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  • Right-Wing Media Can't Believe Hillary Clinton Has Hot Sauce In Her Bag

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media figures attacked Hillary Clinton for saying that she always carries hot sauce with her during an interview with a New York hip-hop radio show, attacking her for “pandering” and “casual racism.” But Salon reports that Clinton “has been talking about carrying hot sauce since 2008,” and various outlets over the years have reported that Clinton “packed pepper sauce” in her bag and had “a collection of more than 100 hot sauces” when she was first lady.

  • Right-Wing Media's Worst Attempts to Downplay Sexual Assault and Diminish Survivors


    For Sexual Assault Awareness month, Media Matters looks back at right-wing media's history of downplaying, and questioning the legitimacy of, sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have called reporting statutory rape “whiny,” claimed sexual assault victims have a "coveted status," said the sexual assault epidemic is "not happening," blamed feminism for encouraging sexual assault, and said attempts to curb sexual assault constitute "a war happening on boys."

  • Journalists And Foreign Policy Experts Call Out Trump's "Completely Uneducated" "Baffling" Foreign Policy


    Journalists and foreign policy experts criticized the "unintelligble" foreign policy positions Donald Trump described during interviews with The New York Times and The Washington Post, and called the GOP presidential front-runner's "ignorance" "breathtaking," saying he has "no understanding of the post-war international order that was created by the United States."

  • Right-Wing Media's Sexist Obsession With Clinton's Voice Following Her Primary Victory Speech

    Media Labeled Previous Attacks On Clinton's Voice "Sexist"

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Right-wing media personalities reacted to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's Florida primary victory speech by claiming she was "shouting angrily" and "screech speech," with MSNBC's conservative morning show host Joe Scarborough telling Clinton to "smile" during her speech. Media outlets previously blasted similar attacks on Clinton in February as "sexist."

  • Right-Wing Media Run With "Unreliable" Arkansas Woman's Claims That The Clintons Want Her Dead

    Even The National Enquirer Scorned Her In The 1990s

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Right-wing media have seized upon Arkansan Sally Miller's baseless claims that Hillary Clinton is plotting to have her killed and that she had an affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s, who supposedly told her that "Hillary is a lesbian." Miller's allegations spread through right-wing media websites and Rush Limbaugh's talk radio show after the Drudge Report highlighted an interview detailing Miller's attempt to sell a "tell-all memoir." Miller's claims were dismissed decades ago by Arkansas media outlets who regarded her as "unreliable," and even the National Enquirer ridiculed her assertions at the time.

  • Right-Wing Media Lash Out Over Sarah Palin's Donald Trump Endorsement

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Right-wing media figures are lashing out over Sarah Palin's endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. They say the endorsement amounts to "nothing but opportunism and ego," and that it abandons Palin's conservative Tea Party ideology because Trump is "neither a committed conservative nor an anti-establishment rogue." 

  • ANALYSIS: Notable Opinion Pages Included Denial In Coverage Of Paris Climate Summit


    Media Matters analysis found that four of the ten largest-circulation newspapers in the country published op-eds, editorials, or columns that denied climate science while criticizing the international climate change negotiations in Paris, including The Wall Street JournalUSA Today, the New York Post, and The Orange County Register. Altogether, 17 percent of the 52 opinion pieces that the ten largest newspapers published about the Paris conference included some form of climate science denial, and many of them repeated other myths about the climate negotiations as well.

  • Conservative Media Twist Calls For Action To Curb Gun Violence As Trying To "Take God Away"

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    After the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead and 17 more injured, conservative media distorted widespread criticism of Republican presidential candidates offering only their "thoughts and prayers" in response to the shooting, with no mention of proposals to prevent future gun violence, as an attempt "try to take God away."

  • Right-Wing Media Hype Flawed Study To Claim $15 Minimum Wage Would Cost New York Half A Million Jobs

    Study Uses "Outdated" And "Deeply Flawed" Models To Bash Increased Minimum Wage

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Right-wing media outlets hyped the misleading research conclusions of the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, which claimed the $15 minimum wage bill proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) would kill half a million jobs in the state and would hurt workers.

