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The Worst New York Times Tweets And Headlines Of 2019

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The New York Times, long referred to as the “newspaper of record,” has failed multiple times in 2019 in the way it covered President Donald Trump, the 2020 presidential race, and other issue areas in its headlines and tweets. Media critics, experienced journalists, and other experts called out some of the Times’ headlines and tweets for pushing misinformation, framing the story in line with right-wing talking points, or using euphemisms in place of accurate descriptions.

The New York Times helped Trump spread misinformation about the Russia probe

On March 24, the Times posted a tweet repeating Trump’s lies verbatim that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election “was an illegal takedown that failed” and Mueller’s report was “a complete and total exoneration.” A Times headline from the same day also misleadingly claimed that Mueller’s investigation found no Trump-Russia conspiracy.

In April, the Times helped spread right-wing falsehoods by credulously repeating a claim by Attorney General Bill Barr during a congressional hearing, which he later walked back, that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. On July 25, the Times published a piece on the special counsel’s congressional testimony titled “Lack of Electricity in Mueller Testimony Short-Circuits Impeachment.” The headline was criticized by The American Independent’s Oliver Willis for treating the hearing like it was entertainment. 

The Times pushed GOP lies on abortion and deceptively made Trump’s rhetoric appear moderate

February 5 tweet reporting on Trump’s comments on abortion during his State of the Union address quoted a benign-sounding line from him: “Let us work to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.” The tweet failed to address Trump’s smears and lies about Democratic politicians and their support for abortion rights legislation, such as his deranged claim that a Democratic bill in Virginia would allow medical providers to “execute a baby after birth.”

In mid-May, the Times sent a tweet highlighting Republicans’ “grisly claims that Democrats promote ‘birth day abortions’ and are ‘the party of death.’” Media critic Jamison Foser told the Times that it was spreading Republicans’ lies. The Times later deleted the tweet, saying the tweet did not clarify that “some of the Republicans’ claims” were “false or misleading,” an error Foser said the Times should not have made in the first place.

The Times repeatedly failed to call out Trump and one of his advisers on their racist behavior

On July 14, Trump posted an unambiguously racist tweet when he told Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Instead of calling it as such, the Times’ headline went with: “Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire.” The now-shuttered progressive news website Splinter ridiculed the headline as “another wishy-washy, bullshit reaction” from the Times, writing, “Trump is, in every sense of the word, a racist, who once again has said something racist. And once again, the New York Times has proved that it has no intention of ever stating this simple fact.” Journalists Soledad O’Brien and Ashley Feinberg also criticized the Times’ handling of Trump’s racist comment. The following day, after Trump called the members of Congress he had attacked earlier racist, the Times gave equal weight to his absurd accusation:

NY Times headline: Trump's tweet was condemned as racist. His response: No, they're the racists.

Following the tragic white nationalist mass shooting early August in El Paso, Texas, the Times ran a headline about a speech Trump gave that claimed “Trump urges unity vs. racism.” That headline was heavily criticized for downplaying the president’s weaponization of racial hatred.

And the Times failed again on August 18, when it described Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, who later was exposed pushing white nationalist websites and ideas, as a “young firebrand” in a headline. Multiple journalists criticized the Times for its misstep. 

The Times gave Trump the headlines he wanted regarding his Ukraine scandal and impeachment

On September 22, progressive talk radio host Michelangelo Signorile criticized a Times headline that suggested Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden committed wrongdoing in Ukraine, even though the story explained there was no evidence of it. “Exactly what Trump ordered,” Signorile wrote. 

The September 26 front page of the Times also featured the headline “President Denies Pressuring Leader of Ukraine to Investigate Biden” — right next to an annotated copy of the call summary showing Trump pressuring Ukraine’s leader.

On October 4, pollster Matt McDermott pointed out the Times also gave Trump “the headline he’s been looking for” with the headline “Ukraine to Review Criminal Case of Firm Linked to Biden’s Son.” He urged the Times to do better, explaining that such a headline was helping Trump break the law.

