Philip Bump

Tags ››› Philip Bump
  • Debunking right-wing media's bogus Ukrainian collusion narrative

    Wash. Post report shows why Hannity's defense for Trump Jr. is nonsense

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A report from The Washington Post debunked a prominent right-wing media claim that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign worked with the Ukrainian government during the 2016 election cycle.

    In response to reports that Donald Trump Jr. welcomed potential information from the Russian government that would have been harmful to Clinton, right-wing media have suggested that Clinton, her campaign, and the Democratic Party colluded with Ukraine in a similar manner. Besides Trump propagandist Sean Hannity, prominent right-wing media outlets and figures, such as The Daily Caller, The Gateway Pundit, The Daily Wire, Fox’s Eric Bolling, and far-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, pushed the claim. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka, a former Breitbart editor, also appeared on news outlets and repeated the claim.

    In a July 11 report, the Post’s Philip Bump wrote that the claim that Clinton’s campaign colluded with Ukraine, which originates from a Politico article from January, relies specifically on “one person who was researching [former Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort with help from inside the Ukrainian Embassy and who, at some undetermined point, provided info to the Clinton campaign.” As Bump wrote, the “Ukrainian plot that’s been revealed” is, in reality, “a weak link to the Ukrainians and a weaker link to the Clinton campaign.” By contrast, “U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed his intelligence agencies to hack into and release private information from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.” According to the article, “American intelligence agencies saw signs that people allied with Trump’s campaign may have been aiding the Russians in that effort.” Bump also spoke with a legal expert about the Clinton-Ukraine narrative, who said, “The difference is that there is not clear evidence of the Clinton campaign coordinating with a foreign national or encouraging or accepting their help.” From the article:

    It centers on a woman named Alexandra Chalupa, who worked as a consultant for the Democratic Party throughout the 2016 cycle through her firm, Chalupa & Associates. Her role with the party was outreach to ethnic communities, but, a Ukrainian American herself, Chalupa had been researching Paul Manafort’s work in that country even before he was tapped to serve as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in March of last year. Chalupa, Politico said, “occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and [Hillary] Clinton’s campaign” — though the timing on this sharing isn’t clear.

    [...]

    While the Politico story does detail apparent willingness among embassy staffers to help Chalupa and also more broadly documents ways in which Ukrainian officials appeared to prefer Clinton’s candidacy, what’s missing is evidence of a concerted effort driven by Kiev.

    U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed his intelligence agencies to hack into and release private information from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. That effort included hackers from two different intelligence agencies which spent months inside the DNC network before releasing thousands of pages of documents to the public.

    What’s more, they coordinated a widespread campaign to amplifying unflattering stories about Clinton and promote Trump. Russia also repeatedly probed American election systems, prompting an unusual warning to states from the federal government.

    American intelligence agencies saw signs that people allied with Trump’s campaign may have been aiding the Russians in that effort. That’s why this is all being discussed right now, of course, since Trump Jr.’s emails draw the clearest line between the Russians and the campaign we’ve yet seen. The FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s meddling a year ago.

    By contrast, Politico’s report details the work of one person who was researching Manafort with help from inside the Ukrainian Embassy and who, at some undetermined point, provided info to the Clinton campaign, though she worked for the DNC as a consultant until shortly before the party conventions. That, coupled with the Manafort ledger revelation, is the full scope of the Ukrainian plot that’s been revealed. A weak link to the Ukrainians and a weaker link to the Clinton campaign.

    [...]

    Lawrence Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, spoke with The Washington Post on Tuesday about how Trump Jr.’s emails might pose a legal risk to him. Over email, he weighed in on the Politico story as well.

    “I think the article raises some troubling questions about Ukraine involvement in our elections,” Noble said. “The difference is that there is not clear evidence of the Clinton campaign coordinating with a foreign national or encouraging or accepting their help.”

  • Right-Wing Media Figures Want Trump To Shut Down The Government So They Can Blame Democrats

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Right-wing media figures are displeased after the likelihood of a government shutdown seemed to fade following a breakthrough after days of failed negotiations and speculation. Specifically, right-wing media figures cheered the idea of a shutdown because they wanted to make sure that “Democrats get blamed” and to exact revenge after, as they claimed, Democrats made previous shutdowns “as painful as possible.”

  • Three Ways Fox Is Attempting To Delegitimize Clinton’s Lead In The Polls

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News has attempted to delegitimize Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls for months, claiming that the polls are skewed due to oversampling, that the size of rallies Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds is more indicative of his support than polls, and that there are “secret” Trump supporters who are too embarrassed to tell pollsters whom they support. However, other media outlets have explained that concerns about oversampling are “laughably incorrect,” and that claims that crowds are more accurate than polling are some of “the most idiotic claims out there.”

  • Fox News Correspondent Goes To Chinatown, Produces Incredibly Racist Segment

    Journalists Condemn Jesse Watters For O'Reilly Factor Segment: “The Most Offensive Television Segment I’ve Ever Seen”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News’ Jesse Watters is drawing widespread condemnation for a segment on The O’Reilly Factor in which he visited New York’s Chinatown neighborhood to, according to Fox host Bill O’Reilly, “sample political opinion.” Since the episode aired, media figures have admonished Watters and O’Reilly for the “disgusting” and “anti-Asian” segment.

    During the October 3 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly aired the “Chinatown edition” of “Watters’ World,” in which Watters interviewed several bystanders in New York’s Chinatown, asking questions such as, “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?" “Tell me what’s not made in China?” and “Do you know karate?” Watters also played the song “Kung Fu Fighting” in the background and included clips of him doing karate. But, as Vox puts it, “What Watters was really doing was making fun of the people he encountered with the broadest, dumbest Asian stereotypes imaginable — making it clear they were there as props for him and his viewers for what he clearly considered a hilarious joke, rather than to actually give their opinions.”

    The segment was rebuked by numerous journalists on Twitter:

    Watters’ racist segment is not the first time The O’Reilly Factor has stereotyped Asian-American or Asian people. O’Reilly himself once stated, “Asian-Americans have succeeded in the U.S.A. better than any other minority group. ... I’m saying there’s no white privilege; there must be Asian privilege because the Asians are at the top of the chart.” O’Reilly also asserted that "Asian people are not liberal, you know, by nature. They're usually more industrious and hard-working," which prompted a demand for an apology from then-Rep. Collen Hanabusa (D-HI), who said O’Reilly’s comments “thoughtlessly insult 1.3 million people with one sweeping misstatement."

  • Online Polls Are “Garbage,” But Fox News Still Cites Them

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hyped online post-debate polls to claim that Trump won the debate, saying that “every poll” showed that he “did better” than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But online polls involve “a self-selecting group of respondents,” and journalists and polling experts generally view them as unreliable -- “garbage” even.

  • Fox News Revives Debunked Claim That Democratic Primary Was “Rigged”

    Fox Spins Hacked DNC Emails To Claim Clinton’s Victory Is “Illegitimate”

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News figures distorted the contents of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to claim that the Democratic presidential primary was “rigged” and that Hillary Clinton’s victory is “illegitimate.” But media have noted that Clinton won “her party’s nomination by every available measure” and that the hacked emails in no way prove the primary was “rigged.”

  • Journalists Ridicule Lack Of Economic Policy During Trump’s “Make America Work Again” Convention Night

    Day Two Of The Republican National Convention Focused On Emails, Benghazi, And Clinton-Bashing

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    The second day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) was billed as an opportunity to highlight Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to boost job creation and economic growth. Journalists blasted the RNC and Trump campaign after the speakers ignored the economy and instead attacked Hillary Clinton over issues like the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email server.

  • Wash. Post: Following Trump's Logic, Only "A White Male Republican" Could Judge Him Fairly

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In an article in The Washington Post, Philip Bump highlighted the vast number of “judges Donald Trump would like to bar from overseeing any future legal disputes involving his get-others-rich-quick schemes.” According to Bump, “logic would suggest that” following Trump’s racist attacks on the federal judge overseeing the Trump U. fraud case, his “benchmark for exclusion ... could probably also exclude as unfit” judges who are Democrats, immigrants, women, black, or judges with disabilities. Bump explained, “So what's left? A white* male Republican judge.”

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Trump said the federal judge who ordered the release of documents pertaining to Trump’s failed Trump U., could not act impartially because he’s a “Mexican” and “hater” of Trump, and should “recuse himself” from the case because of an alleged “conflict of interest” in relation to Trump’s immigration policies. Trump’s comments have since garnered backlash from across the political spectrum, as “racist,” “bigoted,” and “highly offensive.” Trump has also said it’s “possible, absolutely” that a Muslim judge “would be similarly incapable of treating him fairly.”

    In his June 5 article, Bump highlighted the numerous judges “Donald Trump would like to bar from overseeing any future legal disputes involving his get-others-rich-quick schemes.” According to Bump, following Trump’s logic, his “benchmark for exclusion isn't solely membership in a group that Trump has criticized and/or sought sanction against. It's membership in a group that Trump might be able to argue could view him negatively.” From the June 5 article (emphasis original):

    Donald Trump has insisted over the past two weeks that the judge overseeing the Trump University fraud case cannot act impartially because he is "Mexican" (later: "of Mexican heritage"). That insistence has been received poorly, including by formerly stalwart Trump allies such as Newt Gingrich.

    [...]

    Let's set aside the fact that Article VI of the Constitution prohibits the sort of religious test that Trump would apparently like to apply to those who sit in judgment of him. And let us also set aside that, in 1998, lawyers who questioned the fitness of a judge based on his ethnicity were reprimanded severely, to the point that they were mandated to inform future judges in the district of their botched challenge.

    Let us instead try to isolate which judges Donald Trump would like to bar from overseeing any future legal disputes involving his get-others-rich-quick schemes. We already know that Trump could reject anyone who is Muslim, "Mexican" or "of Mexican heritage." (Those are in quotes because "Mexican," in this instance, doesn't actually mean Mexican: The judge in the Trump University case is from Indiana.)

    [...]

    The benchmark for exclusion isn't solely membership in a group that Trump has criticized and/or sought sanction against. It's membership in a group that Trump might be able to argue could view him negatively. After all, he regularly insists that Hispanics love him, but he, for some reason, assumes Gonzalo Curiel doesn't. He assumes Muslims would judge him harshly but tells the world that Muhammad Ali's rebuke of his ban on Muslim entry into the United States wasn't about him.

    With that dichotomy in mind, logic would suggest that Trump could probably also exclude as unfit:

    Judges from the Democratic Party. No Democratic judges, obviously, given both that Democrats clearly oppose his candidacy and that he has, in the past, described members of the party as having given rise to the Islamic State militant group.

    Judges who are immigrants. Trump's broadly skeptical view of immigration of all stripes drives much of his campaign rhetoric, from the wall on the Mexican border (which doesn't target only Mexican immigrants, of course) to his ban on Muslims. His policy proposals would add broad new constraints to entering the country, legally or illegally.

    Judges who are women. Trump's contentious history with women — a history that he has gone to great lengths to smooth over — is well documented. The New York Times collected a series of quotes that might indicate why a female judge would, in Trump's eyes, be biased against him.

    Judges who are black. Trump twice this weekend attempted to highlight support from black voters. He first pointed out a black man in the crowd at a rally, though that man wasn't a Trump supporter. He then tweeted an image of a black family that supported him — but the image was a news photo from an unrelated event. But that aside, his past comments about black people, legal fights surrounding his company's renting practices and recurring overlap with racists on social media all offer more than enough reason for Trump to assume that a black judge would treat him unfairly.

    Judges with physical disabilities. Trump's now-infamous imitation of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski speaks for itself. [The Washington Post, 6/5/16]

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & JARED HOLT

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.