Jeanine Pirro

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  • New Allegations Of Sexual Assault Against Donald Trump Undermine Right-Wing Media Spin Of “Hot Mic” Comments

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    A New York Times report profiling two more women who are accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault once again seems to contradict the Trump campaign, their surrogates, and supporters in the media who have excused as “just words” 2005 comments made by the Republican nominee bragging about sexual assault.

    After NBC released a tape of Trump gloating about “grabbing” a woman and being able to “do anything,” the candidate dismissed his remarks as “locker room talk.” In the days following, numerous right-wing media figures echoed the candidate’s excuse -- claiming there is a big difference between words and actions -- in an apparent attempt to bolster Trump’s assertion that he had never committed the sexual assault he boasted about.

    The October 12 report seemingly contradicts Trump’s explanation, as two women said the candidate “touched them inappropriately.” One woman claimed that on a plane in adjoining first class seats, Trump “grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt,” while a second woman, a 22-year old receptionist at the time, alleged that outside a Trump Tower elevator, after encountering the nominee “They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.” In a separate October 12 Palm Beach Post report, a third woman said she was “groped” by Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort 13 years ago. The Trump campaign denied the Times report, calling it “fiction.” From the October 12 New York Times report

    Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

    “No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”

    At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.

    More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.

    About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

    According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.


    In a phone interview on Tuesday night, a highly agitated Mr. Trump denied every one of the women’s claims.

    “None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at The Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them.

    “You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.

    Asked whether he had ever done any of the kissing or groping that he had described on the recording, Mr. Trump was once again insistent: “I don’t do it. I don’t do it. It was locker room talk.”

    Echoing Trump’s talking point about the 2005 tape, Fox News hosts have repeatedly defended the Republican presidential nominee by downplaying his comment as “just words.” Fox’s Bill O’Reilly dismissed Trump’s admission of sexual assault as “guy talk,” while Fox News host Jeanine Pirro called Trump’s comments “locker room talk” and “frat house language.” Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said those upset by Trump’s comments are “acting like a bunch of prudes” because Trump is “not the only person to eve speak this way” and Fox’s Howard Kurtz called the media’s response “manufactured outrage.”

    Trump and his campaign have denied the new allegations and have reportedly threatened to sue the Times for publishing their story about the new sexual assault accusations.

  • Flashback: How Fox News Promoted Trump's Birtherism

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    As the Trump campaign attempts to put Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s racist, conspiratorial claims about President Obama's birthplace to rest, it’s important to remember that Fox News and Fox Business helped lay the groundwork for Trump’s birtherism by giving him a platform to promote his birther beliefs -- which some Fox hosts, analysts, and contributors embraced.

  • Despite Conspiracies, Gossip, And Race-Baiting, Fox News Says The Trump Campaign Is "Very Much On Message"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is hyping an “on message,” less-fringy Donald Trump, claiming that “we haven’t had a pop-off” from the Republican presidential nominee “for a few days now.” But over the past few days,Trump has cited “misleading” statistics to make the point that “everything is bad” in black communities and has gone on a Twitter tirade against MSNBC hosts, while those close to his campaign have continued to push conspiracy theories about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health.

  • Right-Wing Media Attempt To Scandalize Cheryl Mills Volunteer Trip For Clinton Foundation, Ignoring Undermining Evidence

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    A CNN investigation alleged that former Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills potentially violated ethics rules by traveling to New York for the Clinton Foundation while also employed by the State Department -- yet it also noted that she was doing unpaid volunteer work on the trip, thus debunking its own claim. Numerous right-wing media outlets reported on the matter either without mentioning or by glossing over the volunteer aspect.

  • Here's Who's Defending Melania Trump's Plagiarized Speech And Who's Calling It Out


    Media figures, including some in right-wing media, criticized the Trump campaign following revelations that Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech plagiarized parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. However, several conservative media figures still defended the speech, claiming that “nobody owns” those words and that the speech “actually applies to her life.”

  • Fox Personalities Respond To Gretchen Carlson's Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Familiar Victim-Blaming

    Fox’s Response Serves As A PSA In How NOT To Cover Sexual Harassment Stories

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    After Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News personalities have rushed to defend Ailes while disparaging Carlson’s character, dismissing her allegations, and accusing her of having ulterior motives. Their response mirrors the false tropes the network hosts push in their sexual assault coverage.

    On July 6, former Fox News host Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Carlson also alleged that while she was a host of Fox & Friends, her co-host Steve Doocy “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” of Carlson. Carlson has been a witness to years of sexism from her male colleagues, plenty of it directed at her.

    Several other women have come forward with complaints or contacted Carlson’s law firm to report similar experiences of mistreatment.

    Numerous Fox figures have rallied to Ailes’ defense, falling back on the network’s long-held strategy of dismissing sexual harassment – and even sexual assault – allegations by blaming the victims, trying to discredit the allegations by disparaging the victims’ characters, and rushing to defend the character of the accused. Just as New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman predicted, the “Fox News PR machine” is fighting the sexual harassment allegations by “try[ing] to discredit Carlson’s claims and any of the other women’s claims who come forward.”

    Disparaging The Victim’s Character

    After Carlson filed her lawsuit, her former Fox colleagues defended Ailes by immediately disparaging her character, dismissing her allegations, and suggesting she may have had ulterior motives.

    Greta Van Susteren suggested Carlson may have falsely accused Ailes of sexual harassment because she was “unhappy that her contract wasn’t renewed.”

    In a flurry of tweets on July 12, Sean Hannity dismissed Carlson’s allegations, suggesting that if she had really been harassed, she would not have stayed, asked for more airtime, or written to Ailes:

    Brit Hume asked Carlson why she didn’t just quit following the alleged harassment:

    This behavior isn’t new for Fox figures. In the past, Andrea Tantaros has asked, “At what point do women need to take some responsibility” for sexual harassment. Hannity blamed a victim of sexual harassment for “staying in the car” with the accused offender after the alleged harassment. Greg Gutfeld claimed that victims allege sexual harassment “to safeguard future reputation-damaging things.”  

    The network’s victim-blaming isn’t limited to sexual harassment. Hosts have blamed victims of sexual assault for “wearing a miniskirt,” characterized victims as “bad girls … who like to be naughty,” and altogether disputed the prevalence of sexual assault.

    Defending The Character Of The Accused

    Fox figures also responded to Carlson’s lawsuit by touting Ailes’ character.  

    Jeanine Pirro called Carlson’s allegations “absurd” and called Ailes a “no-nonsense guy,” saying, “I just loved him.”

    Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed that of the women she’s talked to at Fox, “Nobody believed” Carlson’s allegations, adding that Ailes “is a man who champions women.”

    Bret Baier said that’s “not the Roger I know,” and added, “I can’t say enough good things about Roger.”

    Neil Cavuto called Carlson’s allegations “sick” and said they “don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know” because Ailes “is ALL professional.”

    Ainsley Earhardt, Martha MacCallum, and Harris Faulkner have also vigorously defended Ailes, calling him a “father figure” and a “terrific boss.”

    By focusing on defending the character of the accused, reporters treat the accused offender as the victim. And it’s not just Ailes. Fox has a history of treating accused offenders as victims, including by claiming  that the focus on campus sexual assault amounts to “a war happening on boys” and dubiously hyping the frequency of false accusations of sexual assault against men, even though  false accusations are rare.  

  • Fox Figures Circle The Wagons Around Boss Roger Ailes Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Update: Fox News Has Announced a $20 Million Settlement (9/6/16)


    Fox News personalities are training their fire on former colleague Gretchen Carlson after the former host filed a “sexual harassment/retaliation” lawsuit against Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Carlson’s suit comes after years of overt sexism by Fox guests and on-air personalities and stirred a flurry of new attention to Ailes’ notorious track record of vulgar conduct and sexist behavior toward women.