Martha MacCallum

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  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.

  • O’Reilly Ignores The Most Embarrassing Aspects Of Trump FEC Report

    Trump Paid His Family Owned Businesses With Campaign Funds

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Bill O’Reilly ignored the fact that Donald Trump's campaign May financial report showed the campaign paid his own businesses and family for campaign events, instead choosing to debunk a controversy regarding a payment to what some initially believed to be a fictitious advertising firm.

    During a June 22 discussion with Fox contributor Martha MacCallum, O’Reilly focused on a $35,000 advertising  payment to New Hampshire ad firm Draper Sterling. The payment drew scrutiny because the company’s name was similar to lead characters in a fictitious television series about an ad agency, Mad Men.

    Media outlets have confirmed that Draper Sterling appears to be a real ad firm, although as ThinkProgress noted, it remains unclear what work the company actually did for the Trump campaign.  

    But O’Reilly ignored the most scandalous aspects of Trump’s May FEC report. New York Magazine explained that the “embarrassingly bad” report showed that Trump raised just $3.1 million in May but paid out $6.7 million. Furthermore, roughly 20 percent of the money spent by the Trump campaign in May went to either companies owned by Trump and his family, or to travel reimbursements for his children. The Trump campaign also spent more than $900,000 on T-shirts, hats, mugs and signs. CNBC reported:

    About 20 percent of May spending went to Trump companies or reimbursements for his children. That includes a roughly $423,000 payment to the Trump Organization's Mar-a-Lago club.

    […]

    Trump's campaign also spent a solid portion of its May haul on "collateral," like T-shirts, hats, mugs and signs. It spent more than $900,000 on those categories, more than 13 percent of its total spending.

    "Trump's failure to develop an effective fundraising operation has his campaign at this point without the resources to scale up its staffing, build a field organization, or begin advertising in crucial states," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College and campaign finance expert. "His campaign spending is largely devoted to the costs of personal paraphernalia, such as hats and mugs, which can be sold or distributed by the campaign as a means of raising small sums of money."

  • Right-Wing Media Fearmonger Over Washington State’s New LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Conservative media are fearmongering over Washington state public schools’ new LGBT-inclusive education standards that aim to teach students “the importance of treating others with respect regarding gender identity.” Outlets are reporting that the state will soon begin to “teach transgenderism to kindergartners” and suggesting that Washington is promoting transgender “recruitment.” But education professionals and advocacy groups say students benefit from learning about gender identity at an early age.

  • Fox News Hyped Ohio AG’s False Claims About Planned Parenthood But Didn’t Report That They Cost The State Over $45,000

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS

    In December 2015, when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine argued that fetuses from Planned Parenthood were “steam-cooked and taken to a Kentucky landfill,” Fox News covered his baseless allegations. In contrast, no Fox News show followed up to note that Ohio taxpayers would cover $45,447 in legal fees Planned Parenthood incurred while fighting the attorney general’s misleading claims about its practices.

    On December 11, DeWine held a press conference in which he alleged that fetuses from Planned Parenthood were illegally “steam-cooked and taken to a Kentucky landfill.” DeWine issued his claims after the state conducted a five-month investigation into Planned Parenthood, spurred by allegations made by the now-discredited anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) that abortion providers were illegally selling fetal tissue. While DeWine concluded that fetal tissue was not being sold, he said his office discovered that Planned Parenthood’s means of fetal tissue disposal violated state law requiring that fetal remains be “disposed of in a humane manner.”

    State media called into question DeWine’s so-called “investigation” findings. The Akron Beacon Journal wrote that “it is hard to overlook the political theater at work” in DeWine’s allegations. The Columbus Dispatch noted that no Ohio abortion clinic had ever been cited for improper handling of fetal remains. WBNS-10TV in Columbus, OH, also reported that the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection said that no intact fetuses were buried there, that the disposal company and landfill have not been cited for any legal violations, and that nobody from the attorney general's office had contacted the Kentucky facilities to investigate.

    But while Ohio state media dug into the substance of DeWine’s remarks about Planned Parenthood, Fox News instead provided a platform for DeWine to further his baseless allegations. Fox News co-host Martha MacCallum interviewed DeWine during the December 15 edition of America’s Newsroom, where he reiterated his claims that fetal remains were “taken to a landfill in Kentucky and dumped in that landfill.” He went on to say that his office “think[s] [Planned Parenthood clinics] are in violation of the law.” MacCallum told DeWine: “It strikes me that what this story and what the investigation that you’ve done, it sheds more light on the realities of this process, which a lot of people just really, frankly, don’t want to know more about because it’s very difficult to even think about.”

    In addition to Fox News, other right-wing media sites piled on with headlines about “steam-cooked” fetuses being “illegally dump[ed]” into landfills. (And neither of those outlets reported on the resulting cost to taxpayers either.)

    Shortly after DeWine made his remarks, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block any attempts by DeWine to impede access to abortion services. After a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order, DeWine ended the state’s legal actions with those claims. However, the process DeWine launched ended up costing Planned Parenthood $45,447 in legal fees, which Ohio state officials agreed to pay in a settlement -- meaning Ohio taxpayers ended up footing the bill for the attorney general’s unfounded claims, a consequence Fox News hasn’t covered. While Fox News has called for investigations based solely on CMP videos, the network doesn’t provide equal time when those investigations find no wrongdoing while costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

    By amplifying the false allegations while not reporting on the consequences, right-wing media are spreading lies and distortions.

  • Fox's MacCallum Helps Eric Trump Dismiss Trump U. Fraud Allegations

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Following the release of unsealed court documents related to the ongoing fraud and misrepresentation lawsuits brought against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's now-defunct Trump University real estate seminar business, Eric Trump joined Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum to defend the business' practices with more lies and misleading claims. 

    Trump appeared on the June 2 broadcast of Fox News' America's Newsroom to discuss several topics, among them the recently released documents pertaining to a pending class-action lawsuit against Trump U. Trump repeatedly pushed the already debunked claim that the business "had a 98 percent approval rating." A New York Times investigation found, however, that the survey process for determining this approval rating was itself, in fact, "a central component of a business model that, according to lawsuits and investigators, deceived consumers." 

    Trump also compared allegations of fraud against Trump University to student dissatisfaction at "Harvard" and "every major university around the world." MacCallum did not push back on these claims, only speaking once after her initial question about Trump U. to note that, "any time you have a business, you're going to have some customers, and even some employees, who are disgruntled or dissatisfied." 

    From the June 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

    MARTHA MACCALLUM (host): Let's take a look at something else. This is a quote from somebody who worked for Trump University. I know this is a legal matter and it's being handled in the courts, but in terms of a political matter, take a look at this quote. Because I guarantee you, you are going to see and hear this on Hillary Clinton commercials going forward. "I believe Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money." This comes from a person who worked for Trump University. 

    ERIC TRUMP: You know, Trump University had a 98 percent approval rating. 98 percent, meaning at the end of taking the courses, people graded the university and they wrote a little report card about it. A 98 percent approval rating. We actually posted that on a website so, you have people that come back and buyers' remorse or whatever it is. You have people that come back after grading it an A-plus, I loved it, I learned so much for it, I brought this into my own personal life, it helped me develop as a person, it helped me start my first business, etcetera, etcetera. And then they come back and say that, so you know, I think we're going to win that case. I know we're going to win that case. We have every single one of those report cards, it just undermines quotes like that. I mean, the university did a great job. It did a great thing. It was highly, highly respected. 

    MACCALLUM: The good outweighs the bad essentially. That any time you have a business, you're going to have some customers, and even some employees, who are disgruntled or dissatisfied. 

    TRUMP: There's probably people that go to Harvard and say, listen I went to Harvard and I got a great education and I can't find a job, or I didn't become the success that I could have been. Sure, I mean you probably have that at every major university around the world. I mean, Trump University had a 98 percent approval rating, and I think that wins the day. 

  • Media Slam Trump's "Totally Irresponsible" Response To EgyptAir Crash, While Fox Defends It

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media figures criticized Donald Trump’s response to the EgyptAir crash saying that it was “totally irresponsible” and “bad practice” for Trump to blame the crash on terrorism despite having no information at the time. Meanwhile, Fox News defended Trump’s “strong statement,” and praised him for saying “exactly what’s on everyone’s mind.”