State Media

Tags ››› State Media
  • How Florida Newspapers Helped A Utility Front Group Promote A Deceptive, Anti-Solar Amendment

    ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    A utility-backed front group deceptively named “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been campaigning for a misleading ballot initiative in Florida that is disguised to look pro-solar but could actually hamper the growth of rooftop solar power and protect utilities’ electricity monopoly. Florida newspapers have published over a dozen op-eds in favor of the amendment by representatives of this group without disclosing their utility industry ties.

  • Climate Silence Witnessed At Presidential Debates Extends To Key Battleground States

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    There were roughly 190 questions (including follow-ups) asked to the candidates during the presidential and vice presidential debates this year, and not one of them was about climate change. This stunning media failure has rightly drawn the attention of journalists, environmental groups, and at least one U.S. senator.

    But it’s also important to recognize that the climate silence we have witnessed on the national stage is not unique to the presidential election. Media Mattersdebate scorecard is tracking climate change questions in 18 of the most closely contested Senate and governors’ races across the country, and the results so far are troubling. We’ve found that just eight of the 37 debates held in these races through October 20 included questions about climate change. That's 22 percent.

    Climate change was not addressed in the Senate debate or any of the three governors’ debates in North Carolina, a state that was recently devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which featured record-breaking rainfall and flooding that scientists have linked to global warming. It was also ignored in the Senate debate in Arizona, which was recently identified as the western state that is most at risk from increased wildfires as a result of climate change, and in both governors’ debates in West Virginia, which suffered through flooding over the summer that was made worse by global warming.

    There have also been zero climate change questions in Senate or governors’ debates in Missouri, Montana, and Nevada, which are all among the states that are least prepared to deal with emerging climate-related threats, according to a report card produced by Climate Central and ICF International.

    The eight debates that have included climate change questions occurred in seven states: Florida (Senate), Indiana (Senate), New Hampshire (Senate), Ohio (Senate), Pennsylvania (Senate), Wisconsin (Senate), and Vermont (in two debates for governor).

    In more than half of these states, the climate questions were asked because voters spoke up and requested them. In Wisconsin, the climate question was submitted by a citizen via Twitter. In Vermont, the moderator asked a climate question submitted by a voter on Facebook. In Ohio, an audience member asked the climate question. And in Indiana, the climate question, while flawed, was submitted by a voter to the Indiana Debate Commission.

    The lesson from both the presidential debates and these Senate and governors’ debates is clear: If voters want to hear about climate change, they’ll need to continue to press moderators to ask about it and continue to take advantage of opportunities to make their voices heard.

  • Will Climate Change Come Up In The Second Presidential Debate?

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    By any reasonable measure, climate change is a serious issue that is worthy of significant attention during the presidential debates. Yet as our debate scorecard documented, the topic was ignored by the moderators of the first presidential debate and the vice-presidential debate, further heightening the need for ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper to lead a substantial climate discussion when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off on October 9.

    Global warming is having profound and wide-ranging impacts in the United States, and a climate question would be just as relevant to a discussion about national security, the economy, or public health as it would be to a discussion about environmental protection. And as climate scientist Michael Mann recently pointed out, climate change meets all the key criteria for a debate question:

    Indeed, the stakes for climate action are high this election year, and the gulf between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the issue is massive.

    The Obama administration has taken many important steps to combat climate change, including the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, and the historic international agreement to cut global emissions reached in Paris, which was recently ratified by enough countries to formally take effect. But the next president could either help these climate policies come to fruition or try to undercut them.

    Clinton has said she will “[d]efend, implement, and extend” key climate policies, including the Clean Power Plan, and “deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference.” Trump, meanwhile, has said he will “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, “rescind” the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, initiate a “targeted review” of the Clean Power Plan, and dismantle the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    Americans deserve to hear more detailed explanations of these proposals, and the upcoming debates provide the best and most high-profile opportunities before Election Day for that conversation to occur. But it can’t be taken for granted. In 2012, the presidential candidates were not asked about climate change in any of the general election debates. And this cycle, Trump has yet to field a single climate change question through one general election debate and 11 GOP primary debates (he skipped one).

