Media Matters For America

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  • Media Matters Requests Fox Retain All Info Regarding Allegations Roger Ailes Sought Our Reporter’s Phone Records

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Huffington Post is reporting that Media Matters has requested Fox News executives and former CEO Roger Ailes “retain any information in their possession or control” that could be relevant  to the network allegedly obtaining the phone records of one of its journalists through “legally questionable means” in order to identify his anonymous sources at the network.

    New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported on September 2, that Fox News had “obtained the phone records of journalists, by legally questionable means,” including the home and cell phone records of Media Matters’ senior reporter Joe Strupp, in an effort to find Strupp’s anonymous sources at the network.

    Media Matters president Bradley Beychok responded to the egregious allegations and said that the organization is “considering all legal options” available and that “anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    According to the Huffington Post, Media Matters has sent letters to Fox News’ attorneys taking legal steps to ensure that any relevant information about Gabriel Sherman’s allegations is retained:

    Media Matters attorney Marc Elias sent letters Friday to attorneys representing Ailes and executives at Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox, including executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James Murdoch, who serve as executive chairman and chief executive, respectively.

    In the letters, Elias requested Ailes and executives at the media companies retain any information in their possession or control that would be relevant to allegations of surveilling Media Matters employees.

    Strupp reported in 2010 on Fox News management slanting Washington coverage to the right and cited anonymous sources at the network. Sherman wrote that Fox News wanted to find out who was speaking to Strupp. “This was the culture,” one Fox News executive told Sherman. “Getting phone records doesn’t make anybody blink.”

    In addition to Strupp, Elias also revealed in the letters that it “appears that Fox News Channel previously obtained telephone records of Media Matters founder David Brock in 1997.” Brock, a former Republican operative turned liberal Clinton booster, wrote a critical profile of Ailes that year for New York magazine. Brock started Media Matters in 2004 to combat what the group deemed conservative misinformation, with Fox News being one of its primary targets.

    “Media Matters takes these reports very seriously and is prepared to take all measures necessary to protect its rights, including initiating a lawsuit against Fox News Channel,” Elias wrote in a letter to the network. “We therefore demand that Fox News Channel take immediate action to preserve all information relating to the Media Matters Surveillance that is in the possession, custody, or control of Fox News Channel, including information held by third parties from whom Fox News Channel could obtain the information or over whom Fox News Channel exercises control.”

    Media Matters is similarly prepared to take legal action if necessary against Ailes and 21st Century Fox, according to the letters published in full below.

  • Vox Study: Female Experts Widely Ignored In The Media

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Vox's Amanda Taub highlighted new studies and Media Matters research showing that women are widely underrepresented as experts in print and TV news coverage.

    In her March 16 article, Taub highlighted research from Media Matters demonstrating the glaring lack of gender parity on prime-time cable news programs and Sunday political talk shows during segments focused on national security and foreign affairs. The research, which was presented at the New America Foundation in recognition of International Women's Day on March 8, found that just 21 percent of guests during such segments last year were women -- echoing prior Media Matters analysis of gender disparity during discussions of foreign policy, and the economy.

    Additionally, Taub points to research noting "80% of the political scientists quoted" in The New York Times' presidential primary coverage were men. Taub also noted that the underrepresentation of women in in the media, "often mirrors their underrepresentation among university faculty, think tank scholars, and business leaders":

    Recently, a group of female scholars analyzed the New York Times's coverage of the presidential primary, looking at every article from March 2015 through January 2016. They found something striking: 80 percent of the political scientists quoted in those articles were men.

    And it's not just the Times: Male experts dominate media coverage. On primetime cable and Sunday news shows, for another example, 75 percent of national security and foreign affairs commentators have been men, according to a Media Matters for America study.

    These sorts of things look bad, but they also are bad: Prioritizing male experts devalues women's work, depriving them of the recognition and public acclaim they might get if they were male. It also reinforces a general impression that men are the experts worth listening to, and women's roles, if anything, are just to assist men in their important work.


    The core problem isn't journalists forgetting to quote more women, even though that does happen and should be corrected. Rather, like so many issues of inequality, the underrepresentation of women in media is the result of vast cultural and institutional biases that hold women back every step of the way.

    After all, it's not as if women in academia and other "expert" institutions existed in a state of pure gender equality that was undisturbed until panel organizers or journalists declined to call them. No, as these women will often tell you, they face countless forms of gender bias long before they reach the point in their professional development where they become quotable, panel-ready experts.

    The sad fact is that women's underrepresentation in the media often mirrors their underrepresentation among university faculty, think tank scholars, and business leaders. That's not to say that journalists are blameless -- we're not. But women's underrepresentation in media is just the expression of a much deeper problem.

