CNN Newsroom

Tags ››› CNN Newsroom
  • Media Fell For Bogus “New Information” Spin In GOP Benghazi Report

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Several media outlets falsely reported that the final report released by Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi contained “new information,” when in fact all of the “key findings” in the report had been previously reported. Committee Republicans reportedly released “embargoed ‘exclusives’” strategically to manipulate reporters into presenting details in the releases as new information.

  • CNN Helping Trump Push His Lie That He Opposed The Libya Intervention

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Following presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump's speech targeting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, CNN hosts and analysts repeatedly hailed Trump's attack on Clinton for intervention in Libya's civil war as a line of attack "with substance," failing to mention that Trump "full-throatedly endorsed intervening in the country's civil war" before he started running for president.

  • MSNBC And CNN Give Platform To Gun Extremist Weeks After He Suggested Dissatisfied Voters Shoot Politicians

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    CNN and MSNBC hosted Gun Owners of America (GOA) executive director Larry Pratt to discuss the ongoing debate over possible new gun laws following the Pulse nightclub massacre even though just weeks ago Pratt suggested that gun owners unsatisfied with election outcomes could “resort to the bullet box.”

    The recent claim about the “bullet box” is just the latest inflammatory claim from Pratt, who routinely suggests that politicians who favor passing stronger gun laws should fear being shot by a GOA supporter.

    In comments flagged by Right Wing Watch, Pratt recently responded  to Supreme Court decisions he disagreed with by saying on his radio show that “we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty” before suggesting that gun owners may “have to resort to the bullet box” rather than resolve political disputes through voting.

    During June 20 appearances on CNN Newsroom and MSNBC Live, Pratt caused both anchors to become incredulous with his outrageous claims about the Orlando, FL, shooting.

    On MSNBC, Pratt repeatedly insisted that the shooting took place in a “gun-free zone,” even though the club employed an armed guard -- an off-duty police officer -- and in the initial stages of the attack, he engaged in a gunfight with the suspect, with two on-duty police officers joining him. 

    When MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts said, “But this wasn’t a gun-free zone. … Well there was an armed guard. … It’s an off-duty police officer that was there, reportedly exchanged fire with the shooter,” Pratt bizarrely responded, “That doesn’t make him armed.”

    On CNN, Pratt caused anchor Carol Costello to burst into laughter by suggesting that people should be able to carry guns in bars, with a rule that the proprietor “control the amount of booze” sold to those people.

    Pratt routinely makes inflammatory claims and takes extreme positions, including saying that the Second Amendment was "designed" for people like President Obama, supporting putting guns in kindergarten classrooms, and warning the federal government that "we'll point our guns at you if you try to act tyrannically."

    Pratt has also flirted with conspiracy theories including that the government staged the 2012 Aurora, CO, movie theater massacre and 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School to build support for more gun regulation, and he has given credence to the claim that Obama will start a race war. In October 2015, Pratt claimed that Jews in Europe lacked "determination" to stop the Holocaust.

    Pratt was forced to leave the presidential campaign of Republican Pat Buchanan in 1996 after The New York Times reported that the campaign co-chairman "had spoken at rallies held by leaders of the white supremacist and militia movements" during the rise of the militia movement in the 1990s. Pratt has been a "contributing editor" to an anti-Semitic publication, and his articles on gun ownership have appeared in a white supremacist "tabloid" published by the racist Christian Identity movement. The GOA donated "tens of thousands of dollars" to a white supremacist group during the 1990s, under Pratt's direction.

     
  • Media Must Not Let Trump Reduce The Orlando Conversation To Semantics About “Radical Islam”

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Several media figures allowed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to set the terms of the conversation following the terror attack at an Orlando gay nightclub, reducing the tragedy to a counterproductive conversation about “radical Islam” semantics, and eclipsing conversation about anti-LGBT violence, gun safety, and national security efforts at home and abroad.

    On June 12, a gunman stormed into an Orlando gay nightclub and murdered 49 people, leading to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

    In the wake of this senseless but targeted attack, Trump immediately resorted to a routine right-wing media talking point in an attempt to undermine President Obama and drum up anti-Muslim fear: that Obama and others won’t use the phrase “radical Islam,” and that the failure to do so is crippling national security efforts. Trump repeated the talking point on Fox News to attack Hillary Clinton, telling Steve Doocy that her inability to “utter the words” radical Islamic terror is “just following [Obama’s] exact line,” and that “unless you know the words and unless you know what’s going on, you’re never going to solve the problem.”

    Following Trump’s Fox interview, media figures questioned Clinton on Trump’s critiques, effectively letting Trump dictate and distort the terms of the conversation about the shooting.

    On NBC’s Today, host Savannah Guthrie asked Clinton, “Donald Trump in particular called you out … for not using a certain term to describe the acts: the term radical Islam. The question is, why not?”

