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Rachel Calvert

Author ››› Rachel Calvert
  • Boehner's Resignation From Congress Follows Years Of Pressure From Right-Wing Radio

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) announcement that he will resign his House seat in October follows years of right-wing talk radio personalities calling for his replacement and lashing out at him for failing to halt immigration reform and passage of the Affordable Care Act, as well as for his rejection of calls for President Obama's impeachment.

  • Washington Post Tries To Repackage Old Clinton Email Story As A New Scandal

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    The Washington Post sensationalized previously and extensively reported information by hyping it as "new information" in order to erroneously portray an inconsistency between the timeline laid out by Hillary Clinton and the State Department regarding the process of her emails being turned over to the department. Responding a question from the Post, the State Department stated that they first inquired about Clinton's email during the summer of 2014 after her personal email use was brought to their attention. But the State Department's response to the paper is not new or different from the department's past statements on the issue, nor is it inconsistent with Clinton's account.

  • Trump Supporter's Anti-Muslim Question References Fringe Myths Stoked By Right-Wing Media

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT


    During a recent town hall event, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a supporter he would look into unsubstantiated claims about terrorist "training camps" for Muslims, and declined to correct the man's assertion that President Obama is a Muslim. The supporter's comments hardly come as a surprise. Not only does Trump himself have a history of promoting fringe birther myths about Obama's background, but right-wing media have spent years pushing anti-Muslim rhetoric and myths.

    At a September 17 New Hampshire town hall event, a participant told Trump, "We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American," adding, "Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question: When can we get rid of them?"

    Right-wing media, including Fox News, have a long history of promoting anti-Muslim fearmongering. In 2011, Trump speculated on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor that Obama might not want his birth certificate released because "maybe it says he is a Muslim." Fox continued to hype Trump's birtherism, promoting the birther myth in no fewer than 52 segments over a two month period.

    Earlier this year, right-wing media stoked unsubstantiated myths about Islamic extremist training camps within the United States. Within the past month, Fox has been channeling anti-Muslim sentiment to fearmonger about the Obama administration's plan to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

    Leaders at Muslim Advocates and New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good called on Trump to "clarify his position regarding American Muslims and whether he believes the country needs to 'get rid of' Muslims," stating that "anti-Muslim rhetoric isn't just ugly, it's dangerous. It is almost always followed by an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and violence."

  • CNN's Jake Tapper Uses "Illegal Immigrants" During GOP Debate, Despite Network Guidelines And Against Urging Of Advocacy Groups To Avoid The Term


    Jake Tapper

    CNN host and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper used the term "illegal immigrants" during the network's September 16 Republican presidential debate, in violation of the network's own guidelines and despite the advice of immigration and Hispanic journalists' advocacy organizations that have called on the network to discontinue the use of term. 

    Tapper used the term "illegal immigrants" while posing a question to 2016 GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, saying, "I want to bring in Dr. Carson because he too has been skeptical of your plan to immediately deport 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants," in allusion to Donald Trump's immigration proposal.

    Prior to the debate, CNN's Vice President of Diversity Geraldine Morida asserted, "The word illegal alone should never be used as a standalone noun to refer to individuals with documented or undocumented immigration status." Morida's assertion was in response to the September 14 joint statement from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and immigration advocacy organization Define American calling on CNN to "modernize and improve the accuracy of its editorial guidelines and discontinue the use of the word 'illegal' when referring to undocumented immigrants."

    Morida's response is also in line with the Associated Press Stylebook which advises the term "illegal" only be used when referring to an action, not a person.

    Derogatory terms like "illegal" and "alien" are frequently used by conservative politicians and media outlets like Fox News to describe undocumented immigrants despite calls to discontinue use of the term.

    Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that will remove the word "alien" from the state's labor code due to concerns that its usage "dehumanizes the people affected," and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin questioned The New Yorker's use of the term in an August 5 column, concluding, "There does seem to be a consensus against the use of the term by the people most affected by it, who happen to be a vulnerable minority seeking a better life, and that's good enough for me. Personally, I'm dropping the use of the term 'illegal immigrant.'"  

  • Fusion Calls Out Right-Wing Media's Xenophobic Attacks Against Obama's Plan To Resettle Syrian Refugees

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox & Friends

    Fusion criticized right-wing media's xenophobic fearmongering that the Obama administration's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year may "leave [the] U.S. vulnerable to attack," explaining that refugees "are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States," and describing how such "hostility can have a negative effect on newly arriving refugees."

    Right-wing media have repeatedly exploited the refugee crisis facing the European Union, to stoke the Islamophobic fear that President Obama's decision to increase the number of refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war who can resettle in the United States could leave the country "open[] for terrorists."

    In a September 14 article, Fusion's Casey Tolan called out right-wing media who are "up in arms," writing "a series of alarmist headlines" and "painting vile caricatures of refugees," to stoke fears about their resettlement, underscoring how such Islamaphobic hostility could hinder the ability of refugees to "thrive in a new home." Tolan also pointed out that, contrary to Fox News' consistent scaremongering, refugees undergo "the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States":

    As the Obama administration looks to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, right-wing media are again up in arms, and the response to the Idaho rumors suggests that local opposition could sprout up across the U.S. That kind of hostility can have a negative effect on newly arriving refugees.

    Since Obama announced the new measures last week, a series of alarmist headlines from the expected right-wing news outlets--as well as myriad blog posts from WordPress sites like "Creeping Sharia" and "Refugee Resettlement Watch"--have been painting vile caricatures of refugees.

    "Will flood of Syrian refugees leave U.S. vulnerable to attack?" asked Fox News.


    Refugees go through multiple security clearances before they reach American soil, he noted. In fact, refugees "are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States," a State Department official told the AFP.

    Once they're approved, the State Department pays for refugees' plane tickets, although they agree to pay the cost back once they're settled. They're sent to one of 180 refugee resettlement centers around the U.S., where they get help finding a job and a place to stay. Refugees get support from the federal government for 90 days.

    Studies have found that refugees' ability to thrive in a new home depends in part on how welcomed they feel by their local community, so the anti-refugee rhetoric that has flared in the past week could have a negative impact on the people coming here.

    "It's not just a matter of the refugees adapting to the host community that they travel to, but the willingness of the host community to adapt to the newcomers," R. Scott Smith, a professor at Utica College who has studied refugees in the U.S., told me. "If there is hostility to the newcomers resettling, that obviously makes the process more difficult... It's like going from one traumatic situation to another."

    In the most successful examples of resettlement, Smith said, host communities recognize the benefits that refugees can bring, such as the potential to revitalize struggling neighborhoods or reverse decreasing population trends.

    Maybe everyone fearmongering about "Muslim colonization" should take a history lesson.

    "People should understand why the United States has the resettlement program," Rwasama said. "When you look at how America was created, this was a land of immigrants, that's what it started as. People that are refugees are people that are victims. They're survivors that are running away from those bad people that everyone is afraid of."

  • Fox's Evidence Of Clinton Email Cover-Up Is Really Just Routine Privileged Information Exemption

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox News cited anonymous sources to scandalize the State Department's decision to recategorize some of Hillary Clinton's emails, using technical language to avoid admitting that the emails were simply designated as privileged communications -- a common type of redaction to protect agency deliberations. Instead, Fox hyped the change as evidence of a concerted cover-up to "hide classified info."

  • Media Hype Poll Showing Public Disapproval Of Iran Deal But Ignore Polls That Show Majority Support When Respondents Hear Details


    Media outlets are playing up the significance of a new poll that found a majority of Americans opposed to a deal recently signed by the U.S. and major world powers with Iran, believing it will make the world "less safe." But that poll gave respondents no information about the deal, while other more comprehensive polls have found  that when respondents are actually informed about the terms of the deal, a majority support it.

  • Fox & Friends Relies On Flawed Timeline In Attempt To Revive Baseless Attack On Clinton's iPad Use

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox & Friends repeatedly hyped an old, flawed claim that Hillary Clinton's iPad use contradicts her previous statement that she established a personal email account to facilitate the use of a single mobile device. However, this speculation relies on a flawed timeline to ignore the fact that the iPad did not exist until the year after Clinton's personal email account was established.

  • Fox Host Complains That NYPD Officers Have To Justify Their Stop-And-Frisks

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Stop and Frisk

    Fox's Tucker Carlson declared that a new mandate requiring New York City police officers to provide written justification for stop-and-frisk encounters is "an attack on police practices that have worked." 

    NYPD officers will soon be "required to inform some suspects why they're being stopped and frisked" after a federal judge approved a mandate proposed by the federal monitor tasked with addressing the department's stop-and-frisk tactics. "The form would explain that officers are authorized to make stops in some circumstances and spell out what might have prompted the stop, including suspicion of concealing or possessing a weapon, engaging in a drug transaction or acting as a lookout,"The Wall Street Journal explained, noting how the move comes after a federal judge found "the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional and ordered an overhaul of the department's procedures."

    Although conservative media have consistently claimed that stop-and-frisk reduces crime, there is little evidence to support the assertion. In a 12-year report on the subject released by the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2014, the policing tactic was found to be largely ineffective at reducing violent crime.

    Nevertheless, network host Tucker Carlson rushed to defend the program on the August 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends. Carlson criticized the NYPD's move to issue a receipt after stops that did not result in arrest, claiming that it was "an attack on police practices that have worked":