And in early December, the Times tried multiple times to fix a problematic headline that essentially blamed Republicans and Democrats equally for the partisan nature of Trump impeachment inquiry. Lawyer and writer Luppe B. Luppen pointed out a key flaw in all versions of the headline. 

The Times wrote bad headlines and tweets on other topics as well

On January 9, the Times tweeted an image that aimed to fact-check a statement Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made about Trump’s comments on an ongoing government shutdown. The fact-check made a logical leap in stating Schumer’s comment needed context. Yet the context essentially confirmed what Schumer had said.

In early March, following an unhinged two-hour rant from Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Times published a headline that focused on a “free speech order for college campuses.” Oliver Willis criticized the Times for normalizing “a madman” with its take on the president’s “delusional, embarrassing, and terrifying speech.”

The Times also made some missteps in its tweets about the 2020 election. A May 26 tweet from the paper uncritically repeated several of Trump’s insults of several Democratic presidential candidates, prompting Soledad O’Brien to ask why does the Times’ “political coverage suck so frequently and consistently.” In a mid-June tweet, the Times parroted Trump’s false justification, made during an ABC News interview, that he would accept information from a foreign government about a 2020 Democratic rival.

A September 12 Times headline about military personnel staying at a Trump resort in Scotland on the taxpayers’ dime claimed “For Military Personnel, Trump’s Turnberry Hotel is ‘Better Than a Tent.’” The headline failed to convey the story’s details that there was an uptick in military personnel staying at the hotel despite closer, cheaper options available for flight overstays.

On October 16, the paper published a headline about a meeting between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ostensibly on Syria after Trump abandoned Kurdish allies there, stating, “Someone Had a ‘Meltdown’ at the White House. Pelosi and Trump Just Disagree on Who.” Multiple witnesses confirmed Trump’s childish behavior. ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger chastised the Times for an “inexcusable” headline, writing, “To soften and normalize Trump’s behavior on this week of all weeks is something else.”

A November 29 Times headline asking “Would Republicans Follow Their Garland Rule for the Court in 2020” was so ridiculous on its face that TPM editor and publisher Josh Marshall simply laughed at it, while a law professor and a Supreme Court reporter pointed out that the “Garland Rule” was a Republican fabrication.

And on December 18, after Trump suggested at a rally during the House vote to impeach him that the late Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) was “looking up” from hell, the Times published a tweet and a headline summing up Trump’s rally without mentioning his disgusting comment:

NY Times headline on Trump's rally

O’Brien and other journalists called out the Times for normalizing Trump’s outrageous attack.

McConnell Wants To Follow Clinton Model In Trump Trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he was not ruling out calling witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — but indicated he was in no hurry to seek new testimony either — as lawmakers remain at an impasse over the form of the trial by the GOP-controlled Senate.

The House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump, who became only the third president in U.S. history to be formally charged with “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But the Senate trial may be held up until lawmakers can agree on how to proceed. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding trial witnesses who refused to appear during House committee hearings, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

McConnell, who has all-but-promised a swift acquittal of the president, has resisted making any guarantees, and has cautioned Trump against seeking the testimony of witnesses he desires for fear of elongating the trial. Instead, he appears to have secured GOP support for his plans to impose a framework drawn from the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

“We haven’t ruled out witnesses,” McConnell said Monday in an interview with “Fox and Friends.” “We’ve said let’s handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair.”

That trial featured a 100-0 vote on arrangements that established two weeks of presentations and argument before a partisan tally in which then-minority Republicans called a limited number of witnesses. But Democrats now would need Republican votes to secure witness testimony — and Republicans believe they have the votes to eventually block those requests.

In a letter Monday to all senators, Schumer argued that the circumstances in the Trump trial are different from that of Clinton, who was impeached after a lengthy independent counsel investigation in which witnesses had already testified numerous times under oath. Schumer rejected the Clinton model, saying waiting until after the presentations to decide on witnesses would “foreclose the possibility of obtaining such evidence because it will be too late.”

Schumer also demanded that the Senate, in addition to receiving testimony, also compel the Trump administration to turn over documents and emails relevant to the case, including the decision to withhold military assistance from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the White House is projecting confidence that it will prevail in a constitutional spat with Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in hopes of giving Schumer more leverage in talks with McConnell. But the White House believes Pelosi won’t be able to hold out much longer.

