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Imus in the Morning

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  • Chris Wallace’s History Of Sexist Remarks Poses Another Challenge For His Role As Debate Moderator

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Final presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace faces the challenge of asking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about the numerous allegations that he sexually assaulted several women, but Wallace’s ability to confront Trump’s treatment of women is no doubt tainted by his own history of sexist and sexually charged rhetoric about women.

    Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday, has made numerous sexually charged remarks about women, such as calling the National Transportation Safety Board chair a “babe” and remarking that “you would not expect a government bureaucrat to be an attractive woman” and making creepy comments about former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for years. Appearing on conservative radio host Mike Gallagher’s show in 2009, Wallace asked if Gallagher could “put in a good word” for him with Palin. Just a few months later, on Imus in the Morning, Wallace replied, “one can only hope” when asked if Palin would be “sitting on [his] lap” during an interview. Even the hosts of Fox & Friends, who are no strangers to sexism, confronted him over those comments. Wallace also explained in 2011 that one of the reasons he was “dazzled” by Palin is that she’s “very attractive.”

    In 2015, Wallace again stirred controversy when he remarked that singer Kelly Clarkson, who had already been fighting an onslaught of body shaming in the media, “could stay off the deep dish pizza.” The comment brings to mind Trump’s statements about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he called “Miss Piggy” and described as an “eating machine.” Wallace did eventually apologize, calling his comment “offensive.”

    Making fun of Clarkson’s weight, however, was not the first time Wallace ridiculed a woman’s appearance. In 2013, Wallace approved of a New York Post cover photograph of a supposedly angry Hillary Clinton labeled “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid,” which was heavily criticized as “blatantly sexist” and “offensive sexist garbage.” Wallace called the cover “funny” and asserted that “nice can be overrated sometimes.” With a history of comments like this, how will Wallace approach Trump’s dismissal of People reporter Natasha Stoynoff as too ugly for him to assault?

    Wallace’s history of making sexist comments taint his ability to confront Trump over the vulgar video of the candidate boasting about sexually assaulting women and the increasing number of women accusing him of inappropriate sexual conduct. Although Trump denied that he had sexually assaulted women, the mounting accusations allege that his words were in line with the sexually predatory behavior he bragged about in the 2005 tapes.

    Wallace’s role as debate moderator poses other challenges as well. Wallace changed his stance on fact-checking in debates (he says it’s not his role, even though he corrected Trump during a primary debate), and he has been wildly inconsistent in how he talks about immigration. Additionally, a Fox News host is hardly the most appropriate moderator for this debate given that Trump has retreated to the station as a safe space -- and avoided other press -- while his campaign implodes under the allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

  • Sharyl Attkisson's Reversal: Technology Problems "May In The End Have Nothing To Do With" Hacking

    Blog ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY

    Sharyl Attkisson on Imus in the Morning

    Sharyl Attkisson is now claiming that the various technology problems chronicled in her book "may in the end have nothing to do with the intrusions" into her computer, after she previously suggested her phone, television, personal laptop, and cable systems had all malfunctioned due to hacking by a government agency.

    In June 2013, CBS News confirmed that then-reporter Attkisson's CBS News-issued Toshiba laptop was breached using what the network said were "sophisticated" methods. But Attkisson has taken this further, stating in her new book Stonewalled that unnamed sources have confirmed for her that an unnamed government agency was behind the attack, and that it also breached her personal Apple laptop and affected her other household electronics.

    In a chapter titled "Big Brother," Attkisson highlights the warning of a pseudonymous "well-informed acquaintance" who is "connected to a three-letter agency" who tells her that the government is likely monitoring her due to her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. Attkisson writes that the "warning sheds new light on all the trouble I've been having with my phones and computers." She details a variety of ongoing technology problems she experienced at her home starting in the autumn of 2012, including strange sounds on her telephone (which unnamed sources tell her may be tapped), a television that "spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames," a house alarm that repeatedly goes off at night, and a mysterious fiber optics cable cord that appears behind her house. Her Verizon FiOS system controls her internet, phone, and home security systems, which Attkisson suggests links these electronic malfunctions to her computer problems.

    Now, Attkisson seems to be reversing the sinister suggestion that these electronic malfunctions are all the work of "Big Brother." In a November 4 interview on Imus in the Morning, Attkisson said that "all these disruptions happening in my electrical systems at home may in the end have nothing to do with the intrusion," suggesting instead it was a "gift" to experience these problems so that experts could find the legitimate hack into her computer (emphasis added):

    DON IMUS: A big story out of all of this, apparently, is somebody is hacking your computer? Tell me about that. 

    ATTKISSON: It sounded very far-fetched at first, because the news hadn't come out yet about the government spying on Fox News reporter and confiscating personal records or phone records of Associated Press reporters and Ed Snowden so in that era, when I was having disruptions and things happening in my systems at home, I certainly didn't imagine the government was behind any of it but I had sources come to me and a couple of them, inside sources, say similar things, that I was probably being monitored because they had been seeing the work I had been doing on Benghazi and so on. 

    IMUS: Inside sources from CBS News?

    ATTKISSON: No, from government-connected people and...

    IMUS: FBI?

    ATTKISSON: I don't want to say.

    IMUS: Okay.

    ATTKISSON: But they use very similar wording, two of them, in retrospect, they said something like the public would be shocked at the extent to which the government is spying on private citizens or monitoring private citizens and that kind of rang in my head especially when the second person used similar language, and just by coincidence all these disruptions happening in my electrical systems at home may in the end have nothing to do with the intrusions but it was enough to alert people that said something may be happening and it gave me the gift of being able to connect with someone who could do a forensic examination on my computer and discover apart from these disruptions in my house, they found forensic evidence of highly sophisticated remote intrusions into my home computer and my CBS laptop computer. In all I had three forensic exams done which all found evidence of the remote intrusions into these computers, not garden variety hackers, phishers, or that sort of thing. 

    As computer experts have noted, many of Attkisson's electronic problems may have non-suspicious causes. Security expert Robert Graham went through each example offered by Attkisson and concluded none were "credible" evidence of hacking -- instead, he thought they were likely the result of "common" problems like bad cables and old systems:

    It's not that hackers can't cause these problems, it's that they usually don't. Even if hackers have thoroughly infested your electronics, these symptoms are still more likely to be caused by normal failure than by the hackers themselves. Moreover, even if a hacker caused any one of these symptoms, it's insane to think they caused them all. 

    Media Matters also asked several computer experts to review a video Attkisson has offered as evidence that her personal laptop was being tampered with. According to them, her computer "malfunction[ing]" was likely due to a stuck backspace key, not hacking by government agents.

  • On Fox Business, McGuirk Defends Clinton Health Conspiracies: "The Clintons Reap What They Sow"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    On Fox Business, Bernard McGuirk is continuing to defend those who suggested that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faked illness to avoid testifying about the Benghazi attacks. The conspiracy theory was made repeatedly on Fox News and by McGuirk.

    Conservative commentators who pushed Clinton health conspiracy theories have been roundly condemned in recent days after Clinton was hospitalized due to a "potentially 'life-threatening'" blood clot.

    After Don Imus noted that McGuirk had previously "accused" Clinton of having a phony illness, producer McGuirk replied: "The Clintons reap what they sow. I mean, you can't fault us for being a little skeptical when something like this happens, but it turns out that it was legit." Later during the program, anchor Connell McShane noted that Clinton is expected to make a full recovery, prompting McGuirk to remark, "Does this mean she's not going to testify? ... It's a joke." He added, "You can't blame the skeptics, though. It's the Clintons."

    From the January 2 edition of Fox Business' Imus in the Morning

    On the December 18 edition of Imus in the Morning, McGuirk called the circumstances surrounding Clinton's "mysterious concussion" "very, very fishy" and suggested that she might be "trying to avoid these hearings." He later said the illness is a "very convenient thing ... No doctor reports, no hospital trip, you have a concussion and what, you just stay home and that's it?" Watch: 

  • This Is Why People In Wisconsin Don't Like Fox

    ››› ››› MARCUS FELDMAN

    During a report from Madison, Wisconsin on the recall election of Governor Scott Walker, Fox's Neil Cavuto said to Fox Business' Don Imus that "some people don't like" Fox, adding: "I don't know why." Of course, people in Wisconsin have ample reason not to like Fox; the network has pushed a litany of falsehoods and distortions while covering both the Wisconsin recall effort and the state's pro-labor protests.

  • Trump Not Sure Debate Will Go Forward: "I Don't Know, I Have To Look Into It"

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    This morning, reality TV host Donald Trump visited Imus in the Morning to plug his new book and discuss the wheels coming off the debate he is scheduled to host with Newsmax later this month.

    During the interview, Trump indicated he wasn't sure if the debate would actually happen, lashed out at the candidates who have chosen not to attend the debate, complained about the "very unfair" rule that he can't host The Apprentice and run for president at the same time, managed to squeeze two plugs for the finale of The Apprentice (coming May 16!) into the conversation, and said that he has no plans to abandon a potential independent bid for president.

    After Newsmax announced that Trump would be hosting their debate, conservative commentators and Republican Party officials recoiled, with Karl Rove mocking the idea that Trump would ask candidates about President Obama's birthplace (Trump is still a steadfast birther). Charles Krauthammer called the debate a "joke" and a "reality TV show" after Trump indicated he would endorse a candidate after it was over. RNC chairman Reince Priebus went on Fox News and expressed concern over Trump potentially running as an independent after moderating a debate.

    The response from candidates hasn't been much better, with only two -- Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum -- agreeing to attend.

    But Trump's comments on Fox Business probably give more ammunition to his critics. Trump played directly into the ethical concerns about his moderating a debate by refusing to drop his (almost assuredly toothless) threats to join the presidential race as an independent.