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Bobby Lewis

Author ››› Bobby Lewis
  • Politico hit on Elizabeth Warren attempts to turn campaign donations from employees of tech companies into a scandal

    Politico's headline misleadingly implies donations came from tech companies, while the article suggests Warren is a hypocrite for criticizing Amazon, Google, and Facebook while accepting donations from their employees

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    A March 12 Politico article bizarrely attempted to scandalize 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) accepting individual campaign contributions from employees of Amazon, Google, and Facebook, suggesting was hypocritical for her to accept the donations while criticizing tech companies. 

    The article, headlined “Warren took tech's money while ripping its biggest players,” clearly points out that the $90,000 in donations came “from employees of Amazon, Google and Facebook” over the course of seven years, but the headline’s sloppy and simple reference to “tech’s money” leaves the impression that the donations come from the corporations themselves -- not individuals they happen to employ. The article's lede: "While Sen. Elizabeth Warren was railing against big tech companies, she was taking their money — plenty of it." Politico went on to criticize Warren for running ads on Facebook and selling books on Amazon, saying, "At the same time, Warren hasn’t weaned herself off of tech employee money — or their services." The article failed to actually explain its argument for why it would be an issue that, "While the donations flowed to Warren’s committee, she was accusing Google, Amazon as well as Apple of using their powerful platforms to 'lock out smaller guys and newer guys,'" beyond a vague and unarticulated intimation of hypocrisy.

    This careless framing by Politico closely resembles the bad-faith accusations of hypocrisy that crop up in right-wing media. Saying that Warren takes “tech’s money while ripping its biggest players” only sounds hypocritical with the omission of critical context -- it’s not really “tech’s money,” it’s tech employees’ money.

    While the article fails to really make its case, it's the headline that is most at issue. As Media Matters’ Parker Molloy has explained, headlines are arguably the most important part of any news article because most people only read the headlines. A 2016 study estimated that 59 percent of the time someone retweets an article, they actually never clicked on it first. Molloy spoke to Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser, who said that “the headline [of an online news article] lives separately from the content and needs to be evaluated on its own” for truth and accuracy. Politico’s Elizabeth Warren article failed that test.

  • Former Fox executive Bill Shine quits White House after Trump reportedly complained that he was misled about Shine by Sean Hannity

    Trump reportedly “feels he was sold a bill of goods by Hannity” about Shine’s abilities, “but Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly”

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Former Fox News executive and Roger Ailes’ “right-hand man” Bill Shine has left his job as White House communications director to join President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign as a senior adviser -- despite reported complaints from the president about Shine’s poor performance.

    A former Fox executive quoted in a March 8 report by The Daily Beast said that Shine’s exit comes partly because Trump “feels he was sold a bill of goods” by Fox News host and close adviser Sean Hannity, who may have over-promised Shine’s ability to get positive press attention. However, the former Fox executive added that “Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly.” From the March 8 article:

    White House communications chief Bill Shine resigned from his position Thursday, after only eight months, and will serve as a “senior adviser” on President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

    “Serving President Trump and this country has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life,” Shine said in a statement. “To be a small part of all this president has done for the American people has truly been an honor. I’m looking forward to working on President Trump’s re-election campaign and spending more time with my family.”

    Trump echoed Shine’s comments in his own statement.

    “Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the administration,” Trump said. “We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 presidential campaign, where he will be totally involved. Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!”

    But behind the amicable statements, sources said, there lies the usual discontent between both parties.

    One former Fox executive told The Daily Beast that Trump had complained in recent months about Shine’s seeming inability to get more positive press coverage for his administration. “Trump loves a yes-man,” the source said, “but he loves good press more.”

    The former exec added: “He feels he was sold a bill of goods by Hannity,” referring to how Shine was introduced to the president via the Fox News primetime star who has long acted as an unofficial Trump adviser. “But Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly.”

    Trump’s need to keep Hannity placated is yet another instance of the extraordinarily close relationship between Fox -- including its “news” team -- and the White House. Few Fox figures seem to be as influential on the president as Hannity, who has been described by White House insiders as a “‘shadow’ chief of staff.” The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer explored in-depth the influence that Hannity and the rest of Fox enjoy over the president, concluding that the battle for the network’s direction after co-founder Ailes left ended when “the opinion side of Fox News, which Shine had run, … won out,” as did “his friend Sean Hannity.”

