransCanada to "seize property using eminent domain from any landowners who deny the developer access." A majority of Nebraska's Supreme Court -- four of the seven judges -- actually voted that the statute authorizing TransCanada's use of eminent domain was unconstitutional, but that fell just short of the supermajority (of at least five judges) necessary to make such a ruling.

    Rather than address the decision's impact on property rights, Fox News celebrated the ruling by repeating the GOP talking point that President Obama is now out of "excuses" for stalling on Keystone XL as the GOP attempts to pass legislation forcing its approval in Congress this week. On the January 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt reported that the ruling "basically removes... the last obstacle or excuse for the administration and President Obama saying that it was not ripe for a decision." On the January 9 edition of Special Report, Correspondent Mike Emanuel stated that "New Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said now the President is out of excuses." And on the January 12 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer posited that the White House may have "run out of excuses on Keystone," and Republican strategist Tony Sayegh agreed:

  • Benghazi Testimony Derails Fox's "Incredibly Damning" Attack On Obama

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Fox News seized on testimony from Ret. Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell to push the false narrative that President Obama did not do enough to rescue the victims of the Benghazi attack, a claim that collapsed after Lovell clarified that he was not making that point.

    During the May 1 Congressional hearing on Benghazi, Lovell, who was stationed in Germany at the time of the attack, testified that "we should have tried" to rescue the victims of the attack. Fox News immediately hyped Lovell's testimony as evidence the Obama administration did not engage in a rescue attempt. On America's Newsroom, Fox's digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt called Lovell's testimony "incredibly damning," saying: "if there is a true national shame in this incident was that we did not try. We had been told repeatedly by the Obama administration that we could not try and that it was known that it would have been impossible to have helped those who were eventually killed":

    Fox's attack collapsed later in the day, however. During the question and answer portion of the testimony, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) asked Lovell specifically about claims that the military had resources that they did not utilize. Lovell explained that when he said "we should have tried," he did not mean that the response was insufficient and that it is a "fact" that there was nothing more the military could have done:

    CONNELLY: I want to read to you the conclusion of the chairman of the [Armed Services] Committee, the Republican chairman Buck McKeon, who conducted formal briefings and oversaw that report he said quote "I'm pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly it dissipated we probably couldn't have done much more than we did." Do you take issue with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee? In that conclusion?

    LOVELL: His conclusion that he couldn't have done much more than they did with the capability and the way they executed it?

    CONNELLY: Given the timeframe.

    LOVELL: That's a fact. 

    CONNELLY: Okay.

    LOVELL: The way it is right now. The way he stated it.

    CONNELLY: Alright, because I'm sure you can appreciate, general, there might be some who, for various and sundry reasons would like to distort your testimony and suggest that you're testifying that we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn't utilize. That is not your testimony?

    LOVELL: That is not my testimony.

    CONNELLY: I thank you very much, general.