Outnumbered Overtime | Media Matters for America

Outnumbered Overtime

Tags ››› Outnumbered Overtime
  • Media outlets are citing a hate group in reports about Trump's planned census change for 2020

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Media outlets are citing the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in reports about the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which experts say will jeopardize its accuracy.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has called CIS founder John Tanton “the father of the modern nativist movement” and designated his organization a hate group because it “churns out a constant stream of fear-mongering misinformation about Latino immigrants.” Also contributing to the decision to designate was CIS' “repeated circulation of white nationalist and anti-Semitic writers in its weekly newsletter and the commissioning of a policy analyst who had previously been pushed out of the conservative Heritage Foundation for his embrace of racist pseudoscience.” CIS personnel have a record of making racist commentary and portraying immigrants as dangerous criminals. Yet, all too often, media outlets treat CIS as a credible voice in immigration debates, and they frequently fail to identify either its anti-immigrant views or its white nationalist ties.

    This is happening again in reports regarding the Trump administration’s announcement that it will add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. At least a dozen states oppose the move and have indicated they will sue the administration to prevent the question from being added, and census and civil rights experts have said adding such a question will reduce response rates from immigrants, jeopardizing the census’ accuracy. Yet CIS has defended the addition of a citizenship question, and news reports from both conservative and mainstream outlets are discussing the organization’s support of the Trump administration move.

    A Minnesota Star Tribune article quoted CIS, as did a column from the Boston Herald’s Adriana Cohen. D.C.’s ABC affiliate station WJLA (owned by the pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting Group) also cited CIS research, and ABC Radio’s D.C. affiliate WTOP briefly cited CIS’ defense of adding the citizenship question. Four different Fox News shows also cited CIS in their March 27 coverage of the census change: Happening Now, Outnumbered Overtime, The Daily Briefing, and Special Report. A March 28 FoxNews.com column defending the administration’s move linked to a CIS study. Fox host Laura Ingraham’s radio show hosted CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian on March 27 to criticize Democrats’ response to the move, and Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard extensively quoted CIS to justify adding a citizenship question to the census.

    Only WTOP and the Star Tribune mentioned CIS’ agenda, saying simply that the group “pushes for decreased immigration” and has “advocated for tougher immigration regulations.” But those descriptors hardly inform voters about CIS’ problematic origins or its continuing associations with white nationalists and other bigots. Legitimate media outlets should not cite anti-immigrant groups as sources of unbiased information at all -- and if they do, they should clearly label them as such.

  • Fox News is propagandizing the DOJ lawsuit against California’s immigration laws

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    On March 6, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against the state of California, Gov. Jerry Brown, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, claiming that three of the state’s immigration laws violate the supremacy clause of the Constitution. The lawsuit is the culmination of an ongoing battle between California and the federal government over the latter’s anti-immigrant policies -- a battle in which Fox News is playing a crucial role.

    For years, Fox has repeatedly accused California lawmakers of “placing illegal immigrants and illegal activity over citizens” and violating federal law. Now, the network is using the administration’s very own talking points and propaganda in an attempt to tip the scales in the lawsuit.

    Fox host Harris Faulkner and Fox News contributor Steve Cortes have both adopted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ bizarre talking point comparing California to states that seceded during the Civil War.

    Fox is also digging in on its long-running false narrative that undocumented immigrants pose a public safety threat to average Americans to justify the DOJ’s claims.

    Fox host Laura Ingraham recited claims from the White House about undocumented immigrants who allegedly committed crimes and were released from local jails despite requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold them past their proper release dates. Fox’s Harris Faulkner welcomed Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) sweeping depiction of undocumented immigrants as members of the gang MS-13 -- a frequent characterization made by President Donald Trump -- and joined him in hyping the idea of immigrants as criminals. Faulkner later falsely claimed that ICE is targeting for deportation only “people who have so been identified that they endanger the rest of us.”

    In reality, only about half of the immigrants detained by ICE during the most recent raid in California had serious criminal histories, and ICE has made clear that any undocumented immigrant caught up in a raid is subject to “"immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States." According to CNN, ICE arrested 46,000 people without criminal records in Trump’s first year in office, “a 171% increase in the number of non-criminal individuals arrested over 2016.”

    Even a Fox correspondent who, presumably, should report the news without bias characterized undocumented immigrants as “fugitives” who “remain at large.” CNN has reported that ICE has recently added “ICE fugitives,” which originally referred to people with final orders of deportation, to the category of “convicted criminals,” allowing the agency to misleadingly claim that 92 percent of immigrants arrested under Trump had criminal convictions when in reality that number is closer to 70 percent.

    Regardless, Fox News has taken a clear position in favor of deportations and has taken to cheering on ICE raids despite the devastation they reap on local communities and families:

    And while Fox has criticized California laws that prohibit local law enforcement and private employers from cooperating with ICE, the network has made little mention of a third aspect of the DOJ lawsuit that aims to prevent California from overseeing federal immigrant detention centers, which are rife with human rights abuses. This is unsurprising given the network’s indifference to the mistreatment of immigrants in detention.

    While Fox News has long been a purveyor of false information surrounding immigration, the network has of late taken a decisively aggressive and propagandistic tone in the spirit of advancing the policies of a fiercely anti-immigrant administration.

  • Fox & Friends didn't discuss Trump aide Rob Porter's history of reported domestic abuse but mentioned Obama 18 times

    Fox News' evening shows also virtually ignored the allegations against Porter

    Blog ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Fox & Friends didn't mention that a top White House aide has abruptly resigned amid allegations of physical domestic abuse, but found time to attack former President Barack Obama by name about various pseudo-scandals at length.

