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Research

Six fights on reproductive rights that the media should be prepared to report on in 2018

President Donald Trump’s first year in office was particularly damaging for abortion rights and reproductive health. Beyond the Trump administration’s multiple moves to curtail abortion access, anti-choice advocates were also successful on the state level, organizing large-scale protests in North Carolina and Kentucky and implementing a litany of anti-choice policies. Yet with the upcoming Supreme Court case on crisis pregnancy centers, the continuing controversy over abortion access for undocumented minors, a wave of state-level attacks, and Trump’s anti-choice judicial confirmations, 2018 may be an even more dangerous year. 

January 11, 2018 4:08 PM EST
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Florida broadcast media should learn from mistakes of West Palm Beach's coverage of ban on harmful anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy 

Broadcast media in Florida must learn from the mistakes of West Palm Beach broadcast coverage of Palm Beach County’s passage of a ban on anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy, which is a harmful and discredited practice based on the false notion that sexuality can change. During the month in which the vote took place, West Palm Beach media coverage featured considerably more voices supportive of the discredited practice that is opposed by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in the country. West Palm Beach media also turned to a prominent advocate of the practice without noting her anti-LGBTQ advocacy. Nearly 90 percent of segments failed to note that conversion therapy is a discredited practice and that sexuality cannot be changed.

January 5, 2018 2:56 PM EST
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The bigotry of Sean Hannity's early influencers

In a recent profile, Fox host Sean Hannity named three right-wing media figures from the second half of the 20th century -- Bob Grant (1929-2013), Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), and Barry Farber (1930-present) -- as inspirations for his own political commentary. A Media Matters investigation into content produced by Grant, Caldwell, and Farber revealed a trove of bigotry; Grant “routinely” called black people “savages,” Calwell had a political allegiance with “one of the most virulent anti-Semitic propagandists in the United States,” and Farber is a self-professed "birther" who pushed conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama.

January 5, 2018 9:22 AM EST
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Thanks to Trump, white supremacists had a big year in 2017

White supremacist, white nationalist, and “alt-right” figures successfully infected the scope of acceptable discourse in 2017 by regularly inserting racist right-wing extremism into the media conversation. From Confederate statues to the defense of the “It’s OK to be white” propaganda campaign on Fox News prime-time, the media normalized white supremacy during the first year of the Trump administration.

December 28, 2017 7:42 AM EST
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As multiple Fox News figures suggest the FBI is corrupt, Chris Wallace says that no one is attacking the FBI as an institution

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace claimed that recent criticism regarding the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was not against the agency in general. Yet multiple figures at his own network have criticized the FBI in broad terms, suggesting the agency was “like the old KGB,” that it was participating in “a coup,” and acted as if it was in “a third world country.”

December 17, 2017 5:14 PM EST
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Fox and Breitbart are helping Trump mainstream the term “chain migration,” a misleading nativist buzzword

As President Donald Trump rehashes his plan to end so-called “chain migration,” Fox News and Breitbart have been using the pejorative term for family-based immigration more often. The term serves to downplay the many advantages of family reunification policies and falsely conjure images of an unbridled flow of unskilled, unvetted immigrants into the country.

December 13, 2017 2:36 PM EST
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Breitbart radio is a bigoted and misogynistic cesspool

Stephen Bannon claimed Media Matters “can’t find any” racism or misogyny on Breitbart radio -- Here's plenty in just the past two months

In response to calls that satellite radio broadcasting company SiriusXM be boycotted for making a deal to expand Breitbart’s programming on its Patriot channel, Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon ridiculously claimed his outlet does not feature any “racist” or “misogynist” comments. In the last two months alone, Breitbart radio has been a cesspool of racism, misogyny, and other forms of bigotry.

December 11, 2017 9:19 PM EST
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Right-wing media misrepresent interview with Moore accuser to claim she admitted to forging yearbook with Moore’s signature 

Right-wing and far-right media outlets and figures are falsely claiming that Beverly Young Nelson, who has accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16, admitted that she forged a high school yearbook that contains Moore’s signature. Nelson actually said she added some notes next to the signature, but that it was Moore’s signature.

December 8, 2017 2:55 PM EST
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It's not just Masterpiece Cakeshop: Alliance Defending Freedom is attacking nearly every aspect of LGBTQ equality

On December 5, anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will argue before the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case on behalf of a baker who refused to serve a gay couple. ADF is a highly influential, right-wing legal group that has worked to impact policy at the local, state, national, and international level, from working to ban transgender students from using the restrooms that align with their gender identity to helping write and defend the country’s most sweeping anti-LGBTQ state law in Mississippi.

December 4, 2017 11:33 AM EST
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Fox exploited Kate Steinle's death for political gain. Now, the network is in a bind.

On November 29, a jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant who was accused of murdering Kate Steinle in San Francisco, not guilty. Fox News had previously pointed to the case to push for anti-immigrant legislation, cast immigrants as dangerous, and vindicate President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on immigrants.

December 1, 2017 5:02 PM EST
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Geraldo Rivera, accused of sexual assault, has a history of downplaying sexual misconduct

A recently resurfaced 1991 interview between Barbara Walters and actress Bette Midler included Midler's revelation that Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera reportedly sexually assaulted her at one point in the 1970s. This episode, for which Midler says Rivera has never apologized, typifies the disgraceful way the long-time Fox star has dealt with sexual harassment and assault throughout his career.

November 30, 2017 7:36 PM EST
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