In its draft leasing plan that will set the boundaries for oil development in federal waters from 2017 to 2022, the Obama Administration proposed allowing offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast between Virginia and Georgia. Newspapers in the states that would be impacted by this plan have published articles and editorials highlighting local opposition and describing the economic and environmental risks associated with offshore drilling. As the administration approaches a final decision on offshore drilling, these concerns identified by state media outlets should inform national media coverage in the days and weeks ahead.
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson argued that the terrorists who committed the Paris attacks represent the "true Islam," not Muslims who denounced the attacks.
On his November 18 radio show, Mickelson criticized Muslims who say "terrorists hijack their religion." Mickelson began by playing audio from a local television news broadcast, in which Muslims from Des Moines, Iowa, said the Paris attackers do not represent Islam, "because Muslims do not kill innocent people." Mickelson called their comments "total rubbish," and said, "I call them cigar store Muslims, meaning they are template Muslims, Americanized Muslims." Mickelson continued:
MICKELSON: So the people out here in the cheap seats saying that the cigar store Muslims here in Des Moines are the true Muslims -- the non violent, worldwide peaceful kind -- while those people over there are the aberration and they've just invented a new religion. Who's left to actually believe that except, well, people like that?
Mickelson also played an interview with Anjem Choudary, a radical preacher from the United Kingdom. Choudary, who has been condemned by major Muslim groups in the UK, is well-known for his support of ISIS and Sharia Law. Mickelson told his listeners to "put an asterisk in your memory" when some "cigar store Muslim tries to sell you otherwise," connecting Choudary's extremist statements with the local Muslims interviewed previously.
MICKELSON: Why they would allow this guy who, he, you just heard him say, "do you support the people who want to commit those kinds of acts of violence in the United States?" The guy said of course he does! And he says the Internet makes the world a very very small place. Put a little asterisk in your memory at this very point when some cigar store Muslim tries to sell you otherwise.
Mickelson has been advocating in recent months for Americans to reject Muslim refugees and keep "Islamic cultures" out of the United States. The host also recently argued "we ought to foreclose on [the] property" of churches who can't fully pay for refugees they help resettle.
During the November 9 episode of The Michael Berry Show, Texas-based radio host Michael Berry commented on the University of Missouri president's resignation after students claimed the administration was not doing enough to address racial tension on campus. Berry said that by resigning the president was"pandering" to "thugs" who should be grateful for their opportunity and should "shut their mouth and play football."
Berry claimed the football players' participation in the call for more to be done about racist symbols and comments on campus were a distraction from the team's lackluster on-field performance. Berry criticized both the university president and the football players, saying that the university president resigned because, "The old white man didn't want to be attacked by the young black football players" and claimed the players should be more grateful for the "opportunity to try out for the NFL wearing the University of Missouri uniform."
Berry continued saying Missouri has "a problem of culture, a problem of priorities, and you got a problem of pandering." Berry also warned that Missouri's reaction to the protests were like "Neville Chamberlain [who] became the illustration of what is wrong when you pander to a bully" -- citing the British Prime Minister often criticized for unsuccessfully appeasing Hitler in the lead up to World War II.
MICHAEL BERRY: So now the president of the university has resigned. Now, think of the message this sends. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. The football players at the University of Missouri? The football players decide who the president will be? An institution of higher learning -- you're doing research on molecular biology that may lead to a cure for cancer. You're doing aeronautical research, you're doing chemical research, molecular biology research. You're educating how many thousand people? And you're letting a few thugs decide who your president will be?
Good, you do have a problem. But it's far bigger than the creative shaping of poop by somebody on your campus. You got a major problem with your priorities. If you can't rein in a few football players to shut their mouth and play football, else they lose their scholarship? You've got a real problem on your hands. You've got a problem of culture. You've got a problem of priorities, and you've got a problem of pandering.
And let me tell you something. As Neville Chamberlain became the illustration of what is wrong when you pander to a bully, there will be no peace in your time at the University of Missouri. This will not be the last time this group of thugs flexes their muscles. You can rest assured on that. When you pander to a bully you empower that bully, you feed that bully. He will grow bigger and stronger. And bullies are only effective when they have power to exercise. There will come another day and you will face off against that bully in a bigger battlefield. You've just made a huge mistake. The country continues to make a huge mistake on university campuses, workplaces, schools, the military. This is a country built on merit and accomplishments and if you don't want to play by those rules, you don't get to be on the team. Shut up about race already.
Berry has criticized civil rights protests by mocking the Black Lives Matter movement in a weekly segment satirizing shooting victims in Chicago in his attempt to prove his claim that "black lives matter, just not to black people." In addition, he has previously attacked African-American UCLA students who called for improved diversity on campus, calling them "pack animals" and saying they need to "get the F over themselves."
Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell (D) debunked claims following Virginia's November 3 statewide elections that some Democrats' advocacy for stronger gun laws cost the party a chance to control the state Senate.
Prior to Election Day, Democrats needed to pick up one seat to effectively obtain control of the chamber (the Senate would have been split 20 - 20 with a Democratic lieutenant governor casting tie-breaking votes). Democrats did not gain the seat, retaining the 19 - 21 party split.
Following the election, media pundits seized on the Senate race in District 10 to baselessly argue that the gun issue caused Democrat Dan Gecker to lose to Republican Glen Sturtevant. Gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety had spent $700,000 on advertising in support of Gecker.
The Washington Post ran an article with the headline, "Did gun control cost McAuliffe and Democrats the Virginia election?" while the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board concluded Gecker accepting help from Everytown was "a massive mistake." None of these claims had any basis in fact: the evidence actually suggested that the ads helped Gecker close the gap, although he ultimately did not prevail.
In an op-ed at the Post, Surovell explained that "the focus on gun safety actually made District 10 a tighter, tougher fight for the Republicans than it should have been," and also noted commentators on the election are ignoring that the Democratic candidate in Senate District 29 -- who was supported by gun safety ads -- prevailed in a high-profile race. From the op-ed:
There's been a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking about how firearm violence prevention played in Virginia elections this year. Let's look at the two state Senate races where the issue played a central role: Senate District 10 in the Richmond area and Senate District 29 in Prince William County. In both races, gun safety was either the winning factor or helped tighten a race in a previously non-competitive GOP-held district.
First, polling in and outside of Virginia shows more than 85 percent of Americans support common-sense firearms-violence prevention rules such as universal background checks or keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals. Notwithstanding that, the NRA and other groups continue to give "F" ratings to any elected official who dare to support reasonable safeguards on weapon acquisition.
In Senate District 29, only a few miles from the NRA's Fairfax headquarters, gun safety was the issue that put the victor, Democratic candidate Jeremy McPike, over the top. Hal Parrish, the NRA "A"-rated, popular mayor with high name recognition, was handpicked by the GOP to win an open seat but was soundly defeated by McPike, an NRA "F"-rated candidate who had never held elected office.
Parrish consistently led in pre-election polls until Parrish's unpopular gun positions and his inability to articulate what he would do to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals were exposed to voters. Phone calls, door knocks and television ads on firearm-violence prevention narrowed the gap, solidified undecided voters and moved a race that began within the margin of error to an 8 percent win in McPike's favor. That spread is the new price to be paid for sticking by the gun lobby and being out of step with Virginia voters.
In Senate District 10, Republicans kept an open seat they held for 17 years. Glen Sturtevant, the NRA-backed candidate won -- but by a margin of less than 3 percent, fewer than 1,500 votes. Four years ago, John Watkins won by 12 percent, 4,300 votes.
Even in Powhatan County -- the most conservative county in the district - Sturtevant underperformed his predecessor by 4 percent.
While blaming one issue for winning or losing elections is an interesting political parlor game, it is a vast oversimplification for a process that divines the intentions of more than 30,000 people. The focus on gun safety actually made District 10 a tighter, tougher fight for the Republicans than it should have been, closing the gap to a spread much closer than the prognosticators were expecting.
Conservative Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson defended an Iowa school bus driver who was jailed after video surfaced of the driver assaulting a student with special needs. Mickelson claims the child should have known to obey the adult's authority and said he refuses to call the child a victim.
According to the Des Moines Register, a Johnston, Iowa school bus driver was "arrested on charges of assaulting a child with special needs." The October 29 Des Moines Register article reported that, according to police, the driver "pulled the student out of his seat... hit the student in the head and pushed him down to the floor of the bus", after the student allegedly told the bus driver to "shut up." A video posted on social media shows other students on the bus yelling at the bus driver to stop. The Register reported that students then got off the bus and went to the sheriff's office to report the incident. According to police the driver was arrested and the student received medical attention in an ambulance on scene.
On his November 4 show, Mickelson -- a former bus driver -- commented on the news of the driver's arrest, saying he was "rooting for the bus driver." He responded to reports that the fifteen-year-old victim has the mental capacity of an eight-year-old, arguing "an eight-year-old understands obeying the people who are in charge" and refused to call the student a victim, stating, "even a special needs kid can be a twerp."
JAN MICKELSON: Alright, 'You can't put your hands on another kid.' And you heard the attorney say 'it's never okay to put your hands on a child when angry.' That's rubbish. There are many times when a parent is angry and they must put their hands on a child. It is never right to manhandle a child, whether angry or not, inappropriately. If there's a safety issue involved or if there's an authority issue involved -- I know that you can be charged with assault, but some cases putting your hands on a child to restrain them from hurting themselves or others is necessary. I am not saying that was what happened in this case but I'm also not entirely thrilled with the way this is being positioned, either.
'Johnston school bus driver arrested on charges of assaulting a special needs student.' Now, that immediately, the language of that immediately puts any school bus driver on the defensive because, 'Oh, this child had special needs.' Well the story itself said he was a fifteen-year-old had a mind of an eight-year-old. I would argue that an eight-year-old can restrain themselves. And an eight-year-old can obey simple directions like, 'You can't sit there and you have to move.' And an eight-year-old can understand adult authority and school authority. And an eight-year-old understands obeying the people who are in charge. And I'm not going to call this kid, special needs or otherwise, a victim.
This kid thought of himself as having special needs and was demanding that he not be required to move. It was a question of wills. And you have an adult, a sixty-one-year-old bus driver, apparently got fed up with the mouthy little twerp. Now even a special needs kid can be a twerp. Because they are in one sense diminished doesn't mean they're automatically virtuous.
No, I don't think everybody that's a twerp needs to be whacked. But in this case I'm thinking, I could be persuaded to the other side of this, but because of my own experience as a bus driver I'm thinking right now that I'm rooting for the bus driver. You can persuade me otherwise. [Mickelson in the Morning, 11/4/15]
Below is video of the incident on the bus as filmed by another student:
This Johnston bus driver hit and yelled at a special ed kid this made me cryðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ pic.twitter.com/0LKpZdpVKC-- Mikayla Gibson (@mikaylagibsonn) October 29, 2015
An October 15 Kaiser Family Foundation study highlighted the increased health care cost burden for states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet, in the three non-expansion states with the highest number of individuals who would benefit from expansion, the highest-circulating state newspapers failed to mention the increased state cost associated with the lack of expansion.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal downplayed gun violence in the United States to attack legislative attempts to address the issue while also claiming guns safety advocates "manipulate" data by including gun suicides in gun death totals.
An October 31 editorial argued against stronger gun laws, specifically mentioning expanded background checks, by noting that while public mass shootings have captured national headlines, the overall number of gun homicides has remained relatively flat over the past 15 years:
Mass shootings leave Americans anguished and angry. Every time one happens, more and more voters want to know how many more mass shootings will happen before our leaders "do something" about it. The unrelenting media coverage of and emotional debate surrounding mass shootings create the impression that the country is awash in worsening gun violence.
The trouble is, as horrific as mass shootings are, the numbers tell a different story.
According to a Pew Research Center study of data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of U.S. gun homicides and nonfatal gun victimizations have both held steady for roughly 15 years, and are both down over the past 20.
That mass shootings capture headlines is no surprise. According to an analysis highlighted by The Washington Post, the nation is averaging more than one mass shooting each day this year, and by several metrics, the incidence of mass shootings is increasing.
More so, that the firearm homicide rate has been steady for the past 15 years is not a compelling argument against gun safety proposals because the rate remains staggeringly high compared to other high-income nations. And it's unclear that fewer people are actually being shot: according to the Wall Street Journal the number of serious gunshot wounds that required hospitalization increased by nearly half between 2001 and 2011. Doctors speculate that this may not impact the gun homicide rate because medical advances have increased the survivability of gunshot wounds, the Journal reported.
The Review-Journal also took issue with the inclusion of gun suicides when counting the total number of "gun deaths" that occur in the United States each year, claiming that gun safety advocates "manipulate" the data on "gun deaths" to include suicides so as to "push their agenda":
While gun crimes have dropped over the past two decades, the number of suicides by gun is up (and growing) over the same time period. Not wanting to waste an opportunity to push their agenda, gun control advocates like to manipulate this data by citing growing "gun deaths" as a reason for stricter gun controls.
Gun suicides are widely included by experts on public health and gun violence when counting "gun deaths," which typically include suicides, homicides, accidents, and cases of undetermined intention. There is good reason that gun safety proposals and attempts to reduce suicide are interconnected. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, "Twelve or more U.S. case control studies have compared individuals who died by suicide with those who did not and found those dying by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns." Studies show that between 89 and 95 percent of individuals who survive a suicide attempt do not become future victims of suicide, but when firearms are involved many victims never have this chance because gun suicide attempts are fatal 85 percent of the time.
The Review-Journal's editorial downplaying gun violence and dismissing gun suicides is the latest piece of commentary from the Nevada paper that attacked proposals for stronger gun laws. On September 14 the Review-Journal published an attack on expanded background checks that was so inaccurate that the authors of a study cited by the Review-Journal wrote a letter explaining how the editorial board had misread the study so as to invert its conclusion.
Several media outlets have published op-eds by Monica Martinez, the president of a group called Hispanics in Energy, attacking net metering policies that support rooftop solar energy. But these outlets failed to disclose the ties Martinez's group has to numerous oil and utility companies -- including companies that are actively fighting net metering policies -- and many of Martinez's claims about the impact of net metering on low-income and minority communities are inaccurate.
