Author Page | Media Matters for America

Leanne Naramore

Author ››› Leanne Naramore
  • Sandy Hook families are suing Alex Jones. This is what he said about the shooting.

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is being sued for defamation by the parents of two children who were killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, that left 20 students and six educators dead.

    Over the past five-and-a-half years, Jones has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about the tragedy, including casting doubt about whether it even happened or claiming that the shooting was staged by nefarious groups using actors.

    Jones has said the shooting has “inside job written all over it,” called it “synthetic, completely fake, with actors, in my view, manufactured,” claimed “the whole thing was fake,” said it was “staged,” called it a “giant hoax,” suggested that some victims’ parents lied about seeing their dead children, and pushed other toxic conspiracy theories:

  • Video: Why you should worry about the Trump / Fox News feedback loop

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE & MATT GERTZ

    President Donald Trump spends hours of his days tweeting at the television. The president is pulling much of his information directly from Fox News, specifically from his favorite show Fox & Friends. When the man with unparalleled access to the most advanced intelligence operation in the world prefers to get his information from people who once tried to roast marshmallows first with their hands and then with a plastic spoon, we're all in serious trouble. Watch:

    Video by Miles Le and Leanne Naramore

  • Morning Joe Still Loves Donald Trump

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & LEANNE NARAMORE

    MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski have been criticized repeatedly for their “softball” coverage of President-elect Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign and into the transition, and they’ve lashed out in response. And yet, since the beginning of 2017, their Trump reporting has been nothing less than fawning.

    After a New York Times article noted that Scarborough and Brzezinski were present at a New Year’s Eve party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and a reporter suggested Scarborough may have “partied” with the president-elect, Scarborough resorted to smearing the reporter instead of setting the record straight. The MSNBC host “blew up,” “accused [the reporter] of lying” and “pushing fake news,” and “sought to undermine [his] credibility." This “over-the-top response,” according to The Washington Post’s Callum Borchers, was in line with Scarborough’s sensitivity “to any suggestion that he is too cozy with” Trump.

    And yet, while Scarborough has insisted that he and Brzezinski have “treated” Trump “tough” throughout the campaign, he has chosen to spend the first two weeks of 2017 bragging about how he and Brzezinski have “known and have been friends with Donald Trump for a decade,” praising him as “the master of many things,” and attacking journalists who apparently “aren’t doing their jobs” while covering Trump. Watch: 

  • VIDEO: Jesse Watters: The Worst Of The Worst

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE & JOHN KERR

    Fox News is under fire after The O'Reilly Factor on October 3 aired a blatantly racist edition of Jesse Watters' segment "Watters' World." Watters interviewed people in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood, asking questions such as “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?" “Tell me what’s not made in China?” and “Do you know karate?” This segment is just the latest addition to Watters' long history of making racist and sexist remarks, shaming the poor, and mocking ordinary people during his "Watters' World" feature on O'Reilly's program. Here are some of the worst examples:

    Several groups representing Asian-Americans have issued statements condemning the racist segment, and numerous journalists have rebuked the piece.

  • VIDEO: The Media's Years Of Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    The media has spent years hurling sexist attacks at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. From attacks on her appearance, her cleavage, her sexuality, her "PMS," the tone and volume of her voice, her laugh, her emotions, her age, being a grandmother, being called a "bitch,""castrating" and a "vaginal American," the claim that she's only successful because of her husband and more, it's hard to overstate the barrage of sexism Clinton has faced during her time as first lady, senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate.

    Now that Clinton is set to become first female presidential candidate for a major party in U.S. history, the media should avoid falling into this inexcusable cycle of rampant sexism and misogyny in their general election coverage.

  • VIDEO: This Conservative Legal Group Wants To Make Gay Sex Illegal Again

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA, COLEMAN LOWNDES & LEANNE NARAMORE

    News networks frequently invite Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) -- one of the most powerful right-wing legal groups in the country -- to defend laws like North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bathroom legislation. But media outlets typically identify ADF as merely a “Christian legal organization,” failing to mention the group’s record of defending laws that would put people in prison for being gay.

    ADF is a right-wing legal powerhouse that’s been linked to nearly every recent attack on LGBT equality and women’s reproductive health care. The group has testified against Planned Parenthood and was a major player in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby case. Legislation like North Carolina’s bathroom law and Indiana’s “religious freedom” law are the products of ADF’s behind-the-scenes legal work. The group shops extreme model legislation to state lawmakers across the country, testifies in favor of those laws, and then defends them in local and national media.

    But news networks that host ADF often identify them as a “Christian” or “conservative” legal organization, failing to mention the group’s history of smearing the LGBT community and working to criminalize homosexuality. ADF has helped defend laws in Belize and Jamaica that would put people in prison for engaging in gay sex. The group opposes anti-bullying efforts, which it believes will indoctrinate “impressionable” children into homosexuality. Alan Sears, the group’s current president, co-wrote a book which claims that homosexuality and pedophilia are “intrinsically linked.” At a recent conference, one ADF attorney claimed that the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard had been falsely depicted as an anti-gay hate crime in order to advance the “homosexual legal agenda.”

    News networks that choose to give ADF airtime to defend rolling back LGBT and abortion rights should be honest with their audiences about who ADF is, rather than letting them get away with posing as a reasonable conservative legal group.

  • How Fox News Celebrates Black History Month

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE & SARAH WASKO

    As most of the country celebrates Black History Month, Fox News has spent February peddling racist tropes about the black community. Fox personalities and guests repeated racist canards about black-on-black crimeout-of-wedlock births, and "black behavior," mocked a video highlighting the impact of structural racism, criticized Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance as an attack on police officers, and accused a Black Lives Matter activist running for Baltimore mayor of having proved only that "he could burn things down":

  • VIDEO: How Fox News Paved The Way For Trump's Presidential Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    Donald Trump has won the New Hampshire primary. It's the first major win for Trump, whose vitriolic and bombastic campaign has dominated news coverage of the GOP presidential primary.

    But years before he became the epicenter of Republican campaign politics, Trump was using Fox News to pave the way for his eventual presidential run. And since then, Fox has become Trump's de facto communications shop, defending his campaign's missteps and giving him tens of millions of dollars in free airtime:

    Voiceover by Carlos Maza.

  • The Extreme Radio Host Who Helped Ted Cruz Win The Iowa Caucuses

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA, JOHN KERR & LEANNE NARAMORE

    Ted Cruz's victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses is due in part to the vocal support of Steve Deace -- an influential local radio host who spent the past few months urging his listeners to back Cruz in the nomination process. Deace has become a kind of kingmaker in Iowa Republican politics, and Cruz openly touted his endorsement in the lead up to caucus night.

    Deace is also one of the most extreme voices in right-wing media -- accusing Democrats of leading a "war on whites," warning of an army of jihadists coming to take over America to argue for a higher white birth rate, and claiming President Obama is a Marxist and not a Christian.

    Deace reserves his worst comments for the LGBT community. Deace calls homosexuality an "un-American and pagan ideology," a "sin orientation," and a "death sentence unto itself." He asserts the acceptance of homosexuality and marriage equality have created a slippery slope to pedophilia and has described gay activists as "homo-fascists" bent on promoting a "Rainbow Jihad." He argues gay people should be disqualified from serving as judges, and praised laws that criminalized homosexuality, which he wrote "punished evil" and protected civilization. He describes transgender people as "trannies" and mentally ill. He's even promoted an article that accused Obama of being secretly gay.

    If Cruz continues performing well in the GOP primary race, Deace will likely become a constant fixture in mainstream media's election coverage. It's up to media outlets to identify the right-wing extremism of the man who helped secure Cruz his first big victory in the presidential primary.