NBC

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  • STUDY: Cable And Broadcast News Try To Cover The Economy Without Economists

    Economists Made Up 1 Percent Of Guests In The First Quarter Of 2016, While Shows Focused On Campaigns, Inequality

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Expertise from economists was almost completely absent from television news coverage of the economy in the first quarter of 2016, which focused largely on the tax and economic policy platforms of this year’s presidential candidates. Coverage of economic inequality spiked during the period -- tying an all-time high -- driven in part by messaging from candidates on both sides of the aisle, but gender diversity in guests during economic news segments remained low.

  • Meet The Press Panel Fooled By Trump’s Temporary, Moderate Position On Anti-LGBT “Bathroom Bills”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and panelists on his NBC show cited Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s claim that he opposes anti-LGBT “bathroom bills” as evidence that Trump is moderating his views as he looks toward the general election. But at no point was it mentioned that Trump backpedaled later, saying that states should decide whether to enact “bathroom bills” that discriminate against their LGBT residents.

    “Bathroom bills” -- legislation that often aims to ban transgender people from public restrooms that do not correspond with the gender on their birth certificate -- are increasingly in the news as 44 bills in 16 different states targeting transgender people have been introduced as of February 2016. An anti-LGBT “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, HB 2, has come under particular scrutiny.

    Trump commented on North Carolina’s law during an April 21 appearance on NBC’s Today, apparently opposing the law by stating, “there have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble. … . Leave it the way it is.” But he reversed himself during an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity later that day, stating, “I think that local communities and states should make the decision.” In Trump’s new view, states would be within their rights to pass discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation.

    Media coverage which cites Trump’s first position on “bathroom bills” while omitting his later comment comes as Trump tries to convince the media that he will be more “presidential” throughout the rest of his presidential campaign.

    NBC's Meet the Press seemed to fall for Trump’s ploy, with Todd referencing Trump’s first answer to NBC to ask, “Is Trump pivoting to a general election?”

    During a panel discussion of Trump’s comment to NBC, Republican strategist and NBC News political analyst Nicole Wallace said, “Trump’s answer made so much sense, and I think what is also on the line in this cycle is the power and the saliency of social issues, and I think if Trump wins it delivers a massive blow to the idea that you have to be up and down on social issues to be the Republican nominee.”

    Robert Costa, a reporter for The Washington Post, added, “Trump’s answer tells us a lot about how he would be in a general election, this is someone who has not climbed the ladder, forming relationships with social conservatives along the way.”

    Costa went on to claim of Trump, “he has relationships with all kinds of people, he’s not just someone who surrounds himself with Republicans and conservatives, and that actually strangely worries Democrats, that he would be appealing to moderates.”

    Wallace ended the segment by saying, “Trump’s answer got him a lot of credit with a lot of people,” with Todd agreeing, “It did.”

    During the segment an on-screen graphic read, “Trump Campaign: More Accepting On ‘Bathroom Laws’.”

    At no point was there mention that Trump had amended his stance to favor allowing states to pass discriminatory anti-LGBT laws or that Trump has for months said that as president he would sign into law the First Amendment Defense Act, a piece of Republican-sponsored legislation that would nullify existing federal LGBT protections and allow anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.

  • NBC News Describes Trump As “One Of The More LGBT-Friendly” Republicans, Despite His Anti-LGBT Positions

    Trump’s Support For State-Sponsored Anti-LGBT Laws Does Not Make Him LGBT Friendly

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    In a segment discussing North Carolina's discriminatory anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" legislation, NBC's Hallie Jackson claimed that Donald Trump "is considered one of the more LGBT-friendly Republican candidates." Jackson’s misleading description of Trump as LGBT friendly comes as the Republican front-runner attempts to re-brand himself as a more moderate candidate heading into the general election and ignores Trump’s long-standing position as an opponent of marriage equality.

    While Jackson described Trump as “one of the more LGBT friendly Republican candidates,” a closer look finds his stance in line with supporters of the law. During an April 21 interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, Trump said "local communities and states" should be able pass discriminatory legislation barring transgender people from using a bathroom associated with the gender they identify with. Trump’s stance that states should be allowed to pass these discriminatory laws is in line with North Carolina’s passing of the state-sponsored anti-LGBT law:

    HALLIE JACKSON: Ted Cruz, in a new online video, taking aim at Donald Trump's criticism of a transgender bathroom ban in North Carolina.

