Erin Burnett OutFront

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  • CNN’s Corey Lewandowski Struggles To Defend Trump From Newest Financial Report Irregularities

    Former Trump Campaign Manager And Newest CNN Contributor Blames Paul Manafort For Mysterious Payment To Company

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    In his first interview as a CNN contributor, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski attempted to defend Donald Trump against allegations of wrongdoing after the Washington Post reported that the campaign paid over $700,000 to a company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC.

    The Washington Post reported on June 23 that a company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC, which was to print and send direct mail advertisements, “received two big payments” totaling “$730,637 over five days.” The first payment was made to the company just three days after it was formed, raising questions about what the company actually did for the campaign:

    On April 25, a new company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC was formed in Delaware, listing its address at an incorporation service provider in Wilmington.

    A few days later, the firm received two big payments totaling $503,133 from Donald Trump's presidential campaign to print and send a major shipment of direct mail. The campaign cut another $227,504 check to Left Hand Enterprises on May 2, new campaign finance filings show.

    The rapid series of payments — $730,637 over five days — made Left Hand the 10th biggest vendor to the Trump campaign for the entire election cycle. But why it was hired, and what work it provided, remains a mystery even to some top Trump aides.

    […]

    The first two payments to Left Hand were made on April 28 and April 29 — just days before the crucial May 3 Indiana primary, where Sen. Ted Cruz made his last unsuccessful stand against Trump. Since direct mail firms usually require payment before sending out a shipment, Left Hand would have had very little time to get leaflets to mailboxes in Indiana before voters went to the polls, according to people who work in the industry.

    Lewandowski told CNN’s Erin Burnett that he was not responsible for the payments to Left Hand, but defended Trump claiming that “if there is anything that has not been appropriate, Mr. Trump will find it and fix it.” Burnett challenged Lewandowski asking whether it was he or Paul Manafort who managed the Left Hand payment. Lewandowski blamed Manafort:

    Lewandowski’s defense of his former boss came during the same interview in which he declined to say whether or not he had signed a document that would forbid him from criticizing Trump. Since CNN announced the hiring of Lewandowski as a contributor, the network has received heavy criticism from media figures, including “grumbling” from CNN staffers.

  • It Took A Deadly Attack For CNN To Make Time For Pro-Choice Advocates In Its Slanted Abortion Discussions

    Over A 14-Month Period,  Anti-Choice Guests Dominated CNN’s Reproductive Rights Programming On Evening Shows

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS

    In 2015 and early 2016, CNN hosted more than twice as many anti-choice guests as pro-choice guests on its evening news programs, according to a new Media Matters study. CNN also didn’t host any reproductive rights advocates as guests until November’s fatal attack on a Colorado Springs, CO, Planned Parenthood health care center.

    Media Matters analyzed CNN’s evening news programs from January 1, 2015, through March 6, 2016, for segments featuring a substantial discussion of abortion. We found that CNN’s programs included more people who self-identified as anti-choice (47) than as pro-choice (18) -- all of them guests, as opposed to hosts or correspondents -- in conversations about abortion-related topics.

    While CNN’s evening news programs included guests who personally identified as pro-choice, they didn’t include anyone who works as an advocate for reproductive rights as part of a discussion about abortion until there was a deadly attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on November 27. In fact, 36 percent of CNN’s total coverage of abortion-related topics over the 14-month study period -- which was also the least of the three major cable news networks -- occurred on that night. The two appearances by pro-choice advocates on CNN were made by representatives of Planned Parenthood, who appeared on November 27 and November 30 to discuss the attack on their clinic.

    In contrast, CNN’s evening news programs hosted anti-choice advocate Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, four times before the attack.

    In addition to the guest imbalance, CNN’s evening news programs did not discuss any violence, threats or harassment directed against abortion clinics or providers prior to November 27 -- not even the four separate arson attacks against Planned Parenthood clinics that occurred in the span of 74 days in 2015. A previous study released by Media Matters in October 2015 also found that cable news shows and leading newspapers around the country largely did not cover the incidents.

    The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has been tracking violence and threats directed at abortion providers since 1977, and the organization issued a report in April detailing a dramatic increase in the number of direct threats of harm in 2015 from the previous years, a disturbing upward trend the FBI has confirmed. NARAL president Ilyse Hogue criticized the press for providing insufficient coverage of the epidemic of attacks, saying outlets "need to report these incidents as what they are: domestic terrorism" or they will be giving "extremists the cover to regressively and violently attack women, their access to health care, and the medical professionals who provide it."

  • STUDY: How Cable News Talks About Abortion

    Anti-Choice Speakers And Misinformation Dominate Abortion Coverage On Evening Cable News

    ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS & SHARON KANN

    A Media Matters study of 14 months of evening cable news programs found that discussions of abortion were weighted toward anti-choice speakers, which resulted in widespread misinformation on the topic. Of the three networks, Fox News aired the largest number of inaccurate statements about the most prevalent abortion-related myths, and MSNBC was the most accurate.

  • CNN Criticizes Clinton Wealth While Ignoring Trump’s Shady Financial History

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    A segment on CNN’s OutFront criticized Hillary Clinton, claiming that she “avoids drawing attention to the vast wealth she and her husband have accumulated,” while ignoring the controversial business practices and wealth accumulated by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Ironically, the CNN segment collected their information from tax returns released by the Clinton campaign, but failed to note Trump’s reluctance to release his own tax returns after repeatedly saying he would do so.

    CNN national correspondent Sunlen Serfaty highlighted Clinton’s “posh properties” and “luxurious vacations” after Bill Clinton left the White House. And while Serfaty admitted that the Clintons were millions in debt following Bill’s presidency, she argued that “the speaking circuit” allowed the Clintons to “cash in on their political fame.”

    The segment mirrors attacks lobbed at Hillary Clinton during her 2014 book tour, where media outlets painted Clinton as “out of touch with average Americans,” despite polls finding that most Americans believe Clinton understands the problems of everyday Americans.

    Despite the segment’s focus on the financial status of the Democratic frontrunner, Donald Trump’s lavish lifestyle and financials were completely ignored. Trump has failed to release his previous tax returns, claiming he will only release them after IRS audit is complete. But in 2012, Donald Trump criticized Mitt Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns that “It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service.” This came after Trump had promised in February that he would release his taxes “over the next three, four months.”

    Furthermore, while media has shown a fascination with Clinton’s financial history, Trump’s reportedly shady dealings have received relatively little attention. Trump is also currently facing a fraud lawsuit alleging that he scammed students out of $40 million, has received millions in tax deductions by donating land that he valued between 13 and 50 times what he paid for it, and has been accused of running a nutritional supplement scam that he billed as a “recession-proof” venture that bilked people out of thousands of dollars. Trump also took advantage of a government program meant to help small businesses hurt by 9/11, a move that netted him $150,000. None of this was mentioned in CNN’s Segment.

  • What Reporters Should Know About Ted Cruz's Evangelical Hype Man

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Journalists covering the 2016 GOP primary have an opportunity to expose the extreme hate group leader who just became the face of Ted Cruz's evangelical supporters. 

    In a secret December 2015 meeting of top national social conservative activists, Ted Cruz won the support of a group influential evangelical Christians leaders, reported as a "major boost" for Cruz's presidential campaign. The man credited with consolidating support behind Cruz at the meeting is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC).

    As the driving force behind Cruz's consolidation of evangelical support, it's likely Perkins will become a go-to commentator for media outlets covering the GOP primary. During the 2012 primary -- during which Perkins backed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC all welcomed Perkins as a near-constant source of campaign commentary.

    Perkins' cable news appearances for the 2016 primary cycle have already started, with a January 5 appearance on CNN's OutFront to discuss Ted Cruz's faith and Donald Trump's questioning of Cruz's citizenship:

    Given the likelihood than Perkins will once again become a sought-after guest in GOP primary and election coverage, here's what news outlets should know about Cruz's extreme evangelical hype man:

    1. Perkins Is the President Of A Hate Group

    In 2010, FRC was listed as an anti-gay "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center thanks to its propagation of known falsehoods about LGBT people as well as Perkins' history of making inflammatory comments about the LGBT community. Perkins has equated being gay with drug use and adultery, accused gay people of trying to "recruit" children, and compared gay advocates to terrorists.

    FRC's "hate group" label is almost never mentioned by news networks that choose to treat the group like a seriously policy organization on national television. During the 2012 GOP primary, when Perkins was a regular fixture on cable news, he was never identified as a "hate group" leader. Since then, media figures that have identified Perkins as a hate group leader have faced criticism from FRC and its allies.

    2. Perkins Has A History Of Peddling Misinformation

    In addition to spreading falsehoods about LGBT people, FRC has a history of making apocalyptic warnings about government policies that advance LGBT equality.

    Some examples of FRC's shoddy policy analysis include claiming that striking down same-sex marriage bans would lead to a full-scale revolution, that the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would bring back the draft and risk millions of lives, and that hate crime laws respond to a "phony 'crisis.'"

    Perkins also regularly spreads known lies about LGBT people. He's repeated the widely debunked myth that pedophilia is "a homosexual problem," promoted the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called "reparative therapy," and falsely claimed that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by opposite-sex couples.

    3. Perkins Doesn't Represent Christian Voters

    Mainstream media outlets regularly invite Perkins to speak on behalf of Christians and religious voters, but Perkins' brand of anti-LGBT extremism represents a far right fringe of American Christianity. In fact, a majority a US Christians now believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society.

    Christian audiences have previously protested networks that give Perkins a platform. In 2012, the progressive Christian group Faithful America launched petitions asking CNN and MSNBC to stop allowing Perkins to "speak on behalf of American's Christians," generating tens of thousands of signatures.

    As the face of Ted Cruz's support from religious conservatives, Perkins is poised to become another regular fixture in cable news' 2016 coverage. If that happens, it'll be those networks' responsibility to properly identify the anti-gay extremist they're putting on air. 

    Previously: 

    This Hate Group Leader Has Hosted Most Of The Republican Presidential Candidates

    Fox's Megyn Kelly Invites Hate Group Leader To Measure GOP Presidential Field

    How The Media Is Helping A Hate Group Leader Gain Political Power

  • STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates' Climate Science Denial

    ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    Several months into the 2016 presidential campaign, the media is frequently failing to fact-check statements by presidential candidates denying the science of climate change. Seven major newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters have thus far failed to indicate that candidates' statements conflict with the scientific consensus in approximately 43 percent of their coverage, while the major broadcast and cable news outlets other than MSNBC have failed to do so 75 percent of the time.