Huffington Post

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  • NY Times Magazine Attacks The Obama Administration With Fact-Free Allegations

    David Samuels Falsely Attacks President Obama And Ben Rhodes, Fails To Disclose Conflict Of Interest

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    New York Times Magazine profile of the Obama administration’s push to cement the Iran nuclear deal baselessly claimed that President Obama and a top White House aide, Ben Rhodes, “largely manufactured” a narrative about the deal and “actively” misled the public to win support, despite reports to the contrary. The author, David Samuels, also failed to disclose his past criticism of the Iran deal and advocacy for bombing Iran.

  • Conservative Media Advocated For Illegally Keeping Immigrant Students Out Of School, And Now It’s Actually Happening

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Right-wing media figures have for years advocated in favor of denying undocumented immigrant students access to public education,and now an Associated Press investigation reports that it may be happening "in at least 35 districts in 14 states." These policies may be not only unconstitutional -- according to a Supreme Court ruling that specifically bans public school districts from denying enrollment to children based on their immigration status -- but also illegal under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

  • Media Highlight The “Misleading” Evidence Used During Congressional Panel’s Attack On Planned Parenthood

    Second Select Panel Hearing Was Just Like “A Bad House Of Cards Plotline”

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following the Congressional Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ second hearing, multiple media outlets heavily criticized the Republican members’ continued lack of objectivity. The select panel was established by Republicans in October 2015 based on discredited allegations against Planned Parenthood from the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Despite claiming to be “impartial,” Republican members during both hearings have relied on CMP’s deceptive work as evidence.

  • Congressional Hearing On Fetal Tissue Again Relies On Discredited Anti-Choice Propaganda As Evidence

    How The Select Investigative Panel Recycled More Of CMP’s Deceptive Work To Attack Planned Parenthood

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On April 20, Congress’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives held its second hearing: “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue.” Republicans in Congress established the panel following baseless allegations from the discredited anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) against Planned Parenthood. During the second hearing, the panel again relied on evidence taken directly from CMP’s videos and website to attack abortion providers and fetal tissue research.

  • Conservatives Were Stunningly Wrong About Obamacare, New Report Finds

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    A New York Times analysis found “historic increases” in those covered by the Affordable Care Act, destroying right-wing media predictions about health care reform including that it would “topple the stock market” and enslave Americans. The Times analysis is just one of many pieces of research that have highlighted the successes of the Affordable Care Act.

  • David Daleiden Is Not A Journalist

    Media Outlets Debunk CMP’s Fraudulent Claim That Its Work Is “Investigative Journalism”

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Despite the indictment by a grand jury and numerous lawsuits over Center for Medical Progress (CMP) founder David Daleiden’s attempts to smear Planned Parenthood, right-wing media have claimed that CMP’s deceptively edited videos are “investigative journalism.” Other media outlets have rejected this claim, confirming that CMP’s videos are misleading, fraudulent, and, above all, not journalism.

  • CNN President Jeff Zucker Defends Network's "Heavy Focus" On Trump And Hiring Of Trump Boosters

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Huffington Post's senior media reporter Michael Calderone reported that "CNN president Jeff Zucker ... defend[ed] his network's heavy focus on Republican front-runner Donald Trump," and that he dismissed criticism of overcoverage of Trump as "too much handwringing."

    In March 2016 alone, Trump has received nearly three hours of interviews on CNN, not including coverage of his live events, or the commentary of his campaign surrogates Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, who are employed by CNN and appear frequently to push Trump's talking points and defend his racist statements. Even as journalists have called for the end of the media's practice of allowing Trump to call in to shows, CNN's Wolf Blitzer granted Trump an 11-minute phone interview where he advocated for torture following the Brussels attacks. More recently, when news broke of Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski being charged with battery, CNN interviewed both McEnany and Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, with McEnany calling Lewandowski's charge "a side story." This was soon after Trump complained that CNN's coverage was "one-sided and unfair."

