Media Matters weekly newsletter, July 5

Welcome back to Media Matters’ weekly newsletter. This week:

  • The Supreme Court’s immunity decision is a win for Richard Nixon and Roger Ailes.
  • Project 2025 partners celebrate the Supreme Court immunity decision.
  • Prison will not solve our Steve Bannon problem.

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This week in stupid 

  • Former Daily Wire host Candace Owens: “I'm not a flat earther. I'm not a round earther. Actually, what I am is I am somebody who has left the cult of science.”
  • Newsmax's Dick Morris urged viewers to buy shares of the network, saying Trump is “going to be working very closely with Newsmax because he has no choice.”

This week in scary

  • Newsmax guest: Supreme Court immunity decision reflects that the president “sort of is the king.”
  • The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles called the House Committee on Un-American Activities “great” and “fabulous.”

Excuse me?

  • Fox’s Greg Gutfeld dismissed reactions to the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling as “Trump derangement.”
  • Newsmax host Chris Plante called warnings of presidential overreach “another anti-Supreme Court hoax.”
  • Donald Trump Jr. called Fox News “scumbags.”

This week in Project 2025

For our complete coverage of Project 2025, please see this section of our website

  • Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts celebrated the Supreme Court immunity decision: “We are in the process of the second American Revolution.” Heritage has organized Project 2025. 
  • A Project 2025 partner is leading a new initiative calling on the public to get involved with an effort to pressure the Republican Party to adopt a hardline anti-abortion stance as it drafts its platform for the 2024 campaign.
Nixon Ailes Trump

Citation   Andrea Austria / Media Matters  

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court issued its explosive ruling in Trump v United States, declaring that convicted felon Donald Trump is immune from prosecution for official acts taken while in office. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for himself and the other five justices appointed by Republican presidents (three of them appointed by Trump himself), created a new and radical doctrine regarding presidential immunity. Media Matters senior fellow Matt Gertz wrote: “Somewhere — probably in hellRoger Ailes, the Richard Nixon acolyte who co-founded Fox News, is smiling.”

For decades, the right has worked to delegitimize and defang the institutions that led to Nixon’s resignation — the press, the Congress, and the criminal justice system. Ailes was part of the generation of Nixon aides who blamed the supposed depravations of liberal journalists for driving Nixon from office. Rather than accept that Nixon had committed crimes and abuses of power, they organized and strategized, building the right’s massive parallel information ecosystem.

Fox is the crown jewel of that apparatus. The network was central to Trump’s ability to maintain control of GOP leaders through two unsuccessful impeachment trials. It was also central to helping several justices who ruled in Trump’s favor get confirmed to the Supreme Court.

As Matt writes: “Nixon’s depravities made him vulnerable to the press, Congress, and the criminal justice system. But thanks to Fox, Trump has a level of protection his predecessor lacked.”

image of Donald Trump with text "Project 2025"

Citation Molly Butler/Media Matters | Trump photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons

Project 2025 partners are taking a victory lap after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Trump v. United States, celebrating the ruling on presidential immunity as a win for Trump and a defeat for Democrats. Last week, Project 2025 partners also praised the Supreme Court decision overturning Chevron deference in a ruling that will restrict federal agencies’ regulatory abilities and make it easier for corporations to challenge environmental protections, climate action, and rules that protect workers or regulate drug and financial practices, among other issues.

  • On Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts marked the decision as “vital,” and claimed, “We are in the process of the second American revolution.”
  • Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, president of America First Legal, wrote that the decision is “another setback for the Democrat Party’s illegal and unconstitutional crusade to outlaw dissent, jail the opposition leader, impose authoritarian rule, replace democracy with the deep state and liberty with leftwing oligarchy.”
  • The Center for Renewing America posted a video of senior fellow Mark Paoletta reacting to the decision on Newsmax, adding, “It’s a great day for President Trump… it’s an even better day for the U.S. Constitution.”
Steve Bannon on a red background

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

On Monday, former Trump White House adviser and host of the flagship MAGA media show War Room Steve Bannon went to federal prison for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by the House January 6 committee. He is sentenced to serve four months.

As Media Matters’ Madeline Peltz writes: “Bannon deserves to be held responsible for flouting the law, but prison will not solve our Steve Bannon problem. For the past decade, his style of politics — featuring conspiracy theories, racist fearmongering, and disinformation — has reigned over right-wing media, even as his own standing in Donald Trump’s circle has risen and fallen. That does not stand to change over the course of his incarceration.”

I invite you to read Madeline’s wonderful piece explaining the toxic influence Bannon has had over our politics.

In case you missed it

  • Right-wing media cheer the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling as a victory for Trump and attack the dissenting opinion.
  • After The Atlantic reported in 2020 that Donald Trump had disparaged fallen soldiers as “suckers” and “losers” during a trip to Paris in 2018, right-wing media erupted to protect him ahead of the election. Right-wing media continue to call the report “fake news” in 2024.
  • Dr. Eithan Haim, a former media resident at Texas Children’s Hospital, was indicted in May for allegedly illegally accessing trans patients’ records, which he subsequently shared with Manhattan Institute senior fellow Chris Rufo. Right-wing media figures have since defended Haim and brought him in for interviews.
  • In a new analysis of electric vehicle-related content on Facebook, Media Matters found that negative stories made up the vast majority of content, particularly on right-leaning and politically nonaligned U.S. news and political pages.
  • Since becoming co-chair of the Republican National Committee, right-wing commentator Lara Trump has repeatedly pushed election denial and conspiracy theories on her Right View podcast.
  • Micah Beckwith, who recently secured Indiana’s GOP lieutenant governor nomination, is a right-wing podcaster and promoter of Christian nationalism. Media Matters’ Olivia Little wrote this fantastic profile on Beckwith.
  • Right-wing commentators are praising Trump for staying disciplined since the debate. Media Matters’ Matt Gertz points out how untrue that is.
  • Fox News is ramping up its attacks on Vice President Kamala Harris since Joe Biden’s debate performance.
  • National news media barely covered the infant mortality spoke that followed Texas’ anti-abortion law.