Author Page | Media Matters for America

Lis Power

Author ››› Lis Power
  • While Israeli operatives reportedly dug up dirt on Obama officials, Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka smeared them in the media

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Two reports over the weekend revealed that Israeli operatives were hired to collect information on two former officials of President Barack Obama’s administration in order to discredit them, allegedly at the behest of the Trump administration. Simultaneously, Sebastian Gorka, who at the time was deputy assistant to the president, was repeatedly going on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to smear the same officials.

    According to reports in The Observer and The New Yorker, “people in the Trump camp” hired Israeli operatives “to find incriminating material on Obama diplomats who negotiated” the Iran deal. The two aides targeted were Ben Rhodes, a national security adviser to Obama, and Colin Kahl, who was deputy assistant to Obama. The New Yorker reported that in May and June of 2017, Rhodes’ and Kahl’s wives began receiving suspicious emails that now appear “to be part of an undercover campaign by an Israeli private-intelligence firm to discredit Obama officials.”

    At the time the Israeli operatives were allegedly trying to dig up dirt on the two officials, Gorka, then deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, was running his own smear campaign against the two with Hannity's help. Gorka repeatedly appeared on his show to vilify Rhodes and Kahl by linking them to “the deep state” and accusing them of being a danger to and jeopardizing national security.

    On May 10, 2017, Gorka claimed the “real danger” to this country is political appointees like “the Ben Rhodes of the world, the Colin Kahls.” Several days later, Gorka once again called out Rhodes and Kahl, asking, “When is it going to stop? When is the conspiracy theory insanity of the resist movement, of the Ben Rhodes, Colin Kahl nexus going to say, look, we’re not going to endanger national security anymore?” In June, Gorka once again went after the two officials, saying, “It’s people like [former United Nations Ambassador Susan] Rice, Ben Rhodes, Colin Kahl who are covering their tracks for the disastrous policies of the last eight years.”

    Gorka made similar comments on Mark Levin’s radio show in April 2017 as well as on Breitbart radio in August 2017 after he left the White House.

  • How cable news covered the nationwide school walkout to protest gun violence

    Hint: Fox practically ignored it

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    At 10 a.m. on March 14, K-12 students across the country walked out of their schools to honor the victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, and to protest everyday gun violence in America. MSNBC devoted the full hour to the protest, not even breaking for commercials. CNN spent significant time on the story, interviewing students and highlighting the national nature of the movement. Fox News devoted only a couple of brief headline segments to the events.

    MSNBC opened the 10 a.m. hour of programming by noting, “You've got demonstrations planned at schools from Maine to Miami, Houston to Honolulu.” The network had correspondents located in Great Neck, NY; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Georgia; and Parkland, FL, and its coverage featured interviews with students who were walking out. MSNBC’s coverage of the protests was uninterrupted from 10 to 11 a.m.

    CNN’s coverage also began promptly at 10, with correspondents across the country covering the student walkouts. CNN interviewed Sam Zeif, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who noted he still doesn’t feel safe in school, as well as other student protesters from around the country. The walkout was the only story covered on CNN from 10 to 10:26 a.m.

    But coverage looked drastically different on Fox News. Fox’s programming continued as usual, focusing on the upcoming confirmation hearing for CIA Director Mike Pompeo to serve as secretary of state, the Pennsylvania special congressional election, and the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. There was a “Fox News Alert” about the walkout at 10:03, but by 10:04, the network had moved on to another “Fox News Alert,” this time about Pennsylvania’s special election still being too close to call. Fox again ran a headline segment about the protests at 10:15, which also lasted just over one minute, and just one more brief segment later in the hour.

    In total, during the 10 a.m. hour, MSNBC spent the full 60 minutes on the student protests, not even breaking for commercials, CNN spent just over 21 minutes on the protests, making it the most dominant story of the hour, and Fox News devoted just five and a half minutes to the story.

    There will be other student-led national events against gun violence in the coming weeks, including the March for Our Lives on March 24 and the National High School Walkout on April 20.  

