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Courtney Hagle

Author ››› Courtney Hagle
  • Ahead of Trump’s El Paso rally, Fox & Friends pushes lie that crime went down after border fencing went up

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    As President Donald Trump prepares to hold his first campaign rally of the year in El Paso, TX, on February 11, Trump’s allies on Fox & Friends have already picked up on his lie that violence in El Paso decreased following the construction of border fencing. The morning show hosts are pushing this false narrative as fact even though multiple outlets have already debunked it.

    During his State of the Union address on February 5, Trump falsely claimed, “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime - one of the highest in the country, and [was] considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities.” State and local officials quickly pushed back on this claim. PolitiFact also debunked it, writing that El Paso’s “violent crime rate has been significantly below the national average compared to cities of similar size” every year between 1985 and 2014. And as NBC News reported, “Violent crime has been dropping in El Paso since its modern-day peak in 1993 and was at historic lows before a fence was authorized by Congress in 2006.” Both outlets also noted that the violent crime rate in the city increased after the fence was put up. In fact, the El Paso Times reported, “From 2006 to 2011 — two years before the fence was built to two years after — the violent crime rate in El Paso increased by 17 percent.” But as criminologist Charis E. Kubrin told PolitiFact, the increases or decreases in the city’s crime rate aren't necessarily linked to the fence.

    Despite the statistical evidence contradicting Trump’s claims, the hosts at Fox & Friends supported the president in lying about crime rates in El Paso. During the February 11 edition of the show, co-host Ainsley Earhardt claimed that Democrats are “upset with [Trump] saying in the State of the Union address that the wall works in El Paso.” Co-host Brian Kilmeade replied, “Right, which it did.”

    From the February 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

  • Cable and network news largely ignore rollback of CFPB protections against payday lenders

    ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News all failed to cover the proposed rule change

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On February 6, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under President Donald Trump announced a proposal to weaken an Obama-era rule designed to protect consumers from predatory payday lenders. Despite this move’s implications for consumers, network and cable news almost entirely ignored the rule change.

    The Obama-era rule, which had set August 19, 2019, as a deadline for the payday lenders to start complying with its provisions, “was the first significant federal effort to regulate payday lenders and took more than five years to develop.” Part of its provisions would require payday lenders to verify potential borrowers' income and debts when deciding whether they could afford a high-interest loan, thus protecting vulnerable consumers from predatory lenders. Advocates of these provisions argue that “ability-to-repay requirements protect borrowers from getting caught in loans with exorbitant interest rates,” which can exceed 300 percent.

    The latest proposal by the CFPB would eliminate the ability-to-repay requirements and delay implementation of the rule until 2020. This change would be a huge win for payday lenders, who lobbied lawmakers to block the rule last year. When those efforts failed, payday lenders “turned their attention to convincing the CFPB, now under the leadership of a Trump appointee, to change course.”

    The proposal is the latest step in the Trump administration’s efforts to remake the CFPB, which was created after the 2008 global financial crisis in an attempt to protect consumers. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, argued, “This proposal essentially sends a message to predatory payday lenders that they may continue to harm vulnerable communities without penalty.” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s former director who was in charge of finalizing the rule, described the rollback as “a bad move that will hurt the hardest-hit consumers,” adding, “It should be and will be subject to a stiff legal challenge.”

    Network and cable news almost entirely ignored the CFPB’s proposed rollback, which will be open to public comment for 90 days, despite its potential to affect millions of borrowers. The only significant coverage occurred on MSNBC’s MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle in a segment that lasted over seven minutes and emphasized the detrimental impact the rollback will likely have on consumers.

    MSNBC and NBC also featured two brief headline segments covering the topic on their early morning shows that each lasted less than 30 seconds. There has been no other coverage on MSNBC or NBC. CNN, Fox News, ABC, and CBS have not covered the story at all.

    UPDATE (2/8): After noon on February 7, MSNBC ran two more segments covering the CFPB proposal. On MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle, host Stephanie Ruhle again presented the facts in a segment that lasted over six minutes and featured New York University business professor Scott Galloway. The following hour, on MSNBC Live with Katy Tur, Katy Tur hosted former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to discuss the damaging impact this rule will have on consumers in a segment that lasted a little over one minute.   

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of "CFPB," "consumer protections," "consumer financial," "roll back," "payday," "community financial services," "CFSA," and "Kraninger" on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, and CBS from February 6 to noon on February 7.

  • Right-wing media predictably attack Pelosi with sexist remarks

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing media figures predictably launched sexist attacks against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during the 2019 State of the Union address. The new round of attacks is just the latest manifestation of conservative media’s problem with women.

    For over a decade, conservative media haven’t hesitated to lob sexist attacks at Pelosi as part of a persistent attempt to build the narrative that she is a shrill, uptightwitch.” Conservative talk show host Dennis Miller once called Pelosi a “shrieking harridan magpie,” and conservative radio host Mike Gallagher has repeatedly said on-air that someone should “throw a bucket of water” on her and “see what happens.” Conservative radio host Mark Levin, who has regularly lobbed sexist attacks at Pelosi and other Democratic women on his show, once claimed that “our friends in San Francisco” will keep re-electing “shrill” Pelosi “as long as her makeup holds up.”  

    Other conservatives have responded to Pelosi’s leadership with crude, tasteless vulgarity. On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh suggested that if Pelosi “wants fewer births,” she should put pictures of herself “in every cheap motel room,” adding, “That will keep birthrates down because that picture will keep a lot of things down.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham once claimed that “Nancy Pelosi basically did everything except sell her own body” to pass health care reform legislation.

    Conservative media personalities have also spent years attacking Pelosi over her appearance, including by claiming she has had face-lifts and Botox. Radio host Michael Savage offensively described Pelosi as “Mussolini if he came back and wore ugly clothing and put on bad makeup and had too much Botox.” Limbaugh once asked if “[Sen.] Lisa Murkowski and Pelosi go to the same Botox guy,” suggesting that “maybe they share needles.” On Fox host Sean Hannity’s radio show, Levin once declared, “You could bounce a dime off [Pelosi’s] cheeks.” Talk show host G. Gordon Liddy claimed, “If they stretch Nancy Pelosi's face anymore she can be used as a drum in the Marine Core (sic) Band.”

    Given conservative media’s history of sexist remarks against Pelosi, it is unsurprising that the pattern of attacks continued before and during the State of the Union:

     
  • Fox & Friends ignores report on Trump properties firing undocumented workers in interview with Eric Trump

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    On the February 5 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts invited President Donald Trump’s son and Trump Organization vice president Eric Trump on to discuss the border wall and undocumented immigrants, but they  failed to ask him about new reports that the Trump Organization has started purging undocumented workers from five Trump golf courses in New York and New Jersey. According to The Washington Post, the purge was “set in motion after a series of reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status,” and 18 people have been fired so far. Last night, Eric Trump personally confirmed the firings to the Post.

    From the February 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

  • CNN panel falsely claims that Democrats haven’t offered a plan on border security

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    Less than one week after CNN reported on a border security proposal by Democratic leadership, a CNN host and panelist falsely claimed that Democrats “haven’t offered any kind of plan whatsoever” on border security. The Democrats’ proposal includes 1,000 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers; “new imaging technology at land ports of entry to scan for drugs, weapons, and contraband”; “increased resources and technology at mail-processing facilities to intercept opioids and fentanyl”; and the “expansion of Air and Marine Operations on the border and in US waters.” The proposal, which describes the treatment of migrants in U.S. detention as a "humanitarian crisis" and "the only real crisis at the border," would also involve the "bolstering of CBP’s resources in handling detained migrants apprehended at the border.”

    From the February 4 edition of CNN’s Inside Politics:

    ANNIE LINSKEY (WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER): There also is some polling though, that Republicans have lost ground on the border, which I found quite interesting. The Washington Post did a poll earlier in the last few days that showed Democrats, amazingly, had a slight edge among -- Americans believe that Democrats have a slight edge on how they would handle immigration, which is something that Democrats traditionally have had been down by nine points. So there is quite a lot of turmoil right now on that issue, and I think that you're right, that the president is going to want us to recapture it because it would be quite concerning to see Democrats, suddenly -- especially since they haven't offered any kind of plan whatsoever, but if Americans are beginning to think, “Wow, Democrats might do a better job.”

    DANA BASH (GUEST HOST): You know, you mentioned the Democrats haven't offered a plan. That's a really important point and it has gotten a little bit lost in the fact that there was such a robust political fight over on the president's terms, on what he wants. And if it had gone on longer, perhaps more discussion would have happened over, “Well, what are the Democrats offering?”

