The Situation Room

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  • Rudy Giuliani’s Latest Attack On Clinton’s Health Comes From Breitbart News And Sean Hannity’s Conspiracy Theories

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    When challenged by CNN to answer why he questions Hillary Clinton’s health, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani cited baseless smears reported by anti-Clinton Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity. These smears have been repeatedly debunked.

    In an August 24 CNN report on the Trump campaign’s attacks against Hillary Clinton, Murray confronted former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani over his baseless “questioning” of Clinton’s health. Giuliani cited two examples of Clinton’s purported illness from Breitbart News and Fox News’ Sean Hannity -- Clinton’s late return to a debate stage last December and her head shaking in a recent interview -- as “rather bizarre” instances needing explanation. 

    SARA MURRAY: You don't see any problem with questioning the possibility of the Democratic nominee’s health based on no fact?

    RUDY GIULIANI: What do you mean not based on facts? There were rather bizarre things that happened, like that time that her head started shaking in the middle of an interview and the time she got off the stage for some period of time during a debate. 

    [...]

    This isn't based on no facts. Do those do those facts mean she's seriously ill? I don't know. 

    The two examples cited by Giuliani were circulated by Breitbart News and Sean Hannity as evidence that Clinton is in poor health. 

    In January, Breitbart news posted an article claiming Clinton’s “disappearance from the debate stage” during a commercial break was due to one of her “long-lasting symptoms stemming from a concussion and blood clot,” despite it being widely reported that Clinton’s late return was due to a restroom break. 

    Fox News’ Sean Hannity devoted a segment on his August 10 television show scandalizing Clinton’s “violent, out-of-control” and “seizure-esque” movements as evidence that she suffers from seizures. However AP reporter Lisa Lerer, who stood directly behind Clinton at the moment in question, wrote on August 12 that Clinton was "taken aback” by shouting and a bevy of questions by reporters during a campaign event and responded “with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously.” The AP reporter criticized Hannity for the “unfounded speculation” and using her to support his “conspiracy theory.”

  • CNN Lets Trump Spokesperson Falsely Blame Obama For 2004 Death Of Captain Humayun Khan

    UPDATE: Blitzer Later Corrected Pierson's Claim

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN’s Wolf Blitzer allowed Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson to falsely blame President Obama for “chang[ing] the rules of engagements” before the death of Capt. Humayun Khan on June 8, 2004, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    After allowing Pierson to falsely claim that “it was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagements that probably cost [Humayun Khan] his life,” Blitzer failed to inform viewers that Barack Obama wasn’t President in 2004 and was first sworn in as a U.S. Senator on January 4, 2005. From the August 2 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room:

    WOLF BLITZER (HOST): Wasn't he disrespectful, though, to that Gold Star family?

    KATRINA PIERSON: Disrespectful by defending himself? He didn't say anything about the son. In fact, he honored his service. The only thing he said, Wolf, is basically "This man knows nothing about me, why is he criticizing me?" How is that an attack?

    BLITZER: Well, most people would have just said "You know what? This family has lost a son, a hero, fought on the battle, prevented some of his fellow soldiers from dying by going into that suicide- that car bombing, if you will. I am not going to get into a discussion, a back and forth. I praise this family. I praise the son," and move on. He didn't have to go back and forth and respond to all of the statements made by the father.

    PIERSON: But surely you can understand -- but surely you can understand the confusion, considering how Donald Trump never voted for the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton did. And then she didn't support the troops to have what they need.

    It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagements, that probably cost his life. So, I don't understand why it is so hard to understand why Donald Trump was confused about why he was being held responsible for something he had nothing to do with, while Hillary Clinton had everything to do with.

    BLITZER: Katrina Pierson, as usual, thank you so much for joining us.

    UPDATE:  Blitzer fact-checked Pierson's bizarre claim in a follow-up segment, noting that Capt. Khan died in Iraq "five years before President Obama took office."

  • Hispanic Media Figures Slam Trump For Racist Attacks On Judge

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Latino media figures are criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald  Trump for his “racist,” “highly offensive” assertion that the federal judge presiding over  two civil lawsuits against the defunct Trump University, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

  • It Took A Deadly Attack For CNN To Make Time For Pro-Choice Advocates In Its Slanted Abortion Discussions

    Over A 14-Month Period,  Anti-Choice Guests Dominated CNN’s Reproductive Rights Programming On Evening Shows

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS

    In 2015 and early 2016, CNN hosted more than twice as many anti-choice guests as pro-choice guests on its evening news programs, according to a new Media Matters study. CNN also didn’t host any reproductive rights advocates as guests until November’s fatal attack on a Colorado Springs, CO, Planned Parenthood health care center.

    Media Matters analyzed CNN’s evening news programs from January 1, 2015, through March 6, 2016, for segments featuring a substantial discussion of abortion. We found that CNN’s programs included more people who self-identified as anti-choice (47) than as pro-choice (18) -- all of them guests, as opposed to hosts or correspondents -- in conversations about abortion-related topics.

    While CNN’s evening news programs included guests who personally identified as pro-choice, they didn’t include anyone who works as an advocate for reproductive rights as part of a discussion about abortion until there was a deadly attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on November 27. In fact, 36 percent of CNN’s total coverage of abortion-related topics over the 14-month study period -- which was also the least of the three major cable news networks -- occurred on that night. The two appearances by pro-choice advocates on CNN were made by representatives of Planned Parenthood, who appeared on November 27 and November 30 to discuss the attack on their clinic.

    In contrast, CNN’s evening news programs hosted anti-choice advocate Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, four times before the attack.

    In addition to the guest imbalance, CNN’s evening news programs did not discuss any violence, threats or harassment directed against abortion clinics or providers prior to November 27 -- not even the four separate arson attacks against Planned Parenthood clinics that occurred in the span of 74 days in 2015. A previous study released by Media Matters in October 2015 also found that cable news shows and leading newspapers around the country largely did not cover the incidents.

    The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has been tracking violence and threats directed at abortion providers since 1977, and the organization issued a report in April detailing a dramatic increase in the number of direct threats of harm in 2015 from the previous years, a disturbing upward trend the FBI has confirmed. NARAL president Ilyse Hogue criticized the press for providing insufficient coverage of the epidemic of attacks, saying outlets "need to report these incidents as what they are: domestic terrorism" or they will be giving "extremists the cover to regressively and violently attack women, their access to health care, and the medical professionals who provide it."

  • STUDY: How Cable News Talks About Abortion

    Anti-Choice Speakers And Misinformation Dominate Abortion Coverage On Evening Cable News

    ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS & SHARON KANN

    A Media Matters study of 14 months of evening cable news programs found that discussions of abortion were weighted toward anti-choice speakers, which resulted in widespread misinformation on the topic. Of the three networks, Fox News aired the largest number of inaccurate statements about the most prevalent abortion-related myths, and MSNBC was the most accurate.