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Lis Power

Author ››› Lis Power
  • Fox News barely discussed Trump administration’s failure to meet family reunification deadline

    Fox spent more time covering “FBI lovers” Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Yesterday, the Trump administration missed a court-mandated deadline to reunite migrant children under the age of 5 with their families. Despite the administration’s failure to reunite some of the most vulnerable migrant children, Fox News barely paid attention to the story. Instead, Fox spent significantly more time discussing FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who have been subpoenaed to appear before congressional committees this week.  

    According to a court filing early yesterday, the federal government had reunited “only four — out of 102 — migrant children under 5 years old” who were separated from their families due to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The government said it was in the process of rejoining about half of the children and provided a myriad of reasons the others couldn’t be reunited at this time, including that some of their parents have been deported or already released into the United States.

    On the day of the deadline, Fox News devoted just 14 minutes to discussing the Trump administration’s failure to meet the initial court-mandated deadline. In comparison, the network spent triple that amount of time discussing Strzok and Page, who were asked to testify on Capitol Hill this week. Fox has a history of fixating on the two FBI officials and promoting conspiracy theories involving them. 

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In contrast to Fox’s minimal coverage of the missed family reunification deadline, CNN and MSNBC spent significantly more time on the administration’s failure to reunite the children with their families. CNN devoted over two hours to the topic while MSNBC covered it for around an hour and a half.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Since Trump’s family separation policy is extraordinarily unpopular, it’s no surprise that Fox would devote just scant attention to the administration’s inability to correct this crisis of its own making.   

    Methodology: Media Matters searched media monitoring service SnapStream for the words “deadline,” “family,” “parents,” “kids,” and variations of the words “immigration,” “reunification” and “reunite, as well as “Lisa,” “Page,” “Strzok,” “lover,” and variants of “testify.”

  • Fox News has now given Trump over $15 million in free advertising by airing his rallies

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    On July 5, President Donald Trump went to Montana for another “Make America Great Again Rally.” Fox News not only teased the rally throughout the day, but aired the president's speech -- during which Trump lashed out at critics, took a swipe at the #MeToo movement, and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a pass -- in its entirety.

    Fox aired the rally for an hour and 14 minutes, bringing the network’s total airtime given to Trump rallies to 7 hours and 47 minutes since April 28. According to iQ media, a media monitoring service, the advertising value of Trump’s Montana rally was $1,902,542.65. Since April 28, Fox News has gifted Trump $15,174,430.00 in free advertising by airing his rallies.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    CNN and MSNBC didn’t air any of Trump’s rally live. On MSNBC, anchor Ari Melber noted the rally would be happening, stating, “Meanwhile, Trump is doing a midterm campaign rally in Montana tonight, and we'll let you know if any actual news is made there.” Steve Kornacki, who hosted Hardball that night, aired a clip from the rally of Trump teasing his Supreme Court announcement, but didn’t air any of the rally live. After the rally, MSNBC discussed Trump’s “wild rally” with a chyron stating: “Trump goes off the rails at Montana rally”

  • Fox News has gifted Trump over $13 million in free media value by airing his rallies 

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Over the past two months, Fox News has aired all six of President Donald Trump’s rallies live and almost entirely uninterrupted, essentially giving the president $13 million worth of free advertising.

    Trump started holding “MAGA” campaign-style rallies after he announced in February that he’s running for re-election in 2020, in addition to attending those in support of other candidates. In the past two months, he’s held rallies in Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, South Carolina, and North Dakota. Trump’s speeches at these events are riddled with lies, name calling, and media bashing.

    Nevertheless, Fox has aired every single rally in its entirety for a total of 6 hours, 33 minutes, and 20 seconds of live coverage. MSNBC aired portions of Trump’s April 28 Michigan rally live for a total of 8 minutes and 13 seconds, but since then, the network has essentially ignored Trump’s rallies. CNN hasn’t aired any live footage of Trump’s rally speeches, but hosts frequently acknowledge the rallies when they are occurring, noting they’re “monitoring” them for news. CNN also frequently sends correspondent Jim Acosta to report live from the rallies. Recently, a Fox News on-screen graphic during a Trump rally called out the network’s cable rivals for not airing the president’s speech.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    By airing Trump’s rallies after he confirmed that he’s running for re-election, Fox News is essentially giving the president free ad time. According to iQ media, the just over six and a half hours of airtime that Fox News gave Trump is worth an estimated $13,271,887.35 in advertising value, while MSNBC’s 8 minutes and 13 seconds of live coverage is worth an estimated $56,736.50.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

  • Fox & Friends covered Republicans being heckled 4 times more than it covered immigration and family separation today

    Fox cares more about conservatives’ feelings than about children being put in immigration jails

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    It was clear from its Monday edition that Fox & Friends was more than ready to move on from covering family separation at the U.S. southern border and the growing debate over immigration. Fox’s morning show devoted nearly four times as much time to Republicans being heckled and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) encouraging people to confront members of the Trump administration as the program gave to the topics of immigration and family separation.

    This morning, Fox & Friends kicked off with a lengthy segment in which co-host Steve Doocy said, “Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in the world of politics, and it looks like the whole world has gone crazy in some respects. There’s all this political intimidation going on. You got Stephen Miller down in Washington, couldn’t eat out, Kirstjen Nielsen couldn’t eat out, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we’re going to talk about that in a minute.” The program then aired the comments Waters made over the weekend, in which she said, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

    The Fox show’s first hour also included segments about people who want to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, MS-13 gang members, Hollywood elites attacking Trump, North Korea, and Jimmy Fallon. It wasn’t until the second hour of the show that the hosts even mentioned the debate over immigration and the family separations that are occuring at the border.

    In total, Fox & Friends spent nearly 24 minutes covering the report that Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant, Maxine Waters’ comments, and other instances of Republicans being heckled. Doocy even called Sanders’ expulsion from a Lexington, VA, restaurant “one of our big stories.” Not one of their big stories? The families that have been torn apart at the border. Fox & Friends devoted just over six minutes to immigration and family separation. And most of that coverage focused on tweets from President Donald Trump and attempts by Republicans in Congress to pass immigration legislation rather than on what is being done, if anything, to reunite families that the administration has separated.

    Fox’s focus on presenting Republicans as the victims of so-called liberal intolerance was made exceedingly clear by the network’s decision to actually send a correspondent to the Red Hen restaurant during its next show, America’s Newsroom. In comparison, there wasn’t a single correspondent report from any detention center during Fox & Friends or America’s Newsroom today.

  • Fox News spent more time on a report about the Clinton email investigation than immigrant children being interned at the border 


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    As outrage continues to grow over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families, Fox News is more focused on another issue -- the inspector general’s report into how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation. While immigration was clearly the main story on CNN and MSNBC throughout the morning and early afternoon today, Fox spent over two and a half hours discussing the inspector general’s report and carrying the second day of congressional hearings live. In comparison, Fox devoted just over an hour and a half to discussing immigration and President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their families.

    According to a review by Media Matters, MSNBC spent 4 hours and 35 minutes covering immigration and family separation today from 6 a.m. through 1 p.m. while discussing the inspector general report for just over two minutes. CNN spent nearly three hours on immigration and mentioned the inspector general report for just under six minutes. Fox News spent 1 hour and 33 minutes discussing immigration and 2 hours and 37 minutes covering the inspector general’s report and the hearing on Capitol Hill. Fox carried the congressional hearing about the report live for nearly an hour and a half.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    CNN’s and MSNBC’s dedication to covering family separation can also be seen by the personnel they have dispatched to Texas. MSNBC anchors Stephanie Ruhle, Craig Melvin, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell are all in Texas along with several correspondents. Similarly, CNN has seven crews in the region, according to CNN reporter Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources newsletter. Fox’s coverage, however, has left much to be desired. Fox News hosts have been attempting to put a positive spin on the practice of separating children from their parents, lying about what’s happening, and mocking people who are outraged by a policy that the United Nations human rights office has criticized as an “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life” and “a serious violation of the rights of the child.”  Another difference in the coverage has been Fox’s decision to not play audio obtained by ProPublica of immigrant children in American detention facilities crying for their parents. CNN and MSNBC have played the audio repeatedly throughout their reporting.

    One thing is clear: While thousands of children are being interned at the U.S. border and separated from their families, Fox News thinks it’s more important to focus on a closed investigation into the Clinton email probe.

  • Trump administration threatens health care for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions; cable news barely noticed

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Last week, in a move that could further gut the Affordable Care Act and threaten the health insurance of 130 million people, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would not defend the provisions of the law that protect consumers with pre-existing conditions. Cable news barely took notice.

    On June 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ would stop defending in court a key provision of Obamacare that protects consumers with pre-existing conditions. This could be a life-or-death decision for such individuals, as it could allow insurers to once again deny them coverage because of their medical condition or history.

    A recent poll found that health care was a top issue for voters, and the pre-existing condition provision is the most popular provision of the law. Despite these facts, as well as the severity of the potential consequences, the unprecedented nature of the DOJ’s decision not to defend a federal law, and the fact that this is a reversal from past Trump statements, cable news spent hardly any time discussing the decision and the implications it could have for nearly 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. From the time of Sessions’ June 7 announcement through June 11, CNN spent just 10 minutes discussing the decision. MSNBC fared slightly better, spending 19 minutes on the decision, and Fox News discussed it the most, devoting 25 minutes to the news that the Department of Justice wouldn’t defend coverage of pre-existing conditions protections. Additionally, not a single Sunday political news show mentioned the DOJ's decision or the consequences that would result from it. 

    The quality of the coverage oftentimes varied. Most often, the coverage failed to offer substance, focusing more on the political ramifications than the effects on vulnerable people. But occasionally segments touched on the consequences this would have on millions of Americans. On MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes panelist Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, noted, “There are about 130 million people in this country who have pre-existing conditions. And if they don't get insurance through their jobs, and they don't get insurance through Medicare or Medicaid, if the Affordable Care Act goes away, they're going to be out of luck. This is a very high-stakes debate.”

    On MTP Daily, Katy Tur noted that it was off-putting to be discussing something that affects so many people through a political lens: “These are people and it is their lives. And I think it is just so weird, and kind of sad, that we talk about it as, ‘Well, here’s where the politics are, and this is them trying to want to put the stake in Obamacare.’ These are people’s lives!”

    Tur is on point with her dismay over the way health care is discussed in the media, but what’s even sadder is that cable news just doesn’t seem to care enough to cover the issue in depth at all, let alone in a manner that matters.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC on SnapStream for mentions of “Affordable Care Act,” “Obamacare,” “Obama care,” “healthcare,” “health care,” and “pre-existing” from June 7 through June 11 between 4 a.m. and midnight. Reruns were excluded.

  • Study finds 5,000 people may have died from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Cable news focused on Roseanne instead.

    Cable news covered Roseanne for over 10 hours. They covered Hurricane Maria's death toll in Puerto Rico for just over 30 minutes.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On Tuesday, Harvard researchers published a study estimating that approximately 5,000 deaths can be linked to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The same day, ABC canceled Roseanne Barr’s eponymous show Roseanne after Barr sent a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama. Cable news covered Barr’s tweet and her show’s cancellation 16 times as much as the deaths of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.

    While the official death toll remains at just 64, the Harvard study, written up in The Washington Post, “indicated that the mortality rate was 14.3 deaths per 1,000 residents from Sept. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017, a 62 percent increase in the mortality rate compared with 2016, or 4,645 ‘excess deaths.’” BuzzFeed News, which also reported on the study, further explained that the researchers adjusted their estimate up to 5,740 hurricane-related deaths to account for “people who lived alone and died as a result of the storm” and were thus not reported in the study’s survey.

    Cable news barely covered the report. The May 29 broadcasts of MSNBC combined with the network's flagship morning show the next day spent 21 minutes discussing the findings. CNN followed with just under 10 minutes of coverage, and Fox covered the report for just 48 seconds. 

    By contrast, cable news spent over 8 and a half hours discussing a tweet from Barr describing Jarrett, a Black woman, as the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes and the subsequent cancellation of her show.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Media coverage of the crisis in Puerto Rico has been dismal since the hurricane hit; even when outlets reported on major scandals about the mismanaged recovery, the coverage was negligible and faded quickly.

    Many in the media have been quick to label Barr’s obviously racist tweet as racist. But they've failed in their coverage of the mismanaged recovery in Puerto Rico, which is also explained -- at least in part -- by racism. The Root explained why “Puerto Rico’s crisis is not generally seen as a racial matter. But it should be.” Vox explained “the ways the island and its people have been othered through racial and ethnic bias” and noted that “both online and broadcast media gave Puerto Rico much less coverage, at least initially, than the hurricanes that recently hit Texas and Florida.” A Politico investigation found that “the Trump administration — and the president himself — responded far more aggressively to Texas than to Puerto Rico” in the wake of the hurricanes that devastated both. Trump tweeted just days after Hurricane Maria hit that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.” Only half of Americans are aware that Puerto Ricans are in fact U.S. citizens. And MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude, chair of the Center for African-American Studies at Princeton University, pointed out, “When you think about 4,600 people dying -- of color -- dying in Puerto Rico, it reflects how their lives were valued, or less valued.”

    Dina Radtke contributed research to this piece.

  • 10 people were killed in the Santa Fe shooting. Cable news moved on almost immediately.

    Six days after 10 people were murdered in a school, cable news devoted less than 5 minutes of coverage to the attack

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER & GABBY MILLER

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On May 18, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, leaving 10 people dead and 13 people injured. It took less than a week for CNN, Fox, and MSNBC to drop mentions of the school shooting and its aftermath almost entirely from their news cycles. What started as wall-to-wall coverage on cable news on the day of the shooting dropped to less than five minutes of coverage a week later on all three channels combined.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Wall-to-wall coverage: The day of the shooting, May 18

    News of the shooting first emerged across cable networks at around 9:20 a.m. on May 18, and the networks gave frequent updates on the emerging details throughout the next hour and a half. By 11 a.m. all networks were covering the shooting continuously. Fox News quickly blamed the seemingly never-ending cycle of school shootings on violent video games and mental health and called for installing armed guards at schools and giving guns to teachers. MSNBC’s initial coverage tapped into local news outlets periodically and mostly focused on the unfolding facts of the shooting. CNN’s coverage was similarly focused on the emerging facts, with some speculation about the mental health of the shooter.

    The networks continued their wall-to-wall coverage throughout most of the day, and it dominated CNN’s prime-time and evening shows as well. MSNBC’s coverage started to wane during the 4 p.m. hour: The shooting was still dominating the discussion, but it wasn’t the sole story covered. Similarly, Fox News started to cover other stories during its 5 p.m. show. Fox News and MSNBC devoted significantly less time to the shooting during their evening programming than CNN did.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A drastic drop: Weekend coverage, May 19-20

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    By the next day, coverage of the shooting had drastically declined. CNN went from over nine hours of coverage of the massacre on Friday to just under one hour of coverage on Saturday -- in large part due to the network’s coverage of the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. Fox News, which covered the shooting for over seven hours on Friday, dedicated just over two and a half hours to the story on Saturday. And while MSNBC spent nearly seven hours on the shooting on Friday, the channel dedicated a little less than three hours to it on Saturday. On Sunday, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC covered the shooting for 1 hour and 33 minutes, 2 hours and 15 minutes, and 1 hour and 20 minutes, respectively.

    The royal wedding seemed to suck the oxygen from the coverage of the shooting, and the focus on Santa Fe never quite recovered. CNN’s coverage on Saturday consisted solely of hourly segments between noon and 7 p.m. And while Fox and MSNBC devoted more attention to the shooting and its aftermath than CNN did on Saturday, there was still a significant drop in coverage.

    Fading from the news cycle: The next week, May 21-24

    The following Monday, just three days after the Santa Fe shooting, each cable news network devoted just a little over an hour to the shooting, totaling 3 hours and 50 minutes. By Tuesday, the networks spent just under 37 minutes combined on the shooting. On Wednesday, the coverage was down to under nine minutes combined. And by Thursday, less than a week after the shooting took place, Fox, MSNBC, and CNN devoted less than five minutes combined to the shooting and its aftermath.

    Out of the three cable channels, MSNBC has been the worst in giving continuing coverage to the shooting and its aftermath. The network’s coverage from Tuesday to Thursday totaled just 1 minute and 36 seconds. On Thursday, MSNBC didn’t mention Santa Fe at all.

    One would think that with questions about how to stop the epidemic of school shootings still unanswered, coverage of the massacre would last more than several days. One would be wrong.

    Just one week has passed since the attack -- which was the 22nd school shooting this year -- but the sense of urgency and alarm about this ongoing crisis has already faded. Networks have moved on to covering fake “spy” scandals, other happenings in the Trump/Russia investigation, and other stories de jour. It says a lot about our society when a mass school shooting fades from our national dialogue in less than a week. In part, it reflects and contributes to the normalization of and desensitization to mass shootings in America. In January, when 16 students were shot in a school shooting in Kentucky, cable news devoted just 16 minutes to covering the rampage the day it happened. There was speculation in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, in February that news coverage would take mass shootings at schools more seriously. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. 

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream transcripts of CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC for mentions of the word “school” within 10 words of any variation of “shoot,” “Santa Fe,” or “Texas” between 4 a.m. and midnight starting on May 18, the day of the shooting, and ending on Thursday, May 24.

  • 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.