A new Media Matters study has found that outside of MSNBC, major broadcast and cable television outlets are failing to fact-check climate science denial by presidential candidates 75 percent of the time. But it's worth taking a closer look at how television program hosts have handled their face-to-face interviews with presidential candidates, since these high-profile interviews often get a substantial amount of attention and can shape media discussions for days or even weeks to come.
So how are TV hosts responding when presidential candidates spout climate science denial in real time? It depends which channel you're watching.
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.
Fox News host Sean Hannity praised Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's "great record as governor" during an exclusive interview following the official launch of Jindal's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Hannity ignored the massive budget deficit created by Jindal's tax cuts, as well as the economic woes his policies have inflicted on constituents in his state.
Conservative media outlets are using the mass shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina, church to push myths about guns and criticize President Obama for highlighting the need for responsible gun safety legislation.
Fox's Sean Hannity gave 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush a platform to claim that the gun policies he supported as governor of Florida helped create "a less violent society," even though he signed the nation's first "Stand Your Ground" law, which studies show has actually contributed to more violence.
Bush appeared on the June 16 broadcast of Hannity for a wide-ranging interview in front of a studio audience. Hannity asked, "Should citizens, if they are law-abiding, no records, have the right to carry a weapon?"
Bush responded, "Absolutely, and in Florida, you know who leads the nation in concealed weapons permits by far? Over a million. It's Florida. It creates a ... less violent society and crime goes down when law-abiding citizens that don't commit crimes have guns."
But experts say controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws, like the one the jury used to acquit George Zimmerman of killing unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, make society more violent.
Sean Hannity promoted the concealed carrying of handguns during his Fox News interviews with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Hannity is a paid spokesman for the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), a financial relationship he repeatedly failed to disclose.
During his February 26 program, Hannity asked Walker: "Let's talk about guns. Should law-abiding citizens -- for example, it's very hard to get a carry permit in a state like New York. Should they be allowed to carry weapons if they're law-abiding citizens?" Walker replied, "Absolutely."
Hannity asked Bush during his June 16 Fox News interview: "Should citizens if they are law-abiding, no records, have the right to carry a weapon?" To applause from the audience, Bush replied that people should "absolutely" have that right.
But Hannity's interest in concealed carrying of guns isn't just political -- it's financial.
The United States Concealed Carry Association claims it is "the first & largest member-owned association dedicated to educating, training, and insuring responsibly armed Americans." Hannity is heavily involved with USCCA. The front page of the organization's website features Hannity's endorsement and a "training package" for his fans.
The website HannityForUSCCA.com includes a prominent quote from Hannity professing that he has "peace of mind knowing that if I ever have to use my weapon to save the life of my loved one, they will be in my corner." The Hannity training package features materials with "critical, life-saving information that will better prepare you and your loved ones for a home invasion or violent encounter."
An ad for USCCA featuring Hannity aired during his June 16 radio program -- the day of his Bush interview -- according to a search of TVEyes.com. Hannity stated in the ad that he's a "proud member of the United States Concealed Carry Association" and he's "been working closely with them" to create a "special" training package for his fans.
This isn't the first time Hannity has promoted the interests of his radio sponsors. Last year, Hannity used his Fox News program to promote the fundraising efforts of the Tea Party Patriots.
Hannity is a favorite destination for Republican candidates who have just announced they're officially running for president. Hannity's website has even adopted Politico reporter Dylan Byers' description of him as the "conservative kingmaker" in the Republican primary.
UPDATE: Hannity again pushed concealed carry during his June 17 Fox News interview with Donald Trump. Hannity complained that it's "almost impossible" to get a concealed carry permit in New York City. Trump replied that he's "a huge Second Amendment person."
Sean Hannity claimed that he couldn't "find any instance" of Hillary Clinton calling out Middle Eastern countries for discriminating against women, suggesting that the former secretary of state's silence had been "bought" in exchange for donations to her foundation. But Clinton has repeatedly advocated for women in Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region -- regardless of any donations to the Clinton Foundation.
During the June 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity and GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) discussed Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state. Drawing from unsubstantiated pay-to-play allegations made by discredited Republican activist Peter Schweizer in his much disputed book Clinton Cash, the two suggested that donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries in the Middle East may have influenced her actions as secretary of state. Hannity claimed that countries like "Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, have atrocious human rights records for women, gays, and lesbians" but that Hillary Clinton has "never uttered a word about how bad these records are." Asking if they had "[bought] her silence," Hannity went on to question if Clinton could really claim to be a champion for these groups, claiming that he couldn't "find any instance" where Clinton had criticized the policies of the countries he had named:
She's specifically addressed women's rights in precisely the countries Hannity named -- During her time as secretary of state, Clinton criticized Saudi Arabia for not allowing women to drive, asserting that women fighting against the country's ban were "brave and what they are seeking is right," despite the country's previous donations to her foundation. Clinton similarly delivered a scathing critique of Arab leaders for oppressing women in a 2011 speech.
Under Hillary Clinton's tenure, the State Department did not shy away from criticizing countries with poor records on women's and LGBT rights. In 2011 reports on human rights, State criticized Saudi Arabia for violating the basic rights of women with "significant human rights problems," writing that the country had issues with "violence against women and a lack of equal rights for women ...and discrimination on the basis of gender." The State Department similarly condemned the United Arab Emirates for "[d]omestic abuse of women .... [and] allegations that police sometimes enabled domestic abuse," writing that "[l]egal and societal discrimination against women and noncitizens was pervasive" in the country.
From the June 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Fox hosts and guests rushed to the defense of a police officer suspended after video surfaced of his brutal treatment of teenagers outside a pool party in McKinney, Texas. The video showed the officer pulling his gun on two teenage boys, then slamming a girl down onto her face.
Fox News hosts and guests relied and expounded upon recent comments by actor Vince Vaughn in support of carrying guns in public and in schools to push numerous falsehoods about gun violence that expert analyses have debunked.
Fox News gave Ann Coulter a platform to use a deceptive video to claim that Hillary Clinton wants "old white people to die off."
In a June 1 tweet, right-wing opposition research organization America Rising PAC posted a seven second Vine video showing Hillary Clinton speaking to a supporter at a campaign event. When the unidentified woman asks Clinton to sign something, Clinton suggests the woman "go to the end of the line." Right-wing media outlets highlighted the video as evidence Clinton is out-of-touch with voters.
Ann Coulter used the video during an appearance on Fox News' Hannity as evidence that Democrats want "old white people to die off" so that they can further "the browning of America":
But the seven second video was taken out of context. In a post for Townhall.com, political editor and Fox News contributor Guy Benson acknowledged that the full context of the clip "casts the awkward exchange in a far less damaging light":
When I wondered about context on Twitter, one of the organization's representatives was kind enough to email me the full 17-minute video, which I've since examined. As I suspected, the added context casts the awkward exchange in a far less damaging light. Hillary emerges from the building and slowly makes her way down the line of well-wishers, taking photographs, shaking hands, and making small talk. She's not a natural politician, and many of the interactions feel stilted and perfunctory, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. When people start asking her to sign items (books, photographs, even baseballs), Hillary seems to make a snap decision that she'll accommodate their requests, but not until she's made it all the way through the crowd. Hence, the "end of the line" request.
Opponents shouldn't waste their time with this out-of-context encounter, which I'll go ahead and label a manufactured 'outrage.' There's much less to it than meets the eye.
Conservative media are promoting a deceptively edited video from a Republican opposition research firm that purports to show Hillary Clinton coldly demanding that a supporter "go to the end of the line," to allege that Clinton is out of touch with voters. But even as the dishonest attack made its way to Fox News, network contributor Guy Benson admitted the full context of the video "casts [Clinton] ... in a far less damaging light."
From the May 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the May 27 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the May 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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