  • The life of a made-up Fox News ‘scandal’: Obama FBI texts edition

    Fox has nearly perfected the art of moving the goalposts after its so-called bombshells have been debunked. (They’ve had a lot of practice.)

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    It started out as a “bombshell” alert. Text messages, according to Fox News, showed then-President Barack Obama might have been improperly involved in the Clinton email investigation. By midday, it had been debunked (the texts weren’t about the Clinton email investigation at all), but it morphed into a sad charade by the network to pretend that Obama being briefed about Russian interference into the election was somehow a scandal of its own.

    Relentlessly pushing pseudo-scandals is Fox News’ bread and butter. The network essentially throws anything at the wall to see what sticks, and the Obama-FBI text message “scandal” is just the latest example. Here’s a breakdown of how Fox News messed up and is now trying to move the goalposts on its fraudulent claims.


    At 6:00 a.m. on February 7, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee published an interim report titled “The Clinton Email Scandal And The FBI’s Investigation Of It,” prepared by committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The report pointed to a text FBI lawyer Lisa Page sent to FBI Agent Peter Strzok about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey that read “Potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” The report claimed this text “raises additional questions about the type and extent of President [Barack] Obama's personal involvement in the [then-Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton email scandal and the FBI investigation of it."

    Setting the stage: The Fox & Friends hype

    From the moment Fox’s morning show Fox & Friends started on February 7, it was clear there was a new “scandal” emerging in the network’s ecosystem. Co-host Steve Doocy opened the show with a “Fox News alert and a bombshell exclusive.” The bombshell: “New messages” that referenced Obama “now raising even more questions” about the Clinton investigation.

    Doocy noted Johnson’s report and questioned, “Are they talking about Barack Obama? Does that mean he was involved in whatever they were doing? That's a bombshell.”

    A bombshell it was not. But here’s how the story progressed on Fox News’ flagship morning show:

    6:30 a.m.

    Brian Kilmeade: “There’s a story here at the very least, don’t you agree.” 

    7:03 a.m.

    Doocy: “New messages now raising even more questions about what the FBI and former President Obama knew about the Clinton investigation and when.”


    Griff Jenkins: “We’re taking a look at this, and it is raising a lot of questions. And it’s shocking. … Investigators telling Fox News this now raises questions about President Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email investigation.”

    8:30 a.m.

    Doocy (again): “Those text messages now raising even more questions about the FBI and perhaps President Obama’s involvement during the Clinton investigation of her email server.”

    And on, and on.

    “Straight-news” coverage: Text messages “might suggest undue presidential interest and/or influence,” and “now we know it goes to the top.”

    Fox’s so-called “straight news” shows didn’t fare much better.

    During America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Guy Benson claimed the text message “might suggest undue presidential interest and/or influence.” Anchor Bill Hemmer responded, “Boy, that opens up a whole new can of worms, Guy.”

    During the next show, Happening Now, Fox contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy stated that the text referring to POTUS “looks like it was about the Hillary Clinton investigation,” adding, “President Obama clearly had a stake in her being exonerated and Trump not winning the election.” She went on to say, “This is just like a mystery. It keeps unfolding and unfolding, and it gets dirtier and dirtier. And now we know it goes to the top.”

    The debunk(s)

    The debunks of Fox’s most recent “bombshell” began to roll out around noon. ThinkProgress, focusing on the timeline of events, called it “a total fraud.” Vox’s headline: “Trump says new FBI texts are a ‘bombshell.’ They’re not.” Even the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal poured cold water on the narrative being shouted on Fox News all day; according to the Journal, the text messages Fox used to suggest Obama had been “meddling” in the Clinton email investigation actually referred to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. CNN came to the same conclusion.

    Running with a broken narrative: “There was some speculation” that the texts were about the Clinton email investigation, but that “is still up for debate.”

    When the narrative that Fox News helped spearhead started to fall apart, the network’s hosts, guests, and anchors ran through a couple different plays. At first, they attempted to erase the network’s role in hyping and fueling the “bombshell report.”

    On Special Report, guest host Shannon Bream brought up Obama and the FBI officials’ texts, noting, “There was some speculation that was about the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but now there’s talk that that was about the Russia potential collusion investigation, A.B. But it's now raising more questions and more criticism.” Panelist Mollie Hemingway also noted, “Initially, some people thought it had to do with the old Hillary Clinton email investigation.”

    Note that neither of them mentioned it was the very network they were on that had invented the “speculation.”

    Perhaps there is no better example of these acrobatics than Sandra Smith’s reporting on consecutive days. On Wednesday, Smith hyped “bombshell text messages” that were “rocking the FBI, revealing additional evidence of anti-Trump bias, and raising new questions about President Obama’s personal involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.” On Thursday, she vaguely alluded to “a lot of conclusions drawn that these were exchanges about Obama wanting to know everything when it came to the Hillary Clinton email investigation which was closed at the time,” noting the Journal’s debunk that it was actually about Russian meddling. 

    Another tactic Fox tried was to claim that the details were “still up for debate.” During the 7:00 p.m. hour -- after the story had already fallen apart -- host Martha MacCallum introduced a segment on the topic, asking, “What was [Obama] keeping tabs on? That part of the story is still up for debate.” And correspondent Ed Henry noted the Journal’s debunk, but also argued that what the text message really referred to was “up for debate.”

    Shifting the goalposts: A new, morphed scandal emerges from the debunked scandal

    Lastly, Fox personalities shifted the goalposts. The initial scandal, that Obama supposedly was caught interfering in the Clinton email investigation, morphed into a different, supposed scandal, but one with the same cast of characters. Fox began arguing that, even if the text was referring to the investigation into Russian interference, that constituted a scandal on its own. Henry tried to make this case, saying, “Nonetheless, we should note that in April 2016, Obama insisted to our own Chris Wallace he never spoke to the attorney general or the FBI director about any pending investigations at all.” Hemingway used a similar tactic, stating “learning that it’s in fact about the Trump-Russia meddling election is far more interesting,” adding, “This is just, again, just a tiny part of a much larger scandal.” 

    Several of these tactics were also used on Sean Hannity’s show that night. Introducing the story with Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, Hannity noted, “Wall Street Journal says it was not about the email investigation, but from earlier comments I saw that you made, you have your doubts about that.” Fitton responded, “Pick your poison in terms of presidential involvement in these sensitive criminal investigations,” essentially arguing that, whether the text message was about Obama wanting to know about Clinton or Russia, it was bad either way.

    By the following morning, the network had coalesced around this new narrative. Now, the scandal wasn’t that Obama was being informed about the Clinton email investigation; the scandal, somehow, was that Obama, the U.S. president and commander in chief, was being informed about the investigation into foreign interference in the upcoming U.S. election. Fox & Friends repeatedly used that argument during its February 8 edition, even bringing on Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, to make the same (but new) argument. America’s Newsroom continued on with the new charade of pretending that Obama being briefed on the investigation into Russian interference was somehow a problem. 

    And so it continues. 

    It’s hard to keep track of all the pseudo-scandals that Fox News runs through in a given week. The network, especially on Fox & Friends and Hannity, puts out wild trial balloons to see what sticks. Sometimes, as with their fixation about the “secret society” scandal (which, incidentally, was started on Fox, also in part by Sen. Johnson), it blows up in their face. But as with any other good propaganda outlet, they don’t stop blurring the facts and insisting that there are still new “questions,” “concerns,” and “allegations” that need to be investigated -- even if the so-called scandal was already debunked.

  • Fox goes silent as its "secret society" conspiracy theory falls apart

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    If you were watching Fox News on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, you no doubt heard about the “explosive new claims” and “bombshell” revelations that there was an anti-Trump “secret society” in the FBI. In fact, the term “secret society” was aired on the network over 100 times during those two days. But if you tuned into Fox on Thursday, the morning after ABC News threw cold water on the “secret society” conspiracy theory, all you heard were crickets.

    This new narrative began on Monday night when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) claimed on Fox News that a post-election text message exchange between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page contained the line, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Gowdy omitted any context to the message and offered no evidence to show that such a text, which has not been released, wouldn’t have been facetious.

    Fox News went all in.

    The following two days, the phrase “secret society” was aired on Fox over 100 times. The network repeatedly showed the video of Rep. Gowdy and another video of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as Fox anchors, hosts, and guests piled on.

    On Wednesday night, ABC News published the text of the full, stand-alone “secret society” text message. The message, according to ABC, read: "Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society."

    That’s it. People were less than impressed.

    Fox News host Sean Hannity briefly mentioned ABC’s reporting Wednesday evening, saying “Really? Secret societies? You can’t make this stuff up,” adding, “ABC News, they have obtained this particular text message and they’re actually questioning if it was all a joke. We’ll let you decide.” After Hannity’s show, Fox host Laura Ingraham continued to hype the possibility of secret societies.  

    But now, after two days of breathlessly pushing the “bombshell” story about secret societies, Fox has decided to stop mentioning it at all. On Thursday, its executives apparently didn’t think it was important to even report on ABC News’ clarifying reporting on the “secret society” text message.

    The network did not mention “secret society” even once on Thursday morning. There was no update, no clarification, no added context. Fox didn’t acknowledge that the so-called “secret society” was seemingly not a story at all.

    There was nothing.

  • Over 100 women spoke out about Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse this week. Cable news barely covered it.

    MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN spent less than 20 minutes combined this week covering Nassar’s abuse

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    This week, dozens of women have shared their stories of being sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor. Cable news channels barely covered it.

    In recent months, Nassar has pleaded guilty to numerous counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, as well as several federal child pornography charges. As part of his criminal sentencing, more than 100 women are expected to share their stories in court of being abused by Nassar throughout this week, marking “the first and possibly only time they will have the opportunity to speak to him directly.”

    In addition to the women sharing their stories in the courtroom, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles wrote a public statement about her experience with Nassar, saying, “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.” Biles concluded, “We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again.” On Tuesday, it was revealed that Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney could have faced a $100,000 fine for speaking about her experience with Nassar due to a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Following an outcry of support, including model Chrissy Teigen offering to pay the fine for her, the NDA was waived and Maroney was able to give her statement, which was read in court.

    Despite this story being one of the largest-scale sexual abuse stories in recent history -- and despite its coming at a time when the #metoo movement is flourishing in some other industries -- it’s getting scant media attention from cable news. According to a Media Matters analysis, the three major cable news channels -- CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- have devoted just 19 minutes and 47 seconds of coverage to the events surrounding Nassar’s sentencing and the women’s statements. CNN spent 11 minutes and 49 seconds on the topic. MSNBC spent 4 minutes and 9 seconds covering the topic, and Fox News spent just 3 minutes and 49 seconds.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    CNN’s nearly 12 minutes of coverage far surpassed both MSNBC and Fox News; however, before Friday, CNN had only spent 3 minutes and 58 seconds on the topic. The network’s coverage picked up on the last day of Nassar’s sentencing with CNN’s morning show New Day hosting Jamie Dantzscher, a survivor of Nassar’s abuse.

    Women are finally getting the opportunity to tell their stories publicly. In this case, these women shared how Nassar’s abuse changed their lives. Some of the women spoke of the self-doubt and depression they faced, and family members recounted how their loved ones took their own lives after Nassar’s abuse. It’s imperative that cable news starts doing a better job of lifting up their voices.

  • There's a reason Roy Moore chose Sean Hannity to interview him

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ & LIS POWER

    When Republican politicians find themselves in hot water, they know they can count on Fox News host Sean Hannity to give them an opportunity to try to clean up the mess. This afternoon, when Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore called in to Hannity’s radio show to respond to The Washington Post’s report citing statements from four women that Moore engaged in sexual misconduct when he was in his early 30s and they were between the ages of 14 and 18, Hannity gave Moore as comfortable an environment as one could expect given the accusations. While Hannity did ask the Senate hopeful a list of questions about the specific allegations in the Post’s report, he failed to hold Moore accountable for his answers and inconsistencies, and at one point just simply gave Moore the floor to attack the Post and deny the accusations.  

    Yesterday the Post reported that Moore allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old and “pursued” three others between the ages of 16 and 18 in the late 1970s. The story was based on on-the-record interviews with the four women and substantial corroborating evidence.

    Over the past two days, Hannity, who endorsed Moore’s campaign in September, has alternated between saying that the accusations are disgusting and Moore must leave the race if they are true, and providing his audience with every reason under the sun why they should not believe the story. He and the guests on his radio and television shows have warned that the allegations are “he said, she [said],” suggested that the women are lying, claimed that women in such cases frequently fabricate their stories for money, asserted that the story is “suspicious… because of the source, The Washington Post,” and lashed out at those who have criticized Hannity’s response.

    That pattern continued to play out during the interview. While Hannity did provide a bare minimum amount of due diligence by asking Moore to answer specific questions about the allegations in the Post’s report, he failed to hold Moore to account for his answers, allowing him to obfuscate, provide inconsistent answers, and pick up on defenses laid out by Hannity.

    At one point during the interview, Moore responded to a question from Hannity by highlighting Hannity’s own defenses of the candidate, saying, “Just like you said, they’re doing it to defeat this Senate campaign.” Later, Hannity opened a question by stating, “a lot of things come up during elections, this is not my first rodeo, Judge.” Hannity continued, “I know a lot of people rush to judgement” and ran off a list of individuals who he felt were wrongly accused, including George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, and Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Missouri teenager Michael Brown in 2014.

    Hannity closed the interview by simply giving Moore a chance to attack the Post and Moore’s accusers, saying to Moore, “What do you want to tell people -- I’ll just give you the microphone -- about how they should view The Washington Post, these people making these charges, and your denial.” Moore responded by claiming that “these charges are politically motivated” and intended to “defuse this just like they defused President Trump’s agenda by bringing up the Russia deal.”

  • Here's what Sean Hannity was "clear and unambiguous" about regarding Roy Moore

    Hannity suggested the women might be lying, claimed The Washington Post hates Republicans, and implied the "establishment" was out to get Moore

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER & ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed that his “comments on the topic of Judge Roy Moore were clear and unambiguous both on radio and on TV” with regard to the Washington Post report that the Alabama Republican Senate candidate had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old when he was 32. Here are the “clear and unambiguous” things Hannity and his guests said on his TV and radio programs the day the story was published:

    1) Hannity and his guests repeatedly said that it's possible the women are lying

    Hannity: “Then you have false allegations that are made, and you know -- how do you determine? It's ‘He said, she [said].’" [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Hannity: “How do you know if it's true? How do we -- what's true? What's not true? How do you ascertain the truth?”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Here's some really fascinating questions. How do you know if it's true? How do we -- what's true? What's not true? How do you ascertain the truth? What happens when it's 38 years later? It's a serious topic, and -- because if it’s true and people act like this, it's disgusting, it's despicable, it's criminal. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Hannity: “We do have Ten Commandments. One of the commandments is ‘thou shalt not bear false witness.’ We know human beings break, with regularity, the other nine commandments. Did they break this one?”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): If people -- you know some people -- do people lie? Now we do have Ten Commandments. One of the commandments is “thou shalt not bear false witness.” We know human beings break, with regularity, the other nine commandments. Did they break this one? I mean, it's something to think about. Why is it so bad? Because you can ruin somebody’s reputation with an allegation. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Daily Mail’s Katie Hopkins to alleged victim: “I am pointing my finger” at Moore’s accuser “and I’m saying to that woman, you disgust me.”

    KATIE HOPKINS: I am pointing the finger straight at -- let's just pick this one woman that’s been talking about with Roy Moore allegedly -- I am pointing my finger at her, and I'm saying to that woman, you disgust me. You spent 38 years thinking about this before you said anything; now you decide to speak. You disgust me. Because what you're doing, woman, is you're making it so that every other woman like me, who likes working with men, who's happy just cracking on next to men, who actually finds men rather better to work for than women, because the sisterhood doesn't exist -- you're making women poison to work for. If I was employing someone now, would I employ a woman, especially if I was a man? No, I would not. And women like this do women like me a massive disservice. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Hannity: “But then also, are there false allegations? And when it's ‘he said, she said’ or whatever, how do you tell the difference?”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): There are evil people. And maybe for years there was a stigma associated with telling the truth. And maybe -- you know what? Maybe people now feel emboldened because some women have told the truth. But then also, are there false allegations? And when it's “he said, she said,” or whatever, how do you tell the difference? You know what I mean? I mean because I actually, in all of these cases, I'm sure some of these women are telling the truth. But how do we determine who are and who aren't? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Hannity: Women who report sexual harassment “will lie to make money.”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): This goes back to what you said. Do people do it for money, do they do it political reasons? How come -- is that more common than people would think?

    MERCEDES COLWIN: Oh, definitely. They’ll do this –

    HANNITY: They will lie to make money. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/9/17]

    Legal analyst Mercedes Colwin: Victims of predators are “very few” and “far between.”

    MERCEDES COLWIN: I mean, there are individuals that have come forward with these outrageous allegations and --

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): And that hurts all women that are victims.

    COLWIN: Yes. I used to work in sex crimes in the [district attorney’s] office. It was very pitiful to see that because some jurors don’t believe it because they’ve gone -- in their own lives, there’re people who have made these accusations for money. You see this time and time and time again. And sexual harassment, that term is coined everywhere. Frankly, there are -- the laws are very clear as to what it takes in order to be a violation of the law. You have to have some sort of damage. And these individuals -- a lot of these women, it's all about money. And they bank on the fact that these corporations have a reputation that they want to save.

    HANNITY: And this is where you thread the needle because there are women that are victims of predators.

    COLWIN: Yes, there are, there are. But very few and far between. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/9/17]

    2) Hannity and a guest on his show implied The Washington Post can’t be trusted

    Hannity: Wash. Post “hates anything Republican, anything conservative.”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I got a heads-up this morning that something was coming, and sure enough it showed up on Breitbart first, and then The Washington Post second. I’m looking at the Drudge Report now: “Alabama rot: Judge Moore hit with sex accusations.” That is the headline. And first the Breitbart came out with, after endorsing Democrat in Alabama, now this guy [Jeff] Bezos is the guy who owns The Washington Post. He also owns Anybody who has used Amazon. So he’s a really wealthy guy, bought The Washington Post. The Washington Post hates anything Republican, anything conservative. They hate anything -- I mean, they did what, a nine-week investigation -- investigative report on me? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Fox’s Gregg Jarrett: "I am suspicious" of the allegations  "because of the source, The Washington Post."

    GREGG JARRETT: I am suspicious of this because of the source, The Washington Post, which has a dog in this fight, having endorsed his opponent. The timing of it -- on the eve of an election. And finally, he was a huge, and has been a huge, public figure in Alabama, the best known son of Alabama in many ways, and yet none of this came to surface in almost four decades and so that gives me reason to question the credibility of these people. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/9/17]

    3) Hannity repeatedly said people shouldn’t rush to judgement against Moore

    Hannity: Media are forcing this case into a “court of public opinion.”

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I actually believe in presumption of innocence until being proven guilty. The media, now in the court of public opinion, there’s -- 38 years later, you got a million Republicans now saying, “Oh Judge Moore, if you did this, you got to go.” [Republican Sen.] John McCain, “Even if you’re innocent, you got to go. Even if you didn’t do it, you got to go.” They're all establishment figures. You see a pattern here? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

    Hannity invoked Duke Lacrosse case; Michael Brown, who was shot by a white cop in Ferguson, MO; George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin; and Freddie Gray, killed in police custody to suggests there’s a history of accusers lying.

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Look at examples where many of my so-called colleagues in the media and other people rush to judgment. Look at the Duke Lacrosse case, for example. I didn't rush to judgment. College students had their lives ruined when they were, it turns out, falsely accused of rape. Everyone in the media, everyone on the left, they rushed to judgement. They were convicting these kids before the truth ever came out. No benefit of the reasonable doubt. No presumption of innocence. And in fact, a group of 88 Duke professors, without any evidence, signed their names to a paid advertisement in a Duke school newspaper that read, quote, "Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent every day now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment's extraordinary spotlight what they live with every day." That was a rush to judgment. And I said it was at the time.


    “Hands up, don't shoot” turned out to be a lie. Some still regurgitate that lie today. George Zimmerman was found innocent in the Trayvon Martin case by a jury of his peers. And all of the cops in the Freddie Gray case were acquitted. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/9/17]

    4) Hannity suggested the “establishment” is out to get Moore

    Hannity: The “swamp,” “the sewer,” and the “establishment” are out to get Moore.

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): John McCain has now just called for Roy Moore to withdraw, whether or not the allegations are true.

    OK, so now you've got the swamp, you've got the sewer, you've got the establishment -- they hate Roy Moore. Roy Moore, to them, is another Ted Cruz, another Mike Lee, somebody they can't control. Rand Paul. They can't control those guys. The last thing they need is another one of them that actually believes in the promises they make, et cetera. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/9/17]

  • From “Trumpism without Trump” to just another “Republican swamp thing”: Breitbart loved Gillespie until he lost


    In the days leading up to the November 7 gubernatorial election in Virginia, and Breitbart radio were increasingly touting Republican candidate Ed Gillespie’s turn toward “the nationalist-populist base.” Breitbart staffers and Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon argued that Gillespie’s embrace of “the Trump agenda” -- through issues such as linking undocumented immigrants to the violent gang MS-13 and keeping Confederate monuments -- were the reason for his “momentum.” However, as soon as the race was called for Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Breitbart quickly changed tack, labeling Gillespie an “establishment” “Republican swamp thing,” and declaring that he was “scarcely a MAGA candidate.” Here’s how Breitbart covered Gillespie's embrace of Trumpism … until he lost.

  • Google claims it has “taken steps” to demonetize fake news and increase scrutiny of “hate speech.” We’re calling bullshit. 

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    During testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified that the company has “taken steps” to demonetize misrepresentative websites and has added to its policies “around or against hate speech.”

    It sure doesn’t seem that way.

    Last week, Media Matters wrote about Freedom Daily, a fake news website peddling racist lies about the ongoing NFL protests that was getting its advertisements through Google’s advertising service AdSense. Freedom Daily clearly violates Google AdSense’s rules against race-based incitement of hatred, in addition to Google's stance against fake news. For example, on October 4, the site accused “racist” black Oakland Raiders players of breaking their white quarterback’s back because he wouldn’t kneel during the national anthem (and because he is white). Additionally, a September article about a singer who knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with the protesting players asked, “Wouldn’t you love to see these ingrateful rich spoiled bastards, including this 3rd rate singer, go to the Africa and try to make a buck there?” Right above that paragraph was an ad from Google Adsense (if you click on the blue triangle in the corner of the ad, it directs you to a page labeled “About Google ads”):

    In fact, just Tuesday, the site published under a different byline the exact same racist October 4 article lashing out at black NFL players. The article is still being monetized by Google’s ad service.

    If Google is doing what it claims, it’s missing a pretty big player by continuing to monetize Freedom Daily, which has pushed over 100 articles about the NFL protests, many of which denigrate black players through racist fake news -- and it’ll have to step up its efforts to make any real change. Because unless Google wants to argue that the site’s racist lies and made-up stories aren’t in violation of its standards on misrepresentative content and hate speech, why is the website still being monetized?

    If Google needs help identifying fake news websites that should be demonetized, the company can give Media Matters a call -- we’d be happy to point it in the right direction.