Author Page | Media Matters for America

Miles Le

Author ››› Miles Le
  • The worst of NRATV, the NRA's extremist and bigoted media operation

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & MILES LE

    NRATV is the media operation for the National Rifle Association, and it regularly spews bigotry, extremist pro-gun talking points, and fact-free defenses of President Donald Trump. While the outlet does sometimes cover gun policy, NRATV is largely a platform where conspiracy theories, white nationalism, and extremism flourish during broadcasts covering a wide variety of topics.        

    After NRATV host and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch shared on her program an image of children’s TV show characters wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods, several members of the organization’s board “questioned the value” of NRATV, highlighting a fracture within the NRA over the purpose of its media operation.

    Below are some of the worst examples of inflammatory rhetoric broadcast on NRATV:

  • Video: The Boris Epshteyn "must-runs" that Sinclair has been forcing local news stations to air since 2017

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE

    Since 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group has been mandating that its local news stations air commentary segments featuring Boris Epshteyn, a former aide to President Donald Trump. Even though there’s essentially no demand for these segments, Sinclair continues to force-feed Epshteyn’s pro-Trump commentary to viewers across the country. (Last month, Sinclair stations began airing companion segments from a new liberal commentator, Ameshia Cross, alongside Epshteyn's segments.) In his “must-runs,” Epshteyn has defended tear-gassing migrant children and warned of an “attempted invasion”; called former Trump fixer Michael Cohen a “rat”; conducted softball interviews with Trump, Trump administration officials, and Republican candidates for office; argued the “presidents on Mount Rushmore may have to make room” for Trump; and more.

    Take a look at the right-wing propaganda local news viewers are being exposed to on a regular basis thanks to Sinclair:

  • Video: During Fox News' emergency meeting with ad buyers, protesters tell advertisers to #DropFox

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE & AUDREY BOWLER

    Fox News has lost so many advertisers that the network held an emergency meeting at its headquarters in New York City on March 13 to try to persuade advertisers that its many controversies are over. (They’re not.)

    Protesters gathered outside of Fox News’ HQ to make sure ad buyers know what companies are sponsoring when they advertise on Fox News: bigotry and hate. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Video: Years of Laura Ingraham’s anti-immigrant commentary

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE

    In the fall of 2017, Fox News announced it was giving its prime-time 10 p.m. slot to longtime conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a history of vile, racist, and anti-immigrant commentary. The choice has proven costly for Fox; Ingraham’s time slot was reportedly “down at least $16 million in ad revenue in 2018.”

    Ingraham has spent years demonizing and mocking immigrants. In an August rant that directly echoed white supremacist talking points, Ingraham warned, “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal and, in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.” She dismissed asylum claims from Hondurans fleeing violence because, according to her, “it’s not our problem.” She referred to detention centers for migrant children as “essentially summer camps.” She defended then-candidate Donald Trump’s claim that Mexico is sending rapists to the United States and argued that Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people.” She claimed that a lot of immigrants “have wreaked havoc upon communities.”

    And there’s so much more.

  • Right-wing media have been issuing dire warnings about an impending civil war for years

    Trump’s media allies and accused Coast Guard terrorist agree that a second civil war could be coming soon

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & MILES LE



    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Joseph diGenova, a former attorney on President Donald Trump’s legal defense team, appeared on Laura Ingraham’s podcast on January 21 to warn listeners that “we are in a civil war in this country.” DiGenova also claimed that he does not anticipate seeing  any “civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future,” adding, “It’s going to be total war.” He suggested that the solution for the current situation is partly for people to “buy guns.”  

    DiGenova’s comments were irresponsible and dangerous, but they’re also nothing new within the right-wing media echo chamber. And the conservative media trope that widespread political violence is imminent has real consequences. The Coast Guard lieutenant and self-admitted white nationalist who was recently arrested for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks against Democrats and some media figures searched online for the phrase “civil war if Trump impeached.” 

    Right-wing media figures have spent years fearmongering about an impending civil war, saying that “the left in America is becoming increasingly radicalized,” highlighting the Democrats' supposed “hatred for Normal Americans,” and claiming that colleges are “literally destroying the country” and pushing us toward a “real civil war.” Here are just a few examples:

    Fox’s Sean Hannity told his radio listeners that “this country is headed towards a civil war” depending on the outcome of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections. While Hannity insisted that he was “not talking about a war,” he claimed, “There’s going to be two sides of this that are fighting and dividing this country at a level we’ve never seen.” 

