John Berman

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  • On CNN, RNC Hispanic Communications Director Admits They "Don't Know For Sure" What Trump’s Immigration Plan Is

    Helen Aguirre Ferré: "This May Not Be The Speech That's Going To Deal With The Entire Process Of Immigration Reform"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 31 edition of CNN's At This Hour with Berman and Bouldan

    JOHN BERMAN (HOST): You were part of that meeting that Donald Trump had with Latino Republicans where people left thinking -- they left the meeting thinking that maybe he was open to the idea of some kind of legal status for some of the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States. Do you think that Donald Trump will open that door tonight in his speech? Will he open the door to some kind of legal status for some of the 11 million undocumented workers here? 

    HELEN AGUIRRE FERRÉ: What Mr. Trump's been very clear about is that there's going to be no citizenship and no amnesty and we know that. He's been --

    BERMAN: Does that mean legal status then? 

    AGUIRRE FERRÉ: -- very clear about border security. But what we are going to look at is that -- but you know what, but I think we're not -- I think what this speech is going to be about is how to deter illegal immigration, and that is not going to be taking into account and -- we don't know for sure, but deterring illegal immigration is the first important step that needs to be addressed before you can get into the other very complex parts of immigration reform. This may not be the speech that's going to deal with the entire process of immigration reform, but will be very clear about how to deter illegal immigration. We used to be a country where we applauded legal immigration, but we turned a blind eye to illegal immigration, which really just compounds the problems that we have. So focusing on making legal immigration easier will come at some point, but how to deter illegal immigration is paramount and is going to be addressed tonight.

    BERMAN: Well, we are waiting to see if he does address the legal status issue for the some 11 million undocumented immigrants.

  • Media Continue To Fall For Clinton Foundation Pseudo-Scandals Promoted By Judicial Watch

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Media are once again rushing to scandalize newly released State Department emails pushed by the conservative group Judicial Watch that allegedly show a conflict of interest created by “Clinton Foundation donors receiving special access” to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But the emails actually show the heir to a head of state arranged a meeting with Clinton through “official channels,” as he had with Clinton’s previous Republican predecessors.

    Judicial Watch’s press release framed the emails as showing “Hillary Clinton State Department Gave Special Access to Top Clinton Foundation Donors,” and focused on exchanges between Bill Clinton aide Doug Band and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin regarding a meeting Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested with Clinton. Judicial Watch suggested that the crown prince’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation was crucial to him meeting with Clinton:

    Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.

    From: Doug Band

    To: Huma Abedin

    Sent: Tue Jun 23 1:29:42 2009

    Subject:

    Cp of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday

    Asking to see her

    Good friend of ours

    From: Huma Abedin

    To: Doug Band

    Sent: Tue Jun 23 4:12:46 2009

    Subject: Re:

    He asked to see hrc thurs and fri thru normal channels. I asked and she said she doesn’t want to commit to anything for thurs or fri until she knows how she will feel. Also she says that she may want to go to ny and doesn’t want to be committed to stuff in ny…

    From: Huma Abedin [Huma@clintonemail.com]

    Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:35:15 AM

    To: Doug Band

    Subject:

    Offering Bahrain cp 10 tomorrow for meeting woith [sic] hrc

    If u see him, let him know

    We have reached out thru official channels

    But the emails show that the meeting was proposed and arranged through “normal” and “official channels,” not through “special access” as Judicial Watch characterized it. Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain “asked to see [Clinton] thurs and fri thru normal channels,” according to the emails, and Clinton didn’t “want to commit to anything” until she confirmed her schedule and how she was feeling. Later that week, Abedin confirmed that Clinton and her staff “reached out [to Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain] thru official channels” to set up the meeting.

    According to a write-up from Agence France-Presse, obtained via Nexis search, the meeting was about the “tense post-election climate in Iran and the Middle East peace process” -- exactly the sorts of topics one would expect the secretary of state to discuss with a Middle Eastern leader.

    Given that past secretaries of state and US presidents have met with Crown Prince Salman -- including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and President George W. Bush -- it’s not unusual that the crown prince sought a meeting with Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state, and there is no evidence he got the meeting due to his affiliation with the Clinton Foundation.

    But that hasn't prevented the press from trying to turn the meeting into a scandal.

    Media outlets immediately ran with the story, suggesting that “the new revelations,” as Politico put it, “add to the controversy that has swirled around the Clinton Foundation, with Donald Trump and other critics accusing Hillary Clinton of using her position at the State Department to reward major donors through access to other power players.”

    The Wall Street Journal scandalized the emails, saying they “could fuel criticism that the Clinton family’s charitable foundation, in fundraising with wealthy donors, corporations and foreign nations, created a conflict of interest for Mrs. Clinton during her work as the nation’s top diplomat.”

    A Fox News article wrote that “Such emails have fueled accusations from Republicans of a ‘pay-to-play’ operation.”

    CNN’s John Berman said, "It doesn't literally have to be provable pay to play to have an appearance problem."

    These accounts adopt Judicial Watch’s frame that the meeting between Bahrain’s crown prince and Clinton was granted only because of “special, expedited access” and “preferential treatment” because of his relationship with the Clinton Foundation, and that at the least, the emails and meeting reflect bad optics.

    Judicial Watch is a right-wing organization with a history of duping the press on Clinton email stories. 

  • Cable News (Except Fox) Increasingly Using On-Air Graphics To Combat Trump’s Lies

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Media outlets have increasingly turned to chryons (or on-air graphics) to combat Donald Trump’s lies in real time. This media tactic has become an important tool given their inability to pushback on lies that are consistently repeated by the Trump campaign. 

    On the April 4 edition of MSNBC Live, MSNBC aired live footage from a Donald Trump rally where he claimed to have watched a videotape of the United States handing $400 million in “ransom money” to Iran. MSNBC debunked Trump’s claim using a chyron that read, “Trump Says He Watched (Nonexistent) Video Of Iran Receiving Cash.” 

    Later in the speech, when Trump again claimed to have seen “the video,” MSNBC used the same chyron to refute the false narrative. MSNBC later cut away from the speech and anchor Kate Snow invited NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin further debunk the narrative. 

    Previously, CNN earned considerable praise from the media after using its chyrons to fact check the Trump campaign’s lies.

    CNN’s and MSNBC’s decision to use on-air graphics to combat misinformation follows extensive criticism received by cable news for poorly pushing back against lies from Donald Trump and his campaign.

    According to Poynter, these types of fact checks have become increasingly important in a “post-fact world.”

    American television has been accused of not stepping up its game to combat misinformation in this election cycle.

    In many ways, the failure has been one of formats rather than content. When TV hosts have tried to correct the record they have sometimes done so by replaying long clips of the claim with no clear indication of its falsehood. In other occasions, they have not done enough homework to shut down a lie when the candidate hits back — even if they were entirely correct.

  • Conservative Media Are Making Violent Anti-Trump Protests Clinton’s Responsibility

    Clinton Campaign Has Denounced Anti-Trump Violence, While Trump Himself Has Regularly Instigated Violence

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures are calling on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to condemn violence that broke out at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rally, ignoring that her campaign denounced the violence the night of the protests. Conservative media figures previously defended Trump when violent protests broke out at his rallies, despite many major media outlets noting that Trump’s rhetoric has incited and encouraged the violence.