    The story is much the same throughout the country, as our scorecard shows. Through the first 21 debates in the presidential election and closely-contested Senate and governors’ races, only two debates -- in New Hampshire and Vermont -- have included questions about climate change. Like the presidential election, these races could also have climate consequences. Newly-elected senators could propose new climate legislation, or they could seek to block the EPA from limiting carbon pollution. And newly-elected governors could either work constructively with the EPA, or fight tooth and nail against implementing the Clean Power Plan.

    Thankfully, it’s not too late for citizens to make their voices heard and convince moderators to ask about climate change in upcoming debates. The nonprofit and nonpartisan Open Debate Coalition notes that the ABC and CNN moderators of the next presidential debate have “agreed to consider the Top 30 questions voted up” on the coalition’s website. The following climate-related questions are currently among the top 30 vote-getters:

    Citizens can also request climate change questions in several Senate and governors’ debates. In Arizona, Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, has an online form for submitting questions ahead of the October 10 Senate debate. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association told Media Matters that citizens can suggest questions on Twitter during the October 14 Senate debate, using the hashtag #wbadebate. In Ohio, WBNS-10TV is accepting video questions that may appear during its October 17 Senate debate. In Vermont, roundtable organizers will be crowdsourcing questions on Twitter in advance of the October 17 governors’ debate using the hashtag #innov802. And in Indiana, the Indiana Debate Commission has an online form for submitting questions for all of the state’s Senate and gubernatorial debates.

    We’ll be continuing to update the scorecard with additional information about upcoming debates right up until Election Day -- including an update soon on whether climate change comes up at the October 9 presidential debate.

  • Right-Wing Radio Host Howie Carr Defends Trump Immigration Plan With 30 Minutes Of Racism

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Boston Herald columnist and syndicated radio host Howie Carr spent the first 30 minutes of his August 31 radio show using anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim rhetoric to defend Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and his proposed immigration policies. Carr, who has backed Trump throughout his campaign, also used anti-immigrant slurs such as “illegal alien” and “anchor baby” and said Mexican immigrants are “undesirables” who don’t work.

  • TV Weathercasters: We Have A "Responsibility" To Educate Our Viewers About Climate Change

    In New Video, Formerly “Skeptical” Meteorologists Describe How They Came To Recognize The Truth About Global Warming

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
  • What’s Behind Donald Trump’s New Local TV Interview Strategy

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    With his campaign floundering, Donald Trump appears to be adopting a new media strategy: minimizing exposure from cable and national broadcast networks while still reaching millions of viewers by granting interviews to major local broadcast providers that will provide the footage to affiliates across the country.

    Since the beginning of the general election campaign in June, Trump’s campaign has deliberately reduced his appearances on national broadcast and cable news shows. The one exception has been Fox News, where the GOP nominee regularly appears for softball interviews. According to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz, the shift came because a faction of the Trump campaign was convinced that “constant rounds of interviews entail too much risk of the candidate making mistakes or fanning minor controversies.” Indeed, a rare interview on ABC’s This Week this past Sunday generated a wave of criticism after Trump attacked the parents of an American Muslim soldier killed fighting in Iraq.

    But a Fox-only strategy brings its own challenge: Trump is able to speak only to those who already support him. He needs a different strategy in order to reach the rest of the country while avoiding the pitfalls of national broadcast or cable interviewers.  

    On August 2, Trump sat for interviews with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Gray Television Group that will air on their local broadcast affiliates throughout the country. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has come under fire in the past for their conservative slant and for ordering their stations in 2004 to preempt regular programming in order to air an anti-John Kerry ad, boasts on their website that they control 173 television stations in 81 markets. Gray Television Group claims “180 program streams” in 51 markets nationwide.

    Sinclair Broadcasting
    Sinclair Broadcast Group Station Map

    Gray Television Group Station Map

    Trump’s campaign has taken a dismal turn as Hillary Clinton opens a sizable lead in national polling amid a flurry of Trump controversies. In order to turn things around, he is seeking to skip the national media gatekeepers while still reaching a national audience.