    In the March 30 article, Calderone reported that CNN president Jeff Zucker is standing by his network's "heavy focus" on Trump and that Zucker cited the March 29 Republican forum as "the most-watched ever for that format." Calderone noted that Trump "has been a ratings bonanza for cable news networks like CNN" even while they "have faced questions about the excessive amount of airtime given to Trump." Calderone also noted that CNN has faced scrutiny for hiring Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, "whose on-air roles seems to be primarily Trump boosters and defenders," and that Zucker defended Lord's role at CNN:

    CNN president Jeff Zucker on Wednesday defended his network's heavy focus on Republican front-runner Donald Trump the day before, particularly its coverage of the arrest of Trump's campaign manager, according to network sources.

    Zucker kicked off Wednesday's employee town hall by saying that the previous night's televised Republican forum, which featured Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was the most-watched ever for that format.

    CNN averaged 3.26 million viewers during the three-hour event, with viewership jumping to more than 4 million during the second hour, which focused on Trump. The real estate mogul has been a ratings bonanza for cable news networks like CNN, which is up 165 percent in prime time from a year ago. At the same time, CNN and its network rivals have faced questions about the excessive amount of airtime given to Trump, who has benefited from having his rallies broadcast live and being able to routinely call in to news shows rather than appearing in person.

    During Wednesday's town hall, an employee asked why CNN seemed to devote "80 to 90 percent" of its airtime Tuesday to Trump, and to the news of the battery charge against his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. The employee pointed out that there were other significant news stories Tuesday, such as a Supreme Court decision on public-sector unions and President Barack Obama's pledge of new initiatives to fight opioid abuse.

    "We actually covered every one of these stories on CNN, but they weren't all necessarily on television," Zucker said, according to sources who were not authorized to discuss the internal meeting.

    [...]

    Speaking at Wednesday's town hall, Zucker said there has been "too much handwringing" over the media's coverage of Trump, according to sources.

    CNN has also come under scrutiny for hiring two political commentators, Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, whose on-air roles seem to be primarily as Trump boosters and defenders.

    [...]

    On Wednesday, Zucker said he's "really comfortable" with Lord's role at the network. The network chief touted CNN's "tremendously diverse roster of analysts," including Lord, as being a big part of the network's success this election cycle.

  • New Media Outlets Explain That Abortion Laws Already Punish Women

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Several writers for online media outlets are pointing out that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's remarks that "there has to be some form of punishment" for women who have abortions just made "more explicit" the philosophy of Republicans who already punish women for obtaining the procedure through various pieces of legislation. 

  • It's Time For Reporters To Break Out Of The Trump Rally Press Pens

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Is the only thing more shocking than Donald Trump's campaign manager being charged with simple battery of a reporter the fact that the crime isn't all that startling, given the bullying campaign's open contempt for reporters?

    Enough is enough.

    With Trump's top aide, Corey Lewandowski, now facing charges, focus has shifted back to the increasingly abusive relationship between the GOP front-runner and the campaign press, and the unprecedented barrage of attacks journalists have faced, including constant insults hurled at them by the candidate himself. (Reporters are "disgusting" "horrible people," Trump regularly announces.)

    Sadly, news organizations have brought some of the degradation on themselves by acquiescing to all kinds of Trump campaign demands, such as the rule that they camp out inside mandatory press pens at events. Basically, the Trump campaign disparages the media, and news organizations do nothing in response -- except shower him with even more coverage. (Talk about a win-win for him.)

    "For ratings and clicks, they've allowed themselves to be penned up like farm animals at his rallies and risked scuffles with the Secret Service for covering the events like actual reporters," wrote Eliana Johnson at National Review.

    In fact, the press pens have become a hallmark of Trump's war on the press.

     "Unlike other presidential campaigns, which generally allow reporters and photographers to move around at events, Trump has a strict policy requiring reporters and cameramen to stay inside a gated area, which the candidate often singles out for ridicule during his speeches," Time reported.  

    And Time should know.

    In February, a Secret Service agent lifted Time photographer Chris Morris up off the ground and choke-slammed him onto a table after Morris momentarily "stepped out of the press pen to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that interrupted the speech."

    It's long past time for journalists to demand their freedom from Trump press pens. It's like deciding to finally stop taking Trump's phone-in interviews. Escaping from the pens represents a simple way for news organizations to assert their obvious right to cover the Trump campaign on their own terms, rather than being penned in at campaign events and living in fear of having access denied if coverage is deemed to be too critical. 

