Boston Globe

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  • Here's how right-wing media have reacted to months of setbacks for Trump's Muslim bans

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    As President Trump's executive orders banning immigration from first seven, then six, majority-Muslim nations have moved through the U.S. court system, they've been met with a series of legal setbacks and direct action and have drawn extensive media coverage. What follows is a timeline of events surrounding the ban, with a focus on right-wing media hypocrisy, denial, and defense of the president's increasingly indefensible policy. This post will be updated.

  • How The Media Elevated Anti-Immigrant Nativist Groups

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Throughout 2016, media outlets were complicit in mainstreaming the “nativist lobby,” made up of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA, groups with ties to white supremacists whose mission is to drastically limit both legal and illegal immigration. Even though these groups have a record of producing shoddy research and pushing misinformation about immigrants, their agenda has now inspired many of President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Many mainstream media outlets contributed to the normalization of these nativist groups by repeatedly referencing them under the pretense of balance while failing to acknowledge their insidious anti-immigrant agenda or provide context about their nativist origins.

  • Right-Wing Media's Failed Attempt To Downplay The Impact Of North Carolina's Anti-LGBTQ Law In Governor's Race

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Right-wing media outlets are attempting to deny the impact of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law House Bill 2 (HB 2) in the state’s still too-close-to-call gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. Mainstream journalists and political scientists have repeatedly pointed to the “politically obvious” costs of the discriminatory HB 2 as a “key issue” in the governor’s race, the outcome of which could mark a potential “watershed” moment for LGBTQ equality. 

  • Reminder To The Media: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Media should report on the immense hypocrisy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump levying attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women.Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of engaging in infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogynistic behavior. Trump himself has also called Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky “totally unimportant,” and, The Washington Post reported, he “repeatedly dismissed and at times mocked” the women who have accused Bill Clinton.  

  • Media Take Note: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    When media report on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women, they should also mention the immense hypocrisy of Trump levying those claims. Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogyny. And Trump himself previously said both that Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was “totally unimportant” and that people would have been more “forgiving” if Clinton had a relationship “with a really beautiful woman.”

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & JARED HOLT

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.

  • "Do Your Job": Editorials Implore Senate GOP To Rise Above "Obstruction" And Act On Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & TYLER CHERRY

    Newspaper editorials roundly urged Senate Republicans to stop obstructing the nomination process of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court vacancy. The editorials chastised "obstructionist" senators for their "stupendous show of political malfeasance" and warned that the obstruction is "out of sync with the nation's best interests," among other criticisms.

  • "Frankentrump": Media Explain How Trump Was The Manifestation Of The GOP's Obstructionism And Extremism

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Amid reporting that Republicans are trying to halt presidential front-runner Donald Trump's progress in the primary campaign, media are explaining that the GOP has only itself to blame for having "created this monster" with Republicans' "wild obstructionism" of President Obama and by fostering a "climate of hate" that Trump has thrived in.

  • Boston Globe Editorial Board Calls Out "Irrational" Objections To Transgender Equality

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    The Boston Globe editorial board called out "irrational objections" to a Massachusetts bill that would provide non-discrimination protections for transgender people, debunking the right-wing myth that these protections would endanger women and children. 

    A Massachusetts bill that would extend non-discrimination protections for transgender people to places of public accommodation has stalled in the state legislature since last year. Opponents of the bill have centered the debate on the anti-LGBT myth that protections for transgender people will allow sexual predators to pretend to be transgender so they can sneak into bathrooms and commit sexual assault.

    In a February 8 editorial, the Boston Globe editorial board voiced its support for the bill, citing empirical evidence from other states and cities with transgender non-discrimination protections to refute the right-wing bathroom predator myth. The board also noted that transgender people are the ones more likely to be in danger when using the bathroom (emphasis added):

    Everyone deserves the right to use public bathrooms with impunity. This would seem obvious, but if you are a transgender person, access to public spaces -- including bathrooms and locker rooms -- is not a given. A bill to protect the rights of transgender individuals to public spaces has hit headwinds in the Legislature, where it sits in committee, so far a victim of unwarranted fears, and a lack of support from Governor Charlie Baker.

    The bill would ban discrimination against transgender people in parks, restaurants, libraries, and other public accommodations. It also affirms their right to use public restrooms, dressing rooms, and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. It follows the successful passage of a 2011 law that prevents transgender discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public education. Under current law, an employer can not discriminate against a transgender person in hiring, but that same establishment could deny service, or access to a bathroom.

