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  • "Late-term" abortion is made up and so is Doug Jones' so-called abortion "extremism"

    ››› ››› JULIE TULBERT

    After reports surfaced that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted and harassed several teenagers when he was in his 30s, right-wing media outlets rushed to characterize Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones as supporting “partial-birth” abortions, abortions up to the moment of birth, or so-called “late-term” abortions. Other outlets have adopted the right-wing media spin, claiming Jones is too “extreme” for Alabama voters.

  • Here are the desperate excuses right-wing media are using to justify Ed Gillespie's loss

    Blog ››› ››› NINA MAST & DINA RADTKE


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam resoundly defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie to become the next governor of Virginia in a race that was largely viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump. Right-wing media figures reacted to the election outcome by trying to distance Trump from Gillespie, arguing that Gillispie “didn’t embrace” the president’s agenda, labeling him as “the definition of the swamp” that Trump had promised to drain, and whitewashing his gravitation toward Trump’s extremism. Here’s a list of some of the excuses:

    1. On her radio program, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham blamed “mass immigration” by Muslim and Latino Americans into Virginia for Republican losses throughout the state.

    2. Fox’s Sandra Smith mentioned that Gillespie may have lost because he “didn’t fully embrace Trump,” saying, “There are questions this morning: had he [embraced Trump], would the outcome had been different?”

    3. Right-wing troll Mike Cernovich claimed Gillespie lost partly because his campaign and the Republican Party didn’t ask for Cernovich’s advice.

    4. Jack Posobiec suggested on Twitter that Gillespie’s ads weren’t extreme enough because he didn’t launch negative ads about sexual predators Harvey Weinstein and Anthony Weiner, or the anti-fascist group, Antifa.

    5. Right-wing website The Daily Caller and far-right website The Gateway Pundit blamed Gillespie’s loss on the fact that the former RNC chairman “did not directly campaign with Trump.” The Gateway Pundit also blamed the “lying liberal media” for “GOP elite” Gillespie’s loss.

    6. CNN contributor and Trump supporter David Urban speculated that Gillespie lost because Virginia voters “didn’t forget” that Gillespie didn’t “lift a finger” and come out in “full force” for Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.

    7. Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow slammed Gillespie as “the definition of the swamp” and “a lobbyist” who campaigned with establishment Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) -- “the exact people the Trump voter base rejected.” He also claimed that the “non-stop hot takes about how this was a rejection of the Trump agenda” were “farcical.”  

    8. Breitbart’s Joel Pollak claimed “most of the blame” for Gillespie’s loss “sits with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY),” adding, “calling Tuesday’s results a repudiation of Trump,” is “more than a stretch."

    9. Fake news website RedStateWatcher and conservative commentator Ann Coulter suggested that outgoing Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe restoring voting rights of convicted felons was the reason Gillespie lost to Northam as the ex-felons voted for the Democratic candidate.

    10. Right-wing blog RedState speculated that Gillespie’s rejection of Bannon's assistance during the campaign helped “sink him.”

    11. Coulter also seemed to blame Gillespie’s loss on undocumented Virginians illegally voting in the election, saying that if Gillespie’s “pals, George Bush & Haley Barbour, had been a little less enthusiastic about open borders,” he would have won. Coulter added that “what happened to [Virginia] will happen to the entire country” unless Trump builds his promised border wall and “deport[s] illegals.”

    12. Conservative radio host Steve Deace claimed that Gillespie “loathe[s]” the “cultural issues” that “Trump embraces,” ignoring ample evidence of Gillespie’s attempt to emulate Trump’s culture war.

    Correction: This post originally misidentified RedState as RedStateWatcher. We regret the error.

  • CNN contributor Ed Martin co-authored book suggesting non-European immigrants can’t have American values

    Martin’s book suggested immigration from “Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East” “tears apart our nation’s heritage and social fabric”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    CNN contributor Ed Martin, who has been appearing on the network to argue against “amnesty for illegals,” previously co-authored a book suggesting that only immigrants from European countries could have American “values” and arguing that accepting immigrants “from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East” helps tear “apart our nation’s heritage and social fabric.”

    Martin joined CNN in September despite having previously called the network “fake news” and “state-run media” and claimed that it hasn’t “been credible for a long time.” He joins a stable of at least a dozen other pro-Trump CNN commentators who often provide theatrics instead of informative segments on the cable network.

    Martin has used his new on-air position to defend Trump (as expected) but also to attack undocumented immigrants with the derogatory term “illegals” and urge the Republican Party to stand against “illegal immigration amnesty.”

    He appeared on the October 25 edition of Anderson Cooper 360 and praised the Republican Party for “no longer [being] for illegal immigration amnesty. That's what [Sen. Jeff] Flake [(R-AZ)] wants. That's what he said in his speech. He said, ‘I hope we get back to a party that gives amnesty to illegals and has trade deals.’ That's not the Republican Party.” During that segment he also said it would be “great” if Arizona elected Joe Arpaio to be its next senator; Arpaio is a racist former sheriff who was pardoned by President Trump after he used his office to target and discriminate against Hispanics.

    During another segment on Cooper’s program that night, Martin said: “The Republican Party is now Trump's party. It's not for international trade deals where we get cheated. It's not for illegal immigration amnesty. It's changed.”

    Martin also appeared on Cooper’s program on October 17 and said of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I mean requisite comment, war hero and sorry he's sick. But then McCain is why the Republican Party is -- was fading until Trump. His brand of the interventionist, grow the amnesty for illegals, trade deals, everything.”

    Martin co-authored the 2016 book The Conservative Case for Trump, which aimed to persuade “well-meaning conservatives” that the then-Republican candidate “is worthy of every conservative’s vote.” The book was also written by anti-gay and anti-feminist writer Phyllis Schlafly, who passed away the day before its release, and conservative writer Brett Decker.

    The book’s first chapter, “Immigration Invasion,” suggests that the United States should accept immigrants only from European countries. The authors wrote that the “effort to transform America started with Ted Kennedy whose 1965 Immigration Act shifted immigration away from European countries in favor of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In doing so, he helped move immigration away from countries that shared -- actually created -- America’s Western values. Taking their place were immigrants who would help make a more ‘multicultural’ America that liberals could play to their advantage.”

    “Immigration that is in America’s national interest is one thing. Immigration that floods our welfare rolls and prisons, and that tears apart our nation’s heritage and social fabric is something else,” they added.

    The authors also claimed that the current immigrants to the country are ungrateful and pawns of the Democratic Party:

    In the past, immigrants came to America and were grateful for the opportunities they found here, and they accepted American history as a great, inspiring story of patriots and heroes. Now, thanks to the Left, they often view American history as a racist story of “white privilege” and oppression that only big government can undo, where they are entitled to “free” government programs, and in which lawlessness can be justified against allegedly “racist” Republicans. The rioters at Trump rallies who burn American flags, wave foreign ones, and beat up Trump supporters is a vision of what America could become, all with the blessing of the Democratic Party that sees immigration, and the political correctness that prohibits us from talking honestly about immigration, as a way to transform America in the leftist direction that it wants. For decades, the American people have wanted our government to address the crisis of illegal immigration; and yet our government hasn’t, except to make matters worse by not enforcing our existing immigration laws, winking at “sanctuary” cities, expanding illegal immigrants’ access to social services, and floating proposals for “amnesty” that would grant illegal immigrants citizenship.

    They wrote additionally about the country’s demographics: “Shouldn’t we have some say over our demographic future, of what America is and will become? Shouldn’t we have an immigration policy that serves America’s national interests? In Europe we have seen the danger of large unassimilated Islamic communities making historic changes in countries and their future; yet we seem blind to similar changes happening here.”

    The book also cited the white nationalist website VDare in its section about “Anchor babies on welfare." The authors wrote that “a federal case in Texas could provide a means to stop the practice of extending automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal aliens. The Texas case includes a sworn affidavit from Mexico’s consul general for Texas that openly admits that Mexico’s official policy is to encourage its poor people to migrate here illegally in order to gain access to our generous welfare system.” The citation for that paragraph is “Allan Wall, ‘Mexico Files Amicus Brief in Texas Anchor Baby Case,’ VDARE, August 27, 2015.” CNN has itself correctly noted that VDare is a “white nationalist site.”  

    Martin did not respond to a request for comment about his book and whether he stood by his citation of VDare.

    Martin has also previously pushed smears against minorities. He spoke at a 2016 rally and said: "You're not racist if you don't like Mexicans. They're from a nation. If you don't think Muslims are vetted enough, because they blow things up, that's not racist."

    While serving as then-Gov. Matt Blunt’s (R-MO) scandal-plagued chief of staff in 2008, Martin reportedly said that “every frigging developer can figure out who is legal, and when he says there's a bunch of Mexicans out there, I guess some of them are probably not legal."

  • Study: Trump's NFL comments got extensive cable coverage. The historic California wildfires didn't.

    Even when the NFL story was old and the fire story was new, Fox still gave more coverage to the Trump-triggered NFL narrative

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Prime-time cable news shows devoted more than three and a half times as much coverage to the NFL controversy that President Donald Trump stirred up as they did to historic wildfires in California, Media Matters found in an analysis of coverage the week after each incident began. Even when the NFL controversy was weeks old and the wildfires were at their peak, Fox News still devoted more than twice as much coverage to the Trump-sparked NFL story as to the fires.

    On September 22, Trump kicked off a national controversy when he criticized NFL players who kneeled during pre-game national anthems to protest racism and police brutality. During a campaign rally in Alabama, Trump mused, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” NFL players, coaches, and owners responded by staging more protests, and in subsequent days and weeks, Trump added fuel to the controversy by doubling down on his initial criticism and threatening to revoke the NFL’s non-profit status over the protests (even though the NFL had given up that non-profit status in 2015).

    Just over two weeks after Trump's initial comments about the protests, California experienced the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history. Beginning on October 8, wildfires spread across Northern California in what the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) dubbed the October Fire Siege. According to CAL FIRE, "there were 21 major wildfires that ... burned over 245,000 acres, ... forced 100,000 to evacuate, destroyed an estimated 6,900 structures," and killed 42 people. Estimates of the fires’ damage are as high as $6 billion, making them likely to rank among the most expensive natural disasters in California history.

    Though the fires were both deadly and economically devastating, the major cable news networks devoted three and a half times as much coverage to the Trump-triggered NFL controversy as they did to the wildfires on their prime-time, weekday shows during the week after each incident began. Media Matters analyzed the first full week of coverage after the NFL controversy kicked off and the first full week of coverage after the California wildfires began burning.

    From September 25 to September 29, prime-time cable news shows aired a combined 136 segments about the NFL controversy, with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News airing 62, 28, and 46 segments, respectively.

    By comparison, prime-time cable news shows devoted significantly less coverage to the California wildfires during the first week of coverage of the October Fire Siege. From October 9 to October 13, the prime-time cable shows aired a combined 38 segments on the fires, with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News airing 19, nine, and 10 segments, respectively. The NFL controversy got 358 percent more coverage -- more than three and a half times as much.

    Media Matters also compared coverage of the two different stories during the same week, October 9-13, starting one day after the wildfires began and 17 days after Trump’s first NFL comments. Even during this period, when the wildfires were most destructive and the NFL controversy was more than two weeks old, Fox News’ prime-time shows still devoted more than twice as many segments to the NFL controversy as they did to the fires -- 22 versus 10. CNN and MSNBC, however, both aired more segments about the wildfires during this week.

    Cable news’ tendency to focus on Trump's controversial comments and tweets rather than other news that directly affects viewers' lives is unfortunately nothing new  (The NFL players’ protests raise important concerns about racism and police brutality, but Trump’s outbursts did not help address those issues.). Cable news networks have been more than willing to sacrifice substantive news stories for anything Trump-related because coverage of the president and his contentious statements has brought them record profits and viewership numbers. But the fact that coverage of a Trump-triggered controversy going into its third week can still compete with and even exceed coverage of historically devastating wildfires puts a fine point on just how bad the problem is.

    Zachary Pleat, Alex Morash, and Rebecca Damante contributed research to this report. Charts by Sarah Wasko. 

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched Nexis for transcripts of segments about the controversy around NFL protests and the October Fire Siege in California. To identify segments about the NFL controversy, we used the search term (NFL OR anthem OR kneel! OR pledge OR kaepernick OR stand! OR allegiance). To identify segments about the California wildfires, we used the search term (wildfire OR fire) AND (sonoma OR napa OR mendicino OR north bay OR california OR yuba OR solano OR butte OR lake county).

    We analyzed the prime-time, weekday news shows on the three major cable news networks, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. For CNN, we reviewed shows that air from 5 p.m. to midnight. For MSNBC and and Fox News, we reviewed shows that air from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (MSNBC’s 11 p.m. show, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, is not indexed in Nexis and so was excluded; Fox News airs a re-run of Tucker Carlson Tonight at 11 p.m., and our study did not count repeat airings of the show). Our time frame for analyzing coverage of the NFL controversy was September 25, three days after Trump’s initial comments, to September 29. Our time frame for analyzing coverage of the California wildfires was October 9, one day after the fires started, to October 13.

    We defined “segments” as instances where more than one individual discussed either topic during a panel discussion, or when a host or correspondent mentioned either topic as part of a news brief or headline rundown. Our analysis excluded teasers and passing mentions where a speaker mentioned either the NFL controversy or the California wildfires without any other speaker in the segment engaging.