Over the past three months, major print outlets throughout the country largely failed to discuss rising structural inequality and poverty in the United States while reporting on policies and programs that affect low-income groups.
Now that the Obama administration and Congress are engaged in a debate over immigration policy, a Media Matters review of major news outlets has found that when it comes to immigration coverage, anti-immigrant commentator Mark Krikorian continues to be the media's preferred conservative voice. Krikorian heads the Center for Immigration Studies, a group associated with notorious nativist John Tanton and whose research has been called into question -- but these facts are routinely ignored in coverage of his remarks.
Climate change was almost entirely absent from the political discourse this election season, receiving less than an hour of TV coverage over three months from the major cable and broadcast networks excluding MSNBC. By contrast, those outlets devoted nearly twice as much coverage to Vice President Joe Biden's demeanor during his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan. When climate change was addressed, print and TV media outlets often failed to note the scientific consensus or speak to scientists.
Several print outlets quoted Sen. Jeff Sessions' call to delay Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, citing her lengthy judicial record, but did not note that Sessions reportedly urged fast action on Justice Samuel Alito's confirmation process, saying, "You don't have to read everything he's written."
A Miami Herald article uncritically repeated a claim by the Republican National Committee that Sen. Barack Obama "vot[ed] against $120 billion for the war last year." In fact, Obama has repeatedly voted to provide funds for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and said he voted against a troop funding bill in May 2007 because it did not include a timeline for withdrawal.
Miami Herald executive editor Tom Fiedler stated that the newspaper didn't pursue a story on emails allegedly written by former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) to an underage male former page because they were "ambiguous" and "very innocuous" -- a claim similar to one made in a Miami Herald editorial. But in defending the decision not to report the alleged emails, neither Fiedler nor the Herald editorial gave readers the full information on their content.