    Previously:

    CNN panel compares Medicare for all policy proposals to Trump’s wall and GOP “repeal-and-replace slogan”

    CNN anchor suggests "bold" policies like Medicare for all might pull Democrats "too far to the left"

    CNN host tells Democratic lawmaker that not giving in to Trump's border wall demand is "just not working"

  • Here’s how Fox is downplaying Roger Stone’s indictments

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Following the news that Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, had been arrested and indicted on several charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, Trump’s most loyal supporters at Fox News rushed to Stone’s defense.

    Early in the morning on January 25, the FBI arrested Stone on seven charges of obstruction, giving false statements, and witness tampering as part of Mueller’s investigation, which had looked into whether Stone had inside information about emails hacked by Russia and released by WikiLeaks.

    Following the news of Stone’s indictment, Fox News was quick to rush to his defense. In addition to criticizing CNN’s presence at the scene of the arrest and resorting to the tired “But Hillary!” line of defense, Fox figures declared that the indictments reveal nothing, insisted that there is no evidence of collusion, criticized the manner in which Stone was arrested, and called for investigations into former and current FBI officials, Justice Department officials, and top Democrats.

    Declaring that the indictments are meaningless, irrelevant, and prove there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia

    On Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy claimed Stone’s indictments actually rule out Trump-Russia collusion because “why would the campaign have had to turn to Roger Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had? They would've known that from Russia.” From the January 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): You just say in the big picture, there's no -- it's not -- it doesn't really touch the president yet.

    ANDREW MCCARTHY (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): Well, I don't think not just yet, Brian. I don't see how it could because, here to make it real easy, if Trump and his campaign were in a criminal conspiracy of espionage with Russia, if they had colluded with Russia, why would the campaign have had to turn to Roger Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had? They would've known that from Russia. They wouldn't've needed people like Roger Stone. It's been obvious from a long time, even if you go back to Mueller's indictment to the two Russian entities, the troll farm case and the hacking case. There's no reason to think that Russia in its operations looked for any cooperation from anyone on the American side, not just President Trump. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/28/19]

    On Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Dan Bongino claimed that the Stone indictment "proves" that there is "zero evidence" of Russian collusion. From the January 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    DAN BONGINO (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): Yes, we found crimes, no question. But [former Trump campaign chair Paul] Manafort has pled guilty to them -- they're not allegations anymore. But the problem is we were all told that Mueller was investigating some grand collusion conspiracy with the Russians, of which it is not in dispute anymore, there is to this day zero evidence any of that happened, and the Stone indictment, at this point, proves it. Can we just move on and indicate what you just said, Brian? Some people were involved in some shady stuff, some admitted criminality, it had nothing to do with the Russians, very little, if anything to do with Trump other than the fact that he intersected with some of these people. And can we finally move on? Mueller needs to tell the American people, do you have collusion or not? And if not, it is time to move on. This has thrown a monkey wrench into the country's mechanics. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/28/19]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, the three co-hosts complained about Mueller’s investigation, with co-host Pete Hegseth saying “absolutely nobody cares” and asking viewers, “Have you ever been to Russia? Can you speak Russian?” From the January 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Absolutely nobody cares. No, really. I mean, this town here cares a lot because they're invested; they’ve looked like fools for being invested in the narrative and they want it to work. But no one watching this program cares. Email us. ... Do you care about Russia? Have you ever been to Russia? Can you speak Russian? Do you care about any of that at all, because you definitely don’t. Here’s the thing: I think while Bob Mueller is supposed to be an independent investigator, he's playing into the hands in this country that there are two forms of justice. Roger Stone gets his door kicked in at 4 in the morning, a 68-year-old guy who’s got no -- no physical threat to anybody. Yet Hillary Clinton bleach-bits her server, lies to Congress, and gets her lawyers there, nothing happens to her, nothing happens to Huma Abedin, any of these people. I couldn't even pronounce it. Sorry. No, but people get the sense that there are two forms of justice. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/27/19]
     

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, frequent Fox guest Alan Dershowitz minimized Stone’s indictments by claiming “they’re not crimes of substance.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday:

    ALAN DERSHOWITZ (HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR): Look, as Judge Ellis, who presided over the Manafort case, said about Manafort, the government isn’t interested in Manafort -- Mueller isn’t interested in going after this guy for his bank fraud. They're interested in squeezing him, they’re interested in getting information from him about the real target, and that's Donald Trump. And that’s a very disturbing way of using the criminal justice process. Also, this shows another disturbing trend, and that is Mueller has hardly indicted anybody for crimes that occurred before he started the investigation. Almost all of these crimes, like this one, occurred during the investigation, they’re process crimes, they're not crimes of substance. Now, in the indictment, Mueller tells an interesting story about WikiLeaks but he doesn't charge him with anything like that. He can't defend himself against that at trial. At trial, he's only charged with lying and tampering with witnesses and obstruction of justice, all of which occurred after Mueller was appointed. So far, Mueller has come up relatively empty on crimes that occurred before he was appointed, which was his mandate. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/26/19]

