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Lis Power

Author ››› Lis Power
  • Fox News has spent just four minutes covering E. Jean Carroll’s report Trump sexually assaulted her

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A new report of sexual assault committed by President Donald Trump became public Friday, and Fox News has devoted just four minutes to covering it.

    On June 21, journalist and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll wrote in New York magazine’s The Cut that 23 years ago, Trump assaulted her in a department store dressing room. According to Carroll, Trump “lunge[d] at me, pushe[d] me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and [put] his mouth against my lips.” She wrote that he then pulled down her tights and assaulted her. Carroll told two close friends at the time, both of whom “still remember the incident clearly and confirmed their accounts to New York.”

    According to a Media Matters review, Fox News has devoted just four minutes and six seconds to Carroll’s story, with over a quarter of that time devoted to airing Trump's response that he has "no idea who she is," despite a photo of the two of them together. Carroll’s allegations against Trump were mentioned twice on Friday (Special Report and Fox News at Night), twice on Saturday (America's News Headquarters and Fox Report with Jon Scott), and just once on Sunday (MediaBuzz). The story had dropped out of the network’s coverage by Monday.

    Fox News isn’t the only Murdoch-owned entity downplaying the story. According to CNN, a “Murdoch lieutenant” -- a former top editor of the New York Post who returned to the paper as an adviser earlier this year -- had an article about Carroll removed from the tabloid’s website. “A wire story by the Associated Press which had been published on the Post's website was also removed,” CNN reported.

    At least 19 other women have accused Trump of sexual assault or misconduct. But Carroll’s story initially received scant media attention: Major newspapers failed to put the explosive report on their front pages and the “big five” Sunday political talk shows also ignored the story.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched the SnapStream video database for any mentions of various spellings of Carroll as well as for variations of Jean from June 21 through noon on June 25. Re-airings of shows were not included.

  • Cable news fell for Trump’s campaign launch gimmick

    Trump’s 60th presidential rally received 2 1/2 hours of cable news coverage before it even began

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melisaa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump held his 60th rally since becoming president last night in Orlando, FL, and while the event was virtually identical to his past 59 rallies, the media was still fooled into giving Trump and his rally significant coverage -- before it even began.

    Trump filed for reelection the day of his inauguration, just hours after he was sworn in and much earlier than any previous candidate. Since then, he’s held 60 rallies -- with six of them happening already in 2019. The only unique aspect of Trump’s rally last night was his claim that it marked the official launch of his reelection campaign. His messaging, however, made it seem like the event was still in 2016, with many media figures noting there was “almost nothing new” and that it was “just another rally.”

    Even though some outlets acknowledged that Trump has actually been running for reelection since the day he was inaugurated, media still flocked to cover last night’s event, giving it significant attention throughout the day. In the lead-up to the rally, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all had extensive pre-rally coverage featuring multiple correspondents reporting live from the rally site. In total, the cable news networks devoted nearly 2 1/2 hours of coverage to Trump’s rally before the president even set foot on stage. Fox News had nearly an hour and a half of pre-rally coverage, while CNN and MSNBC devoted 28 minutes and 35 minutes, respectively.

    When it came to airing the rally itself, MSNBC avoided airing the event, similar to the way it has treated Trump’s previous rallies in 2019. Fox News aired the rally in its entirety, and CNN -- which had only aired a cumulative minute and a half of the president’s first five 2019 rallies -- aired eight minutes of it. CNN’s Brian Stelter noted in his newsletter that while CNN and Fox News both aired the beginning of Trump’s speech live, “after five minutes it was clear that Trump didn't have anything new to say.”

    But demonstrating that the media have learned nothing from 2016, cable news networks subjected their audiences to endless images of Air Force One, the stadium attendees, and the empty podium along with repetitive chyrons reading “Trump departs,” “crowds filling arena,” and “Trump lands in Orlando”:

    Alex Walker and Tyler Monroe contributed to this piece.

  • Tyrus’ new Fox Nation show premiers as reports of sexual harassment become public

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox Nation host Tyrus’ new show premiered Wednesday morning, just a day after The Daily Beast reported he was taken off his old Fox Nation show, UN-PC, due to allegations of sexual harassment from his former co-host Britt McHenry.

    Tyrus hasn’t hosted UN-PC with McHenry since at least April 25, when Tom Shillue stepped in to take over co-hosting duties. According to The Daily Beast, “Tyrus was booted off his Fox Nation show after his co-host Britt McHenry filed a sexual harassment complaint against him with Fox News management.” The article continued:

    Fox News brass was aware of the harassment complaint against one of its streaming service’s most high-profile hosts, these sources confirmed, but ultimately decided to move Tyrus, born George Murdoch, off Un-PC and onto his own new show called NUFFSAID.

    The day after The Daily Beast article was published, Tyrus’ new show, Nuff Said with Tyrus, premiered on Fox Nation. The description of the premiere episode: “Tyrus meets up with 'Big & Rich's' John Rich to talk country music, sip whiskey, and explore the art of wearing a cowboy hat.”

    A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment on the situation, but Fox’s website is currently advertising Tyrus’ new show.

    Fox’s handling of the situation, which appears to solely involve giving a host reported for sexual harassment his own show, is just the latest example of how Fox News’ infrastructure that allowed years of serial sexual harassment is alive and well.

    Update (6/12/19): 

  • Sunday shows completely ignore evidence Trump administration's citizenship census question was meant to benefit white Republicans

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Last Thursday, a memo came to light suggesting that President Donald Trump’s administration added a citizenship question to the 2020 census to benefit “non-Hispanic whites” -- but every single Sunday political news show ignored it.

    The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to allow the Trump administration to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Multiple states, cities, and rights groups are challenging the addition on multiple fronts, with many arguing that the question was added illegally and that it would undermine the accuracy of the census by potentially leading to an undercount.

    Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had insisted that the data from the question would “permit more effective enforcement” of the Voting Rights Act and would protect “minority population voting rights.” But on May 30, reports surfaced that “prominent Republican redistricting strategist” Thomas Hofeller “played a significant role in orchestrating the addition” of the question because it would be electorally advantageous for “Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites”:

    [Hofeller’s] files show that Hofeller concluded in a 2015 study that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and benefit white Republicans in redistricting. Hofeller then pushed the idea with the Trump administration in 2017, according to the lawyers’ letter to Furman.

    The evidence, first reported by the New York Times, contradicts sworn testimony by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s expert adviser A. Mark Neuman and senior Justice Department official John Gore, as well as other testimony by defendants, the letter said.

    The citizenship question, if added, could have major ramifications lasting well beyond 2020, resulting in “an uneven distribution of federal money” and tilting “the political landscape in favor of Republicans.” Despite the issue’s significance, according to a Media Matters search, the major Sunday political news shows -- Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, State of the Union, and Fox News Sunday -- didn’t mention the memo, the census, or the citizenship question during their June 2 shows.

    The citizenship question isn’t the only issue Sunday political news shows have recently ignored: Stories related to white nationalism, climate change, and possible presidential corruption have also gotten short shrift. Previous Media Matters studies have found that panels and guests on Sunday shows have been overwhelmingly conservative and white.

  • In 2019, 92% of Trump's nationally televised interviews have been on Fox News or Fox Business

    Trump lashed out at Fox on Twitter in March but has been rewarding the network with interviews 

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In mid-March, President Donald Trump used Twitter to pressure Fox News to bring back suspended host Jeanine Pirro and lash out at three Fox anchors. Since then, Trump has given interviews to Fox Business and Fox News seven times. So far in 2019, 92% of all of his nationally televised interviews have been on Fox channels, with nearly two-thirds of them occurring after he lashed out on Twitter.

    On March 17, Trump took a shot at three Fox News anchors complaining about their coverage and saying they should move to CNN. The same day, Trump vociferously defended and lobbied for Pirro, one of his biggest sycophants, who had been suspended for making anti-Muslim comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). (Pirro returned to the channel after two weeks.) The drama was nonetheless enough to make headlines, with one article’s title asking, “Is Trump changing his tune on Fox News?”

    The short answer to that question is no.

    Trump's tendency to favor Fox channels for interviews has increased dramatically in 2019. So far this year, 11 out of 12 of the president’s national TV interviews -- 92% -- have been on Fox News or Fox Business, an increase from 2017-2018 when 67% were given to Fox-affiliated channels. Since lashing out on March 17, Trump has given seven interviews to Fox News or Fox Business.

    Notably, in a one-week period from April 25 through May 2, Trump gave four interviews to Fox. At no other point in his presidency has Trump done so many Fox interviews in such a short time frame.

