A.B. Stoddard | Media Matters for America

A.B. Stoddard

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  • On foreign trip, media figures praise Trump as “presidential” for not acting like a child

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Media figures praised President Donald Trump as “presidential” for not yet causing an international controversy on this week’s five-country trip, his first venture out of the country since the inauguration. They said the trip was “uncharacteristically normal” and praised Trump for not sounding “like the guy at the end of the bar popping off.”

  • Fox News' Dubious Attempt To Help Rand Paul Reframe The Abortion Debate

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL


    Fox News' Special Report helped GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reframe the reproductive choice debate by misleadingly hyping a poll that found that a majority of Americans support a legal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are extremely rare and studies show a majority of Americans continue to support access to abortions in cases of rape, incest, and various other health care reasons.

    According to Politico, on April 8, Sen. Paul "refused to tell The Associated Press whether he would support exceptions for abortions in instances of rape or incest or if the birth of a child would risk the mother's life." Later that day, Paul told journalists in New Hampshire, "Why don't we ask the DNC" whether it is "OK to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus."

    Paul's comment was lauded by right-wing media, and on the April 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report host Bret Baier and correspondent Shannon Bream claimed his statement put Democrats on the "defensive" over "views on abortion most Americans find extreme." During the segment, Bream highlighted a Quinnipiac poll showing "a majority of Americans support legislation that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy," to paint Democrats as extreme. Later in the show, panelists A.B. Stoddard, Charles Krauthammer, and Steve Hayes applauded Paul for "flipping the script" and exposing Democrats' "extremism" on reproductive choice. Hayes called him "absolutely brilliant" saying he "reframed the issue entirely," and Charles Krauthammer praised Paul's move saying banning abortion is "the right thing to do, and it's a winning issue."

    Fox's praise for Paul's misleading characterization of the reproductive choice debate is unsurprising given the network's history of helping the GOP rebrand itself - as Bloomberg Politics' David Weigel pointed out, Paul's attempt to flip the script was "exactly what the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List PAC ha[s] been advising Republicans to do since 2012."

  • Fox News Ignores Current Legal Challenges That Could Make Hobby Lobby's Impact On Women Even Worse

    Blog ››› ››› MEAGAN HATCHER-MAYS

    OTR Panel

    Fox News is minimizing the radical nature of the Supreme Court's decision in Hobby Lobby, framing it as narrowly-tailored and claiming that the federal government "will end up paying" for the four contraceptives that the chain store objected to. However, Fox is ignoring the fact that companies are challenging all 20 contraceptives covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and that one way the conservative majority suggested the government could bridge the gap in coverage -- providing the same opt-out accommodation to for-profits that it provides to religiously-affiliated non-profits -- is already being challenged in the lower courts.

    On June 30, the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, holding that for-profit, secular corporations are exempt from a provision in the ACA that requires employer-sponsored health insurance plans to cover comprehensive preventive health services, including contraception. The religious owners of Hobby Lobby objected to providing coverage for certain forms of birth control, including emergency contraception and intrauterine devices, because they erroneously believe that these medications cause abortions. For the all-male conservative majority on the Court, it was enough that the owners "sincerely believed" this scientifically inaccurate information.

    Right-wing media immediately celebrated the Hobby Lobby decision, which adopted many of their favorite myths about religious freedom and contraception. Fox News in particular was supportive of the Court's supposedly "narrow ruling," with contributor Laura Ingraham claiming that women who worked at companies "like Hobby Lobby" who were upset about the decision were overreacting and "had really bad cases of the vapors over this case." A panel discussion on the June 30 edition of Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren also downplayed the significance of the case, with Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes stating that he didn't think the case would "have a huge impact" because "the Court very carefully narrowed this case to apply basically to the facts presented." A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, agreed with Hayes and claimed that the case was "narrowly-tailored," arguing that "the government will end up paying for these [forms of contraception] anyway." Fox News host Megyn Kelly went the furthest on The O'Reilly Factor, claiming reproductive rights advocate Sandra Fluke -- who warned the decision could apply to all contraception -- "doesn't know what she is talking about."

  • Fox Cherry Picks Testimony On HealthCare.Gov To Stoke Fears About Security

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News stoked fears about the security of HealthCare.gov, all but ignoring the fact that a top official testified to Congress on January 16 that the website is secure. 

    The January 16 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier featured a panel discussion on the security of the health care website consisting of Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, Fox News Legal Analyst Andrew Napolitano, and frequent Fox guest A.B. Stoddard. Baier and his guests roundly panned the website's security, relying on testimony by cyber security expert David Kennedy, who claimed that HealthCare.gov remains insecure:

  • Fox Interrupts Its Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric To Promote Bush Conference On How Immigrants Benefit Economy

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Despite its long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric, Fox News promoted a conference sponsored by former President George W. Bush's foundation that discussed the benefits immigrants bring to the U.S. economy.

    On the December 4 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox correspondent Casey Stegall reported live from the conference in Dallas where Bush was about to speak. According to Stegall, the conference featured discussions of "how immigration actually benefits the economy and how reform is really necessary to get the economic engines going." Stegall's report contained footage of a woman stating that "immigrants actually accelerate growth."

    While waiting for Bush to take the podium, Happening Now co-host Jon Scott interviewed The Hill's A.B. Stoddard about how Bush now wants to have a role in the "reset" of the Republican Party on issues of immigration. Scott noted that Bush "did pretty well" with Hispanics as a presidential candidate, while Stoddard highlighted how Bush "spent so much time" in Texas "speaking Spanish, living among -- a place where the demographics were changing so quickly. ... He knew this had to be a part of the Republican tent." After airing about four minutes of Bush's speech, Scott and Stoddard returned to discuss immigration again.