Author Page | Media Matters for America

Sanam Malik

Author ››› Sanam Malik
  • Right-wing media figures are blaming everything but guns for the Parkland shooting

    ››› ››› SANAM MALIK & NATALIE MARTINEZ

    On February 14, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Right-wing media figures rushed to blame the shooting on “leftist” public schools, the FBI and its Russia probe, and on debunked connections between the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and antifa and Islamic terrorist groups.

  • Fox and CBS' Sunday political shows ignored reports of former RNC finance chair Steve Wynn's sexual misconduct

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK

    The Sunday shows on Fox Broadcasting Co. and CBS failed to mention new allegations of sexual misconduct against casino mogul and former finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) Steve Wynn.

    On January 26, The Wall Street Journal reported on allegations of sexual misconduct by Wynn from dozens of his employees and others at Wynn Resorts spanning decades. According to the Journal, people who have worked at for Wynn “described him pressuring employees to perform sex acts.” In one case, Wynn paid a $7.5 million settlement to a manicurist who “told a colleague Mr. Wynn had forced her to have sex.”

    Wynn, who President Donald Trump has called “a great friend,” has “donated millions to Republicans” and became the RNC’s finance chair after the 2016 election. He has also donated far smaller amounts to some Democrats in the past. Wynn resigned from his position at the RNC following these reports.

    Despite the serious nature of the allegations and the growing attention to sexual misconduct issues in the workplace brought by the #MeToo campaign, the January 28 editions of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday and CBS’s Face the Nation ignored the reports altogether.

  • Right-wing media’s outrageous coverage of Muslims in 2017

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK & MILES LE

    Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to the latest FBI numbers. During this climate of bigotry, the right-wing media figures used their platforms to blatantly spread fear and misinformation, demonizing Muslims all over the world. Some explicitly called for American Muslims to be put in internment camps, while others denied the existence of Islamophobia in our schools (Islamophobia actually increased in 2016), and claimed that Muslim immigration means more terrorism (there's no connection).

    Here is a glimpse of some of the most absurd things the right-wing media figures said about Muslims in 2017. 

  • Here are the excuses (so far) right-wing media figures are using for Roy Moore’s loss

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK

    On Tuesday, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special Senate election, becoming the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in the state in 25 years. Moore -- whose campaign was likely damaged by a litany of sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women, including a then-14-year-old girl -- had extensive support during the campaign from pro-Trump right-wing media. Following Moore’s defeat, some of these right-wing media figures reacted by giving an array of excuses for the loss, such as saying Fox News had a “vested interest” in the outcome, claiming supposed voter fraud, and attacking a GOP operative for allegedly leaking Moore’s sexual misconduct accusations to The Washington Post. Here’s a list of some of the excuses:

    1. Infowars host Alex Jones blamed Democratic voters "bused in those Democrat areas" to steal the election. And dead people.

    2. On his radio show, Sean Hannity blamed "the establishment pushing all this money into" Alabama, which made voters "sick and tired." Hannity was also critical of the "terrible campaign" the alleged child molester Roy Moore ran. 

    3. Fox political analyst Brit Hume blamed Breitbart.com chairman Steve Bannon, who extensively campaigned for Moore, for the Republican’s loss, stating Bannon was “a man we’ve been given to believe was a master political strategist. ... Maybe not.”

    4. Big League Politics, a far-right media blog that is connected to far-right media, claimed that there was “evidence of voter fraud” in Alabama election.

    5. Fox News co-host Ainsley Earhardt said Moore’s loss was “a referendum on Harvey Weinstein, not on President Trump.”

    6. Fox host Sean Hannity in a tweet blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for Moore’s loss, writing, “McConnell deserves a lot of the blame for Alabama."

    7. On Breitbart News Daily, co-host Alex Marlow blamed Fox News, alleging they had a “vested interest” in Moore losing.

    8. Bannon implied a GOP operative, who he claimed leaked Moore’s sexual misconduct accusations to The Washington Post, was a reason Moore lost.

    9. Alex Jones also claimed that there was “massive evidence of election fraud” in Alabama while also falsely claiming that Moore lost by only half a percentage point.

    10. TruthFeed, a fake news website connected to white supremacists, pushed Fox contributor Sebastian Gorka’s tweet which highlighted a report claiming that former independent conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin took money from an “anti-American Persian billionaire” to fund to ads attacking Moore. TruthFeed claimed it showed an “anti-American Arab bankrolled the Democrat win in Alabama.”

  • Fox & Friends gave almost no airtime to Trump’s anti-Muslim retweets

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK

    President Donald Trump’s series of anti-Muslim retweets from the leader of a far-right ultranationalist British organization got no dedicated airtime on Fox & Friends the day after his Twitter tirade.

    Trump on November 29 retweeted multiple anti-Muslim videos posted by the leader of Britain First, a far-right, ultranationalist, anti-Islam political organization that has been compared by a British lawmaker to the Ku Klux Klan. Fact checkers determined that the videos were highly misleading and that the description of one -- "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" -- was completely fabricated.

    Many senators in the U.S. and high-profile officials in Britain rebuked Trump’s tweets, including Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, whom Trump subsequently targeted in one of his tweets. Additionally, civil rights groups pointed out that Trump’s tweets “further inflame” violence and hate aimed at Muslims in a climate when “hate crimes motivated by anti-Muslim bias are at an all-time high.” Nonetheless, pro-Trump punditsfar-right trolls, and white nationalists like former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke defended Trump’s retweets.

    While the retweets were one of the top stories on other cable and broadcast morning shows on November 30, Fox & Friends never covered them in the entire three-hour program for its viewers, which evidently included Trump himself. Co-host Brian Kilmeade just once made a passing mention of the posts, asking Fox contributor and former GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) if those tweets “get in the way” of Republicans’ chances to pass the tax bill.

    Of course, Fox & Friends did cover some of Trump’s tweets --  the ones about the Senate’s tax bill proposal and North Korea:

    Here are some of the other things Fox & Friends chose to cover:

    A study that found Christmas music can be damaging for employees:

    Oreo-flavored candy canes:

    A football team wearing custom cleats for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick:

    The New York Times’ editorial board’s social media use:

    The Los Angeles Auto Show:

    Fox & Friends has served as a safe space for Trump, often giving him fodder for his early morning tweets. The program also allows Trump to escape challenging interviews and serves as his first line of defense.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “muslim,” "Islamic," "Islamist," and “tweet” on the November 30 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends.

  • Amidst calamitous Harvey flooding, Pence speaks to a racist, a hurricane conspiracy theorist, and other right-wing radio hosts

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK & MADELINE PELTZ

    In the ongoing efforts to mitigate the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Vice President Mike Pence appeared on several right-wing radio programs in Texas to give updates on the recovery and rescue efforts. According to the transcripts posted on the White House website, the vice president appeared to limit his radio outreach mostly to conservative shows, including Rush Limbaugh and Michael Berry, who is notorious for mocking black victims of gun violence in Chicago and other racist programming.

    Limbaugh has a history of using hurricanes to attack Democrats and further his fringe conspiracy theories. During Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, Limbaugh stated that “it's in the interest of the left to have destructive hurricanes because then they can blame it on climate change” and that the National Hurricane Center is “playing games” to convince people of climate change. Limbaugh also told his listeners that “there is politics in hurricanes” because “there are votes.”

    During Tropical Storm Isaac, Limbaugh questioned the National Hurricane Center’s forecasting, pointing out “the degree of coincidence” that the storm was headed for Tampa, the location of the National Republican Convention. Limbaugh implied, according to The Atlantic, that “the weather service was collaborating with the liberal media to invent narratives that are unpleasant for the GOP.”

    In 2016, Limbaugh attacked Hurricane Katrina victims as “liberals” on welfare who lacked “self-reliance.” He also compared the Katrina disaster to “a reality show.” In 2008 following significant flooding in the Midwest, Limbaugh minimized the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina relative to the floods and accused Katrina victims of “waving guns at helicopters,” “shooting cops,” and “raping people on the street.”

    As evidenced by the White House's posted list of transcripts of the vice president’s radio appearances, Pence appeared almost exclusively on conservative radio shows, including KTRH during a joint interview with Michael Berry and Shara Fryer. Berry has been known for making sexist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, and anti-African-American comments on his radio show.

    Berry has posted several racist videos to his show's YouTube channel that criticize African-Americans and has referred to African-Americans as “jungle animals,” “pack animals,” and used blackface comedian “Shirley Q. Liquor” on his show to tell jokes based on racial and religious stereotypes. Media Matters President Angelo Carusone pointed out to TheWrap that “the idea that the vice president would dignify that kind of a program with his office should be alarming.” Carusone said the fact that the White House has sent out transcripts of Pence’s interview with Berry shows that “they’re proud” of his appearance and “they’re not even hiding it.” When asked to explain the vice president’s choice, a White House official told TheWrap that Pence’s team was unaware Berry would be conducting the interview.

    Pence also granted an interview to Trey Ware, host of The Trey Ware Morning Show on KTSA. As reported by Right Wing Watch, Ware said America is suffering through riots, terrorist attacks, and same-sex marriages because it has left God. Pence also spoke to Chris Salcedo on The Chris Salcedo Show on KSEV. Salcedo is a conservative radio host in Houston who believes liberalism makes America "less successful" and that President Obama is “sympathetic to radical Islam.” And in a tweet about North Korea directed at far-right troll Jack Posobiec who has appeared on Salcedo's show, Salcedo claimed “This is the danger of uninformed libs. They’d sacrifice the lives of Americans just to prop up brutal dictators who starve their own people.”

  • Watch a Muslim journalist call out the lack of media attention given to attacks on the Muslim community

    Dean Obeidallah: The media is the Muslim community’s “last hope”

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK

    Radio host and columnist Dean Obeidallah explained that the media’s failure to cover incidents of violence against American Muslims alienates the American Muslim community.

    On Saturday, August 5, a bomb exploded and shattered the windows of a Minnesota mosque, Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center, as worshippers gathered for morning prayers. This latest attack is not an isolated incident; reported anti-Muslim incidents have increased to a record high since 2016 in Minnesota. A day after the attack, as The New York Times reported, Gov. Mark Dayton denounced the attack during a press conference while visiting the mosque, calling it a “‘terrible, dastardly, cowardly’ act of terrorism.” However, as Obeidallah points out, the lack of media coverage on this attack has brought light to blatant media bias when American Muslims are the victims of terror attacks. Obeidallah says in a country where its president has “demonized” Muslim-Americans, their last hope is the media. From the August 7 edition of CNN’s Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

    BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): You say if this were to be happening to Christian churches, everyone would be saying terrorism.  

    DEAN OBEIDALLAH: They would be saying terrorism. It would be getting a great deal of media coverage, and it would deserve that. And it should get that coverage. What I'm saying for the Muslim-American community and I am Muslim. We would like to see this get the coverage. This is not an isolated incident, sadly.  

    [...]

    We look to the media as our last hope, frankly.  

    BALDWIN: We are having this segment. We are having this conversation, which is important. And thank you for calling this, of course, to our attention, and having the conversation, and writing the column. Why do you think, though, I mean, at least you have the governor of the state calling it how he sees it. Why do you think people aren't having the conversations that you think they should be?

    OBEIDALLAH: I think often the media doesn't cover these stories, or maybe you don't see the pattern that we do. I am in the community. My Facebook feed is filled with young Muslims across the country posting about this incident harassment or this hate crime.

  • Media have found their latest Trump pivot: General Kelly

    ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ & SANAM MALIK

    Media figures promoted the idea that President Donald Trump’s administration is heading towards a reset, this time following the firing of White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci along with the swearing in of former Marine General John F. Kelly as the new White House chief of staff. Kelly’s move to chief of staff is just the latest example of the media’s obsession with the fantasy of a Trump “reset” that will never happen.