    *This post has been updated.

  • The Media Were The Biggest Promoters Of Marco Rubio's Doomed Campaign

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential election after losing his home state of Florida in the state's March 15 primary. The media had touted Rubio's candidacy throughout the race, despite his poor performance in debates and GOP primaries. Here's a look back at the media's promotion of the Marco Rubio presidential candidacy.

  • Trump Campaign Faces Media Criticism After His Campaign Manager "Gets Rough" With A Journalist

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Media outlets highlighted a pattern of "physical run-ins" Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's campaign has had with journalists after his campaign manager allegedly "forcibly grabbed" a reporter following a press conference. The Trump campaign also has a history of seeking to impede journalists and undermine freedom of press.

  • Media Matters' James Carville: We'd Be Glad To Sponsor A GOP Debate Moderated By Talk Radio "Circus Clowns"

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    In a blog post for The Hill, Media Matters contributor James Carville proposed that Media Matters "sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" alongside Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham following the suggestion of conservatives who baselessly claimed previous Republican presidential debates have been moderated by "left-wing operatives."

    Unhappy with the October 28 CNBC Republican presidential primary debate, GOP politicians and campaigns have rallied to seek greater control over future debate formats. Their proposals, including a list of debate demands, have been openly mocked by the media. One recommendation, pitched by presidential candidate Ted Cruz, to hold a Republican "debate moderated by Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh" has been echoed across right-wing media, who have called for more conservative influence in the debate process.

    Carville explained November 4 that after the CNBC debate, "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators 'left-wing operatives' who were out to sabotage the debate," and suggested "that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate" the next one. Carville wrote that Media Matters would be "glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate" moderated by Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham, saying "we could not be happier than to allow the clowns of right-wing radio to speak straight to the masses and reveal their true colors. Noting that these right-wing talk radio hosts have a problematic history when it comes to their coverage of most issues, Carville concluded, if "these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in":

    After the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the CNBC moderators "left-wing operatives" who were out to sabotage the debate. Now folks, I don't know about you, but I don't think of a network that is full of hosts that regularly deny that climate change is real and is home to Rick Santelli who basically launched the Tea Party with an on-air rant is OUT TO GET the GOP candidates.

    Ladies and gentlemen I've seen a lot of things in my time. But I never thought I'd see a day when my colleague Joan Walsh agreed with Ted Cruz. And you know what, I do too. He made an interesting suggestion that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should come together to moderate a GOP debate. The Nation's Walsh had it right when she said of Cruz's suggestion, "I think the world should get a clear look at the unvarnished spectacle of a Republican Party that is now run by the 'conservative entertainment complex.'"


    Folks, I've been authorized by Media Matters Chairman David Brock to make the following proposal:

    We would be glad to step in and help sponsor a fair GOP presidential debate alongside those "real journalists" Ted Cruz is so fond of, and the circus clowns who would be joining us. Let's see who we'd have:

    Rush Limbaugh -- You know the guy who once called a law student a slut for believing she deserved access to birth control, regularly calls high powered women "feminazis," who, on at least one occasion, said he hoped that President Obama "fails," and has a long history of attacking the LGBT community.

    Sean Hannity - The guy who in 2008 said it was "my job" to lead "the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.'" Later that year, Hannity received Media Matters' misinformer of the year award - and repaid us by giving Media Matters his "first annual Left-Wing Obamamania Media Propaganda PC Police Award." Hannity also has a history of race bating, fueling the birther movement, and defending attacks on Islam. Quite a stand up guy. And good news folks, Hannity says he's in!

    Mark Levin - The right-wing radio host who consistently complains that conservatives aren't conservative enough -- calling then-Speaker Boehner the "Benedict Arnold" of the Republican Party for attempting to compromise with Democrats and attacking incoming House Speaker Ryan for not being conservative enough.

    Laura Ingraham -- For good measure, let's also throw in this conservative radio host, who, on her show [Monday], endorsed the idea of co-moderating a GOP debate with fellow right-wing radio hosts. Ingraham claimed she would "be fair to all the candidates" -- but the Fox contributor has repeatedly attacked GOP candidates including Jeb Bush-- saying "there has to be something wrong with" him, that she's "not a fan," and suggesting that Bush and Hillary Clinton run on the same ticket. That's how "fair" she'd be as a debate moderator.

    So yes, Republican Party, if these are the folks that you want representing your movement, we're in. Media Matters would love to join with the GOP and expose for the public the true beliefs of the "real" conservative media.