Fox News failed to mention that 2,700 children will be booted off Arizona's welfare program in the wake of extreme restrictions pushed through by Republicans in the state.
Arizona legislators voted on May 18 to drastically restrict the state's welfare program, capping the lifetime limit for recipients to one year. As the AP reported, the new rule would be "the shortest window" of benefits in the nation, and "As a result, the Arizona Department of Economic Security will drop at least 1,600 families - including more than 2,700 children - from the state's federally funded welfare program on July 1, 2016."
Yet no mention of the thousands of children and families that stand to lose access to the program was made during a May 20 segment on the vote during Fox News' Fox & Friends. During an interview with Arizona state Senator Kelli Ward (R), co-host Steve Doocy instead focused on state budgetary problems, asking "why was this bill important?" Going on to suggest that the bill was produced to address the frustrations about "the way welfare works in the country," Doocy gave an uncritical platform for Sen. Ward to claim that the measures were simply "necessary" despite the consequences:
But the measure will not only hurt those who need such programs most, it may also increase costs to the state in the long run. As Liz Schott, a welfare policy analyst, explained to the AP: "Long-term welfare recipients are often the most vulnerable, suffering from mental and physical disabilities, poor job histories and little education ... But without welfare, they'll likely show up in other ways that will cost taxpayers, from emergency rooms to shelters to the criminal justice system."
Mic's Elizabeth Plank fired back against Fox News' absurd anti-feminist rhetoric on the May 19 edition of Flipping The Script. Plank highlighted the outrageous claims frequently perpetuated by conservative media figures in order to discourage men from being feminists. Pointing to Fox News host Doocy asking "when did it happen, where men and husbands became doormats" and a Fox guest who claimed that all "feminism has delivered is angry women and feminine men," Plank tackled the absurdity of such claims during an interview with Orange is the New Black's Matt McGorry.
Conservative media have actively adopted a "blame feminism" approach to many of the world's problems, including sexual assault and the lack of infrastructure funding. Fox News in particular has gone as far as to blame it for boys falling behind in school and men no longer wanting to marry.
From the May 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media have a plan to solve the national crisis of poverty in America -- and it's all about "personal responsibility."
Roughly 45 million Americans live in poverty, 1 in 7 received food stamps just last year, and 20 percent of children under the age of 18 were impoverished in 2013. Politicians and media figures have offered many possible solutions to help low-income Americans break free from this systemic cycle of inequality, including expanding the social safety net and educational opportunities for all.
But over the years, conservative media have offered their own strategies. Watch as Media Matters looks back at the five easy steps they've proposed to help Americans living paycheck to paycheck find that "richness of spirit":
"The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over," announced the World Health Organization on May 9, declaring a cautious end to the deadly wave that claimed 4,700 Liberian lives since last summer. That outbreak, of course, eventually sparked panic in the United States last September and October when a handful of Ebola cases were confirmed domestically. Ebola mania raged in the media for weeks and became one of the biggest news stories of 2014.
So how did the American media cover the latest, good-news Ebola story in the days following the WHO announcement? Very, very quietly.
By my count, ABC News devoted just brief mentions of the story on Good Morning America and its Sunday talk show, This Week. On NBC, only the Today show noted the development, while CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News set aside brief mentions. None of the network newscasts have given this Ebola story full segments, according to a transcript search via Nexis.
A scattering of mentions on cable news and a handful of stories including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others, rounded out the remaining coverage in the past week.*
Pretty amazing, considering that late last year the U.S. news media were in the grips of self-induced Ebola hysteria. During one peak week, cable news channels mentioned "Ebola" over 4,000 times, while the Washington Post homepage one night featured at least 15 Ebola-related articles and columns, many of which focused on both the international crisis and the political dynamic, and the problems Ebola was supposedly causing President Obama.
That's not to say the tragic outbreak was not a big story worthy of any news coverage. It was, but American media went into overdrive hyping concerns that a deadly domestic outbreak was imminent -- only to rapidly forget.
The recent look-away coverage from Ebola shouldn't come as a surprise. The American media lost complete interest in the story right after Republicans lost interest in the story, which is to say right after last November's midterm elections, when they brandished Ebola as a partisan weapon.
That's no exaggeration. From Media Matters' research:
Fox News worried over the country's crumbling infrastructure following an Amtrak derailment, ignoring their own role in cheerleading persistent Republican efforts to obstruct investments in rebuilding infrastructure.
An Amtrak train bound for New York City crashed May 13 in Philadelphia, leaving at least six dead and over a hundred injured. Speed is being investigated as a possible factor in the crash, though an official cause is not yet known.
