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Rachel Calvert

Author ››› Rachel Calvert
  • Fox & Friends Glosses Over FIFA's Systemic Sexism In Attempt To Justify Gender Pay Disparity

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    Fox & Friends attempted to justify the gender pay disparity in professional soccer, glossing over systemic discrimination faced by female World Cup players to claim the unequal treatment has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with lack of viewer and sponsor interest.

    The U.S. women's soccer team collected $2 million from FIFA for winning the World Cup on June 5, dominating defending champion Japan in a records-breaking 5-2 victory. In contrast, FIFA granted every men's World Cup team a $1.5 million participation prize -- teams who lost in the first round of play received $8 million, and the winning German men's team was awarded $35 million for taking home the championship.

    Fox News chalked this disparity up to lack of viewer and sponsorship interest in women's soccer on the July 7 edition of Fox and Friends. Pointing out the pay disparity between men and women's teams, host Brian Kilmeade argued that if women's soccer could only deliver a large number of viewers consistently, "more sponsors [would] write bigger checks to be part of that broadcast." Steve Doocy agreed, saying, "That's exactly right. Because if as many people watch soccer going forward as watched the other night, those people are going to wind up getting rich. But if it's just a, 'we only watch when they're in the World Cup,' you're going to be right back there forever." Kilmeade concluded, "I don't think there's a sexist element to this":

    It's not just FIFA -- The National Women's Soccer League Sports "has salary ranges reportedly from $6,000 to $30,000, which in some cases may put players below the poverty line in the cities in which they compete," as Politico explained. "The MLS salary cap, by contrast, was $3.1 million in 2014. 'In aggregate, first division women's soccer players are making 98.6 percent less than professional soccer's male cohort,' according to Fusion, making it one of the starkest gender pay divides in any workplace."

    Sports executives attribute a supposed lack of interest in women's sports to a chicken-egg problem, where failure to properly promote women's soccer leads to less sponsorship money. Politico went on:

    The thinking among entertainment executives is often that ratings will be lackluster, interest will be low, advertisers won't clamor to buy commercial time between the plays, even though the U.S. women's team is delivering wins consistently. It leads to a fascinating chicken-egg problem: If networks did a better job of promoting women's soccer, would more people watch it? Or, if more people watch women's soccer, will the networks begin to pay more for the rights? Currently, it feels like a chicken-chicken problem, with the women's team doing their job (winning games) and everyone else lagging badly in valuing their work. If the crowd in Chicago Sunday or chatter online was any indicator, people want to watch good athletic competition -- male or female.

    It's a vicious cycle, highlighted by The Washington Post's Wonk Blog, created in part by the media landscape that won't give them the time of day because "[w]omen's sports are seen as lesser moneymakers, ignored in media and merchandising deals, given less dramatic coverage, fewer cameras, less airtime -- all of which might help explain why the sport is overlooked in the first place."

    Gender discrimination goes beyond pay, as well. Female soccer players face rampant sexism from within FIFA itself. In 2015, an international group of players sued FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association for forcing women's teams to play on turf instead of grass, which creates dangerous game conditions as it reaches temperatures of up to 120 degrees, sends rubber pebbles flying into players' eyes, and often leaves brutal injuries on players. All men's World Cups have been played on grass, which is more expensive to lay than artificial turf.

    And FIFA officials have been known to approach ratings in a way that treats female soccer players less like athletes and more like props. Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that female athletes should play in skimpier outfits to increase the popularity of the game, saying, "They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?" 

  • Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter's Book To Defend Donald Trump's Comments About Immigrants

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Coulter and Rivera and Megyn Kelly

    Fox's Megyn Kelly leaned on Ann Coulter's new racist, anti-immigration book to defend presidential candidate Donald Trump's disparaging comments about Hispanic immigrants.

    During his June 16 campaign launch, Republican candidate Donald Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists," saying, "When Mexico sends its people ... they're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." Trump claimed that "the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems."

    In an attempt to explain his remarks, which have incited widespread backlash among Hispanic activists and Trump's business associates, Fox host Megyn Kelly turned to Ann Coulter, whose new book, Adios America!echoes white nationalist and anti-immigrant extremist talking points.

    On the June 29 edition of The Kelly File, the host cited Coulter's statistics during an exchange with Fox's Howard Kurtz and Geraldo Rivera, in an attempt to rebut criticism of Trump's racist comments:

    KURTZ: What a lot of people hear -- even when Trump goes over the top -- they like the fact that he doesn't apologize. They like the fact that he doesn't parse his words like most politicians. The average politician would have backed off and clarified many times by now. But Trump gets away with it because he strikes a chord.

    KELLY: Well, I mean, Ann Coulter has got a whole book out right now that makes this point. Now granted, she's not running for president. But she --

    RIVERA: Nor would she ever be elected with that point of view --

    KELLY:  But she cites data that does support the fact that some, obvious, immigrants who come across the borders do turn out to be criminals, and that's --

    RIVERA: I researched it tonight --

    KELLY: None? No immigrants turn out to be criminals?

    RIVERA: I never said that. Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the citizen population of the United States.

    And on July 1, Kelly hosted Coulter to debate Rivera on the merits of Trump's comments. Coulter argued that the "most important point is these are not people who have a right to be here, so I don't care if they are two rapists," claiming, "It's a fact that only about a third of California prisoners are white."

    In her book, Coulter calls immigrants "criminal[s]" and argues that immigration is a "war technique" to change America. In the past, Coulter has described immigrants as "people from backward, primitive cultures," and said that immigrants are a bigger threat to America than ISIS.

    According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Coulter's new book cites a long list of racist and white nationalist extremists, repeatedly referencing the conservative anti-immigration think tank Center for Immigration Studies. Coulter's other sources include Peter Brimelow, the English white nationalist who founded the racist blog VDARE and Robert Spencer, co-founder of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America. In fact, Coulter has credited Brimelow with inspiring her anti-immigration views.

    Though NBC severed ties with Trump following his remarks, Fox has continued to rally around the candidate and regular network guest -- Bill O'Reilly even suggested that Trump was "actually highlighting a problem ... that is harming the nation."

  • Fox News vs. Fox News Latino: NBC Dumps Trump Edition

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    Donald Trump

    Fox News Latino's coverage of NBC's decision to sever ties with Donald Trump differed dramatically from Fox News' rush to defend the presidential candidate's incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. While Fox hosts praised Trump's stance and reticence to apologize, Fox News Latino characterized NBC's move as a victory for Latino media advocacy leaders.

    NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would sever ties with Trump after he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists," explaining in a statement: "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."

    Fox News Latino highlighted how Hispanic advocates pressured NBC to end its relationship with Trump, writing that "Latino media advocacy leaders say NBC's decision Monday ... marked a watershed moment for Latinos." In particular, Fox News Latino profiled the efforts of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, whose chairman and co-founder published an op-ed encouraging the network to "dump Trump."

    By contrast, Fox News hosts rallied to defend Trump, praising his reluctance to apologize for his offensive remarks and suggesting the backlash unfairly minimized his well-taken points about a so-called border-problem.

    On June 25, Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language network, announced that it would no longer air Trump's Miss Universe pageant. The Mexican channel Televisa and the online outlet Ora TV also abandoned Trump. Before this week, NBC aired Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, as well as the reality show hosted by Trump, The Celebrity Apprentice. Trump faced widespread criticism following his incendiary campaign speech remarks targeting Mexican immigrants:

    TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you, they are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people.

    Fox News also covered Trump's speech differently than Fox News Latino. During a June 18 interview with Fox News Latino's Rick Sanchez, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade defended Trump by hyping crime statistics to push the myth that immigrants commit crimes at a disproportionate rate, but Sanchez fought back by pointing out immigrants' far-reaching positive economic impact.

    Fox News Latino, which was launched to target the growing U.S. Hispanic population, has frequently differed in its reporting from Fox News.

  • Conservatives Push False Claim That Clinton's Use Of Private Email While Sec'y Of State Was Unprecedented

    Wash. Post's Thiessen: "This Is Just Unprecedented In Our History."

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Fox News' Bill Hemmer parroted an erroneous claim that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account is unprecedented, when, in fact, former Secretary of State Colin Powell also used a private email account to conduct government business during his time in the Bush administration and did not preserve those records.

  • ABC's This Week Hosts Anti-Gay Hate Group To Discuss Marriage Equality Ruling

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

    Ken Blackwell

    ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos hosted the Family Research Council's Ken Blackwell to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, without disclosing the the organization's longstanding "hate group" designation.

    On the June 28 edition of This Week, George Stephanopoulos hosted FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling on Friday that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. Blackwell suggested that LGBT Americans should have been made to wait until they were granted equal rights through a constitutional amendment instead of through the Supreme Court.

    Stephanopoulos failed to disclose that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the FRC a "hate group" since 2010, owing to its promotion of extreme and bigoted myths about LGBT people and calls by its employees to criminalize homosexuality. The FRC supported Uganda's 2012 "Kill the Gays" bill, and president Tony Perkins has consistently linked homosexuality to pedophelia, calling homosexuality a health risk.

    In 2014, Blackwell blamed the 2014 mass murder in Isla Vista, California on "the attack on ... natural marriage." In a 2009 column, Blackwell compared same-sex marriage to incest. He also bizarrely suggested that transgender and bisexual individuals would use same-sex marriage laws to demand participation in polygamous marriages.

    In April, CBS' Bob Schieffer helpfully identified Perkins as a "hate group" leader before an interview on same-sex marriage, saying "the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group." Stephanopoulos could follow this example when hosting members of hate groups on This Week