Mara Liasson

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  • Fox's Benghazi Transcript Trutherism: Clinton Edition

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    Benghazi Documents Revealed

    Fox News figures revived the tired falsehood that President Obama and his administration neglected to acknowledge Benghazi as a terrorist attack, this time adding speculation that Hillary Clinton may have played a role in the imaginary omission.

    On January 13 the House Armed Services Committee released declassified transcripts of congressional briefings on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. One portion of the transcripts detailed Marine Corps Colonel George Bristol, commander of an Africa-based task force during the Benghazi attacks, testifying that at the time of the assault in Benghazi, the military considered the assault to be an attack. 

    That evening's Special Report presented Bristol's words as groundbreaking, suggesting they indicted both the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, a Fox contributor called it "a pretty significant development" because "[f]or the president and his advisers to go out and for two weeks pretend that that wasn't the case is quite extraordinary." And NPR's Mara Liasson, also a Fox contributor, took the claims even further, wondering if Clinton "might be tied in some way to ... deciding not to call it a terrorist attack." 

  • Myths And Facts About The Conservative Media's Witch Hunt Against Susan Rice

    ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN & MELODY JOHNSON

    Conservative media have been facilitating a witch hunt against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, claiming that her public statements regarding the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, were untruthful and misleading. In fact, Rice was using talking points that had been approved by the CIA, and she repeatedly emphasized that the information was preliminary.

  • Fox News Reimagines Amb. Susan Rice's Remarks On Libya Attack

    ››› ››› MARCUS FELDMAN

    Fox News commentators have reimagined U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice's statements about the consulate attack in Benghazi, saying Rice was "so definitive" in Sunday show interviews about what had happened there. In fact, Rice repeatedly made clear during her interviews that definitive conclusions would only follow from an administration investigation, which she stressed was under way.

  • NPR Updates Ethics Code; Allows Mara Liasson To Continue Fox News Association

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    National Public Radio's newly unveiled Ethics Handbook discourages its news employees from forming contracts with "other media outlets." NPR notes that such requests will likely be denied. However, NPR is going to allow national political correspondent Mara Liasson, one of the few NPR employees who has a contract with another media outlet, to continue her long-running appearances on Fox.

    The unlikely pairing of an NPR commentator regularly appearing on partisan Fox News has bedeviled the radio network for years. Its Ethics Handbook was revised because of the controversy that erupted in 2010 when NPR fired Juan Williams for controversial comments he made about Muslims while appearing on The O'Reilly Factor. Even prior to the 2010 tumult, NPR bosses were so uncomfortable with Williams' public association with O'Reilly's show that they reportedly insisted he remove his NPR identifier when he appeared on The Factor.

    An NPR ethics task force was designed to address dilemmas such as the one surrounding Williams' high-profile Fox News affiliation. Previewing its recommendations last year, the 14-person advisory group singled out the need for NPR to do away with long-term contracts with outside media companies.

    According to a report last year in Current, which covers public broadcasting, the task force was clear that NPR should "have its journalists phase out any long-term contracts for appearances on other media outlets." The task force recommended those media appearances be approved on a case-by-case basis. The task force made its formal presentation to the NPR Board last September and the Ethics Handbook was then formalized over the winter.

    Following that task force recommendation, the handbook makes clear that NPR employees are unlikely to be granted permission to enter into new, long-term arrangements (emphasis added):

    We don't enter into contracts with other media outlets without approval from senior news management and NPR's legal department. Understand that in most cases permission will not be granted.

    One of the concerns stated in the handbook for the get-tough policy about regular outside work is that those arrangements subject NPR "to the editorial agenda of producers who may not share our standards." That includes the editorial agenda of Fox News.

    However, an NPR spokesperson informs Media Matters that Liasson will be allowed to maintain her long-term association with Fox News and its unique set of "standards."

  • Are Mara Liasson's Days Numbered At Fox News?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    National Public Radio's Board of Directors will meet this week to discuss the news organization's ethics code, which is being revised in the wake of the controversy surrounding Juan Williams' firing. Earlier this year, an NPR task force working on the code recommended that the new guidelines move away from long-term associations between NPR employees and outside media outlets. National political correspondent Mara Liasson, who regularly appears on Fox News, is among the very few NPR employees who currently enjoy such a long-term pact.

    An NPR spokeswoman tells Media Matters that no final decision regarding Liasson's Fox News job has been made, but that the type of on-going media contract Liasson has with Fox was reviewed by an NPR ethics task force.

    According to a report earlier this year in Current, which covers public broadcasting, the task force was clear that NPR should "have its journalists phase out any long-term contracts for appearances on other media outlets." Instead, those media appearances should be approved on a case-by-case basis.

    The task force was created in the wake of the Williams firing, prompted by his comments on Fox's O'Reilly Factor that he felt uncomfortable flying with passengers dressed in "Muslim garb." NPR executives, who had long been unhappy with William's association with Fox News, terminated his contract.

    The move sparked a wide controversy, with the right-wing media responding with special indignation, echoing Williams' claim he had been unfairly fired. Conservatives also claimed, often hysterically, that NPR's personnel move highlighted what they saw as the network's embedded liberal bias. Indeed, Fox News unleashed a nasty attack campaign against Liasson's employer, regularly ambushed its CEO, and spread all kinds of smears and misinformation about NPR and its staff in an effort to defund and destroy public broadcasting. (Fox News' Brit Hume essentially called NPR racist for firing Williams.)

    Liasson, who has been an NPR employee for two decades, maintained her Fox News association in spite of the network's harassment campaign of NPR, which culminated with chief Roger Ailes denouncing Liasson's bosses as "Nazis."

  • Mara Liasson Whitewashes Romney's Job Creation Record

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    On Fox News Sunday, NPR's Mara Liasson claimed job creation is Mitt Romney's "brand," adding that "this is his issue ... and I think that that really helps him." But as governor of Massachusetts, "Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation's economy was booming," according to Reuters.