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  • Most Sunday shows ignore Trump efforts to force citizenship question on census despite Supreme Court ruling

    Trump essentially admits that his administration’s goal is to increase white power, and Sunday shows do nothing

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Most of the Sunday morning news shows ignored President Donald Trump’s efforts to force a question about citizenship status into the 2020 census -- despite a ruling by the Supreme Court effectively blocking the move.

    The Supreme Court ruled on June 27 that the Trump administration gave “contrived reasons” for the citizenship question, demanding that the administration “offer genuine justifications” for it first. Despite the ruling, Trump tweeted that he was “absolutely moving forward” with the question, which a Justice Department attorney admitted “was the first [he] had heard of the president’s position on the issue” but added that “the 2020 census was continuing to be printed without the disputed citizenship question.” Trump has since discussed issuing an executive order to “forge a new legal avenue for the citizenship question,” according to The Washington Post. A federal judge in Maryland has also ordered proceedings to continue on whether the administration intended to use the citizenship question to discriminate against immigrants and help Republicans.

    A review by Media Matters of the five major Sunday morning news shows -- Fox News Sunday, CNN’s State of the Union, CBS’ Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, and NBC’s Meet the Press -- found that Fox News Sunday, State of the Union, and This Week did not even mention the census developments, while guests on Meet the Press and Face the Nation made misleading claims about the issue.

    On Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd briefly asked Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) about the Supreme Court decision and Trump’s “attempt essentially to go around the Supreme Court.”  Hurd replied: “The Supreme Court has ruled. Let’s move forward.”

    Later  in the show, during the show’s roundtable, former National Review writer Jonah Goldberg claimed the government asked the citizenship question for “about 190 years.” (While a citizenship question was standard on the census through 1950, starting in 1960, it was omitted from all but the long-form questionnaire sent to fewer than 20% of Americans, which was dropped in 2010.)

    On Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan asked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli about the census developments and concerns that the citizenship questions could cause “a skewing of the results, inaccurate figures.” Cuccinnelli repeated the claim that the question was “collected many, many times in the past” and denied that the question was being used for political purposes without pushback from Brennan, even though Trump said on July 5 that the “number one” reason for adding the question was for redistricting purposes.

    It is particularly notable that all of the Sunday shows ignored Trump’s admission that the citizenship question was meant for redistricting purposes. As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake discussed, a study by the late Republican redistricting advocate Thomas Hofeller found that redistricting using data derived from the citizenship question “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer explained this context when Hofeller’s remarks were made public about a month ago:

    Voting districts are typically drawn using total population. A switch to using the voting-age citizen population would, Hofeller concluded in his 2015 memo, expand white political power at the expense of people of color, and thereby increase Republican advantage. But, Hofeller wrote, that shift could only occur with the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which would provide the federal government with data necessary for that switch. This argument, which reappears in Hofeller’s 2017 memo, was adopted by the Justice Department in its justification for adding the citizenship question to the census, along with the legal pretext of wanting to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

    In other words, long before Trump was even elected, Republican Party insiders were plotting to increase white political power at the expense of people of color. After Trump was elected, they implemented this plan by insisting that their actual goal was the protection of minority voting rights. As with the Voting Rights Act, there was the real reason and the stated reason, the truth and the pretext. The nationalism, and the delusion.

    Trump’s DOJ had explicitly denied that this was part of the rationale for adding the question. But his admission on July 5 essentially admitted out loud that the goal of his administration was to increase the political power of white Americans.

    However, most Sunday shows ignored the matter entirely, and of those that didn’t, none engaged substantively at all with Trump’s admission.

    Tyler Monroe contributed research to this piece.

  • Major Sunday shows discuss climate change and Green New Deal, but through narrow lens of political horse race

    Blog ››› ››› EVLONDO COOPER



    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    All five major Sunday morning political shows touched on the Green New Deal on February 10 -- the first time in 2019 that any of the programs have addressed climate change with more than a passing mention. But most of the discussion was superficial and narrowly focused on whether the Green New Deal will cause intra-party fighting among Democrats or end up benefiting Republicans, not on whether its policy ideas are good approaches for fighting climate change.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a Green New Deal resolution on Thursday, outlining an aggressive plan for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. within a decade.

    NBC's Meet the Press featured a conversation about the Green New Deal with a panel of guests. Host Chuck Todd kicked it off by briefly outlining the plan's big goals and then asking Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, “Is this a healthy debate [for the Democratic Party] that's happening right now?" In a follow-up comment to David Brody, chief political analyst for the Christian Broadcasting Network, Todd said, “Obviously the president's team sees a reelection opening." The panel discussion on the show largely focused on which party could benefit from consideration of the Green New Deal. Only MSNBC host Katy Tur talked about the dire climate impacts the Green New Deal is designed to mitigate:

    The U.N. said we have 12 years before complete disaster. You talk to the representative of the Marshall Islands, and he's calling it what could amount to genocide if we allow things to go as they are. The reports aren't just, "Hey, it's going to get bad." The reports are, "People will die. Millions and million, and millions of people will die." And I think that there is an appetite among voters out there, especially Democratic voters and potentially swing voters, to say, "Hey, let's do something about this now because it's, it’s going to affect our future." And there's real economic damage that can happen as well. Billions of dollars in economic damage from crops to deaths, to losing oceanfront homes and businesses in, over the next century.

    On CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper brought up the Green New Deal twice. His interview with Peter Buttigieg, Democratic presidential hopeful and mayor of South Bend, IN, included a substantive exchange on the plan and on climate impacts. Tapper briefly mentioned the Green New Deal’s broad aims, questioned Buttigieg about how it could affect his constituents and industry in the Midwest, and asked if he endorsed it. Buttigieg affirmed his support for the general framework of the Green New Deal, specifically “the idea that we need to race toward that goal and that we should do it in a way that enhances the economic justice and the level of economic opportunity in our country.” Buttigieg also noted that action is needed because extreme weather is already hurting Americans. Later in the show, during an interview with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tapper noted that Murphy was a Green New Deal co-sponsor before saying, “Independent senator Angus King of Maine as well as Obama's former energy secretary Ernest Moniz say they don't think that this plan is realistic.” Murphy responded, “It's absolutely realistic and I frankly think we need to set our sights high.” Murphy emphasized the reason why bold steps are required: "Global warming is an existential threat to the planet."

    Fox News Sunday included two segments that discussed the Green New Deal, but host Chris Wallace seemed less interested in how it would address climate change and more interested in whether it could be labeled “socialist.” During a discussion with a panel of guests, Wallace listed some of the plan’s policy goals before asking former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), “Couldn't you call it socialist?” In a follow-up question to Edwards, Wallace lumped the Green New Deal in with other progressive policy proposals such as free college tuition and a guaranteed jobs plan, asking her again, “Couldn't you argue that's pretty radical and possibly socialist?” During a separate interview with Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Wallace asked if President Donald Trump views the Green New Deal as “the view of a wing of the [Democratic] party or does he think that's the prevailing opinion of Democratic leaders?”

    Both ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and CBS' Face the Nation just made passing mentions of the Green New Deal. This Week host Stephanopoulos directed a comment about Trump’s sarcastic tweet about the Green New Deal to ABC News contributor Chris Christie, but Christie didn't address the topic. Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan didn’t bring up the Green New Deal herself, but one of her guests, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, referenced it in passing to claim that it could harm the Democrats politically.

    Sunday’s Green New Deal coverage did not include any guests who voiced climate denial, which is an improvement over the last time all of the major shows covered climate change, on November 25, after release of the National Climate Assessment. But this time around, none of the shows hosted guests with particular expertise in climate change to discuss the plan, like climate scientists or environmental journalists. This is an unfortunate, long-running trend: The Sunday shows rarely feature climate experts.

    The Green New Deal is sparking Sunday show discussion of climate policy, which we've seen very little of in recent years. (And it’s freaking out conservatives and right-wing media figures.) But the coverage needs to get better. Media outlets have a responsibility to move discussions of climate-related issues like the Green New Deal beyond superficial horse-race coverage and into real substance. That means acknowledging that the Green New Deal is not merely a political ploy; it is an effort backed by a broad array of environmental groups, environmental justice organizations, and unions, as well as high-profile Democratic politicians, to comprehensively address the climate crisis. Sunday shows should be fostering discussion of whether the Green New Deal is the right approach to deal with climate change, not whether it will help one side or another score quick political points.

  • Stalin, East Germany, and emancipation: The 12 dumbest takes (so far) on 22 million people losing health insurance

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    After a report on the Senate health care legislation by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed that the Republican plan would lead to 22 million more uninsured Americans than under the Affordable Care Act, right-wing media figures either tried to spin the CBO report by saying it was “extremely positive,” or attacked and undermined the CBO’s integrity. From an East Germany analogy to the suggestion that senators simply “forget” the millions that will be uninsured, here are 13 of the worst right-wing CBO takes. 

  • The Guide To Donald Trump's War On The Press (So Far)

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has an extensive history of attacking the media, and his campaign and supporters have joined in the fight throughout the election. The nominee, his surrogates, and his supporters have called media outlets and reporters across the spectrum “dishonest,” “neurotic,” “dumb,” and a “waste of time,” and until recently, the campaign had a media blacklist of outlets that weren’t allowed into campaign events.

  • The Conservatives Who Said That Trump’s New Campaign Chief Betrayed Breitbart's Memory By Backing Donald Trump

    ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon is the executive chairman of conservative website Breitbart News, which has been embroiled in a civil war over the publication’s Trump support. Numerous conservative media figures have slammed Bannon -- who is taking a leave of absence to work for Trump -- and Breitbart News for destroying the legacy of the site’s founder Andrew Breitbart, who said in 2011 that Donald Trump is “not a conservative.”

  • The Continuing Conservative Media Civil War Zeroes In On Sean Hannity

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    In the latest development in the conservative media civil war over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity, a staunch Trump supporter, is battling other conservative media figures over his unapologetic and unconditional defense of the candidate, with those media figures now calling his shilling for Trump “slavish” and “disgraceful.”

  • Trump Campaign Adopts Right-Wing Media’s Clinton Server Canard To Deflect From Trump’s Alleged Russian Ties

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Right-wing media pushed the idea that the supposed Russian hack and release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails also means that Russians hacked Hillary Clinton’s server and stole information. Eventually, Paul Manafort, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign chair, repeated the claim to deflect attention from Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. 

  • Right-Wing Media Use Wisconsin Primary Turnout To Dismiss Discriminatory Impact Of Voter ID Laws

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. , ALEX KAPLAN & DINA RADTKE

    Right-wing media figures are using the high April 5 voter turnout during the presidential primary in Wisconsin, which has a voter ID law, to dismiss concerns about the discriminatory impact of such laws. But experts say conclusions about the impact of voter ID laws cannot be drawn based only on high voter turnout, and several media outlets reported that the law did harm potential voters in the state's primary.

  • Jonah Goldberg Furious After Two National Review Colleagues Endorse Trump

    Right-Wing Economic Policy Darlings Larry Kudlow And Stephen Moore Are Regular Contributors To National Review

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Moore and Kudlow

    National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg berated two right-wing economic policy figureheads -- Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow -- for what Goldberg saw as their abandonment of conservative principles by supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. Both men have written extensively for National Review Online (NRO) promoting the conservative movement's economic agenda, with Kudlow acting as a contributing editor for the publication.

    The right-wing media civil war was on full display on March 9 when Goldberg attacked Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore and CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow for endorsing Trump, despite the Republican front-runner's lack of apparent conservative policy bona fides. Goldberg argued that Moore and Kudlow had abandoned conservative purity by endorsing "winning at any cost," and that Trump's policies are a "populist deformation of conservatism." Goldberg's decision to target Moore and Kudlow for their embrace of Trump is particularly interesting given how much the two men have contributed to National Review and National Review Online over the years.

    Moore's regular publication history with the outlet dates back to 2003, when he was an ardent champion of the Bush administration's tax cuts, and picked up steam in 2014 when he used NRO to promote Republican talking points on tax and regulatory policy, the federal budget and deficit, and the minimum wage. Kudlow's ties to the outlet where he serves as both a contributing editor (in print) and a columnist and economics editor (online) are even more extensive, dating to 1999.

    Goldberg may be targeting Moore and Kudlow for apostasy now, but they have been boosting Trump for some time now -- weeks in the case of Moore, and months for Kudlow. Moore praised Trump in a February 11 column for The American Spectator, suggesting he could "expand the Republican base to include independents and union Democratic voters" and claimed that "Trump is the anti-Obama in every way ... . Trump emanates love for America and pledged to 'make America great again.'" CNBC contributer James Pethokoukis also listed Moore as part of Trump's "council of wise men" on February 22. Goldberg wrote that Kudlow "has moved markedly in Trump's direction" on policy, and Kudlow also expressed his support for Trump's tax plan in September when it was released.

    In January, the National Review launched a conservative war on Trump with a dedicated "Against Trump" issue, referring to him as a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist." Goldberg's March 9 article berating Moore and Kudlow is just another barrage in the right-wing media civil war over Trump (emphasis added):

    In 2009, then-senator Jim DeMint declared he'd rather have 30 reliable conservatives in the Senate than 60 unreliable ones. Ted Cruz launched his presidential campaign on the premise that deviation from pure conservatism cost Republicans the 2012 election. The only way to win was to refuse to compromise and instead give voters a clear choice. Many of the right's most vocal ideological enforcers cheered him on.

    Until Trump started winning. Suddenly, the emphasis wasn't on winning through purer conservatism but on winning at any cost.

    Consider Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. In August, the two legendarily libertarian-minded economists attacked Trump, focusing on what they called Trump's "Fortress America platform." His trade policies threaten the global economic order, they warned. "We can't help wondering whether the recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade," they mused. As for Trump's immigration policies, they could "hardly be further from the Reagan vision of America as a 'shining city on a hill.'"

    Months later, as Trump rose in the polls, Kudlow and Moore joined the ranks of Trump's biggest boosters -- and not because Trump changed his views. On the contrary, Kudlow has moved markedly in Trump's direction. He now argues that the borders must be sealed and all visas canceled. He also thinks we have to crack down on China.

    [...]

    Instead of converting voters to conservatism, Trump is succeeding at converting conservatives to statism on everything from health care and entitlements to trade.