Author Page | Media Matters for America

Jeremy Schulman

Author ››› Jeremy Schulman
  • Bill O'Reilly Covers The "War On Christmas" More Than Actual Wars

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN, ROB SAVILLO & BEN DIMIERO

    Every year, "Culture Warrior" Bill O'Reilly devotes considerable time on his Fox News show to the "War on Christmas." This December, O'Reilly has covered the imaginary "War on Christmas" more than three times as much as the actual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    O'Reilly's years-long obsession with the "War on Christmas" has turned each winter on Fox News into an overwrought spectacle lamenting the supposed "secular-progressive" conspiracy to end Christmas. (For an example of how much the "War on Christmas" has permeated Fox's coverage, Fox & Friends spent three consecutive days earlier this month throwing a fit over the fact that Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee called the tree at the Rhode Island statehouse a "holiday tree" and not a "Christmas tree.")

    O'Reilly's focus on the non-existent "War on Christmas" apparently comes at the expense of coverage of the actual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the course of December, O'Reilly spent roughly 42 minutes covering the "War on Christmas" and approximately 13 and a half minutes covering the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

  • Misinformer Of The Year: Rupert Murdoch And News Corp.

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN & ERIC BOEHLERT

    "This is the most humble day of my life."

    That's how Rupert Murdoch began his July 20 testimony to Parliament about the phone hacking and bribery scandal that had already resulted in the resignations and arrests of key News Corp. officials.

    Murdoch's son, James, was equally contrite. "I would like to say as well just how sorry I am and how sorry we are, to particularly the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and to their families," he told the committee. "It is a matter of great regret to me, my father and everyone at News Corporation. These actions do not live up to the standards that our company aspires to everywhere around the world."

    The story had begun spiraling out of Rupert Murdoch's control two weeks earlier, when the Guardian reported allegations that employees of Murdoch's London tabloid News of the World had hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of a British schoolgirl who had gone missing, and who was later found dead.

    "I cannot think what was going through the minds of the people who did this. That they could hack into anyone's phone is disgraceful," lamented Prime Minister David Cameron as the scandal quickly engulfed the U.K., and spread throughout Murdoch's global media reach. "But to hack into the phone of Milly Dowler, a young girl missing from her parents, who was later found to be murdered, is truly despicable."

    Allegations of phone hacking within Murdoch's newspapers had been simmering for years in the U.K., and News Corp. had been forced to make public apologies for the systematic invasions of privacy, often sponsored by News of the World and targeting celebrities, athletes and members of the royal family.

    And while parts of the Dowler story have since been called into question, News Corp. agreed to pay her family 2 million pounds, and Murdoch himself delivered an apology in person. Moreover, the story set off a cascade of damning revelations that have continued to this day.

    Evidence quickly tumbled out indicating the hacking been widespread, and that multiple, high-ranking executives had known about the intrusions. That meant previous explanations to Parliament, when Murdoch managers claimed the crimes had been limited, had been misleading at best. At worst, Murdoch chiefs lied to lawmakers in an effort to cover-up massive wrongdoing.

    For years, Media Matters has documented the stream of purposeful misinformation that flows from Murdoch's American properties, most notably Fox News, where the misinformation has taken an epic turn for the worse under President Obama. Yet the corporate spectacle on display this year is even more troubling. This has been Murdoch overseeing a corrupt enterprise and one whose transgressions extend well beyond tapping into phone messages.

    And for that dubious distinction, as well as for starring in a media unraveling that has attracted multiple police and government investigations on several continents, Rupert Murdoch and his international media behemoth are the recipients of this year's Misinformer of the Year award.

  • Experts Dispute Buchanan On Race And Crime

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    A series of inflammatory claims made by Pat Buchanan about race and crime are baseless and disingenuous, experts tell Media Matters.

    The controversial passages appear in Buchanan's recently released book, Suicide of a Superpower. Buchanan raises the specter of "interracial rape" perpetrated by black men against white women and separately suggests that "largely black juries" are refusing to convict "even patently guilty black felons."

    One of the book's key themes is Buchanan's rejection of the "fashionable" argument that "America's greatness comes from her diversity" [Page 226]. According to Buchanan, the massive waves of immigration that shaped America in the 19th and early 20th centuries were only beneficial because the immigrants were "white":

    Celebrants of diversity point to the Irish immigration of the 1840s and the great wave of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe from 1890 to 1920. America, they argue, despite nativist fears, successfully integrated these diverse peoples into one nation. They ignore the crucial elements that made America work.

    All these people were Europeans. All were white. Almost all were Christian. After each wave of immigration, there were long periods of little or no immigration that gave America time to assimilate the newcomers. And before they were fully assimilated, their children and grandchildren passed through deeply patriotic public and parochial schools where they were immersed in the language, literature, history, and traditions of this unique people. Today, however, those schools have been converted into madrassas of modernity where it is forbidden to invoke the faith of our fathers and American history is often taught as a series of crimes against peoples of color [Page 234].

    In the same chapter, Buchanan points to black-on-white crime -- and black-on-white rape, in particular -- as a major cause of ongoing racial strife. Citing a Bureau of Justice Statistics study (which he wrongly attributes to the "FBI"), Buchanan writes, "Interracial rape is almost exclusively black-on-white, with 14,000 assaults on white women by African American males in 2007. Not one case of white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study" [Page 243].

    Given the history of racism and violence fueled by allegations of black-on-white rape, one would think that Buchanan and his publisher -- Thomas Dunne Books -- would be especially careful about printing such claims. But Michael Rand, a senior BJS statistician who oversaw the study Buchanan cited, tells Media Matters that Buchanan's interpretation of the data is "incorrect."

  • UPDATED: The Lies Of James O'Keefe

    ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Convicted criminal James O'Keefe has released a new video -- this time attacking Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein and the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan progressive think tank. Journalists covering the story should be aware of O'Keefe's history of lies and deception.

  • Limbaugh Listeners Defend Murderous Cult

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    When Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves to deliver a fact-free defense of the Lord's Resistance Army, he left numerous angry listeners with the impression that President Obama had sent troops to "kill Christians in Africa."

    Last week, Obama ordered 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help combat the LRA, a violent cult that has engaged in murder, torture, and rape and has kidnapped children and impressed them into military service.

    On Friday, Limbaugh added his own spin to a straight-forward ABC News report on the matter. Limbaugh declared, "Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians." According to Limbaugh, "Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them." Limbaugh added, "So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda. ... Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are? I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out."

    Several minutes after Limbaugh's rant began, conservatives on Twitter began to echo his claims. A few examples:

    Some Limbaugh listeners even appear to have contacted Congress to protest Obama's supposed assault on African Christianity. A congressional staffer, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record, told Media Matters that his office received an email and a phone call from constituents who "claimed that it was an attack on Christians and said Obama was supporting [an] Islamic regime."

  • Fox Host: "You're Being A Jerk When You Film A Cop"

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    In the past few days, jarring video of a New York police officer pepper-spraying protesters has spread across the internet and cable news.

    The protesters say that the officer's action was unprovoked. Police, meanwhile, say that the pepper spray was used "appropriately." (Police have also suggested that the video may be misleadingly "edited" -- an allegation denied by USLaw.com, which circulated the video.)

    Hopefully, the video evidence will lead to the officer being appropriately vindicated or disciplined. But protesters have also alleged that police are resisting the protesters' efforts to film them. According to Gothamist, "witnesses, including our own photographer, tell us that the NYPD has been specifically targeting photographers and videographers for arrest."

    The Occupy Wall Street protests are only the latest flash point in the controversy over citizens filming police -- an activity that, according to an August appeals court ruling, is protected by the First Amendment.

    Two months ago, the issue was also the topic of a surreal debate on the July 21 installment of Fox News' The Five.

    Watch:

  • Palling Around With Terrorists: Glenn Beck, Yisrael Ariel, and Baruch Goldstein

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Glenn Beck promoted a religious organization run by an extremist Israeli Rabbi who once praised mass murderer Baruch Goldstein as a "martyr" who is "above saints and righteous men."

    Last week, Beck held a pro-Israel event near the base of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Before the event, he broadcast a brief feature on the history of the mount, which promoted the plans of a group called the Temple Institute to help bring about the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple:

    NARRATOR: Plans are now underway to build a Third Temple. Groups like the Temple Institute in Jerusalem are preparing the necessary vessels and garments in accordance with Jewish Law. A new generation of Levite priest is being trained for Temple service. And a two million dollar menorah, covered in 95 pounds of gold, stands at the ready. Although Muslim holy sites currently dominate the Temple Mount, religious Jews agree the Temple will be rebuilt here. The only question is whether it will happen before the Messiah comes, or after.

    The Temple Institute shares Beck's obsession with prophecy and the End Times. According to its website, the Institute "is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem." The Jerusalem Post describes the Institute as "a once-marginal organization that has been gaining increasing prominence." According to a January 25, 2000, piece published in Ha'aretz, "most" of the Institute's members are "extreme right wing."

    As we reported last week, the Institute's founder and head, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, was a close ally of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane and ran for the Knesset on the ticket of Kahane's Kach party. Kach has since been banned from Israeli elections because of its overt racism and its association with violent activities. Both the Israeli government and the U.S. State Department have officially listed Kach as a terrorist organization.

    Since the 1970s, members of Kahane's organizations -- including the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and Kach -- have carried out terrorist attacks in the United States and Israel.

    Perhaps the bloodiest attack took place on Feburary 25, 1994, when Baruch Goldstein -- a member of Kach and the JDL -- used an automatic rifle to murder 29 Muslims praying in a Hebron mosque and to wound more than 100 others before being beaten to death.

  • Glenn Beck Embraces A Kahanist

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Glenn Beck is promoting the organization of a far-right Israeli extremist who has ties to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane's terrorist Kach movement.

    Yesterday, Beck held a pro-Israel event near the Temple Mount, which is sacred to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It's the place where the first and second Jewish temples once existed and where the Islamic Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque now stand. Shortly before the event, Beck broadcast a brief feature about the mount, which discussed plans by "religious Jews" to "build a Third Temple" there. Beck's broadcast promoted the work of an organization called the Temple Institute.

    Watch:

    NARRATOR: Plans are now underway to build a Third Temple. Groups like the Temple Institute in Jerusalem are preparing the necessary vessels and garments in accordance with Jewish Law. A new generation of Levite priest is being trained for Temple service. And a two million dollar menorah, covered in 95 pounds of gold, stands at the ready. Although Muslim holy sites currently dominate the Temple Mount, religious Jews agree the Temple will be rebuilt here. The only question is whether it will happen before the Messiah comes, or after.

    What exactly is the Temple Institute? According to its website, the Institute "is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time."

    The Jerusalem Post describes the Institute as "a once-marginal organization that has been gaining increasing prominence." According to a January 25, 2000, piece published in Ha'aretz, "most" of the Institute's members are "extreme right wing."

    The founder and head of the Institute is Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who, according to according to the Jerusalem Report, "ran for Knesset on Meir Kahane's racist Kach party ticket in 1981, and has argued that Jewish law does not allow Christians or Muslims to live in the Land of Israel." Ariel was apparently quite close to Kahane. According to a 1990 Jerusalem Post article, Ariel "served as No.2 to Kahane in the early '80s" before Kach was banned from Israeli elections. Ariel was seen as a potential "spiritual successor" to Kahane.

  • Beck Lies About His Attack On Israeli Protesters

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Last week, Glenn Beck and his co-hosts engaged in an unhinged rant against the widely popular protests in Israel. They characterized the protesters as "obviously from the hard left" and likened their economic demands to Soviet policies. Beck even speculated that the protests are being orchestrated with some sort of "leftist global financing" and that the protesters are working with Islamic extremists.

    Apparently the backlash got to be too much for Beck. According to an Israeli news report, Beck is now insisting that his comments were misrepresented. Here's a translated excerpt from Yedioth Ahronoth:

    Even though this visit was intended for other purposes, Beck doesn't evade referring to the encampment on Rothschild [the hub of the social protests]. This week his criticism of the protest was published in Israel, where he compared the protesters to communists. This time, he chooses the Margol [popular Israeli singer who attacked the protesters and backtracked after scathing criticism] tactic and says his statement was taken out of context.

    "My position was misrepresented. The last thing you need is outsiders telling you what to do on domestic politics. I'm here only to say that Israel has the right to exist as independent Jewish state, with an undivided capital, and you have the right to defend yourselves. On everything else, decide yourselves."

    Here's another Israeli report, in which Beck tells Israel Hayom that he was misunderstood:

    Recently Beck got entangled in critical comments about the social protest. "I was misunderstood. I don't understand why it matters what I think about domestic Israeli affairs. All I said was 'who are those young people?' It could be that some of their demands are justified."

    But as usual, Beck simply isn't telling the truth. Here is the audio and transcript of the relevant portion of Beck's August 10 radio show:

  • Glenn Beck Vs. "The Jewish Community"

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Glenn Beck likes to say that "[t]here is no one more pro-Israel or more pro-Jew than I am." But what exactly does that mean?

    Over the past month, hundreds of thousands of Israelis (out of a population of about 8 million) have protested high housing costs and other economic issues. A Haaretz poll from late July found that fully 87 percent of Israeli respondents supported the protests; just 9 percent opposed the protests.

    But Glenn Beck disagrees. Last week, he and his co-hosts blasted the protesters, whom they characterized as "obviously from the hard left." They sarcastically described calls to "enshrine the right to housing in the law" as something that "worked out well for the Soviets" and mocked proposals for rent control.

    Beck went on to speculate that the protests are being orchestrated by some sort of "leftist global financing" and that the protesters are working with Islamic extremists.

    Listen:

    In other words, Beck apparently thinks 87 percent of Israelis support a movement that is collaborating with Islamic extremists and a shadowy network of international "leftists."

    Beck has also criticized large portions of the American Jewish community. Earlier this year, 400 rabbis signed an open letter criticizing Beck's inappropriate rhetoric about the Holocaust and his false claims that George Soros collaborated with the Nazis. In response, Beck went on the attack. He falsely claimed that the letter was signed only by "Reformed rabbis" and insisted that Reform Judaism is "more about politics" than about faith, which he said makes it similar to "radicalized Islam."

    Listen: