Author Page | Media Matters for America

Chelsea Rudman

Author ››› Chelsea Rudman
  • Fox's Erickson: "Multiculturalism" Key Factor Leading To Boston Bombings

    Erickson: Today "Only Islam Seems To Generate People Willing To Kill For Their Religion"

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote a piece on the Boston bombings that attacked Islam as a religion that "cannot ... peacefully coexist with other religions" and suggested "multiculturalism" helped lead to the bombings.

    In his piece, Erickson wrote, "In the past decade we have seen that not all Muslims are terrorists, but just about every terrorist has been a Muslim." He also claimed that "contrary to the political correct," "[c]ompared to all other religions in the Twentieth and Twenty-first century, only Islam seems to generate people willing to kill for their religion."

    Erickson suggested that societal emphasis on "multiculturalism" led the Boston bombing suspects to turn to radical Islam because immigrants aren't expected to "assimilate into American society." In a tweet linking to his piece, Erickson said:

    Erickson tweet 

    Erickson has a long history of inflammatory remarks: he has endorsed white-men-only scholarships, defended Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, and has said "violence" is "extremely common ... within much of Islam."

  • Limbaugh And Breitbart Smear Planned Parenthood As Abettor In Gosnell Crimes

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Rush Limbaugh and both falsely suggested that Planned Parenthood knew Dr. Kermit Gosnell was committing murder in his clinic and failed to report his crimes to authorities.

    Gosnell is currently on trial for murdering seven infants and a mother, accused of grotesque behavior committed under the guise of women's health services.

    Following comments made by Dayle Steinberg, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, claimed, linking to a article, that Planned Parenthood "knew about the massacre of the innocents" at Gosnell's clinic but "didn't say a word to the authorities about it."

    Similarly, on the April 23 broadcast of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh, also referencing the post, claimed that Steinberg had admitted Planned Parenthood "knew of what Gosnell was doing at his abortion facility" and "didn't report it to the state health department or other state or local officials." He concluded:

    LIMBAUGH: Folks, that is profound to me. We know what was going on in Gosnell's -- I don't even know what we could -- house of horrors doesn't describe what was going on in there. And now we find out that Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood knew all along.

    But Steinberg never said that Planned Parenthood was aware of the full extent of Gosnell's crimes -- only that women complained to Planned Parenthood about the "conditions" at Gosnell's clinic. A Philadelphia Inquirer article noted that Steinberg said Planned Parenthood "would always encourage [women with complaints] to report it to the Department of Health."

    Conservative media have repeatedly twisted the truth about Gosnell's alleged crimes to attack legitimate reproductive health care providers.

    UPDATE: In a letter to the editor published on, Steinberg confirmed that complaints Planned Parenthood had received about Gosnell's clinic referred to "the uncleanliness of his facility." She added, "If we had heard anything remotely like the conditions that have since come to light about Gosnell's facility, of course we would have alerted the state and other authorities."

    From Steinberg's letter to the editor:

    When Gosnell was arrested, I asked our staff if anyone had ever heard of him, and clinic staff members reported that a few women over the years said they were concerned about the uncleanliness of his facility and came to Planned Parenthood instead.

    Our staff told these women that issues of cleanliness should be reported to state officials. If we had heard anything remotely like the conditions that have since come to light about Gosnell's facility, of course we would have alerted the state and other authorities.

    Nobody who believes in good health care, access to safe and legal abortion, and respect for women would ever look at Kermit Gosnell's facility and call it a health-care center. He preyed on women in their most vulnerable moments.

  • Why Are Media Ignoring TX Fertilizer Plant's History Of Skirting Regulations?

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    west tx explosion

    All three cable news networks failed to highlight a West, Texas, fertilizer plant's storage of 270 tons of ammonium nitrate -- 1,350 times the amount allowed without disclosure to the federal government -- in reporting on the April 17 explosion at that plant. The networks also virtually ignored the plant's history of violating state and federal regulations.

    An April 20 Reuters report noted that fertilizer plants and depots must report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whenever they hold 400 pounds or more of ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive chemical that can be used in bomb making. Reuters reported, however, that the plant that owned the company, West Fertilizer, "did not tell [DHS] about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principle regulators of ammonium nitrate ... unaware of any danger there."

    Reuters quoted Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) as saying, "It seems this manufacturer was willfully off the grid. ... This facility was known to have chemicals well above the threshold amount ... yet we understand that DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up."

    Media Matters study found that following the Reuters report, CNN's coverage of the explosion never mentioned that West Fertilizer violated federal regulations by failing to disclose their storage of 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, and MSNBC and Fox News rarely mentioned the violation.

  • Erin Burnett Latest In Media To Push Claim That "The Left" Ignored Gosnell Trial After She Ignored Gosnell Trial

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    CNN's Erin Burnett suggested that media "on the left" may have failed to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell for political reasons -- even though Burnett herself had never previously covered Gosnell's story.

    Gosnell is currently on trial for murder, accused of grotesque behavior in providing illegal late-term abortions. Conservative media have been engaged in a campaign to pressure the media for providing what they consider insufficient coverage to the trial.

    On the April 12 broadcast of her show, Burnett hosted a segment to examine why the story "hasn't gotten much attention in the media at all, it seems." While discussing the trial with Salon reporter Irin Carmon, Burnett said:

    BURNETT: [T]here are many people out there, as you're aware, on the right who are saying, "Look, it's pro-choice people on the left who aren't going to cover this story, because they're pro-choice and this hurts their agenda. It's such an awful, horrific thing. It'll make people more adverse to abortion. That's bad for them, so they're not covering it." What do you say to those people as someone who reports on this issue? 

    Burnett then acknowledged that CNN's own research showed there were almost no media outlets that had run stories "which mentioned [Gosnell's] name more than three times," indicating that the story wasn't being covered "only on the right, obviously."

    Yet moments later, she asked guest Donna Brazile, "Do you reject the argument that is being made by many on the right ... that, they say, the mainstream media and those who are pro-choice have ignored this story because it makes abortion look horrific?"

    According to a Nexis search, Burnett's own show has never, before this broadcast, covered Gosnell's story.

  • Ted Nugent's Extreme Remarks Get A Pass From CNN's Burnett

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    CNN host Erin Burnett didn't ask NRA board member Ted Nugent a single question about his recent violent remarks concerning gun policy, which included doubling down on his previous claim that he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama was reelected.

    Burnett hosted Nugent on the April 11 broadcast of her show Erin Burnett OutFront to discuss pending gun safety legislation.

    At no point did Burnett ask Nugent about comments he made during an April 8 interview on NRA News, when he complained that not enough was done to stop Obama's reelection and asked, "When I kick the door down in the enemy's camp, would you help me shoot somebody?" Nugent clarified that his reference to shooting people was "a metaphor" and that he's "not recommending shooting anybody." He also doubled down on his claim last year that he would be "either dead or in jail" in a year if the president was reelected.

    Nugent is not a credible voice in the gun policy debate, as evidenced by his long history of inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation about gun violence. Nevertheless, Burnett has attempted to mainstream Nugent before. In February, Burnett's show featured an interview with Nugent where he suggested the government could confiscate firearms, a conspiracy theory that Burnett and CNN reporter Deb Feyerick later treated as a serious argument.

    During the April 11 interview, Burnett experienced some of Nugent's inflammatory rhetoric firsthand when Nugent asked Burnett if she would "support my recommendation that we arrest Eric Holder" in order to "stop gun trafficking."

  • Fox's Baseless Report On Health Insurance Guidance Program: Unions Will Steal Your Personal Information

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News' Megyn Kelly and Chris Stirewalt attacked a program that would help people seeking health insurance understand the new health care reform law, baselessly suggesting that "unions and community advocacy groups" might use the program to steal patients' personal information -- even though Stirewalt admitted that "there's no evidence" Fox's claims were true.

    On April 3, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations for health care navigators, assistants who would provide "unbiased information" to help consumers understand the new health care law and enroll in insurance plans, as a post on Health Affairs Blog noted.

    Kelly, appearing to echo a Washington Examiner post, led a segment on the April 4 edition of America Live by describing navigators' roles and then saying, "But now some are raising red flags, saying the rules allow these jobs of the navigators to be filled by organizations with political agendas, including unions and community action groups."

    Kelly failed to explain why allowing union members to become navigators would be problematic, and the words "union" and "community action" do not appear in the proposed rules.

    In fact, while the rules do include standards on who can apply for navigator jobs, these standards center on conflict-of-interest problems: since navigators will be required to provide unbiased information about insurance plans, the rules prohibit health insurance issuers or their lobbyists from becoming navigators.

  • Fox Echoes Internet Conspiracy Theory Linking Obama To Google's Doodles

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Echoing a conspiracy theory pushed by conservative website The Daily Caller, Fox News tried to link President Obama to a Google doodle highlighting the birthday of labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chávez.

    In a segment on the April 1 edition of America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer discussed Google's decision to feature an illustration of Chávez on its homepage on Easter Sunday -- March 31 is also Chávez's birthday -- with his guest, David Drucker of Roll Call. Drucker thought the move was "an obvious mistake," and Hemmer bizarrely insinuated that Obama was somehow linked to Google's choice:

    HEMMER: Eric Schmidt, who runs Google, was an informal adviser for President Obama. In 2011, the president said, "Make this day, 3/31, make it Cesar Chávez Day." Well, this year the calendar also fell on Easter Sunday. And that's why you had people lighting up the internet saying that they are on their way to Bing as their search engine of choice. Now the theorists would say there is a definite connection here. Do you buy it?

  • Ill-Informed: Fox Pundits Mislead On Beneficial Paid Sick Days Laws

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox's Alisyn Camerota and Charles Payne attacked paid sick day laws as job-killing "entitlements" but ignored studies indicating such laws protect vulnerable workers while having little or no negative impact on businesses.

    On the March 29 broadcast of America's Newsroom, the two criticized a paid sick leave law poised to pass New York's City Council. The law would require companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time and some part-time workers five paid sick days per year, which advocates say would provide paid sick days for one million New Yorkers who don't currently have them.

    Camerota opened the segment by saying the law means that "business owners are taking it on the chin here in New York City," and later hyped Mayor Michael Bloomberg's concerns that the law "could crush New York's fragile economy right now." Payne agreed and said Bloomberg is "absolutely right," adding, "We're talking about very thin [profit] margins, and if you have this many sick days and people simply take them, when things get tough, there won't be jobs for those same people. ... The smaller businesses cannot afford it." 

    Camerota noted that paid sick day laws are becoming a trend nationwide, but failed to inform her viewers that in at least one city, the law has been a success. A paid sick leave law passed in San Francisco has benefited workers and has not harmed businesses there. 

  • Newest Fox Attack On Safety Net: Assistance Keeps Americans In Poverty

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox Business commentator Charles Payne criticized programs providing food and other assistance to low-income families, bizarrely claiming the social safety net keeps people mired in poverty despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    In an America's Newsroom segment, guest host Alisyn Camerota said that enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the federal food stamp program, has increased 70 percent since 2008 and asked Payne, her guest, "Is this all just a by-product of this slow recovery?"

    Payne agreed that the slow recovery is "a large part" of the cause, but went on to claim that food stamps, as well as other public benefits, actually prevent poor and middle-class Americans from improving their economic status:

    PAYNE: For instance, if you're making, in California, $44,000 a year and your boss offers you a raise to 50,000, you would probably say, "No thanks. Cause I don't want to lose out on things like food stamp benefits, local benefits, my child care tax credit, my earned income tax credit."

    In other words, you know, we're a very generous society.  But what we've actually ended up doing is creating a wall, a giant barrier for people to move out of poverty into the middle class because that initial transition, they actually lose money and lose benefits.

    Payne is wrong (even setting aside the fact that a Californian family earning $44,000 would almost never qualify for food stamps). Social safety net programs are not "a giant barrier" for people seeking to escape poverty: they keep millions of Americans out of poverty every year.