Featured | Media Matters for America


Tags ››› Featured
  • A Comprehensive Guide To Megyn Kelly’s History Of Right-Wing Media Misinformation

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Megyn Kelly, the host of Fox’s The Kelly File, is often billed as a “straight news” anchor known for occasionally "bucking ... the conservative party line" on Fox. Here’s a look back at some of her most egregious misinformation campaigns and out-of-touch comments regarding race, LGBT issues, gender, reproductive rights, Islam, immigration, climate change, and Hillary Clinton.

  • Myths And Facts On The Nomination Of Judge Merrick Garland To The Supreme Court


    Since the lead-up to President Obama's March 16 nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the judge has faced misleading and false attacks, as well as a concerted push for continued obstruction of any Supreme Court nominee chosen by Obama. Here are the facts about the nominee, previous lines of right-wing attack, and information on the nomination and confirmation processes going forward.

  • Campbell Brown's "Non-Partisan" News Site Hires Contributor With Long Anti-LGBT History

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Since its launch this summer, education reform advocate and former broadcast journalist Campbell Brown's "non-partisan education news site," The Seventy Four, has published 11 pieces from contributor Eric Owens. Owens, the education editor at the conservative Daily Caller, has a long history of penning racially insensitive, sexist, and transphobic attacks on students and teachers, and has continued to publish this offensive content since becoming a The Seventy Four contributor.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To Myths And Facts About Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, and Those Emails

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    On October 22, Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi regarding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi and her use of a personal email address while secretary of state. In their relentless drive to find a scandal that doesn't exist, media have spent the last three years pushing numerous myths surrounding Clinton's alleged role in the attacks and her legal use of her personal email account.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To The Deceptively Edited Videos Used Against Planned Parenthood


    Since July 14, a previously unknown anti-choice group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released 11 videos containing undercover footage of discussions with Planned Parenthood personnel and staff members of private, for-profit biomedical procurement companies. The videos purport to show, and the accompanying press releases allege, that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue and altering abortion procedures in order to profit from the sale of fetal tissue. Scores of media outlets have reported that the combined footage shows no illegal behavior by, or on behalf of, Planned Parenthood, and that the words of Planned Parenthood personnel who were secretly filmed have been "grossly [taken] out of context."

  • Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, And The College Mental Health Crisis Media Coverage Ignores

    Blog ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY


    The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan criticizes the "Trigger-Happy Generation" in her latest column, adding to the increasingly wide range of media figures questioning the merits of "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" on college campuses. But her attacks in particular reveal a troubling element largely missing from this debate: an honest assessment of the crisis of mental health support for students. 

    Trigger warnings and safe spaces, in theory, attempt to warn and shield students from material that might remind them of past trauma or reinforce a hostile experience. In practice, they take on many different forms, giving ammunition to both defenders and critics who often see them as overzealous attempts to shield students from reality.

    In her May 21 column, Noonan places herself squarely in the critics' camp, labeling on-campus advocacy for safe spaces and trigger warnings as "part of a growing censorship movement." She specifically targets an opinion piece in a Columbia University newspaper, which described in part a survivor of sexual assault wanting greater protection after feeling triggered during a class discussion on the rape scenes in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Noonan argues that the world is an unsafe place, and that students shouldn't try to shape it into something more comforting:

    There is no such thing as safety. That is asking too much of life. You can't expect those around you to constantly accommodate your need for safety ... [I]f you constantly feel anxious and frightened by what you encounter in life, are we sure that means the world must reorder itself? Might it mean you need a lot of therapy?

    Noonan is being flippant, but her dismissive joke actually points to a growing problem: colleges don't offer students enough mental health support, which may be one explanation for the growing trend of students trying to create safe spaces and safe texts for themselves.

    May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and the same day Noonan's column was published, a report released as part of the campaign found that millennials who work (which would include many college students) have the highest rates of depression of any generation. Last year, The Washington Post noted that according to recent studies, "44 percent of college students experienced symptoms of depression, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death among college students."

    And victims of rape, intimate-partner violence, stalking, or sexual assault -- which the Columbia University student Noonan highlighted reportedly was -- are "drastically more likely to develop a mental disorder at some point in their lives," according to a 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association study, CNN reported at the time.

    These students often don't have access to help, including the therapy Noonan blithely suggested. In 2011, the American Psychological Association labeled the state of mental health on campuses a "growing crisis," and they've continued to track the concerns since. College counseling centers, they explained, "are frequently forced to come up with creative ways to manage their growing caseloads. For example, 76.6 percent of college counseling directors reported reducing the number of visits for non-crisis patients to cope with the increasing number of clients." 88 percent of campus counseling centers surveyed by the American College Counseling Association said they experienced staffing problems due to the increase in demand, the Baltimore Sun reported in 2013.

    Some see this rise in numbers as a partially good sign, as it indicates more students are aware of the services available, and that the stigma against seeking help may be diminishing.

    But as of 2012, only 56 percent of four-year colleges and universities offered on-campus psychiatric services. Fewer than 13 percent of community colleges did as well. The services can't keep up with the rise in demand.

    To be sure, not all of the students asking for safe spaces or trigger warnings on their campuses need therapy, nor are they all seeking these spaces because of a general lack of robust mental health service on their campuses. However, I know at least some of them are, because that's exactly what I did.

  • How Geraldo Rivera And Fox News Botched The Story In Baltimore

    Fox News Senior Correspondent Ignored Local Protester, Instead Gave Time To Former Leader Of A Hate Group


    Following his death as a result of injuries sustained in police custody, Baltimore resident Freddie Gray was buried on April 27. While protests in the city had previously been peaceful, that night violence broke out. The following day, national media descended on the city to report, and none did a worse job than Geraldo Rivera and Fox News. When Rivera was not giving credence to a former leader of a hate group with no local ties, he was insulting protester Kwame Rose - who merely explained what Geraldo and Fox News were missing (and showed no interest in reporting).

    Time and time again, Geraldo Rivera missed the real story and instead pushed a false narrative that played into Fox News' pre-existing conservative biases.

    Oh, and Rivera also confused Kevin Liles for Russell Simmons. That really happened.

    Video by John Kerr, additional research by Liv Kittel and Nicholas Rogers.

  • REPORT: Only 9 Percent Of Guests Discussing Education On Evening Cable News Were Educators


    Media Matters conducted an analysis of education coverage on weeknight cable news programs so far in 2014 to determine how many of the shows' guests who discussed the topic were educators. The analysis found that across MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, educators made up only 9 percent of guests during education segments.

  • REPORT: Fox's Benghazi Obsession By The Numbers

    Network Aired 1,098 Evening Segments In First 20 Months After Attacks


    Fox News' evening lineup ran nearly 1,100 segments on the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath in the first 20 months following the attacks. Nearly 500 segments focused on a set of Obama administration talking points used in September 2012 interviews; more than 100 linked the attacks to a potential Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential run; and dozens of segments compared the attacks and the administration response to the Watergate or Iran-Contra scandals. The network hosted Republican members of Congress to discuss Benghazi nearly 30 times more frequently than Democrats.

  • 15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth


    Experts in 12 states -- including law enforcement officials, government employees, and advocates for victims of sexual assault -- have debunked the right-wing myth that sexual predators will exploit transgender non-discrimination laws to sneak into women's restrooms, calling the myth baseless and "beyond specious."

  • From "Proud" To Pulled: A Timeline Of 60 Minutes' Benghazi Trainwreck


    On October 27, CBS' flagship news program 60 Minutes aired a segment on the 2012 terror attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The report was quickly seized on by conservative media outlets and Republican lawmakers for supposedly having validated their 14 month-long quest to turn Benghazi into a Watergate-level political scandal for the Obama administration.

    12 days later, 60 Minutes pulled the report, apologized to viewers, and corrected the record on-air. A month after the initial report ran, CBS News announced that following an internal review, the correspondent and producer who helmed the segment would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the program.

    Here's what happened.

    October 27: 60 Minutes Report Airs

    October 28-30: Conservative Media And Republican Lawmakers Laud CBS

    October 31-November 1Washington Post Reveals Major Flaw In Davies' Story

    November 2-6: CBS And Davies Dig In

    November 7-8: CBS Defense Collapses, Network Admits Mistake In Hosting Davies

    November 10-12: CBS Receives Withering Criticism For "Bogus" Apology

    November 13-14: Network Announces "Journalistic Review" 

    November 15-25: Revelation That CBS' Review Is Internal Triggers More Criticism

    November 26: CBS Announces Logan, Producer To Take Leaves Of Absence

  • Why Megyn Kelly Is More Dangerous Than Bill O'Reilly

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    Ask Fox News' Megyn Kelly if she has an opinion and she'll tell you no, she plays it straight. "If you watch O'Reilly, you hear a lot about what Bill O'Reilly thinks," Kelly told the Associated Press regarding her new primetime Fox program, debuting tonight. "Sean Hannity, same thing. But you're not going to hear what I think." This is true to the extent that Megyn Kelly, the longtime star of Fox News' daytime block of "straight news" programming, is not a fulminating champion of "traditional" values like O'Reilly. Nor is she a myna bird for the Republican National Committee like Hannity. In that way she represents a significant departure from the network's last decade of primetime programming -- but toward a direction that actually makes Fox even more dangerous.

