Rick Santorum

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  • STUDY: How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2015

    ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER, DENISE ROBBINS & KEVIN KALHOEFER

    ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox collectively spent five percent less time covering climate change in 2015, even though there were more newsworthy climate-related events than ever before, including the EPA finalizing the Clean Power Plan, Pope Francis issuing a climate change encyclical, President Obama rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, and 195 countries around the world reaching a historic climate agreement in Paris. The decline was primarily driven by ABC, whose climate coverage dropped by 59 percent; the only network to dramatically increase its climate coverage was Fox, but that increase largely consisted of criticism of efforts to address climate change. When the networks did discuss climate change, they rarely addressed its impacts on national security, the economy, or public health, yet most still found time to provide a forum for climate science denial. On a more positive note, CBS and NBC -- and PBS, which was assessed separately -- aired many segments that explored the state of scientific research or detailed how climate change is affecting extreme weather, plants, and wildlife.

  • Republican Presidential Candidates Weigh In On Trump And Coverage Of The Primary

    Lindsey Graham On Fox's Trump Coverage: "They're Like A Moth Drawn To The Flame"

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    As Donald Trump continues to wage a public fight with Fox News, several of his GOP primary rivals spoke with Media Matters at this weekend's Values Voter Summit about his feud with the conservative network and media coverage of the Republican primary.

    Trump and Fox have been in a back and forth fight for much of the past two months. Last week, Trump announced that he was planning to boycott Fox News "for the foreseeable future" because the network has supposedly been treating him "very unfairly." Fox chief Roger Ailes and other "senior Fox editorial executives" are reportedly set to meet with Trump this week in an effort to smooth things over. 

    "All you have to do is look at the airtime, look at the airtime," former Fox News contributor Rick Santorum told Media Matters when asked about the Trump effect.

    As Media Matters has documented, despite Trump's regular complaints about Fox's coverage of his campaign, he has dominated his Republican rivals in interview airtime on the network. From May through August, Trump garnered 10 hours and 21 minutes of interview airtime, more than three times as much as Santorum, who had just over 3 hours. 

    Asked by Media Matters when he would return to Fox, Trump said, "We'll see, we'll see. They have to treat me fairly and I'm sure they will. I'm sure they will."

    Such a return is likely to keep the overwhelming media focus on Trump, prompting mixed reactions from his rivals.

    "They're like a moth drawn to the flame," South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said about Fox's Trump coverage. "You can't help but cover it." 

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal objected to candidates decrying media coverage, saying, "Any Republican or conservative that complains about the media, I think that's foolishness. There's nothing you can do about that, go out and talk directly to voters. "

    While he was critical of Trump, Jindal conceded that he is "great for ratings."

    "I've said over and over I think Trump is an egomaniac, he's not a conservative, he's not a liberal, he's not an independent," Jindal said. "He only believes in himself, I think he's great entertainment, he's great for ratings."

    Former Fox News employee Dr. Ben Carson indicated he was happy with Fox News' primary coverage so far, telling Media Matters, "I've never had any problems with Fox News, I don't feel any problem, I am happy with what's going on."

    Carson has good reason to be happy. Earlier this month, New York magazine reporter and Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman reported that Ailes "has been impressed by Carson, a former Fox pundit, and is promoting his candidacy inside the network." Sherman also quoted an anonymous Fox personality telling him, "Roger has told producers to push Carson and put him on whenever he wants to go on."

  • Anti-Gay Hate Group Will Bring Fox News, GOP Hopefuls On A Trip To Israel

    Trip Will Feature GOP Presidential Hopefuls And Fox's Todd Starnes

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    For the second time this year, an anti-LGBT hate group is hosting a trip to Israel that will feature prominent figures from the Republican Party. The event will also feature Fox radio host Todd Starnes.

    On October 27, the Family Research Council (FRC) will host its first ever eleven-day "Holy Land Tour" -- a "unique, one-of-a kind tour" where guests will "explore the land of the Bible and the roots of our Christian faith" and meet with "some of Israel's political and religious leaders."

    According to the tour's brochure, the $5,000 trip features "insightful Bible teaching" and meetings with Israeli leaders aimed at providing guests with "a better understanding of Israel's important role in current geopolitical affairs and biblical prophecy."

    The tour will feature a number of "special guests" including former Senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who has a history of acting as FRC's mouthpiece and peddling anti-LGBT rhetoric on Fox.

    FRC was labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 2010 due to the group's peddling of false and damaging smears about the LGBT community. The tour will also feature FRC's president Tony Perkins, who has described pedophilia as a "homosexual problem," accused the "It Gets Better" campaign of trying to "recruit" kids into a "lifestyle" of "perversion," and praised Uganda for criminalizing homosexuality.

    National Republicans were widely lampooned earlier this year for participating in a similar hate group-led trip to Israel. In February, the Republican National Committee faced criticism for sending national committee members on a 9-day trip to Israel paid for by the American Family Association (AFA), which has also been labeled a hate group by SPLC. Even conservative activists criticized the RNC for aligning with a group like AFA. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus eventually pulled out of the event, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported that AFA demoted one of their most inflammatory spokesmen in the midst of the controversy.

  • What To Expect At The 2014 Value Voters Summit

    Blog ››› ››› COLEMAN LOWNDES

    The annual Values Voter Summit will take place from September 26 through September 28 in Washington, DC. The convention is sponsored by hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and regularly features extreme rhetoric and hate from politicians and conservative media members. In 2013, Ben Carson said that Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." Here is some of what you can expect at the 2014 event:

    Media figures speaking at the event are scheduled to include: Lt. General William Boykin, Fox News contributor Oliver North, Rick Santorum, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, David Limbaugh, Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor and Redstate.com Editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, Mat Staver, Mark Levin, Star Parker, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, Brigitte Gabriel, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

  • What The Media Should Know About This Week's Anti-Gay "March For Marriage"

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    On June 19, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) will hold its second March for Marriage in Washington, DC. Though the march has nabbed some high-profile speakers, journalists covering the event should know that it's likely to be a largely astroturfed affair.

    Earlier this year, NOM announced its plan to organize a second March for Marriage to demonstrate that there's still "deep and wide support" for opposing same-sex marriage, despite polls showing a growing majority of Americans in favor of marriage equality.

    The march is slated to feature high-profile speakers like Fox News host Mike Huckabee and 2012 GOP presidential runner-up Rick Santorum. In local press appearances, NOM employees have touted the event as a show of grassroots support for traditional marriage. In reality, the media should know that NOM's marriage march will feature some of the country's most extreme anti-gay voice. Here's what reporters can expect from this year's March for Marriage:

    NOM Grossly Overestimating Attendance

    Look no further than last year's march. Even as the Supreme Court took up challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, NOM struggled to muster enthusiasm for the event. While NOM's Thomas Peters declared that 15,000 people had turned out for the march and NOM president Brian Brown estimated there were "more than 10,000" attendees, the Washington Blade estimated a turnout of only 2,000.

    Church Groups Bussed In To "Visit The Monuments!"

    Many of the attendees at the 2013 march were bussed in from New York City - free of charge - by anti-equality State Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-NY). Diaz claimed to have sent 32 busloads of primarily Latino New Yorkers to the rally; other attendees included Chinese Christians from Chicago and French activists flying their country's flag at a rally purportedly focused on the anti-equality fight in the United States.

    This year's march is unlikely to be much different. Diaz has promised to dispatch 100 buses from the Bronx, posting a Spanish-language YouTube video promising rally-goers an all-expenses-paid trip. In the video, Diaz urges New York Latinos to "[a]sk for your bus! Fill the bus! And let's go to Washington! Let's go on a trip! Visit the monuments in Washington and testify that Jesus heals and saves and is the king we await."

  • It's Never Too Soon To Politicize Terror

    Blog ››› ››› ARI RABIN-HAVT

    Conservative media figures and their cut-outs in the Republican Party went out in full force Sunday, ready to cast blame and aspersions on President Obama for the closures of U.S. embassies around the world after intelligence suggested a possible al Qaeda attack.

    With our embassies around the world under what all acknowledge to be a serious threat, these conservatives saw a political opportunity, cynically using the fear of an imminent terrorist attack to regurgitate year-old smears about Barack Obama's success in the war on terror.

    Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, the Iraq War's #1 cheerleader, led the charge with a blog post Saturday, hyperbolically stating, "Al Qaeda's not on the run. We are."  

    He followed that up on Fox News Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace:

    KRISTOL: Four years ago President Obama gave a much-heralded speech as outreach to the Muslim world. And now, four years later we are closing embassies throughout the Muslim world. The year ago the president said Al Qaeda is on the run. And now we seem to be on the run. 

    Kristol's falsehoods were reflected by other conservatives across the media. Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint also appeared on Fox News Sunday echoing Kristol's attack: "Well, it's clear that Al Qaeda may be more of a threat to us than they were before 9/11 now."

    Later in the panel he went on to state, "The instability around the world is clearly related to at least a perception of a lack of resolve of the United States and a perception of weakness."

  • Hurt Feelings From The Fox News Primary

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    With the competitive race for the Republican nomination effectively over, the runners-up are expressing their hurt feelings with how they were treated by the press. Traditionally, those barbs have been directed at the so-called liberal media for the way reporters and pundits covered conservatives. This year though, the GOP complaints are raining down on Fox News, with both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich taking shots at their former employer for what the candidates consider to be the channel's unfair and unbalanced primary coverage.

    Ironic, indeed.

    Fox News is biased! So claimed Gingrich this week:

    During a meeting with 18 Delaware Tea Party leaders here on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich lambasted FOX News Channel, accusing the cable network of having been in the tank for Mitt Romney from the beginning of the Republican presidential fight.

    And so claimed Santorum last month:

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused Fox News of "shilling" for GOP front-runner Mitt Romney during a contentious interview Tuesday on the "Kilmeade and Friends" radio show.

    "He's had a 10-to-1 money advantage," Santorum said of Romney. "He's had all the organizational advantages. He has Fox News shilling for him every day, no offense Brian, but I see it. And yet, he can't seal the deal because he just doesn't have the goods to be able to motivate the Republican base to win this election."

    Like a classroom filled with favorites used to being the center of the teacher's interest, the GOP candidates this season, flattered nonstop for years on Fox, suddenly found themselves competing for the channel's attention and fighting for kingmaker Roger Ailes' affection. Was it inevitable that the incestuous primary process played out on Fox would produce hurt feelings and bruised ego? Yes. Was the spectacle yet another reminder that Fox News has transformed itself into a purely political entity? It was.

  • Fox Primary: Is Fox Letting Its Employees' Status Dictate Its Presidential Coverage?

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    As the Fox 2012 GOP primary heats up, it's becoming increasingly clear that Fox considers itself to be the arbiter of who is, and is not, running for president.

    On Wednesday, Fox announced the suspensions of contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as the two mull presidential bids. Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, who are also Fox employees and potential presidential candidates, were not included in the suspension -- a double standard that did not go unnoticed by many commentators, including conservatives.

    Now, Fox is apparently backing up its seemingly random standard for suspending potential candidates by commenting on negative events surrounding those suspended, while leaving unmentioned the negative events surrounding employees still on the payroll.

    During a panel discussion on today's edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace, along with guests Chris Stirewalt and Nina Easton, slammed Gingrich for making "a hash of it this week" by announcing an exploratory website instead of a traditional exploratory committee as "some of his aides" had initially indicated. The panel declared Gingrich "undisciplined" and laden with "a lot of baggage." Watch:

    It's certainly true that Gingrich made "a hash of it this week" -- but he wasn't the only one. Left unmentioned by the Fox News Sunday panel was the fact that Huckabee's week amounted to an endless series of gaffes, including a flirtation with highbrow birtherism.

  • Fox News' Double Standard About Suspending Its Presidential Candidate-Employees

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Earlier this week, Fox News announced that they were suspending the contributor contracts of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for 60 days while they both mull their presidential runs. Since then, many commentators, including conservatives like Dan Foster at NRO, have questioned why Fox chose to suspend Gingrich and Santorum but not fellow Fox employees/potential presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin.

    Responding to the apparent double standard in an interview with the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, Fox News VP Dianne Brandi said that unlike Gingrich and Santorum, Palin "hasn't done anything herself to show us she has any intention of running right now." Fox's websites and on-air personalities apparently disagree with this point, since they are eager to hype any possible indication that Palin may be running.

    For example, last November, Palin told ABC News that she thinks she could beat Obama in 2012 and was "looking at the lay of the land" to decide if she was going to run for President. Both Fox Nation and FoxNews.com promoted Palin's statement that she could beat Obama on their front page.

    America's Newsroom host Martha MacCallum described the interview on-air as a "bombshell," said that Palin "certainly sounds like she's planning on running," and noted that it was "not too early for folks to be declaring." In January, MacCallum and her co-host Bill Hemmer agreed on Fox News Radio that Palin "will run" for president.

    During a November 2010 appearance on Brian Kilmeade's Fox News Radio show, Bret Baier, the anchor of Fox's flagship news program, Special Report, said that "I think she's running. I think you think she's running. You know, I think that you could actually paint a scenario where she is very successful in places like Iowa and South Carolina. And those being early states, you wonder how far towards the nomination she could go, or if she could capture it." (Speaking of her odds of winning the nomination were she to run, Special Report featured her in its 12 for '12 series about potential GOP candidates and gave her 5-1 odds of winning the nomination.)

    More recently, when Palin hired a new Chief of Staff last month, Fox Nation hyped the story as a "Strong Indication of 2012 Presidential Run."

    In January, after Palin released her video response to the Arizona shooting controversy, Fox News contributor Juan Williams said that Brit Hume told him her response "looked like somebody who's now thinking of running for president."

    The network frequently discusses whether or not Palin is running, both in interviews with her and in countless stories about her.

    If Fox is going to try to benefit from hyping everything Palin does as an indication she is running for president, isn't it unethical to then pretend that she has not "done anything herself to show us she has any intention of running right now" when it would cause the network to have to suspend her contract? (Answer: yes.)

    And that's to say nothing of fellow putative candidate Mike Huckabee, who shows up in segments like this one on Fox & Friends last weekend, where they discussed his potential run over chyrons stating that he is a "Great Communicator," asking if he is the "Man For The Job," and telling viewers that he has "Had Success In Early Ballot States."