“She will yield. There’s no way she can hold this position,” Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said Sunday. “We think her case is going nowhere.”

The impasse between the Senate leaders leaves open the possibility of a protracted delay until the articles are delivered.

Schumer told reporters in New York on Sunday that “the Senate is yearning to give President Trump due process, which means that documents and witnesses should come forward. What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents. It’s a sham trial.”

Trump has called the holdup “unfair” and claimed that Democrats were violating the Constitution, as the delay threatened to prolong the pain of impeachment and cast uncertainty on the timing of the vote Trump is set to claim as vindication.

“Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so,” Trump tweeted Monday from his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is on a more than two-week holiday vacation. “She lost Congress once, she will do it again!”

Short called Pelosi’s delay unacceptable, saying she’s “trampling” Trump’s rights to “rush this through, and now we’re going to hold it up to demand a longer process in the Senate with more witnesses.”

“If her case is so air-tight … why does she need more witnesses to make her case?” Short said.

White House officials have also taken to highlighting Democrats’ arguments that removing Trump was an “urgent” matter before the House impeachment vote, as they seek to put pressure on Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

A close Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Pelosi would fail in her quest “to get Mitch McConnell to bend to her will to shape the trial.” Graham is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was a House manager, comparable to a prosecutor, during the Senate’s impeachment trial of Clinton.

“She’ll eventually send the articles because public opinion will crush the Democrats,” said Graham. Asked whether he expected witnesses in the Senate, he replied, “No, I don’t.”

At one point, Trump had demanded the testimony of witnesses of his own, like Democrats Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and the intelligence community whistleblower whose summer complaint sparked the impeachment probe. But he has since relented after concerted lobbying by McConnell and other Senate Republicans who pushed him to accept the swift acquittal from the Senate and not to risk injecting uncertainty into the process by calling witnesses.

The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said his party is looking for a signal from McConnell that he hasn’t ruled out new witnesses and documents. But Durbin acknowledged that Democrats may not have much leverage in pushing a deal.

He criticized both Republican and Democratic senators who have already announced how they will vote in the trial, saying the Constitution requires senators to act as impartial jurors. Republicans hold a 53-vote majority in the Senate.

“The leverage is our hope that four Republican senators will stand up, as 20 years ago, we saw in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and say, this is much bigger than our current political squabbles,” Durbin said.

The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict in an impeachment trial — and Republicans have expressed confidence that they have more than enough votes to keep Trump in office.

Short spoke on Fox News Sunday, Durbin appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, and Graham was on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

NY Times, Mainstream Outlets Normalized Trump’s Dingell Slur

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

At his rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, last night during the House vote to impeach him, President Donald Trump suggested the late Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) was “looking up” from hell because his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), supported Trump’s impeachment. The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets then wrongly normalized Trump’s comment by failing to acknowledge it in headlines and tweets about the rally.

CNN laid out how it happened:

President Donald Trump attacked Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell and her late husband, Rep. John Dingell, during a rally on Wednesday, implying the former congressman was “looking up” from hell.

“Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty,” Trump said of the congresswoman, noting he was watching her on television during impeachment proceedings.

Trump said that he gave the family the “A-plus treatment” after John Dingell died, and that the congresswoman, who now holds his seat in the House, told Trump during an emotional call following John Dingell’s funeral that her husband would have been “thrilled” by the respect shown for him during his funeral and “he’s looking down” on the ceremonies.

“Maybe he’s looking up,” Trump said, drawing some moans and groans from those in Battle Creek, Michigan, about two hours away from Debbie Dingell’s district. “Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”

Congresswoman Dingell later explained on Twitter that Trump’s words severely hurt her.

The New York Times published a tweet and a headline summing up Trump’s rally without mentioning his disgusting comment.

But the Times was not the only mainstream outlet that normalized Trump’s despicable comment:

Some others even treated it as a joke:

Some of these mainstream news outlets, along with others, had also normalized the unhinged six-page rant about impeachment that Trump sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday.

Sunday News Shows Ignored Amazon Rainforest Fires

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Five Sunday news shows failed to cover the fires being set in the Amazon rainforest, even as the rate of fires and deforestation have surpassed those of previous years. The ecological disaster received only a fleeting mention when a guest on the panel of ABC’s This Week mentioned the fires.

The current fires are burning at the highest rate in the past six years. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has recorded more than 36,000 fires in the Amazon region of Brazil since the beginning of 2019. And according to the institute, deforestation in the region has increased 80 percent compared to last year.

The vast majority of the fires are being deliberately set by farmers and ranchers in Brazil to clear ground for their use, according to the non-profit Amazon Watch and the National Institute for Space Research. The Washington Post explained that the Amazon “serves as the lungs of the planet by taking in carbon dioxide,” and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service is warning that “the fires have led to a clear spike in carbon monoxide emissions as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, posing a threat to human health and aggravating global warming.” If this continues, a catastrophic system collapse known as dieback could occurleading to even more droughts, floods, and wildfires. One scientist says that the impact of that collapse would be felt as far away as the United States midwest.

Such a serious matter to the entire world’s population deserves appropriate coverage from the news media, yet CNN’s State of the Union, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday completely ignored the burning of the Amazon, according to a review of Sunday show news transcripts. On ABC’s This Week, the topic only came up when panelist Yvette Simpson mentioned that “the Amazon is on fire” this week, to which anchor George Stephanopoulos replied that “you make a good point about the Amazon.” Stephanopoulos then moved on to a discussion of whether Democrats could make big proposals in the face of a potential recession.

The fires could accelerate climate change even more, but the Sunday shows also had only fleeting mentions of the climate crisis. Climate coverage on the Sunday shows has long been horrendous.

It’s not just the Sunday shows that are failing to provide appropriate coverage of the Amazon fires. A Media Matters analysis of the past week’s cable news coverage found that it received approximately 7 percent of the coverage the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris received over a similar time period.

How Right-Wing Media Cut Video Clip To Defame Arizona Democrat

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

Conservative media used an out-of-context video to falsely claim that Senate candidate Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) called all Arizonans “crazy.” As local journalists explained, the full context of her remarks shows that Sinema was clearly referring only to Republican lawmakers in Arizona who were promoting extremist legislation, such as the state’s racially discriminatory SB 1070 “papers please” law.

This smear originated with an October 11 tweet from the Twitter account “The Reagan Battalion,” described by The Associated Press as “an anonymous conservative group,” which published a 65 second-long video with clear edits at the 23 and 30 second marks, stripping Sinema’s remarks of necessary context. According to the tweet, Sinema mocked “Arizonans as ‘Crazy’ and calls Arizona the ‘crazy’ state.”

As of 11 a.m. EDT today, that crudely edited video had roughly 240,000 views. The Reagan Battalion later posted a full 5 minute 23 second version on its YouTube account, suggesting it had the full context all along. The original, uncut video had only 3,129 views as of 11 a.m.

Fox News host Sean Hannity ran with this false framing, citing The Reagan Battalion and saying the video showed Sinema “calling Arizonans, the people she wants to vote for her, crazy.”

Conservative outlet Independent Journal Review (IJR) embedded the deceptively edited Reagan Battalion video and tweet in a piece that falsely blared in its headline: “Leaked Video Shows Arizona Dem Senate Candidate Mocking Arizonans as ‘Crazy’ While in Texas.” Talk radio host and MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt tweeted: “Wow: ‘Sinema Called Arizonans “Crazy” at Texas Democratic Event in 2011,’” linking to a Washington Free Beacon story with a similarly misleading headline, despite the body of the piece acknowledging that she was referring to Republican lawmakers. Fox & Friends also aired an edited version of Sinema’s remarks which included her reference to Republicans lawmakers, yet the show still falsely claimed in an on-air graphic that “Sinema mocked Arizonans as ‘crazy’ in 2011.”

But local journalists quickly made clear that conservatives were wrong to claim Sinema was referring to all Arizonans as “crazy.” Arizona Capitol Times editor Luige del Puerto called out The Reagan Battalion in a tweet, pointing out the clear edits and demanding it “show the unedited version so we can hear her whole speech.” He also told IJR that it was wrong to promote the misleadingly edited video. And The Arizona Republic published an article on Sinema’s full remarks with the correct context and a factually correct headline: “Kyrsten Sinema in 2011: ‘There’s something wrong with the people in public office in Arizona.’” The lede of the article stated: “Rep. Kyrsten Sinema seven years ago ridiculed as ‘crazy’ the Republican elected officials leading the state at the time, and the anti-illegal immigration legislation that began in Arizona and was being replicated in state Capitols across the nation.”

And Sinema was absolutely correct about the extremist nature of the Republican legislators in Arizona. The 2010 Arizona anti-immigrant bill SB 1070, known as the “papers please” law because it required police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country without authorization, was so extreme that the Supreme Court struck down three out of four provisions of the law in 2012. The remaining provision that required officers to question people’s immigration status and demand immigration documents was largely rendered moot in 2016 when the state settled a lawsuit brought by immigrants’ rights groups. The Arizona Republic explained that the law “sparked a national outcry” and “led to a torrent of canceled trips to Arizona by would-be tourists and conventioneers, and travel bans by cities and organizations around the country who deemed the legislation discriminatory and in violation of federal law.” The same article pointed out other extreme legislation introduced by Republicans in the state legislature that year:

In 2011, the year of Sinema’s remarks, Republicans at the Arizona Capitol had introduced other legislation targeting undocumented immigrants.

One bill would have required hospitals to check a person’s legal status and notify law enforcement if they suspected the person was in the United States illegally. Another would have banned illegal immigrants from going to state universities and community colleges, and from getting federal benefits.

A third targeted the issue of birthright citizenship.

All of the bills failed.

Russell Pearce, who was singled out in Sinema’s remarks and authored the SB 1070 legislation, was forced into a recall election over the bill and lost to another Republican the year after it was signed into law.

Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Media Wingnuts Demand ‘Prison’ For Ford

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Conservative media personalities are attacking Christine Blasey Ford following President Donald Trump’s attack on her at a political rally. Ford testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

Trump inspired a second wave of attacks from conservatives by mocking her public account of high school sexual assault at his October 2 political rally in Mississippi, as The Washington Post reported:

President Trump mocked the account of a woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of assault and told a Mississippi crowd that the #MeToo movement was unfairly hurting men.

Trump, in a riff that has been dreaded by White House and Senate aides, attacked the story of Christine Blasey Ford at length — drawing laughs from the crowd. The remarks were his strongest attacks yet of her testimony.

“ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember,’ ” Trump said of Ford, as he impersonated her on stage.

“I don’t remember,” he said repeatedly, apparently mocking her testimony.

While three Republican senators criticized Trump’s denigration of Ford, other conservatives responded by defending Trump’s attack on her and doubling down with their own.

Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft: “BOOM! President Trump Mocks Christine Ford’s Flimsy Accusations at Mississippi Rally – CROWD ROARS!”

MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt: Ford’s “story is crumbling, and the president just broke the glass last night. He was not mocking her. He was attacking the credibility of her testimony.”

Other right-wing media figures accused Ford of repeatedly lying in her testimony, drawing on a letter from an ex-boyfriend that said, among other things, that she helped a friend prepare for a polygraph test — a claim that was soon countered by the friend in question.

Hoft“SHE’S A FRAUD: Dr. Ford Lied About Flying, Tight Spaces, Closed Quarters, Polygraph Tests.”

Conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson: “Dr. Ford lied. Kavanaugh’s reputation died. All intentional to ruin a good man.”

Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe: “You look at … what looks like blatant lies” Ford “has told people about flying. … There’s been so many inconsistencies, so many lies.”

And Hoft, along with others, have stated that Ford should be criminally investigated or even locked in prison.

Fox News guest Joe diGenova: Ford “should be investigated and if necessary charged with the crime of submitting a false statement to the Senate.”

Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens: “I would like to be among the first to say that I want Christine Blasey Ford to serve time in PRISON.”