    Five days after the March 17 Twitter spat, Trump sat for an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. Trump promoted the interview multiple times on his Twitter feed and has since done another interview with her on April 28 that The Washington Post described as “so friendly that [Trump] wouldn’t stop talking.”

    Trump has also done two interviews with host Sean Hannity on March 27 and April 25. The one on April 25 was a lengthy call-in interview described as a “rambling” -- a 45-minute rant so friendly that, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf put it, the term softball doesn’t even apply and “T-ball is closer to the mark.”

    The president also rewarded Trish Regan on Fox Business and Catherine Herridge and Griff Jenkins on Fox News with interviews.

    Trump also promotes Fox News, a Fox personality, or a Fox show almost daily on Twitter. From March 24 -- when Attorney General William Barr sent his letter to Congress about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump-Russia investigation -- to April 29, 43% of Trump’s tweets about Mueller referenced Fox in some manner.

    Although Trump has lobbed the occasional criticism at Fox, especially when he perceives its coverage to be critical of him, he’s also been its biggest cheerleader -- whether by sitting down for interviews, calling into shows, telling people to tune in to Fox News, or simply tweeting about some of the more sycophantic hosts and shows. His message is clear: Stay loyal to the president, or he’ll lash out.  

  • Fox News gives credence to a nativist vigilante militia that allegedly was plotting to kill prominent liberals 

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & LIS POWER

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After a far-right militia received national notoriety over its detention of a large group of asylum seekers at gunpoint on the U.S.-Mexico border, Fox News segments on the incident credulously allowed the group to argue the legitimacy of its actions. Fox also mentioned a new way the group is fundraising after some payment processors said they would not work with the group.

    The militia, United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), received widespread attention last week after it posted a video to its Facebook page showing group members armed with firearms detaining almost 300 migrants on the U.S. side of the southern border. The militiamen forced the migrants to halt their movement, a fact the American Civil Liberties Union says constitutes illegal kidnapping. It is not illegal to enter the U.S. to seek asylum -- in fact, U.S. law requires claims to be made from within U.S. borders or at a port of entry. In the video, at least one militia member also falsely identified himself as a member of U.S. Border Patrol, echoing a common tactic of the group in which members seek to give migrants they encounter the impression they are law enforcement officers.

    On April 20, the FBI arrested UCP leader Larry Mitchell Hopkins on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a felon. Hopkins’ lengthy criminal record includes a conviction for impersonating a police officer. In charging documents, the FBI also noted that it received a tip in 2017 that the group was plotting to assassinate former President Barack Obama, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and philanthropist George Soros.

    Despite the group's criminal history, Fox News has treated its legitimacy as an open question. During an April 22 segment of Your World with Neil Cavuto discussing UCP, Fox News contributor and Fox Business host Charles Payne said, “Citizens that are taking up arms, trying to assist. … It's apparent to the world that we've got a crisis down there and they're trying to help out.”

    Other segments on Fox News credulously promoted the group’s claims of legitimacy, with a Fox News correspondent noting UCP members “see themselves, as their group name suggests, as patriots, not vigilantes,” and Fox News’ Melissa Francis highlighting UCP’s claim that it has come under law enforcement scrutiny for “stopping illegals” due to “political pressure.”

    Other segments on Fox News have mentioned a new way the group is attempting to raise money after the notoriety of the viral migrant detention video caused the group to be kicked off of PayPal and GoFundMe.

    Fox News has long shown sympathy to far-right armed groups. In 2014, Fox News personalities took the side of Cliven Bundy and his supporters, who were threatening violence against the government during an armed standoff sparked by a dispute over unpaid cattle grazing fees. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs was also a vocal supporter of the since-disbanded anti-immigrant vigilante Minuteman Project despite the obvious extremism of the group and its members. One of the founders of that group was later sentenced to death for murdering a 9-year-old girl and her father, while another group leader was later convicted of child molestation.

  • The Mueller report didn’t address collusion, but that’s not stopping Fox News from screaming “no collusion”

    Fox figures and guests have wrongly claimed the report shows “no collusion” over 60 times since its release

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER & JOHN KERR

    The introduction of the report released by special counsel Robert Mueller clearly lays out the parameters of what the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election looked at: “We applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of ‘collusion,’” it states, adding that “collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law.”

    As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes, “while the report did not establish conspiracy or coordination, it does not make a determination on ‘collusion’ — and in fact, it strongly suggests that there was at least an attempt to collude by Trump’s campaign and agents of the Russian government.”

    Nonetheless, Fox News figures and guests have claimed the report found “no collusion” over 60 times since it was released. Fox’s so-called “news"-side correspondents have wrongly claimed that “volume one clearly states for the American people that there was no collusion by the president and his team.” Fox’s so-called “news"-side anchors wrongly asserted that the report shows “no collusion” and asked whether Democrats will “move on,” while one of Fox’s sycophantic opinion hosts, Mark Levin, literally yelled, “No collusion, no collusion, no collusion. No collusion!”

  • The Mueller probe is over. Now Fox News wants retaliatory investigations.

    In one day, Fox News aired 26 segments calling for investigations into those involved in the Mueller report and Trump's perceived enemies 

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER & ROB SAVILLO


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    The day after Attorney General William Barr released his summary letter on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, nearly half of Fox News’ segments on the Mueller probe mentioned the idea of future investigations into those involved in the probe -- as well as Trump’s perceived enemies.

    As the Mueller inquiry concluded, Fox News figures and others on the right began to ramp up calls for new or reopened investigations into Hillary Clinton, the FBI, and the Russia probe itself. President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both pushed the idea of investigating the investigators on March 25, with Trump saying that some people involved in the probe “will certainly be looked at” and Graham promising to “try to find out” whether investigators’ actions were nefarious.

    Fox News aired 118 segments about the Mueller probe that day, and 58 of them -- 49 percent -- mentioned the possibility of future investigations against those involved in the probe or perceived to be against Trump; 26 of those segments featured someone specifically endorsing additional investigations.

    Anchors, hosts, and guests repeatedly discussed the possibility of investigating a whole slew of people who worked in the Obama administration. The list of people and organizations who Fox figures and guests felt should be targeted for investigation included Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the FBI, the Department of Justice, former FBI Director James Comey, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former CIA Director John Brennan, former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, the Clinton Foundation, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and more.

    Statements noting Republicans’ desires to investigate the origins of the Mueller probe were common refrains on Fox News, with Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy asking viewers, “Is it time to investigate the investigators?” On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers asked, “Should the Obama administration, should Hillary Clinton now both be investigated?” Her guest, attorney Jenna Ellis, responded, “Absolutely.” On Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Mike Huckabee claimed there was an “attempted coup d’etat” while demanding that Republicans “counterpunch hard” by investigating the Justice Department and FBI.

    When Graham held a press conference to talk about future investigations, Fox News aired 20 minutes of it. Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum drilled her guest, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), on whether he’d support investigating “the origins of this investigation. What President Obama knew, what Loretta Lynch knew, what James Comey knew, what John Brennan knew.” Sean Hannity’s entire show basically revolved around discussing future investigations and the idea of a “day of reckoning” for Clinton and everyone else in the Obama administration.

    After years of complaining about what they saw as an unjust investigation into Trump, Fox News personalities are now, in their own words, counterpunching, and pushing for a multitude of “tit for tat” investigations -- something that even one Fox guest called “ridiculous.”

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched the Snapstream video database for Fox News Channel transcripts dated March 25, 2019, containing any variation of the term “investigate” on its own or any variation of “investigate” within close proximity of any of the following terms: “Brennan,” “Clapper,” “Schiff,” “Swalwell,” “Steele,” “Rice,” “Page,” “Strzok,” “McCabe,” “Clinton,” “Comey,” “Mueller,” “special counsel,” or any variation of “investigate.”

    We defined as segments discussions in which special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and related matters was the stated topic of discussion or in which at least two speakers in a multi-topic discussion discussed Mueller’s report with one another.

    We then coded each segment for whether 1) anyone mentioned the possibility that Mueller, others involved in Mueller’s investigation, or those perceived to be against Trump could also be investigated; or 2) anyone explicitly endorsed investigations of Mueller, others involved in Mueller’s investigation, or those perceived to be against Trump.

  • Fox News has barely covered the illegal plea deal Labor Secretary Alex Acosta gave to Jeffrey Epstein 

    Fox hosted Alan Dershowitz, who helped craft the deal, and didn’t even bring it up

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Media Matters / Melissa Joskow

    A federal judge ruled Thursday that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was part of a team of prosecutors who violated federal law by concealing a plea agreement from victims who had been sexually abused by New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein. In any other administration this would be a major media story, but in the Trump administration it’s just another blip on the radar, especially on Fox News, which has devoted less than 4 minutes of coverage to this development.

    The ruling comes a few months after the Miami Herald published a three-part investigation titled “How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime.” The series described how “federal prosecutors [including Acosta] collaborated with Epstein’s lawyers to arrange the deal, then hid it from his victims and the public so that no one would know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes and who else was involved.” Among Epstein’s lawyers were frequent Fox News guests Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. Thursday’s ruling found that the “federal prosecutors, under former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, broke the law when they concealed” that deal, a violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

    Fox News has covered the judge’s finding that Acosta violated the law for just 3 minutes and 44 seconds, with quick mentions on Special Report and Fox News at Night, and a report on The Daily Briefing. Perhaps even more egregious is the fact that Fox hosted Dershowitz (who helped create the plea deal) last night, and host Laura Ingraham conveniently didn’t ask him about the case.

    While CNN’s and MSNBC’s coverage has been slightly more muted than what one might expect for a story of this caliber, both networks did more than Fox, particularly MSNBC. CNN devoted 15 minutes to the story while MSNBC spent 58 minutes covering the developments. CNN and MSNBC had multiple reports on the developments as well as panel discussions. CNN’s Jessica Schneider noted in her coverage that Epstein is “politically connected and he does count Donald Trump among his contacts.”

    Fox News has a history of ignoring stories that reflect poorly on Trump and his administration; it seems the network is also willing to give Acosta a pass for his role in illegally helping a serial child abuser get off as easily as possible.

    MethodologyMedia Matters searched the SnapStream video database for any mentions of "Epstein," "Acosta," "Jeffrey," or "Labor" from February 21 through 3 p.m. on​ February 22. 

  • Fox News fearmongered about a migrant caravan for 26 straight days in the run-up to Trump's State of the Union

    As Trump tries to paint a picture of an immigration “crisis,” Fox News devoted 7 hours of coverage to a migrant caravan

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Before the 2018 midterm elections, Fox News and President Donald Trump went all in on fearmongering about the supposed threat of a migrant caravan approaching the U.S. southern border. Recently, as Trump was demanding funding for a border wall, warning of an immigration “crisis,” and threatening to declare a national emergency, Fox News tried the same gambit again.

    Fox News’ coverage of the latest caravan started days before the migrants even began their journey. From January 10 up until the State of the Union address on February 5, Fox News devoted over seven hours of coverage to the caravan that was moving toward the U.S. The network sent multiple correspondents to Central America and Mexico to report on it, with correspondent Griff Jenkins spending at least 14 days embedded with the migrants. In that time, Jenkins participated in at least 80 Fox segments on the topic.

    Fox’s coverage ramped up on January 15, the day the caravan started its trek from Honduras, and continued for nearly a week before dropping off. Coverage rose sharply again on January 30 and remained high through February 5, the same day that Trump delivered the State of the Union address and the migrant caravan arrived near the U.S.-Mexico border.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Not a day went by that Fox News didn’t at least mention the caravan. Fox & Friends, the network’s morning show, covered it the most, spending just over two hours discussing the caravan between January 10 and February 5. The caravan was mentioned in 17 of the show’s 19 episodes during the time frame examined by Media Matters.

    While Fox’s previous caravan panic was used as a (failed) push for Republican voters ahead of the midterms, the network’s current caravan fixation is being used to justify Trump’s border wall obsession. To Fox, the latest migrant caravan is an example of “a crisis” that proves Trump needs a border wall, and it even provides a justification for Trump to potentially declare a national emergency. The network has also used news stories from the caravan to fearmonger about gang members, murderers, and rapists coming into the country.

    In comparison, CNN and MSNBC have largely ignored this caravan. Most of CNN’s and MSNBC’s mentions of the caravan in this time frame have been used to criticize Trump’s midterm caravan ruse, fact-check his immigration rhetoric, and note that all his fearmongering about caravans has amounted to nothing. CNN has also pointed out that Trump’s fixation on the caravan tends to stem from Fox News’ coverage.

    Just today, Fox News teased "new video emerging of another caravan forming." This will never end. 

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for any mention of “caravan,” “Mexico,” “migrants,” “illegals,” “Guatemala,” or “Honduras” on Fox News between the hours of 4 a.m. and midnight starting January 10 and ending February 5 with the State of the Union. If a teaser, passing mention, or discussion was specifically about the caravan, we included it. Shows that re-aired during the hours of the study weren’t included in the results. Live video of Trump discussing the caravan also wasn’t included.