Fox News has repeatedly pushed the debunked myth that 30 percent of released Guantanamo Bay detainees return to terror. In reality, the estimated number is around 7 percent, and has declined during Obama's time in office.
From the January 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly have damaged the country, according to Alex S. Jones, the outgoing head of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, who announced his departure Wednesday after 15 years leading the prestigious media training center.
"I wish they could be more objective, I don't begrudge them their particular politics, I just wish they weren't simply one note, I think it's damaging," said Jones, a former media writer for The New York Times and longtime media critic.
Jones cited the conservative media's coverage of President Obama: "Obama certainly is the president and the president is always legitimate prey for criticism, but I don't think that they have done a good thing for our country to be completely undermining him in every way they possibly could. I don't think that's good for any president, Republican or Democrat."
Jones, who announced his pending departure in a letter to supporters published on the Center's website, said it was "time for change," but did not state what his next plans would be.
In an interview with Media Matters, Jones cited concerns about what he deemed the "highly polarized political environment on cable news."
"There's no question that the people like the right wing pundits -- left wing too, to a degree, but they are dwarfed by the right wing -- have done a lot of damage to this country in my opinion, I don't consider that journalism, I consider that to be advocacy."
Jones added of O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Fox's Sean Hannity, "I don't think that they don't believe what they say, I just wish that they looked at the world in a different way, something more constructive."
He added, "it's more catering to what will draw an audience rather than what is important ... if anything it's the shift toward what has been thought of as the local television model, anything that will attract a crowd, but not necessarily invested in issues and in policy questions and in political debates and things that are of genuine importance."
Jones also had advice for more credible news outlets. He stressed the need for journalists to keep focused on accuracy, fact-checking, and credibility as they increase speed and technology in reporting.
Sean Hannity lashed out at the creators of the Showtime series Homeland for potentially "dropping the theme of Islamic terrorism from the show's storylines," accusing the producers of "capitulating to terrorists."
Entertainment Weekly reported that Homeland's writer-producer, Alex Gansa is considering a potential storyline shift to "find a fresh antagonist" for the show, but explained that the decision has not yet been made and assured that the antagonist "will be chosen for creative reasons -- and to avoid repetition -- rather than the recent terror attacks in Europe." In fact, according to Showtime's president David Nevins, the show "has focused on Muslim extremists and Middle East terrorists since it launched in 2011."
From Entertainment Weekly:
"Where they're going to go next year is a little bit up in the air," Nevins told critics at the Television Critics Association's semi-annual press tour Monday. "We're not necessarily going to stay now and forever [focusing on] U.S. relations in the Muslim world. It's a show ultimately about U.S. foreign policy, U.S. intelligence in the 21st century at a very difficult time. So we're exploring a few different possibilities and may change it up a little bit."
Yet in terms of Homeland--which is based on an Israeli format and has focused on Muslim extremists and Middle East terrorists since it launched in 2011--the executive said that none of the current attacks will prevent the show from tackling sensitive international issues. "I hope [the attacks are] not considered at all," he said. "I really, really don't want there to be any limitations. I don't expect there will be. They never shied away from anything difficult. I want them to go right into the teeth of it again."
But on the January 13 edition of The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity accused Homeland's producers of "capitulating to terrorists." Listen:
This week marks the release of Florida Senator Marco Rubio's new book, American Dreams, which political observers point out "just happens to coincide with the start of the presidential election cycle."
As Rubio weighs a 2016 presidential run, his new book reportedly focuses on "outlining policy prescriptions on a range of subjects" and fearmongering about how electing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "would be a death blow to the American Dream."
Rubio's rise from Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives to U.S. Senator in the thick of a potential presidential campaign is thanks in no small part to Fox News. For years, the network has helped bolster his political career by fawning over him, including touting him as a vice presidential pick for former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Erick Erickson, the RedState.com editor who is now a contributor at the network, put Rubio on the political map when he endorsed Rubio's 2010 Senate bid at a time when the candidate was floundering in the GOP primary polls. Fox News political analyst Karl Rove also played a key role in Rubio's ascension, providing establishment support when he threw the weight of his Crossroads political groups behind Rubio's Senate candidacy.
While Rubio's immigration reform stance has since ruffled a lot of conservative feathers -- including some people on Fox -- he nonetheless has been the beneficiary of a major career boost from the conservative network.
Fox News is already helping Rubio promote his book and plug his 2016 aspirations. Rubio kicked off his book tour with a friendly appearance on Hannity the night before the book's release. Sean Hannity previewed the interview by telling viewers that Rubio "is looking, well, awfully presidential these days with the release of a brand new book that's just out today, American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone."