    Complaining about the way the FBI arrested Stone

    On Justice with Judge Jeanine, host Jeanine Pirro ripped into the FBI’s treatment of Stone, characterizing the raid as “Gestapo tactics.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): Not a great weekend for Roger Stone, whose over-the-top arrest yesterday morning is the subject of my second opening statement tonight. So the Mueller team gets an indictment against Roger Stone, who is represented by an attorney. But instead of notifying the attorney and requesting he bring his client in for arraignment -- standard protocol in cases like Stone’s -- the Mueller team decides instead on Gestapo tactics. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    Later on Pirro’s show, Fox contributor and former Trump official Sebastian Gorka said the Stone arrest was like something that would happen under “a communist dictatorship.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    SEBASTIAN GORKA (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): My parents lived under a communist dictatorship, a police state. And back then there was the phrase “Watch out for the 2 a.m. knock on the door.” In Roger Stone’s case, it was 5 a.m., but it’s the same thing. The idea that you’ve got a man who’s a senior citizen, who’s charged with -- what? Perjury? -- and you send 29 agents wearing body armor and carrying AR-15s to bang down his door. Sorry -- you know, judge, better than anybody, before a warrant is served, before somebody’s arrested in their home, there’s a commander of the operation, a threat assessment is made, and in a white collar crime this is not how you do it. This is rank intimidation, this is the corruption that Obama left over in the DOJ, and this is on Robert Mueller’s doorstep. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett attacked the raid, saying that Stone “is a white-collar suspect” and “not MS-13.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    GREGG JARRETT (FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST): It was an abusive, ridiculous, and embarrassing excessive use of force by the FBI. [FBI Director] Christopher Wray really ought to be embarrassed and ashamed that he allowed his agents to be exploited like that by Robert Mueller. Twenty-nine agents with repeat firing weapons in a pre-dawn raid, storming into a suspect's house. This is a white-collar suspect of process crimes. He is not MS-13. He is not a mass murderer.

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): So why did they do it?

    JARRETT: This was thuggish tactics to intimidate the witness. I doubt he will be intimidated by it. But this is what Robert Mueller's investigation has come to -- no principled crimes, only process crimes, which are offenses against the legal process. So these crimes against Roger Stone are actually generated or created by the special counsel. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/26/19]

    On Hannity, host Sean Hannity complained that Stone is “being treated like Pablo Escobar” and that the investigation is “the biggest abuse of power scandal in modern American history.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We are witnessing the biggest abuse-of-power scandal in modern American history. It's playing out right before your eyes. More corruption than we've ever seen. Really, a pre-dawn raid? Seventeen vehicles move in, 27 FBI agents in full SWAT gear, guns drawn, home surrounded? For what? Roger Stone is not being charged with any violent crime here. He isn't charged with colluding with a foreign government at all. He's never posed any security threat of any kind. Instead he was indicted on a series of process crimes that never would have happened, yet Robert Mueller started an investigation. This is, in other words, created by the fact that Mueller had an investigation. Why is he being treated like Pablo Escobar? [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19]

    Jerome Corsi, who is also wrapped up in Mueller’s investigation, appeared on Hannity to criticize the raid as “Gestapo-like tactics,” complaining that the Mueller team is “determined to terrorize people and criminalize politics.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    JEROME CORSI (FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C., BUREAU CHIEF, INFOWARS): I was shocked. I mean, I think this is Gestapo-like tactics. I mean, what's the point in having all these armed police with riot gear bursting into a house at 7 a.m. Wife and Roger in bed. I mean, this is not America. This is not the way we treat people in America who are basically trying just to be political operatives who are earning a living and, I mean, it frightens me to think what the FBI could do bursting into my home with my wife asleep and the family asleep. There is no need for it. And I think increasingly that we're seeing an out-of-control Mueller operation that is determined to terrorize people and criminalize politics. I think it's very frightening for the direction of America. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19; Media Matters, 11/13/18]

    Deflecting to attack former FBI officials

    On Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, Pirro suggested the FBI should indict top former FBI and Department of Justice officials. From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): Stone lying to Congress? Jim Comey lied to Congress. John Brennan lied to Congress. [James] Clapper. And dear Hillary [Clinton] -- that woman lied every time she opened her mouth. Need I go on? [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    Hannity ripped into top Justice Department and FBI officials, naming a slew of former and current officials before asking, “When will they get the pre-dawn raid treatment?” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Five counts of lying to Congress and not once lying about emails. Oh, and text messages. All of these crimes occurring after the start of the Mueller investigation. Now, this is nothing more than a political persecution. Now, let's not forget James Comey, he lied to Congress. John Brennan lied to Congress. James Clapper lied to Congress on multiple occasions. Are they going to be charged? When will they get the pre-dawn raid treatment? What about former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, fired for lying to the FBI? When is he going to get the pre-dawn raid? Comey's general counsel, James Baker, well he leaked sensitive information. When is his pre-dawn raid? James Comey leaked bureau memos to the press via a close professor friend -- is he going to get charged with that? Now the biggest of all, we have Hillary Clinton. She mishandled top-secret classified material on an unsecured private server and then -- want to talk about obstruction of justice, not handing over emails, not handing over text messages. Oh, that's what they just charged Roger Stone with. But Hillary destroyed subpoenaed emails, 33,000 of them. Oh, and then she washed her computer hard drive with BleachBit and then they busted up the devices. Where is Hillary Clinton's pre-dawn raid? James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Rod Rosenstein -- they all lied to a FISA court. They never checked the veracity of the charges in the Clinton bought-and-paid-for phony Russian dossier. Are they going to be charged for those blatant crimes? This is sad and this is now going to be the end of real justice in America because this is a two-tiered system of justice. And today after posting bail, Roger Stone, he remained defiant. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19]

    On Fox’s The Ingraham Angle, guest Victor Davis Hanson tore into former FBI officials, saying that Mueller’s “legacy is now there are now two codes of justice.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle:

    VICTOR DAVIS HANSON (GUEST): Yeah, well I think what gets everybody -- I don't know Roger Stone what he did or he did not do, whether he’s a provocateur or raconteur. It doesn't matter, the questions, the quality under the law. Cut to the quick, Laura, had he been James Comey and he had gone into a sworn testimony before Congress and then 245 times said he didn't know or he couldn’t remember, he wouldn't be indicted. If he had been the deputy director, Andrew Mccabe, and said he was misunderstood when he lied he wouldn't have been indicted. Had he been James Clapper and said he gave the least untruthful answers, he lied under oath to Congress, he wouldn't have been indicted. Had he been John Brennan, who’s very ubiquitous today, on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and then said the CIA doesn't lie, he wouldn't have been indicted. So what -- Robert Mueller, whether he knows it or not, his legacy is now there are now two codes of justice. There’s for people who are connected and there's people who are not connected but useful for a prosecutor's agenda. I don't think any of us want to live in a America like that. It's Orwellian and it’s third world and it’s disgusting. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/25/19]

  • Four ways that Fox is misinforming people about Trump and the Senate GOP's proposal to end the shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    As the longest government shutdown in history continues, Fox News and Fox Business are doing their part to push a proposal from President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans. But in the proposal, which Trump's media allies insist is a great deal for Democrats, the GOP is offering only temporary fixes to problems Trump created and adding new restrictions for asylum seekers, while ignoring Democrats' primary point -- that Trump is holding the government hostage.

    The Trump administration has billed the proposal as a generous compromise for Democrats. Officials claim that it would expand existing protections for about 700,000 immigrants currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, started under President Barack Obama; expand protections for immigrants who currently have temporary protected status (TPS); and provide $800 billion in aid to improve care for children and families at the border.

    In exchange, Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to fund a wall on the U.S. southern border and asking for “millions more” funding for law enforcement. This includes “2,750 more border agents and other law enforcement officials, millions of dollars in screening technology to detect drugs at ports of entry, and the hiring of 75 new immigration judges to address the immigration court backlog, which is currently the biggest barrier to deporting people quickly.” The proposal would increase the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) budget by more than $1 billion. The proposed bill also includes changes to asylum rules for Central American children and teenagers that would allow them “to apply for asylum in their home countries — a modification of an Obama administration program Trump ended in 2017.” In return, the Trump administration wants to change the current immigration law to eliminate automatic court hearings and make it easier to deport children and teenagers who come to the U.S.

    Despite the administration's attempt to paint this as a good faith offer, there are many reasons why the Democratic leadership is calling his proposal a “non-starter.” First, the proposed bill does nothing to address the Democratic leadership’s main concern that Congress should not be debating border security while the government is shut down. Second, the concessions that Trump’s administration is eager to offer Democrats would likely have little impact. Trump's attempts to end DACA and TPS are being fought in court, and the Supreme Court has not yet agreed to take up either case, meaning it is unlikely that a three-year, one-time extension will protect DACA and TPS recipients any longer than waiting for an eventual Supreme Court decision would. The time period for immigrants to apply for DACA has ended, and only current DACA recipients are allowed to re-apply every two years. Democrats understand that if “they don’t make a deal, current DACA recipients will remain protected from deportation and able to work for several more months at least.”

    The TPS and DACA concessions that Trump's administration is eager to paint as wins for Democrats would actually weaken the programs. Trump’s TPS proposal would eliminate temporary protections for refugees from six of the 10 countries currently covered by the program. The proposal also affects DACA recipients and asylum seekers by imposing stricter penalties for providing incorrect information during the application process, which could result in an application being denied due to minor mistakes. The proposal also determines new requirements for approving an asylum claim, and adds that an application can be rejected for not being “consistent with the national interest.” Lorella Praeli, the ACLU’s deputy national political director, warned ABC News in a statement: "This sham ‘compromise’ would weaken the asylum system, strip vulnerable children of critical safeguards ... and hollow out protections for individuals from countries ravaged by natural disasters or war."

    The Democrats have no reason to trust Trump when it comes to immigration because he has flip-flopped on such policy proposals in the past. Trump also did not negotiate this proposed bill with the Democrats, but instead consulted with Vice President Mike Pence, top aide Jared Kushner, and congressional Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham. Finally, the Democrats see the demand of $5.7 billion for a border wall as Trump simply trying to fulfill a racist campaign promise to his base.

    Despite this, Trump’s supporters at Fox are trying to boost this bill by pushing it as a great deal for the Democrats, claiming that the proposal offers greater protection for DACA recipients, arguing that the changes to asylum rules are actually positive, and floating the idea that rejecting this proposal would mean Democrats don’t really care about DACA recipients.

    Declaring that the proposed bill is a great deal for the Democrats

    Fox & Friends’ host Steve Doocy characterized the proposed bill as “a win-win for both sides.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): If those moderate Democrats who we’ve heard on television over the last month or so don't come to the table and put forth a good-faith effort to negotiate an end to this and simply vote in lock step with Chuck Schumer, you got to wonder why -- other than to not allow Donald Trump a win. Because when you look at the deal that the president proposed on Saturday, he gets some wall money, although just about a quarter of what he asked for initially. And the Democrats wind up with DACA protections, humanitarian money close to a billion dollars. It's a win-win for both sides. If they say no, I'm sure people all across America, as Ali just said, are going to blame the Democrats. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Fox Business’ Stuart Varney said that “for the life of me,” he doesn’t understand how Democrats can “keep going with their blanket resistance.” From the January 22 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co:

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Really, I mean, it’s such an obvious deal, isn't it? You take care of the Dreamers, and I think most Americans would like in some way to take care of the Dreamers. But you also build a wall. You stop the problem in the future. And -- for the life of me, I don't see how [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Schumer can keep going with their blanket resistance to anything that Mr. Trump proposes. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 1/22/19]

    On Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier, guest Mollie Hemingway characterized Trump’s offer as “a ridiculously generous proposal.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

    MOLLIE HEMINGWAY (THE FEDERALIST): He is now taking matters into his own hands, working with the vice president, bringing forth this other proposal. It is actually kind of a ridiculously generous proposal, a lot of what the president and [Sen.] McConnell have been suggesting in a way that might even risk losing some of the support that they have from the conservative base. I mean all of this generosity with DACA and the temporary status, and the Central American asylum status-seekers. All of these things, they’re very generous offers -- $5 billion for a wall is really very little money. The idea that you’re not going to see any movement from the other side -- the reason why it might be a problem for Nancy Pelosi is her only talking point is we want to reopen the government. Well, you have to act like -- as Greg said -- you have to act like you’re serious about that, if you really want to do it. If you are not offering anything, not putting anything on the table, not putting forth any realistic compromise and not accepting these really generous offers, it kind of hurts your own talking point. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth called the proposal a “gift to Democrats,” while Jedediah Bila described the proposal as “a genuine effort on [Trump’s] part to compromise.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): And the sort of gift to Democrats was the three years of legal relief, basically a three-year extension of DACA protection for DACA recipients and then a three-year extension of protection for immigrants under a temporary protected status. He held firm on the $5.7 billion, a lot of people looking to see whether he would move on that. And then basically said, “Hey, if you want to reopen the government, I will give you DACA, I will give you other aspects of temporary protected status, only temporarily for three years.” And then I think that gives him room to say, “Well, if you want a full DACA fix, I want even more wall money.” I'm not saying that's where it will go. But -- he didn’t cave on the bigger number, which is what people were looking at.

    JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): I think this was a genuine effort on his part to compromise. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

    Later on in the show, co-host Ed Henry gushed that Trump is “talking about compromise” and “common sense,” while Bila said that she is “infuriated by the Democrats’ reaction.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    ED HENRY (CO-HOST): The Democrats always want to say he's harsh, he wants to divide. Instead he's talking about compromise, he’s talking about common sense, he's talking about compassion. So what were the outlines, what were the specific of that deal -- $800 million in urgent humanitarian aid. So he’s not just talking about cracking down. He's talking about helping people on the border. He also, though, has $805 million for drug detection technology at ports of entry saying, I'm going to be tough on the border. Over 2,700 additional border patrol agents, law enforcement officials. Again, to highlight the crackdown as well, 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce that backlog we hear about, months and months of cases built up, which is why a lot of people end up getting dumped out on the streets of America. And sticking -- holding firm on that number, $5.7 billion in border -- in actual wall funding. But then here's what he's reaching out to Democrats about. Three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients. So there’s not a path to citizenship that Democrats want. They don't get to stay here forever but a three-year pause, which seems like a reasonable compromise. And a three-year extension of TPS, which is essentially Temporary Protection Status for about 300,000 immigrants who are here right now from El Salvador and other countries in Central America.

    JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): I'm actually infuriated by the Democrats' reaction. I really am, because this is all stuff that they've supported in the past. And they’re complaining -- They have complained in the past. You saw Barack Obama even talking about the humanitarian crisis. Well, this addresses that. They have asked for this, for DACA to be addressed, this addresses that. They have in the past supported border security. This addresses that. So he really came to the table with something that should have been palatable to everyone, and for them to just immediately respond the way they did, I mean let's take a look, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, right away saying, “We reject it, we’re not interested.” And Pelosi saying it's unacceptable and a non-starter. Schumer, “more hostage-taking.” How do you have that reaction? [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

    On America’s News Headquarters, Fox guest Patrice Onwuka characterized Trump’s proposals as “concessions.” From the January 19 edition of Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters:

    PATRICE ONWUKA (INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S FORUM): You know, I’d like to believe that, I’d like to hope so. Those are two pretty big concessions on the part of the administration in saying “Listen, we actually want Democrats to come to the table and not be on vacation or sorry, traveling, outside of the country, going on junkets or whatever the case may be.” I mean, I think at this point it would be good to see progressives actually put forward a hand and say “Hey, we’re actually willing to make some concessions as well and meet the president and Congress and Republicans halfway here.” Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. [Fox News, America’s News Headquarters, 1/19/19]

    Claiming that the proposal is a good deal for DACA recipients and offers greater protection

    Fox & Friends guest Ali Noorani claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “an incredible opportunity” to allow immigrants to “retain their legal status.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    ALI NOORANI (NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM): The Senate majority leader has an incredible opportunity in front of him to put 800,000 people back into solvency. They’re going to be missing their second paycheck at the end of the week. Sen. McConnell can not only strike a deal that gets their paychecks with you, but also get President Trump the border resources that he’s looking for and permanent protections for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Temporary Protected Status. You put those two numbers together, we are talking about 1.8 million people who are getting a paycheck or being able to retain their legal status. Sen. McConnell has got an incredible opportunity to bring Schumer and Pelosi to the table to strike a compromise. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends guest Linda Vega falsely claimed that currently “applicants are not able to re-apply for benefits” and that Trump’s proposed bill would give recipients the chance to “permanent residency … or to actually work and pay taxes.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    LINDA VEGA (IMMIGRATION LAWYER): Well the rush is currently -- applicants are not able to re-apply or apply for any benefits. They're at a standstill. If they're in court proceedings they're being deported. This plan, this three-year offer by the president would offer them the opportunity to adjust their status to permanent residency, or to continue studying in the country, or to actually work and pay taxes. It's a great offer for a starting point. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Arguing that the changing asylum rules to limit asylum is actually good

    On Fox News’ The Five, co-host Jesse Watters listed “changes to the asylum” procedures as “logical arguments” that Democrats “just can’t argue with.” From the January 21 edition of Fox News’ The Five:

    JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): These logical arguments, they just can't argue with. All they say is, “Oh, it's mean.” So if you look at what he's offering, he's offering humanitarian assistance. He's offering changes to the asylum. He says only 280 additional walls to be needed and to be built. And what are they saying? No? And millions of people are still not getting paid. I don't think that's very compassionate. [Fox News, The Five, 1/22/19]

    When listing Trump’s proposals on Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, host Jeanine Pirro characterized the changes to asylum rules by saying, “Now young people can seek asylum in their country.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): The president described in clear and direct language the human crises ranging from 300 of our children dying every week from heroin -- 90 percent of which comes through those porous Mexican borders. Now young people can seek asylum in their country without traveling with those dangerous human traffickers and coyotes. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/20/19]

    Accusing Democrats of not caring about DACA recipients if they do not accept the proposed bill

    Fox News’ host Sean Hannity accused Democrats of scoring “cheap political points” instead of caring about DACA recipients, while Trump is making “honest efforts. From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So the president is trying to do his job. Honest efforts, reaching out to the Democratic Party in every possible way. An invitation a day, they won't meet him. They are too busy traveling on paid junkets and using taxpayer money. Once again, they want to score cheap political points. I thought they cared about the furloughed workers. Apparently not. I guess they cared about the DACA kids, apparently not, and the Dreamers, apparently not

    While Democrats dig in and obstruct, even some in the hate-Trump media are beginning to admit that the president is making Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats look pretty stupid. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/22/19]

    On Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Katie Pavlich claimed that “people are starting to notice” that Pelosi cares “more about politically scoring points than she is about scoring points for the people she claims to want to protect.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:

    KATIE PAVLICH (co-host): At the same time that Nancy Pelosi continues to play games, and the president gives them things that they voted for in the past, whether it's barriers on the border or protections for DACA recipients, Dreamers, their parents. They continued to say no. He's put many, many things on the table. I think that Nancy Pelosi takes for granted her voting base and the base of the left. Because, as Harris -- you always brings up, she's been protested before for not protecting DACA recipients in a way that she has promised to do. I think that people are starting to notice that when push comes to shove and it's put on the table, she is more about politically scoring points than she is about scoring points for the people she claims to want to protect. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Ed Henry claimed that “DACA recipients and others [are] saying that they are getting frustrated with Nancy Pelosi and the democratic leaders. From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    ED HENRY (CO-HOST): Democrats love to talk about about, “Oh, the president’s under pressure from his right flank. And Ann Coulter’s not happy with a deal like this, and she pressured him into a government shutdown.” What they don't like to talk about is how there are some on the left now, DACA recipients and others, saying that they are getting frustrated with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leaders. That they promised the DACA recipients the moon and they are not delivering. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

  • Fox & Friends downplays bombshell report that Donald Trump instructed his lawyer to lie to Congress about business dealings in Moscow

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A January 17 BuzzFeed News report revealed bombshell allegations that “President Donald Trump directed his former longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.” Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, downplayed the report despite the serious and potentially impeachable nature of these allegations.

    Two federal law enforcement officials familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News that Trump supported a plan for him to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate the Moscow tower deal during the 2016 presidential campaign. The sources also said that Cohen has told special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump personally instructed him after the elections to lie about the timeline of the negotiations “in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.” Since 2016, Trump has repeatedly asserted to the public that he had no knowledge of any business dealings with Russia. But, according to BuzzFeed News, “Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.” In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the details of the Moscow deal.

    Despite these serious allegations, Fox & Friends barely covered the report, dedicating just three headlines, which together totaled 73 seconds, and one interview segment to the report. The brief headline reports were centered on Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s current lawyer, denying the allegations. During the interview segment, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich vehemently pushed back on the allegations, calling the report “an absurdity” and “a hypothetical.” Gingrich also tried to discredit BuzzFeed News, saying that BuzzFeed is “the equivalent of those tabloids you buy at the grocery stores … that introduce you to Martians” and that “to take BuzzFeed seriously is a sign of how desperate we are for news.” Gingrich also said Cohen was “wildly delusional” and that he was “trying to please the investigators [because] he was desperately trying to avoid jail.”

    This is not the first time Fox & Friends has ignored or downplayed reports that are negative for Trump. In addition to downplaying the BuzzFeed News report, the show has also almost entirely ignored Giuliani’s bombshell CNN interview on January 16 in which he refused to say whether or not there had been collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.