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  • Fox anchor repeats Trump’s lie about the economic harm from his tariffs on imports from China

    Economists say Trump’s tariffs have hurt America’s economic growth

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News anchor Sandra Smith parroted a tweet from President Donald Trump crediting the recent 3.2% GDP growth in part on his tariffs on imports from China. But economists, including those with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), have explained that Trump’s tariffs have actually slightly depressed U.S. GDP growth.

    Economists warned at least a year ago that Trump’s tariffs would hurt the U.S. economy. Now, a May 10 CNBC article quoted Oxford Economics economist Greg Daco, who estimated that “the tariffs in place since last year depressed U.S. gross domestic product by about 0.1 percentage point this year.” Daco further estimated that Trump’s new tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs would “cut U.S. GDP by 0.3 percentage point next year, costing the U.S. economy about $62 billion.” Daco’s estimate of the tariffs’ effect so far matches a January estimate by the CBO that Trump’s tariffs “will limit growth of U.S. real gross domestic product by an average of 0.1 percent each year for the next 10 years if they remain in place at current levels.” Fox has previously downplayed the negative economic impacts from Trump’s tariffs, but Smith ignored them entirely when she repeated Trump’s lie.

    From the May 13 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

    SANDRA SMITH (CO-ANCHOR): You know, it’s amazing to see the president in his words this morning, he’s been tweeting a lot this morning. Here’s one of them: “The unexpectedly good first quarter 3.2% GDP was greatly helped by tariffs from China. Some people just don't get it.” You know, in the wake of that monstrous GDP number and the big drop in the unemployment rate and the added jobs that we recently saw, some who don't usually give the president credit for the growth in the economy were giving him credit there. Here is the president saying you’re not giving me enough credit for what this has already done to the United States.

  • Fox contributor falsely claims “almost 9 out of 10 families” applying for asylum “aren’t making it to court” for their hearings

    Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan cited congressional testimony that actually proves him wrong. The vast majority of families applying for asylum appear for their court cases.

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News contributor and former acting ICE Director Tom Homan, in an effort to inflate problems at the southern border, claimed “86%, almost 9 out of 10 families, aren't making it to court” for their asylum hearings, citing congressional testimony.

    But the testimony Homan appears to be referring to actually showed that most such families do show up for their court cases -- which lines up with studies and results from an Obama administration program where the vast majority of families over a period of 10 years attended their hearings. The numbers Homan gave referred only to a pilot program launched by the Trump administration in late 2018.

    On May 8, Acting Executive Associate ICE Director Nathalie Asher testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that 87.5 percent of removal orders for cases in a limited Department of Justice pilot program to expedite family asylum cases within a year “were issued in absentia” when the persons didn’t appear for their cases. However, immigration lawyers say that this Trump administration pilot program could violate immigrants’ due process rights.

    Asher’s testimony also stated that in fiscal year 2018, just 27.4% of family units failed to appear for their court dates -- far less than the “almost 9 out of 10 families” Homan claimed. Asher even admitted that the traditional program for these families “is effective in ensuring that its vetted participants show up to specified hearings.”

    Other data also show that a sizeable majority of immigrants in recent years who are not detained attend their immigration court proceedings. Family units applying for asylum that participated in an Obama administration pilot program had nearly perfect attendance for their ICE check-ins and court hearings -- but the Trump administration canceled that program. And multiple studies and analyses have shown that the rate for several categories of asylum seekers had court hearing attendance rates of over 90%. Homan, who regularly appears on Fox to misinform on immigration and advocate for harsh measures against asylum seekers, has the numbers completely backwards.

    From the May 10 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

    BILL HEMMER (ANCHOR): So, the situation on the border apparently getting worse. More than 100,000 illegal immigrants were either apprehended or turned away at the southern border in one month, in the month of April. Tom Homan, retired ICE director and a Fox News contributor. Sir, thanks for coming back here. Administration's looking for some more money, let me get to that in a moment. There was a big hearing yesterday on the Hill. We had a member of the Border Patrol on out air last hour. He's just saying that Congress doesn't care because Congress isn't getting it done. Now you see the numbers from April and they tell you what?

    TOM HOMAN (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well look, I've been saying for months Congress doesn't care. Look, I think their resistance to Trump, they want to see -- they want to see this president fail on his number one campaign promise. I've said it many times, they're putting their hatred of this president above their responsibilities to secure this border. They can't be ignorant to what's happening. All you got to do is watch the videos, watch the numbers. The borders -- I've done this 34 years. This is unprecedented. I've never seen it this bad on the border. And they're sitting there watching the parade go by. Nothing is happening, and it's terrible. The morale of the Border Patrol is going downhill. More people are being released. As of yesterday's testimony, 86%, almost 9 out of 10 families, aren't making it to court. They don't show up. They become a fugitive and they hide in the United States waiting for the next DACA or waiting for the next amnesty. It's terrible, it's out of control. Worst I've ever seen it in my entire career.

  • Fox News shows use cropped quote to smear presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    UPDATE (9:20 p.m.): Fox host Tucker Carlson also used the truncated quote to attack Buttigieg, saying "it's all pretty dark, really."

    On the afternoon of May 6, Daily Wire personality (and purveyor of wildly misleading clips on Twitter) Ryan Saavedra tweeted a video of presidential hopeful and South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Saavedra wrote, “Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg today in South Carolina: America ‘was never as great as advertised.’” Washington Post political reporter Dave Weigel quickly pointed out that Buttigieg had gone on to say “especially for marginalized Americans.”

    Buttigieg’s claim is fairly banal; there are many examples of Americans facing oppression throughout history: slavery of Black Americans, genocide of indigenous peoples, nativist discrimination against immigrants, Jim Crow laws, internment of Japanese Americans, oppression of women, bans on marriage equality, and many more. We’re still grappling with the aftereffects of all of these.

    Multiple Fox segments on the morning of May 7 ran with a cropped version of the Buttigieg quote, cutting it off before Buttigieg mentioned “marginalized Americans.”

    • Fox & Friends aired the cropped version of the Buttigieg quote, and co-host Brian Kilmeade later added, “Nice to know that Mayor Pete wants to run a country that was never that great.”

    • Fox “hard news” show America’s Newsroom also truncated the Buttigieg quote. The partial quote first appeared in a tease in the 9 a.m. hour, with anchor Bill Hemmer introducing the clip of a “Democratic candidate questioning our country’s greatness while taking shots at the president,” and later asking, “What do you think of that from Mayor Pete that the past was not as great as advertised?”

    • America’s Newsroom returned to the subject in the 10 a.m. hour, again airing the truncated quote. Hemmer added that Buttigieg “went there” while a chyron on screen said “Buttigieg Blunder? Dem Candidate Says America’s Past Wasn’t That Great.” Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov briefly discussed Buttigieg’s comment without ever mentioning the full quote, and the conversation quickly turned to a discussion of polling.

    Some Fox segments did air the full quote, though even those shows framed it around the smear.

    • In the 4 a.m. hour, Fox & Friends First put up the chyron “Buttigieg Blasts America” while airing the full excerpt.

    • In the 5 a.m. hour, Fox & Friends First again aired the whole quote, this time with the chyron “Pete Buttigieg Questions The Greatness Of America.” Fox reporter Carley Shimkus even said, “When you make fun of the slogan ‘Make America Great Again,’ some people feel like you’re making fun of the history or mocking the history of the country” before proceeding to read right-wing replies to Saavedra’s tweet.

    Buttigieg is scheduled to take part in a Fox News town hall on May 19.

  • Stuck on how to refer to trans people in the past? The answer is actually really simple.

    The overwhelming majority of the time, it's completely unnecessary to draw attention to former names or pronouns

    Blog ››› ››› PARKER MOLLOY


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    It’s been more than five years since Chelsea Manning came out as transgender, but news organizations continue to struggle when it comes to reporting on her past. With her name in the news once again as a result of the April 11 arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some reporters and commentators repeatedly referred to her by the incorrect name and pronouns.

    NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian referred to Manning as “he” and “him” during multiple MSNBC segments. Fox News reporter Greg Palkot emphasized Manning’s former first name, “Bradley,” during two Thursday Fox & Friends clips and again the following day on America’s Newsroom. On CNN, correspondent Nick Paton Walsh stumbled over both names and pronouns during a Friday report on New Day. Whether or not the names and pronouns were being deployed in any sort of deliberate manner, these reports are evidence of a lingering uncertainty when it comes to talking about trans people.

    The best way to refer to a trans person -- even when discussing their past -- is to use whatever name and pronouns that individual currently uses.

    In Manning’s specific case, she came out as trans in a written statement on August 22, 2013. In it, she wrote, “I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.” While this request would appear simple enough to follow, journalists have been twisting themselves into knots about it ever since.

    I reached out to a number of LGBTQ advocacy groups to ask when it’s appropriate to reference a trans person’s prior name and pronouns in news coverage, and why misgendering and deadnaming (using a trans person’s former name) should be avoided. Here’s what they had to say:

    Sarah McBride, national press secretary at the Human Rights Campaign: “The misgendering of transgender people in the media can send a dangerous message to the public.”

    The misgendering of transgender people in the media can send a dangerous message to the public, reinforcing the very prejudice at the heart of the discrimination and violence transgender people face.

    Transgender people are their names and gender identities even before they come out publicly, and that fact should be reflected in coverage of transgender people in the news. While there has been significant progress in media coverage of transgender people, too often we see competent and respectful coverage fall away when the news revolves around transgender people who have been incarcerated. Every transgender person deserves to have their gender identity affirmed and it shouldn't be conditional.

    Nick Adams, director of transgender representation at GLAAD: “After the person's new name becomes common knowledge, it is unnecessary and disrespectful to continue referring to their old name.”

    Media outlets should always use the current and accurate pronoun to refer to a transgender person, and should never reveal a trans person's birth name without their explicit permission. When a public figure transitions, there may be a brief period of time where journalists refer to their birth name in order to report on the transition. However, after the person's new name becomes common knowledge, it is unnecessary and disrespectful to continue referring to their old name.

    Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality: “Rarely is someone’s prior name relevant to your story, and including it only draws more attention to the individual’s status as a transgender person.”

    I strongly encourage reporters to use a subject’s current name and only their current name unless otherwise permitted by the person themselves. Rarely is someone’s prior name relevant to your story, and including it only draws more attention to the individual’s status as a transgender person when, as was the case in Manning’s story, it’s not relevant to the main narrative of the article. I would encourage reporters to ask themselves if they would do the same for someone who had changed their name after, say, a marriage or a divorce.

    There are transgender people who may be fine with someone noting or mentioning their prior name, and doing so in an article is fine with that expressed permission. But to ensure the privacy of all parties are protected, I encourage reporters to hedge on the side of courtesy and respect by using a person’s current name only.

    To add on to one of Branstetter’s points, you wouldn’t go out of your way to refer to a woman who changed her name from “Smith” to “Jones” after exiting a marriage as “Mrs. Smith” just because you happen to be describing an event that occurred when that was the name she went by. In fact, doing so would come off as rude. The same goes for referring to trans people’s pasts.

    The Associated Press and The New York Times both spell out these guidelines in their in-house style guides.

    For individuals who have changed their names, the AP Stylebook instructs journalists to “use the name by which a person currently lives or is widely known. Include a previous name or names only if relevant to story.”

    In the case of Manning’s most recent mentions in the news, her former name was almost certainly not relevant to the story. Barring the need to quote from a specific document using her former name, it’s unnecessary to note that she was known by something else at the time.

    In its entry for “gender,” the AP is unambiguous about which name journalists should use: “Use the name by which a transgender person now lives. … Refer to a previous name only if relevant to the story.” The guide even includes an example for how to refer to a trans person in the event that it is relevant to include a former name: “Caitlyn Jenner, who won a 1976 Olympic gold medal in decathlon as Bruce Jenner.”

    In Jenner’s case, a reference to her former name in a story about her Olympic victory might make sense, as the story becomes confusing if you somehow aren’t aware that she’s transgender. In Manning’s situation, unless a story is about legal battles undertaken to access hormone replacement therapy or her fight to legally update her name in April 2014, references to her trans status, former name, or former pronouns are unnecessary, as her gender was not central to the story.

    The 2015 edition of The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage guides journalists to “cite a person’s transgender status only when it is pertinent and its pertinence is clear to the reader.” Additionally, it reads: “Unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent, use the name and pronouns (he, his, she, her, hers) preferred by the transgender person. If no preference is known, use the pronouns consistent with the way the subject lives publicly.”

    Resistance to accurately referring to trans people by the names and pronouns requested sends a clear message about whose identities are considered legitimate and whose aren’t.

    When Chelsea Manning first came out as trans, CNN justified its decision to refer to her by masculine pronouns because she had “not yet taken any steps toward gender transition through surgery or hormone replacement therapy.” Of course, this was complicated by the fact that Manning wasn’t in a position where she could take those steps, having just been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Additionally, CNN’s stated policy at the time was to refer to Manning by her former name since she had not yet legally changed it. This would have made sense if the policy was consistently applied across the board, but it wasn’t. Some people, such as Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), go by stage names. Others, such as Sens. Willard Romney and Rafael Cruz (Mitt and Ted), go by middle names or nicknames. CNN had no issue with referring to individuals by their chosen names in those cases. Refusing to honor Manning’s wish to be referred to by her chosen name was more than a simple matter of policy -- it was a passive-aggressive decision to delegitimize trans identities.

    Years after coming out as trans, Chelsea Manning and all trans people continue to be delegitimized, medicalized, and stigmatized by the media through gratuitous reminders of news subjects’ trans status. Accurate and unbiased reporting means journalists need to consistently afford trans people the same level of respect they’d offer anybody else.