    Kelly does not breathe fire like her primetime cohorts, but she can be every bit as partisan and misleading. The recent comments from Kelly and from the network are part of a deliberate effort to set her apart from the partisanship and moralism of Hannity and O'Reilly and cast her as a voice of factual authority. Anyone who's watched enough of Kelly's news programming knows how insidious a message that is. And, unfortunately, it appears to be working.

    People who think this is unfair to Kelly will likely bring up her election night dismantling of Karl Rove as he sputtered objections to the network calling Ohio for President Obama. Or her rebukes of Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs for their antiquated views of women in the workplace. And Kelly was absolutely right to take on her colleagues in those instances. It should be noted, though, that these moments are made possible by the fact that the network won't actually punish her colleagues for unguarded crassness or factually dubious partisanship. Fox News will keep paying Rove for being embarrassingly wrong and Erickson for being a sexist oaf, which means Kelly won't lack for opportunities to make headlines by imposing some basic decency on her coworkers.

    But for each of those moments, there is an example of Megyn Kelly wielding her journalistic authority to prop up transparent nonsense as "news." Remember the ridiculous New Black Panther story? One of the big reasons you know about it is because Kelly made the story her own, elevating the profile of the extremist fringe group and devoting hours of airtime to the absurd allegation that it was under the protection of Obama Justice Department because that conspiracy theory comported with conservative resentment of the administration (and because it made for entertaining television). Her facts were often wrong, and the story ended up going nowhere because there was nothing to it. 

  • Explainer: A Year Of Benghazi Myths

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    MapOn the evening of September 11, 2012, a heavily armed group of terrorists allegedly led by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia attacked a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith were killed in the assault. The remaining members of the mission were evacuated to a nearby CIA facility, which came under artillery fire early the next morning. Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both CIA contractors who had served as U.S. Navy Seals, were killed in that attack. 

    At roughly 10:24 p.m.* on the east coast, Mitt Romney's campaign released a statement accusing President Obama of "sympathizing" with the attackers; this politicization was immediately echoed by the right-wing noise machine.

    Over the past year, conservative media figures and activists, led by Fox News, have repeatedly created and promoted lies, smears, and conspiracies related to the Benghazi attack. While the attack raised meaningful questions about how we can best protect U.S. diplomats in dangerous environments, the right has instead sought to use what happened in Benghazi and in the days that followed to bring down President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other members of the administration.

    Much of the criticism has revolved around two lines of attack: That the Obama administration downplayed the role that terrorists played in the attack, and that the administration held back additional U.S. military forces that could have been used to save lives. In reality, President Obama referred to the attack as an "act of terror" during his September 12 Rose Garden speech, and U.S. officials have made clear that all available and appropriate forces were sent as quickly as possible. As former diplomatic security agent Fred Burton and journalist Samuel M. Katz wrote in their book Under Fire:

    There was never a question concerning U.S. resolve or the overall capabilities of the U.S. military to respond to Benghazi. There was, however, nothing immediate about an immediate response. There were logistics and host-nation approvals to consider. An immediate response was hampered by the equation of geography and logistics.

    In this report, Media Matters chronicles:

    The Attack And The Conservative "Blame Game" Response

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 1: The Rice Interviews

    The Blame Game Continues

    Hillary Clinton Takes Responsibility And Right-Wing Media Freak Out

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 2: The Debate

    Obama Left Them To Die, Part 1: The CIA "Stand Down" Order

    The Petraeus Conspiracy

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 3: Rice For SecState?

    Hillary Clinton's Fake Concussion

    Hillary Clinton's Testimony: Fake Anger, Tears

    Secretary Panetta's Testimony

    Hillary Clinton And The Politicized Congressional Report

    Obama Left Them To Die, Part 2: Fox's Unnamed Source

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 4: The Talking Points Draft

    Obama Left Them To Die, Part 3: The Benghazi "Whistleblowers"

    The Incredible Shrinking Whistleblower Intimidation Claim

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 5: The Administration Emails

    Special Prosecutor Versus Independent Investigators

    Calling Benghazi "Terror," Part 6: The Obama Presser

    Things Fall Apart

    Obama Left Them To Die, Part 4: "Sources"

    The Futile Call For A Benghazi Select Committee

    The Fringe Valerie Jarrett Theory

    As Benghazi Anniversary Approaches, Fox Goes Into Overdrive