Author Page | Media Matters for America

Rachel Calvert

Author ››› Rachel Calvert
  • How Cable News Covered White Supremacists Allegedly Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters In Minneapolis

    CNN And MSNBC Give Extensive Coverage To Shooting, Fox News Barely Covers After Previously Calling Black Lives Matter A "Hate Group"

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    After months of vilifying Black Lives Matter and labeling the movement a "hate group," Fox News devoted scant coverage to a November 23 mass shooting that injured five protesters at a Black Lives Matter vigil in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and similarly downplayed the subsequent arrests of three white suspects. 

    By contrast, CNN provided updates throughout the day following the shooting, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow offered in-depth coverage of the escalating threats of violence leading up to the attack:

    Minneapolis Shooting Coverage

    Five protesters suffered injuries when at least one person opened fire on a Black Lives Matter gathering outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct building on the evening of November 23. The Washington Post reported protesters had been "camping in front of the 4th Precinct since Nov. 15, when two Minneapolis police officers were involved in the contentious killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark." As of November 24, "[t]he police said that they had arrested a 23-year-old white man, and that two other white men, ages 21 and 26, turned themselves in on Tuesday afternoon," according to The New York Times, which added, "[t]he police also said they were aware of a video in which masked men are seen driving to the protest site and brandishing a pistol, while making racist comments and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark." Social media posts of the three suspects "reveal a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups," RawStory reported

    As the news of the shooting made national headlines and developments poured in on November 24, Fox News devoted the least amount of coverage to the incident among cable networks.

    According to a Media Matters review, Fox only mentioned the Minneapolis shooting 3 times, with coverage totalling only 1 minute and 16 seconds. CNN covered the story for 10 minutes and 37 seconds throughout the day, while MSNBC covered the story for just over 12 minutes

    The November 24 broadcast of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show devoted a full segment to the incident, placing the shooting in the recent context of masked "anti-protesters or counter-protesters, or maybe you'd call them provocateurs" turning up at local Black Lives Matter protests to videotape the gatherings. As host Rachel Maddow explained, demonstrators at the 4th Precinct faced racist intimidation and escalating threats of violence leading up to Monday's shooting.

    The shooting  follows months of Fox News attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement, including Fox hosts likening the movement to "the Nazi Party," and the "Klu Klux Klan," and a "hate group."

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly continued his attacks on Black Lives Matter during a panel on his show the day following the shooting. During the November 24 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said of the movement, "if black lives matter, how come this group isn't on the south side of Chicago when every weekend you've got a couple of dozen black lives lost," while a panelist claimed Black Lives Matter is "inciting violence to the point of hate crime."

    During that segment, O'Reilly even alluded to the police shooting of Jamar Clark, but failed to acknowledge that five people protesting Clark's death had been shot the night before or that three suspects had been arrested. 

    Media Matters used Nexis and internal video archives to analyze news coverage of the shooting on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, using the search term "Minneapolis" from 6 a.m. EST through 12:00 a.m. EST on November 24. Media Matters did not include reruns in the time count of coverage.

    Lis Power and Brendan Karet contributed research to this report.  

  • New Study Predicts A Right-Wing Media Abortion Myth Could Be Putting More Texas Women At Risk

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    A recent Texas Policy Evaluation Project study highlights how Texas' medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that were passed into law under the false right-wing media guise of protecting women's health actually place them at risk. The study predicts that women are more likely to self-induce abortion "as clinic-based care becomes more difficult to access" -- a particularly poignant consequence of restrictive abortion laws in a state where such restrictions have already shuttered at least half of Texas' clinics.

    On November 13, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Whole Women's Health v. Cole, a challenge to HB2, a Texas law passed in 2013 requiring all abortion providers to employ doctors that have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and to meet the standards for "ambulatory surgical centers." If not stricken down, the law could eventually shut down 75 percent of the state's clinics.

    A November 17 study conducted by the University of Texas' Texas Policy Evaluation Project predicted that if the Supreme Court fails to overturn the law and clinic access is further restricted, "abortion self-induction will increase," "[g]iven that the populations ... found to be most familiar with abortion self-induction are among those that have been most directly affected by the closure." The study also found that at least 100,000 and as many as 240,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in Texas have attempted to self-induce an abortion. Histories of self-induced abortions are most prevalent among women who reported facing significant obstacles to reproductive healthcare in the past, and among Latina women living in a rural area of Texas that has seen several clinic closures.

    The very law that numerous media outlets believe could force some Texas women to self-induce abortion by severely restricting their access, was passed based on right-wing media myths. Texas lawmakers pushing for the 2013 legislation insisted that women's health clinics were unsafe and required increased regulation, capitalizing on a that myth originated by anti-choice activists. At the time, media helped give this claim oxygen: multiple Fox News figures claimed the law's restrictions were medically necessary and would make women safer, and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote that the law would simply make clinics "meet certain medical standards." Today, Fox News is still peddling the GOP claim that these anti-choice restrictions are in the best interest of women's health, despite the fact that medical experts agree that the measure is based on medically inaccurate information and that these regulations harm women.  

    The law forced the shutdown of at least half of the state's women's health clinics, and created a health crisis, leaving millions of women hundreds of miles away from accessing basic health services.

    The New York Times points out that while Texas abortions are down 13 percent since the passage of HB2, the study's authors do not attribute the decline to the measure -- they point to international evidence that abortion restrictions have done nothing to reduce the incidence of abortion -- only to encourage unsafe abortions.

    The authors suggest it's actually more likely that "Texas women either traveled out of state, continued the pregnancy, or induced an abortion using the drug Misoprostol (known by the brand name Cytotec) or through 'herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills.'"  While misoprostol has been endorsed by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals as a harm reduction strategy to mitigate the dangers of self-induced abortion, "unfortunately, women often have inaccurate information on misoprostol use, [and] [d]rug quality is also a major concern, with a variety of misoprostol products on the market that do not meet international standards, are poorly stored or have simply expired." 

    For these reasons, the Texas case before the Court has striking implications for the women of the 10 additional states that have enacted similar requirements for hospital-admitting privileges, as well as the six other states that have passed laws "requiring hospital-grade facilities that mirror the Texas law."

    As Dr. Daniel Grossman, co-author of the study and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, told reporters, "This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk."

  • Right-Wing Media Take Obama's ISIS Containment Comment Out Of Context To Criticize His Terror Response

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Right-wing media mischaracterized President Obama's remarks that ISIS has been "contained" to suggest that he downplayed the international threat posed by the terrorist group. However, fact-checkers have determined that "references or suggestions that Obama claimed ISIS no longer presents an active threat are incorrect."

  • Memo To CNBC Debate Moderators: Don't Fall For These Right-Wing Media Myths About The Economic Cost of Immigration


    As CNBC prepares to host the third Republican presidential debate on October 28 -- which will focus on the economy and is being billed as "Your Money, Your Vote" -- moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood should be prepared to contest and correct several right-wing myths about the economic costs of immigration that are all but certain to come up.

  • Fox News Hypes Debunked Allegation That Clinton Intentionally Misled About Cause Of Benghazi Attacks

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox News' Chris Wallace repeated Republican Rep. Jim Jordan's false allegation that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intentionally misled the public about the cause of the 2012 Benghazi attacks when she attributed them publicly to protests inspired by an inflammatory anti-Muslim video but privately described them as an act of terror. However, in the week following the September 11, 2012, attacks on American diplomatic facilities, intelligence officials received "piecemeal" and "conflicting" intelligence, and independent investigations have found that Clinton's private and public statements represented the best reported intelligence at the time. Clinton herself has repeatedly addressed how her view of the attacks evolved as the intelligence changed.

  • LA Times And WA Spokesman-Review's Coverage Of Planned Parenthood Arsons Shines Compared To National Print And Cable News


    A Media Matters review found that cable news shows and leading newspapers around the country remained largely silent on arson attacks that targeted Planned Parenthood clinics following the release of a series of deceptively-edited, anti-choice videos smearing the health care provider. Prime-time cable news shows and the nation's three highest-circulation newspapers dedicated minimal coverage to the arson attacks. The LA Times and Spokane's Spokesman Review provided the most coverage of the attacks.

  • New York Times' Paul Krugman Calls Out The Media For Failing To Acknowledge The "Political Fakery" Of The Benghazi Investigation

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    The New York Times' Paul Krugman called out the media's fraudulent coverage of the Benghazi committee and Hillary Clinton's email use, for treating the non-scandals as "real debates about national security or economics even when it's both obvious and easy to show that nothing of the kind is actually taking place." 

    In an October 9 column, Krugman observed that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy "inadvertently did the nation a big favor with his ill-advised honesty" when he bragged about the Benghazi committee's success in "inflicting political damage on Hillary Clinton," exposing how the Fox News manufactured Benghazi hearings "had nothing to do with national security."

    Krugman called out media figures who cover topics such as the Benghazi hearings and Clinton's use of email for pretending "that we're having real debates about national security or economics even when it's both obvious and easy to show that nothing of the kind is actually taking place," calling it a "kind of fraudulence": 

    So Representative Kevin McCarthy, who was supposed to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the House, won't be pursuing the job after all. He would have faced a rough ride both winning the post and handling it under the best of circumstances, thanks to the doomsday caucus -- the fairly large bloc of Republicans demanding that the party cut off funds to Planned Parenthood, or kill Obamacare, or anyway damage something liberals like, by shutting down the government and forcing it into default.

    Still, he finished off his chances by admitting -- boasting, actually -- that the endless House hearings on Benghazi had nothing to do with national security, that they were all about inflicting political damage on Hillary Clinton.

    But we all knew that, didn't we?

    I often wonder about commentators who write about things like those hearings as if there were some real issue involved, who keep going on about the Clinton email controversy as if all these months of scrutiny had produced any evidence of wrongdoing, as opposed to sloppiness.

    Surely they have to know better, whether they admit it to themselves or not. And surely the long history of Clinton nonscandals and retracted allegations -- remember, there never was anything to the Whitewater accusations -- should serve as a cautionary tale.

    Somehow, though, politicians who pretend to be concerned about issues, but are obviously just milking those issues for political gain, keep getting a free pass. And it's not just a Clinton story.


    Again, none of this should come as news to anyone who follows politics and policy even moderately closely. But I'm not sure that normal people, who have jobs to do and families to raise, are getting the message. After all, who will tell them?

    Sometimes I have the impression that many people in the media consider it uncouth to acknowledge, even to themselves, the fraudulence of much political posturing. The done thing, it seems, is to pretend that we're having real debates about national security or economics even when it's both obvious and easy to show that nothing of the kind is actually taking place. 

    But turning our eyes away from political fakery, pretending that we're having a serious discussion when we aren't, is itself a kind of fraudulence. Mr. McCarthy inadvertently did the nation a big favor with his ill-advised honesty, but telling the public what's really going on shouldn't depend on politicians with loose lips.

  • Megyn Kelly Tells Charlie Rose She's "Not An Opinion Maker" But Here Are 9 Times She Engaged In Advocacy From The Anchor Desk

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    During an interview with Charlie Rose, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly insisted that she is different than her prime-time colleagues Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity because she is "not an opinion-maker" or an "issue advocate," but rather, a straight "newsperson." But that's a false image that Kelly and her employer have sold the public in an attempt to boost the popular anchor's credibility, making her a particularly effective purveyor of misinformation. In actuality, Kelly has a long history of scandalmongering and promoting her personal views from the anchor desk, from excusing police brutality to defending the "Christian values" of a designated hate group.

  • Hannity Doubles Down: The Phony Benghazi Scandal Committee Fox Built Was "Political"

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox's Sean Hannity has doubled down on his admission that the Republican-led House Select Committee on Benghazi was part of a partisan strategy to diminish Hillary Clinton's chances in the 2016 presidential election. On September 29, Hannity gave Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy "credit where credit is due" for hurting Clinton's poll numbers with the committee's investigation, which was launched after months of Fox peddling sensationalized Benghazi myths and repeatedly calling for an investigation into the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya.