From the May 30 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the May 20 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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The Five exploited Attorney General Eric Holder's recent commencement speech addressing the nation's ongoing problems with racial discrimination in order to question whether such discrimination exists at all.
Eric Holder delivered a commencement address on May 17 at Morgan State University, commemorating in part the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ruled that state-mandated racial segregation of schools violated the U.S. Constitution. Holder highlighted ongoing problems in racial discrimination, such as the fact that "African-American men have received sentences that are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes," and called on graduates to "take account of racial inequality, especially in its less obvious forms, and actively discuss ways to combat it."
On the May 19 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-hosts jumped off of Attorney General Holder's recent commencement speech to question the existence of racial discrimination in America, even going as far as questioning the validity of studies showing blacks are incarcerated more often and given longer sentences than whites for the same crimes.
Guest host Jesse Watters, a correspondent for The O'Reilly Factor -- a program with infamous coverage of racial issues -- took issue with Holder's discussion of discrimination in school discipline, wondering "is it drugs" at home that cause black students to act out more than white students and face suspension from zero tolerance disciplinary policies in schools:
WATTERS: Two things that you and Eric Holder said. I think he said that zero tolerance disciplinary policies affect black males more in school? Why is that? OK? Do they misbehave more than white students?
WATTERS: OK, then why is that? His solution is to lower the standards to accommodate the misbehaving black male students. What's the other solution? Maybe address the root cause of the misbehavior. Is it something going on at home? Is it drugs? What's the problem? He wants to lower standards. We want to bring other people up.
Watters went on to question whether racial discrimination truly contributes to higher incarceration rates for black Americans, arguing that the number of "prior convictions" is responsible for the more frequent incarceration of black Americans and longer sentences:
WATTERS: The other thing that you said and Eric Holder said is that blacks are incarcerated at 20 times more rate for the same crimes as whites. You know what that study doesn't account for? It doesn't account for priors. So if someone has three prior convictions for slanging crack, and a white guy does it and a black guy does it, the black guy with the three priors is going to go away for a longer time.
BECKEL: You believe that blacks are put into prison at a higher rate than whites because they're -- not because of the color of the skin?
WATTERS: No, I'm taking issue with the study, Bob.
Host Kimberly Guilfoyle agreed, stating that "blanket statements" like the facts on incarceration rates for blacks and whites are "dangerous" and "reckless":
From the May 15 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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When St. Louis Rams draft Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend in celebration of his historic selection as the first openly gay active NFL player, there were predictable protests of homophobic disgust on social media.
The kiss also raised the ire of Fox News, where commentators condemned the kiss as "in your face" and "over affectionate." It's a reaction that highlights the way that modern homophobia can manifest in dishonest calls for "appropriate" behavior.
Commenting on Sam's selection on the May 12 edition of Fox & Friends, Donald Trump essentially set the tone for the network's response, noting that many people thought Sam's kiss was "inappropriate" and stating that he personally thought it was "out there a little bit":
The show's hosts didn't ask Trump to weigh in on this sports-related kiss.
On the May 12 edition of The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros criticized Sam for being "overly affectionate on camera," but avowed that she doesn't like to see public displays of affection by anyone. Bill O'Reilly sounded the same theme on his show that night, saying that "there's no kissing in football" - nobody tell Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen - and affirming that he opposes public displays of affection between straight people, too.
O'Reilly argued Sam's "gay thing" was "way overplayed," "annoying," and "in your face." "Do I really need to see that?" O'Reilly asked. Fox contributor Juan Williams agreed, stating that he, too, found Sam's kiss to be a little too "in your face."
Perhaps the least self-aware reaction came from Fox News Latino contributor Rick Sanchez, who penned a May 13 column asserting that, while he supports gay rights, Sam's kiss "set back the cause of the LGBT movement." Dubbing the kiss a "cake suck," Sanchez falsely claimed that Sam "lick[ed]" cake off his boyfriend's face in a flagrant "affront to the NFL's culture":
Fox News' The Five aired a deceptively edited video clip of President Obama calling for comprehensive immigration reform to falsely claim that his speech condoned the release of criminal immigrants.
From the May 14 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Conservative media can't seem to agree whether or not Hillary Clinton's 2012 concussion was faked or was so serious she now has permanent brain damage, but whichever it is they seem ready to ignore all medical evidence in order to politicize her health.
In late December 2012, shortly before she was scheduled to testify before Congress regarding the attacks in Benghazi, Clinton sustained a concussion after she fainted due to dehydration from the flu, and was subsequently hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening blood clot in her head. The State Department postponed her testimony, and she ultimately appeared before Congress in January after her doctors confirmed she would make a full recovery.
Karl Rove reportedly dismissed this medical evidence last week when he claimed Clinton might have brain damage from the episode. Rove doubled down on his remarks today on Fox. Rove insisted that while he did not use the phrase "brain damage," he did believe she had "a serious health episode" and "she's hidden a lot" of information about the extent of her injuries. Wildly speculating about her health was reasonable, according to Rove, because she might someday run for president.
But back in December 2012, conservative media weren't worried that Clinton's health might impede a presidential run; instead, right-wing media immediately accused Clinton of faking her concussion to avoid testifying on Benghazi, taking a potentially life-threatening incident, which the former Secretary of State thankfully recovered from, and making it a political cudgel.
Fox contributor John Bolton accused Clinton of faking a "diplomatic illness." Monica Crowley dismissed the illness, calling it a "virus with apparently impeccable timing." Fox's The Five took the attacks a step further by mocking the Secretary's health, accusing Clinton of running "a duck and cover" and joking, "How can she get a concussion when she has been ducking everything [related to Benghazi]?" On Special Report Charles Krauthammer quipped she was "suffering from acute Benghazi allergy," a joke Sean Hannity liked so much he laughed about it later on his own show. When this mockery came under fire, host Greg Gutfeld attempted to defend Fox's actions by dismissing their remarks as mere "skepticism" and accusing journalists of "ginning up fake hatred, or outrage, towards skeptics." It wasn't just Fox, though; The Los Angeles Times, for instance, posted an online poll giving credence to the concussion conspiracy theories, asking readers "did she fake it?"
As The Wire noted, some of these conspiracy theorists quickly flipped when conservatives realized mocking a serious health condition, including the blood clot, was not a winning strategy. The New York Post, which had initially featured the headline "Hillary Clinton's head fake," followed up with a sober report on her condition noting that "Cynics in the media and in Congress sneered that Clinton was faking the concussion to avoid testimony about the attack" -- without acknowledging their own previous coverage. The Daily Caller similarly reported in February that "whispers" suggested Clinton's health was so bad she "may not even be capable of making it to Iowa and New Hampshire," after having wondered two months before why "we're supposed to just take her word for it" that she collapsed and hit her head. Fox, however, seems to be sticking with concussion trutherism; just this month, host Eric Bolling claimed Clinton purposefully "hit her head" so someone else could "take the bullet" on Benghazi.
So she either lied about a serious injury in order to avoid testimony (which she still gave), or she's now lying about being healthy in order to run for president (which she isn't currently doing). Either way, Rove's comments continue conservative media's stubborn insistence to politicize her health in whichever direction suits them at the moment, regardless of medical evidence.
Fox's Dana Perino debunked the right-wing media's attempt to manufacture a scandal around former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's new memoir by claiming that the book reveals that the Obama administration had asked him to lie to the American public.
On May 12 Geithner debuted his new memoir, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, detailing his time as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as Treasury Secretary under the Obama administration during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
The book's excerpts promptly became fodder for right-wing media outlets, which latched onto two specific anecdotes to declare that the White House had directed Geithner to lie during appearances on the Sunday political talk shows.
At issue is Geithner's description of a prep session for the Sunday political shows in 2011 in which then-communications director Dan Pfeiffer asked him to state that Social Security didn't contribute to the deficit. Geithner wrote how he had objected to the phrasing, because "[i]t wasn't a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute."
Because of these anecdotes, Geithner's book represents a "new bombshell," according to Fox News, one that may show "the White House playing politics with the American people, perhaps." America's Newsroom anchor Martha MacCallum claimed:
MacCALLUM: Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has a book. In it -- the excerpts have been released today -- he says that the White House asked him to go a Sunday show and say something that was not completely true, because it worked better for them politically. That is what is being suggested here.
But later the same day, on The Five, co-host Dana Perino, who previously served as press secretary under President George W. Bush, responded to allegations from her co-hosts that the White House had asked Geithner to lie. Perino explained that the way Geithner was asked to to discuss Social Security made sense "from a communications standpoint":
PERINO: I can actually understand the Geithner thing. It's like saying, "Hey, can you not try to say this point about Social Security?" I don't think that is asking Geithner to specifically lie. I can understand from a communications standpoint you're asking the principle and the policy person, "How far can you go to say X,Y, or Z?"
Fox News also quoted from "a source close to Geithner" who pointed out that he "does not believe he was encouraged to go out and mislead the public on the Sunday shows":
After the anecdote began to generate attention on Monday, a source close to Geithner clarified to Fox News that the former secretary "does not believe he was encouraged to go out and mislead the public on the Sunday shows."
The source said all the former secretary was trying to get across was that Pfeiffer wanted him to "send a signal" to liberals about the president's commitment to not allowing major cuts to Social Security.
From the May 12 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the May 9 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the May 8 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News has hosted Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, at least 65 times in the past two years and will reportedly provide him a platform again as one of the featured guests on Fox News Sunday.
In the wake of the manufactured scandal over a newly-released email sent by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes preparing then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the Sunday news shows, House Speaker John Boehner announced that the House would "create a new select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans." On May 5th, the House GOP selected Gowdy, an established Benghazi hoaxer, to lead the committee.
Fox Broadcasting announced that Gowdy would exclusively appear on the May 11 broadcast of Fox News Sunday to "discuss what the committee hopes to accomplish and who they plan to call to testify." Gowdy will reportedly appear along with the head of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).
Gowdy is one of Fox's favorite guests. A search of Nexis reveals that Gowdy has appeared on Fox's evening and primetime shows and Fox News Sunday 65 times in the past two years. That streak is likely to continue as the network has been one of the most vocal proponents of forming a select committee to investigate Benghazi, especially following the release of the Rhodes email.
Media Matters searched Nexis transcripts of Fox's evening and primetime news coverage and Fox News Sunday between May 8, 2012, and May 8, 2014, using the search term guest:(Gowdy).
Part of the past success of the anti-choice movement has been using the media to convince Americans that abortion is gross and dangerous. As Amanda Marcotte has explained, the anti-choice movement loves to focus particularly on third-trimester abortions, "because they are especially disgusting":
...and therefore make a good cudgel to attack all abortion rights. And since they are so emotionally fraught, they have a great deal of appeal to the ghouls that populate the anti-choice movement, the ones who spend obscene percentages of their lives dwelling on graphic pictures of dead fetuses.
But third-trimester procedures are only about one percent of abortions performed in the US; the overwhelming majority -- 90 percent -- occur during the first trimester, and are significantly safer and easier medical procedures. Most women can take a simple drug; if they opt for surgery, the procedure takes just a few minutes.
But conservative media and anti-choice activists have dominated the conversation about abortion, allowing myths, misinformation, and stigma to perpetuate.
This damaging deficit of accurate information in the media prompted Emily Letts, an abortion counselor, to film her own first-trimester abortion and post the video online. As she explained in an opinion piece for Cosmopolitan, the misinformation about abortion has overwhelmed the reality, and shame and fear of the procedure makes finding the facts more difficult:
I searched the Internet, and I couldn't find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman's experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth. There is no cutting, and risk of infertility is less than 1 percent. Yet women come into the clinic all the time terrified that they are going to be cut open, convinced that they won't be able to have kids after the abortion. The misinformation is amazing, but think about it: They are still willing to sacrifice these things because they know that they can't carry the child at this moment.
Posting a video about your abortion may seem provocative. But the video is not graphic or scary. It shows Letts' face as she softly hums to herself during the five minute procedure, quietly and calmly, and shows her speaking to the camera before and after the procedure about how she's feeling. At the end, a month after the abortion, she says she knows that it was the right choice for her, and that she wanted to share her story.
After Letts released the video of her abortion, Fox News launched a series of personal attacks on the 25-year-old, going so far as to question her mental stability. Because she tried to help other women who find themselves in similar difficult situations by accurately documenting her own personal experience, Fox's The Five described her actions as everything from a publicity stunt to genocide. Later the same night, Fox host Andrea Tantaros called her "disturbed," while Sean Hannity attacked her need for an abortion, repeatedly suggesting she could have just used birth control, and called the video "sick." Neither The Five nor Hannity actually played the full video for their viewers, which is just over three minutes long.
Letts was trying to help combat the misinformation spread by Fox News and conservative media every day about abortion, so it's unsurprising that they reacted with personal attacks on her. Conservative media have even helped manipulate mainstream journalists into parroting anti-choice lies, and have played a role in shaming women who have abortions or who support those who do.
Fox News has pushed reset on many of its favorite Benghazi myths that have already been put to rest in the wake of the recently released Rhodes email and the House GOP's announcement of the formation of a Select Committee to investigate the attacks.