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Nick Fernandez

Author ››› Nick Fernandez
  • Sixteen National Security Experts Warn Media To Take Great Care When Reporting On Information Published From Russian Hacks

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    As organizations such as WikiLeaks and DCLeaks continue to release emails that appear to originate from individuals close to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign, a group of former top national security officials and outside experts are warning “members of the media to stay engaged and to think critically about the facts they consume and disseminate.” The group notes that “what is taking place” in terms of the leaking of private emails “follows a well-known Russian playbook,” and “it is imperative that we focus on the broad disinformation campaign that is already underway.”

    In multiple email dumps, WikiLeaks published a trove of what appear to be hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. Politico reported that “there have been no bombshells,” adding that Podesta and the Clinton campaign have “neither verified nor denied the authenticity of the emails.”

    National security and cybersecurity experts have been saying for months that Russian intelligence services were most likely involved in the hacks -- and the U.S. government has now formally accused them of attempting to “interfere with the U.S. election process.” Yet right-wing media, including one of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s closest allies, Roger Stone, have cheered for Russian espionage and the hacking of private emails of American citizens. Fox News has even credulously reported on the illegally obtained documents. Donald Trump himself has said he is not convinced Russia is behind the leaks, which an unnamed intelligence briefer for Trump called a “willful misrepresentation” of reality, given the information Trump received in his intelligence briefings.

    A group of 16 former top national security officials and outside experts have penned a letter saying they are “concerned that an ongoing Russian influence operation is targeting the 2016 U.S. election.” The signatories of the letter note that American “debates on critical national security issues will be targeted” by Russian intelligence “in an effort to sway public opinion away from our national interests.” The experts conclude, “There is no amount of short-term partisan gain or perceived media scoop that could justify that outcome,” imploring “members of the media to stay engaged and to think critically about the facts they consume and disseminate.” From the October 6 letter:

  • Fox News Correspondent Goes To Chinatown, Produces Incredibly Racist Segment

    Journalists Condemn Jesse Watters For O'Reilly Factor Segment: “The Most Offensive Television Segment I’ve Ever Seen”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News’ Jesse Watters is drawing widespread condemnation for a segment on The O’Reilly Factor in which he visited New York’s Chinatown neighborhood to, according to Fox host Bill O’Reilly, “sample political opinion.” Since the episode aired, media figures have admonished Watters and O’Reilly for the “disgusting” and “anti-Asian” segment.

    During the October 3 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly aired the “Chinatown edition” of “Watters’ World,” in which Watters interviewed several bystanders in New York’s Chinatown, asking questions such as, “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?" “Tell me what’s not made in China?” and “Do you know karate?” Watters also played the song “Kung Fu Fighting” in the background and included clips of him doing karate. But, as Vox puts it, “What Watters was really doing was making fun of the people he encountered with the broadest, dumbest Asian stereotypes imaginable — making it clear they were there as props for him and his viewers for what he clearly considered a hilarious joke, rather than to actually give their opinions.”

    The segment was rebuked by numerous journalists on Twitter:

    Watters’ racist segment is not the first time The O’Reilly Factor has stereotyped Asian-American or Asian people. O’Reilly himself once stated, “Asian-Americans have succeeded in the U.S.A. better than any other minority group. ... I’m saying there’s no white privilege; there must be Asian privilege because the Asians are at the top of the chart.” O’Reilly also asserted that "Asian people are not liberal, you know, by nature. They're usually more industrious and hard-working," which prompted a demand for an apology from then-Rep. Collen Hanabusa (D-HI), who said O’Reilly’s comments “thoughtlessly insult 1.3 million people with one sweeping misstatement."

  • CNN Says Corey Lewandowski Is No Longer Receiving Trump Severance, But He's Still An Ethical Disaster

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    After months of simultaneously receiving payments from the Trump campaign for his continued involvement and strategic advice while employed as a CNN political commentator, Corey Lewandowski now claims he has stopped receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign, more than three months after being fired from his position as campaign manager. But Lewandowski’s claim that he has stopped receiving severance payments does not negate the ethical disaster CNN has on its hands by employing Lewandowski in the first place.

    On the September 29 edition of CNN’s New Day host Alisyn Camerota announced that it is “no longer the case” that Lewandowski is still receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign. Lewandowski confirmed Camerota’s statement, calling the news “amazing” and sarcastically adding, “40 days to go in the election, and now this is the breaking news of the day.”

    ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): CNN political commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Now, in previous appearances, we have told you that Corey was still receiving severance from the Trump campaign, but that is no longer the case we are told. Are you done with those payments, Corey?

    COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Amazing, right? Everything comes to an end. Everything comes to an end.

    CAMEROTA: I didn't think those would ever run out.

    LEWANDOWSKI: 40 days to go in the election, and now this is the breaking news of the day.

    CAMEROTA: But you're not getting any more payments from the campaign?

    LEWANDOWSKI: Correct.

    But Lewandowski’s employment at CNN is still an ethical debacle. Trump “campaign officials” admitted less than a week ago that Lewandowski “will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year,” a contradiction to Lewandowski’s statement this morning. Lewandowski’s continued involvement with the Trump campaign, his likely non-disparagement agreement with Trump, and his penchant for pushing Trump talking points on air all continue to raise serious questions about his continued employment at CNN.

    Still, CNN refuses to answer basic questions about Lewandowski’s apparent simultaneous relationship with the cable network and the Trump campaign. It is known that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker was aware that Lewandowski was receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign while CNN was paying him for his analysis, but still defended Lewandowski’s employment, saying he has “done a really nice job” with the network. CNN’s decision to continue employing Corey Lewandowski clashes with its own years-long stated policy that a person being "paid" by a campaign “would not be permitted to be a CNN contributor.”

    Sign Media Matters’ petition and tell CNN to cut ties with Corey Lewandowski immediately.

    UPDATE:

    Politico reported on September 29 that a CNN source confirmed Lewandowski “is no longer receiving monthly severance payments from the campaign” because “the campaign paid off the remainder of his contract in one lump sum.”

    This post has been update with additional information

  • Fox Figures Have Called Online Polls “Worthless,” But Fox News Is Citing Them Anyway

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News has continuously hyped Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s debate performance by citing online polls that have “Trump winning this debate,” but some Fox hosts, contributors, and online political editors have trashed the talking point, saying the online surveys that have been referenced “are worthless” and that “the idea that you win because your supporters come out and click on the computer more than others tells you nothing.”

  • Online Polls Are “Garbage,” But Fox News Still Cites Them

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hyped online post-debate polls to claim that Trump won the debate, saying that “every poll” showed that he “did better” than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But online polls involve “a self-selecting group of respondents,” and journalists and polling experts generally view them as unreliable -- “garbage” even.

  • Neither Fox News Nor Donald Trump Wants Debate Moderators To Fact-Check Candidates

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox figures are supporting fellow Fox host and debate moderator Chris Wallace and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s argument that moderators should not fact-check candidates during the presidential debates, suggesting that “it’s not the job” of moderators and that it would be “crazy” to think otherwise. Yet fact-checking services have found that 70 percent of Trump’s claims are “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire” lies.

  • Journalists Call On Debate Moderators To Fact-Check Candidates

    Journalists: Debate Moderators Should “Be Well-Prepared Enough To Assert The Truth In Real Time”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Prior to the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, journalists are advising the debate moderators to “Be well-prepared enough to assert the truth in real time,” and arguing that a moderator should not “abdicate” their “role as a truth-seeker and a journalist” because moderators “play a constructive and vital role” in presidential debates.

  • Trump’s 12 Biggest Lies That Debate Moderators Should Be Prepared To Address

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Independent fact-checking services have found that 70 percent of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s statements are “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire” lies.  As the candidates prepare to face off in the presidential debates, debate moderators must be aware of, and prepared to address, Trump’s biggest and most common lies that have been debunked time and again.

  • Right-Wing Media Insist Clinton’s Pneumonia Diagnosis Is A “Cover For Some More Serious Condition”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media are claiming the statement from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign that she was diagnosed with pneumonia is actually “a cover for some more serious condition,” and that Clinton falling ill at a 9/11 memorial event “had virtually nothing to do with her having pneumonia.” Actual medical experts in the media have explained that “Clinton's wobbly incident Sunday is a near-textbook case of what can happen with ‘walking pneumonia.’”

  • STUDY: Cable News Devotes 13 Times As Much Coverage To Clinton Health As Trump Foundation

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Cable news networks spent less than an hour in total on September 12 discussing a new investigative report about how Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump retooled his charitable foundation to “spend other people’s money.” By contrast, they devoted more than 13 and a half hours of their airtime that day to covering Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health.

    Over the weekend, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Clinton fell ill at a memorial event commemorating the victims of the 2001 attack and later revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier.

    The same weekend, The Washington Post published an investigative report by David Fahrenthold revealing that Trump had “retooled” the Donald J. Trump Foundation to transform it “from a standard-issue rich person’s philanthropy into a charity that allowed a rich man to be philanthropic for free.” The report detailed how Trump has stopped donating to his own foundation, instead filling its coffers with donations from business partners and others; that he uses the money as he pleases, including potentially illegal purchases for himself; that he lies to other charities and the public by suggesting that the foundation’s donations are his own money; and that the foundation has broken both the law and IRS rules.

    On Monday, September 12, the two issues drew immensely disproportionate coverage. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC devoted 13 hours, 41 minutes, and 41 seconds of combined airtime between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to discussing Clinton’s pneumonia. The same networks devoted less than an hour of combined airtime to the Post’s revelations about the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    Among the networks, MSNBC covered Clinton’s health the most with nearly five and a half hours of time devoted to the topic, but much of their evening coverage stood out for devoting substantial time to discussing the history of presidential illnesses, debunking conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health -- which right-wing media have spent months pushing -- and criticizing the media for hyping the story. Several mainstream media outlets, in their frenzied response, declared that the months of conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health had been “vindicated” because Clinton revealed that she had been diagnosed on September 9 with pneumonia.

    Noticeably, Fox News was the only cable news network not to cover the Post’s reporting on Trump’s foundation at all. MSNBC and CNN each gave the story less than half an hour.

    The media’s reporting on the two stories highlights a consistent problem of news outlets failing to adequately cover investigative reports relating to Donald Trump. Broadcast news networks previously chose to dedicate three times more coverage to a flawed AP report about the Clinton Foundation than to an illegal political donation Donald Trump once made to the Florida attorney general through his foundation. Network news morning shows also previously failed to cover an investigative report that revealed Trump’s former campaign manager possibly received illegal payments from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for coverage of Hillary Clinton's health on September 12, 2016, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC using the terms: "(clinton) (health or pneumonia or overheat* or medical or physician or condition)." Media Matters searched SnapStream for coverage of the Donald J. Trump Foundation on September 12, 2016, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC using the terms: "(Trump AND (Foundation OR Charity))"