Research

As Senate Investigates Russia's Role In Proliferation Of Fake News, Fake News Purveyors Deny Any Trump-Russia Connection

Many Fake News Purveyors Also Push Debunked Claim About Clinton And Russia

As the Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on the role Russia played in trying to influence the 2016 election in favor of President Donald Trump -- and its use of fake news to do so -- fake news purveyors in recent days have been dismissing any possible connection between Trump and Russia. They are calling allegations about Trump’s connections to Russia “bogus,” “fake news,” and “slander[ous],” because there is “zero evidence” behind them. At the same time, many of them are pushing a debunked conspiracy theory that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while in office, gave 20 percent of American uranium to Russia in exchange for favors.

3 hours 30 min ago
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Right-Wing Media Misinterpret Weeks-Old Interview To Justify Trump’s Wiretap Lie

Right-wing media figures and fringe outlets are taking a weeks-old interview with Evelyn Farkas, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia under President Barack Obama, out of context to claim she “admitted” that the Obama administration surveilled President Donald Trump’s campaign and that it proves Trump was right when he claimed Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. But Farkas did not mention surveillance in the interview; instead, she discussed a New York Times article about preserving intelligence related to Trump and Russia. The claims are yet another attempt by right-wing and fringe media to bolster Trump’s allegation that Obama wiretapped him, which the intelligence community and government officials have repeatedly debunked.

6 hours 34 min ago
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The Conservative Dark-Money Groups Infiltrating Campus Politics

College campuses have long served as unique places for the free exchange of ideas -- but increasingly they’ve also become playgrounds for ideologically driven, right-wing billionaires and the dark-money groups they fund. Media Matters has mapped out some of the biggest actors behind astroturf conservative campus activism, creating an echo chamber of seemingly grass-roots right-wing student media and campus groups that are actually propped up by a handful of the same conservative funders and, sometimes, even prominent hate groups.

March 29, 2017 10:01 AM EDT
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Bill O’Reilly’s History Of Racism

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was widely criticized for his racist remarks in which he mocked the hair of an African-American congresswoman, saying it looked like she was wearing a “James Brown wig.” This isn’t the first time O’Reilly has made such comments; in fact, he has a history of saying racist things.

March 28, 2017 4:01 PM EDT
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Journalists, Experts Agree Trump's Tax Reform Agenda Will Be Even Harder Than Repealing Obamacare

After President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) failed to garner enough support to pass legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump declared he had moved on to refocus his legislative priorities on tax reform. In light of Trump’s inability to get the Republican-led Congress to vote with him on health care changes, which had been a major campaign promise of virtually every elected GOP official, journalists and experts are beginning to question if Trump is capable of wrangling his caucus to tackle substantive conservative tax reform proposals that have been stagnant for decades.

March 27, 2017 4:54 PM EDT
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The Viral Story About Missing Black And Brown Girls In D.C. Reveals A Huge Media Blindspot

Women's Outlets Explain How These Stories Are Significantly And Routinely Undercovered

A social media post about missing black and brown girls in the Washington, D.C., area went viral, but the numbers it cited were incorrect. Women’s outlets -- primarily those geared toward young, black and brown audiences -- took the lead in explaining the underlying reality about media coverage of missing children that made the post so believable.

March 27, 2017 2:48 PM EDT
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AdRoll Cuts Ties With Infowars, But Google’s YouTube Still Driving Revenue For Alex Jones

Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones claimed that his site, Infowars, was “knocked off of Google Ads” by a Google “subsidiary.” But the advertising company that cut ties with Infowars, AdRoll, is not a Google subsidiary, and Google does in fact place ads on Infowars’ YouTube video pages, generating revenue for Jones’ site. In suspending Infowars, AdRoll cited violations of its policies, which require that content be accurate and verifiable and that content about political campaigns focus on the merits of a candidate, rather than being “derogatory.”

March 27, 2017 2:38 PM EDT
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What 60 Minutes Didn't Mention About "Alt-Right" Men's Rights Activist Mike Cernovich

CBS’ 60 Minutes featured an interview with self-professed “alt-right” figure and noted men’s rights activist Mike Cernovich on its March 26 edition, highlighting how he pushes false stories. Cernovich also has a history of racist and misogynistic rhetoric, has encouraged and promoted harassment, and has promoted numerous conspiracy theories, in addition to "Pizzagate."

March 27, 2017 12:05 PM EDT
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Right-Wing Media Refuses To Blame Trump For GOP Health Care Defeat 

Republicans “abruptly” withdrew their health care bill, which signaled the first legislative defeat for President Donald Trump. After the bill's failure, media figures blamed Democrats, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), and legislators instead of  Trump who adopted and pushed for the bill’s passage.

March 24, 2017 10:43 PM EDT
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Trump Invokes Right-Wing Media’s Misrepresentation Of NY Times Article To Defend His Wiretap Lie

In an interview, President Donald Trump claimed that a January New York Times article proved his false claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower and suggested that the newspaper later changed the article's headline to remove the word "wiretap." Both claims about the article come from fringe and right-wing media. In fact, the Times article does not prove Trump’s claim, and its headline was never altered.

March 23, 2017 6:02 PM EDT
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Hate Group's Explanation For Why It's Not A Hate Group Exemplifies Why It's A Hate Group

After the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) added the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) to its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian responded in a Washington Post op-ed downplaying the extremism of white nationalism and the white nationalists connected to CIS, including its founder. CIS has a long record of publishing anti-immigrant reports with deeply flawed methodologies, and Krikorian -- who is now saying that labeling his group marginalizes it and thus diminishes public debate -- has in the past assigned his own negative labels to other groups.

March 23, 2017 6:01 PM EDT
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How Conservatives Smeared Obamacare And Laid The Groundwork For Trumpcare

For over seven years, right-wing media have launched an assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- a law that has yielded great gains in the economy and public health, especially for the most vulnerable -- pushing multiple myths and false claims about the law. On the law’s seventh anniversary, Republicans hoped to repeal the ACA and pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which contains a wish list of harmful conservative media-backed policies.

March 23, 2017 4:14 PM EDT
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How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2016

In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.'s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015, even though there were a host of important climate-related stories, including the announcement of 2015 as the hottest year on record, the signing of the Paris climate agreement, and numerous climate-related extreme weather events. There were also two presidential candidates to cover, and they held diametrically opposed positions on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and even on whether climate change is a real, human-caused phenomenon. Apart from PBS, the networks also failed to devote significant coverage to climate-related policies, but they still found the time to uncritically air climate denial -- the majority of which came from now-President Donald Trump and his team.

March 23, 2017 11:22 AM EDT
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How Highlighting Personal Narratives Combats Abortion Stigma

On March 21, the 1 in 3 Campaign held an event titled “Stories from the Resistance,” where speakers shared their abortion stories in an effort to counteract abortion stigma -- the idea that abortion is inherently wrong or socially unacceptable. In reporting on the event, media outlets highlighted the speakers’ personal narratives, thereby helping to combat abortion stigma.

March 23, 2017 10:40 AM EDT
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Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Rep. Nunes Vindicated Trump’s Wiretap Lie

Trump Was Not Referring To “Incidental” Legal Surveillance

Right-wing media figures are claiming that House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) statement that President Donald Trump’s transition aides were surveilled “vindicates” Trump and prove he “was right” about his unfounded claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. But Nunes’ report -- that Trump aides were caught in “incidental collection” while surveilling other targets -- was already widely suspected, and Nunes himself admitted it does not prove Trump’s false claim is correct. Multiple current and former government officials have said Trump’s claim is false.

March 22, 2017 6:19 PM EDT
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