Special Report with Bret Baier

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  • Fox News Is Laying The Groundwork For Trump To Skip Out On Presidential Debates

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News figures are helping rationalize Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s threat that the 2016 presidential debates must have “fair” moderators or he won’t participate, pointing to Candy Crowley’s 2012 debate moderation in which she fact-checked Republican candidate Mitt Romney as an “unacceptable” example. But Fox’s attacks on Crowley are based on a lie, and they’re helping lay the groundwork for Trump to justify withdrawing from the debates.

  • A Clinton-Obsessed Conspiracy Theorist Is Behind Benghazi Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton

    Larry Klayman Has Previously Accused Clintons Of “Orchestrating The Murders Of Several Of Their Associates,” Claimed President Obama Was “Our First Muslim President”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Klayman
    Clinton-obsessed conspiracy theorist, Larry Klayman, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two of the families victimized by the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

    The lawsuit, which alleges “that Clinton’s negligence was directly responsible for Smith’s and Woods’ death,” also includes charges of “defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Fox News has repeatedly hosted both of the family members mentioned in the lawsuit, Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, to attack Hillary Clinton and Smith was also a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention, where she said “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”

    Media Matters has previously documented Klayman’s litigious Clinton obsession, which includes a “dubious lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of racketeering,” as well as Klayman’s claims that the Clintons “orchestrated the murders of several of their associates in the 1990’s”:

    In the 1990s, Klayman reportedly filed at least 18 lawsuits against the Clinton administration, accusing them of various conspiracies, and has filed "hundreds of lawsuits against federal agencies, White House officials, Cabinet secretaries, judges, journalists, former colleagues, foreign governments, dictators, presidents," his own mother, and The Washington Post.

    The Week explained in 2013 that Klayman, "implied the Clintons orchestrated the murders of several of their associates in the 1990s, a prime reason he has argued Hillary is unfit to be president."

    As reported by The Washington Post, in 2014, Klayman premised a lawsuit on the concept that "The Ebola virus is secretly a biological weapon allowed into the country by the Obama administration to further terrorist interests against Americans of the 'Caucasian race and Jewish-Christian religion.'" Klayman described President Obama in a lawsuit as "not even a naturalized U.S. citizen and thus is in the United States illegally," and described Obama's birth certificate as a "fraud." In order "to maintain the confidence of the American people and for the benefit of the country's democratic system," Klayman subsequently petitioned the government to "initiate removal and deportation proceedings" against the president. Klayman has referred to President Obama as "mullah in chief" and accused "Obama and his Muslim friends" of "literally 'making love' with each other." He called Obama "our first 'Muslim' president" who "has joined with Palestinians to now knock off Israel."

    In a 2013 protest at the White House, Klayman told the audience that President Obama should "put the Quran down," "get up off his knees" and "come out with his hands up."

    A month later, Klayman held the "Second American Revolution" rally in Lafayette Park across from the White House, which sought to force the resignation of President Obama and other top Congressional leaders.

    Klayman was at one point barred from practicing law in New York City, because he suggested that an Asian-American judge was unable to rule impartially in a case due to his race.

    Fox News’ initial report on the lawsuit ignored Klayman’s conspiracy theorist background, and role in this lawsuit.

  • Myths & Facts: $400 Million Payment To Iran

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media are distorting a new report in The Wall Street Journal detailing a payment of $400 million from the United States government to the Iranian government to resolve an arms sale dispute dating to 1981. Conservative outlets are suggesting the payment “was definitely ransom” paid for American prisoners held in Iran, claiming “the administration did not reveal this to the public,” suggesting that Hillary Clinton was wrong to say the report is “old news,” and that airlifting cash to make the payment was essentially “money laundering.” But past reporting and explanations from the administration reveal “no concrete evidence that the cash payment was, in fact, a ransom,” that many of the details of the payments were made public in January, Clinton correctly noted the payment has been public for “seven or eight months,” and making the payment in cash was the only way to legally do it due to economic sanctions against Iran.

  • Donald And Eric Trumps’ Sexual Harassment Victim-Blaming Is A Staple In Right-Wing Media

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Donald and Eric Trump’s victim-blaming responses to questions about sexual harassment were condemned in the media, but they echoed right-wing media’s long history of putting the onus on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have suggested that being a sexual assault survivor is a “coveted status,” that victims should “make better decisions,” and that “women need to take some responsibility.”

  • Right-Wing Media Outraged That Border Patrol Won’t Arrest Immigrants In Schools, Churches, And Hospitals 

    ICE “Sensitive Locations” Immigration Policy Forbids Arrests In Locations That May Hurt Public Safety 

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Right-wing media attacked the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s “sensitive location” policy, which forbids border patrol officers from surveilling and arresting immigrants in locations such as churches, hospitals, and schools, without prior authorization as “lawlessness” and accused the agency of “advising” illegal immigrants on how to avoid arrest.

  • Right-Wing Media Attempt To Hide Trump’s Attacks On Family Of Fallen Soldier With Bogus Benghazi Comparison

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Right-wing media criticized the coverage Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, comparing it to the lack of coverage  given to Patricia Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention. But Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump directly attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan with anti-Muslim and personal attacks, fueling widespread outrage and blacklash.

  • Fox News Cites Anti-Choice Group’s Poll To Push Myth That Americans Oppose Abortion Access

    Once Again, Fox’s Shannon Bream Pushed Dubious Polling To Argue That “Social Conservatives” Are “Turning The Tide” On American’s Abortion Beliefs

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During the July 27 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream reported that the Democratic Party’s positions on increasing abortion access and funding run contrary to the “personal convictions of average Americans.”

    To support this argument, Bream cited a recent poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus -- a self-identified “pro-life” group that has waged “a decades-long battle against abortion legislation.” Beyond failing to disclose the ideological affiliations of the group commissioning the poll, Bream also attempted to use the data to misleadingly suggest that Americans have a unified and consistently anti-choice position on abortion access.

    According to Bream, the Knights of Columbus poll shows that “78 percent” of Americans “say they support substantial restrictions on abortion, including 62 percent of those who self-identify as pro-choice.” However, as previous research has shown, polling on individuals’ support for abortion is complicated and highly contextual.

    For example, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff explained, 39 percent of Americans do not self-identify as either “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” and this determination is often influenced heavily by the wording of individual poll questions. She noted that although many people had “strongly held” feelings about abortion, much of the phrasing in polls fails to capture “the personal factors and situations that influence how each individual thinks about the issue.” Kliff continued that in poll questions, “a simple wording change can significantly alter whether Americans say they support legal abortion.”

    When MSNBC’s Irin Carmon compared the questions asked in different polls she, too, found that a simple shift in phrasing or question style could substantially alter a poll’s findings:

    You could ask Americans if they want Roe v. Wade overturned, as the Pew Research Center did in 2013, and learn that 63 percent want to see it stand. Or you could ask Americans to choose between two vague statements, like the recent poll the Marist Institute for Public Opinion conducted for the Knights of Columbus, a group that opposes abortion. Asked to pick between “it is possible to have laws which protect both the health and well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn; or two, it is necessary for laws to choose to protect one and not the other,” 77 percent said it was possible to do everything. The policy implications of the first statement are unclear.

    [...]

    Asking about what the law should be, whether generally or specifically, is when it gets really messy. According to one pollster, the most popular question of all – asking people if they think abortion should be legal in all, most or certain circumstances – is the most problematic.

    “I don’t even want to ask this dumb question anymore, because it doesn’t work,” says Tresa Undem. “It’s a bad polling measurement.” She conducted the Vox poll as well as a recent one for the National Institute for Reproductive Health, which supports abortion rights, and has written about the problem with polling on abortion.

    Why? When Undem looked only at the 34 percent of people who said they thought abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest and health risk, she found contradictory views.

    [...]

    But Undem says that internally conflicting views on abortion are par for the course. “On this topic, where people haven’t sorted through all their thoughts about it, you ask one question, the next you can get a reverse response.”

    Americans across the ideological spectrum also tend to share a variety of fundamentally incorrect perceptions about the frequency and safety of abortion procedures. As Kliff wrote in a February 29 article, Americans often significantly “overestimate the safety risks for women who have abortions" and underestimate the prevalence of procedure itself. Despite the fact that abortion is both common and incredibly safe, these misconceptions can negatively skew an individual’s perception of the procedure.

    The July 27 Special Report segment was far from the first time Bream has used selectively framed polling data to suggest Americans oppose abortion access and reproductive health care.

    In January 2016, Bream cited another poll from the Knights of Columbus to allege that “81 percent of Americans think abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy.” During the report, Bream did not note that the poll was commissioned by the anti-choice group.

    Beyond pushing selectively framed polling, Bream also has a history of presenting misleading reporting on a number of reproductive rights topics. For example, long after the anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its smear campaign against Planned Parenthood were discredited, Bream gave CMP founder David Daleiden an unchallenged platform to continuing pushing misinformation.

    While Fox News and Bream used selectively framed polling to criticize the Democratic Party’s platform as “out of step with the majority of Americans,” they have ignored the fallacious positions on abortion and Planned Parenthood codified in the official Republican Party platform.

  • Fox’s Charles Krauthammer “Wouldn’t Compare” Trump To A Fascist Leader, But Had No Problem Linking Obama To Hitler In 2008

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer took issue with President Obama’s remarks during the Democratic National Convention where he seemed to allude to Donald Trump as a “homegrown demagogue.” The president argued that American “values” have always survived threats from “fascists or communists or terrorists or homegrown demagogues,” to which Krauthammer complained that he “wouldn’t compare [Trump] to Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden.” Krauthammer’s distaste for Obama’s seeming comparison is surprising considering Krauthammer linked Obama to Hitler in 2008.

    During President Obama’s July 27 remarks at the Democratic National Convention, the president highlighted the work his administration has done to fix the economy and keep America safe. Obama also commented on the values he learned from his grandparents, arguing, “That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.”

    Fox’s Charles Krauthammer criticized President Obama’s comments, calling them “astonishing” and saying, “I wouldn’t compare [Trump] to Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden.” Krauthammer added, “I think because Trump represents the antithesis of what [President Obama] does in his own mind, [Obama] really is going to throw his weight into this election.”

    Krauthammer had no issue with linking Obama to Hitler when then-Senator Obama gave a campaign speech in Berlin, Germany in 2008 to thousands of Germans, American expatriates, and others at the Brandenburg Gate. Krauthammer weighed in on whether Obama’s speech in Berlin would help him in the 2008 campaign, saying, “You don’t get a bounce out of standing in front of 200,000 Germans at a rally who are chanting your name. Bad vibes sometimes, historically.” Krauthammer’s apparent offhand allusion to Hitler in a criticism of Obama is part of a much larger trend in right-wing media wherein commentators and pundits routinely compare mundane policy choices to the brutal oppression of history’s greatest dictators.

    On the other hand, while Krauthammer “wouldn’t compare” Trump to Hitler, historians, journalists, political commentators, and even Holocaust survivors have criticized Trump for outrageous comments, proposals, and actions they argue share similarities with fascist dictators. Trump has previously been called out for using “Nazi-style” hand gestures, galvanizing white nationalist groups with his campaign rhetoric, and even tweeting an anti-Clinton image which originated on an anti-Semitic message board.

  • Here Are All The Reasons Media Think Trump Is Not Releasing His Tax Returns

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    After Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his plan not to release his tax returns prior to the election due to an IRS audit -- despite the IRS saying he is not precluded from doing so -- media figures questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s excuse, arguing instead that it could be due to his possible business dealings with Russia, paying little to no taxes, and not giving to charity, among other reasons.

  • Fox News Revives Debunked Claim That Democratic Primary Was “Rigged”

    Fox Spins Hacked DNC Emails To Claim Clinton’s Victory Is “Illegitimate”

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News figures distorted the contents of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to claim that the Democratic presidential primary was “rigged” and that Hillary Clinton’s victory is “illegitimate.” But media have noted that Clinton won “her party’s nomination by every available measure” and that the hacked emails in no way prove the primary was “rigged.”