    Covering the Trump campaign on a daily basis today appears to be a rather miserable media existence. Reporters are threatened by staffers, and the Trump communications team seems to be utterly nonresponsive to media inquires. ("There is no Trump press operation," one reporter told Slate.)

    But it's even worse than that. Just ask CBS News reporter Sopan Deb. In January at a Trump rally in Reno, a Trump supporter demanded to know if Deb was taking pictures on behalf of ISIS. Then, in March, after Trump's raucous would-be rally in Chicago was canceled, Deb was covering mayhem unfolding on the streets when he was "thrown to the ground by Chicago cops, handcuffed, arrested, and detained in jail."

    I give journalists on the Trump beat credit for trying to make the best of a very bad situation. My question is why aren't bosses standing up more forcefully for their staffers on the Trump front line? Why aren't executives saying "enough" to the campaign bullying? And why don't they take collective action and fix the obvious problems with how the Trump campaign is mistreating the press?

    In case you missed it, last year 17 journalists representing scores of news organizations met for two hours in Washington, D.C., because they were so angry with how Hillary Clinton's campaign was limiting access for journalists.

    "The problems discussed were the campaign's failure to provide adequate notice prior to events, the lack of a clear standard for whether fundraisers are open or closed press and the reflexive tendency to opt to speak anonymously," The Huffington Post reported.

    Looking back, the press's Clinton complaints seem minor compared to the disrespect and invective the Trump campaign rains down on the press. But at the time, news organizations banded together and insisted that changes be made. ("The Clinton campaign is far less hostile to reporters than Donald Trump's campaign," The Huffington Post recently noted.)

    So why the relative silence in light of the constant Trump mistreatment of the press? Why did news outlets quickly marshal their forces when Democrat Clinton was the target of criticism, but they apparently do very little when the Republican front-runner is trampling all over the press? Why the obvious double standard for covering Trump and Clinton?

    Note that last November, several news organizations discussed their concerns with the Trump campaign. "Representatives from five networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN -- discussed their concerns about the Trump campaign restrictions on a Monday conference call, but did not present the campaign with any specific access requests," according to The Huffington Post.

    But very little came of it. "Facing the risk of losing their credentialed access to Trump's events, the networks capitulated," BuzzFeed reported.

    Indeed, in the wake of that meeting, press pens at Trump rallies have recently become even more restrictive, with longer avenues of exit and entries created to separate journalists even further from rally attendees.

    More recently, BuzzFeed reported, "Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face."

    So yes, news organizations have had behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Trump campaign. But the result has been to let Trump "dictate specific details about place of cameras at his event."

    Just amazing.

    And note that it's not just the press pens. Here's a list of the news organizations that have had reporters banned from previous Trump events, presumably because the campaign didn't like the news coverage: The Des Moines Register, Fusion, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Daily Beast, and Univision.

    Over and over we've seen this pattern play out: Report something negative about Trump and watch your press credentials get yanked. This kind of bullying, of course, is unprecedented for American presidential campaigns. The tactic goes against every principle of a free press, inhibiting the news media's unique role in our democracy to inform the public, without fear or favor.

    Yet to date, I'm not aware of outlets banding together to make concrete ultimatums in response to the Trump campaign's bullying. Instead of collective action, we get sporadic, nonbinding complaints from editors.

    But what kind of signal does that send, other than capitulation

  • Ten Journalists Who Have Called Out Trump's "Shocking" Phone "Advantage"

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & JARED HOLT

    As scrutiny has mounted against cable and network news programs regularly allowing Donald Trump to call in to their broadcasts, rather than appearing in person or by satellite, several journalists have said they will no longer allow him that privilege. Others have called for an end to the "shocking" special treatment across all networks and pointed out the ways the practice gives Trump a strategic "advantage."

  • A Sexual Assault Survivor Explains The Hypocrisy Behind Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Bill" Proponents

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    A sexual assault survivor and long-time advocate for other victims of sexual assault has explained exactly why anti-LGBT "bathroom bills" that cast transgender people as sexual predators do nothing to help victims of sexual assault. In fact, she argues that those opposing LGBT equality with "bathroom bills" are not working to strengthen programs addressing sexual assault, but rather to "exploit" survivors to further their agenda.

    Loree Cook-Daniels is a survivor of sexual assault and a professional advocate for other sexual assault survivors to help them heal through the Milwaukee based organization Forge. In response to North Carolina's unprecedented new anti-LGBT law that bans transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, Cook-Daniels wrote a piece debunking the anti-LGBT "bathroom predator" myth peddled by the law's supporters. Proponents of the law have parroted the talking point spread by anti-LGBT activists that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people will allow men to pretend to be transgender to sneak into bathrooms and commit sexual assault.

    Although this so-called "bathroom predator" myth has been widely debunked by experts -- including law enforcement officials and victims' rights advocates in localities with similar laws on the books -- the narrative has largely dominated local North Carolina media coverage unchecked. Cook-Daniels adds her voice to the list of experts dismantling the "bathroom predator" myth, further arguing that those pushing for "bathroom bills" are simply "exploiting" victims of sexual assault. She also notes that the organizations backing bathroom bills do not advocate for other initiatives to help survivors of sexual assault (emphasis added):

    They seem like unlikely leaders in the dozen-plus states where proposed legislation would effectively keep transgender people out of public restrooms, but there they are: sexual assault survivors.

    [...]

    Each survivor shows long-term signs of trauma. ...

    Even more tragically, decades after they were first harmed, these survivors are again being exploited. Those who are promoting their stories, including the Heritage Foundation, are claiming they want to "protect" them. Actually, however, like these women's original abusers, these "helpers" are acting only in their own interests. In this case, their interest is ensuring transgender people are not guaranteed rights to privacy and safety.

    This is far from the first time people have used the specter of sexual assault as a political tool. Politicians have demonized many American minorities over the centuries as rapists and/or child molesters, using those charges to whip up opposition to granting those groups respect, dignity, and rights. Those so targeted have included (but by no means are limited to!) African-Americans, young Japanese men, Jewish Americans, gay men, and, most recently, Mexican immigrants.

    I, too, am a sexual assault survivor. I also work with sexual assault survivors professionally, both helping them heal and training others how to help them, as well. So I am in a position to know who is really helping us make progress, and who is just using us.

    Part of the evidence these survivors are being used comes from the jurisdictions that have already protected transgender individuals' rights to pee and change clothes in peace: all of them report that there has been no increase in sexual assaults in bathrooms or locker rooms (see, for example, " 15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth").

    More importantly, perhaps, is the list of what the Heritage Foundation and other politicians who are using sexual assault survivors are NOT doing:

    • They are not leading the effort to support the growth and funding of programs working on the prevention of sexual assault, such as the Violence Against Women Act. The Heritage Foundation in fact opposed the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act).
    • They are not acknowledging that both men and women can be survivors, and that both men and women can be perpetrators. Instead, they are picking out just the one type of sexual assault that meets their needs and enforcing silence about all the others. How would they protect boys who shower or toilet with men? Is anyone talking about the needs of women and men whose female relative or babysitter molested them?
    • They are not visibly demanding follow-up of the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that are gathering dust in evidence rooms nationwide.
    • They are not conducting public education campaigns to tell people the facts of who abusers are and how they behave, so that people can start identifying and addressing actual dangerous situations.
    • They are not proposing legislation to change statutes of limitations so that adults can prosecute the people who molested them as children, or backing other reforms that might change the fact that 98 percent of rapists never serve a day in jail.
    • They are not funding or advertising quality trauma-treatment programs that can help survivors re-integrate into the world without carrying a debilitating fear of half of its inhabitants.

    [...]

    As a society, we have already chosen: rather than using public policy to "protect" one group from another that they fear is dangerous, we have affirmed civil rights and worked instead to change stereotypes. White people who fear Blacks no longer have a right to a whites-only bathroom or water foundation. An employer can no longer fire a pregnant single mother because one of her co-workers finds her "immoral." A restaurant owner can no longer refuse to serve a Muslim patron because some other diner believes all Muslims are terrorists. It is time we now protect transgender people from those who mistakenly fear they are -- or can be used by -- child molesters and rapists.

    Previously:

    Another Women's Advocacy Group Debunks Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

    An Expert Explains Why The Right-Wing "Bathroom Predator" Myth Is Wrong And Dangerous

    15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth