Author Page | Page 5 | Media Matters for America

Alexandrea Boguhn

Author ››› Alexandrea Boguhn
  • Fox & Friends Exploits South Carolina Church Shooting To Call For More Guns

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN


    Fox & Friends used a mass shooting at a South Carolina church to baselessly promote the carrying of guns as a solution to prevent such attacks -- even though research indicates that civilians are more likely to harm themselves or someone else than stop a criminal when they have a gun, and there is "no evidence" that arming civilians stops mass shootings.

    On June 17, a gunman killed nine after opening fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Commenting on the massacre, "[t]he chief of police of Charleston, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime," according to The New York Times.

    Discussing the tragedy on the June 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts repeatedly suggested that the massacre may have been prevented had the congregation been armed. After guest E. W. Jackson urged "pastors and men in these churches to prepare to defend themselves," host Brian Kilmeade asked if giving pastors a gun could help with "security." Later in the show, Steve Doocy similarly suggested, "If somebody was there, they would have had the opportunity to pull out their weapon and take [the shooter] out ... If somebody in there had a gun." Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed, calling it a "great point."

    But an analysis of 62 mass public shootings over a 30 year period by Mother Jones found no cases where an ordinary civilian with a gun stopped an attack, and instances where someone did try to intervene with a gun resulted in the death or injury of that person:

    In the wake of the massacres this year at a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years.We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. And in other recent (but less lethal) rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, those civilians not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed.

    While individuals with concealed carry permits have not stopped mass shootings, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has identified 29 incidents since 2007 where someone with a permit shot and killed three or more people during a single shooting incident.

    Newly released VPC research on the use of guns for self-defense also indicates why arming the congregation is unlikely to stop an attack. The group found that American gun owners are more likely to injure themselves or someone else with a gun than to use it to stop a criminal. The report, which relied on data from the FBI and the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, found just 258 justifiable homicides involving civilian firearms in 2012 compared to 8,342 murders by gun -- a ratio of 32 criminal homicides for each justifiable homicide. The study noted that suicides by gun outpace justifiable homicides by an even greater extent.

    Examining government data from 2007 to 2011, VPC found that just .8 percent of violent crimes were met with resistance from a gun. These findings are in line with a large body of research that indicates guns are used far more often to commit crimes than defend against crimes.

    Conservative media have frequently promoted the myth that guns are primarily used for self-defense, despite guns rarely being used for that purpose, and have a long history of exploiting tragedies to push their own pro-gun agendas. Right-wing media frequently call for more guns in the immediate aftermath of high profile shooting events, including a May thwarted terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, the January massacre at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the 2014 mass shooting at Fort Hood, the 2014 shooting at a high school near Portland, Oregon, and the 2013 attack at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard.

  • Hannity "Can't Find Any Instance" Where Clinton Criticized Countries For Human Rights Violations -- He Didn't Look Very Hard

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Sean Hannity claimed that he couldn't "find any instance" of Hillary Clinton calling out Middle Eastern countries for discriminating against women, suggesting that the former secretary of state's silence had been "bought" in exchange for donations to her foundation. But Clinton has repeatedly advocated for women in Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region -- regardless of any donations to the Clinton Foundation.

    During the June 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity and GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) discussed Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state. Drawing from unsubstantiated pay-to-play allegations made by discredited Republican activist Peter Schweizer in his much disputed book Clinton Cash, the two suggested that donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries in the Middle East may have influenced her actions as secretary of state. Hannity claimed that countries like "Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, have atrocious human rights records for women, gays, and lesbians" but that Hillary Clinton has "never uttered a word about how bad these records are." Asking if they had "[bought] her silence," Hannity went on to question if Clinton could really claim to be a champion for these groups, claiming that he couldn't "find any instance" where Clinton had criticized the policies of the countries he had named:

    But Clinton has a long history as a vocal champion of women's rights and leadership.

    She's specifically addressed women's rights in precisely the countries Hannity named -- During her time as secretary of state, Clinton criticized Saudi Arabia for not allowing women to drive, asserting that women fighting against the country's ban were "brave and what they are seeking is right," despite the country's previous donations to her foundation. Clinton similarly delivered a scathing critique of Arab leaders for oppressing women in a 2011 speech.

    Under Hillary Clinton's tenure, the State Department did not shy away from criticizing countries with poor records on women's and LGBT rights. In 2011 reports on human rights, State criticized Saudi Arabia for violating the basic rights of women with "significant human rights problems," writing that the country had issues with "violence against women and a lack of equal rights for women ...and discrimination on the basis of gender." The State Department similarly condemned the United Arab Emirates for "[d]omestic abuse of women .... [and] allegations that police sometimes enabled domestic abuse," writing that "[l]egal and societal discrimination against women and noncitizens was pervasive" in the country.

  • Fox Host Falsely Claims The Affordable Care Act Prevents Job Creation

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that businesses are not hiring because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite evidence that the healthcare law will actually create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

    During the June 15 edition of America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum discussed how Hillary Clinton's support for policies designed to reduce income inequality could impact the presidential race. Citing her support for the Affordable Care Act, network contributor Katie Pavlich claimed that the health care law "do[es] nothing to pull people out of poverty." MacCallum agreed, saying, "That is true, businesses you talk to all across the country will tell you" that they're not hiring because of Obamacare. Talking over guest Mary Anne Marsh as she replied, MacCallum demanded to know "why companies are not hiring" if not because of the Affordable Care Act:

    But MacCallum's baseless assertion is just the latest effort by conservative media to fearmonger that the ACA would eliminate jobs. In 2014, media consistently misread a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, which found that the ACA would create more job opportunities by freeing Americans from job lock, claiming that it would actually eliminate positions, and going so far as to label the law a "job destroyer."

    In reality, the CBO's ten-year Budget and Economic Outlook report predicted that the health care law would create jobs while stimulating the economy:

    [T]he ACA's subsidies for health insurance will both stimulate demand for health care services and allow low-income households to redirect some of the funds that they would have spent on that care toward the purchase of other goods and services--thereby increasing overall demand. That increase in overall demand while the economy remains somewhat weak will induce some employers to hire more workers or to increase the hours of current employees during that period.


    If changes in incentives lead some workers to reduce the amount of hours they want to work or to leave the labor force altogether, many unemployed workers will be available to take those jobs--so the effect on overall employment of reductions in labor supply will be greatly dampened. 

    As the Brookings Institute further pointed out in a March 2015 blog post, while it isn't yet possible to definitively evaluate the health care law's impact on employment, it is "not easy to make a convincing case that job gains have lagged since the President signed the health insurance law." The post also noted that "[t]he pace of job growth has actually increased in the past few months as the Administration began to enforce the employer penalty provisions of the law."

  • Fox News Outraged U.S. Embassy In Indonesia Moved Fourth Of July Celebration "Out Of Respect" For Ramadan

    Fox Guest Jim Hanson: The United States Is "The Exceptional Nation, We Should Act Like It"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN


    Fox News is outraged that the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia -- where over 87% of residents are Muslim -- moved their annual Fourth of July celebration "out of respect" for those observing Ramadan in the country, claiming that they're just being "overly sensitive" to Islam and using the event to claim the United States is "leading from behind" on foreign policy.

    On June 4, the United States Embassy in Indonesia celebrated the Fourth of July after Ambassador Robert Blake moved up the celebration one month "in order to respect the upcoming Ramadan month," according to The Jakarta Post.

    During the June 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and guest Jim Hanson criticized the embassy's decision to move up the Independence Day celebration, blasting them for being "overly sensitive to Islamic sensibilities." Citing the decision as evidence that the Obama administration has "lost its way," Hanson asserted that the U.S. is "the exceptional nation" and "should act like it. That's not being rude or insensitive to other people, that's just what you should do." Hasselbeck agreed, suggesting that this is another example of the administration "leading from behind":

    Hanson argued that "Indonesians are hardly the most extreme Muslims," but Fox's outrage ignores that Indonesia has the highest population of Muslim residents in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 87.2% of the population in the country identifies as Muslim -- meaning the large majority of the country would be fasting in observance of Ramadan during the celebration had it not been moved.

  • WSJ Editorial Dismisses Jeb Bush's Shady PAC Coordination As Criticism From "The Speech Police"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Jeb Bush

    The Wall Street Journal dismissed concerns that likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has delayed announcing his campaign while he sidesteps campaign laws and continues coordinating with his super PAC, describing questions about his candidacy as the "return of the speech police." But Bush has been facing increased scrutiny from both legal experts and media noting that he may have violated the law.

    Campaign law watchdogs organizations have repeatedly filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission urging them to investigate whether Jeb Bush is illegally coordinating with the super PAC Right to Rise. They argue that Bush is in violation of campaign finance laws that prohibit candidates from certain coordination with PACs and believe that Bush's actions suggest he should be treated as a presidential candidate under the law, regardless of whether he's formally announced his candidacy.

    The Wall Street Journal dismissed these concerns in a June 8 editorial, warning readers not to "be surprised if the subpoenas [from the DOJ] hit Republican candidates at crucial political moments." The Journal described criticism of Jeb Bush for delaying his announcement as the "return of the speech police" from the "political left":

    The theory behind this accusation is campaign "coordination," the new favorite tool of the anti-speech political left. Earlier this year the Justice Department invited such complaints with a public statement that it would "aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity."

    Under federal law, illegal coordination occurs if a campaign expenditure (say, a TV ad) mentions a candidate by name in the 120 days before a presidential primary, or if it advocates for a candidate and if the candidate and Super PAC have coordinated the content of the ad.

    The liberals claim that a Super PAC raising and spending money in favor of a Bush candidacy should be treated as coordinated expenditures, making them de facto contributions to his campaign. Candidate is the operative word here, a designation that has always been applied to those who announce they are running for public office.

    Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer says Mr. Bush should be considered a candidate who is illegally coordinating because if you asked "100 ordinary Americans" if he is a candidate, they will say yes. What a bracing legal standard. What would the same 100 Americans have said about Hillary Clinton in 2013, or Ted Cruz in high school? Where is the limiting principle?

    But the Journal's dismissal of the criticism of Bush's questionable PAC coordination ignores the growing number of legal experts who have raised questions about his actions. The New York Times noted that "[s]ome election experts say Mr. Bush passed the legal threshold to be considered a candidate months ago, even if he has not formally acknowledged it." CBS' Bob Schieffer similarly pointed out that it is "pretty obvious" Bush is running for president, even as he "rais[es] huge amounts of money for [his] super PAC." Even conservative blog criticized Bush's PAC coordination, pointing to "Several campaign finance law experts [who claim] they believe Bush is violating the law."

    The Wall Street Journal has previously advocated for doing away with the same laws they're now claiming Bush isn't breaking, again claiming they are "dangerous" and no more than a "political attack ... [as] part of a larger liberal campaign." In reality, the decades-old law crafted in the wake of the Watergate scandals to prevent coordination between independent groups and political candidates has long had support across the political spectrum, including the conservative majority in the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

  • Broadcast Evening News Fail To Cover Jeb Bush's Super PAC Problem

    NBC, ABC, And CBS Evening News Ignore Bush's PAC Dealings Amid Increasing Scrutiny Of Their Questionable Legality


    Broadcast evening news programs on ABC, NBC, and CBS completely ignored likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's questionable delay in announcing his campaign while he sidesteps campaign laws and continues coordinating with his super PAC. Despite increasing scrutiny of a strategy that "tests the legal definition of [a] candidate," the nightly news programs have devoted zero coverage to the matter since The Associated Press (AP) first reported on it in April.

  • CBS' Bob Schieffer Questions Jeb Bush Over Super PAC Relationship

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    While most of the Sunday political news shows ignored accusations that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) may be unlawfully coordinating with his super PAC, CBS' Bob Schieffer asked the prospective presidential candidate if he was "violating the spirit of the law."

    Bush has recently come under scrutiny for coordinating with his super PAC, Right to Rise. As the Washington Post reported, "Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center -- sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch [on May 27] asking that the Justice Department investigate whether Bush and his PAC 'are engaged in knowing and willful violations of federal campaign finance laws.' The groups are calling on Lynch to appoint an independent Special Counsel to investigate potential violations."

    In a May 31 editorial, The New York Times editorial board endorsed the idea and urged the Justice Department to get involved, describing Bush's relationship with Right to Rise as "brazen," and "cynical" and noted that Bush is "obviously" running for president:

    Ideally, the F.E.C. should be doing its enforcement job. Given that agency's dereliction, the Justice Department must exercise its authority to enforce the law. The abuses of runaway political money will only grow when candidates believe there's no one to stop them.

    During the May 31 edition of Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer questioned Bush over his questionable PAC coordination. Asserting that it was "pretty obvious" that Bush was running for president, Schieffer pointed to criticism and requests for investigation into his dealings with Right to Rise, asking if he thought he "may be just at least violating the spirit of the law" by coordinating with the group. Bush dismissed Schieffer, claiming that he "wouldn't ever do that" and simply was "trying to get a sense of whether [his] candidacy would be viable or not" prior to deciding if he would officially run for president:

    The media have largely continuously ignored that likely Republican presidential contenders in 2016 are using dark money and secretive nonprofit groups to sidestep campaign finance laws. Face the Nation was the only Sunday broadcast network political show to even broach the subject.

    In March, Bush gave his "tacit endorsement" to Right to Rise Policy Solutions, a nonprofit organization that allows him to side-step campaign finance laws that cap donations from individual donors and require donations to political action committees (PACs) to be publicly reported, permitting "individuals and corporations" to "give as much as they want while remaining anonymous," according to the Post. The news garnered little media attention at the time, with just a scattering of articles and two segments on broadcast and cable news outlining the dark money connections.

  • Fox Host Gives Scott Walker Platform To Double Down On Claim That Forced Ultrasounds Are "Cool"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News gave likely 2016 presidential hopeful and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) a platform to double down on his assertion that ultrasounds -- mandatory in his state for women seeking abortions -- are just a "cool" thing.

    This week Walker defended his state's legislation forcing women seeking abortions to first undergo ultrasounds that are likely to be transvaginal, dismissing the procedure as "just a cool thing out there" during an appearance on The Dana Show with Dana Loesch.

    Following outrage over his dismissal of the invasive procedure, conservative media quickly went to bat for Walker and claimed that his remarks were merely being taken out of context.

    Fox News host Neil Cavuto defended Walker with the same excuse during a May 28 interview on Fox Business' Cavuto, asserting that "I knew what you meant by that, but obviously that was not the reception" the statement received. Walker replied that backlash was simply a "typical example" of how progressives and the media "take out of context comments out there" -- but then the governor immediately doubled down on his original comments. Walker reiterated that "I think ultrasounds are cool" (emphasis added):

    WALKER: This is a typical example of the left -- not just leftist organizations, but some even in the left in the media --  take out of context comments out there. You're right, I talked about, my kids are 19 and 20, Tonette and I have the first ultrasound picture that was taken of both. And that's something that we treasure. That was each of our children. In fact, Matthew had the side of his head turned so you could see his hand and his mouth, what appeared to be sucking on his thumb.

    CAVUTO: That's so cool. Mine had an iPhone. It was the weirdest thing. But seriously, they said 'stay out governor, this is none of your business. 

    WALKER: Well they're pushing back on it, saying I said it was cool. Well, I think ultrasounds are cool. And they tried to mischaracterize our law, says, simply put, if someone is going to go in for abortion, we require the provider, whoever is doing that procedure, has to provide access to an ultrasound, a traditional ultrasound, not the kind they planned out there, because we believe as someone who's pro-life, I believe that if someone has access to seeing that information, if they can look at it, not forced to, but if they can look at it if they so choose, if that's available, chances are they're going to pick life. They'll pick the life of that unborn child. I think that's a great thing. And if they don't, under the law, they don't have to. But the reality is, I think those on the left are afraid of people actually having information. They say they're pro-choice, but they don't want an informed choice.

  • NBC's Today Show Ignores Hillary Clinton's Record To Claim Personal Wealth Gives Her A "Romney Problem"


    NBC's Today Show suggested that Hillary Clinton's personal wealth "is a liability like Mitt Romney in 2012," ignoring the former senator's extensive history championing policies that help the middle class and attempts to address income inequality in order to compare her to Romney, who called for huge tax cuts for the rich during his last failed presidential run.

  • "Los Inmigrantes Son Más Peligrosos Que ISIS" Y Otros 10 Momentos Odiosos Anti-Inmigrantes De Ann Coulter

    ››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE & ALEXANDREA BOGUHN English language version

    Según dijo la comentarista conservadora Ann Coulter durante una entrevista reciente con Jorge Ramos, periodista de Fusion y Univisión, los inmigrantes que vienen a EE.UU. constituyen una amenaza mayor para los estadounidenses que el grupo terrorista Estado Islámico (ISIS). Sin embargo, esta no es la primera vez que Coulter hace comentarios ofensivos al hablar sobre el tema migratorio. Media Matters recopiló ejemplos del historial de retórica anti-inmigrante que Coulter ha usado en el pasado.