  • Trump Surrogate Howie Carr's Long History Of Attacking Elizabeth Warren With Native American Stereotypes

    ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    Howie Carr, a columnist for the Boston Herald, radio host, and surrogate for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, has a long history of attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Carr often refers to Warren as “fauxcahontas,” a “fake Indian” and as a “squaw” -- a racial slur for Native American women.

  • Boston Radio Host And Trump Agree Obama “Has More Anger” Toward Trump Than ISIS

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    During an interview with Boston radio host Howie Carr, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump agreed with the host that President Obama has “more anger” toward Trump than he does toward ISIS. Carr and Trump spent much of the interview pushing false information about gun control measures and about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s policy positions in wake of the June 12 terror attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

    Carr, an avid Donald Trump supporter who has boasted about golfing with the presumptive nominee and has appeared at the candidate’s rallies, spent much of the June 13 interview asking Trump about his response to the previous day’s attack. Trump agreed with Carr that President Obama “has more anger” toward Trump than ISIS, and he repeated the cryptic language he used earlier in the day when he said Obama’s response proves there is “something going on that is very strange,” a phrase some press believe insinuates that Obama supports terrorism and that The Washington Post reported “is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.” From the Howie Carr Show:

    HOWIE CARR (HOST): Why do you think the president of the United States gets more angry at you than he does at ISIS?

    DONALD TRUMP: Well it’s true, he has more anger toward me than he does for ISIS. And a number of people have said that. And I don’t know, there’s something going on. Very strange situation. All of the killing, all of the death, and now its ISIS related, it’s been related that it’s ISIS motivated and related, and he gives the press conference likes it’s a day in the park, like let’s all fall asleep together. I don’t get it, you don’t get it, I don’t think anybody gets it but him maybe. Maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know what he’s doing. But, certainly I don’t know if you saw his press conference today, it’s like the world is a bowl of cherries. He doesn’t have a lot of anger at what happened to these wonderful people.

    CARR (HOST): He just wants to talk about gun control. It’s the same old playbook.

    Carr asked Trump what he meant when he said “there is something going on” and how he responds to critics who suggest the candidate was insinuating Obama was complicit in the Orlando attacks. Trump responded, “I am going to let people figure that out for themselves, Howie, because to be honest with you there certainly doesn’t seem to be a lot of anger or passion” coming from Obama.

    The interview moved to the issue of gun control, with Trump scoffing at the idea that increased gun control could have prevented the attack and speculating that if more patrons in the nightclub had had guns, it would have been “a much different deal.” Trump went on to push  the myth that more gun ownership is the answer to stopping mass shootings, saying, “It sounded like there were no guns. They had a security guard, other than that, there were no guns in the room.” Trump did not directly address reports that the security guard was armed and exchanged fire with the shooter.

    Carr supported Trump’s claims that gun control wouldn’t help and mischaracterized gun control legislation as confiscation of all firearms. “If you can’t round up 11 million illegal aliens, how are you going to round up 300 million guns?” Carr asked. Trump responded by saying “Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment … and ... take all guns away from law-abiding citizens” -- a claim that Politifact has rated “false.”

    Trump also balked at the idea that the shooter was a “lone wolf” and suggested that there are “thousands, I would be willing to bet, that are just like him or worse.”

    Carr said he was “glad” that in Trump’s speech about the attack, he said the president has the “right to ban any group from the United States,” referring to Trump’s infamous pledge to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. Trump again reiterated his claim, saying the president has “an absolute right” to ban any group he perceives as a threat.

    You can listen to the entire interview between Trump and Howie Carr below:

    May Selcraig and Sarah Zieve contributed research to this post.

    Photo Credit: Newsmax via Facebook

  • Tampa Bay Times: Trump Speech “Resorted To Bombastic Demagoguery” While Clinton’s Offered “Somber Steadiness”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    An editorial in the Tampa Bay Times praised presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s response to the June 12 terror attack in which a gunman entered an Orlando gay nightclub and murdered 49 people, saying “the contrast” to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s response “could not be starker nor the stakes higher for the nation’s future.”  

    Following Trump’s speech, media quickly criticized his response, calling it “horrifying,” “the scariest political speech,” and “outright fascism.” On the same day, media also criticized Trump for insinuating that Obama sympathizes with terrorists and for revoking the press credentials of The Washington Post following what Trump called “incredibly inaccurate coverage.”

    The Tampa Bay Times’ June 13 editorial took issue with Trump’s speech, stressing the need for a “sophisticated approach” to addressing the complex issue of terrorism both foreign and domestic. The paper said Trump’s “rambling” response was littered with oversimplifications of the issues and included false accusations against Clinton and President Obama. By comparison, the editorial called Clinton’s statement more “responsible” and said that it offered a more detailed policy response. From the Tampa Bay Times:

    Even as the names of those killed in the Orlando massacre continued to be released Monday, the political debate resumed over how to fight terrorism and hatred. Hillary Clinton provided somber steadiness and a thoughtful way forward. Donald Trump resorted to bombastic demagoguery, profiling and reckless political attacks. The contrast could not be starker nor the stakes higher for the nation's future.


    Fighting terrorism and hatred, keeping this nation safe and preserving our constitutional freedoms requires a sophisticated approach at home and abroad. Yet Trump has suggested President Barack Obama resign and declared Monday the nation is "led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind.'' It's hard to imagine any other presidential candidate making such a sinister insinuation about an incumbent after such a national tragedy.

    In a rambling speech Monday afternoon, Trump repeated he would unilaterally ban immigration from multiple nations to stop terrorism. He insisted Muslims in this country know who the terrorists are and should stop protecting them, and he rejected accepting any Syrian refugees regardless of their backgrounds. He mocked any new gun control initiatives, falsely alleged that Clinton wants to repeal the Second Amendment and vowed not to succumb to political correctness. Such a defiant tone and simplistic approach is not comforting to an anxious nation or a world where cultivating alliances and nurturing relationships with law-abiding members of all religions has never been more important.

    In tone and substance, Clinton provided a more detailed, responsible vision. She methodically delivered a three-pronged strategy focused on strengthening alliances to fight terrorism abroad, tightening gun controls at home and calling on Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to work with the United States to counter the radical rhetoric of Islamic extremists. These are the sorts of policy questions that should be the focus of the presidential campaign, rather than the name-calling and bigotry embraced by Trump.

  • NRA Tries To Use LGBT People For Political Gain Weeks After Attacking Transgender Equality

    New Ad Appealing To LGBT Community Follows Ugly Attack On Caitlyn Jenner And Transgender Community At The NRA’s Annual Meeting

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    An NRA-affiliated group is reportedly releasing an ad that baselessly warns proposed regulations on ammunition purchases in California would disarm LGBT people just weeks after the NRA mocked societal acceptance of transgender people as “twisted” and “perverted.”

    On June 6, Time reported on growing NRA opposition to a California ballot initiative called “Safety for All” that proposes “a package of commonsense gun reforms requiring instant background checks for purchases of ammunition, strengthening background checks for gun purchases, prohibiting possession of large detachable military-style magazines, and requiring the immediate surrender of firearms for people convicted of serious and violent crimes.” The effort is being led by California’s lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom.

    In opposition to the initiative, NRA-affiliated group Coalition for Civil Liberties (CCL) is releasing a series of ads suggesting that the initiative could pose a danger to women and LGBT people by limiting their ability to defend themselves with a gun. CCL is a “project” of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, the NRA’s California affiliate group.

    But the ads come just weeks after a top NRA official cited growing acceptance of transgender people as an example of how American values have become “twisted” and “perverted” in a speech before 80,000 NRA members.

    As Time explained, the CCL’s ads will feature a woman and a transgender actor who draw a gun when confronted by an attacker, but are unable to fire the weapon because it is unloaded:

    The organization is releasing its first television ad in the state Monday targeted at suburban women, featuring a woman walking through a darkened parking structure when she is approached by an assailant. When the woman attempts to fire a handgun in her possession for self-defense, the hammer drops on an empty chamber because the weapon isn’t loaded. It concludes with the ominous slogan, “Take Away Our Rights, Take Away Our Life.”

    A second, nearly identical commercial will be released Wednesday, except the character in the spot will [be] transgender, and that ad will be targeted to areas with large concentrations of LGBT Californians.

    During a June 6 appearance on the NRA’s radio show, Richard Grenell, the GOP operative who is leading CCL efforts, claimed that Newsom “is really beginning to take away basic rights for vulnerable populations, and so what we decided to do was to make a commercial which shows the very real possibility of what could happen to someone if Gavin Newsom had his way.”

    Nothing in the ballot initiative would prevent legally eligible people from buying ammunition for their firearms, and none of the proposals would create special rules for the purchase of ammo by women or LGBT people.

    Furthermore, the CCL effort comes just weeks after the NRA’s top lobbyist mocked the notion of transgender people being accepted by society.

    During a May 20 speech before 80,000 NRA members at the NRA’s annual meeting, NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox attacked acceptance of Olympic athlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, calling her “Bruce” and “he.” Following Cox’s speech, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said the Obama administration was “in the toilet” because of efforts by the administration to prevent schools from discriminating against transgender students.

    Just moments into his speech, Cox lamented that “the America we know is becoming unrecognizable. Everything we believe in, everything we’ve always known to be good, and right, and true has been twisted, perverted and repackaged to our kids as wrong, backwards and abnormal.”

    Citing examples of America’s supposed downfall, Cox went on to claim, “Who are our kids supposed to respect and admire? The media tells them Bruce Jenner is a national hero for transforming his body, while our wounded warriors, whose bodies were transformed by IEDs and rocket-propelled grenades, can’t even get basic healthcare from the VA.”



    In a speech following Cox’s, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre railed against the Obama administration’s recent guidance explaining that public schools must allow transgender students to use facilities, like bathrooms and locker rooms, that correspond to their gender identity.

    LaPierre claimed the Obama administration has not done enough to combat gang violence “in places like Chicago and Detroit” to argue that “a Clinton White House would be a dangerous extension of the Obama White House. And where has this White House put its full weight? In the toilet. In bathrooms in North Carolina, in school districts all over our country.”



    LaPierre and Cox’s speeches immediately preceded the NRA’s endorsement of Donald Trump, who has said he supports allowing states to pass discriminatory bathroom bills that broadly ban transgender people from using facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Highlights “Sinister” Effect Of Super PAC Ads On Voter Turnout

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board stressed the negative impact super PAC ads have on voter turnout as outside money targeting the presidential and Senate races begins coming into play across the country. Research highlighted by the Post-Gazette showed that the negative ads run by super PACs can discourage voter turnout, a result the board called “sinister and profoundly anti-democratic.”

    The May 30 editorial cited research from the Ohio Media Project -- “a consortium of radio and television stations and the largest newspapers in the state” --  which found that negative campaign ads like the ones often funded by super PACs “are designed to suppress voter turnout as much as they are to persuade voters to support one candidate over another.”

    The Post-Gazette underscored that while super PAC spending occurs in support of both Democratic and Republican candidates, the 2012 presidential election saw “$424.4 million [spent] supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $145 million supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.” The editorial named the billionaire Koch brothers -- who have committed at least $30 million for ads aimed at influencing Senate races in the 2016 --  as a major supporters of super PACs behind negative ads. From the Post-Gazette:

    Researchers found that only about 1 percent of voters, primarily independents, are moved from one camp to another because of negative ads, but in swing states, like Ohio, sometimes elections are decided by 1 percent or less. But the researchers also found that, “especially with moderate voters, you get a demobilization effect, where they just kind of turn off, ‘This is a nasty campaign, I just want to stay home.’ ”

    That is truly sinister and profoundly anti-democratic.

    Equally disturbing as the attack ads and their intent is the answer to this question. Who is paying for this garbage? In the 2012 presidential election, independent spending — by groups not connected with either political party — came to $424.4 million supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $145 million supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.

    The sources of that money, often called “dark money,” are being kept secret, and that is wrong.


    The super PAC Americans for Prosperity is a good example. Look up its 2012 expenditures in and the only line that comes up is: $33,542,051 spent against President Obama’s re-election.

    The Center for Responsive Politics identified AFP’s biggest contributor as Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, which is controlled by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch. But the FEC did not require this disclosure.