    Rob Porter, a top White House aide with direct access to President Donald Trump, resigned abruptly on February 7 amid allegations of years of domestic abuse, including physical violence, from two ex-wives. After the allegations were first reported by the Daily Mail, CNN interviewed both women, who detailed years of physical and emotional abuse in their respective marriages over a ten-year period, including punching, choking, and throwing fits of rage.

    White House chief of staff John Kelly initially released a statement of support for Porter, calling him “a man of true integrity and honor” (in a new statement, he condemned the abuse); shortly after, media began reporting that Kelly had prior knowledge of the abuse allegations, which were part of why Porter was denied his FBI security clearance. Since the story broke, a third, unnamed woman who currently works in the federal government and previously dated Porter has said she suffered "repeated abuse" by him as recently as 2016. Though he has resigned, Porter denied all allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "simply false."

    From the time the story broke on Wednesday through 9 a.m. Thursday, Fox mentioned Porter’s name ten times over four shows (seven of the mentions occurred in just two reports). Fox first covered the allegations only after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was pressed on the allegations in the February 7 White House briefing. Fox’s prime-time shows did not mention Porter at all aside from a brief report on the 6 p.m. hour. Fox & Friends the following morning also didn't mention Porter.

    While Fox & Friends didn’t find time to report on the resignation of a top aide close to Trump stemming from domestic abuse allegations, the show hosts did mention former President Barack Obama by name 18 times in relation to various contrived scandals, including Uranium One and the private text messages of two FBI employees.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of "Porter" on Fox News between February 6 and February 9, 2018 and "Obama" on the February 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends. Pronouns "he," "his," and "him" were excluded. Mentions of Porter by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during the live airing of the press briefing were also excluded.

  • The president is live-tweeting Fox News again: Amtrak edition

    Donald Trump was apparently “monitoring” the Amtrak derailment via Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump tweeted that a train derailment stood as proof that Congress ought to pass his infrastructure plan just moments after a guest on Fox News made the exact same (and incorrect) point. Trump later claimed to be “monitoring here at the White House,” but it kind of seems like he was just watching TV along with the rest of us.

    On December 18, a southbound Amtrak train derailed while crossing an overpass outside Dupont, WA. The incident resulted in several fatalities and sent dozens of riders to the hospital . While Fox News was covering the rescue and recovery efforts live on Outnumbered: Overtime, guest Oliver McGee (a civil engineering expert and anti-Obama political activist) suggested that the derailment was proof that America needed to upgrade its passenger rail infrastructure, adding, “This is what President Trump is calling for in that infrastructure bill” (emphasis added):

    OLIVER MCGEE: We need positive train control because that ensures train separation and collision avoidance, ensures line speed enforcement, and that the temporary speed restrictions that are necessary for making wide turns and sharp turns. And more importantly our train system has to slow down at some points -- to as small as 30 miles per hour, and that’s required in order to negotiate the infrastructure itself. And this is what President Trump is calling for in that infrastructure bill. To just rehabilitate our crumbling infrastructure.

    McGee’s comment, which he made at roughly 1:39 p.m. EST, was followed almost immediately by a tweet from Trump proclaiming that the derailment “shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.”

    Another 10 minutes passed before Trump expressed condolences for those killed and injured in the incident, again just moments after Fox returned to mentioning casualties from the incident in its on-screen chyron:

    This is not the first time Trump has seemingly tweeted his thoughts and opinions in direct response to Fox programming. And, as is often the case, Trump’s tweets and retweets based on his consumption of Fox News are often misleading or inaccurate. In this instance, Trump’s budget request submitted earlier this year actually proposed drastically reduced investments in Amtrak and overall transportation infrastructure. Furthermore, according to transportation expert Russell Quimby who responded to Trump’s tweet on MSNBC Live, given that most of the railroad system in the United States is “private infrastructure” and “privately owned,” Trump’s proposed policy solution would probably not have affected this incident in any way:

  • Watch a Fox News contributor laughably spin all of Trump’s talking points on the Michael Flynn guilty plea

    Steve Cortes' disgraceful performance was even labeled as a "Baghdad Bob" moment by a Fox colleague

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Fox News contributor Steve Cortes, who acted as a Trump campaign surrogate during the 2016 presidential election cycle, pulled out all the stops in response to breaking news that former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with agents of the Russian government. Cortes downplayed the bombshell news, saying it wasn’t “even a firecracker,” claimed the whole narrative was a “collusion delusion,” and asserted that “regular Americans” are not concerned with Russia.

    President Donald Trump’s numerous other right-wing media defenders also downplayed the significance of reports that Flynn had agreed to plead guilty to charges emanating from special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and attempted to deflect attention to other pseudo-scandals. The White House also issued a statement to further downplay the severity of the situation.

    Cortes’ performance during a December 1 appearance on Fox's Outnumbered Overtime offered arguably the most succinct synopsis of these defensive talking points you'll find anywhere, including:

    • “We already knew [Flynn] lied … that’s why he was fired.”
    • “We are still so far away from collusion … that is tied directly to the president himself.”
    • “What Gen. Flynn did, in terms of outreach [to Russia], I don’t think was wrong.”
    • “There’s an obsession with Russia, there is a ‘collusion delusion’ here.”
    • “This election was not won because of Russia.”
    • “Part of the problem of a special counsel … is that it can be open-end[ed].”
    • “People who ... generally despise Trump are pretty obsessed with Russia, regular Americans are not.”
    • “Gen. Flynn committed a ‘process crime’ … not a crime in action, not anything remotely close to treasonous.”
    • The “Russia obsession” is nothing more than “swamp machinations.”

    Minutes later, Weekly Standard editor-in-chief and long-time Fox contributor Steven Hayes appeared on the same program and expressed disbelief at Cortes’ performance, comparing him disfavorably to the infamous Iraqi propagandist Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, known colloquially as “Baghdad Bob.”