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Alexandrea Boguhn

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  • Geraldo Rivera And The Victim-Blaming Of Black Teenagers


    Geraldo Rivera

    Geraldo Rivera is once again citing alleged appearance as a mitigating factor in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, evoking footage of Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie to contextualize potential police motive for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

    While newly released video footage purports to show 18-year-old Brown robbing a convenience store prior to his death, Ferguson police have emphasized that the suspected crime is entirely unrelated to the police stop and subsequent shooting that resulted in Brown's death. According to the town police chief, Brown was stopped because he was "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

    This fact did not stop Fox News host Rivera from citing Brown's appearance in the video as potential evidence to the justification of Brown's death.

    In an August 15 editorial for Fox News Latino, he wrote that even though police don't link the alleged robbery to Brown's police stop, "At the very least, watching the surveillance video of Brown allegedly robbing the convenience store should alter our perception of the victim. According to Rivera, "The portrait of the kid as an unarmed, innocent, college-bound youth ruthlessly shot in the back while trying to surrender seems incomplete at best." A few days later in a Fox News appearance, Rivera predicted that "menacing" footage of the unrelated robbery could lead to the acquittal of the officer who shot and killed Brown:

    RIVERA: The white jurors will look at that convenience store surveillance tape. They will see Michael Brown menacing that clerk. The white jurors will put themselves in the shoes of that clerk. They'll say, of course the officer responded the way he did. He was menaced by a 6' 4", 300-pound kid, 10 minutes fresh from a strong-armed robbery. The officer was defending himself. The white jurors will put themselves in the white officer's place. The black jurors will see Michael Brown, despite his flaws, as the surrogate for every black youngster ever shot.

    In both instances, to illustrate his point, Rivera invoked the appearance of Trayvon Martin. Citing surveillance video of Martin, a black teenager wearing a hoodie in a convenience store prior to his shooting death at the hands of George Zimmerman, Rivera wrote that the teen looked "like every 7/11 robbery suspect ever caught on tape."

    Martin's appearance led to the acquittal of his killer, Rivera claimed, because "the jury of six women, five white and one Hispanic ... saw the young man through Zimmerman's eyes, threatening and dangerous."

    The Fox host gained notoriety in 2012 for blaming the shooting death of Martin on his hoodie, what Rivera deemed "wannabe gangsta," "thug" attire. And despite promising in early 2014 to discontinue using the phrase "thug," which he conceded was akin to "the new n-word" following Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's explanation that the words carried the same racial connotations, only four months later Rivera returned to using the pejorative on the Fox News airways.

    Take a look at Rivera's record of using appearance as an explanatory variable when it comes to the shooting deaths of black teens:

  • Paul Ryan Shuns Conservative Media's "Makers And Takers" Rhetoric, But His Policies Still Rely On Those Myths


    In The Wall Street Journal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) disavowed the offensive narrative pushed by conservative media which labels needy Americans as "takers" versus more economically-prosperous "makers." However, Ryan's proposed anti-poverty policies still rely on the right-wing media myth that blames poverty on poor individuals' personal life choices.

  • Fox News Quiet After Congressional Report Finds No Benghazi Scandal

    New House Intel Report Reportedly Finds No Intentional Wrongdoing By The Obama Administration


    Fox News has gone silent on Benghazi amid reports that the House Intelligence Committee concluded that there was no intentional wrongdoing in the Obama administration's response to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported on August 1 that the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee voted to declassify findings from its investigation into the 2012 attacks on U.S diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, and "concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack," according to committee member Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).

    The intelligence community "did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened," the process used to create administration talking points was "flawed" but "reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis, and "there was no 'stand-down order' given to American personnel," Ranking Member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-CA) said in a statement laying out the committee's findings.

    It's a clinical, point-by-point refutation of the Benghazi hoax Fox has pushed for nearly 2 years.

    Yet Fox News made no mention of the report on Monday.* In sharp contrast to its current silence, when House Speaker John Boehner announced the formation of a select committee to investigate Benghazi in June, Fox devoted at least 225 segments to the topic over just two weeks, an estimated publicity value of more than $124 million.

  • Chris Cillizza's Fixation On Hillary Clinton's Wealth

    The Fix Has Devoted At Least 13 Posts To Clinton Wealth In Just 2 Months


    Cillizza, Hillary Clinton

    In the past two months, Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza has used his platform at The Fix to obsess over the question of whether Hillary Clinton has sufficiently explained her family's wealth, dismissing Clinton's comments on income inequality while offering conflicting advice on how she should answer the question in a way that satisfies Chris Cillizza and The Washington Post.  

    Cillizza's latest post came in response to an interview Hillary Clinton gave to Fusion TV host Jorge Ramos that aired July 29. "Hillary Clinton still hasn't found a good answer to questions about her wealth," according to the July 29 headline over at The Fix. After crediting GOP opposition research firm American Rising with focusing his attention on Clinton's wealth, Cillizza concluded: "Until she finds three sentences (or so) to button up any/all questions about her wealth, those questions will keep coming. And that's not the way Clinton wants to run-up to her now all-but-certain presidential bid."

    This is the third time in two months that Cillizza has posted a column fixated on Clinton's wealth and his belief that she is struggling to explain it -- and the third time since June 22 that The Fix has turned to America Rising to help define Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, a June NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll found that 55 percent of Americans say that Clinton relates to and understands average Americans.

    "The Clintons are not 'average' people," Cillizza warned just a week before that poll came out. He concluded by advising Clinton to stop talking about her wealth and move on: "Instead of spending her time litigating just how wealthy she is, Clinton should acknowledge her wealth and then spend the vast majority of her rhetorical time making the case that through the policies she has advocated and pursued, she has never lost sight of the middle class." 

    The reality is that Clinton has already done exactly what Cillizza advises; he just largely chooses to dismiss it. When Clinton has been asked about her wealth, she has consistently paired her personal finances with discussing her lifelong advocacy and work on behalf of the poor and middle class. 

  • Fox News' Dangerous Anti-Choice Rhetoric Downplays Impact On Women's Health


    Fox News has devoted a significant amount of time to finding new ways to baselessly attack the Women's Health Protection Act, a federal bill that would counteract laws that single out and punish abortion providers. The network parroted extreme anti-choice talking points and largely ignored the opinion of leading health organizations that these laws have dangerous consequences for women.

  • Limbaugh Falsely Claims "Not A Single Republican Senator" Opposed Holder's Nomination

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    Rush Limbaugh

    In an attempt to discredit Attorney General Eric Holder's discussion of his experiences with racism in politics, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that "not a single Republican senator" had opposed Holder's nomination. In fact, 21 Republicans in the Senate voted against his nomination.

    Limbaugh attacked Holder for comments he made during a recent interview with ABC News. Holder told ABC that he and President Obama had been treated differently than their predecessors because of their race. Holder said, "There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president. You know, people talking about taking their country back. ... There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus." 

    On the July 14 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh claimed that Holder was "playing the role of victim" and tried to support this assertion with his false claim that Republican senators had not opposed Holder's nomination.

    If Limbaugh was referring to Holder's unanimous confirmation as deputy attorney general under President Clinton in 1997, that would be disingenuous, to say the least.

  • In Wake Of Hobby Lobby Ruling, Right-Wing Media Pretend Generic Birth Control Pills Fit All Women's Needs


    Conservative media dismissed the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which granted closely-held corporations the right to deny employees contraceptive coverage through their employer's health plans if they believe the contraceptives conflict with their religious beliefs, claiming that women still have access to contraception because a generic form of birth control is available at drug stores for low cost.