John Kasich | Media Matters for America

John Kasich

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  • In patently unethical move, CNN hires John Kasich even as he considers presidential bid

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    CNN has hired former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a contributor even though he is considering running for president in 2020. Kasich’s hire is the latest example of a cable news outlet unethically allowing potential office seekers to use its national platform to boost their future election chances while simultaneously drawing a paycheck. Kasich will undoubtedly use his CNN platform to draw a contrast between himself and President Donald Trump, as he did during the 2016 GOP primary. But his “carefully cultivated appearance” as a moderate is anything but accurate.

    On January 15, CNBC reported that Kasich will work at CNN as a senior political contributor. Kasich’s chief political strategist, John Weaver, told CNBC that CNN “is a strong platform for the governor to continue to offer his positive vision to the country and engage on the vital issues facing America.” As CNBC’s report notes, the hire also comes as Kasich “is planning to go on a West Coast swing this week to meet with donors and business leaders, including traveling to Los Angeles and parts of Silicon Valley.” He is reportedly considering running for president as either an independent or a Republican.

    Kasich previously parlayed a cable news gig into political office. After leaving Congress in 2001, he worked at Fox News between 2001 and 2009 as a host and contributor (while also working for Lehman Brothers from 2001-2008). He then successfully ran for governor of Ohio in 2010, with Fox News acting as one of his biggest cheerleaders. The phenomenon repeated itself when Fox News gave Kasich friendly coverage leading up to his announcement of a 2016 presidential run. 

    When Kasich announced his candidacy on July 21, 2015, he immediately received a return on his investment with Fox; during that day’s broadcast of The Five, then-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said that Kasich “does have a tremendous amount of experience and private sector in government and as governor,” while mentioning his previous employment with Fox. Fox’s Dana Perino added that “I said for a while that I think the folks are going to like him because they have for a long time,” while Geraldo Rivera proclaimed, “Kasich could do it.”

    In August 2015, then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly acknowledged that he was advising Kasich. (Kasich was previously a frequent guest host on The O’Reilly Factor, which was cancelled in 2017 following public reports about O’Reilly subjecting some of his staff members and guests to years of sexual harassment. Kasich has denied knowing about sexual harassment at Fox while he was an employee.)

    Kasich has spoken candidly about the value of a cable news job in aiding political aspirations. In the lead-up to his 2016 presidential run, Kasich reportedly "endeared himself to the conservatives by mentioning his past TV work," telling a group of conservatives: "I used to be at Fox News. I was a big star at one time." In 2015, David Kushma of Toledo, OH, paper The Blade noted that Kasich's "tenure at Fox News, where he honed his heartland persona, helped make him media-savvy.” And a 2002 Columbus Dispatch profile noted that Kasich "wants to be in the White House," but in the meantime was "concerned about doing a good job with Fox, developing as 'a media person' and connecting with viewers."

    Kasich’s hire by CNN is reminiscent of the revolving door between political candidacy and cable news punditry most often associated with Fox News. Media reporter Howard Kurtz noted on CNN.com in 2013 that “Fox News is the model” for the practice, citing the hire of “potential 2012 contenders like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, with the latter two jumping from Rupert Murdoch's team into the presidential primaries,” and noting, “There is no question that the high-profile platform gave them a boost.” (Kurtz left CNN and joined Fox News as a media critic later that year.)

    During the 2016 primaries -- in which, in addition to Kasich, Huckabee, Santorum, and Ben Carson also ended up running for president -- CNN’s Reliable Sources show discussed the phenomenon of the “Fox News primary” in which GOP candidates courted network executives and made appearances on the network central features of their campaigns. (Although he was never a paid employee, Trump infamously boosted his profile through years of regular appearances on Fox News.)

    As he considers running for president, Kasich will now have a national platform to workshop his potential appeal to voters and distinguish himself from the current Republican president. Yet Kasich has a number of ultra-conservative positions and views, such as his extreme anti-choice positions, deep-seated animus toward labor unions, opposition to same-sex marriage, and refusal to take climate change seriously.

    While Kasich used media appearances during the 2016 campaign to present himself as reasonable and friendly, that hasn’t always been the case. During a 2009 guest-hosting appearance on Fox, Kasich sounded indistinguishable from Trump, ranting about “illegals” and heaping praise on then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was later convicted of a crime for refusing to stop violating the civil rights of Latinos.

  • Fusion Explains How The RNC Platform Would Make Ohio's Abortion Access Problem The Norm

    For Reproductive Rights, “As Ohio Goes, So Goes The Nation”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Since the election of Gov. John Kasich, Ohio has passed a series of particularly restrictive anti-choice laws. Against this backdrop, the Republican National Convention, held in Cleveland, OH, featured a party platform noted for its unprecedented condemnation of reproductive rights.

    In response, Fusion’s Katie McDonough released a video not only explaining Ohio’s history with anti-choice laws, but also demonstrating how the Republican party platform would make these medically unnecessary restrictions the norm across the country. She noted, “With all eyes on the Republican National Convention, abortion opponents are taking their fight to Cleveland.” But according to the women McDonough interviewed, the fight for access to reproductive rights has been underway in Ohio for years.

    As Nancy Starner, the director of development and communication for one of Ohio’s remaining abortion clinics, explained, “Texas gets a lot of the media attention. Meanwhile, Ohio has had the second greatest number of abortion clinics close.”

    Many of these closures can be traced to the election of Gov. Kasich. According to McDonough, since he became governor in 2011, Kasich “has signed more than 17 laws to limit abortion access.”

    In a June 2015 article, Rewire’s Nina Liss-Schultz wrote, “Ohio had 14 abortion clinics in 2013, two years into Kasich's first term. But that summer … Kasich signed a two-year budget bill that included, among other anti-choice measures, stringent new licensing regulations for abortion clinics in the state.” She concluded that since then, over half of Ohio’s clinics had been forced to close.

    Undeterred, in February 2016, Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill not only stripped Planned Parenthood of state funding, but it also threatened the funding for any group contracting with, or referring patients to an abortion provider. This means the bill could impact funding for other state health care programs where Planned Parenthood affiliates currently provide the services, even if the referrals are for non-abortion services. Planned Parenthood has since filed a lawsuit against the state.

    According to McDonough, even when women are able to access the state’s remaining clinics, there are still a number of obstacles to obtaining an abortion, including “a mandatory counseling session followed by a 24 hour waiting period, mandatory ultrasounds” and more.

    NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland explained the danger these medically unnecessary restrictions impose. She said: “I was talking to an emergency room physician just a couple months ago, and he’d had a patient who came to his emergency room because she had taken rat poisoning to try to end her pregnancy. Because she couldn’t get past all of these medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access. That’s not women’s health care.”

    “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” Copeland warned.

     

     

  • STUDY: Trump Won The Fox Primary, Doubling Any Other Candidate In Interview Airtime

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump dominated his former rivals for the nomination in interview airtime on Fox News. From May 1, 2015, through Trump’s decisive victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, the businessman garnered more than 49 hours of interview airtime on the network, more than twice as much as second place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

    Hours before the Indiana results came in and he suspended his campaign, Sen. Cruz lashed out at 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News chief Roger Ailes for purportedly turning Fox News “into the Donald Trump network, 24/7.” He added, “Rupert Murdoch is used to picking world leaders in Australia and the United Kingdom, running tabloids, and we're seeing it here at home.”

    The network has also faced criticism in recent days over its Trump coverage from prominent conservative commentators like radio host Mark Levin, who labeled the network a “Donald Trump super PAC.”

    While Trump publicly feuded with Fox News intermittently throughout the primary campaign, he maintained a sizable advantage in interview airtime on the network. He led all candidates in interview airtime in every month since he formally announced his candidacy in June 2015.

    Overall, Fox devoted 202 hours and 2 minutes to 1,481 original and reaired interviews of the Republican candidates over the last year.

    In addition to more than doubling Cruz’s airtime total, Trump had more than three times as much interview airtime on the network as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was the last challenger to drop out of the race on May 4, 2016:  

    In what ended up being the final month-and-change of the nomination fight, Trump again lapped the field in interview airtime on Fox News. From April 1 through May 3, Fox News aired 7 hours and 49 minutes of interviews with Trump, compared to 3 hours and 54 minutes for Cruz and 2 hours and 21 minutes for Kasich.

    Trump’s airtime generally trended upward over the course of the campaign, as more of his rivals dropped from the race (click to enlarge):

    (Note: The final month in the above chart includes interview time from all of April and the first three days of May, 2016.)

    Sean Hannity -- who has recently been criticized for favoring Trump over Cruz and Kasich -- featured by far the most interview airtime with candidates since the beginning of the study, with almost 50 hours. (Including interviews reaired by the network, Trump’s received far more interview airtime on Hannity than Cruz or any other candidate -- full data is below.)

    Breakdowns for candidate time appearances by month and by Fox News program are below. (Click to enlarge.)

    (Note: Red times represent the candidate who had the most total time on the corresponding show.)

    Previous Fox Primary Reports

    May 2015
    June 2015
    July 2015
    August 2015
    September 2015
    October 2015
    November 2015
    2015 Overview
    January 2016
    February 2016
    March 2016

    Methodology

    For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30. The following candidates' data collection stopped when they each ended their respective campaigns: Rick Perry (September 11), Scott Walker (September 22), Bobby Jindal (November 17), Lindsey Graham (December 21), George Pataki (December 29), Mike Huckabee (February 1), Rand Paul (February 3), Rick Santorum (February 3), Chris Christie (February 10), Carly Fiorina (February 10), Jim Gilmore (February 12), Jeb Bush (February 20), Ben Carson (March 4), and Marco Rubio (March 15).

    Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the three presidential candidates current for April through May 3: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015, and May 3, 2016. Repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.

    Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.

  • “A Republican Munich”: Conservative Media React To Cruz-Kasich Alliance To Stop Trump

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) announced a plan to mutually shift resources in upcoming contests to increase the odds of denying front-runner Donald Trump a majority of delegates before the GOP convention. Some conservative media figures have criticized the candidates' decision, calling it “unreal” and "the equivalent of a Republican Munich."

  • STUDY: Cable And Broadcast News Try To Cover The Economy Without Economists

    Economists Made Up 1 Percent Of Guests In The First Quarter Of 2016, While Shows Focused On Campaigns, Inequality

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Expertise from economists was almost completely absent from television news coverage of the economy in the first quarter of 2016, which focused largely on the tax and economic policy platforms of this year’s presidential candidates. Coverage of economic inequality spiked during the period -- tying an all-time high -- driven in part by messaging from candidates on both sides of the aisle, but gender diversity in guests during economic news segments remained low.

  • PRIMARY DEBATE SCORECARD: Climate Change Through 20 Presidential Debates

    ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    With 20 presidential primary debates now completed, debate moderators have only asked 22 questions about climate change, which is just 1.5 percent of the 1,477 questions posed. In addition, the moderators were more than twice as likely to ask a climate question to a Democratic candidate than to a Republican candidate, and they have not asked a single climate question to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, the two front-runners for the GOP presidential nomination. Nearly one-third of the climate questions were asked in the two most recent debates in Miami, following a bipartisan group of 21 Florida mayors urging the networks to address the issue in those debates.

  • Will CNN Ask GOP Candidates To Explain The Failure Of Trickle-Down Economics?

    New York Magazine Blasted The Media For Failing To Hold GOP Accountable For Disastrous Policy Failures In Kansas And Louisiana

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    CNN will interview the three remaining Republican candidates, along with the two remaining Democrats, during a 3-hour special town hall event. Will CNN hold the GOP hopefuls accountable for proposing tax and economic policies similar to those that have been "thoroughly discredited" when implemented by Republican-led states?

    In a critical March 18 post in New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer blog titled "The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana," associate editor Eric Levitz blasted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and GOP front-runner Donald Trump for promising to institute tax cuts and budgetary reforms at a national level that have proven to be disastrous for Republican-led states. After outlining the ways that the so-called "red-state model" turned Kansas and Louisiana into failed "real live experiment[s]" of conservative economic policies, Levitz challenged media organizations to hold Republican candidates accountable for supporting those policies (emphasis added):

    Over the course of 12 debates, the Republican presidential candidates were never asked to address the budget problems in Kansas.

    [...]

    When Donald Trump makes a gaffe, reporters confront Republican leaders and demand a response. When the GOP's economic platform decimates two U.S. states, a similar confrontation is in order.

    CNN's March 21 prime-time town halls with the remaining Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls present a perfect opportunity for the network to hold GOP leaders accountable for the dramatic failures of the "red-state model" in Kansas and Louisiana, while also pressing them on their own economic policy promises that have been derided as "imaginary," "insane," and "fantasy" in the past:

    • According to Politico, Ohio Gov. John Kasich's supposed conservative success with tax cuts in Ohio was boosted by his state accepting the "billions of federal dollars from Obamacare" and raising regressive "sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones." Will CNN hold Kasich accountable for his unsuccessful attempts to spur job creation and economic growth with tax cuts for the rich and budget gimmicks?
    • According to a February 16 analysis from the Tax Policy Center, Ted Cruz's proposed tax cuts would increase the federal budget deficit by $8.6 trillion over ten years. Will CNN press Cruz on his embrace of massive tax cuts that increase the budget deficit and hurt low-income Americans?
    • According to a December 22 analysis from the Tax Policy Center, Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts would increase the federal budget deficit by $9.5 trillion over ten years. In 2014, CNN even criticized Trump for his tax plan that favors the wealthy. During a November 11 segment, CNN's Rana Foroohar criticized what she called the "old-fashioned Republican formula" of "trickle-down" economics and tax cuts for the wealthy for failing to deliver promised economic growth. And during a December 23 segment, CNN's Christine Romans explained that Trump's tax plan creates "a whole category of impossible math" that overwhelmingly benefits the top 0.1 percent of income earners while ballooning the federal budget deficit. So will the network stand by its own reporting and hold Trump accountable for his budget-busting giveaway to the super rich?

    In the lead up to the October 28 Republican presidential debate, Media Matters called on CNBC's debate moderators to hold candidates accountable for their fantasy tax plans. Right-wing media outlets reacted with outrage when CNBC moderator John Harwood correctly pointed out that Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) tax plan provided more relief for the top 1 percent than for the middle-class. Conservatives attacked the country's leading business and financial news network for its supposed "liberal media bias" and pushed to put conservative personalities in charge of all future debates. In response to those complaints, CNN debunked claims of media bias by comparing questions from CNBC debate to similar questions during Fox News' debates.

    With only three Republican presidential candidates still in the race for the nomination, questions remain as to how CNN will respond.

  • Media Scrutiny Reveals Cracks In Kasich's Ohio "Miracle"

    News Outlets Find Glaring Omissions In Kasich's Campaign Rhetoric On Budget, Economy, And Taxes

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    John Kasich

    State and national media outlets took a tough look at Ohio Gov. John Kasich's claims that tax cuts and a balanced budget created jobs and economic recovery in his state. Their findings reveal that the governor, a candidate in the Republican presidential primary, is not telling the whole story.

    On March 13, Politico reported on Kasich's Ohio "comeback story" with an article titled "The myth of Ohio's economic miracle." It found that while the governor frequently claims his leadership led to a balanced state budget and better economic growth, Ohio's economic recovery closely coincided with the national rebound initiated by President Obama's stimulus and rescue packages, which were signed into law long before Kasich took office. According to Politico, critics counter that Kasich "benefited from the tailwinds of an improving national economy."

    Ohio State University political science professor Vladimir Kogan pointed out that Democratic-led California has outperformed Ohio since Kasich took office in January 2011, and that state-level recoveries are so closely tied to the national economy that the governor "cannot credibly claim that his policies alone are responsible for Ohio's improving economy." Kogan concluded, "Kasich was just lucky enough to be in the right office at the right time." Unemployment rate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) seem to confirm Kogan's argument: The Ohio job market has been steadily improving since February 2010, 11 months before Kasich took office, and unemploment rates in the state have closely matched national averages since the late 1980s:

    Unemployment Rate In Ohio

    Politico also reported that Kasich's touted balanced budget did cut income taxes 10 percent in 2013 and an additional 6.3 percent in 2015, but to pay for it he had to take "billions of federal dollars from Obamacare" and raise regressive "sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones." Cutting personal income taxes while raising sales taxes resulted in a tax cut for corporations and shifted the tax burden onto hardworking Americans (emphasis added):

    To be sure, this heavy manufacturing state has rebounded after being hit hard by the recession. But that was part of a national economic recovery and it left behind many Ohioans, especially the low-wage and manufacturing workers who have flocked to Trump in states like Michigan, where Kasich campaigned so long he joked he should pay taxes.

    [...]

    Others say Kasich singled out one data point from Ohio's employment numbers to cast himself as the ultimate job generator, instead of as someone who benefited from the tailwinds of an improving national economy.

    And while he cut income tax rates twice and eliminated the state's estate tax, he also raised sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones.

    [...]

    His administration cut income tax rates by 10 percent in 2013 and by another 6.3 percent in 2015 and eliminated the estate tax. However, it paid for those cuts by increasing the sales tax (a move frowned upon by budget experts for disproportionately hitting lower-income people) and doing an end-run around the Republican-dominated state Legislature to expand Medicaid, which resulted in an infusion of billions of federal dollars from Obamacare.

    Conservatives universally applauded the slashing of the income tax rates, as did local manufacturers, many of which structure their companies so they file taxes through the personal income, and not the corporate side of the tax code.

    A March 14 article by The New York Times also criticized Kasich's claims that he balanced the budget, noting that he had to cut local aid funding so deeply that cities and towns had to propose tax increases of their own, or initiate significant cuts to services. The Times found that "more than 70 cities and villages had lost at least $1 million a year because of Mr. Kasich's actions," which included deep income tax cuts and elimination of the estate tax (a tax instrument that affects only a handful of extremely wealthy families).

    This highly critical reporting from The Times and Politico followed a March 9 report from The Wall Street Journal, which found that Kasich's tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations had "shifted $2.2 billion in costs to localities, a decision that continues to dog city and village governments." Shifting costs to cities and towns allowed the governor to claim he balanced the budget, but as conservative economist and former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holt-Eakin put it in an interview with The Journal, Kasich "g[o]t others to do the tough job" of cutting services and raising taxes for him.

    The omissions in Kasich's campaign talking points are readily apparent in state-level media coverage of the Ohio economy. On March 9, PolitiFact Ohio rated a Kasich campaign ad as "mostly false" for claiming, "As governor, Kasich delivered the largest tax cut in the nation." PolitiFact argued that other states have actually implemented larger tax cuts than Kasich did after accounting for the size of their economy and population -- such as Republican-led Kansas, which has been devastated by Gov. Sam Brownback's Koch-backed tax cut program. Like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Politico, PolitiFact also noted that Kasich's so-called "tax cut" was actually "more of a tax shift" that "forces local governments to raise taxes in turn."

  • Media Claim GOP Debate Was "Substantive," Ignore That "The Substance Was Wrong"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media are lauding CNN and the Republican presidential candidates for a "surprisingly substantive" March 10 debate that "focused on jobs, the economy, education, Cuba, Israel and even ... climate change." Despite this praise, fact-checkers are pointing to the candidates' "bruised realities" and "wrong" policy claims, saying the "debate was very substantive. Too bad that substance was all wrong."