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Nick Fernandez

Author ››› Nick Fernandez
  • Trump to hire lawyer who used TV appearances to spout conspiracy theories, attack the FBI and DOJ

    Trump has reportedly decided to add disgraced lawyer Joseph diGenova to his legal team

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump hired former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova as part of his stable of lawyers. As the Times notes, diGenova “has pushed the theory on television that the F.B.I and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump.” While that conspiracy theory is one of his favorite claims, diGenova has also bemoaned the “deep state,” claimed former FBI Director James Comey “sold his soul to the devil,” and called the investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion “the worst period in the history of the bureau.”

  • Fox & Friends spent 22 seconds this week covering Jared Kushner. Here is what it covered instead.

    Since February 28, Fox & Friends has spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s downgraded security clearance, ignoring three other bombshell reports

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, has all but ignored multiple noteworthy stories regarding potential criminal conduct by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Since the morning of February 28, Fox News’ flagship morning show has spent a grand total of 22 seconds discussing Kushner’s downgraded security clearance while entirely avoiding three other bombshell reports about him.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the country’s most sensitive classified documents, including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    On February 28, The New York Times published a report that Kushner’s family real estate company had secured millions of dollars in business loans from Citigroup and Apollo Global Management after Kushner, a senior adviser to the president of the United States, met with the leaders of both companies at the White House. According to the Times report, while meeting with Joshua Harris, the founder of Apollo, “the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris,” though a “job never materialized.”

    Finally, on March 2, The Intercept reported that Kushner’s family business “made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio.” According to the report, “The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors.”

    While Fox & Friends failed to spend significant time on any of these stories, the hosts managed to find time to fit in segments about:

    A pamphlet at Kennesaw State University in Georgia

    “Mega Morning Deals” on items including an oil-less fryer, Bluetooth beacons, and cashmere scarves

    Uncle Jack’s steak empire expanding!

    A congressional candidate who smoked marijuana in a political ad

    People complaining about The View host Joy Behar

    Funny videos captured by home security cameras

    An actor starring in a new faith-based movie

    Two Fox News anchors going skydiving

    And Tomi Lahren complaining about Jimmy Kimmel

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” and "Jared" on Fox News' Fox & Friends between February 28 and March 2.

  • Fox & Friends ignores report that foreign governments viewed Kushner as vulnerable to manipulation

    Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham also failed to report that Kushner's security clearance was downgraded, and Fox & Friends spent just 22 seconds on it

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following a long-standing pattern of omitting and downplaying notable developments regarding American national security during the Trump administration, Fox News has largely glossed over White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded, and the network has completely ignored a subsequent report that foreign governments have discussed ways to “manipulate” Kushner through his business entanglements.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the most sensitive classified documents including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    But a Media Matters review found that Fox’s 8-11 p.m. lineup of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle, which reaches millions of viewers, did not mention Kushner at all. Fox’s flagship morning program, Fox & Friends, spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded. And just two shows, Special Report with Bret Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum, covered the Post’s story about foreign governments targeting Kushner for manipulation.

    Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Defense Department, noted that Kushner’s lack of a top-secret security clearance “effectively means he cannot do his job as the top diplomat overseeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” adding that Kushner “cannot be involved in policy making, … can’t go into the White House situation room [to] have conversations, [and] can't prepare the president for engagements with foreign leaders.” Bash also said he thought the downgrade in Kushner's security clearance was "professionally fatal for him."

    Fox’s decision to disregard the reports on Kushner follows a long-standing and glaring pattern of ignoring or downplaying major reports on threats to American national security and, specifically, the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” on Fox News on February 27 and 28.

  • Fox News conveniently overlooks Mitch McConnell's refusal to alert Americans to Russian interference before the 2016 election

    McConnell refused to sign onto a bipartisan effort made by Obama to publicly call out Russian interference and respond to the attack

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following the indictment of 13 Russian nationals who were allegedly involved in interfering in the 2016 presidential election campaign, Fox News is attempting to cast blame on the Obama administration and deflect scrutiny from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his role in blocking the administration from alerting the country prior to the election.

    On Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to McConnell, sought to blame former President Barack Obama for not stopping the Russian influence campaign, asking, “What in the world [was Obama] doing for the last two years” he was in office to prevent the Russian interference during the 2016 campaign.

    But Holmes seems to have conveniently forgotten that his former boss shot down Obama’s efforts to “generate bipartisan support for an American response to a foreign attack” and refused to sign a bipartisan letter in August 2016 that would have explicitly warned the American public about the Russian influence efforts during the ongoing campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden recently (though not newly) explained that the Obama administration specifically sought a bipartisan, "united front to dispel concerns that going public with such accusations would be seen as an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the election." According to The Washington Post, McConnell even “voic[ed] skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims” of Russian interference. While McConnell’s office claims that McConnell signed onto a bipartisan letter that was sent to the National Association of State Election Directors to warn the state officials about possible hacking attempts, according to Politico, “That missive ... did not address Russia specifically, or the larger topic of influence beyond voting systems.”

    Despite McConnell’s refusal to cooperate with Obama's efforts to call out Russian influence efforts before the elections, Holmes attacked the Obama administration, saying it “didn't get around to even acknowledging [the Russian interference] until October of 2016.” From the February 20 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

    BILL HEMMER (HOST): So, Josh, we’re having a bit of a redo, yet again, on this. There are questions about [former CIA Director] John Brennan. There are questions about what the CIA, what the [the office of Director of National Intelligence] DNI, what everybody was doing back in 2014, ‘15, and ‘16. Now, how’s the Obama team going to address that?

    JOSH HOLMES (FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF OF SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL): Well, what I think is particularly galling here is that, if you were to listen to some of those players that you just named over the last six, eight months, they would have you believe that the entire Russian, quote unquote, “collusion investigation” started, and began, and ended within the confines of the Trump campaign. And what we've now come to find out through the Mueller indictments over the last month is this has been going on from 2014. So I think it's a legitimate question, beyond a legitimate question, to ask what in the world they were doing for the last two years?

    [...]

    MARIE HARF (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): The bigger point here is, Bill, we can have a legitimate debate about why [the Obama administration] didn't do more. And there were good reasons. We were concerned about Russian escalation, we were concerned about being partisan.

    [...]

    HOLMES:  Everybody has sort of conflated the election with this Russian interference. The election itself, there is absolutely no evidence that any votes were changed, as you said, Bill. But the Russian interference is real and it dates back to 2014, and it’s something that we’ve really got to get a hold on. What is extremely concerning to me is that for two years we went through a basic understanding that they were trying to do what they were going to do, and the Obama administration didn't get around to even acknowledging it until October of 2016.

    Correction (5/30/19): This piece originally stated that Bill Hemmer said the Obama administration “didn’t get around to even acknowledging [the Russian interference] until October of 2016.” In fact, it was his guest Josh Holmes who made that claim.

  • The morning after Florida shooting, elected GOP officials appeared on only one show: Fox & Friends

    No elected GOP officials appeared on morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, or CBS. Chris Cuomo: Republicans "wouldn’t even come on the damn show.”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The morning after yet another deadly school shooting in the United States, Republican elected officials avoided all but one morning news show: Fox & Friends.

    Yesterday, a shooting at a Florida school left at least 17 students and adults dead. It was the 18th shooting at a school in the U.S. just this year. Today, Republican elected officials avoided ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC’s morning shows, opting to exclusively appear on Fox & Friends. Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) all appeared on Fox to discuss the shooting. Cruz attempted to explain the shooting by saying, “Evil is, sadly, always present” and complained that “the reaction of Democrats to any tragedy to is try to politicize it.” Rubio referred to the shooting as “an isolated instance” that resulted from “a perfect storm of circumstances.” And Scott told the Fox & Friends hosts that he was “mad” and asked, “How can this be going on in our society?” Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the shooting.

    Meanwhile, no Republican elected officials appeared on any other broadcast and major cable news channel. CNN host Chris Cuomo noted that it was not for lack of trying, saying that Republicans “wouldn’t even come on the damn show” to talk about the shooting in Florida:

    In the aftermath of past mass shootings, Fox News has provided a platform for Second Amendment advocates to push misinformation about firearms while repeatedly asserting that the aftermath of a mass shooting is “not the time” to talk about policy solutions to address gun violence.

  • Fox publishes senator's leaked text messages less than two weeks after Julian Assange promised “news about Warner” to Hannity

    Assange promised "news about Warner” to a fake Sean Hannity account via "other channels" just weeks ago

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Less than two weeks after The Daily Beast reported WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange contacted a fake Sean Hannity account on Twitter discussing “other channels” for Assange to send information about Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- Fox News hyped “brand new text messages” that revealed “questionable relationship between [Warner] and a lobbyist representing a Russian oligarch.”

    On January 29, The Daily Beast’s Ben Collins reported that, after Fox News host Sean Hannity’s Twitter account briefly “disappeared,” Julian Assange unknowingly messaged an account posing as Hannity, presumably under the impression that the account was authentic. In the direct messages, Assange suggested the parody Hannity account send messages “on other channels” because, according to a screenshot of the conversation, Assange had “some news about Warner” to discuss with Hannity.

    On the February 8 edition of Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum, host Martha MacCallum reported “brand new text messages” from Sen. Warner that were “obtained exclusively by Fox News” from, according to Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry, “a Republican source.” MacCallum claimed the text messages “puts a little bit of a wrinkle in” the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. Soon after MacCallum’s exclusive report, Hannity promoted Henry’s report about the leaked Warner texts. President Trump weighed in as well, writing, "Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch."

    MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): We have some breaking news for you this evening on The Story. There are brand new text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News that reveal a questionable relationship between the top Democrat in the Senate's Russia investigation and a lobbyist representing a Russian oligarch. Good evening, everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum and this is The Story for tonight. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who held numerous press conferences over the past year promising a fair and bipartisan investigation into President Trump's supposed ties to Russia, was apparently trying to gain access through the Russians to Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier. Writing in part in these text messages that are just being revealed for the first time, "we have so much to discuss. You need to be careful, but we can help our country."

    [...]

    It's potentially at least a stream to follow up on that the Russians, perhaps, were trying to lay groundwork on both sides of the fence here.

    ED HENRY (FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT): No doubt about it.

    [..]

    The bottom line is Democrats have spent a lot of time talking about the president's ties to Russians, what kind of conversations he and his aides have had. Now these text messages that I got from a Republican source close to the committee is clearly an attempt by Republicans to say hang on a second, the top Democrat on this committee also had some questionable conversations about trying to keep some of this secret. And again, I want to stress, Warner’s office was very direct with me in saying they realize that this doesn’t look good out of context, as they say, but they insist the Republican chairman was in the loop.

    [...]

    MACCALLUM: Both sides have sort of pointed fingers at each other from the House side and Senate side that the House Intel Committee has all this friction between the Republicans and the Democrats and that on the Senate side, the gentlemen are working everything out with no problems. This sort of puts a little bit of a wrinkle in that.

    Soon after the report, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) acknowledged that “Sen.Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago,” adding that this disclosure, “has had zero impact on our work." 

    Fox News has waged a months-long campaign attempting to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. 

  • The Nunes memo perfectly lined up with what Hannity has been hyping for weeks prior to its release

    Hannity in early January: “All this information about” alleged FISA abuses “will finally now see the light of day”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Almost a month before Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chose to publicly release what was a classified and partisan memo written by intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) alleging Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fox host Sean Hannity appeared to have advanced knowledge of some of the claims laid out in the Nunes memo. Almost a month prior to the memo’s public release, Hannity was hyping “shocking information … that will show systemic FISA abuse” and bragged that the media will “be forced to cover this story.”

  • “The Storm,” the deep state, and antifa: Pro-Trump media are full of conspiracy theories about today’s train accident

    ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ & NICK FERNANDEZ

    After a charter train that was carrying Republican members of Congress collided with a stalled dump truck that was stuck on the train tracks in western Virginia, pro-Trump media outlets immediately pushed various conspiracy theories about the accident, including suggesting that “the deep state” was “trying to send a message” to Republican members of Congress. Fake news websites also pushed a conspiracy theory linking the potential release of the classified memo written by the Republican members of the House intelligence committee with the timing of the train crash that they claim was enacted by the “deep state.”

  • Hannity repeatedly called for special counsel's removal in June 2017 when Trump attempted to fire Mueller

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The New York Times reported that in June 2017, President Donald Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. According to the Times, Trump “began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation,” but relented after McGahn threatened to resign.

    During that month, Fox host Sean Hannity and his guests repeatedly called for Mueller to be removed. According to a Media Matters analysis, Hannity and Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called for Mueller to resign, recuse himself, or to be fired at least 39 times in June. Additionally, Hannity and his guests claimed that Mueller had a “conflict of interest” 102 times.

    Hannity: "Mueller needs to, I'm sorry, he needs to be removed."

    [Fox News, Hannity, 6/8/17]

    Hannity: "This special counsel, Mueller, needs to be shut down immediately."

    [Fox News, Hannity, 6/12/17]

    Gregg Jarrett: "The acting attorney general who appointed Mueller should fire him." 

    [Fox News, Hannity, 6/12/17]

    Hannity: "Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, recuse themselves, resign immediately." 

    [Fox News, Hannity, 6/14/17]

    Hannity: Mueller "should recuse himself," "needs to end this witchhunt right now." 

    [Fox News, Hannity, 6/20/17]

  • In final stretch of campaign, Roy Moore runs to friendly outlets to avoid questions of child molestation

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In the last week leading up to today's special Senate election in Alabama, Republican candidate Roy Moore has avoided most media, granting interviews instead to friendly outlets including Breitbart and One America News Network. On the night before the election, Moore did one of these interviews with Breitbart.com chief Stephen Bannon at a rally where Bannon was campaigning for him. 

    Since December 4, Moore has given at least five interviews, none of which were to major mainstream media outlets despite the national attention the race garnered after Moore was accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with teenagers, including a 14-year-old girl. Moore granted one interview to Breitbart's Aaron Klein, one interview to Bannon at a Moore rally where Bannon was campaigning for him (Breitbart has been running defense to get him elected), one interview to pro-Moore outlet One America News Network, one interview to a local Alabama political talk show, and one interview to a “pro-Trump” 12-year-old girl in an interview arranged by an organization “formed by former Breitbart news staffers.”

    Moore has largely avoided the media since early November, when reports surfaced that Moore engaged in numerous inappropriate encounters with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Since those reports, pro-Trump media have generously supported Moore in an attempt to drag him across the finish line, helping him in his efforts to attack his accusers. Breitbart.com has led the pack, with Bannon campaigning extensively for Moore and the site going all in soon after the first reports of inappropriate contact with teenagers surfaced. Breitbart’s senior editor Joel Pollak has argued that Moore’s reported sexual relationships with teenagers were “perfectly legitimate.” And Breitbart has even rented out its email list to the Moore campaign, which sent fundraising emails to Breitbart’s subscribers on at least four occasions.