A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial raised several questions that were answered long ago about the September 11, 2012 attacks on American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in an effort to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to her October 22 hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The newspaper has a history of right-wing bias in its reporting and on its opinion page, and has often pushed Benghazi myths but never corrected its errors when facts proved those myths false.
The October 22 editorial claimed that the "Obama Administration has been lying about the attack since it happened" and suggested several questions members of the select committee should ask Clinton during her testimony:
Why did Clinton ignore Stevens' requests for more security? Why did Clinton push the White House to blame a fringe YouTube video for the attack, rather than radical Islamic terrorists? Why has Clinton been stonewalling attempts to get to the truth for the past three years?
The problem with the Union Leader editorial board's questions -- and for that matter, its longtime position on Benghazi -- is that these questions have already been asked and answered.
As the Washington Post and other media outlets reported, Clinton told Congress during previous testimony that the concerns over security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi had not been brought to her attention prior to the attack, which the State Department's independent Accountability Review Board report confirmed in its finding that the security situation had "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department." Even so, Clinton admitted responsibility for the attacks, calling the violence and its consequences "painful, absolutely painful" for her.
As a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review of Benghazi found, several pieces of intelligence were revealed after the attacks, including some that "suggest[ed] the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day's violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video..."
In addition, as The New York Times reported, the people who carried out the attacks "told bystanders that they were attacking the compound because they were angry about the video," and the suspected ringleader, Abu Khattala, "told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him."
The Union Herald seems to have decided to ignore these and other facts in the public record when they penned this editorial. Ten separate congressional committees have conducted Benghazi investigations, amounting to 32 hearings, approximately 54 hours of publically-available testimony, 2,780 questions asked of 204 witnesses, and 11 reports spanning 784 pages on the attacks.
This latest editorial continues the newspaper's tradition of repeating debunked reports to push its right-wing agenda on Benghazi.
Newspapers across the country have been publishing falsehood-laden op-eds attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan written by attorney and former utility regulator Terry Jarrett. But these newspapers have failed to disclose that Jarrett and his law firm have significant ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Opponents of Houston's LGBT-inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance warn that non-discrimination protections threaten women's safety in public restrooms. But experts -- including law enforcement officials, government employees, and advocates for sexual assault victims -- from three Texas cities with similar non-discrimination ordinances debunk the "bathroom predator" myth, citing empirical evidence and experience working with sexual assault victims.
Boston-based conservative radio host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr has a history of spreading conservative misinformation, using homophobic and sexist language, and mocking female politicians.
MSNBC failed to disclose the close affiliation between one of its guests, former Iowa-based radio host Steve Deace, and the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), during a segment on the 2016 election, despite Deace's endorsement of Cruz and his appearances at campaign events for Cruz in Iowa.
The October 8 News Nation segment started by discussing comments by Rupert Murdoch, the executive co-chair of Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, about President Obama. Deace was asked whether he thought a tweet Murdoch recently posted -- that candidate Ben Carson would be a "real black President" as compared to Obama -- would affect the presidential race and Carson's campaign. Deace's response was to rebuke Fox News for attempting to steer the GOP nomination process. Deace said Fox News did not approve of Ben Carson or Ted Cruz, who are both "killing it organizationally" around the country. When Deace was asked about Donald Trump's lead in Iowa polls, he rejected the validity of the polling and said,"If the [Iowa] Caucuses were today, Ben Carson or Ted Cruz would win."
However, during the segment neither Deace nor the MSNBC host disclosed that Deace has close ties to Cruz: he publicly endorsed the senator in August and volunteered for his campaign on the ground in Iowa by appearing at an opening of a new campaign office. Also, according to Deace himself, he was in discussions to help Cruz as far back as August, 2013. In fact, The Des Moines Register reported in March that "Deace served as an informal, unpaid consultant" to Cruz's campaign prior to endorsing him.
Deace has made several appearances on MSNBC, despite the fact that he has mocked the network in commentary pieces for conservative newspapers and blogs. On his radio show, which ended its broadcast deal with USA Radio Network in September, and in his written commentary, Deace is considerably more divisive and partisan than when he is appearing on mainstream media outlets like MSNBC.
Simon Conway, an Iowa conservative radio host who frequently hosts Republican presidential candidates, has consistently attacked and promoted falsehoods about Planned Parenthood in recent months following the release of heavily edited videos by an anti-abortion group.
A recent Bloomberg poll showing 78 percent of Americans in favor of overturning the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling received no coverage on national nightly news programs for ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS, nor Sunday morning political talk shows on ABC, FOX, or NBC. The court decision is once again having an enormous impact on the presidential election, with hundreds of millions of dollars expected to be raised and funneled into political super PACs through 2016.