Author Page | Media Matters for America

Sean Easter

Author ››› Sean Easter
  • The Smear That Failed: When Right-Wing Media Suggested Leon Panetta Was A Secret Communist

    Blog ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Before the Senate unanimously confirmed Leon Panetta to head the Department of Defense last month, there was a notable smear simmering in the right-wing fever swamp: Leon Panetta may be a communist.

    The story began with a column by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, which hinged on "a close and personal relationship" Panetta supposedly had "with a member of the Communist Party by the name of Hugh DeLacy."

  • Glenn Beck's Perpetual Self-Promotion Machine

    ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Throughout his career on Fox News, Glenn Beck shamelessly used the platform to promote a variety of his own ventures outside Fox News. Both on his own show and in guest appearances on other shows, Beck promoted his books, tours, subscriber-only Web content, and the Restoring Honor and Restoring Courage rallies.

  • National Review's Go-To Islam Expert: "The Most Likely Scenario Is That Weiner Did Convert To Islam"

    Blog ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    National Review's Andrew McCarthy has made a habit of citing anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer as a credible authority -- plugging Spencer's book The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, for instance. In a recent blog post, McCarthy said that Spencer was the sort of "expert" who should testify at Rep. Peter King's hearings on the "radicalization of the Muslim-American community." McCarthy wrote: "I fear the hearings may turn into a non-event, in large part because they are not hearing from all the right witnesses -- experts like Steve Emerson and Robert Spencer. These experts have been excluded, evidently due to fear of the predictable reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood's American grievance network."

    Today, FrontPage Magazine published an interview in which Spencer claims that "the most likely scenario" is that former Rep. Anthony Weiner "did convert to Islam."

  • Beck Conspiracy Theory: U.N.'s Agenda 21 Will Result In "Centralized Control Over All Of Human Life"

    ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Glenn Beck promoted the conspiracy theory that the United Nations' Agenda 21, a plan for sustainable development, is a means of instituting "centralized control over all of human life on planet Earth" -- a theory also promoted by conspiracist Alex Jones' website. In reality, the director of the U.N.'s Division for Sustainable Development says that Agenda 21 is "not a binding treaty" and instead "set[s] out a common vision."

  • Hannity Fumbles Pre-Emptive Defense Of Fox News Colleague Palin's Emails

    Blog ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    The state of Alaska released more than 24,000 of Sarah Palin's official emails as Alaska governor, and Sean Hannity has wasted no time shielding his Fox News colleague from potential criticism. Hannity was quick to accuse "the mainstream Obama mania media" of trying to "smear" Palin by asking readers to look through the emails. From Friday's Hannity:

    HANNITY: The left's bizarre obsession with Sarah Palin surged to a whole new level today, as the state of Alaska released 24,000 emails from her time as governor. And at this hour, liberals are no doubt sifting through her private correspondence hoping to find some evidence of some impropriety. And as usual, the mainstream Obama mania media is doing its part to help smear the former governor. Now this week, left-wing news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post enlisted their readers to help comb through the mountains of documents. Quote, "Help us investigate the Sarah Palin e-mail records," reads an article on the Times website. And the Post, well, they took a similar even asking anyone interested to fill out an application explaining why they should be considered for their team of 100 investigators. However, after conservatives like Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and others cried foul, the Post has now reconsidered its approach. Instead of limiting its attack team to 100 people, it's encouraging all readers to read through the governor's emails and send in comments on the contents. Anyone who can still say with a straight face the media is not biased, well, you should be nominated for an Oscar.


    HANNITY: Look, Krystal [Ball], I understand the left doesn't agree with her politics, but don't you find this obnoxious? This over-the-top -- media outlets. Come on, help us, join in the smear campaign, you can be part of it.

    First, these emails are not "private correspondence." As The New York Times reported, emails sent from Palin's personal accounts that discussed state business were determined to be public record: "Ms. Palin frequently used her personal e-mail account to discuss state business, including with her husband, and those e-mails have been determined to be public record." The same article reported that a spokesman for the Alaskan Governor said that an attorney for Ms. Palin had reviewed the material and requested neither redactions nor that any messages be withheld. Further, per the Times, many emails were withheld for both executive privilege and privacy: "In addition, more than 2,000 pages of the e-mails have been withheld for various reasons, including executive privilege and privacy, according to Gov. Sean Parnell's office."

  • Fox's Carlson Falsely Claims 35% Of CA Students Paying In-State Tuition "Were Illegals"

    ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    On The O'Reilly Factor, Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that "about 35 percent of the in-state tuition people or students" at University of California schools "were illegals." In fact, only 0.34 percent of undergraduates in the University of California system in the fall of 2008 were "potentially undocumented" students who received the in-state tuition rate.*

  • Conservative Media Pick Theme For GOP's 2012 Campaign: Obama "Made [The Economy] Worse"

    ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Right-wing media have seized on a line from a Peggy Noonan column -- "he made it worse" -- and have begun repeating the false message that President Obama's policies have worsened the economy. In reality, there is broad agreement among economists that the stimulus boosted growth and employment, and most of the deficit is attributable to Bush policies and the recession.

  • NYC Investigation Provides More Evidence That Allegation Of Union Snow-Removal "Slowdown" Was Bogus

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    After a blizzard struck New York City last year, right-wing media were quick to smear unions, using a bogus allegation that a planned union slowdown delayed cleanup efforts. Even then, New York City officials took responsibility for the slow response. Now, a report by the New York City Department Of Investigation says that the source of the slowdown claim "contributed no actual evidence about a possible slowdown."

  • Fox Nation Still Trying To Stir Up Anti-Muslim Sentiment

    Blog ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Earlier this year, Fox Nation arbitrarily added the word "Muslim" to the headline a story about a New York City cab driver accused of ramming passengers. The story it linked to made absolutely no mention of the man's faith. Today, Fox Nation is at it again.

    In a story headlined "Malaysia police slammed for cattle-branding women," the Associated Press reported that Malaysian police are under fire for chaining up women accused of prostitution and marking their bodies. The story makes no mention of the police officers' faith. It doesn't even contain the words "Muslim" or "Islam."

    Nonetheless, Fox Nation decided to present the story as follows:

    Fox Nation

    This is not to defend the actions of Malaysian police. The AP story is about alleged police misconduct. And while Malaysians are predominantly Muslim, the article includes nothing to suggest a religious aspect to the story. Throwing the word "Muslim" into the headline only serves to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment in Fox Nation's audience.

    Fox Nation also has a well-documented history of race-baiting.

  • National Review's Lowry Baselessly Calls Figures On Planned Parenthood Services "Fake And Bogus"

    ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    Discussing recent legislation in Indiana to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds, National Review editor Rich Lowry dismissed statistics about Planned Parenthood's services as "fake and bogus," baselessly asserting that abortion is "a huge part of its business." In fact, abortion accounts for only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's total services and only 15 percent of total revenue.