    Fox’s Tucker Carlson and a show guest agreed on the idea that colleges are "literally destroying the country" and pushing us toward a "real civil war." In 2017, Carlson said that striving for diversity "gets you to civil war."

    In 2017, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity that “we are in a clear-cut cultural civil war” and expressed disappointment in Republicans who “don’t get it.” 

    Radio host and Trump ally Michael Savage asserted in 2017 that “there’s going to be a civil war” because of “what this left-wing is becoming in this country.” 

    Two days after the 2016 elections, then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly claimed that anti-Trump protests were proof of “a civil war brewing.” In 2015, O’Reilly also suggested that the divide over an anti-gay Indiana law is emblematic of a “cultural civil war.” 

    After a Maryland sheriff made headlines in 2014 warning of “all-out civil war” if President Barack Obama tried to overturn the Second Amendment, the media arm of the National Rifle Association downplayed the inflammatory nature of his comments, arguing that his threat of violence constituted a real threat only if Obama was actually planning to seize citizens’ firearms. In 2015, the NRA promoted an article by conservative gun blogger Bob Owens in which he fantasized about the prospect of Democrats starting a civil war over gun rights that ended with “survivors of the Democrat rebellion” being hanged. 

    Ever since Trump was elected to office, disgraced radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been obsessed with the idea of an impending civil war or other violence if Trump is removed from the presidency. In June 2017, Jones’ outlet Infowars declared that the “first shots” of the second civil war had already been fired, asking its audience, “What will you do?” Former Infowars "journalist" Roger Stone, a Jones and Trump ally, even taped a segment at a gun range in which he and Jones prepare for a civil war “if there’s a coup d’etat.”

    An April 10 article in The Federalist explicitly called for the political dissolution of the United States“before things get dangerous,” claiming, “This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town.” 

    Notorious online troll Kurt Schlichter wrote a piece in Townhall titled “Why Democrats would lose the second Civil War, too.” The column extensively detailed Schlichter's violent fantasies of a war with Democrats, including an imagined scene in which a “bunch of hunters in Wisconsin” ambush a company of tanks: “They ambush the fuel and ammo trucks. Oh, and they wait until the gunner pops the hatch to take a leak and put a .30-06 round in his back from 300 meters.”

    A September 11, 2018, op-ed in The American Conservative discussed “the Civil War on America’s horizon,” saying it has been primed by “Trump and his critics despis[ing] each other. All that's needed now is a spark.”

    Paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan said that the United States is “approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.” Buchanan also wrote that it was time for Trump to “burn down the Bastille.” 

    In 2015, then-Fox contributor Erick Erickson said that the jailing of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for violating a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could lead to “another civil war.” 

    Cliven Bundy, a rancher who attained fame in conservative circles for a 2014 standoff with federal authorities, told Alex Jones that there would be civil war if local sheriffs did not disarm the federal government’s “bureaucratic armies.”

    A 2013 Fox News column claimed that “when the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink,” the “takers” dependent on government assistance and resentful of financially successful “makers” will “take to the streets.” 

    In 2010, then-Fox host Glenn Beck suggested on his radio show that Obama was "trying to destroy the country" and “going for fundamental transformation.” About a month later, Beck repeated his claim, saying, “I think we're headed for a civil war.” 

    Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Pamela Geller wrote in 2010 that Obama “is itching for a civil war. And at the rate he is going, he is going to get one.”

    In 2008, Michael Savage declared that Obama was “hand-picked by some very powerful forces ... to drag this country into a hell that it has not seen since the Civil War.”

    In 2006, Beck warned about the potential for Europe’s “political correctness” to start “a global religious civil war.” 

    In 2004, Pat Buchanan said on MSNBC that the South “wouldn’t lose” a civil war “the next time out.” 

  • As furloughed workers speak out on financial hardship, Fox News continues to downplay government shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE

    The government shutdown is now in its 34th day, making it by far the longest in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain furloughed, and the human impact only becomes clearer by the day. People are speaking out about their extreme financial stress because of the shutdown, and some “federal employees have reported going to homeless shelters to find food for their families.”

    Despite all of the obvious distress that communities across the country are facing, Fox News personalities continue to downplay the impacts of the shutdown, this morning suggesting that it can’t be that big of a deal because only one-third of voters say they’re experiencing hardship because of the shutdown. (That’s a lot of people.) Here are more than two minutes of examples:

  • Media falsely blame "both sides" for government shutdown Trump said he is "proud" to own

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS, STEVE MORRIS & MILES LE

    On December 11, President Donald Trump told congressional Democrats and the media that he would be “proud to shut down the government” over border wall funding, and the federal government subsequently shut down on December 22. With the shutdown now entering its fifth week, some in media seem to have forgotten Trump’s unambiguous claim of responsibility and are instead blaming “both sides.”

    Falsely blaming “both sides” for the aberrant behavior of only one side has been a favorite media trope for years. It poisons policy conversations, endangers vulnerable groups, and dumbs down the entire political discourse.

  • Fox News spent months on end declaring there was "no collusion" between Trump's campaign and Russia

    Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is now trying to move the goalposts

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE, BOBBY LEWIS & MILES LE

    In a January 16 appearance on CNN, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared to reverse course from his usual rhetoric on the Trump campaign and Russia, claiming that he has “never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign,” and Russia. Giuliani insisted that he had only stated previously that Trump himself had not colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. The following morning, Giuliani appeared on CNN again to attempt to clarify what he meant, but he instead doubled down on his assertion that "neither [Trump] nor I can possibly know what everyone on the campaign was doing."

    Despite numerous indictments and mounting evidence of possible collusion, Giuliani and Trump have long insisted there was “no collusion” between Russia and the campaign. These claims have been amplified by a chorus of Trump’s strongest supporters on Fox News, who have tried making the same argument for the last couple years.  

    • Guy Benson: Regardless of whether or not collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?

               Rudy Giuliani: Correct. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/30/18]

    • Dan Henninger: But if he does issue this report, the two things at the center of it is whether the president's campaign colluded with the Russians at a very high level, and whether President Trump obstructed justice. On both those counts, I think the answer is going to be no. [Fox News, The Journal Editorial Report, 1/6/19]

    • Byron York: For example, one of the big parts of the dossier has Michael Cohen, very close to President Trump, or candidate Trump at the time, going to Prague in Europe and meeting with Russians and agreeing on a payoff in which the Trump campaign would pay the Russians for all the hacking they were doing, helping the Trump campaign. Michael Cohen said this is patently false. Now, Michael Cohen has since been charged with all sorts of things. Has been investigated.

      Laura Ingraham: By not lying about that.

      York: Correct. Not only investigated by the special counsel's office and prosecutors in New York, been charged and pleaded guilty and sentenced, and nobody said a word about Prague.

      Ingraham: Yeah. No collusion. I mean, and Andy, I mean, unless something really wild happens, no collusion. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 12/18/18]

    • Corey Lewandowski: And whatever other people had done, whether it's Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, it had nothing to do with the campaign, which is what Bob Mueller was supposed to be looking into, which is the collusion, which never existed between Trump's campaign and the Russians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/18]

    • Byron York: But there haven't been any convictions that point to actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 campaign. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 12/3/18]

    • Kayleigh McEnany: There's no evidence of collusion. Millions of pages of documents have been reviewed, there's no collusion. We were told Papadopoulos is going to show us collusion now that he's cooperating with Mueller. Papadopoulos only showed us that the Trump campaign, after dozens of requests, refused to meet with Russia. We were told Cohen would find collusion. Lo and behold, no collusion there. The Lanny Davis story was a fabrication and a lie. There is no collusion. Millions of pages of documents reviewed. The Trump campaign has done nothing wrong, and this is just the latest attempt by Democrats to find collusion where there is none. [Fox News, Fox News at Night, 9/14/18]

    • Sean Hannity: No Mueller, and neither of these men, Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, would have to deal with this. No Russia, no collusion, no campaign, no Trump involvement. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/20/18]
    • Sean Hannity: Finally tonight, our last topic covers day seven of the trial of the century, the 2005 tax and bank fraud charges against Paul Manafort. Remember, no collusion, has nothing to do with Donald Trump, nothing to do with the campaign, nothing to do with Russia. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/8/18]
    • Corey Lewandowski: Let's prove once and for all that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and anyone in Russia to impact the outcome of the election because that is the fair thing to do. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 8/5/18]
    • Anthony Scaramucci: I think [the American people] believe the president, take him at his word that there was absolutely no collusion inside the campaign. 

               Jeanine Pirro: Well, yeah. [Fox News, Justice with Jeanine Pirro, 6/16/18]

    • Corey Lewandowski: The American people know there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 6/3/18]
    • David Bossie: First of all, if there were spies in the campaign, they found nothing because there was no collusion, cooperation -- [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 5/22/18]
    • Hogan Gidley: Look, The New York Times obviously is a failing publication as we all know, but it's for reasons just like this. I mean, they can't get out of their own way. The coverage on this president has been completely negative. We are entering now into the second year of this investigation. We have given over millions of pieces of paper, countless hours from our own folks in the administration from the campaign for conversations with the investigation. We have no collusion, no corruption, no obstruction. None of those things exist and yet it still leads a lot of newscasts. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 5/20/18]
    • Katrina Pierson: This is another reason that we know there was no collusion, Martha, because they keep trying to associate Carter Page with the campaign. He was never an employee of the campaign, he volunteered to sit on a board and didn't even show up to the meeting. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/5/18]
    • Tucker Carlson: Close to 20 people have been indicted in this investigation so far. Still not a single piece of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Putin. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/16/18]
    • Sean Spicer: I want the investigation to play out only because I do believe that the president has been very clear from the beginning, and everyone involved in the campaign, that there was no collusion. So at some point you run out the clock. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/18]
    • Trish Regan: And I guess one of the things I'm amazed by is if they're so into leaking, how come we haven't heard more about this so-called collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 12/31/17]
    • Kimberly Guilfoyle: They persisted to try to demonize him, to say there was collusion, that this was an election that was totally influenced by the Russians, that there was direct collusion on part of his campaign, the president, but none of that materialized. [Fox News, The Five, 12/15/17]
    • Gregg Jarrett: And so now that we know there is no collusion in the political campaign, the question is was there collusion in the transition? No. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/13/17]
    • Corey Lewandowski: The reason we don't even talk much about the Russia investigation [in] Let Trump Be Trump is because it didn't occur during the campaign. There was no collusion. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 12/10/17]
    • Brad Blakeman: There is good news in this plea that was taken by Flynn, and that is what your guest alluded to in your earlier segment. And that is that there doesn't seem to be any there there with collusion, coercion, conspiracy with regard to the Trump campaign and the Russians trying to influence the election. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 12/1/17]
    • Sean Hannity: We will show you, right here, how there is zero evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Zero evidence of campaign collusion. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/30/17]
    • Steve Cortes: Was there collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia? The evidence is utterly no, is emphatically no. No collusion. No collusion of any kind between the Trump campaign and any foreign source for that matter. [Fox News, Fox News Tonight, 10/25/17]
    • Brit Hume: The allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign itself and the president -- the man who is now president -- and the Russians, is virtually nonexistent. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/24/17]
    • Tucker Carlson: [Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s] committee has not found evidence of collusion between Putin and the Trump campaign. The whole thing is a dry well, a crock, a fraud, a scam, a politically induced hallucination. It's totally nuts. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/23/17]
    • Lou Dobbs: “I saw no direct evidence of political collusion between the campaign in the Trump campaign and the Russians." Cuomo's follow-on question -- are you ready? He says, ‘Now clarify that point.’ This point has been clarified for seven doggone months. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/6/17]
    • Sean Hannity: Since this Russia conspiracy theory has started, not a single shred of evidence that there was any collusion with the Trump campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/11/17]
    • Sean Hannity: For eight months, we've had this media conspiracy theory being pushed and advanced without any evidence whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/11/17]
    • Sean Hannity: Hey, Don [Lemon], there's no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and you guys have been harping on that conspiracy for eight months. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/4/17]
    • Michael Needham: There's absolutely no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians on the election. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 3/12/17]
    • Jason Riley: I mean there is no evidence of direct collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 3/12/17]
    • Sean Hannity: They found no evidence at all whatsoever of any collusion between the campaign and the Russians. True?

               Sara Carter: Absolutely true. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/8/17]

    • Jonathan Turley: See, the problem is that we don't have any evidence of collusion. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/3/17]
    • Bill O’Reilly: Any fair-minded person has to acknowledge there’s no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, at least at this point. Correct? [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/6/17]
    • Bill O’Reilly: [Former National Intelligence Director James] Clapper clearly said -- and I know you heard it, so don’t spin -- that there’s no evidence produced to him of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He said it clear as day. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/6/17]
    • Rudy Giuliani: You know, I was a big part of that campaign. I'm trying to figure out who was the spy. Now I'm wondering, is it this person or that person or this person? Now, if there's a spy, they got nothing from it. Look, they’d be able to bring their case right now if the spy had any incriminating information. That spy should have been enough to tell them, these people were not talking to the Russians. There was no collusion with the Russians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/17/18]
  • Protesters speak out on the government shutdown and why media should talk about its human impact

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE & AUDREY BOWLER

    With 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay and no end to the government shutdown in sight, furloughed workers and allies rallied in Washington, D.C., today to speak out about how the shutdown is hurting their communities and why news outlets need to be telling their stories.

    Here’s what they had to say: