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Nick Fernandez

Author ››› Nick Fernandez
  • Broadcast Morning Shows Mostly Ignore New Reports Detailing Trump’s Potential Conflicts Of Interests

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & CYDNEY HARGIS

    Broadcast morning news shows mostly ignored multiple new reports highlighting potential conflicts of interests involving President-elect Donald Trump. In doing so, broadcast news outlets are continuing a pattern of ignoring important revelations about Trump’s business practices.

    On November 21, multiple stories broke detailing “new questions about Mr. Trump’s willingness to use the power of the presidency to advance his business interests.” The New York Times noted that experts in legal ethics claim Trump’s business “arrangements could easily run afoul of” a constitutional clause that protects against conflicts of interest “if [the arrangements] continue after Mr. Trump takes office.” The Times and The Hill both detailed specific incidents during Trump’s transition to the presidency that have “raised concerns about conflicts of interest between his future White House and his private enterprises,” but broadcast news outlets have chosen to ignore the new reports by and large.

    Media Matters searched video and transcripts of the November 22 broadcast morning news shows -- ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, and CBS’ CBS This Morning -- for reports on Trump’s conflicts of interest and found that the shows devoted less than two minutes combined to the newest reports of the president-elect’s business dealings overseas. NBC’s Today did not mention the potential conflicts of interest at all, while CBS This Morning had only 23 seconds worth of coverage, and ABC’s Good Morning America spent one minute and 31 seconds on the issue.

    Inadequate reporting of Trump’s inherent conflicts of interest has been a consistent problem, despite concerns that his business entanglements will be a “national security nightmare.” News networks for the most part sidelined reporting on Trump’s conflicts of interest until after his election. Between September 14 and Election Day, the networks aired approximately seven minutes of stories about or at least mentioning Trump’s various conflicts of interest, and in the week after the election, they aired approximately 14 minutes of coverage about conflicts ranging from Trump’s foreign business ties to Ivanka Trump’s company pushing a $10,000-plus bracelet that she wore in a recent 60 Minutes interview.

    Trump’s lack of transparency when it comes to divulging his business dealings makes it imperative that network news shows raise awareness about these conflicts of interest -- but so far, they’re failing.

  • Fox’s Tucker Carlson Is A Putin Apologist

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    In the first full week of his own Fox News prime-time show, host Tucker Carlson failed to mention the post-election revelation that the Russian Foreign Ministry had “contacts” with President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign throughout the 2016 election. Carlson’s silence comes after the Fox host spent the final month of the 2016 presidential campaign denying claims from the United States intelligence community that the Russian government was “trying to influence the outcome of” the presidential election. Now, with his own prime-time show, will Carlson continue to spin for the Russian Federation?

    On October 7, during the final month of the 2016 presidential campaign, President Obama and his administration “officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections,” according to The Washington Post. But while appearing on Fox News in the ensuing weeks Carlson called the Clinton campaign’s claim that Russia was trying to influence the election “a lie” that might have a “political motivation behind” it. In fact, Carlson made a point of repeatedly and unequivocally insisting that the U.S. intelligence community was pushing “an utterly unsubstantiated claim from the Clinton campaign that” the cyberattacks on American political institutions are “a Russian propaganda effort,” adding that the U.S. intelligence community doesn’t “know that that’s true; they’re just throwing it out there.”

    Following the election, “a senior Russian diplomat” confirmed that “Russian government officials conferred with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team” during the campaign, a revelation that Carlson failed to mention in his first week hosting his new prime-time show. Media Matters reviewed transcripts and video of the first week of Carlson's new Fox News program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and found no substantive mentions of the reports that Russian officials were in contact with Trump’s team before Election Day. Carlson’s only substantive discussion or American-Russian relations during the first week of his show began with Carlson asking Garry Kasparov, an activist who opposes Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Why should human rights abuses within Russia dictate our posture toward Russia?”

    Carlson’s personal disinformation campaign regarding Russia’s confirmed role in the presidential election is consistent with his positive characterization of Russia’s actions in Syria. Carlson has praised Putin for “riding to President Obama's rescue” in the Syrian civil war. Moreover, while the State Department and humanitarian monitors note that in many ways Russia is hindering progress in Syria, Carlson has also repeatedly asserted that "Putin is fighting ISIS" in Syria and that "the Assad regime” -- a close ally of Russia’s -- “is also fighting ISIS.” But, as experts note, “Assad's government has done little to counter the rise of IS, instead focusing on its fight against rebel forces.”

    Carlson’s admiration of Putin and Russia is not new. In 2011, Carlson tweeted a link to a Daily Caller article about Putin and proclaimed that the “Tiger fighter” and “bad ass” would be “our greatest hope when Aliens finally attack.”

    Carlson’s first week at the prime-time helm seemed a perfect opportunity to correct his repeated and false claims -- and certainly to mention the Russian government’s admission that it was in contact with the Trump team throughout the election. It seems that instead, he’ll continue to use his platform on Fox News to spin for an American adversary.

  • Right-Wing Media Tout Trump’s “Lobbying Ban” As Draining The Swamp, While Other Outlets Question Ban’s Efficacy

    Emphasis On Ban Also Ignores Trump’s Many Other Conflicts Of Interest

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media are touting new “promises” from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to implement five-year “bans on having folks go and lobby after being in the administration” -- and to allow no registered lobbyists on his transition team -- as “a signal that he's going to do the draining of the swamp he said he'd do.” But other media have explained why the ban wouldn’t necessarily work, as lobbyists could just avoid registering as such, and transition team members could undo their lobbyist registration. In addition, the proposed “ban” does nothing to address the “tidal wave of potential conflicts of interest” that “will arrive with” a Trump administration.

  • Harry Reid, Democrats Condemn Former Breitbart Head Stephen Bannon's Appointment As White House Chief Strategist

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    After President-elect Donald Trump announced the appointment of Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist and senior counselor, numerous Democratic members of Congress led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and other national politicians condemned Trump’s “dangerous” selection. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and Trump campaign CEO, has a long history of promoting “racist” and “race-baiting ideas” on Breitbart News, a site that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says “promot[es] the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership -- much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people.”

  • Sean Hannity’s Final Two Weeks Of 2016 Campaign Coverage Has Devolved Into Insanity

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    During the final two weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News host and Trump sycophant Sean Hannity has desperately attempted to boost Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s candidacy by parroting supermarket tabloid smears, hyping fake stories to attack President Obama and Hillary Clinton, and even using a stolen email published by WikiLeaks to assert that Clinton and her campaign staff “are Satanists who participate in witchcraft.”

  • FBI Director's Letter Receives Criticism From Across The Political Spectrum

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media figures from across the political spectrum are criticizing FBI Director James Comey for defying Justice Department rules and precedent to issue a short and vague letter informing Congress that the Bureau had obtained and was seeking to review emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” regarding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. The journalists and pundits called the timing of Comey’s letter “unfortunate, given its potential to affect a democratic process in which millions of people are already voting,” with some going so far as to say Comey’s letter “both disgraces and politicizes the FBI.”

  • Right-Wing Media Figures Conflate “Voter Fraud” With Voter Registration Inaccuracies

    Fox News Host: “That's Troubling. I Only Know Of One Person That Has Risen From The Dead, So 20, That's A Problem”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & CAT DUFFY

    Right-wing media have baselessly stoked fears of widespread voter fraud based on out-of-date or inaccurate voter registration rolls to defend Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims that “dead people” and “illegal aliens” are voting. But in doing so they’ve falsely conflated possible registration fraud with the practice of in-person voter fraud; both types are rare, and the latter is virtually nonexistent.

  • Trump-Allied Media Previously Attacked His Debate Guest, Malik Obama, For Alleged Ties To Extremist Groups

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced that President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, will be his personal guest at the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. The choice highlights an unusual division between Trump and some of the right-wing media outlets he often relies on, who have for years accused Malik Obama of having alleged ties to various extremist groups in a fringe effort to smear President Obama.

  • Fox’s Most Recent Attempt At Revisionist History On The Origins Of The “Birther” Controversy Falls Flat

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is attempting to spin a stolen email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as proof Hillary Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign “push[ed]” the narrative that then-Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim and thus “started” the birther controversy. However, the email that the network is citing actually shows a Democratic super PAC, composed of allies of both Obama and Clinton, engaging in the normal practice of testing potential negative attacks “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against” 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ).

    During the October 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Clayton Morris teased a segment that would supposedly reveal “the truth about the birther movement,” adding “wait until you hear who really started it.” Citing a hacked email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was made public by WikiLeaks, Morris claimed the “bombshell” email shows “that Hillary was pushing the Muslim Obama narrative back in 2008.” Fox News correspondent Ed Henry noted Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s explanation that the correspondence was from a super PAC that was “testing out different narratives the Republicans were pushing” against both Democratic candidates, but added, “This is what their explanation is, to be fair. But they're still raising” the birther controversy.

    Fox’s representation of the content of the email in question is misleading. The Fox hosts falsely claimed “Hillary was pushing” birther claims, but the email was not generated by the Clinton campaign. Instead, the email details proposed questions for a poll commissioned by an organization established to support the Democratic candidate for president in the general election engaging in the common practice of “testing your opponent’s attacks on you.”

    The email was written by Kristi Fuska, an analyst with Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, regarding polling for a group called Progressive Media USA, which was composed of supporters of both Clinton and Obama. Tom Matzzie, an Obama supporter who received the email in question, said that the Democratic group was testing possible general election attacks from Republicans “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against McCain.” Matzzie also explained that “the research team that cooked up the Obama attacks eventually went on to work for the Obama campaign.”

    Fox’s revisionist history regarding the birther controversy flies in the face of the network’s long history of enthusiastically echoing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s years-long, racist crusade to raise doubts about President Obama’s legitimacy, and ignores the fact that Fox provided Trump with a friendly platform to promote his birther beliefs for years.

    This post has been edited for clarity.

  • Right-Wing Media Bolster Trump’s Campaign Strategy Of Baselessly Painting Hillary Clinton As “An Enabler Of Sexual Violence”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media have bolstered Donald Trump’s campaign strategy of falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton has targeted women who have accused her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of sexual misconduct, in order to distract from numerous reports that Trump sexually assaulted several women. Multiple independent fact-checkers and media organizations have debunked the claims as unsubstantiated, calling them an “exaggeration too far.”