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  • No, Fox News, Nevada did not declare a “state of emergency" over marijuana

    Fox News’ inaccurate report on Nevada marijuana sales is lazy reporting at best, reefer madness at worst

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On July 11, FoxNews.com published an article claiming that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) had “declared a state of emergency on Friday” over inadequate supplies of marijuana for retail sales. In reality, the governor had “authorized state regulators to consider an emergency regulation” to deal with a marijuana shortage.

    On July 10, Fox’s Salt Lake City affiliate, Fox 13, reported that the Nevada Tax Commission issued a statement that it will, according to the report, “consider emergency regulations … to provide a structure for marijuana distribution to retailers.” The piece also said that Nevada’s governor had “endorsed” the “statement of emergency declared for recreational marijuana regulations.” 

    The next day, Fox News’ website published an article citing Fox 13’s story to report that “Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., issued the state of emergency on Friday” with the intention of allowing the state’s Department of Taxation to “contemplate emergency regulations that would permit liquor wholesalers to cash in on the marijuana sales.” The New York Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch along with Fox News, also claimed that “Gov. Brian Sandoval is calling for a ‘state of emergency’.” But the governor has categorically not “declared a state of emergency,” as FoxNews.com and the New York Post claim.

    In reality, as The Associated Press reported, Sandoval only (emphasis added) “authorized state regulators to consider an emergency regulation that would allow officials to determine whether the state has enough marijuana distributors to keep its retail shops supplied.” Several Nevada-based news outlets reported accurately on the possible “emergency regulation,” with The Nevada Independent explaining that the regulation would “pave the way for opening up the distribution role to more than just liquor distributors.” Even Fox News’ Las Vegas affiliate reported that “Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) endorsed an emergency marijuana regulation on behalf of the Department of Taxation's Statement of Emergency that is set to be considered for adoption on July 13 by the Nevada Tax Commission.”

    For over a decade, Fox News has made embarrassingly inaccurate marijuana claims, including to smear academics, poor people, and criminal justice reform. In 2005, Sean Hannity called an illegal marijuana-growing facility a “secret liberal lab” because it was underneath a State University of New York campus. In 2012, Steve Doocy criticized Amendment 64, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, by falsely claiming it offers “nothing” to stop people from “getting all potted up on weed” and driving, even though the bill states that “driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal.” In 2014, Fox’s Martha MacCallum ignored statistics that show that black people are arrested for using marijuana more often than white people even though they have similar rates of usage, when she suggested that the real problem was black people smoking too much weed. 

    The effect of Fox’s marijuana smears has even been felt in Congress. In 2014 the network successfully brought into the mainstream narrative an absurd urban myth that Colorado allowed people to buy marijuana with food stamps, spawning a misinformation campaign that resulted in two proposed congressional bills and is referenced by Fox guests to this day. 

  • New right-wing media talking point: It's no big deal if Trump colluded with the Russians

    Legal experts and Trump’s attorney general agree it would be “improper and illegal”

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Conservative media figures have repeatedly downplayed possible collusion between associates of President Donald Trump and the Russian government, suggesting that “it’s not a crime” to collude with a foreign government to influence U.S. elections. Legal experts and Trump’s own attorney general, however, agree that such collusion would be “improper and illegal.”

  • Conservatives Deflect From Trump's Cover-Up By Calling Comey A Criminal

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT & JARED HOLT

    President Donald Trump’s conservative media allies are attacking former FBI Director James Comey and accusing him of wrongdoing for writing and keeping a memo about a February meeting with Trump. The memo reportedly revealed that Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn. Despite the outrage aimed at Comey by conservative media figures for not divulging the memo earlier, experts have explained that doing so could have interfered with the FBI’s investigation.

  • Pro-Trump Media Defend President After He Included Sweden In List Of Terrorist Targets

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    President Donald Trump’s media allies rushed to bolster and clarify his remarks after he called on rally-goers to “Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” during a February 18 speech before listing three non-Swedish cities recently attacked by homegrown terrorists. Trump later clarified that he was referring to a Fox News report hyping immigrant criminality in Sweden from the prior night, not a nonexistent attack, while conservative outlets, fringe blogs, and fake news purveyors declared that “actually, Trump was right” that Sweden is “experiencing a migrant crime wave,” despite widely cited data that proves otherwise.