Speculating on possible causes for the deadly crash, Fox News' Fox & Friends decried the country's crumbling infrastructure. Co-host Steve Doocy asserted that "infrastructure in this country is falling apart," while former New York City mayor and frequent Fox guest Rudy Giuliani added "We do know for sure, whether it is the cause or not, that the infrastructure in this country has not been fixed. It badly needs it," concluding, it's "an investment we have to make."
Yet Fox News itself and other right-wing media have long been champions of cuts to infrastructure spending, suggesting that federal, state, and local funds for infrastructure are being abused or stolen, and dismissing the role of Republican obstruction in rebuilding crumbling infrastructure.
Indeed, the nation's infrastructure is crumbling due in part to Republican efforts to block public spending on infrastructure.
The vast system of public infrastructure in the United States -- ranging from roads and park trails to canals and ports -- is currently graded as D+, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) most recent report card for America's infrastructure, and would need an investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020 to improve.
One in ten bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient, and states have been forced to convert roads to gravel due to a lack of sufficient funding for repairs. Nearly 14,000 dams are considered high-hazard, meaning failure of the dam would likely cause the loss of life.
But public investment in infrastructure has fallen to its lowest level since World War II, according to analysis from the Financial Times, which attributes the record-low public investments to Republicans blocking President Obama's push for more spending on infrastructure.
Republicans have consistently blocked infrastructure spending proposals. And the recently passed GOP-controlled House and Senate budgets each call for significant cuts to highway construction and transportation infrastructure funding, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Both budgets would cut transportation funding by 22-28 percent over ten years, at a time when experts are urging more investment in infrastructure "in order to reduce congestion, increase capacity, and improve the performance and safety of our nation's highways, bridges, and transit systems."
From The May 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the May 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News echoed an unfounded suggestion that a black female Miami police officer who followed military service guidelines by standing at attention during the Pledge of Allegiance might be "Muslim," and therefore disloyal to the United States.
On the April 27 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts reported on a controversy in Miami over a police officer, Assistant Chief Anita Najiy, who did not put her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Co-host Steve Doocy noted that military guidelines require that military personnel "stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag; and that's what she's doing." Nonetheless, the Fox & Friends hosts brought up a baseless accusation by Javier Ortiz, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, that the reason Najiy didn't put her hand over her heart is because she is "Muslim" and "has no respect for the flag or the United States":
DOOCY: The Fraternal Order of Police president suggests this could have been a religious decision. He has suggested that perhaps she is a Muslim. That is not known. But, nonetheless, a lot of waves being made about this video down in Miami.
BRIAN KILMEADE: By the way, if you're a Muslim, I hope it means you can still salute the flag, put your hand on your heart. What does that have to do with it?
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Well, you know, that would be a great question to ask. And so is it our right to know why someone would opt out of that, how does that make you feel if that is indeed her district, would you want to know?
According to The Miami Herald, Ortiz demanded that Najiy be reprimanded for not covering her heart during the Pledge. The Fraternal Order president claimed that "Assistant Chief Najiy practices in the Muslim faith" and that "There are plenty of police officers in our department that practice the Muslim faith and pledge allegiance to our country and have a problem with her defiance towards the United States." Ortiz even accused Najiy of not being loyal to the U.S., asking, "what country is she loyal and shows allegiance to?"
But Miami Police Major Delrish Moss said it had "nothing to do with personal beliefs" and that Najiy was following military conduct guidelines, which "supercedes police code." And the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, which represents black police officers, blasted Ortiz claims as racist:
"Racism cloaked in patriotism is a huge insult to the American flag, the city of Miami police department," MCPBA President Ella Moore said in a letter she intends to hand personally to Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.
Najiy, a 32-year veteran, is "the highest ranking black female in the Miami Police Department" and the first female appointed Assistant Chief of Police in the department.
From the April 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Fox News has begun their campaign on behalf of Clinton Cash, an anti-Clinton book authored by a Republican activist and strategist whose history of reporting is marked by errors and retractions. The network reportedly has an "exclusive agreement" to report on the book, published by the network's corporate cousin. According to Fox, the book is "very damning" and will cause a "reverberation" that could "threaten" Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Fox News' Brian Kilmeade defended Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after his Fox & Friends colleagues scandalized a Buzzfeed report about comments she made about her grandparents.
During a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton described how her grandparents immigrated to the United States, and how her grandfather found a steady factory job in Scranton, Pennsylvania. "All my grandparents, you know, came over here," she said according to Buzzfeed, "And you know my grandfather went to work in lace mill in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and worked there until he retired at 65. He started there when he was a teenager and just kept going."
Buzzfeed subsequently reported that only one of Clinton's parents was born abroad -- Hugh Rodham Sr., who emigrated from the United Kingdom as a child. Buzzfeed noted that a Clinton spokesperson clarified her remarks:
"Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants," a Clinton spokesman told BuzzFeed News." As has been correctly pointed out, while her grandfather was an immigrant, it appears that Hillary's grandmother was born shortly after her parents and siblings arrived in the U.S. in the early 1880s.
But Fox News seized on the comments to attack Clinton as deliberately lying, with Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck saying, "Again we see someone misspeaking, misleading." Co-host Steve Doocy interjected, "She's trying to make a better story, but it's not true." Doocy went on to state that "the Clintons have had a problem with the truth in the past."
But Brian Kilmeade called out his colleagues for manufacturing outrage over such innocuous remarks, asking, "Is it that big a deal?" He defended Clinton's recollection of her family's immigrant heritage despite protests from the other hosts:
KILMEADE: I will defend her on this. I mean, the other day, when Heritage.com came in here, I did not know if my grandmother and grandfather were born here or not, because they came over on the boat....But they did have the immigrant experience.... If you've just come over as opposed to, you weren't over yet, is it that big a deal?
Clinton's retelling of her family's immigrant experience came during remarks she made about the current state of immigration in the United States, and how current policies turn away "people who really want to work" and who are "doing the best they can to try to make a good life for themselves and their families."
Fox News' latent Islamophobia manifested itself during two segments criticizing a Wisconsin high school for asking history students to write about Muslim Americans based on materials covered in class.
On April 2, according to emails initially obtained by right-wing talk radio host Vicki McKenna, world history students at Union Grove High School were asked to write a short essay about daily life for Muslims living in the United States. Students were asked to write five paragraphs in which they "pretend" to be Muslim and briefly outline their daily routine along with any potential "struggles" they might face.
Fox News expressed its concern about the assignment during two segments on the April 15 edition of Fox & Friends, in which co-hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Brian Kilmeade wondered if it was appropriate for students to learn about Islam -- the world's second-largest religion -- in a world history class. At first, Doocy wondered if students wrote about "what Sharia law is," and how they were graded if they did, while Hasselbeck worried that students might not being learning enough about Christianity:
Doocy reiterated his alleged concerns about Sharia law during a later segment, in which he hyped common Islamophobic tropes about the religion being violent and intolerant:
DOOCY: I wonder if they actually, if they did study the religion in this world history class, if they wrote down things like, "If I criticize any part of the Quran, they will kill me," or, "If Muslims marry non-Muslims, they will be put to death," or, "If I'm caught stealing, they'll amputate my right hand." I wonder if they put that kind of stuff in, because that's all part of Sharia law.
Fox News and NBC ignored Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) record of opposing gender equality legislation during interviews with the Republican presidential candidate's wife, in which Kelley Paul attempted to dismiss accusations that he looks down on women.
Kelley Paul, the wife of 2016 hopeful Rand Paul, appeared on Fox News and NBC's Today for multiple interviews April 14 to discuss her husband's presidential bid and her new book.
The hosts of Fox & Friends turned the discussion to recent accusations that Rand Paul is sexist, after the candidate infamously lectured Today's Savannah Guthrie for asking about his foreign policy positions earlier this month, a testy exchange that came on the heels of Paul shushing CNBC's Kelly Evans during an interview in February.
"You know how it works," co-host Steve Doocy told Kelley Paul. "The mainstream media's just trying to disqualify him. They see that thing, they put it all together, they say, 'oh he's a sexist, he can't be president.'"
Paul defended her husband's treatment of women, saying his "entire professional career is working with female surgeons" and noting a longtime partner in his ophthalmology practice was a woman.
Later on The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson asked Paul,"What do you make of the fact that some people are saying that your husband may not be able to connect as well with women?" Paul again cited her husband's female work partner as evidence that he has no issues with women, describing the accusations of sexism as a "false narrative -- a construct sort-of created on the Democrat side."
Meanwhile, NBC's Hoda Kotb asked Paul on Today to discuss her husband's relationship with women and respond to his previous treatment of Guthrie which sparked widespread backlash. Paul again pointed to her husband's longtime female colleague.
The examination of Paul's professional record as a means of predicting how a Paul presidency would benefit women overlooked his more recent professional activities.His legislative history contains red flags for anyone hoping to characterize him as an advocate for women -- issues that weren't raised by Kotb, Carlson, or the Fox "friends."
Paul is on record opposing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which would provide protections and resources to victims of domestic violence. He wrote a letter in 2012 arguing that the issue should be addressed at the state level, not by the federal government.
It's also noteworthy that Fox's defense of Paul came on April 14, Equal Pay Day, because the senator has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act multiple times. As ThinkProgress noted, Paul compared the legislation "to the Soviet Politburo dictating wages and the prices of goods" and added that the wage landscape is better when "the marketplace decides what wages are."