Equivalencies, And False Facts In the Name of Journalism
july 26, 2017
Welcome to worthless media where the failure of real journalism is exposed
“The media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media policy.” –Chomsky
(source: politicus usa, raw story, alternet, newshounds)
Why Doesn't The Earth Swallow Up Liars Like Jason Chaffetz? By Frances Langum 7/26/17 8:55am
From Crooks & Liars: I imagine the floors at Fox and Friends studio are treated with some tungsten alloy, or a spell has been cast on the set to protect liars....by Roger Ailes, minion of Satan.
Because the fact that Jason Chaffetz can say this on air and not get swallowed up whole by the earth and sent straight to Hell is amazing to me. Transcript via Media Matters:
JASON CHAFFETZ: Yeah, Republicans need to get a backbone. Every time the Democrats say they need to call up Jared Kushner or Donald Trump Jr., then call up Chelsea Clinton. Call up the Clintons. There we have an inspector general who issues a report stating an actual crime. You have Bill Clinton, the former president, taking millions and millions of dollars from countries that Hillary Clinton, who is then going in and doing business. So every time a Democrat says I got to talk to Donald Trump Jr., go up and bring Chelsea Clinton in there, because she was involved in the Benghazi situation. She was involved with the [Clinton] Foundation. I mean, when I tried as the chairman of the [House] Oversight Committee to bring in Ben Rhodes to talk about the Iran situation, nobody knows what the deal with Iran was. They claimed executive privilege. I think the Trumps need to actually get a lot of credit for openness and transparency. They didn't delete their emails, they provided their emails. When they wanted to talk to them, they said you can talk to us. And yet, when we did the same thing with the Democrats they gave us a stiff arm every single step of the way.
"The Senate Republicans are holding [the Trump family] to a much higher standard, than they ever did the Clintons."
He's upset that the Republican Congress isn't calling Chelsea Clinton to testify against her mother.
Alexandra Erin @alexandraerin Unfriendly reminder Jason Chaffetz helped engineer Trump's victory after saying he couldn't look his daughter in the eye if he voted for him 9:07 AM - 25 Jul 2017
The Block Panther @DeleMage Replying to @XOSeattleSlim I think I flushed a Chaffetz this morning. 7:56 AM - 26 Jul 2017
Hey, Jason, you may be safe in a Fox News studio, but watch out if you leave the building.
Fox & Friends is not sorry about false attack on New York Times that inspired Trump tweet
An inaccurate Fox News article quickly became grist for Trump.
From Think Progress: An inaccurate report by Fox & Friends quickly became a vicious attack by President Trump against the New York Times. Fox News, however, has no regrets.
The Fox News report cited comments that Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the United States Special Operations Command, made at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. Thomas said that a lead Special Operations Command received in 2015 about Baghdadi’s whereabouts was “very good” but “unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead.”
Thomas appears to have been referring to a June 2015 New York Times story about how “American intelligence agencies have extracted valuable information about the Islamic State’s leadership structure, financial operations and security measures by analyzing materials seized during a Delta Force commando raid last month that killed a leader of the terrorist group in eastern Syria.” Despite what Thomas said in Aspen, the Times story was based on a Pentagon press release that government officials knew the Times was covering, and the Pentagon raised no objections about the piece before it was published or afterward.
But on Saturday, Fox News and Fox & Friends took Thomas’ misleading comments at face value. During an on-air discussion of the story, host Pete Hegseth went as far as to say that Baghdadi would’ve been captured if not for the Times.
“We would’ve had al-Baghdadi based on the intelligence we had, except someone leaked information to the failing New York Times in 2015 — this is the previous administration,” he said.
About 25 minutes after that segment aired, Trump echoed Fox & Friends’ commentary in a tweet slamming the Times’ “sick agenda” as part of an especially reckless tweetstorm the president posted Saturday morning.
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security 3:45 AM - 22 Jul 2017
Later Saturday, the New York Times debunked Fox News’ coverage and Trump’s tweet in an article headlined, “How Trump Got It Wrong in Saying The Time ‘Foiled’ Killing of ISIS Leader.” The piece notes that “a review of the record shows that information made public in a Pentagon news release more than three weeks before the Times article, and extensively covered at the time by numerous news media outlets, would have tipped off Mr. Baghdadi that the United States was questioning an important Islamic State operative who knew of his recent whereabouts and some of his methods of communication. Further, the information in the Times article on June 8 came from United States government officials who were aware that the details would be published.”
