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President Donald Trump and his legal team “are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest,” according to a Washington Post report. The president’s right-wing media allies have waged a months-long campaign against Mueller and his team, calling for Mueller to be fired or his investigation “to be shut down,” and citing supposed “conflicts of interest” among members of Mueller’s investigative team and even of Mueller himself.
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Experts In Asian Pacific Studies And International Relations Warn It “Raises The Risk Of Diplomatic Disaster”
Pundits are defending President-elect Donald Trump’s protocol-shattering phone conversation with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen as “terrific” and saying it will have “no cost to America,” but experts in Asian Pacific studies and international relations warn that the move “does not bode well for US-China relations” and “raises the risk of diplomatic disaster.”
Fox News returned to pushing reporting that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is likely to face an indictment less than 24 hours after the network apologized for making the claim.
On November 2, Special Report anchor Bret Baier claimed that according to anonymous sources, FBI investigations into Clinton would “continue,” that “there is a lot of evidence,” and that “barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.” Fox heavily hyped Baier’s reporting in the following days. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign also picked up Baier’s reporting and used it to attack Clinton. However, non-Fox media outlets soon debunked Baier’s reporting, saying it was “wrong” and “just not true.”
Baer subsequently issued an apology for his reporting on November 4, saying that his reference to a “likely” indictment was “a mistake” because “no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment no matter how strong investigators feel their evidence is. It is obviously a prosecutor who has to agree to take the case and make that case to a grand jury.”
However, Fox News is now back to touting dubious reporting that Clinton will likely face an indictment if she’s elected president.
Discredited conservative journalist Ed Klein appeared on the November 5 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday and claimed that his “sources are telling” him that “there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, [FBI Director James] Comey will have recommended an indictment.” Klein continued that there would be a “constitutional crisis” because the attorney general would not “accept his recommendation for indictment.” Taking Klein’s claims seriously, co-host Clayton Morris wondered if vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine would then become president when Clinton is indicted, and co-host Abby Huntsman told Klein they “learned a lot from you this morning.”
Klein has a long history of sloppy and inaccurate reporting about the Clintons. Reporters from across the political spectrum have called his work "junk journalism," "devoid of credibility," "suspect," "fan fiction," "lazy, cut-and-paste recycling," "strewn with serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes," "thoroughly discredited," "smut," "sordid," "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced," and "bullshit." Klein had lunch with Donald Trump in May and said that he’s known him for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him."
From Klein’s segment (h/t New York’s Gabriel Sherman):
ED KLEIN: Here’s what my sources are telling me. They’re saying that there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, Comey will have recommended an indictment of the president-to-be.
CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): That’s what your sources are telling you?
ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Wow.
KLEIN: Yeah. And it would be a constitutional crisis of enormous proportion --
HUNTSMAN: -- [inaudible] we’ve never experienced before.
KLEIN: -- because the attorney general with, of course, the president’s backing, is not going to accept his recommendation for indictment. So there’ll be this titanic battle between the FBI on the one hand, the attorney general and the White House on the other hand, just before the inauguration.
MORRIS: You play this all out historically. She becomes president. She actually takes the -- puts her hand on the Bible, becomes president. The vice president then, maybe, Tim Kaine becomes, takes over? This would be remarkable.
KLEIN: I was thinking, she becomes president and what if she becomes debilitated for reasons of health? That’s the other aspect of this nobody ever discusses. Are we going to get the goofy Tim Kaine as our vice president moving in or will we have Bill Clinton behind the scenes being a kind of Edith Wilson-like when Woodrow Wilson had his stroke?
Fox News is attempting to spin a stolen email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as proof Hillary Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign “push[ed]” the narrative that then-Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim and thus “started” the birther controversy. However, the email that the network is citing actually shows a Democratic super PAC, composed of allies of both Obama and Clinton, engaging in the normal practice of testing potential negative attacks “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against” 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ).
During the October 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Clayton Morris teased a segment that would supposedly reveal “the truth about the birther movement,” adding “wait until you hear who really started it.” Citing a hacked email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was made public by WikiLeaks, Morris claimed the “bombshell” email shows “that Hillary was pushing the Muslim Obama narrative back in 2008.” Fox News correspondent Ed Henry noted Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s explanation that the correspondence was from a super PAC that was “testing out different narratives the Republicans were pushing” against both Democratic candidates, but added, “This is what their explanation is, to be fair. But they're still raising” the birther controversy.
Fox’s representation of the content of the email in question is misleading. The Fox hosts falsely claimed “Hillary was pushing” birther claims, but the email was not generated by the Clinton campaign. Instead, the email details proposed questions for a poll commissioned by an organization established to support the Democratic candidate for president in the general election engaging in the common practice of “testing your opponent’s attacks on you.”
The email was written by Kristi Fuska, an analyst with Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, regarding polling for a group called Progressive Media USA, which was composed of supporters of both Clinton and Obama. Tom Matzzie, an Obama supporter who received the email in question, said that the Democratic group was testing possible general election attacks from Republicans “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against McCain.” Matzzie also explained that “the research team that cooked up the Obama attacks eventually went on to work for the Obama campaign.”
Fox’s revisionist history regarding the birther controversy flies in the face of the network’s long history of enthusiastically echoing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s years-long, racist crusade to raise doubts about President Obama’s legitimacy, and ignores the fact that Fox provided Trump with a friendly platform to promote his birther beliefs for years.
This post has been edited for clarity.
Fox News is mischaracterizing remarks Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made at a private fundraiser in February, falsely claiming that she was mocking Bernie Sanders’ supporters as “broke and delusional.” In the audio of the remarks, which security officials believe was originally hacked by Russian government operatives and then later posted by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton is highlighting the “sense of disappointment among young people in politics” and why they were driven to support Sanders.
Every year from September 15 to October 15, people in the United States celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, honoring the contributions of the Hispanic community and celebrating its history, heritage, and culture. Fox News in the past has paid lip service to Hispanic Heritage Month, but the network has consistently failed to curb its typical disparaging and vitriolic rhetoric against this community, making any segment aired to honor Latinos read like a transparent PR ploy.
Fox News has also reliably defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Latinos, including his claims that Mexican immigrants are criminals and that a judge of Mexican heritage could not impartially preside over a lawsuit against him. And the network regularly features anti-immigrant programming and excludes Latino voices.
Here are 12 reasons Fox News will have a hard time convincing anyone that the network genuinely cares about honoring Latinos during Hispanic Heritage month:
Sean Hannity defended Trump’s assertion that Mexico is sending “rapists” and “criminals” to the U.S. during a June 29, 2015, panel discussion. Hannity said, "I agree with Mr. Trump. As somebody who has been down to the border 11 times, I have seen the drug warehouses, I was there when criminals were arrested, I know the human trafficking side and the impact on our educational system, criminal justice system, et cetera -- our health care system.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “I agree with Donald Trump” after Trump criticized presidential candidate Jeb Bush's use of Spanish, saying that when “the Spanish reporters” speak to Latino athletes in Spanish, "we sit around and go, ‘What country are we in?’" Kilmeade also lashed out at Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for speaking Spanish, saying, “Pick a language. … Don’t show off. Nobody thinks you’re Hispanic.” According to research from Pew, 95 percent of Latinos believe that it’s important for future generations to speak Spanish and believe the language “is an important part of Latino culture and identity.”
On July 25, the Democratic National Convention featured a speech by 11-year-old Karla Ortiz, an 11-year-old American citizen who relayed her fears that her undocumented parents may be deported. Ortiz said, “I’m scared that at any moment my mom and my dad will be forced to leave.” Ortiz also translated for her mother, Francisca, who said that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will fight for people like her. On the same night, DREAMer Astrid Silva -- who came into the country undocumented but whose deportation was deferred under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- described growing up in the United States without legal status. Fox chose not to show either of the speeches.
A Media Matters study of the three major cable news networks’ coverage of the massacre that took place in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL, on June 12 found that Fox featured the least diverse guests discussing the attack. Out of a total of 80 guests invited to comment on the massacre during the period analyzed, only 6 percent were Hispanic, even though the tragic events disproportionately affected the Latino community.
A 2016 Media Matters study of guest appearances on the five network and cable Sunday morning political shows found that Fox’s show, Fox News Sunday, did not host a single Latina in three years. Based on the latest U.S. Census data, Latinas make up 9 percent of the general population in the U.S. Sunday political talk shows often set the media and political agenda, and Fox did not see fit to include Latina voices in that process, even though 2015 saw numerous pressing policy issues that disproportionately affect them, such as attempts to block access to reproductive health services, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and continued wage gaps between genders.
While appearing on the May 3 edition of Fox & Friends, legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said young Latinos protesting outside of a Trump rally “should be suffused with the American ethic,” adding that he’d like to see “young Hispanic-American boys and girls holding the American flag” instead of Mexican flags, because “there needs to be an understanding that they are Americans now. They need to act as such.”
While discussing college tuition at New Mexico State University for Mexican students on the July 1 edition of Fox & Friends, host Tucker Carlson said to immigration attorney and activist Francisco Hernandez, “Mr. Hernandez, I’m just going to speak really slowly so you get this.”
While hosting his show Cavuto: Coast to Coast on Fox Business Network, Neil Cavuto asked Sheriff Joe Arpaio to offer advice to Republicans on Latino outreach, saying, “How would you advise them to win them over?” Arpaio’s staunch anti-immigrant stance has earned him the title of “the most hated man in the Hispanic community.”
While hosting Fox & Friends Saturday, Tucker Carlson said the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) were “a little odd” and questioned why journalists should “coalesce around a racial identity.”
Fox’s Bill O’Reilly agreed with Trump’s statement that federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel -- who is overseeing the Trump University case -- could not objectively do his job because of his Hispanic ethnicity. During his June 7 show on Fox, The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly suggested that Trump’s “strong stand against illegal immigration” and “border wall” were valid reasons to believe a Hispanic judge could be biased against him.
On September 12, Cleveland.com’s senior political writer Henry Gomez reported on the racist “vitriol” he has fielded while covering the 2016 presidential election, writing that most attacks were “parroting a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits.” Both CNN and MSNBC invited Gomez on as a guest to share his experience on September 13, yet Fox ignored his story.
Sean Hannity hosted a town hall for Trump devoted to anti-immigrant fearmongering, and he dedicated two hours of his prime-time show Hannity on August 23 and 24 to airing it in full. The town hall served as an immigrant-bashing forum during which Hannity misinformed on crime and immigration and fearmongered about the “absolutely staggering” effects of undocumented immigration on the U.S. According to Pew, a large percentage of the undocumented population is comprised of Latinos.
Carlson Calls The Largest Minority Journalistic Associations “A Little Odd”
Fox’s Tucker Carlson attacked the country’s largest minority journalistic associations, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), saying they were “a little odd” and questioning why journalists should “coalesce around a racial identity.”
While co-hosting the August 6 edition of Fox’s Fox & Friends Saturday, Carlson discussed the groups’ joint convention and career fair and asked guest Julio Ricardo Varela of Futuro Media Group whether it was ironic that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had accused “her opponent,” Republican nominee Donald Trump, “of racism while speaking to a racially exclusive group”:
TUCKER CARLSON (CO-HOST): So of all the many ironies baked into this, the one that amused me the most was Hillary accusing her opponent of racism while speaking to a racially exclusive group. Did that occur to anybody in the audience, that that was a little bit ironic?
JULIO RICARDO VARELA: No, I mean, I think it was a bigger issue. I mean, first of all, we're journalists, so to say that we're like a racially exclusive group -- I mean, there’s a lot of award-winning journalists there --
CARLSON: Well sure. I'm not attacking the journalists [indecipherable], I'm just saying if Donald Trump spoke to the white journalist association, people would say “whoa, whoa, wait a second now.” Why should journalists coalesce around a racial identity? Isn’t their job to find the truth?
VARELA: Yeah, no, but Tucker, Donald Trump was also invited. So, are you going to come to the belly of the beast? We are journalists. It’s not like we're not going to sit here and go -- Donald Trump was invited and he said no.
CARLSON: Right. No, no, and I'm not fighting for Trump. I’m just saying, the group, it seems a little bit -- if you take three steps back, kind of a little odd.
The NABJ and NAHJ are the largest minority journalistic associations in the country. The NABJ “advocates on behalf of black journalists,” and the NAHJ’s mission is to “increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms” and push for a more “accurate representation of Latinos in news media.”
The work of associations like NABJ and NAHJ is not anti-white; rather, these groups help young journalists of color find career opportunities and encourage the media to address blind spots induced by lack of diversity. The underrepresentation of minorities of color has been a recurring weak spot for both print and radio newsrooms over the past 20 years. The lack of voices of people of color in newsrooms can lead to inaccurate representations of reality, with media often overlooking important angles, privileging one-sided stories, or failing to provide necessary context to understand news events. This kind of inaccurate storytelling has the harmful impact of perpetuating racially biased public perceptions, like criminalizing youth of color or failing to give victims of color humane coverage.
Carlson joins other right-wing media figures in misrepresenting pushes for ethnic and racial diversity and inclusion as “racist.”
Right-wing media figures are blaming MoveOn.org for violence that occurred following Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's canceled rally in Chicago on March 11, likening the group to the Ku Klux Klan and accusing them of "creating this havoc and ... putting innocent people's lives in jeopardy." In fact, several media figures have slammed Trump for condoning "violence in rally after rally," and at the Chicago event MoveOn.org only helped provide logistical support for the protests, including printing signs and recruiting attendees.
Charles Payne Continues Fox's Bad Coverage Of The Lottery
A Fox Business panel discussing the January 13 Powerball drawing, which could be worth up to $1.5 billion, briefly went off message after one of the network's business analysts advised viewers against buying a ticket by correctly noting "your chances [of winning] are nothing."
On the January 12 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., business reporter Gerri Willis interrupted guest host Charles Payne's monologue on the record-breaking Powerball jackpot by repeatedly saying "don't buy the lottery ticket." Willis explained that she advises her own mother against spending money on the lottery "every week" and reiterated that "your chances [of winning] are nothing" if you do purchase a Powerball entry. Payne repeatedly asked Willis to reconsider her position on playing Powerball, saying, "a buck, you can't put a buck on this thing? A buck? You can't put 2 bucks on this?":
Payne's passionate defense of buying Powerball tickets echoes an earlier segment from Fox News. On the January 9 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, co-hosts Anna Kooiman and Clayton Morris were joined by supposed lottery "expert" Richard Lustig to discuss the still-growing Powerball prize pool. The segment claimed to offer viewers "proven strategies" to win the lottery, including advice like "buy as many tickets as you can afford" and "never miss a draw":
The January 9 segment was circulated widely on Twitter and derided by several media outlets. Business Insider called it "literally the worst piece of advice about the lottery ever given," explaining that "your likelihood of winning is still incredibly low, even if you buy a bunch of tickets." ThinkProgress Economic Policy Editor Bryce Covert took to Twitter to advise her followers against buying lottery tickets, including the Fox & Friends Saturday segment in a long piece of research explaining how state-sponsored lotteries are essentially "a regressive tax on the poor."
The odds of purchasing a ticket with the winning combination to Wednesday's Powerball drawing are approximately 1 in 292.2 million. The odds of being struck by lightning in a lifetime are 24,000 times greater than that.
Contrary to Fox's previous guidance, you cannot meaningfully increase your odds of winning by purchasing extra tickets or playing every week. Your odds of winning any single drawing never change -- they are always 1 in 292.2 million. And buying enough two-dollar tickets to give yourself winning odds is preposterously expensive -- purchasing $1 million worth of tickets would give you just a 0.17 percent chance of hitting the jackpot, whereas approximately $292 million worth of tickets would still put your winning odds at no better than a coin flip.
From Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, to the establishment of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, to a landmark international climate agreement, 2015 has been full of major landmarks in national and global efforts to address global warming. Yet you wouldn't know it if you inhabited the parallel universe of the conservative media, where media figures went to ridiculous and outrageous lengths to dismiss or deny climate science, attack the pope, scientists, and anyone else concerned with climate change, and defend polluting fossil fuel companies. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things conservative media said about climate change in 2015.
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Wash. Post: GOP "Should Be Mortified By The Face Of Their Environmental Leadership"
Sen. Jim Inhofe's (R-OK) embarrassing attempt to disprove global warming with a single snowball was rightfully dismissed by the mainstream media -- but it was applauded on Fox News.
The February 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday featured a clip of Sen. Inhofe's recent speech in which he brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to dispute the scientific finding that 2014 was the hottest year on record. The clip preceded an interview with Inhofe, in which co-host Tucker Carlson asked why some people are "trying to shut down debate" on the causes of climate change. Inhofe responded that "there are so many people out there in the extreme community, the far left ... and they're trying to revive this as an issue," adding that "it's become a religion." The only other questions Inhofe received during his interview were whether the U.S. should be "nixing" all climate change-related funding, and how he was able put together such a "nicely packed, well-constructed" snowball:
Other media outlets had a different take on the issue.
New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait called Inhofe's argument "breathtakingly devoid of a factual or logical grasp of its subject matter."
On the March 2 edition of The View, conservative co-host Nicole Wallace described Inhofe's action on the Senate floor as "moronic," adding: "if we want to get people younger than him to join our party I think it's time to stop denying and just say let's debate the solutions."
The Washington Post editorial board wrote that the stunt shows how Inhofe's position as chair for the Environment and Public Works Committee is a "national embarrassment," adding: "The Republican Party should be mortified by the face of their environmental leadership."