    TED CRUZ: This is not a reasonable debate over public policy. This is political correctness run amok.

    JACKSON: Cruz, using Trump's comments to try to boost his own conservative credentials, while hitting his rivals with a new online polling showing 64 percent of Republicans support the ban. But some of Trump's backers aren't bothered by it.

    [...]

    JACKSON: A top Trump aide, dismissing Cruz's criticism, telling NBC News the senator is simply trying to stay relevant. Trump himself, not backing down.

    DONALD TRUMP: Local communities and states should make the decision. And I feel very strongly about that.

    JACKSON: While Trump is considered one of the more LGBT-friendly Republican candidates, he hasn't talked much about those issues on the campaign trail. Not a typical part of his stump speech, and not mentioned tonight at his rally here in Delaware.

    Jackson's NBC Nightly News report ignores Trump's history of bigoted and extreme positions on LGBT issues, including his support for the anti-LGBT "First Amendment Defense Act," Trump's promise to "strongly consider" appointing Supreme Court justices to overturn its recent ruling in support of marriage equality, and his previous support for Kim Davis, a Kentucky County clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Furthermore, the NBC segment plays into comments made by Trump’s new campaign manager, Paul Manafort. During an April 21 meeting of Republican leaders, Manafort attempted to assure those assembled that Trump’s outrageous rhetoric was the candidate simply “projecting an image” and that “the image is going to change.”
     

  • What Reporters Covering The Trump/Cruz Bathroom Bill Feud Need To Know About “Bathroom Predators”

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are feuding over the portion of North Carolina’s unprecedented anti-LGBT law regulating public bathroom access for transgender people. Journalists covering the spat should know that the “bathroom predator” concept Cruz referenced is an anti-LGBT myth.

    Last month, following a special session convened by North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill (HB 2) targeting the transgender community by banning people from using certain public restrooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificate. Despite the intense backlash to HB 2 and economic harm caused by the law over the past several weeks, legislators in at least in four other states are pushing for similar laws regulating transgender people's access to public restrooms. 

    On April 21, Trump and Cruz feuded over the North Carolina law. When asked about HB 2 during an April 21 town hall on NBC’s Today Show, Trump argued against the measure, saying that there has been “so little trouble” allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity that it should be left “the way it is.”

    Cruz quickly attacked Trump’s comments, asking if the country had gone "stark raving nuts." Cruz centered his support for North Carolina’s law on the myth that allowing transgender people access to facilities that match their gender identity will allow male predators to enter women’s bathrooms and commit sexual assault. During a radio interview with Glenn Beck, Cruz argued that “the idea that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls -- you don't need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen.”

    Cruz’s appeal to women’s safety through the idea of a “bathroom predator” is the favorite tactic of anti-LGBT activists working to pass so-called “bathroom bills.” It’s also a well-debunked myth. Law enforcement expertsgovernment officials, and women's safety advocates in cities and states across the country have thoroughly rejected the talking point, calling it “beyond specious.” The same day Cruz peddled the talking point, a coalition of over 250 groups working to end sexual assault and domestic violence condemned anti-transgender bathroom bills and the “bathroom predator” myth, writing:

    Those who are pushing these proposals have claimed that these proposals are necessary for public safety and to prevent sexual violence against women and children. As rape crisis centers, shelters, and other service providers who work each and every day to meet the needs of all survivors and reduce sexual assault and domestic violence throughout society, we speak from experience and expertise when we state that these claims are false.

    […]

    Assaulting another person in a restroom or changing room remains against the law in every single state. We operate and advocate for rape crisis centers and shelters all over the country, including in cities and states with non-discrimination protections for transgender people. Those protections have not weakened public safety or criminal laws, nor have they compromised their enforcement.

    Given the overwhelming research and consensus debunking the myth, journalists covering the spat between Cruz and Trump should report the truth on the “bathroom predator” talking point. Giving any false balance to claims of transgender bathroom boogeymen distorts reality and helps spread a baseless, harmful lie. 

  • VIDEO: Media Repeatedly Praise Donald Trump As "Presidential"

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR & MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    As Donald Trump won the New York primary, media covering the news repeatedly said Trump sounds "more presidential" and "more disciplined," downplaying the bigoted, racist, and sexist things that the GOP front-runner has said throughout the course of his campaign.

    Later on primary night, Trump was caught pushing content from another white supremacist on Twitter.