Morning Joe

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  • Journalists Call On Debate Moderators To Fact-Check Candidates

    Journalists: Debate Moderators Should “Be Well-Prepared Enough To Assert The Truth In Real Time”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Prior to the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, journalists are advising the debate moderators to “Be well-prepared enough to assert the truth in real time,” and arguing that a moderator should not “abdicate” their “role as a truth-seeker and a journalist” because moderators “play a constructive and vital role” in presidential debates.

  • The Bar Gets Lower: Media Reinforce Double Standard For Trump Ahead Of First Debate

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    As the first presidential debate approaches, media figures across the political spectrum are actively lowering the bar for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, both by setting lower standards themselves and by pushing the lower-standard narrative. Yet at the same time, many media figures are acknowledging that the press is employing a double standard in its treatment of Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

  • Media Finally Admit The Bar Is Lower For Trump. But Can They Fix It?

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Memo to the media: You cannot have it both ways on the double standard applied to presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

    After NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum, reporters and pundits proclaimed that media have held the two presidential nominees to different standards of knowledge and conduct, yet these media figures have also perpetuated the double standard by excusing Trump’s behavior and applauding him any time he shows a veneer of conventionality.

    Numerous media figures criticized Matt Lauer, host of the September 7 forum, for employing different questioning toward Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Lauer allowed Trump to lie about opposing the Iraq war, yet he used eight of his first nine questions for Clinton to grill her over her emails. Several media figures said Lauer’s line of questioning embodied the “double standard” that reporters across the board use to analyze the two candidates.

    If Media Figures Note The Double Standard ... 

    • MSNBC's Mike Barnicle: Trump Is The "Continued Beneficiary Of A Huge Double Standard." The morning after the forum, MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle told Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough that Lauer interviewed Trump “as if he were the co-host or the host of The Apprentice,” rather than a presidential candidate, noting, “Syria wasn’t mentioned. Aleppo wasn’t mentioned. The refugee crisis wasn’t mentioned.” He noted that the forum showed Trump is the “continued beneficiary of a huge double standard.”
       
    • Wash. Post Contributor Paul Waldman: “Hillary Clinton Gets Examined In A Very Different Way Than Donald Trump Does.” Following the forum, Washington Post contributor Paul Waldman explained that Clinton “gets examined in a very different way than Trump does” by the media. Speaking on the September 7 edition of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Waldman faulted media for taking an “all hands on deck mentality” when reporting Clinton news -- saying that “everybody will investigate every nook and cranny to see if there’s anything there that looks untoward. And even if there isn’t, it becomes this story that drags out over the course of days and even weeks” -- as opposed to “strings of issues” about Trump that are reported once and then forgotten.
       
    • Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin: “Trump Is Being Held To A Less High Standard.” ” Prior to the forum, Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin told co-host John Heilemann that “the Clinton campaign is right” that “Trump is being held to a less high standard” by reporters and that “the press is just not holding him accountable.” Halperin continued, “Trump is doing things that if Clinton did, she would be hit a lot harder,” and he urged media to “work on fixing that.” Co-host John Heilemann agreed with Halperin, despite having defended the double standard the week prior, when he said that “sometimes … you have to set the bar low” for Trump.
       
    • NY Times' Maggie Haberman: "The Bar Has Been Lowered For Trump Repeatedly." New York Times political correspondent Maggie Haberman said on CNN’s New Day leading up to the forum that Trump “keeps getting graded on a curve” and “the bar has been lowered for Trump repeatedly.” Haberman criticized media figures who assess Trump by asking, “Does he merely pass?” And then if he does, they record it as Trump “did very well.”
       
    • NY Times’ James Poniewozik Slams Lauer For Questioning Trump On A Curve. New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik scolded Lauer for treating Clinton “like someone running for president” but Trump “like someone running to figure out how to be president, eventually.” Poniewozik wrote that after grilling Clinton on her private email server, Lauer pitched Trump “the kind of whiffle ball job-interview” questions “you ask the boss’s nephew you know you have to hire anyway.”
       
    • CNN’s Brian Stelter: “It Is True That Trump Is Held To A Different Standard Than Clinton.” The day after the forum, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter told CNN host Ashleigh Banfield that “it is true that Trump is held to a different standard than Clinton” and said that “no doubt, at the forum, there was different treatment for Trump versus Clinton.”

    ... But Have Perpetuated It ...

    Despite all this commentary, media figures have consistently perpetuated the double standard, holding Trump to a lower bar than they do Clinton in terms of behavioral and ethical conduct -- and in measures of veracity. Most recently, when a report came out that Trump paid a fine to the IRS for making an illegal $25,000 donation to the 2013 re-election campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, broadcast news networks devoted a third as much as time to the matter as they provided to a flawed Associated Press story on the Clinton Foundation that proved no ethics breaches.

    Media figures have previously repeatedly pardoned Trump’s widely criticized rhetoric, policy flip-flops, and divisive comments because he’s “not a politician” and is “learning as he goes”:

    • Fox Hosts Excused Trump's Abortion Comments Because "He's Learning As He Goes." Hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends excused Trump’s statement in March that there should be some kind of punishment for women who obtain abortions, suggesting that Trump should not be expected to answer questions about abortion because they’re usually reserved for more experienced politicians. Co-host Steve Doocy excused Trump, saying, “He only became a politician about six or seven months ago.”
       
    • CNN’s Mark Preston: “You Have To Expect” Trump Will Abandon His Positions; He Can’t Be Thought Of In “Conventional Terms.” CNN political executive editor Mark Preston told New Day host Chris Cuomo in May that he was not surprised the presumptive nominee “took a half-step back” on banning Muslim immigrants because he can't be thought of in “conventional terms,” but rather “in Donald Trump terms.”
       
    • The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich: “Consistency Should Be An Argument Against Donald Trump,” But Trump “Isn’t A Normal Candidate.” Daily Beast Washington bureau chief Jackie Kucinich claimed in May that while “consistency should be an argument against” Trump “in a normal political system,” Trump is “not a normal candidate” and thus his policy reversals might not affect him.

    Media have also absurdly applauded Trump any time he has appeared to assume even the slightest veneer of conventional, tempered behavior:

    • Reading A Speech From A Teleprompter: Media figures praised Trump as “presidential” in early June for delivering one speech with the aid of a teleprompter. Fox anchor Megyn Kelly praised Trump for being “a little bit more controlled using the teleprompter, which is something we almost never see him do, staying on message.”
       
    • Delivering One Speech Devoid Of Racist Attacks: Following the same speech, media figures also praised Trump as “presidential” for refraining from launching racist attacks against the federal judge presiding over Trump University lawsuits, which Trump had done for multiple days prior. CNN host Don Lemon said the “new, more presidential Donald Trump” is what “people in Washington wanted to see.”
       
    • Rebutting A Joke About His Penis Size: Fox doctor Keith Ablow praised Donald Trump for “show[ing] an incredible degree of psychological strength” in responding to a joke about the size of his hands by referencing the size of his penis.
       
    • Not Calling Then-Opponent Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”: Following Trump’s April victory in the New York primary, Fox’s Megyn Kelly and ABC’s Tom Llamas said Trump was becoming “more presidential” and “trying out a more presidential style” because he did not call his opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump returned to using the phrase the next day.

    ... Will They Change? 

    Now that political media have admitted their own shortcomings in the cautionary tale of Lauer, will they level the playing field between Clinton and Trump?

    Researcher Tyler Cherry contributed research to this post.

  • Right-Wing Media’s Supposed “Benghazi Bombshell” Of 30 New Clinton Emails Falls Flat

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    State Department lawyers announced that 30 emails the FBI recovered from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private server regarding the September 2012 Benghazi attacks contained only one “all-new” email, which was a personal message to Clinton. The announcement contrasts right-wing media hype that scandalized the emails as a “Benghazi bombshell” and fodder for conspiracy theorists, and implied that they might reveal new information to negatively implicate Clinton in the Benghazi attacks.

  • Four Ways Media Attack Organized Labor

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    As Labor Day approaches, Media Matters looks back at how media have attacked organized labor over the past year. In the midst of several important battles for labor unions in 2016, media have often pushed misleading information about union membership and fees, attempted to delegitimize the votes of union members, uncritically cited and elevated voices from anti-union dark-money groups without proper disclosure, and claimed that teachers unions’ activism shows that educators do not care about what’s best for their students.

  • Even The Media Is Getting Sick Of The Trump “Pivot” Narrative

    ››› ››› CHRISTOPHER LEWIS

    Following Donald Trump’s heavily anticipated immigration speech, media figures have finally concluded that there will be no so-called “pivot” from the Republican presidential nominee. They are urging people to never “speak of Donald Trump pivoting ever, ever again” and claiming that talk of a Trump pivot needs to “be put in a lockbox.”

  • GOP Uses Flawed AP Report To Call For An Investigation Into The Clinton Foundation

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Republicans are using a flawed Associated Press report -- that baselessly alleged Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton granted special State Department access to Clinton Foundation donors -- to justify calls for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Even though the report included no evidence of wrongdoing, numerous media figures hyped it as a scandal, claiming “the optics are disturbing” for Clinton.

  • Watch The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Call Trump A "Clown" On MSNBC

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the September 1 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe

    JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): What did the chamber -- what's the chamber position? Have you all figured out -- and I'm being dead serious here -- what exactly he said yesterday. The totality of yesterday. I'm not even trying to be funny. What is his position?

    MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): There is no position.

    SCARBOROUGH: Because he seems to be trying to have it all. Throws the red meat out while he suggests that perhaps he's not going to deport families that have been here for ten years. What did you all take out of yesterday's events? And what exactly is Donald Trump's position because The [New YorkTimes and other publications can't quite figure it out?

    JAVIER PALOMAREZ: Well, therein lies the quandary that he has painted himself into this box. He's damned if he does, he's damned if he doesn't. He had to come back out and really kind of fire up his base. But the reality of it is, he hasn't done anything to help himself in terms of growing the number. And so I think he's done for with the Hispanic community. He's never going to see the White House if he doesn't get a significant portion of the Hispanic vote. I don't know if you guys speak Spanish but I want you to remember this one word, payaso.

    SCARBOROUGH: I was just saying that literally a second a go.

    BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

    PALOMAREZ: It means clown. You know, this guy is a complete clown. I'm really sad for the American people and for the Republican party. They had an opportunity to put John Kasich, you know, front and center. Instead, they ended up with this payaso. And it's a complete waste of time, it is a complete waste of time. We need to get on with it already. The nation has got other things to worry about. Immigration reform is a monster that he created so he could slay it at the end of the day. It's not going to change things for this nation as we move forward here. We've got to deal with a broken immigration system, obviously. But it's got  to be done in a strategic fashion that makes sense on a going forward basis to fire up people and get this kind of hate filled, you know, this movement of hatred. It doesn't solve anything. 

    Previously

    CNN Fact-Checks Trump's False Claim That America Is Full Of Criminal Immigrants

    CNN's Gloria Borger: The Term "Pivot" Should "Be Put In A Lock Box" When Talking About Trump

    Media Reactions To Trump’s Immigration Speech: Same Extremist Trump

  • Watch MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski Refuse To Cover Ann Coulter’s Praise For Trump’s Immigration Speech

    Brzezinski: I Won’t Use That Name Because “People Like That Have No Place In The Mainstream Conversation” 

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski slammed conservative commentator and Donald Trump supporter, Ann Coulter, refusing to say her name on the September 1 edition of Morning Joe after Coulter praised Trump’s widely condemned immigration speech as “the most magnificent speech ever given.” Coulter is a long time Trump supporter with a well established history of anti-immigration sentiment. Brzezinski slammed Coulter for running a business “fueled on hate speech and hurting people,” and refused to even say Coulter’s name on-air, asserting “people like that have no place in the mainstream conversation.” From the September 1 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

    JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): He does this all the time, he plays to the 40 percent, plays to the 41, 42 percent. And then he decides he's going to expand his base. He's done it on guns, --

    NICOLLE WALLACE: But he’s lying.

    SCARBOROUGH: He’s done it on immigration, he’s done it onall these other issues. And he will go out and then he gets criticized and then immediately he doesn't have the courage to stay up and then he immediately runs back in.

    MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): And if I could just say Alex wanted me to read a story and Alex, I will paraphrase it without using the name. And that is a person who basically runs a business for herself fueled on hate speech and hurting people. And is a huge supporter of Donald Trump. Loved the speech. It says it all. But a great leader in the media once mentioned to us, actually, not to ever mention this person's name because people like that have no place, no place in the mainstream conversation.

    SCARBOROUGH: So, he's got --

    BRZEZINSKI: They are hurting America.

    SCARBOROUGH: He's got his hardcore 40 percent supporting him.

    BRZEZINSKI: And people like that.

    SCARBOROUGH: But he's offended, again, he's offended some of his Hispanic supporters. The few that dared stick their neck out for him. And the college educated voters that have been staying away from him.