Weekly Newsletter for June 21, 2024

Welcome back to Media Matters’ weekly newsletter. Jason has a well-deserved week off. This week:

  • The violent crime rate has plummeted since Trump’s last year in office. Cable news is barely covering it
  • We tracked the companies advertising on RNC co-chair Lara Trump's podcast and lining her pockets.
  • They’re once again coming for your Social Security.

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Project 2025

  • The Heritage Foundation, which has played a central role in organizing Project 2025, called for Social Security cuts, arguing that raising the retirement age would keep “older workers’ wisdom and experience” in the workforce.
  • Steve Bannon touted Project 2025: Trump’s administration will have “teams” that will “go after the criminals and the traitors in the deep state.” Later in the week, Bannon talked about purging 8 million federal contractors to replace with Trump sycophants.
  • Project 2025 director Paul Dans defended Trump’s 2020 fake electors scheme. Dans also appeared on Bannon’s podcast and talked about Project 2025 as the “instruction manual” for a second Trump administration. Dans also gushed about Bannon and called Biden an authoritarian.
  • Please share Media Matters’ official guide to Project 2025 — and keep an eye out for more additions in the upcoming weeks.

This week in stupid 

  • Ben Shapiro used Father's Day to attack LGBTQ families that use IVF.

This week in scary

Excuse me?

  • A Newsmax host compared Donald Trump to Emmett Till.

Cable news continues to undercover data showing crime rates are falling

Back in 2020, when Donald Trump was still president, murders spiked. This led to a whole lot of coverage on Fox News and cable news writ large in subsequent years. But now that violent crime rates are plummeting, media coverage has evaporated. The latest example: Following yet another FBI report showing there has been a national drop in violent and property crime rates, Fox News undercovered the news, instead spreading the right-wing narrative that FBI statistics are incorrect and that people should instead “walk outside and use your eyes.” The network spent only 5 minutes on the FBI report in the week following its release. Mainstream cable networks MSNBC and CNN did not perform significantly better, covering the report for just 11 minutes and 9 minutes, respectively. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because cable news outlets also undercovered previous FBI reports about the drop in crime.

These are the companies paying to advertise on RNC co-chair Lara Trump's podcast

RNC co-chair Lara Trump uses her podcast to promote a collection of far-right utility, doomsday prep, and supplement company sponsors. She often uses the podcast to push election denial and conspiracy theories that claim that Democrats will try to steal the 2024 election.

The right-wing media ecosystem is laying the groundwork for another January 6

In an MSNBC op-ed, Media Matters’ Matt Gertz writes about how Fox News is already helping Donald Trump launder attacks on the 2024 election, risking another January 6. Gertz writes: “The cycle of lies that drove the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is again underway. Five months before the 2024 election, claims that only fraud could explain a future Donald Trump defeat are already commonplace in the right-wing media ecosystem. Fox News stars and Trumpist influencers are priming their audiences to listen if Trump once again claims an election was ‘rigged’ against him — and to come to his aid. Twice last week, Greg Gutfeld told viewers of ‘The Five,’ Fox News’ most-watched broadcast, that the public will only believe the 2024 results are legitimate if President Joe Biden loses.” Read the whole column here.

In case you missed it:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed how Donald Trump, while president, relied on Laura Ingraham for “miracle cures like hydroxychloroquine.” 
  • Media Matters president and CEO Angelo Carusone joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s All In to discuss Fox News priming its audience to believe the 2024 election is rigged against Trump. 
  • Trump floated replacing income taxes with tariffs (taxes on imported goods). He found a receptive audience in MAGA media even as others pointed out that it would be impossible to replace income tax revenue with tariffs and that the plan would amount to a huge tax increase for middle-class and lower-income Americans.
  • Several right-wing extremist figures — including Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Candace Owens, and more — spoke at a weekend event organized by conservative radio host Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point Action, which is partnering with the Republican National Committee and former President Donald Trump's campaign. At least two speeches included an antisemitic dog whistle long favored by white nationalists.
  • Hunter Biden’s trial was certainly newsworthy. But all the same, it was wild that major news outlets provided dramatically more coverage of his federal gun trial than former Trump’s repeated declarations this month that, if reelected as president, he may direct prosecutions of his political enemies.
  • Right-wing media misleadingly used a video from a fundraiser to renew their attacks on Biden's age. These attacks are clearly ramping up — especially as polls show Biden starting to edge ahead of Trump.
  • Jesse Watters celebrated Trump’s calls for revenge. Now, Watters says that the idea that Trump is out for revenge is a hoax.
  • Right-wing commentator Mark Burns, who is in a Republican primary run-off for a U.S. House seat in South Carolina, told a misogynistic host last year that “man is the leader of his family. His wife, the Bible says, is to be submissive to her husband.” Referring to the role of a wife, he said, “You're supposed to obey.” 
  • A far-right media figure who has called Judaism “the religion of anti-Christ” and suggested that “all Jews are dangerous,” apparently voted as a delegate on the Idaho GOP’s party platform at the state party's 2024 convention.