Below is a post first published by Media Matters in 2013 highlighting Fox News' history of cheerleading for Rubio.
The Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by right-wing media in response to the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris is just the most recent in a long history of conservative anti-Islam vitriol.
Right-wing media rushed to exploit the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. But this is just the latest in right-wing media's long history of politicizing tragedy to push political objectives.
From the January 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the January 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Right-wing media outlets effectively set the stage for conservative challenges to replace Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as speaker of the House after months of attacking Boehner for immigration reform proposals, refusing to impeach President Obama, and for suggesting congressional hearings to investigate the death of Eric Garner.
On New Year's Eve, Christian Jose Gomez allegedly attacked his mother with an ax. Angry that she had been "nagging" him about moving some boxes up to the attic, Gomez beheaded Maria Suarez-Cassagne in the family's garage and tried to stuff her headless body into a garbage can, according to investigators. When he couldn't do that, he fled the home on his bike and was soon captured by local deputies in Oldsmar, Florida. Gomez calmly confessed to the crime and said he'd been planning it for days.
Note that Fox News ignored the Florida scene of grisly, domestic violence. Apparently, without a Muslim suspect under arrest for the beheading, Fox News wasn't interested. The cable channel didn't set aside hours to cover the horrific crime. There was no heated Fox News commentary, no panel discussions, no primetime news specials to comb over the evidence of the tragic beheading. Fox News didn't care about the shocking story of an isolated beheading in America.
Thirteen weeks ago however, Fox News couldn't stop talking about an isolated beheading in America. In late September 2014, Fox News became almost singularly obsessed with the gruesome workplace beheading in Moore, Oklahoma by a recent Muslim convert, Alton Nolen. Angered about being fired over racial comments at the Vaughan Foods processing plant, Nolen went home and retrieved a large kitchen knife. He returned to the workplace and began attacking his former co-workers. He beheaded one woman and injured another before he shot was by a company official. Nolen later confessed to the attack.
As reported at the time, when overseas Islamic State beheadings were in the news, "Moore police said there is no evidence that the attack was inspired by any similar events in the Middle East or by religious fundamentalism." The FBI found no links either: "They also said there was no indication that Nolen was copying the beheadings of journalists in Syria carried out by the Islamic State. Instead, the officials said, they are treating this as an incident of workplace violence."
Appearing before a Congressional hearing one week after the attack, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified that, while Nolen "was looking at the extreme ideology," "there is no evidence at this point that he was directed by a terrorist organization to do what he did or that that was the principle motivating factor." And that's why the local Oklahoma prosecutor charged Nolen with first-degree murder, but did not charge him as a terrorist.
Yet no strangers to fanning their patented flames of Islamophobia, Fox talkers elevated the tragic killing into a national story, while attaching sweeping political and national security implications to the crime. (Much of the national press also elevated the Moore story, but didn't incorporate Fox's naked Muslim-bashing in the process.) Declaring as fact that the beheading was an act of Islamic terrorism, and hyping it as an American jihadist on U.S. soil, Fox used the tragedy for political advantage, condemning Obama for being soft on terrorism, even though it was a local prosecutor in the very red state of Oklahoma who declined to bring terrorism charges.
Conservative media personalities have long ignored the public's overwhelming support for wider access to birth control, instead pushing long debunked myths that birth control is cheap and easy to access, is only about preventing pregnancies, and can cause abortion.
Here are the facts behind right-wing media's three biggest myths about birth control:
Right-wing media quickly offered Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) glowing praise and endorsements after they announced plans to challenge Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for the Speaker of the House position.
This year saw landmark reports on climate change, detailing the ever-increasing scientific certainty that human activities are driving catastrophic climate change and that action needs to be taken to prevent the worst effects. Yet despite the fact that more Americans than ever support action on climate change, conservative media went to ridiculous lengths to cast doubt on the scientific consensus behind global warming, citing everything from free market economics to witchcraft, touting conspiracy theories and predictions of an "ice age," and even fulfilling Godwin's law.
Here are the 11 dumbest things conservative media said about climate change this year:
11. Bill O'Reilly: "It's Easier To Believe In A Benevolent God, The Baby Jesus" Than Manmade Climate Change. On the December 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly led a discussion on whether or not it is easier to believe in the birth story of Jesus than in manmade climate change, positing that it is "easier to believe in a benevolent God, the baby Jesus, than it is in some kind of theory about global warming." When his guest pointed out that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are driving global warming, O'Reilly baselessly countered, "I wouldn't put it that high. I've read a lot about it." He concluded: "[I]t's a choice -- people choose to believe."