    Similarly, on CNN’s New Day, host Chris Cuomo asked Clinton, “you are now coming under scrutiny about what you will call this … Do you believe that this is radical Islamism or radical Islamic terror? Will you use those words?” Clinton said she was not opposed to using similar terms but would not demonize an entire religion.

    Foreign policy experts and other media figures have repeatedly criticized Trump for “feed[ing] into the ISIS narrative” with his rhetoric. And foreign policy experts and government officials have also noted that trumpeting the phrase “radical Islam” alienates allies and is counterproductive to defeating terrorism at home and abroad. Not only does the U.S. practice to refrain from using the phrase “radical Islam” extend back to the George W. Bush administration, but not conflating Islam and terror is also part of a global strategy to avoid dignifying terrorists

    CNN political commentator Errol Louis poured cold water on those elevating Trump's focus on "radical Islam," asserting that Trump's "baby talk" critiques are "not something that should be taken seriously or frankly even repeated. This is the kind of chitchat you hear on right-wing radio day and night, mostly night, but it doesn't belong on a presidential debate."

    Right-wing criticism of Obama, Clinton, and others for not using this one specific phrase is a frequent and tired ploy that whips up anti-Muslim sentiments and distracts from the myriad issues at hand. Instead of embracing Trump’s critiques as the standard for conversation about Orlando -- which reduces the tragedy to semantic particulars -- media must focus on pushing politicians to find solutions. 

  • Paul Ryan Parrots Right-Wing Media Talking Points To Smear DC’s Minimum Wage Increase

    Ryan’s Agenda To Lift Americans Out Of Poverty Skips Over Raising Sub-Poverty Minimum Wages

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) concluded a June 7 press conference meant to highlight his recent proposals to reform federal anti-poverty programs by confirming that he remains opposed to initiatives aimed at raising local, state, and federal minimum wages. Ryan’s stated opposition to the minimum wage recycles easily debunked right-wing media myths about the supposed negative side-effects of living wages.

    On June 7, the speaker released a report from the Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility. The plan outlines a number of standard conservative proposals to “reform” anti-poverty programs in the United States, but one thing it almost completely ignores is the minimum wage. In fact, the lone mention of the word “minimum wage” appears as part of an argument pushing the debunked “Welfare Cliff” myth, the claim that low-income, single moms are so heavily subsidized by government benefits that they have no incentive to pursue professional advancement.

    At the conclusion of his press conference, Ryan was asked by two reporters to comment on a plan in Washington, D.C. to raise the municipal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 and then index it to inflation. In just over a minute, Ryan proceeded to parrot numerous debunked charges commonly leveled against the minimum wage by right-wing antagonists. From CNN Newsroom:

    Ryan’s anti-minimum wage talking points are either misleading, or outright false. Ryan also missed basic facts of D.C.’s minimum wage initiative, which the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates will result in increased wages for one-fifth of the city’s private sector workers.

    Increasing The Minimum Wage Does Not Hurt Entry-Level Workers

    Ryan claimed that raising the minimum wage “prices entry-level jobs away from people” before engaging in the common right-wing media tactic of reciting a story of his own youthful experiences working in the fast-food industry.

    Right-wing media frequently claim that minimum wage positions are meant to be entry-level jobs (usually just for teenagers), but the fact is that the majority of minimum wage workers are adults over the age of 25 and less than one-quarter of minimum wage workers are aged 16 to 19. Women make up a disproportionate number of minimum wage workers, and according to July 2015 research from EPI, stand to benefit considerably from an increased minimum wage.

    Fast-Food Jobs Were Never The First Rung On A Ladder Of Upward Mobility

    Ryan claimed that working at McDonald’s was “a great way to learn skills,” a wage and job mobility myth about fast food workers frequently parroted by right-wing media. But according to a July 2013 report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the fast-food industry is particularly bad at providing actual opportunities for advancement to low-wage workers. Entry-level workers account for 89 percent of fast food industry workers, and only a tiny fraction move on to management or ownership positions.

    Economic Growth And Job Creation Is Not Enough To Curb Poverty

    Ryan concluded his remarks by saying that he does not want to “cap” wages, he wants to “unleash[]” them, and institute policies that create “the kind of economy, and economic growth … that help get people better jobs, in a better economy, that has a more promising future for them.” Those claims echo a common right-wing media myth, that economic growth can indirectly lift millions of Americans out of poverty without the need for targeted programs.

    But the budget, economic, and tax proposals Ryan and his fellow Republicans repeatedly support do not generate the economic growth they promise. The trickle-down economic principles he has spent a career endorsing are a proven failure.

    If economic growth alone was the key to solving poverty and reducing economic inequality, both would have been wiped out decades ago. According to a January 29 report from the Brookings Institution, the relationship between economic growth and improved economic inclusion is “relatively weak” across the United States. The Brookings research seems to support a hypothesis endorsed by economists Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and Elise Gould of the EPI, who argue that economic growth alone is not enough to reduce economic insecurity in the face of persistent inequality.