    Many in the transgender community have felt the negative effects of these loopholes. Brandon Adams, 14, of Framingham, spoke in support of the bill at a hearing last fall. When he was transitioning from a girl to a boy, he asked to use the boy's bathroom in his school, which denied his request. Brandon then avoided using the bathroom while at school, thus drinking less water, and eventually feeling dizzy and dehydrated.

    Despite soaring support (the majority of the state's congressional delegation, nearly 200 businesses and organizations, and the local professional sports teams), irrational objections to the measure remain. Critics have concerns about women and children. Republican Representative Marc Lombardo called the bill "a recipe for disaster," and told the State House News Service he's afraid high school boys could suddenly say they're transgender only in order to gain access to the girls' locker room.

    But no such incident has been recorded in any of the 18 other states and 200 communities nationwide where similar protections have been enacted. Research has shown that the true danger is to transgender individuals, who are more likely to face discrimination, which could lead to physical and mental health issues. In fact, Attorney General Maura Healey said her office received seven complaints last year from transgender people who have faced discrimination in public places.

    Previously:

    15 Experts Debunk Right-Wing Transgender Bathroom Myth

    Florida Experts Debunk The Transgender "Bathroom Predator" Myth

    Texas Experts Debunk The Transgender "Bathroom Predator" Myth Ahead Of HERO Referendum

  • Media Call Out Donald Trump's Plan To Ban Muslims From The US For Playing Into The Hands Of ISIS

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media are calling out Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States for marginalizing Muslims and helping ISIS recruitment tactics. Such criticism echoes statements from the U.S. Department of Defense explaining that "anything that creates tensions and creates the notion that the United States is at odds with the Muslim faith and Islam would be counterproductive to our efforts right now" to combat ISIS.

  • Boston Globe Pledges Columnist Will Stop Writing About Telecom Issues After Conflict Of Interest Criticism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The Boston Globe says columnist John E. Sununu will no longer write about cable and Internet issues because of his financial conflict of interest. Media Matters criticized the paper after it allowed the former Republican senator to complain about the "unnecessary regulation of the internet" without disclosing he has been paid over $750,000 by broadband interests.

    In an August 17 column, Sununu attacked the Obama administration for reaching "ever deeper into the economy, pursuing expensive and unnecessary regulation of the internet, carbon emissions, and even car loans." Sununu serves on the board of directors for Time Warner Cable, and is a paid "honorary co-chair" for Broadband for America, which has been supported by broadband providers and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

    Dan Kennedy, an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University, wrote that Globe Editorial Page Editor Ellen Clegg stated "Sununu has told me he will avoid writing about issues pertaining to cable and internet access because of his seat on the Time Warner Cable board." Clegg reaffirmed that the Globe is "posting bios for our regular freelance op-ed columnists online and linking those bios to their bylines" to provide "more transparency."

    She added in her email to Kennedy that Sununu "has also assured me that he will disclose his support of GOP presidential candidate John Kasich in the text of any columns he writes about presidential politics (he is chair of his campaign in New Hampshire.)" Sununu devoted his June 22 column to Donald Trump, writing that he's "running a race where both the chance of winning and the risk of losing are zero." The piece did not note Sununu's ties to Kasich.  

    Sununu is also an "Adjunct Senior Policy Advisor" for lobbying firm Akin Gump and "advises clients on a wide range of public policy, strategic and regulatory issues" including "policy and regulation." Media Matters has noted that Sununu's Globe columns frequently intersect with Akin Gump's subject areas such as environmental regulation. 

  • Boston Globe Column Hides More Than $750K In Conflicts Of Interest

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The Boston Globe continues to publish columns by former Republican Sen. John E. Sununu that carry massive conflicts of interest. The Globe today allowed Sununu to advocate against "unnecessary regulation" of the Internet and coal power plants without noting his financial ties to those industries.

    Sununu wrote in his August 17 column that "Obama's bureaucrats reach ever deeper into the economy, pursuing expensive and unnecessary regulation of the internet." Sununu and the Globe did not disclose that he is the highly-paid honorary co-chair of Broadband for America, an organization whose members have included major broadband providers and has been heavily funded by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

    Broadband for America's most recent IRS 990 form states that the group paid Sununu $480,067 for "lead consulting" during parts of 2013 and 2014.

    Sununu also serves on the board of directors for Time Warner Cable (TWC), which fights Internet regulation. TWC wrote in its 2014 annual report that "'Net neutrality' regulation or legislation could limit TWC's ability to operate its business profitably and to manage its broadband facilities efficiently and could result in increased taxes and fees imposed on TWC." It added that "TWC's business is subject to extensive governmental regulation, which could adversely affect its operations." TWC is merging with Charter Communications, pending regulatory approval.

    TWC gave Sununu approximately $272,000 in compensation in 2014, according to company documents.

    In his column, Sununu also criticized the Obama administration for environmental regulations, writing that at the "EPA as elsewhere, arrogant leadership and incompetent bureaucracy are a dangerous combination. Today, America's coal plants have never been cleaner, our nuclear plants have never been safer, and the evolution of fracking (a 40-year-old technology) has driven down energy costs to their lowest levels in decades."

    Akin Gump, the largest Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, lists Sununu as an "Adjunct Senior Policy Advisor" who "advises clients on a wide range of public policy, strategic and regulatory issues" including "policy and regulation." Akin Gump's policy and regulation page lists subpractices such as "Energy Regulation, Markets and Enforcement," "Environment and Natural Resources," and "Environmental Permitting and Approvals."

    Akin Gump's policy and regulation page states that their clients include the coal industry. They write elsewhere in the "environmental litigation" section of their site that "Akin Gump's environmental lawyers remain at the forefront of the defense of coal-fired power plants sued as part of EPA's Utility Enforcement Initiative."

    Media Matters previously noted that Sununu has written about issues related to Akin Gump's business practices without disclosing his role in the firm. The Boston Globe told Media Matters in 2012 that Sununu's role with Akin Gump was "very limited" and "We looked into whether he should make some sort of blanket disclosure, but it doesn't seem warranted by the small amount of work he does for the firm." 

    UPDATE: Reached by phone by Media Matters' Joe Strupp, Editorial Page Editor Ellen Clegg said she's on vacation and hasn't "read this column closely." She said the Globe plans to include online biographical sketches that "should help readers learn more about who the freelance contributors are and opt for more disclosure. They will be able to link to the italicized tagline at the bottom. It's been in the works for some time. Our contract with freelancers requires that they disclose conflicts of interest. We rely on them to push it out. We're going to disclose board memberships and consulting gigs and other paid work as well as books they've written and things like that." She said that "on this particular column, we'll link to the bio sketch when it's up."

    Asked how the Globe would address the print edition of columns -- Sununu's column ran in the print edition, according to the Nexis database -- Clegg said she'll "take a look at it" and "we do require that [disclosure] when we think it's warranted."

  • Where's The Media's Ebola Mea Culpa?

    Someone Owes Obama An Apology

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    "The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over," announced the World Health Organization on May 9, declaring a cautious end to the deadly wave that claimed 4,700 Liberian lives since last summer. That outbreak, of course, eventually sparked panic in the United States last September and October when a handful of Ebola cases were confirmed domestically. Ebola mania raged in the media for weeks and became one of the biggest news stories of 2014.

    So how did the American media cover the latest, good-news Ebola story in the days following the WHO announcement? Very, very quietly.

    By my count, ABC News devoted just brief mentions of the story on Good Morning America and its Sunday talk show, This Week. On NBC, only the Today show noted the development, while CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News set aside brief mentions. None of the network newscasts have given this Ebola story full segments, according to a transcript search via Nexis.

    A scattering of mentions on cable news and a handful of stories including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others, rounded out the remaining coverage in the past week.*

    Pretty amazing, considering that late last year the U.S. news media were in the grips of self-induced Ebola hysteria. During one peak week, cable news channels mentioned "Ebola" over 4,000 times, while the Washington Post homepage one night featured at least 15 Ebola-related articles and columns, many of which focused on both the international crisis and the political dynamic, and the problems Ebola was supposedly causing President Obama.

    That's not to say the tragic outbreak was not a big story worthy of any news coverage. It was, but American media went into overdrive hyping concerns that a deadly domestic outbreak was imminent -- only to rapidly forget.

    The recent look-away coverage from Ebola shouldn't come as a surprise. The American media lost complete interest in the story right after Republicans lost interest in the story, which is to say right after last November's midterm elections, when they brandished Ebola as a partisan weapon.

    That's no exaggeration. From Media Matters' research: