The Atlantic

Tags ››› The Atlantic
  • Will The Media Fall For Paul Ryan’s Sham Poverty Proposals Again?

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    With Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan slated to release a new proposal to “reform” American anti-poverty programs on June 7, media should be aware of his long history of promoting “far-right” and “backward-looking” policies that would enact draconian cuts to vital programs for families in need and actually "exacerbate poverty, inequality, and wage stagnation."

  • Media Slam Trump's "Totally Irresponsible" Response To EgyptAir Crash, While Fox Defends It

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media figures criticized Donald Trump’s response to the EgyptAir crash saying that it was “totally irresponsible” and “bad practice” for Trump to blame the crash on terrorism despite having no information at the time. Meanwhile, Fox News defended Trump’s “strong statement,” and praised him for saying “exactly what’s on everyone’s mind.”

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & JARED HOLT

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.

  • Media Document The Economic Cost Of North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law

    Republican NC Officials Defend Discriminatory Law Despite Increasing Evidence Of Imminent Economic Consequences

    ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    North Carolina’s Republican administration continues to defend its anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2 (HB2), but media outlets have documented the economic harm the law has done to the state, including backlash from the business community and the potential loss of federal funds. 

  • Media Criticize Trump's Plan To Force Mexico To Pay For His Border Wall By Threatening To Block Remittances

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    The Washington Post reported that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he would compel Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall by threatening to block money that Mexican immigrants send to their home country, commonly known as remittances. The Post called the proposal's legality "unclear," while other media outlets, including the digital news division for the largest Spanish-language network, Univision, also cast doubt on the plan's feasibility and ethics.

  • Journalists And Foreign Policy Experts Call Out Trump's "Completely Uneducated" "Baffling" Foreign Policy

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & CRISTIANO LIMA

    Journalists and foreign policy experts criticized the "unintelligble" foreign policy positions Donald Trump described during interviews with The New York Times and The Washington Post, and called the GOP presidential front-runner's "ignorance" "breathtaking," saying he has "no understanding of the post-war international order that was created by the United States."

  • Media Should Take Great Care Not To Smear Brussels' Muslim Community

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    As details emerge about the tragic terrorist attacks in Brussels, media should take great care to accurately report on the attacks without making sweeping generalizations about the Belgian Muslim community. Media in the past have blamed European Muslim communities as a whole for terrorist attacks and parroted debunked myths about purported "no-go zones" that are supposedly off limits to non-Muslims.

    On March 22, a series of explosions rocked Brussels' main international airport and part of its subway system, killing dozens of people and wounding hundreds more. Reuters reported that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attacks. Media commented that "Tuesday's explosions at Brussels airport and on the subway network will turn the spotlight on the Belgian capital's Molenbeek suburb," where one of the November Paris terrorist attackers, Salah Abdelsalam, was captured just days before.

    In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media noted that terrorist organizations, including ISIS and Sharia4Belgium, have "shifted [their] focus in recent years from promoting Islamic law in Belgium to recruiting for the war in Syria." Terrorist organizations have exploited Belgium's large Muslim population to draw "more jihadists to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq per capita" than have come from "any other Western European nation," according to CNN.

    But to cast Brussels as a fraught city mired in inescapable terrorism not only is a mischaracterization, but also it inevitably leads to guilt by association for the entire Muslim community in the area.

    Commentators should avoid conflating and blaming Molenbeek's Muslim community for the terrorist attack and its previous associations with terrorism. Media have previously reported that Molenbeek "is not a place that seems especially threatening," a key distinction after "the so-called Belgian connection in the Paris attacks ... revived the district's reputation as the 'jihadi capital of Europe.'" Los Angeles Times reporter Patrick J. McDonnell noted that the residents of Molenbeek "decry" the "jihadi capital" "characterization ... as more media hype than reality." The Atlantic similarly noted that Molenbeek "has a strong middle class, bustling commercial districts, and a gentrifying artist class," and that "journalists seem to [have] little trouble reporting" from the neighborhood, which looks "in many ways like a typical, somewhat run-down district."

    Bilal Benyaich, an author of two books on radicalism, extremism, and terrorism, told Al Jazeera it is a mistake to conflate the reality of Brussels as the "European capital of political Islam" with the "exaggerated" claims that it is the "capital of jihad." Similarly, The Guardian notes, "the concentration of violent militants in Molenbeek ... may not be about places, but people," underscoring how although ISIS and other terrorist organizations have attempted to exploit Brussels' Muslim population, terrorism and violence are not inherent to the community.

    Often when focus turns toward European-based terrorist attacks, media revive the debunked myth of so-called Muslim "no-go zones," or supposedly Muslim-only enclaves where media allege that outside police forces are prevented from entering and Sharia flourishes. As has been documented, no such "no-go zones" exist. Instead, as Richard Engel explained on MSNBC's Morning Joe, these areas are fraught with socioeconomic distress, and residents there "will tell you that it's about racism, that they're blocked from jobs, that they're blocked from government employment, that they don't get the same kind of social services."

    Purveyors of misinformation in the past have spun these socioeconomic problems to allege that state governments "no longer [have] full control over [their] territory" and thus that these neighborhoods are off-limits to law enforcement, as U.S. historian Daniel Pipes mistakenly asserted in 2006.

    In 2015, frequent Fox guest Steve Emerson -- part of the network's stable of extremists who lead its conversation about Islam -- seized on the "no-go zone" myth and provoked international outrage with the false claim that the city of Birmingham, England, is "totally Muslim" and a place "where non-Muslims just simply don't go." As the Emerson controversy raged on, another Fox News guest argued that governments should "put razor wire around" the mythical "no-go zones" and catalog the residents. Days later, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro apologized for Emerson's "incorrect" comments, telling viewers, "We deeply regret these errors and apologize to the people of Birmingham, our viewers and all who have been offended."

    Already, media are beginning to inch toward the false assertion that "no-go zones" are both the cause and consequence of extremism and the Brussels terrorist attacks. The conditions of this tragedy seem to be similar to previous incidents, where pundits blamed a specific Muslim community or Muslim-majority city for the attacks.

    Accordingly, media should take great care to undertake responsible, sensitive, and factually accurate reporting that avoids smearing Brussels' Muslim community and steers clear of the "no-go zone" myth.

    This post has been updated for clarity.

  • Media: Rubio's Suspension And Trump's Victories Destroyed The GOP's 2012 "Autopsy Report"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media are pointing to Sen. Marco Rubio's March 15 announcement that he is suspending his campaign to explain that the Republican National Committee's strategy to reach out to minority voters -- established in the committee's so-called "autopsy report" of the 2012 election -- "was spectacularly undone by Donald Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance."

  • Right-Wing Media Baselessly Accuse MoveOn.Org Of Inciting Violence At Trump Rally

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures are blaming MoveOn.org for violence that occurred following Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's canceled rally in Chicago on March 11, likening the group to the Ku Klux Klan and accusing them of "creating this havoc and ... putting innocent people's lives in jeopardy." In fact, several media figures have slammed Trump for condoning "violence in rally after rally," and at the Chicago event MoveOn.org only helped provide logistical support for the protests, including printing signs and recruiting attendees.

  • Obama Announces Plan To Close Guantanamo And Right-Wing Media Attack With Misinformation

    ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH

    President Obama on February 23 announced plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Right-wing media responded with misinformation, bringing up a debunked recidivism statistic, claiming that the prison is no longer used for propaganda or recruiting efforts, and saying the president is undermining Congress' concerns about housing detainees in facilities in the United States.

  • Supreme Court Experts And Reporters: Obstructionists Should Read The Constitution

    "It's Another Example Of How Rotten Our Politics Are"

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    Scotus

    Legal scholars and reporters who have covered the Supreme Court are criticizing conservatives' planned obstruction of President Obama's eventual nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

    Within hours of Scalia's death Saturday, right-wing media figures started pushing the idea that Republican senators should block any potential replacement nominated by Obama and leave the vacancy unfilled until the next president takes office in 2017.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement shortly after Scalia's death arguing that Scalia's seat "should not be filled until we have a new president." A number of Republican politicians -- including GOP candidates at Saturday night's debate -- have since suggested that Obama should not even put forward a nominee.

    Several legal scholars and Supreme Court beat reporters contend the president has a duty to appoint a replacement for Scalia, adding that the U.S. Senate is abdicating its constitutional responsibility if it does not hold hearings to approve or reject such nominees.

    "It would be highly unusual for any president NOT to appoint someone," Linda Greenhouse, a former New York Times Supreme Court reporter from 1978 to 2008 and a 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner, said via email. "It's up to the Republicans to explain why they would refuse even to consider a qualified nominee."

    Stephen Wermiel, a professor of constitutional law at American University Washington College of Law is an expert in Supreme Court jurisprudence, agreed: "Obama has a right and a duty to make an appointment. It is not desirable by any measure to have the Supreme Court go an entire year with only eight justices instead of nine and have to resolve things by 4-4 ties and by other methods. The Constitution says the president shall appoint, it doesn't say only when it's politically convenient."

    Tony Mauro, a National Law Journal reporter who has covered The Supreme Court for 36 years, called it "one of a president's most important duties."

    "It's in the Constitution to nominate, it doesn't mean the Senate has to confirm," he said. "I've been surprised that people are suggesting that he shouldn't even nominate anyone, that seems a little over the top. Nominating is one of the most important things that a president does. There is a vacancy on the court, so it is his duty."

    Garrett Epps, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and Supreme Court correspondent for The Atlantic, agreed.

    "It would be a little bit of a dereliction of duty ... and politically it would be silly," he said about a move not to nominate a replacement. "It's pure politics. One of the consequences for the court of a prolonged vacancy is that the court can't make a decision unless there is a majority vote. It's kind of a dangerous situation, there are things that need to be decided."

    Nadine Strossen, a professor of law at New York Law School and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union said "this is not ambiguous" in the Constitution.

    "The law is very straightforward," she said. "You may know that the relevant provisions in Article 2 say, 'shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.' What's interesting is that it is the verb 'shall nominate,' not 'may nominate.' it is actually a duty of the president."

    Lucas A. Powe, a University of Texas Law School professor and a one-time clerk for former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, called such an idea "absurd."

    "Functionally, what that will mean is, assuming we do wait until January or February next year without a justice, we are going to go an entire year without a full court," he said. "That means a lot of important cases are going to be put off until 2018."

    He is among several experts who said the Senate has a right to reject a nominee, but not ignore it and refuse to vote: "It's another example of how rotten our politics are."

  • Media Falsely Attribute Clinton Iowa Caucuses Win To Coin Flips

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & BRENNAN SUEN

    Media figures are erroneously attributing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses to her wins in coin tosses held at several precincts to determine the apportionment of unassigned delegates. Media figures claiming that coin tosses could have flipped the outcome misunderstand the caucus process by wrongly conflating county-level delegates -- which the coin tosses assign -- and state delegate equivalents (SDEs). As The Des Moines Register explained, the coin flips "had an extremely small effect on the overall outcome."