In recent months, media investigations have revealed that Exxon Mobil peddled climate science denial for years after its scientists recognized that burning fossil fuels causes global warming, prompting New York's Attorney General to issue a subpoena to Exxon and all three Democratic presidential candidates to call for a federal probe of the company. But despite these developments, the nightly news programs of all three major broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- have failed to air a single segment addressing the evidence that Exxon knowingly deceived its shareholders and the public about climate change.
Media outlets are pointing out Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) shifting position on immigration reform after the presidential hopeful changed his position on ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). While Rubio previously supported eliminating the program after comprehensive immigration reform was in place, he recently stated he'd eliminate it regardless. This shift follows a push by conservative media figures who have long criticized Rubio for his immigration stances.
In a blog post for The Hill, Media Matters contributor James Carville proposed that Media Matters "sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" alongside Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham following the suggestion of conservatives who baselessly claimed previous Republican presidential debates have been moderated by "left-wing operatives."
Unhappy with the October 28 CNBC Republican presidential primary debate, GOP politicians and campaigns have rallied to seek greater control over future debate formats. Their proposals, including a list of debate demands, have been openly mocked by the media. One recommendation, pitched by presidential candidate Ted Cruz, to hold a Republican "debate moderated by Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh" has been echoed across right-wing media, who have called for more conservative influence in the debate process.
Carville explained November 4 that after the CNBC debate, "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators 'left-wing operatives' who were out to sabotage the debate," and suggested "that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate" the next one. Carville wrote that Media Matters would be "glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" moderated by Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham, saying "we could not be happier than to allow the clowns of right-wing radio to speak straight to the masses and reveal their true colors. Noting that these right-wing talk radio hosts have a problematic history when it comes to their coverage of most issues, Carville concluded, if "these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in":
After the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators "left-wing operatives" who were out to sabotage the debate. Now folks, I don't know about you, but I don't think of a network that is full of hosts that regularly deny that climate change is real and is home to Rick Santelli who basically launched the Tea Party with an on-air rant is OUT TO GET the GOP candidates.
Ladies and gentlemen I've seen a lot of things in my time. But I never thought I'd see a day when my colleague Joan Walsh agreed with Ted Cruz. And you know what, I do too. He made an interesting suggestion that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate a GOP debate. The Nation's Walsh had it right when she said of Cruz's suggestion, "I think the world should get a clear look at the unvarnished spectacle of a Republican Party that is now run by the 'conservative entertainment complex.'"
Folks, I've been authorized by Media Matters Chairman David Brock to make the following proposal:
We would be glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate alongside those "real journalists" Ted Cruz is so fond of, and the circus clowns who would be joining us. Let's see who we'd have:
Rush Limbaugh -- You know the guy who once called a law student a slut for believing she deserved access to birth control, regularly calls high powered women "feminazis," who, on at least one occasion, said he hoped that President Obama "fails," and has a long history of attacking the LGBT community.
Sean Hannity - The guy who in 2008 said it was "my job" to lead "the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.'" Later that year, Hannity received Media Matters' misinformer of the year award - and repaid us by giving Media Matters his "first annual Left-Wing Obamamania Media Propaganda PC Police Award." Hannity also has a history of race bating, fueling the birther movement, and defending attacks on Islam. Quite a stand up guy. And good news folks, Hannity says he's in!
Mark Levin - The right-wing radio host who consistently complains that conservatives aren't conservative enough -- calling then-Speaker Boehner the "Benedict Arnold" of the Republican Party for attempting to compromise with Democrats and attacking incoming House Speaker Ryan for not being conservative enough.
Laura Ingraham -- For good measure, let's also throw in this conservative radio host, who, on her show [Monday], endorsed the idea of co-moderating a GOP debate with fellow right-wing radio hosts. Ingraham claimed she would "be fair to all the candidates" -- but the Fox contributor has repeatedly attacked GOP candidates including Jeb Bush-- saying "there has to be something wrong with" him, that she's "not a fan," and suggesting that Bush and Hillary Clinton run on the same ticket. That's how "fair" she'd be as a debate moderator.
So yes, Republican Party, if these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in. Media Matters would love to join with the GOP and expose for the public the true beliefs of the "real" conservative media.
In coverage of GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio's newly released energy plan, which calls for expanding oil production and rolling back environmental safeguards against pollution, media are failing to mention that Rubio has received campaign funding from the oil billionaire Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests, and is reportedly a leading contender to benefit from hundreds of millions more in support from the Kochs.
Conservative media are defending the "right" of fossil fuel companies to knowingly deceive the public about climate change, after a group of climate scientists and members of Congress called for an investigation of such companies under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Contrary to claims by conservative media that these advocates are seeking to "shut down free speech," RICO would only apply to those who purposefully misled the public about climate change, with some Congressmen pointing to recent reports that ExxonMobil funded climate science denial for decades after discovering that fossil fuels drive climate change.
The conservative media-fueled campaign to permanently defund Planned Parenthood would lead to a net increase in government spending of $130 million over a 10-year period, according to a new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Conservative media have been championing Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood since the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress began releasing a series of videos falsely claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials "selling aborted baby parts." Although the videos have been roundly called out by experts and journalists for "show[ing] nothing illegal" and containing selectively-edited footage -- and multiple state and federal investigations have cleared the health care provider of any wrongdoing -- the videos nonetheless continue to prompt calls to defund the reproductive health organization.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would mean the elimination of critical family planning services, wellness checks, STD testing, and cervical and breast cancer screenings for millions of Americans -- a grim reality that right-wing media is doing its best to deny by claiming that community health clinics could absorb Planned Parenthood's patients, a scenario health care experts agree would be impossible.
In a September 22 report, CBO projected that permanently defunding Planned Parenthood "would increase direct spending by $130 million over the 2016-2025 period." From an article on the report in The Hill (emphasis added):
The CBO, Congress's nonpartisan scorekeeper, projects that defunding Planned Parenthood would actually end up increasing government spending, because it would result in more unplanned births as women lost access to services such as contraception. Medicaid would have to pay for some of those births, and some of the children themselves would then end up qualifying for Medicaid and other government programs.
So while CBO estimates that cutting off federal funds to Planned Parenthood would reduce spending by $520 million 10 ten years, it would also increase spending by $650 million over that period. The net effect is an increase in spending of $130 million.
Vox reported on September 16 that the CBO reported in July that "as many as 630,000 Planned Parenthood patients could lose access to birth control, STD screening, and other reproductive health services if the organization loses its federal funding." From Vox (emphasis added):
As many as 630,000 Planned Parenthood patients could lose access to birth control, STD screening, and other reproductive health services if the organization loses its federal funding, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Tuesday.
The House is scheduled to vote later this week on the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would bar the federal government from funding the group for one year. In debating the act, there's been significant argument over what would happen to Planned Parenthood patients if the group lost federal funding -- whether they would simply transition to other health-care providers or whether they would not find replacements.
CBO, for its part, says it would be a mixed bag: Of Planned Parenthood's 2.6 million patients, the agency estimates that between 130,000 and 630,000 "would face reduced access to care."
"The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without access to other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations," the agency concludes.
Net metering policies, which allow utilities' customers to send energy from solar panels on their homes into the electric grid in exchange for a credit, are being threatened by efforts in several states to roll back or dismantle the policies -- most of which are bolstered by anti-solar myths from utilities and fossil fuel interests that are being parroted in the media. Here are the facts about net metering.
Numerous mainstream outlets are reporting on Jeb Bush's proposal to lower income tax rates and reduce exemptions as being "populist" and anti-Wall Street, ignoring that his proposal offers no means of making up for lost revenue and is essentially a retread of mainstream Republican tax policy, including George W. Bush's disastrous tax cuts from 2001 and 2003.
In coverage of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) newly-proposed standards to lower methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, several major media outlets uncritically quoted oil industry officials who claim that the new rules are unnecessary because the industry is already effectively limiting its emissions. By contrast, other outlets mentioned a new study by the Environmental Defense Fund showing that methane emissions are far higher than official estimates, part of a body of evidence that undercuts the industry's claim.
In recent weeks, The Hill has published at least six articles that quoted industry-funded front groups attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan without disclosing the groups' fossil fuel ties. Many oil, coal and utility companies have a financial interest in opposing the Clean Power Plan, which establishes the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, and readers of The Hill deserve to know whether groups criticizing the plan have taken money from fossil fuel companies.
Media reporting on a National Rifle Association-backed bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to change the national background check system for gun purchases should know that the bill would actually weaken the system by making it easier for some people with serious mental health issues to buy guns.
Media are citing a flawed poll claiming majority opposition to the Iran nuclear deal conducted by Secure America Now (SAN) and Pat Caddell's Caddell Associates, without acknowledging that it contains a misleading question that falsely equates the Iran deal to the failed nuclear agreement with the North Korea agreement. Experts have explained that the Iran deal and North Korea agreement are vastly different, and SAN and Caddell have a history of advocacy polling and shady conservative advocacy campaigns.
Many major media outlets reported that a new Environmental Protection Agency study found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") has had "widespread" impacts on Americans' drinking water, but did not mention the EPA's explanation for why the study doesn't necessarily indicate "a rarity of effects on drinking water resources." The EPA study identified several "limiting factors," including insufficient data, the lack of long-term studies, and inaccessible information, which it said "preclude a determination of the frequency of [drinking water] impacts with any certainty."
Mainstream media outlets are misrepresenting Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's stance on pay equality, reporting on her claim that she supports equal pay without noting her opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Larry Klayman, a conspiracy theorist and WND columnist who has been at the margins of the conservative movement for decades, is behind a dubious lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of racketeering. Klayman is utterly lacking in credibility, having filed numerous far-fetched lawsuits targeting the Clintons over the years. He has also repeatedly suggested the Clintons "orchestrated the murders of several of their associates in the 1990s."