  • Fox Boosts Trump’s “Rigged Voting” Claims With Right-Wing Zombie Myth Of Vote Flipping

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News figures are hyping unverified stories of electronic voting machines allegedly switching voters’ votes for president amid cries from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of “large scale voter fraud.” In fact, “just about every voting technology expert” says voting machines are not rigged to flip votes, and instead “human error” and aging machines often lead to incorrect vote choices, which can be fixed. Conservatives hyped alleged vote flipping during the 2012 election as well.

  • Fox Figures Have Called Online Polls “Worthless,” But Fox News Is Citing Them Anyway

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News has continuously hyped Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s debate performance by citing online polls that have “Trump winning this debate,” but some Fox hosts, contributors, and online political editors have trashed the talking point, saying the online surveys that have been referenced “are worthless” and that “the idea that you win because your supporters come out and click on the computer more than others tells you nothing.”

  • EXPOSED: Fox News Scrubs Climate Change Mention From Article About Tropical Storm Hermine

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    For one brief moment over the weekend, Fox News did the unthinkable: acknowledge some of the real-world impacts of climate change in an online article about Tropical Storm Hermine. Soon afterward, though, Fox got back on message, erasing all mentions of global warming from the piece.

    The Fox News article, which was initially attributed to The Associated Press and published on FoxNews.com on September 4, reported that climate scientists say “the storm surges pushed by Hermine could be even more damaging” because “sea levels have risen up to a foot due to global warming.” The article cited Penn State University scientist Michael Mann and Princeton University scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who each stated that warming-induced sea level rise has already significantly worsened flooding from major storms:

    Forecasters expected Hermine to regain hurricane force on Sunday as it travels up the coast before weakening again to a tropical storm by Tuesday.

    And since sea levels have risen up to a foot due to global warming, the storm surges pushed by Hermine could be even more damaging, climate scientists say.

    Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University noted that this century's one-foot sea-level rise in New York City meant 25 more square miles flooded during Superstorm Sandy, causing billions more in damage.

    "We are already experiencing more and more flooding due to climate change in every storm," said Michael Oppenheimer, a geosciences professor at Princeton University. "And it's only the beginning."

    It was a notable acknowledgement of climate science from Fox, a media outlet that previously directed its journalists to cast doubt on the science, and which continues to frequently deny the scientific consensus around human-caused climate change to this day.

    But as it turned out, Fox News’ progress on climate change was short-lived. After FoxNews.com assumed “ownership” of the article by changing the article’s byline from The Associated Press to FoxNews.com (and adding a note stating that the AP had “contributed” to the report), Fox removed all of the portions of the article that related to climate change.

    In other words, Fox indicated that while The Associated Press may choose to report on the impacts of climate change, Fox News will most certainly not. Or, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) coincidentally put it on September 5, the debate over climate change is over, "Except on Fox.”

    Here's an excerpt of the original Associated Press article published on FoxNews.com on September 4:

    Here's what that portion of the article looked like after the attribution was changed to FoxNews.com:

    And finally, here's an excerpt of the revised Fox News article that scrubbed all mentions of climate change, as it now reads on FoxNews.com:

  • Four Ways Media Attack Organized Labor

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    As Labor Day approaches, Media Matters looks back at how media have attacked organized labor over the past year. In the midst of several important battles for labor unions in 2016, media have often pushed misleading information about union membership and fees, attempted to delegitimize the votes of union members, uncritically cited and elevated voices from anti-union dark-money groups without proper disclosure, and claimed that teachers unions’ activism shows that educators do not care about what’s best for their students.

  • FBI’s Clinton Email Findings Show That Fox Got Played By Running With Imprisoned Hacker’s Lie

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Recently released FBI notes pertaining to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server reveal that Fox News’ interview and subsequent hyping of claims made by imprisoned Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar were all based on a lie. The FBI report states that “analysis” showed no “evidence that Lazar hacked the server,” and also notes that Lazar “admitted to lying to FOX News.” Fox’s willingness to report an imprisoned hacker’s claims as fact doesn’t represent the first time the network has been burned by sources in an attempt to scandalize Clinton’s use of a private email server.

  • Right-Wing Media Revive Local Anti-Choice Attack On New Mexico Abortion Providers

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has used documents taken from the anti-choice group the New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) to allege wrongdoing by the University of New Mexico (UNM). After a push from NMAFL to revive the allegations, conservative media outlets have recently begun circulating the panel’s misinformed anti-choice attack against UNM and New Mexico abortion providers.

  • Fox’s Howard Kurtz Carries Roger Ailes’ Water In Report On Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Kurtz

    Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz was the first reporter at the network to file a story on former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson’s allegations that network head Roger Ailes repeatedly sexually harassed her and derailed her career after she rejected his advances. Kurtz’s story leaned heavily on Ailes’ statement denying the allegation.

    Carlson's lawsuit, filed in a New Jersey civil court, also alleges that she repeatedly complained to Ailes that her colleagues on Fox & Friends (specifically co-host Steve Doocy) had created a sexist atmosphere, and he responded by dismissing her complaints and demoting her from the morning show to a daytime position.

    Her allegations follow a pattern of sexist programming on Fox News and a long reported history of sexist behavior by Ailes.

    Kurtz’s piece is headlined “Ailes denies allegations in Gretchen Carlson harassment suit as Fox News launches investigation,” and the bulk of the story takes the same tone.

    Kurtz begins by citing Ailes’ denial, before establishing the facts about the allegations he’s denying in the first place.

    Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes responded forcefully Wednesday night to a lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson after her contract was not renewed as a daytime host at the network, calling the allegations “false” and “offensive.”

    Kurtz later notes, “While the lawsuit is based in part on alleged comments by Ailes in private conversations with Carlson, it provides no e-mail, texts or voice mail as evidence.”

    In his statement, Ailes claims that Carlson’s contract wasn’t renewed due to her ratings. Kurtz echoes this point, writing, “In describing her success, Carlson says in the suit that her daytime show consistently ranked first in its time slot. But it is also true that she lost to CNN more often than any other Fox News program.”

    Kurtz also publishes past praise that Carlson has given Ailes:

    In her book “Getting Real,” published last year, Carlson called Ailes “the most accessible boss I’ve ever worked for,” and said “he saw Fox as a big family, and he cared about everything we did.” She said he had even urged her to speak occasionally about having been Miss America in 1989.

    Carlson’s lawyers explained the praise in a statement released after Kurtz’s story was posted: “Ailes does not allow his employees to speak to the press or publish anything without prior approval. Gretchen was chastised for answering a question from a hometown newspaper about her favorite Minnesota State Fair food. In her book Gretchen told her story while trying to keep her job - knowing that Ailes had to approve what she said.”

    Kurtz’s report is the only significant mention of the case on Fox so far, and it only appeared online. Fox & Friends, whose co-hosts are a key part of the allegations, ignored the story. By contrast, the Carlson allegations have been covered on NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN.

    Since joining Fox News, Kurtz has often ignored or downplayed media controversies that paint the network in a bad light, while defending his employers from criticism.

    When Kurtz was at CNN, he criticized Fox News for underplaying coverage of a scandal involving Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News’ parent company. He said, “What you're signaling to viewers is there's a double standard. We're only aggressive when some other organization is in trouble. And I think that can undermine your credibility.”

    In contrast, Brian Stelter, who took over from Kurtz as the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, has shown that it is possible to cast a critical eye on one’s employer.

    Stelter, while reporting on his network’s controversial hiring of former Donald Trump operative Corey Lewandowski, recently noted he was “the most controversial addition to CNN in several years” and that he had a history of “hostile” behavior toward reporters. Stelter even noted that the possible existence of non-disparagement agreements between Trump and Lewandowski raised “ethical questions” about CNN’s decision making.

  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.

  • The Supreme Court Just Exposed Right-Wing Lies In A Landmark Abortion Access Case

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that Texas’ anti-choice law HB 2 placed an “undue burden on abortion access.” Supporters of the unconstitutional law argued that HB 2’s restrictions were necessary to protect women’s health and prevent another “Kermit Gosnell scandal” -- talking points pushed by right-wing media. Writing the majority opinion of the court, Justice Stephen Breyer rebuked these anti-choice myths, saying there was unequivocal  evidence that HB 2 lacked medical benefits and posed extreme harm to Texas women.