  • Media Choose Mugshot To Report Victim's Identity In Florida Shooting


    Candelario Gonzalez

    Several media outlets that covered a Florida shooting making national headlines showed an old mugshot of the Latino victim taken after an unrelated past arrest, even though other pictures of the victim were available.

    On July 23, Candelario Gonzalez was shot to death in front of his family, allegedly by Robert Doyle, following a road-rage dispute in Beverly Hills, Florida. Doyle was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree murder.

    According to a report by New York's Daily News, both Doyle and an occupant in Gonzalez's car called 911 following a conflict between the two men on the road. "Florida grandfather" Gonzalez told the operator that he was going to follow Doyle to his house to learn his address. In his call, Doyle told the 911 operator, "My gun is already out. It's cocked and locked," and said he was going to shoot Gonzalez in the head. When both cars arrived at Doyle's residence, Gonzalez exited his vehicle. According to a recording of the 911 call, Gonzalez's wife yelled, "Don't shoot!" before Gonzalez was shot multiple times in front of his daughter and granddaughter. Doyle allegedly then held Gonzalez's family at gunpoint. Witnesses say Gonzalez was backing away from Doyle when he was killed.

    The tragedy was covered by both English and Spanish-language media, some of which showed a mugshot of Gonzalez in their reports, despite the apparent availability of other images. (Court records show that Gonzalez pled guilty to two nonviolent misdemeanors in 2014.)

    Tampa Bay's ABC affiliate, WFTS, and its website, ABC Action News, as well as Los Angeles' Telemundo affiliate KVEA, all showed Gonzalez's mug shot. The July 27 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 went even further, showing a side-by-side picture of both the shooter and victim's mugshots. These same outlets also showed images of the victim with his family, proving that other pictures were available.

    Negative imagery in the media reinforces existing negative stereotypes about minorities. According to a nationwide 2012 study conducted by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, people exposed to negative portrayals of Hispanics in the news "are most likely to think of Latinos in association with a culture of crime and gangs." Media Matters has documented how news outlets exacerbate the problem.

    Under Florida law, Doyle can choose to avail himself of Florida's controversial and expansive "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law. This particular Florida law, which was signed by then Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005, will give Doyle the opportunity to participate in a pre-trial hearing to determine if the charges against him should be dismissed. If he ends up on trial and the case goes to a jury, instructions given by the judge to the jury will include "Stand Your Ground's" wide-ranging definition of justifiable homicide. 

    As reported by ThinkProgress, a 2014 Urban Institute study on "Stand Your Ground" found that "in cases with black or Hispanic victims, the killings were found justified by the Stand Your Ground law 78 percent of the time, compared to 56 percent in cases with white victims" - a lopsided finding that underscores the importance of responsible media coverage of incidents like this, before the suspect goes to trial.

    Authorities say that Doyle was in possession of a valid permit to carry a concealed gun. 

    Image of Candelario Gonzales via screenshot

    UPDATED: In another continuation of the dismaying trend of media portraying minority victims with negative imagery, NBC, BBC, CNN and Univision chose to use a mug shot of Sam Dubose -- the victim of a July 19 fatal police shooting. Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing has been indicted for the killing. Social media users pointed out that there were other available images that could have been used in the coverage: 

  • Chipotle Week: How Bad Can Campaign Coverage Get?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Hillary Clinton At Chiptole

    Less than one week into Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and it's a blurry image from a fast-food restaurant security video that's emerged as the defining media image. After "news" broke that Clinton, en route to Iowa to meet with voters, stopped in at an Ohio Chipotle for lunch and that the order was captured on film, the press corps basically went bonkers, treating it like a Tupac sighting and going all-in with fevered reporting.

    The New York Times first got hold of the security cam video and reported that Clinton's order "included a Blackberry Izze drink, a soda and a chicken salad, and was filled just after 1 p.m." (1:20 p.m., to be exact, according to the New York Daily News.) Who carried the tray after payment? Clinton herself, the Times explained to readers.

    Stories like the original Times report are not entirely out of the ordinary for campaign coverage. But the way the rest of the press went completely overboard in its wake suggests we could be in for a long and painful 19 months before the 2016 election.  

    More tick-tock details followed. "The newly-minted presidential candidate ordered a chicken bowl with guacamole, a chicken salad and fruit juice," according to ABC News, which interviewed the restaurant's manager. (The guacamole and fruit juice information was considered a mini-scoop; Business Insider noted guacamole "costs extra.")

    Meanwhile, the Times asked in a follow-up, "Is Mrs. Clinton's order like the normal Chipotle meals of everyday Americans, or is it polarizing?"

    For days, Clinton's Chipotle stop served as a treasure trove of information: Who made Clinton's burrito bowl? Politico sent a reporter to Maumee and determined, "The 25-year-old who cooked the chicken that went into the burrito bowl Hillary Clinton ordered at the Chipotle here on Monday makes $8.20 an hour and splits rent with two roommates." And assistant general manager Jef Chiet got Clinton her drink, Politico confirmed, "first a blackberry Izze, which she decided she didn't want after she read the ingredients, so he replaced it with an iced tea."

    But campaign sleuths weren't finished. Bloomberg confirmed that, "The change from the meal totaled less than a dollar, but it was pocketed rather than deposited in the tip jar as many customers at the restaurant do."

    Could any political analysis be gleaned from the mundane lunchtime stop? Of course:

    "Hillary Clinton Goes Unnoticed at Chipotle In Botched Retail Politicking Bid" (Washington Times)

    "Clinton Bypassed Centrist Taco Bell for Liberal Favorite Chipotle" (Wall Street Journal)

    "What Hillary Clinton's Chipotle Stop Says About Her Campaign" (Christian Science Monitor)

    Is it possible that maybe she was just hungry?

    The Chipotle nonsense reached such heights (or depths), that even starstruck E! called out the political press for its ridiculous overreaction to the story, and the fact that "ChipotleGate 2015" triggered "all sorts of in-depth analysis, from what her choice in burrito bowl means for America, to whether her decision to don sunglasses means she's unfit to be president."

    During her first week on the campaign trail, Clinton has avoided any defining, self-inflicted gaffes. The same cannot be said of the press.

    News organizations have gone on a "staffing binge" in preparation for the 2016 campaign, according to the Washington Post. That means political units have to produce content, no matter how trivial and innocuous. The machine must be fed (clicks must be harvested). And right now, that machine is spitting out some dreadful, breathless, and gossipy campaign dispatches that are divorced from anything remotely connected to a public discourse.

    Just think about the Chipotle story. Was Clinton in hiding at the time? Had she dared the press to find her out? Was there any reason to think her highway pit stop for food was newsworthy? No, no and no. Maybe -maybe -- if it were the final weeks of an historically close White House campaign, that kind of myopic attention paid to a lunch order would be warranted. But 70-plus weeks before voters go to the polls? It's unfathomable.

    Chipotle Week was so bad it produced a sense of dismay among some media observers and practitioners, as expressed on Twitter.

    Daily Beast executive editor Noah Shachtman:

    New York Times writer Nate Cohn:

    New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen:

    The irony was that while the campaign press freaked out over the trivia surrounding Clinton's lunch order, some pundits were simultaneously castigating the candidate for not rolling out a sweeping campaign agenda.

    Politico assigned no fewer than eight reporters for an article about how, just 72 hours into her likely 18-month campaign, Clinton "has been slow" to articulate detailed positions on issues such as fast-track trade agreements and the need for reform at the National Security Agency.

    The team at NBC's First Read agreed: "That lack of a message was on display at her Iowa event yesterday." Well, actually that wasn't true. NBC conceded that Clinton had already detailed four fights she wants to wage: "1) building an economy for tomorrow, 2) strengthening families and communities, 3) fixing America's political system by getting rid of "unaccountable" money, and 4) protecting the country."

    Additionally, NBC reported Clinton had struck a "populist tone" and condemned income equality in America. But NBC didn't think any of that counted as much of a "message" from Clinton because she was just saying "what you hear from 90% of Democratic candidates running for downballot office."

    Clinton didn't say anything entertaining and newsy! "She didn't say anything unique, which was always going to be the shortcoming of a rollout emphasizing theater over substance/message," according to NBC.

    And there's the media's inadvertent punch line: It's Clinton who's guilty of emphasizing "theater over substance."

    The staff at the Maumee, Ohio, Chipotle might disagree.