On Sunday, The Times went a step further. Representatives of the paper wrote Fox News, requesting an “ an on-air apology and tweet… in regards to a malicious and inaccurate segment.”
“Neither the staff at Fox & Friends, nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm the relevant facts, nor did they reach out to the New York Times for comment,” the Times wrote. “We understand that the segment and story are based on a misleading assertion by Gen. Thomas speaking at a conference in Aspen. However, that does not alleviate Fox News of the obligation to seek information from all the stakeholders in a story. With this segment, Fox & Friends has demonstrated what little regard it has for reporting facts.”
But during Monday’s installment of Fox & Friends, hosts refused to apologize to the Times or even acknowledge that Fox News’ coverage was flawed. Instead, host Steve Doocy merely offered “an update to a story we reported over the weekend” and directed viewers to read “a lengthy statement” from the Times on the Fox News website.
As this is published, Trump hasn’t deleted his inaccurate tweet. Instead, he spent Monday morning once again live-tweeting Fox & Friends. --- Saturday’s tweet wasn’t the first time the president has spread misinformation by live-tweeting cable news. It’s also not the first time Fox & Friends has covered for Trump by trying to generate Obama-era scandals.
Idaho TV station forced to apologize after using activist DeRay McKesson’s photo for bank robbery story Tom Boggioni 15 JUL 2017 AT 12:34 ET
From Raw Story: A CBS-affliated TV station in Idaho has issued an apology after they illustrated a local story abut a bank robbery with a photo of Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson.
According to Business Insider, station KBOI posted a tweet (see below) on Friday night that used a photo McKesson during a July 2016 BLM protest in Baton Rouge.
The photo was accompanied by the headline: “Would-be robber arrives early at banks to find doors locked.”
Alerted to the picture by his followers, McKesson re-tweeted the story, with the disclaimer, “I haven’t been anywhere near a bank robbery. FYI.”
Commenters noted that the station’s website also featured the picture for a story entitled, “Officer wounded in deadly ambush sues Black Lives Matter.”
The photo has since been changed.
In a statement to Raw Story, McKesson wrote, “I’m confused as to how the image of my arrest in Baton Rouge was affixed to a story about a bank robbery in Idaho, especially given that the suspect wasn’t even black.”
Fox spreads fake news about sanctuary cities fast-tracking citizenship for undocumented immigrants
On Fox & Friends, Fox News’ Jillian Mele falsely claimed that sanctuary cities across the United States are allowing undocumented people to become naturalized American citizens. According to Mele, “these twenty-one cities [are] teaming up with the Naturalize NOW campaign to rush the process for illegals pouring over our borders." The claim, which originated in the conservative Washington Examiner and was also pushed on Breitbart.com, misrepresented the campaign, which “encourages eligible legal permanent residents to seek out” citizenship. According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics, there are 8.8 millionlegal permanent residents in the United States who are currently eligible for naturalization.
Of course, only lawful permanent residents are eligible for these kinds of naturalization programs, but you wouldn’t know that from two outlets mentioned above, which just happen to neglect mentioning this fact. As for Fox & Friends, the host doesn’t offer proof about how “Naturalize NOW” is fast-tracking citizenship for all these undocumented immigrants “pouring over our borders” (Fact check: our border is more secure than ever. Thanks, Obama), instead flashing the usual images of brown people getting arrested by ICE agents.
Donald Trump and others claim they can’t be nativist a-holes because they just love legal immigration and legal immigrants, but it’s clear from attempts to smear naturalization programs for lawful permanent residents that they hate them too.
The Senate’s 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed with a bipartisan 68 votes, would have allowed undocumented immigrants to go to the back of the line for a 13-year path to citizenship after paying a fine, assessed taxes, passing a background check, and fulfilling several other requirements. But House Republicans, led by former Speaker John Boehner, refused to bring it to the floor for a vote.
The fact is that as of now, there’s extraordinarily few and complicated options for undocumented immigrants to legalize their status. Remember this the next time someone asks why undocumented immigrants who have been here for years and have U.S. citizen kids just don’t apply for legal status already.
Fox News host argues stripping coverage from millions is no biggie since ‘we’re all going to die’
That’s one way to look at it.
From Think Progress: We’re all going to die. Many of us, however, hope to put that day off as long as possible.
That insight appears to be lost on Fox News’ Lisa Kennedy Montgomery. During a discussion about Senate Republicans’ decision to temporarily pull the plug on Trumpcare on Tuesday evening, Kennedy criticized progressive “hysteria” about the bill, which would cost 22 million Americans their health care, since “we’re all going to die” anyway.
“You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria,” she said. “You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s going to die or when or how many people.”
The connection between having health care and lower mortality rates is well understood. One study looking at states that enacted Medicaid expansions in the early 2000s relative to neighboring ones that didn’t found “a significant decrease in mortality over five years of follow-up.”
“A subsequently analysis showed the largest decreases were for deaths from ‘health-care-amenable’ conditions such as heart disease, infections, and cancer, which are more plausibly affected by access to medical care,” the New England Journal of Medicine writes.
Another study of “Medicaid’s mortality effects” found “one life saved for every 239 to 316 adults who gained coverage. The health care bill Senate Republicans pulled the plug on would’ve resulted in 15 million Americans losing Medicaid over the next decade.
Kennedy’s talking point was extreme, but she’s not the only conservative commentator in denial about the connection between health insurance and lower mortality rates. --- It’s not like Republican members of Congress have been using talking points that are a whole lot more effective, however. During a Fox News interview that aired Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) portrayed health care coverage as an oppressive burden Republicans that low-income Americans would freely discard. Senate Republicans have been unable to identify specific provisions of the bill that would benefit their constituents. Trump has avoiding talking about the bill, instead focusing his fire on Obamacare, which his administration is actively working to sabotage.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Maristpollreleased Wednesday finds that the Senate bill is just as unpopular as the House version, with an approval rating of 17 percent.
Why isn’t the secret Trumpcare bill front page news?
Major newspapers largely ignored the GOP’s plan to strip health care from millions on Monday.
From Think Progress: The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.
National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.
Newspapers in red areas of the country that largely supported Trump last November and stand to be hit hardest by Trumpcare also didn’t cover health care reform on their front pages on Monday.
Consider the respective front pages of Monday’s Louisville’s Courier-Journal; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Huntington, West Virginia’s Herald-Dispatch; and the Cincinnati Enquirer.
People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.
Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.
There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.
Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”
The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”
“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”
Meanwhile, The Hill reported that Senate Democrats are planning to bring the bring the work of the Senate to a halt by holding “a late-night talkathon Monday to protest the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.” “Democrats are expected to speak from the Senate floor until at least midnight protesting the GOP plan — which is still being hashed out — amid Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a public hearing, according to a Senate aide,” according to the report.
Fox News host says health care for people with pre-existing conditions is a ‘luxury’
The hosts of Trump’s favorite morning show have some bad ideas about health policy.
From Think Progress: A host of President Trump’s favorite morning show thinks coverage for preexisting conditions is a “luxury.”
“We are going to stay away from the details right now,” Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said during a discussion of the Trump/Paul Ryan health care bill on Thursday morning. “Just know this: $8 billion for preexisting conditions. A lot of people focused on that. We can understand that America is getting used to having that luxury.”
Kilmeade is referring to the $8 billion that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) provides for “high risk pools” meant to cover those with pre-existing conditions. This funding, which was tacked onto the bill this week, is House Republicans’ proposed solution for widespread concerns that the legislation will gut coverage for the people with pre-existing health issues who were discriminated against by insurers before reforms under Obamacare.
However, that amount of funding won’t be nearly enough to cover all the people with pre-existing conditions who are currently covered under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the repeal/replace package that Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) are rushing through Congress will cause millions of people to lose their health insurance next year.
Kilmeade’s co-host, Steve Doocy, also doesn’t seem concerned with people who may struggle to access health care because of health issues. Instead, Doocy focused on the fact that the legislation amounts to a massive deregulation of the insurance industry and tax cut for the rich.
“The key is getting rid of a lot of the regulations and a lot of the taxes which many small businesses have been burdened with over the last number of years,” Doocy said. “They will be out.”
Kilmeade reportedly has a salary of $200,000, while Doocy’s is more than twice that. Coincidentally, the vast majority of Trumpcare’s benefits are distributed to people with incomes of more than $200,000 annually.
House Republicans are rushing to pass the AHCA even before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a chance to assess its impact, which means it’s unclear exactly how many millions of people could lose their coverage or how much it would affect the national budget.
The New York Times’ dangerous and misleading Trumpcare coverage Both sides don’t do it.
From Think Progress: Wednesday night, on the eve of a vote to strip 24 million people of their health insurance, the New York Times published a “fact check” that exemplifies the issues with false equivalency journalism.
The piece draws a parallel between a minor misstatement by a Democratic lawmaker and outright deceptive efforts by Republican leaders to sell their health bill. Worse, it actively misrepresents a statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) and accuses Pelosi of being “misleading” with a statement that is unambiguously true.
This is part of a common genre of reporting that hunts for transgressions by members of each party and then dismally proclaims that Both Sides Do It.
Here, for example, is how the Times tweeted out its supposed fact check:
NYT Politics ✔ @nytpolitics Fact Check: On pre-existing conditions, both sides are stretching the truth http://nyti.ms/2pJAoff via @YLindaQiu 6:30 PM - 3 May 2017
To justify this claim that both political parties misleading the American people about health policy, New York Times reporter Linda Qiu cites two statements by Republican leaders and two by senior Democrats. But Qiu ends up pairing two false claims from Republicans with a minor misstatement by a senior Democrat and a true statement from Leader Pelosi.
For instance, the piece notes that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed that “under no circumstance can people be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition” under the Republican health bill. This statement is false. In its current form, the Republican bill permits insurers to charge some people with preexisting conditions such high rates that they will not be able to obtain insurance. It also enables insurers to sell inferior plans that may not cover some people’s pre-existing conditions.
Additionally, Qiu cites House Republican Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) false claim that the Republican bill “provides multiple layers of protection for people with pre-existing conditions in ways that Obamacare doesn’t do.”
Then, the Times goes on criticize Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for saying that “the current version of Trumpcare allows insurance companies to discriminate against the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.” This was an error by Pallone. This 129 million figure is actually the high end of a range estimating the number of people with such conditions.
The statement from Pelosi that is held up as “misleading,” however, is in fact fair and accurate by any reasonable standard. Worse, in the process of criticizing Pelosi, Qiu manages to misrepresent what Pelosi actually said.
Notice what Qiu did here. First, she claims that Pelosi “said the Affordable Care Act insured 17 million children with pre-existing conditions.” Then she accuses Pelosi of using the “upper limit” of a DHS estimate.
But Pelosi didn’t say that the Affordable Care Act insured 17 million children. She said that it insures “up to” 17 million children. Pelosi was clear about the fact that she was using the uppermost point of a range of possible numbers. That’s what the words “up to” mean.
Qiu is hardly the first person to write this kind of Both Sides Do It piece, which compares very real sins by members of one party to minor errors by members of the other party. This entire genre of reporting is far more deceptive than anything that Pelosi or Pallone had to say.
A reader who casually reads through Qiu’s piece — or worse, who only encounters the Times’ tweet promoting the piece — would come away with the false impression that both parties are trying to mislead people in equal measures, perhaps assuming that the whole thing is a wash. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that one party has woven falsehoods into the core of its efforts to sell a bill that will deny health care to tens of millions of people. The other party’s leader said something that is objectively true.
TV coverage of climate fell 66 percent during a record-setting year for global warming
Trump’s budget targets federal funding of PBS, the one network with the most climate coverage.
From Think Progress: In 2016, the major networks’ coverage of climate change dropped by two thirds compared to 2015.
In fact, climate coverage last year was close to its lowest levels since 2009, according to a new analysis by MediaMatters of the evening and Sunday news programs that air on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. This drop is despite historic wildfires, extreme weather events like Hurricane Matthew, and month after month of record-breaking global temperatures. And, of course, there was a presidential campaign between two people who have diametrically opposed views on the gravest preventable threat to the United States and the world.
During the campaign, the major networks spent no time examining the climate policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — despite their vast disagreement on domestic action, the Paris climate agreement, and whether the entire body of scientific inquiry is a hoax.
ABC, CBS, and NBC made up for this glaring omission by devoting an hour and 40 minutes of coverage to Hillary Clinton’s emails, as Media Matters reported in November.
In all, the outlets only spent 32 total minutes all year comparing the policy differences between Clinton and Trump.
Ironically, while the media mostly ignored the candidates’ policy, those policies don’t ignore the media.
Pr*sident Trump’s recent budget proposes to entirely eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS. Fortunately, PBS receives under 7 percent of its budget from the CPB. Still, that’s a hefty whack at the one major evening news program that is trying to do justice to the story of the century, as Media Matters points out.
This is yet another reminder that elections have consequences for the nation and the world. But anyone who exonerates the for-profit media from a major role in enabling the United States’ self-destructive lack of action on climate change isn’t paying attention. Or maybe they’re just too busy watching the network news.
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