During the Sunday news shows on November 22, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and John Kasich were all challenged by hosts over the fact that under current federal law, people who are on the FBI's consolidated terror watch list are not legally prohibited from buying guns. The questions over what is known as the "terror gap" followed widespread media discussion of legislation in Congress -- opposed by the National Rifle Association -- that would prohibit people on terror watch lists from buying guns.
Right-wing media figures are bolstering calls from Republican presidential candidates following the attacks in Paris to limit Syrian refugees entering the United States to Christians only, claiming it will stop terrorists from entering the U.S.
Media should be careful about aiding Jeb Bush's criticism of Democrats for not using the phrase "radical Islam" by failing to note that President George W. Bush's administration followed the same practice.
From the October 17 edition of CNN's State of the Union:
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From the October 11 edition of CNN's State of the Union:
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Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve who worked as an investigator for the House Select Committee on Benghazi is accusing the committee of focusing their investigation solely on Hillary Clinton, rather than the entirety of the Benghazi incident, and unlawfully firing him for taking leave to go on active duty.
From an October 10 New York Times report:
A former investigator for the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi plans to file a complaint in federal court next month alleging that he was fired unlawfully in part because his superiors opposed his efforts to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in the Libyan city. Instead, they focused primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said.
The former investigator, Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve who is on active duty in Germany, also claims that the committee's majority staff retaliated against him for taking leave for several weeks to go on active duty. If true, the retaliation would violate the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which Major Podliska plans to invoke in his complaint, according to a draft that was made available to The New York Times.
Podliska was also interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper. In the October 11 interview on State of the Union, Podliska claimed the "partisan investigation" shifted focus to almost exclusively focus on Clinton after it was reported that she utilized a private email server. Podliska told Tapper, "The victims' families are not going to get the truth and that's the most unfortunate thing about this."
Media Matters has extensively documented that Fox News and the conservative media have been one of the driving forces behind the creation of the House Benghazi Committee, particularly its focus on Clinton.
From the October 4 edition of CNN's State of the Union:
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CNN will host the second GOP presidential primary debate tonight, September 16. The network has an inconsistent track record on how it has covered GOP candidates' stances on climate change -- debate host Jake Tapper has fact-checked candidates' climate denial, but the network's coverage of the issue has been problematic at times. Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly ways CNN has covered the GOP presidential candidates' positions on climate change so far this year.
CNN's Jake Tapper called out Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker for claiming to be able to take on special interests, pointing out Walker's ties to "Republican special interests like the Koch brothers."
During a September 13 interview on CNN's State of the Union, Tapper questioned Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) claim that he "can take on special interests" by pointing out Walker's close ties to the billionaire conservative Koch brothers (emphasis added):
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: If you want someone who will fight and win, not just win three elections in four years in a blue state like we did, but win and get results without compromising common-sense conservative principles, then I'm the candidate. I've shown I can take on those same powerful special interests. They spent in three elections almost $100 million dollars trying to take me out, it was the big government union bosses and the liberal special interests in Washington.
JAKE TAPPER: I respect that you've taken on Democratic special interests in Wisconsin, but you've been backed by Republican special interests like the Koch brothers, right? How does that square with what you're saying about taking on special interests or do you think only liberal special interests are the ones worth taking on?
WALKER: I'm taking on the ones in Washington. In my state I didn't just take on the unions and Democrats, early on there was great support from the assembly and some from the Senate, people like State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, but there were some senators, including some who'd been in the leadership, who didn't want to do the kind of reforms. I'm willing to take on anyone. I stood up to 100,000 protesters, I took on the death threats, I took on threats [on] my family. We pushed back when they took us to federal and state court, we pushed back when they went after our state senators. They went after me in a recall election and we won, and they made me the number one target in America, number one in America last year.
TAPPER: But aren't the Koch brothers special interests too? Can you give me an example of one time that you took on a conservative special interest?
WALKER: I tell you flat out, when I took on the $100 million dollars or so, I raised $80 million dollars in three elections in four-and-a-half years, and 70 percent of it came from people who gave me $75 dollars or less. We raised it from more than 300,000 donors in all 50 states, that's grassroots, that's not allegiance to one group or another.
Tapper touched on the nexus between Walker and Charles and David Koch, which is evidenced by the millions of dollars the Kochs directly and indirectly donated to Walker's gubernatorial campaign. A right-to-work bill signed by Walker was nearly a word-for-word replica of model legislation crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that receives large sums of money from the Koch brothers. Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a Koch-funded group, "deployed hundreds of volunteers" to help spread Walker's message while buying television and digital ads. And in January, Walker was one of only four GOP presidential hopefuls invited to attend an exclusive Koch brothers' event featuring wealthy conservative political donors.
A Media Matters analysis of the Sunday morning political talk shows found a plurality of the guests hosted to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement since it was announced in July opposed the deal. Notably, 63 percent of guests hosted on Fox News Sunday to discuss the deal opposed it, while only 13 percent supported it.
CNN host Jake Tapper failed to correct a Republican congresswoman's false claim that 94 percent of Planned Parenthood's health services are related to abortion, instead telling his guests to "agree to disagree."
A new Media Matters study has found that outside of MSNBC, major broadcast and cable television outlets are failing to fact-check climate science denial by presidential candidates 75 percent of the time. But it's worth taking a closer look at how television program hosts have handled their face-to-face interviews with presidential candidates, since these high-profile interviews often get a substantial amount of attention and can shape media discussions for days or even weeks to come.
So how are TV hosts responding when presidential candidates spout climate science denial in real time? It depends which channel you're watching.
CNN reporter Dana Bash missed the opportunity to press Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on a 2001 Florida law he allowed to pass as governor that required single mothers to list their sexual histories in a newspaper before allowing children to be adopted.
In a prerecorded interview that aired on the June 14 edition of CNN's State of the Union, Dana Bash questioned Bush about his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, including how he will distinguish himself from his family's political record, but failed to press Bush on his record as governor of Florida.
Just days earlier, however, Bash highlighted Bush's record as governor, noting that he is "facing questions about a 2001 so-called Scarlet Letter law in Florida when he was governor, requiring single mothers to put a notice in the newspaper before they could give up a child for adoption."
Bash also highlighted a statement from Bush's 1995 book Profiles in Character, in which he "argued for the 'restoration of shame' in society." From Bush's book:
One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.
According to Huffington Post's Laura Bassett, Bush's book "points to Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red 'A' for 'adulterer' on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview."
And, as Bassett explained, Florida's Scarlet Letter law was an "opportunity to test his theory on public shaming," when he "declined to veto a very controversial bill," -- that Marco Rubio and five members of Congress also voted for -- "that required single mothers who did not know the identity of the father to publish their sexual histories in a newspaper before they could legally put their babies up for adoption."
NPR reported that part of Bush's rationale for the law was to decrease uncertainty about adoptions by "provid[ing] greater finality once the adoption is approved, and to avoid circumstances where future challenges to the adoption disrupt the life of the child."
But a 2004 Notre Dame Law Review article explained that the personal information required by the law to be listed in newspapers was extensive:
"The notice ... must contain a physical description, including, but not limited to age, race, hair and eye color, and approximate height and weight of the minor's mother and of any person the mother reasonably believes may be the father; the minor's date of birth; and any date and city, including the county and state in which the city is located, in which conception may have occurred."
And according to NPR, the ad "had to run once a week for a month, at the expense of either the mother or the people who wanted to adopt the baby, as that 2004 article explains."
While Bush objected to parts of the law, in part because, "there is a shortage of responsibility on behalf of the birth father," the 2001 law wasn't replaced until after a Florida court "declared the provision requiring women to list their sexual encounters unconstitutional because it was deemed an invasion of privacy."
Los programas dominicales, tanto en inglés como en español, tratan a los hispanos como un bloque monotemático, enfocado mayormente en la inmigración, según un análisis de Media Matters que examinó las discusiones hechas y los invitados a programas desde el 31 de agosto al 28 de diciembre de 2014. A pesar de que los latinos constituyen más del 17 por ciento de la población estadounidense, el reporte encontró que solamente siete por ciento de los invitados a los programas dominicales en inglés, son hispanos, de los que un 46 por ciento habló específicamente sobre inmigración. El reporte también señaló que a pesar de que los programas dominicales en español dedican atención significativa al tema migratorio, cubren muchísimo menos otros temas de similar importancia para la comunidad latina. Confinar las perspectivas de los latinos a un único tema va en detrimento de su habilidad de involucrarse en discusiones sobre otros temas que les afectan tanto a ellos, como al electorado en general.
Sunday shows in both English and Spanish treat Hispanics as a single-issue constituency focused on immigration, according to a Media Matters analysis that examined the shows' discussions and guests from August 31 to December 28, 2014. While Latinos make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population, the report found that only 7 percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows were Hispanic, of which 46 percent spoke specifically about immigration. The report also found that while the Spanish-language Sunday shows devoted great attention to immigration, they gave much less coverage to issues of similar importance to the Latino community. Confining Latinos' perspectives to a single issue damages their ability to engage in discussions about the other equally important issues that affect them and the general electorate.