Hoft, citing Owens: “Is It About Time to Lock Up Christine Ford in a Prison Cell With Two Front Doors?”

Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

The Trump Administration’s 2017 War On The Press, By The Numbers

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

President Donald Trump and his administration have waged an unprecedented war on the media since he took office. Here’s a look at some numbers that exemplify the conflicts throughout 2017:

Over 400: number of times Trump and his administration have attacked the press.

Over 20: number of current and former Trump administration officials who have publicly attacked the press.

166: number of times Trump has used the phrase “fake news,” “fakenews,” or “fake media” on Twitter since his inauguration.

At least 49: number of times Trump attacked CNN verbally or on Twitter. Trump has lashed out at CNN on Twitter and during a wide variety of public events, including, but not limited to, a roundtable discussion during Black History Month, a speech at the Department of Energy, a rally in Alabama, a speech in Pennsylvania that was meant to tout his tax plan, during a visit to Poland, and in a multitude of interviews on Fox News and conservative talk radio.

At least 38: number of times Trump attacked The New York Times verbally or on Twitter. Most of Trump’s attacks against The New York Times include him calling the paper “failing,” but Trump has also said to Breitbart News that the Times was “so evil and so bad,” and accused the paper of promoting its “sick agenda over National Security.”

At least 15: number of leaders or state media outlets in authoritarian countries that have used Trump’s “fake news” denunciation against their critics, according to Politico.

At least 190: number of insults Trump tweeted at “‘mainstream’ media” outlets according to The New York Times.

28: number of TV interviews the president has done since his inauguration, according to a Media Matters count.

20: number of Trump’s televised interviews that aired on Fox News or Fox Business since his inauguration as reported by The Associated Press.

8: number of Trump’s televised interviews that aired on news channels other than Fox News or Fox Business since his inauguration. This includes two interviews on The Christian Broadcasting Network, an interview with Mike Huckabee on Trinity Broadcasting Network, and an interview with Sharyl Attkisson on Sinclair. The other interviews were on ABC, CBS, and NBC.

95: number of times Trump has either tweeted at the program Fox & Friends or retweeted the show’s tweets since his inauguration.

21: number of times Trump has either tweeted about Fox News host Sean Hannity or his program since his inauguration.

Methodology:

Media Matters used Factba.seTrump Twitter Archive and Media Matters’ tracker of the Trump administration’s war on the press for tallies throughout this piece.

Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Fox & Friends Was The Only Cable News Morning Show Not To Mention Trump’s Pardon Of Racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

CNN’s and MSNBC’s morning shows on August 28 featured substantial discussion of President Donald Trump’s pardon of racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but Fox News’ Fox & Friends failed to do the same.

On July 31, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court after he defied “a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants,” according to The New York Times. As the Times noted, the order originated from a lawsuit filed a decade ago “charging that the sheriff’s office regularly violated the rights of Latinos, stopping people based on racial profiling, detaining them based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally, and turning them over to the immigration authorities.” Fox reported on August 14 that Trump was considering a pardon for Arpaio, and the president followed through on Friday, August 25, while Hurricane Harvey in Texas was dominating the news cycle.

Over nearly the past two decades, Fox News and Fox Business have repeatedly praised Arpaio, while hosting him no less than 65 times. Yet on August 28, apart from Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade making a passing reference to the pardon, the show didn’t mention Arpaio or report on or discuss the pardon news at all.

By contrast, MSNBC’s Morning Joe aired multiple segments on Arpaio’s pardon. NBC News political analyst Philip Rucker appeared on the show and explained that “this pardon was in the works for many months” and reminded viewers that Trump and Arpaio were first associated through the racist birther conspiracy theory they pushed that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. He also noted that during that period, Trump had sent Arpaio a “fan letter” and tweeted in support of him.

CNN’s New Day also aired multiple segments about the pardon and highlighted Trump’s attempt to bury the news of the Arpaio pardon, with co-host Chris Cuomo saying, “It was not a coincidence that on Friday … we heard about the Arpaio pardon. The news cycle is 24 hours now — you don’t get the Friday pass the way you used to. But it was also not that clever a move. He was trying to hide that.” CNN political analyst Alex Burns and Dallas Morning News Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman both also called out Trump for attempting to pardon Arpaio under the “cover of darkness,” with Gillman criticizing the president for using “the cover of [Hurricane] Harvey to do things that are going to be politically unsavory.”

Some legal experts have said that Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is an abuse of power and may even be an impeachable offense. University of Missouri law professor Frank O. Bowman wrote on his blog that Trump has “committed his first verifiable impeachable offense” by misusing his power to pardon. Harvard constitutional law professor Noah Feldman wrote before Trump announced his decision that a pardon of Arpaio “would not be an ordinary exercise of the power — it would be an impeachable offense,” and that it “would be an assault on the federal judiciary, the Constitution and the rule of law itself.” And Northwestern University constitutional law professor Martin H. Redish wrote in The New York Times the day before the pardon was granted that because of the nature of Arpaio’s conviction — he violated “constitutional rights, in defiance of a court order” — a court challenge to the pardon could reveal limits to the president’s pardoning power.

Fox & Friends has long been a safe space for Trump, and he uses it as his source of morning news. And at his recent rally in Phoenix, AZ, Trump gushed over Fox & Friends’ coverage of him while warning the network that it should continue to treat him “fairly.” With its failure to cover the mounting backlash to Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, Fox is demonstrating that it will keep shilling for the president and treating him with kid gloves.

 

Corey Lewandowski Busted For Conflict Of Interest On ‘Meet The Press’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski got called out by another guest on NBC’s Meet the Press after he denied having a stake in his call for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) head Richard Cordray to be fired amid a rumor he may run for governor in Ohio. In fact, BuzzFeed reported days ago that Lewandowski would be a “special guest” at a fundraiser for a Republican gubernatorial primary candidate in the state.

Host Chuck Todd was asking Lewandowski, who advises the president outside of the White House, about Trump’s replacement of Reince Priebus as his chief of staff with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly when Lewandowski said, seemingly out of nowhere, “I think the general should relook at firing Richard Cordray, the CFPB, he’s a person who is now all but running for governor in the state of Ohio, and he’s sitting in federal office right now.” Todd noted the “random” nature of Lewandowski bringing up Cordray and asked, “Do you have any business interests here? Do you have a client that wants to see this happen?” Lewandowski denied any personal stake, saying, “No, no. I have no clients whatsoever,” then repeated his complaints that Cordray has “all but announced, Chuck, that he’s running for governor of Ohio.”

But later in the show, Politico reporter Eliana Johnson noted that Lewandowski “is appearing at a fundraiser August 3 for a Republican Ohio gubernatorial candidate, despite his claim that he has no business interests in this,” prompting Todd to exclaim, “Now we know the motivation there.” BuzzFeed reported on July 25 that Lewandowski has been advertised as a “special guest” at the August 3 fundraiser for Rep. Jim Renacci. BuzzFeed also reported that Renacci helped Lewandowski land a speaking slot to the City Club of Cleveland, which will take place the same day as the fundraiser.

Chuck Todd Silent As Sen. John Cornyn Repeatedly Lies About Republican Bill Gutting Health Care

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd failed to correct or contextualize Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) multiple misleading statements about the GOP Senate’s bill, which would cost millions of Americans their health insurance.

On July 13, Senate Republicans released a revised version of their bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act after the original version, which would have kicked 22 million Americans off of their health insurance, failed to secure enough votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the vote for the revised version, planned for this week, after Sen. John McCain recently underwent surgery, and two GOP senators have so far said they will not vote for the revised bill, leaving its future uncertain.

On July 16, Cornyn appeared on Meet the Press to make the case for the GOP bill and made statements misrepresenting the bill, the current insurance market under the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats’ alternatives to improve the insurance market — and Todd let him.

When asked by Todd near the beginning of the interview what it says about the bill that the vote is so close that they need McCain’s vote to move forward, Cornyn decried that the bill has “become a partisan issue,” stating, “our Democratic friends are refusing to lift a finger to help their burdened constituents who are being hurt.” But Cornyn’s protestation rings hollow given the unprecedented secret process Senate Republicans used to draft the bill, which barred any Democratic input. And the process was designed from the start to pass with only Republican votes through the budget reconciliation process, without help from Democrats.

Later, Cornyn claimed Republicans are “offering a better alternative” to the current health insurance market, bemoaning that “we know millions of people are seeing sky-high premiums, [and] unaffordable deductibles, and fleeing insurance markets.” Yet the CBO predicted that if the BCRA passes, premiums would rise until 2020, and only decline after that because the insurance plans would cover fewer services, and thus would be worth less. And the bill would cause deductibles to climb even higher — in some cases, up to 24 times higher.

At the end of the interview, Cornyn claimed Republicans are “willing to do what we can to shore up the system now, to stabilize it to make health care available to people now” and asserted that Democrats don’t want to make any changes. Cornyn’s first claim here is just ludicrous on its face; Republicans have spent years sabotaging the the Affordable Care Act, from ending risk corridor payments to insurance companies, to obstructing efforts by both states and the federal government to create the health insurance exchange marketplaces, and of course to some Republican-controlled states declining to participate in the Medicaid expansion and leaving many of their constituents uninsured. Insurers have even admitted that they are raising premiums and pulling out of exchanges because of the uncertainty in the market created by Republicans.

Democratic senators offered back in March to work with Republicans to fix problems with the insurance market if they agreed to drop their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And days ago, some House Democrats said they will introduce some fixes to the individual insurance market, which includes a reinsurance program to offset the costs of the sickest patients, removing uncertainty from the Trump administration’s threats to end some cost-sharing subsidies, moving the open enrollment season, and offering a Medicare buy-in for some older Americans.

Todd allowed Cornyn to make these statements without any pushback. Republicans have been repeatedly called out for their lies and deceptions regarding their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act — both by media outlets and even other Republicans. With the insurance coverage of millions at stake, interviewers like Chuck Todd must be better prepared to confront Republican lawmakers when they make their case with lies and misrepresentations.

 

Sunday Shows Ignore Angela Merkel Saying Europe Can No Longer Rely On The United States

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

Before today’s cable and broadcast network Sunday political talk shows aired, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in a speech that President Donald Trump’s visit to the NATO and G7 summits showed that Europe no longer sees the United States as a reliable ally. Even though most of the Sunday shows discussed or mentioned Trump’s overseas trip, none of the shows reported on this perspective of his visit.

During a reelection campaign stop in Munich, Germany, The New York Times reported Merkel “has apparently concluded that the United States of President Trump is not the reliable partner her country and continent have automatically depended on in the past.” Citing Trump’s refusal to publicly endorse the NATO doctrine of collective defense and inability to agree to common positions on climate change, Russia, and other issues, she “said on Sunday that traditional alliances were no longer as reliable as they once were, and that Europe should pay more attention to its own interests ‘and really take our fate into our own hands.’”

The NY Times further reported:

Her strong comments were a further indication that Mr. Trump’s trip did not go down well with influential European leaders and that it seems, at least from the Continent’s perspective, to have increased trans-Atlantic strains rather than diminish them.

Ms. Merkel did not mention Mr. Trump by name, and she also spoke of Britain’s decision to quit the European Union, a move seen as weakening trans-Atlantic ties and leaving the Continent more exposed.

[…]

Speaking on the campaign trail after contentious summit meetings in Belgium and Italy, Ms. Merkel said: “The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over.”

“This is what I experienced in the last few days,” she said.

Given this new context for international relations, she said, “that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands — of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia.”

Though Merkel’s comments were reported on before the Sunday shows began airing, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, CNN’s State of the Union, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and CBS’ Face the Nation all failed to mention her speech. (Face the Nation mentioned that “some not-so-happy allies were left questioning the president’s commitment to NATO and a global pact on climate change” but did not mention Merkel’s comments.)  NY Times correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum demonstrated how comments like Merkel’s could and should shape media coverage of Trump’s recent visit — something the Sunday shows failed to deliver to their viewers.


Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “NATO” and “Merkel” on the May 28 editions of CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday.