From the February 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
Right-wing media pundits attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for celebrating her victory in the Iowa Caucus, claiming her tone during her speech was "unpleasant," "angry, bitter, screaming," and suggested that Clinton "may be hard of hearing." Criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech echoes a larger, sexist right-wing media campaign to denigrate Clinton's voice, mannerisms and public appearances.
With the presidential primary season in full swing, prime-time cable and broadcast evening news coverage of the economy focused on the candidates' policy priorities in the second half of 2015. News coverage of economic inequality fell considerably after hitting an all-time high in the first half of the year.
Right-wing media are dismissing GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's attacks on Ted Cruz's (R-TX) "natural-born" citizenship, calling his questions over Cruz's eligibility to be president "intellectually dishonest."
Right-wing media personalities have incessantly attacked President Obama's six previous State of the Union addresses -- from calling the speeches "boring" to questioning his decision to invite a wounded veteran to the event -- and have even frequently waged the attacks before the addresses even occurred. Ahead of Obama's January 12 State of the Union address, Media Matters looks back at conservative media's long history of attacking annual addresses.
Before President Obama made his first official State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, right-wing media pundits called the speech "stupid" "propaganda." Fox host Sean Hannity repeatedly referred to the upcoming speech as "propaganda," and former Fox host Glenn Beck told his viewers "you don't even have to watch this stupid speech tonight. I'll watch it for you so you don't have to." Beck added, "I want to hang myself over watching this." Fox Business' John Stossel asked Obama to use the address to apologize for being "arrogant." After his speech, media personalities criticized Obama, and claimed he didn't show enough humility. Stossel said Obama "certainly didn't sound humbled," and only a few minutes into the address, National Review's John Hood criticized Obama's "cadence and rhythm" for coming "across as flippant and arrogant." The talking point wasn't anything new -- frequent Fox guest Ben Stein had predicted that "we'll see Obama with his fake modesty and his fake humility" before the speech took place. Once again, Glenn Beck joined the chorus: "the arrogance from the moment this guy walked in, the arrogance -- there's no humility there."
President Obama made his second State of the Union address on January 25, 2011, and the media predicted it would focus on theatrics instead of substance. Rush Limbaugh directed his listeners to watch a Golf Channel show he appeared in instead of the address, predicting that Obama would "lie for an hour and fifteen minutes." On Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade questioned whether Obama would be sincere, suggesting that the president was merely trying "to make sure he gets re-elected." After the speech, Limbaugh continued to attack Obama's sincerity, saying Obama "just doesn't believe" the "pro-America rah-rah" featured in the speech and suggesting that the speech was plagiarized. Fox & Friends' recap of the debate called the speech "boring."
Continuing their tradition of attacking Obama prior to the address, Fox News hosts criticized the focus on economic security and income equality. On Fox & Friends Kilmeade said that Obama would "bring up the class warfare stuff," while co-host Steve Doocy forcasted that it would "ignite the whole class warfare thing." Co-host of Fox's The Five , Andrea Tantaros predicted the address would be a "very divisive, very evil speech" that is "designed to get people in the audience who are sitting home on their duffs ... angry at their neighbors who are actually going out, who are working hard."
After the address, right-wing media largely continued their "class warfare" narrative. Fox's Doocy doubled down against Obama's focus on income inequality, saying that his comments regarding billionaires paying the same percentage of taxes as their secretaries were intended "to kick off his class warfare campaign." Fox Business' Dave Ramsey even claimed Obama "declared war on success in the name of this class warfare politics."
After President Obama's February 12, 2013 State of the Union Speech, right-wing radio host Mark Levin accused Obama of "lying to the American people" in a "Castro-like speech." Levin criticized the economy under Obama claiming he keeps "proposing more programs, more trusts, more partnerships, more agencies, more spending." A Fox Nation headline echoed Levin's comments: "Obama Pleads For Billions In New Deficit Spending." That same post, however, linked to a FoxNews.com article that reported the full transcript of Obama's comments, explaining that his proposals would be "fully paid for" and that "nothing [he's] proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime."
Before the January 28, 2014 State of the Union, Fox News once again downplayed the address, asking, "Does it matter what the president says?" After the address, Rush Limbaugh was critical of Obama's guest, wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg's presence. Limbaugh claimed that Obama invited a wounded veteran to the address to say "look what George Bush is responsible for." Right-wing media also pounced on Obama's comments that climate change demands urgent action and that the debate over it is "settled." Their evidence against the claim? Cold weather and snow across the country.
In the most memorable vitriol from President Obama's January 20, 2015 State of the Union, Rush Limbaugh told his audience he had already written his response before the address: "I hope he fails." Limbaugh then bragged that "that has been my State of the Union response every year. I hope he fails. It is what it is. You can't get more clear cut than that." On his January 21 show, Limbaugh rehashed his reasoning behind boycotting the speech saying that he would have been "insulted as a conservative" and "lied to" and that the address would have been the "next Santa Claus list."
Note: this analysis did not include Obama's 2009 Address to Joint Session of Congress.
The first set of amicus briefs for Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, a Supreme Court case that will determine the constitutionality of a Texas anti-choice law that severely limits women's access to abortion and broader medical care, has recently been filed. Many of these briefs respond to Justice Anthony Kennedy's past invocation of "post-abortion regret" and the "severe depression" that supposedly follows, an "antiabortion shibboleth" repeated in right-wing media's long-standing effort to stigmatize women who have had abortions.
Fox News devoted numerous segments to reports of mass sexual assaults committed in Cologne, Germany on New Year's Eve by men "having a 'North African or Arabic' appearance," using the story to fearmonger about the "direct threat" posed by "how fast you allow ... Syrian refugees into this country." This reporting stands in contrast to Fox's history of downplaying sexual assaults when it doesn't fit their anti-refugee agenda.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for an end to "gun-free zones," parroting a prominent right-wing media claim that more civilians carrying guns would prevent mass shootings. However, there is no evidence the claim is true and research instead shows more guns are linked to higher levels of violence. This instance is just the latest example of Trump parroting right-wing media myths in his talking points.
After years of pushing birther myths that President Obama may not have been eligible for the presidency, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh hypocritically dismissed Republican claims that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz may face eligibility problems due to being born in Canada.
On their Fox News programs, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have entirely ignored the occupation of a federal building in Oregon by armed protesters, despite having spent months condemning the Black Lives Matter movement and protesters as dangerous and anti-American.
On the evening of January 2, an estimated 300 protesters -- many of them armed -- took to the streets of Burns, Oregon to protest the prosecution of ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven, who were convicted of federal arson charges. A group of the protesters eventually occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters. The armed protesters claim to be "patriots" fighting against the "tyranny" of the federal government and plan to occupy the refuge for "years." The armed protesters, self-described "militia men," said that they "would not rule out violence if police tried to remove them" from federal property.
Yet two of Fox News' prime time shows, The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity, did not report on the ongoing occupation from January 2 to January 6, according to a Media Matters study:
Hannity and O'Reilly's silence on the armed Oregon protest is striking given how aggressively both hosts have criticized protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Bill O'Reilly has compared the protesters to the Ku Klux Klan, asserted that the protesters "basically hate their country," blamed them for "the rise of fascism on American college campuses," and branded them a "hate group." Not to be outdone, Sean Hannity has also likened the movement to the Ku Klux Klan and labeled the cause as "overt racism." The disparate coverage on The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity of the Oregon protesters and Black Lives Matter protesters highlight what some have called a "racial double standard" in the media's coverage of protests.
The primetime hosts' silence on the Oregon protest isn't an isolated event. In 2014, Hannity and O'Reilly both praised Cliven Bundy, the father of three of the men helping to lead the Oregon protest, during his own standoff with federal law enforcement at his family's ranch. The hosts both promoted and praised the rancher, who refused to pay fees for allowing his cattle to graze on public land, as a "hero." According to a Media Matters study, Fox News devoted 4 hours and 40 minutes of prime-time programming to cheerleading for Bundy's cause.
Media Matters searched Nexis and Snapstream for discussion of the standoff between armed protesters and federal law enforcement officials at a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Searches of the Fox News Channel's prime time transcripts between January 2, 2016, the day the standoff began, through January 6, 2016 were conducted using the terms "Oregon," "standoff," "Bundy," "militia," "militiamen," "armed protesters,""Hammond," and "Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters."
Video by Leanne Naramore and Carlos Maza.
From the January 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
Fox News' three primetime shows wholly ignored GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX)'s announcement that he would not only deport all 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the country, but would also halt legal immigration and "oppose" "allowing folks to come back in and become citizens."
At a campaign stop in Iowa on January 4, Cruz was asked to compare his immigration plan to that of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who advocates deporting all 11.3 million undocumented immigrants. Cruz responded that he would not only deport all 11.3 million immigrants, but would also not allow deported immigrants to re-enter the country or apply for citizenship:
QUESTIONER: Both you and Donald Trump are really strong on immigration, but he supports deporting all the illegal immigrants. Are you willing to say the same?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Absolutely, yes. We should enforce the law.
CRUZ: We should enforce the law.
CRUZ: And in fact, look, there's a difference. He's advocated allowing folks to come back in and become citizens. I oppose that.
Fox's three primetime shows - The O'Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, and Hannity -- all ignored the remarks and failed to discuss Cruz's deportation plan on the January 4, 5, and 6 editions of their shows. While Cruz's comments were entirely disregarded on the January 4, 5, and 6 editions of The O'Reilly Factor and The Kelly File, Fox host Sean Hannity had an opportunity to bring up the issue directly with Cruz during an interview on his show.
On the January 4 edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity hosted Cruz, and despite discussing the topic of immigration, failed to ask Cruz directly about his plan to halt legal immigration. Hannity asked Cruz "what happens to the eleven million people that are here illegally?" When Cruz dodged the question, Hannity gave him a pass and moved on to a new topic:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The issue of immigration is so key this year, and both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have gone after you. Trump said you copied his immigration plan. You had that battle in the last debate with Rubio. And your statement was "I oppose legalization today, tomorrow, and forever." Meaning what, that we build the fence, that we secure the border, what happens to the eleven million people that are here illegally?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We enforce the law. Existing law provides that if we apprehend someone here illegally, we deport them. That's what existing law is, and we have a president, Barack Obama, who refuses to follow the law. I've spent my whole life fighting to defend the rule of law, fighting to defend theConstitution. When it comes to immigration, 2013 was really, as Reagan would say, a time for choosing. It's when a line was drawn in the sand. On one side, you had Barack Obama and you had Chuck Schumer, and you had a whole lot of establishment Republicans in Washington lining up behind a massive amnesty plan. On the other side of the line were people like Steve Sessions, where people like Iowa's own Steve King, and I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King. And we led the fight to defeat theGang of Eight amnesty plan, to preserve the rule of law and to fight to secure our borders. And you know, it's interesting. A lot of presidential candidates suddenly have discovered illegal immigration is an issue. I'll point out, Sean, you remember that 2013 fight. You were standing there leading the fight, Mark Levin was leading the fight, Rush was leading the fight. You look at the men and women standing on that debate stage, in 2013 when Obama was on the verge of getting his amnesty win, most of the other men and women on that debate stage were nowhere to be found.
From the January 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...