  • Media outlets host Alan Dershowitz without asking him about Jeffrey Epstein

    During news appearances, Dershowitz didn’t comment on his role in a settlement prosecutors gave to the billionaire pedophile, which a judge ruled was illegally hidden from victims

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On February 21, the Miami Herald reported that a federal judge has ruled that prosecutors, including current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, “broke the law” over a decade ago “when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein.” Frequent news show guest Alan Dershowitz was part of Epstein’s defense team that accepted the deal from prosecutors, but three major news shows that have hosted him since the story broke failed to ask him about the case.

    Instead, the hosts gave him a platform to discuss Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s case or special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. (Dershowitz did, however, address the ruling on Twitter.) 

    The same day the Herald reported on the ruling, Fox News host Laura Ingraham invited Dershowitz to appear on her show The Ingraham Angle to discuss Smollett, who is charged with filing a false police report. While giving his legal opinion about the case, Dershowitz referenced biblical laws, saying, “If you are going to follow the Bible, this guy ought to get the same penalty that he falsely accused other people of getting.”

    The following day, Fox host Sean Hannity also hosted Dershowitz on his prime-time show Hannity to discuss the Smollett case. Dershowitz again brought up biblical laws and said the “hard left” wasn’t “prepared to give a presumption of innocence to the nonexistent MAGA hat-wearing assailants” in the Smollett case because “the presumption of innocence, like so many other aspects of our life, is selectively employed by the left against the right and sometimes by the right against the left.”

    On February 24, host George Stephanopoulos invited Dershowitz on his ABC show This Week to talk about the Mueller probe. During the discussion, Dershowitz speculated that Mueller’s report “may just be a road map given to Congress and given to other prosecutors that will continue these investigations till the end of President Trump’s first term.”  

  • Right-wing media have been issuing dire warnings about an impending civil war for years

    Trump’s media allies and accused Coast Guard terrorist agree that a second civil war could be coming soon

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & MILES LE



    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Joseph diGenova, a former attorney on President Donald Trump’s legal defense team, appeared on Laura Ingraham’s podcast on January 21 to warn listeners that “we are in a civil war in this country.” DiGenova also claimed that he does not anticipate seeing  any “civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future,” adding, “It’s going to be total war.” He suggested that the solution for the current situation is partly for people to “buy guns.”  

    DiGenova’s comments were irresponsible and dangerous, but they’re also nothing new within the right-wing media echo chamber. And the conservative media trope that widespread political violence is imminent has real consequences. The Coast Guard lieutenant and self-admitted white nationalist who was recently arrested for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks against Democrats and some media figures searched online for the phrase “civil war if Trump impeached.” 

    Right-wing media figures have spent years fearmongering about an impending civil war, saying that “the left in America is becoming increasingly radicalized,” highlighting the Democrats' supposed “hatred for Normal Americans,” and claiming that colleges are “literally destroying the country” and pushing us toward a “real civil war.” Here are just a few examples:

    Fox’s Sean Hannity told his radio listeners that “this country is headed towards a civil war” depending on the outcome of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections. While Hannity insisted that he was “not talking about a war,” he claimed, “There’s going to be two sides of this that are fighting and dividing this country at a level we’ve never seen.” 

    Fox’s Tucker Carlson and a show guest agreed on the idea that colleges are "literally destroying the country" and pushing us toward a "real civil war." In 2017, Carlson said that striving for diversity "gets you to civil war."

    In 2017, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity that “we are in a clear-cut cultural civil war” and expressed disappointment in Republicans who “don’t get it.” 

    Radio host and Trump ally Michael Savage asserted in 2017 that “there’s going to be a civil war” because of “what this left-wing is becoming in this country.” 

    Two days after the 2016 elections, then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly claimed that anti-Trump protests were proof of “a civil war brewing.” In 2015, O’Reilly also suggested that the divide over an anti-gay Indiana law is emblematic of a “cultural civil war.” 

    After a Maryland sheriff made headlines in 2014 warning of “all-out civil war” if President Barack Obama tried to overturn the Second Amendment, the media arm of the National Rifle Association downplayed the inflammatory nature of his comments, arguing that his threat of violence constituted a real threat only if Obama was actually planning to seize citizens’ firearms. In 2015, the NRA promoted an article by conservative gun blogger Bob Owens in which he fantasized about the prospect of Democrats starting a civil war over gun rights that ended with “survivors of the Democrat rebellion” being hanged. 

    Ever since Trump was elected to office, disgraced radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been obsessed with the idea of an impending civil war or other violence if Trump is removed from the presidency. In June 2017, Jones’ outlet Infowars declared that the “first shots” of the second civil war had already been fired, asking its audience, “What will you do?” Former Infowars "journalist" Roger Stone, a Jones and Trump ally, even taped a segment at a gun range in which he and Jones prepare for a civil war “if there’s a coup d’etat.”

    An April 10 article in The Federalist explicitly called for the political dissolution of the United States“before things get dangerous,” claiming, “This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town.” 

    Notorious online troll Kurt Schlichter wrote a piece in Townhall titled “Why Democrats would lose the second Civil War, too.” The column extensively detailed Schlichter's violent fantasies of a war with Democrats, including an imagined scene in which a “bunch of hunters in Wisconsin” ambush a company of tanks: “They ambush the fuel and ammo trucks. Oh, and they wait until the gunner pops the hatch to take a leak and put a .30-06 round in his back from 300 meters.”

    A September 11, 2018, op-ed in The American Conservative discussed “the Civil War on America’s horizon,” saying it has been primed by “Trump and his critics despis[ing] each other. All that's needed now is a spark.”

    Paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan said that the United States is “approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.” Buchanan also wrote that it was time for Trump to “burn down the Bastille.” 

    In 2015, then-Fox contributor Erick Erickson said that the jailing of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for violating a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could lead to “another civil war.” 

    Cliven Bundy, a rancher who attained fame in conservative circles for a 2014 standoff with federal authorities, told Alex Jones that there would be civil war if local sheriffs did not disarm the federal government’s “bureaucratic armies.”

    A 2013 Fox News column claimed that “when the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink,” the “takers” dependent on government assistance and resentful of financially successful “makers” will “take to the streets.” 

    In 2010, then-Fox host Glenn Beck suggested on his radio show that Obama was "trying to destroy the country" and “going for fundamental transformation.” About a month later, Beck repeated his claim, saying, “I think we're headed for a civil war.” 

    Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Pamela Geller wrote in 2010 that Obama “is itching for a civil war. And at the rate he is going, he is going to get one.”

    In 2008, Michael Savage declared that Obama was “hand-picked by some very powerful forces ... to drag this country into a hell that it has not seen since the Civil War.”

    In 2006, Beck warned about the potential for Europe’s “political correctness” to start “a global religious civil war.” 

    In 2004, Pat Buchanan said on MSNBC that the South “wouldn’t lose” a civil war “the next time out.” 

  • Right-wing media figures line up to defend Elliott Abrams, a Trump appointee complicit in crimes in Latin America

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Elliott Abrams, President Donald Trump’s pick to help lead the administration’s response to the Venezuelan political crisis, appeared before the House Foreign Relations Committee on February 13 and was sharply questioned by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MI) about his activities in Latin America for the Reagan administration. 

    Abrams was a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, the Reagan administration’s secret funding of right-wing rebel groups and anti-communist death squads known as “Contras” in Nicaragua via revenue from illegal arms sales to Iran. Abrams was convicted of withholding information from Congress “about secret government efforts to support the Nicaraguan contra rebels during a ban on such aid,” though he was eventually pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.  

    Abrams also helped cover up a 1981 Salvadoran government massacre of nearly 1,000 civilians. At the time of the massacre, the U.S. was “sending the Salvadoran military a million dollars a day.” Abrams told Congress that the massacre reports “were not credible” and being “significantly misused, at the very best, by the guerrillas.” In 1993, Abrams asserted that “the administration's record in El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement.” More recently, he was reportedly involved in the failed 2002 coup attempt against former President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela -- the same country he is now tasked to help with humanitarian aid in the midst of a massive political crisis. 

    Despite Abrams’ extensive and well-documented record of disastrous interventions in Latin America that merit serious criticism, right-wing media figures defended Abrams, calling him “a dedicated voice for repressed communities” and saying he had returned to the government to “try to help free people from socialism.” Even though Abrams may have “had to do some extreme work” to fight communism, his conservative media defenders insisted that he’s a “pure gentleman” and “a leading advocate of human rights.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade: “There was a communist infiltration in the 1980s. And Donald (sic) -- President Reagan wasn't going to have it. He was going to make sure that the Russians, and then the Soviets, were not going to infiltrate and take over our hemisphere. So to do that you had to do some extreme work.”

    Fox host and former George W. Bush press secretary Dana Perino: “I would like to defend Elliott Abrams. This is a guy who is a total gentleman, a patriot, a public servant who is willing to go back into government to try to help free people from socialism.” 

    Pro-Trump commentator Matt Schlapp: “Elliott Abrams … was in the Reagan administration fighting the spread of communism, socialism in Central America, and he got caught up in a politicized prosecutor.”

    Washington Free Beacon’s Noah Pollak criticized “cheap shots at Elliott Abrams” from people who don’t know “a thing about US policy in Latin America in the 1980’s.” A Free Beacon headline also called Abrams a “Jewish-American hero.” 

    Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot tweeted that Abrams, his CFR colleague, “is a leading advocate of human rights and democracy--not a promoter of genocide!” Boot criticized Omar’s “disgraceful ad hominem attacks” as “more evidence of the loony left.” 

    National Review’s Jay Nordlinger: Abrams “has been championing freedom and human rights his entire life (and taking unholy sh** for it from the illiberal Left and Right).”

    Nordlinger: Abrams “has been a devotee of liberal democracy and the American interest his entire career. He was a Reaganite when it was cool and (crucially) after.”

    The Heritage Foundation’s Ana Rosa Quintana: “Elliott Abrams is a patriot and dedicated voice for repressed communities, including as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.”

    The Weekly Standard’s Kelly Jane Torrance complained that Omar’s line of questioning to Abrams was simply “rehashing things that happened many years ago” while denying Abrams “a chance to give the information he’s there to give.” 

    Fox guest and former Trump spokesperson Michael Anton dismissed criticism of Abrams’ bloody record in Latin America: “Whatever you think of his past, whatever you think of his views, he doesn't need this job. … He’s not really getting anything out of it, and this is the thanks that he gets.” 

    Tyler Monroe contributed research to this article. 

  • Right-wing media claim Cory Booker “wants to impose his meat rationing on us” after article quotes him saying the opposite

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In response to a question about food policy during an interview with vegetarian and vegan news site VegNews, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) argued that “this planet simply can’t sustain” the “massive increase in consumption of meat” that has been occurring. Conservative media are predictably misrepresenting Booker’s remarks to falsely claim that he’s launching a “war on meat.”

    In the interview, Booker noted the public health, environmental, and animal cruelty impacts of industrial farming and explained that he wanted to empower small farmers legislatively and that “corporate power shouldn’t be snuffing out competition.” He clarified, “This is the United States of America, and I, for one, believe in our freedom to choose. So, I don’t want to preach to anybody about their diets; that’s just not how I live.” Booker also explicitly stated that “this doesn’t mean, in any way, getting rid of animal farming, but in many ways, it means lifting up the voices of small farmers again.”

    Nowhere in his comments did Booker say he is going to seek to ban any American from eating meat. However, truth did not stop conservative media from spinning the interview to claim “soy boy” Booker said he was declaring a “war against meat.”

    Fox News’ The Five claimed Booker “is going to war against meat” and “wants to impose his meat rationing on the rest of us.” Co-host Morgan Ortagus introduced a segment about Booker's comment, saying, “Sen. Cory Booker is going to war against meat.” In the segment, co-host Jesse Watters celebrated the fact that Trump is “the McDonalds president, and he’s running against a vegan.” Watters also said Trump will claim that Booker “wants to take away your hot dog on the Fourth of July.” Later in the segment, Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery also falsely claimed that Booker “wants to impose his meat rationing on the rest of us,” which Booker specifically denied in the interview, saying:

    “None of us want our government or elected officials preaching to us and telling us what we can or can’t eat. This is the United States of America, and I, for one, believe in our freedom to choose. So, I don’t want to preach to anybody about their diets; that’s just not how I live.”

    The Daily Caller ran a threatening headline saying, “Vegan Cory Booker says meat eaters’ days are numbered.” The article also misleadingly claimed that Booker’s critique was about the planet’s inability to “keep providing enough beef and pork to satisfy meat cravings” and not about the environmental damage wrought by industrial-scale animal farming.

    Conservative commentator Erick Erickson connected Booker’s comments to the supposed big-government tyranny of Pope Francis. A write-up on Erickson’s website The Resurgent contained the bizarre, and unsourced, claim: “The pope wants to use the power of government to coerce farmers into abandoning animal populations in favor of vegetarian farming. Booker is doubling down on that.”

    National Review misleadingly claimed that “Cory Booker wants only the rich to eat meat.” The article, referencing Booker’s point in the interview that it’s unsustainable to “see the planet earth moving towards what is the Standard American Diet,” misleadingly characterized Booker’s argument as saying “the destitute and poor of the world ... can’t possibly be allowed to attain the benefits of prosperity that the West has achieved.” The article also suggested he’s part of “the brewing war against our meat industries.”

    Trump troll website The Gateway Pundit: “Vegan soy boy Cory Booker is now attacking meat eaters — because that’s a winning strategy when you’re running to be president of a country full of bacon lovers.” The website called Booker’s food tastes “gross” and slammed veganism as “the latest Marxist, new age rubbish the Democrats and Hollywood elites are pushing onto Americans.”

    RedState: Booker “dropped some (non)science recently” in his pro-veganism interview. The RedState post mocked Booker’s interview, calling his comments “really idiotic” and “(non)science,” and bizarrely claimed that the relatively recent invention of industrial-scale animal farming is part of Earth’s “natural system of carnivorism.” The article ended with a reference to Booker’s conduct during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, suggesting the senator should now be called “Farticus” for “leading the brigade against those Nazi air biscuits” and for “eating so much fruit.”

    The Federalist: “Booker fuels his life with fake cheese. … Cory Booker is the vegan cheese of politicians.” A Federalist article about Booker’s comments claimed that “perhaps it’s appropriate that a man like Booker fuels his life with fake cheese. He fueled his career with fake friends.” It also suggested that if Booker won the Democratic nomination, he would lose Wisconsin to Trump, “who serves cheeseburgers en masse to champion college athletes.”

  • “Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?”: Fox has another socialism freakout after Trump’s State of the Union address

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & JOHN KERR

    During his 2019 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump declared, “America will never be a socialist country.” Fox News and Fox Business guests and hosts picked up the narrative, stressing that while we are watching socialism “falling apart” in Venezuela, “the Democrats continue to crawl closer” to the ideology” even though “it leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong.”

    Here are some examples of Fox News and Fox Business figures losing their minds, once again, about socialism.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity: “The president also made it perfectly clear, America will never become -- now think about this, even Nancy [Pelosi] and Chuck [Schumer] had to stand up. Not sure that Congresswoman [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez liked it -- we will never become a socialist country.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy: “One of the most delicious cutaways was of Bernie Sanders” while Trump was talking about Venezuela and saying that “the United States will never be a socialist country. Now that’s something everybody’s got to applaud for, right? No, not really.”

    Doocy: “The Democrats, who would not stand, when we were talking about socialism, the unborn, unemployment, and things like that. You would think these are things we all get together on.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that socialism is “falling apart” in Venezuela, adding, “When you talk about the Green Deal, free pre-K, free college, free ‘Medicare-for-all,’ you talk about an unsustainable, untenable series of invoices that America can’t possibly pay.”

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer: “The policies that are being advocated by Democrats continue to crawl closer to socialism and embrace an economic scheme that I think has failed throughout the world, and that concerns me.”

    Spicer: “We see the folks in Venezuela really fighting for freedom and independence, ... and yet you have these folks in the Democratic Party that are embracing socialism and proudly -- they are embracing it.”

    Fox Business host Stuart Varney: “Socialists don’t care about growth and prosperity. They don’t care about America’s booming economy. They don’t care about it.”

    Varney: “The Democrat Party, again, my opinion, has been taken over by the socialist left. … Look what you have got here on the left of the Democrat Party. It is socialism! I’m not surprised that the Democrats in the House did not stand up and cheer when the president called out socialism. That’s who they are. That’s who they have become. OK, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, because I am a refugee from socialism. … It leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong. It is based actually on legalized theft.”

    Varney: “If you watch this program, you’ll know we are dead set against socialism. Personally, I walked away from British socialism in the 1970s. I have often said I am a refugee. Socialism leads to decline and ruin. It stifles individual success. So-called democratic socialism is simply legalized theft.” 

    Varney: “Democrats running for the presidency have embraced … the Green New Deal to kill oil companies and ‘Medicare-for-all’ that kills private health insurance. That is socialism. That is the new face of the Democrat Party. No wonder they sat on their hands when the president said, ‘We were born free, and we will stay free.’ Forgive me, please, for spending so much time on this, but I have seen it in practice. I have lived it. And I'm here to tell you socialism is just plain awful. This is Varney & Co.; we celebrate capitalism.”

    Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo: “How is it possible that they did not stand up when he said we will not become a socialist country?”

    Bartiromo: “That was President Trump last night disavowing socialism in his State of the Union address. … Nobody got up! … Half the room didn’t get up.”

    Fox News contributor Dagen McDowell: “These Democrats are actually anti-capitalism. … They are on the record for being in favor of socialism. We already know that socialism is going mainstream in the Democratic Party.”

    Fox Business host Cheryl Casone: “The president called out socialism last night in his State of the Union, and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [is] not happy about it. … The left is reeling this morning.”

    Fox Business’ Trish Regan: “Did you hear that, Bernie Sanders? Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Socialism has no place in the United States of America. So it is time, right now, for you to abandon your far-left policies. We’ve seen what they have done to Venezuela.”

    Regan: “The president tonight rejecting Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro's brutal socialist policies and vowing that the United States of America will never head in that direction. Let’s hope not.”

    Regan: “To me, [denouncing socialism] should be something you should stand for. Yes, America’s never going to be a socialist country. … Nancy Pelosi -- you’re right; she did clap, a little bit -- but she wouldn’t stand for that. And to me, you know, our identity is not as socialists. I mean, we really -- we are capitalists that believe in safety nets.”

    Regan: Ocasio-Cortez “tells us we just need to be socialists, and it won't be like Venezuela. It'll be much, much better. This is her theory; this is what she was explaining to her comrades over there watching on MSNBC tonight -- that somehow Americans want this, that Americans want their money to be stolen from them, to be redistributed, and given to the likes of her.”

    Regan: “When they’re talking about things like freedom and Bernie Sanders can’t even applaud for that, we’ve got a problem!”

    Regan: “There used to be a time when that was not a cool thing, to be called a socialist. That was actually, you know, a term that could be used against you. … That’s suddenly en vogue. And do you think that that should be a warning for Americans right now, when you look at a country like Venezuela only three hours from Miami; that’s 20 years of socialism.”

    The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman: “Some people are talking on Twitter about how isn’t it amazing an American president has to say this, that we’re not going to be socialist. But that is sadly the time we’re living in.”

    Freeman: “It is amazing, given that we’ve been getting this real-time education [from Venezuela] in socialism and its destructive power, that meanwhile it seems to be picking up in the United States.”

    Donald Trump Jr.: Democrats “use Venezuela as their model for socialism, so I love that my father said that ‘America will never be a socialist country,’ because that’s the other side’s platform right now. … Watch their body language last night on things that all Americans should agree on. They don’t even stand or applaud. It’s pretty scary.”

    Trump Jr: Systems like socialism would “shut down” everything that makes America great. “Just look at anywhere else they’ve been implemented.”

    Presidential historian Doug Wead on Trish Regan Primetime: “My socialist friends here in the United States say American socialism will be very different from the Soviet Union, very different from Venezuela, and we'll have freedom of speech, for example. But we already have American socialism. It's practiced at the University of California at Berkeley. On many of our campuses, we're experiencing socialism right now. They don’t allow freedom of speech.”

    Wead on Varney & Co.: “Bernie Sanders got trapped in that socialism comment. I think that will come back to haunt him.”

    Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany: The speech was great at “exposing the radical left agenda, the infanticide, the ideas of socialism and single-payer and these really radical proposals.”

  • Fox News loves the idea of Howard Schultz running for president

    Hoping that “he splits the leftist vote in the Democrats and puts Donald Trump back in for a second term,” Fox News is ready for the Howard Schultz candidacy

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    After former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he was considering a run for president, hosts and guests on Fox News and its sister network Fox Business have not been shy about voicing their bad faith support for his potential 2020 campaign. While Fox News and Fox Business personalities are excited about Schultz’s “realistic” opposition to Medicare for All, their clear hope is that his candidacy will “help our president tremendously in becoming re-elected.” 

  • This misleading Fox segment prompted Trump's inaccurate voter fraud tweet

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    President Donald Trump tweeted false information about voter fraud after watching a misleading Fox & Friends segment about a Texas Department of State report that allegedly showed non-U.S. citizens registered to vote. However, as The Texas Tribune explained, the report does not actually shed much light on how much illegal voting may or may not have occurred. 

    On January 27, Fox & Friends Weekend ran a segment about the Texas report, which co-host Katie Pavlich misleadingly described as evidence of “95,000 non-U.S. citizens who are registered to vote in Texas.” Pavlich suggested that the report was proof against the arguments that “noncitizens aren’t voting in our elections, [and] people who say that there’s voter fraud are conspiracy theorists.” Her guest, discredited fabulist J. Christian Adams, claimed the Texas report shows “the real foreign influence in our elections” and said that other states, including Pennsylvania, are “hiding the same information” about “aliens getting on the rolls.” 

    The segment prompted President Trump to tweet that the Texas voter numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg,” claiming that we need “strong voter ID” laws because “voter fraud is rampant.”

    Prior to the Fox & Friends segment that prompted the president’s tweet, The Texas Tribune examined the Texas secretary of state’s report and found that it contains 95,000 names “who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are … legally eligible to vote,” and that of the 95,000, “about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018.” The office advised counties that the names on the list “should be considered ‘WEAK’ matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.”

    However, as Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, said, “People get naturalized. It’s entirely too early to say that” this report is proof of voter fraud. As the Tribune noted, “It’s possible that individuals flagged by the state … could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card,” and “It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future.” From the January 25 article: 

    The Texas secretary of state's office announced Friday it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote.

    In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state's office said.

    It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future. In its notice to counties, the secretary of state's office said the names should be considered "WEAK" matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.

    ...

    It's possible that individuals flagged by the state — who provided DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are "very confident" that the data received from DPS is "current."

    But without additional verification, you can't say these individuals all engaged in illegal voting, said Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.

    "People get naturalized," Davis said. "It's entirely too early to say that."

    But Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the announcement echoed efforts around the country to remove eligible voters from the rolls.

    "The secretary’s actions threaten to result in tens of thousands of eligible voters being removed from the rolls, including those with the least resources to comply with the demand to show papers," Stevens said.

    Rampant voter fraud has been a right-wing media meme for many years, and there has never been any evidence. Fox News particularly obsesses over the voter fraud conspiracy theory, yet the network has virtually ignored actual fraud in the electoral process. 

  • Media falsely blame "both sides" for government shutdown Trump said he is "proud" to own

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS, STEVE MORRIS & MILES LE

    On December 11, President Donald Trump told congressional Democrats and the media that he would be “proud to shut down the government” over border wall funding, and the federal government subsequently shut down on December 22. With the shutdown now entering its fifth week, some in media seem to have forgotten Trump’s unambiguous claim of responsibility and are instead blaming “both sides.”

    Falsely blaming “both sides” for the aberrant behavior of only one side has been a favorite media trope for years. It poisons policy conversations, endangers vulnerable groups, and dumbs down the entire political discourse.