Racially-Charged Texas Radio Host Michael Berry Renews Friendship With Ted Cruz

Texas-based radio host Michael Berry, whose racially-charged comments regularly draw widespread criticism, hosted presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on his show to discuss their long friendship and Cruz's new book, but steered clear of controversial issues like Berry's support for the Confederate flag. During the June 30 episode of The Michael Berry Show, Berry gave Cruz a platform to promote his new book and upcoming book tour. During a discussion about an old nickname Cruz got for being so serious, Cruz confirmed his long friendship with Berry: BERRY: You're not always so serious. CRUZ: Well, you have got to have fun. You can't survive a campaign without having fun, without laughing and cutting up. You and I have, more than once, had the opportunity to perhaps kill a few liver cells and laugh at the joy of life. According to Berry, his friendship with Cruz goes back over a decade. In 2012, after Cruz won the Republican primary in the Texas Senate race, Berry introduced Cruz at the victory party by saying "I am proud to say that Ted Cruz has been my friend for over 10 years." At a 2012 rally, Cruz also singled out and thanked Berry, who was standing beside him. While Berry's long history of racially-charged, sexist and Islamaphobic remarks haven't caused Cruz to distance himself from his old friend, they have drawn wide criticism. The Texas Observer called Berry "more than your average hatemonger," adding, "He's a notable local figure, a three-term former city councilmember who ran for mayor in 2003" whose Twitter account is "full of racist and xenophobic tweets." Berry has a history of referring to African-Americans as "animals" and discounting the views of minorities. After the McKinney, Texas pool party that resulted in the controversial arrest of black teenagers, Berry called the teens "jungle animals." In 2014, he said African-American students at UCLA who called for greater campus diversity were "pack animals" and suggested they "get the F over themselves." He has also claimed "black people don't believe black lives matter," and suggested that the election of Barack Obama "prompted the poorest, most violent segment" of African-Americans to clash with police in places like Baltimore. Comedian Chuck Knipp, who performs in blackface as "Shirley Q. Liquor" has often appeared on The Michael Berry Show. Knipp's act includes making light of welfare recipients and the use of Ebonics. During Knipp's latest performance, right after Berry's June 30 interview with Cruz, the comedian posed mockingly as an Affordable Care Act navigator, doling out incorrect information about the health care law. Berry has also vehemently defended the Confederate flag, claiming it represents "the heritage" of South Carolina, and has downplayed the racial motivations of the white man accused of the June 17 mass shooting at a black church in Charleston. During his interview with Cruz, Berry avoided discussion of any of these topics. Cruz has taken pains not to state a firm position on whether the Confederate flag should continue to fly over the South Carolina Statehouse, but his South Carolina campaign co-chair seems to share Berry's views. According to Politico: State Sen. Lee Bright, Cruz's South Carolina co-chair, has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of the move. Bright told the Charleston Post and Courier that taking the flag down was akin to a "Stalinist purge," a claim he expanded on in an interview with POLITICO on Tuesday. "It's not just the flag," Bright said. "They want to take down the Confederate monuments; I've gotten emails from people who want to rename streets. ... Anytime you want to basically remove the symbols of history from a state, that's something that just is very bad. ... These are honorable men who fought for their homes, their home state; to disgrace them in the name of political correctness is just wrong. They're not here to defend themselves." The full interview between Berry and Cruz, followed by blackface comedian Chuck Knipp, is below:

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 11:41 am

The Best And Worst Media Interviews With Climate-Denying Presidential Candidates

A new Media Matters study has found that outside of MSNBC, major broadcast and cable television outlets are failing to fact-check climate science denial by presidential candidates 75 percent of the time. But it's worth taking a closer look at how television program hosts have handled their face-to-face interviews with presidential candidates, since these high-profile interviews often get a substantial amount of attention and can shape media discussions for days or even weeks to come.   So how are TV hosts responding when presidential candidates spout climate science denial in real time? It depends which channel you're watching.

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 10:50 am

STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates' Climate Science Denial

Several months into the 2016 presidential campaign, the media is frequently failing to fact-check statements by presidential candidates denying the science of climate change. Seven major newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters have thus far failed to indicate that candidates' statements conflict with the scientific consensus in approximately 43 percent of their coverage, while the major broadcast and cable news outlets other than MSNBC have failed to do so 75 percent of the time.Newspapers Frequently Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Science Denial 43 Percent Of Newspaper Coverage Failed To Note That Candidates' Climate Statements Conflict With Scientific Consensus. From March 23 -- when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first candidate to announce his presidential bid -- to June 22 of this year, newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters published 54 news stories (in print and online) that included a presidential candidate denying either that climate change is occurring or that human activity is largely responsible for it. But the newspapers and wires failed to indicate that the candidate's position conflicts with the scientific consensus in 23 of those stories, or 43 percent of the coverage. Six Of 10 Associated Press Articles Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Denial. Out of the 10 Associated Press articles featuring presidential candidates denying climate science, only four noted the scientific consensus on climate change. For example, a March 23 article countered Cruz's claim that satellite images show that there has been "zero global warming" for the past 17 years by noting that "scientific experts say satellite data is the wrong way to measure global warming, which the vast majority of scientists say is happening and is caused by the burning of fossil fuels." In contrast, a June 4 AP article summarizing Gov. Rick Perry's (R-TX) stance on climate change reported that Perry called climate change science "unproven" and that he doesn't "believe that we have the settled science by any sense of the imagination," but failed to note that his statements do not align with the opinion of the vast majority of climate scientists. [Associated Press articles that fact-checked candidates' climate denial: 6/17/15, 5/27/15, 4/17/15, 3/23/15; Associated Press articles that did not: 6/18/15, 6/4/15, 6/4/15, 4/23/15, 4/13/15, 3/23/15] Reuters Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Denial In Three Of Seven Articles. Out of seven Reuters articles that included climate science denial by presidential candidates, only four indicated that the candidates' statements contradict the findings of climate scientists. For instance, a May 20 article quoted former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) as saying: "I don't think the science is clear what percentage [of climate change] is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted." The article also noted that "many scientists believe humans are largely to blame for climate change." Reuters published another article about Bush's comments the next day, which noted that "[t]he United Nations panel of climate scientists, which is composed of thousands of the world's leading climate change experts, says it is at least 95 percent probable that most of the warming since 1950 is caused by man-made greenhouse gases." However, three Reuters articles failed to mention the scientific consensus, including an April 22 article reporting that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) "has said humans are not responsible for climate change," and a May 14 article reporting that Cruz has said he "does not see evidence that global warming is occurring." [Reuters articles that fact-checked candidates' climate denial: 6/16/15, 6/14/15, 5/21/15, 5/20/15; Reuters articles that did not: 6/8/15, 5/14/15, 4/22/15] The Wall Street Journal Twice Failed To Rebut Climate Denial By A Presidential Candidate. The Wall Street Journal failed to note the scientific consensus in either of its two articles featuring a presidential candidate denying climate science. An April 22 article in The Journal's Washington Wire blog stated that Rubio "recently questioned humans' role in climate change" during his appearance on CBS' Face the Nation. The article reported that the Obama administration "say[s] the debate about this issue is settled," but did not affirm that the debate about humans' role in climate change is indeed settled within the scientific community. Additionally, a March 23 Journal article failed to note that Cruz's claim that climate change "isn't supported by science" contradicts the views of the vast majority of scientists studying the issue. [Wall Street Journal articles that failed to fact-check candidates' climate denial: 4/22/15, 3/23/15] The New York Times Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Denial In Four Of 12 Articles. The New York Times published 12 articles that included candidates denying climate science, but only eight of those articles included references to the consensus among scientists that climate change is happening and driven mainly by human activity. For instance, in an April 27 article stating that most of the Catholics running for the Republican presidential nomination are at odds with Pope Francis because they question the science of human-caused climate change, The Times mentioned that "the vast majority of scientists" agree that "climate change is induced by human activity." By contrast, a June 16 Times article reported that Donald Trump called climate change a "hoax," but didn't mention the scientific consensus on climate change. [New York Times articles that fact-checked climate denial: 6/17/15, 6/16/15, 6/16/15, 6/5/15, 5/28/15, 4/27/15, 4/23/15, 3/23/15; New York Times articles that did not: 6/16/15, 4/27/15, 4/13/15, 4/4/15] USA Today Failed To Noted Scientific Consensus In One Of Three Articles Containing Climate Science Denial By A Candidate. USA Today referenced the scientific consensus in two of the three articles it published in which candidates denied climate science. For example, in a March 27 article, USA Today reported that Bush has "raised skepticism about human-induced climate change ... which scientists say is already leading to sea-level flooding in South Florida." Additionally, a June 15 USA Today article reported that while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) accused the pope of being "alarmist" on climate change, "[s]cientists, however, applaud the pope for urging moral choices in a discussion dominated by the recitation -- or among deniers, the misrepresentation -- of facts."  However, USA Today's On Politics blog did not mention the scientific consensus in a May 29 article which stated that Santorum "compared scientists convinced of climate change to those who once called the world flat." [USA Today articles that fact-checked climate denial: 6/15/15, 3/27/15; USA Today articles that did not: 5/29/15] The Washington Post Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Denial In Seven Of 20 Articles. Out of the 20 news stories published by The Washington Post (including online print) that included climate science denial by a presidential candidate, 13 articles indicated that the candidate's position conflicts with the views of the vast majority of climate scientists. For example, a March 26 article on The Post's Fact Checker blog cited numerous reasons why Cruz's statement that there has been "zero global warming" over the last 17 years is inaccurate. The article also stated that "[t]he notion that concerns over global warming is no longer backed by science is not an accurate portrayal of the issue," and assigned Cruz's comments Three Pinocchios, a rating reserved for "[s]ignificant factual error and/or obvious contradictions." However, in a May 20 article, The Post reported that "Jeb Bush believes that the Earth's climate is changing -- but don't just blame humans." The article quoted Bush saying that climate science is unclear "on what percentage is man-made" and that it is "arrogant" to "say the science is decided," but did not indicate that his remarks conflict with the scientific consensus that human activities are the primarily cause of climate change. [Washington Post articles that fact-checked climate denial: 6/15/15, 6/10/15, 6/4/15, 5/21/15, 4/18/15, 4/15/15, 4/14/15, 4/7/15, 3/26/15, 3/26/15, 3/25/15, 3/24/15, 3/24/15; Washington Post articles that did not: 6/1/15, 5/20/15, 4/23/15, 4/22/15, 4/20/15, 3/23/15, 3/23/15] The Los Angeles Times Did Not Publish Any Articles Containing Candidates' Climate Denial During The Time Period Covered In This Study. TV Networks Other Than MSNBC Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Denial Three-Quarters Of The Time Outside Of MSNBC, Major TV Outlets Failed To Fact-Check Candidates' Climate Science Denial 75 Percent Of The Time. From March 23 to June 22, the major broadcast and cable news networks aired 37 segments featuring a presidential candidate denying climate science, and 12 of these segments (32 percent) failed to note that the candidate's position contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change. MSNBC accounted for the vast majority of television coverage noting the scientific consensus, as TV outlets other than MSNBC collectively failed to fact-check candidates' climate science denial 75 percent of the time. In Only CBS Segment Featuring Climate Denial By A Presidential Candidate, Face The Nation's Schieffer Failed To Fact-Check Rubio. In an April 19 interview, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Rubio to clarify an earlier statement where he said that humans are not responsible for climate change. Rubio responded: "What I said is that humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of those people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe the climate is changing, because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing. The question is what percentage of that -- or what is due to human activity." Schieffer quickly moved on to a discussion of social issues without noting the consensus among climate scientists that human activity is the primary cause of global warming. [CBS segment that failed to fact-check climate denial: Face the Nation, 4/19/15] In Only NBC Segment Featuring Climate Denial By A Candidate, Meet the Press' Todd Failed To Challenge Huckabee's Anti-Science Claims. On the June 21 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd failed to note that former Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R-AR) position on climate change runs counter to the view of the vast majority of climate scientists. When asked by Todd whether he believed in man-made climate change, Huckabee responded, "Whether it's man-made or not, I know that when I was in college, I was being taught that if we didn't act very quickly that we were going to be entering a global freezing. And, you know, go back and look at the covers of Time and Newsweek from the early '70s and we were told if we didn't do something by 1980, we'd be popsicles. Now we're told that we're all burning up. Science is not as settled on that as it is on some things." Todd simply responded, "Alright, so, if president, climate change is not in your top of your agenda." [NBC segment that failed to fact-check climate denial: Meet the Press, 6/21/15] CNN's Jake Tapper Fact-Checked Climate Denial, But Three Other CNN Segments Failed To Note Scientific Consensus. The March 23 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 featured two separate segments that referenced climate science denial by Cruz. In one segment, Cooper said Cruz "mock[s] the notion of global warming," and in the other segment, correspondent Jeff Zeleny called Cruz a "climate change skeptic." Additionally, on the March 23 edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront, Zeleny stated that Cruz has made "controversial comments about the science of climate change" and aired Cruz's remark that "many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem because the science doesn't back them up." While Erin Burnett OutFront did air a clip of California Gov. Jerry Brown criticizing Cruz's climate remarks, none of these CNN segments informed viewers that Cruz's statements contradict the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.  By contrast, on the June 4 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, Tapper told Santorum that he was contradicting "the overwhelming majority of scientists" by disputing that "humans are contributing to climate change." (After the date range of this study but before its publication, Tapper also fact-checked Trump's climate denial on the June 28 edition of CNN's State of the Union -- a weekend show not surveyed in the study -- by noting that "the overwhelming majority of scientists say [climate change is] real and it's man-made.") [CNN segments that fact-checked climate denial: The Lead with Jake Tapper, 6/4/15; State of the Union, 6/28/15; CNN segments that did not: Anderson Cooper 360, 3/23/15, 3/23/15; Erin Burnett OutFront, 3/23/15] On Fox Broadcasting Co., Chris Wallace Rebutted Santorum's Denial -- But On Fox News, Hosts Defended Candidates' Anti-Science Remarks. Santorum's climate science denial was forcefully refuted on Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, but it was a different story on Fox's cable outlet Fox News Channel. Fox News Channel aired four segments that included statements by Rubio or Cruz denying climate science, and in every instance, the hosts either defended the candidates or attacked media coverage of their statements. On the June 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace conducted an interview with Santorum, in which Wallace noted that Santorum said the pope "should stay out of the debate on climate change," and aired a clip of Santorum saying: "The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists." Wallace then challenged Santorum's climate science denial, noting that the vast majority of "scientists who have studied this say that humans, man -- human activity, contributes to climate change." Wallace then added: "So, I guess the question would be, if [the pope] shouldn't talk about [climate change], should you?" Wallace's remarks stand in stark contrast to the way that candidates' climate science denial was handled on the Fox News Channel. On the May 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly showed a clip of Rubio stating, "I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing." O'Reilly claimed that a subsequent Los Angeles Times headline, "Marco Rubio says human activity isn't causing climate change," was evidence of the mainstream press attempting to "marginalize anyone with strong opinions" and brand conservatives as "kooks and extremists."  O'Reilly added that candidates who are "skeptical of climate change" are "brutally assaulted" because they don't submit to "uber-liberal thought." O'Reilly also claimed on the March 25 edition of his show that Joy Behar, the co-host of ABC's The View, was being "foolish and unfair" by arguing that Cruz is unfit to be president because he believes that "the facts do not prove man-made global warming." On the March 25 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity brought up Cruz's climate change denial only to criticize the media's coverage of it, claiming "it didn't take long for the mainstream liberal media and those on the left to attack him" for "his stance on climate change." And on the June 19 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, senior national correspondent John Roberts reported that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has "declared climate change is real, he just doesn't know how much is man-made," but failed to mention that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is chiefly responsible for climate change. [Fox Broadcasting Co. segment that fact-checked climate denial: Fox News Sunday, 6/7/15; Fox News segments that did not: The O'Reilly Factor, 5/11/15, 3/25/15; Hannity, 6/17/15, 6/16/15, 3/25/15; Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/19/15, 3/23/15] ABC's The View Twice Addressed Candidates' Climate Science Denial, And Hosts Debunked Denial Both Times. ABC's The View twice discussed candidates' climate science denial and each time noted that their comments contradict the scientific consensus on the issue. During a discussion of Cruz's candidacy announcement during the March 23 edition of The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg described Cruz as a "vocal skeptic of climate change," which prompted co-host Rosie Perez to say of Cruz: "You cannot exaggerate and falsify the facts. And for him to say that the scientists are not onboard in regards to climate change was wrong." And on the April 14 edition of the show, co-host Michelle Collins said that Rubio "goes against the science of 97 percent of scientists [who] say that we're going through this climate change. He's not on board." [ABC segments that fact-checked climate denial: The View, 4/14/15, 3/23/15] MSNBC Consistently Debunked Climate Science Denial In All 21 Segments That Referenced Candidates' Anti-Science Remarks. While other TV outlets largely failed to fact-check presidential candidates' climate science denial, MSNBC consistently challenged candidates' remarks by pointing to the scientific consensus. The network did so in all 21 segments that referenced anti-science remarks by a candidate, with The Ed Show airing 12 such segments, followed by PoliticsNation (3), All In with Chris Hayes (3), Hardball (2), and NOW with Alex Wagner (1). For example, the May 6 edition of The Ed Show featured a segment on the threat that climate change-induced sea level rise poses to Miami Beach, and included footage of Rubio stating, "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate." Rubio's remarks were followed by a discussion between host Ed Schultz and University of Miami geological science professor and department chair Harold Wanless. When asked by Schultz to respond to what he called "the blanket comment that's made out there by the deniers, that human activity is not causing climate change," Wanless replied: "Well, they're simply wrong. Since about 1950, the buildup of greenhouse gases has been driving our climate." The March 23 edition of All In with Chris Hayes featured footage of Cruz's appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he stated: "Many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem because the science doesn't back them up." Hayes then cited Cruz's position on climate change as one of the reasons he didn't believe Cruz should be president, adding, "Ted Cruz is, even by the low standards of the Republican field, one of the most forcefully ignorant politicians on climate change that we have. He is an outright denialist and a symbol of a much, much larger problem. It's 2015. There`s robust -- robust -- scientific consensus that climate change is real." And on the May 21 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews aired footage of Bush declaring of climate change, "I don't think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural." Matthews responded: "There's an overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that climate change is, in fact, man-made. Among peer-reviewed scientific literature since 1991, 97.1 percent have endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming." [MSNBC segments that fact-checked climate denial: The Ed Show, 5/29/15, 5/27/15, 5/22/15, 5/20/15, 5/18/15, 5/7/15, 5/6/15, 4/14/15, 4/13/15, 4/9/15, 4/7/15, 3/24/15; All In with Chris Hayes, 6/17/15, 5/21/15, 3/23/15; Hardball, 5/22/15, 5/21/15; PoliticsNation, 6/3/15, 4/22/15, 3/23/15; Now with Alex Wagner, 4/22/15] PBS Newshour Did Not Air Any Segments That Contained Candidates' Climate Denial During Time Period Covered In This Study. Vast Majority Of Climate Scientists Agree That Human Activity Is Driving Climate Change Study: 97 Percent Of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature Affirms Man-Made Climate Change. A peer-reviewed paper published at Environmental Research Letters found that the vast majority of the scientific literature that stated a position on climate change acknowledged that human activity is driving it: We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991-2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. [Environmental Research Letters, 5/15/13] Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change: It Is "Extremely Likely" That Human Influence Is Dominant Cause Of Recent Warming. In its fifth assessment report on the state of climate science, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that "[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia ...  It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." The IPCC defines "extremely likely" as having 95-100% probability. [IPCC, Summary for Policymakers, 2013] Nearly 200 Scientific Organizations Acknowledge Human-Caused Warming. NASA states that "most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing" the position that recent global warming is very likely due to human activity, including "nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations." [National Aeronautics and Space Administration, accessed 6/11/15]

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 10:43 am

After Marriage: How To Ask Smart LGBT Questions In 2016

In the wake of the Supreme Court's historic marriage equality ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, media outlets have a chance to break new ground in their coverage of the fight for LGBT equality. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, journalists should be asking questions that advance the national conversation about LGBT equality while avoiding the pitfalls that plagued coverage of the debate over marriage equality. For the past several years, media questions about LGBT equality during presidential election seasons have largely focused on where candidates stand on same-sex marriage. These questions typically elicit rehearsed and uninformative sound bite responses; candidates appeal to religion and tradition, which tends to end the discussion about LGBT issues before it even begins. Now that the Supreme Court has effectively rendered the legal debate over marriage equality moot, news outlets should be prepared to ask the 2016 presidential candidates smarter, tougher questions about the fight for LGBT equality: Go Beyond Marriage As many outlets have already noted, the fight for LGBT equality isn't over now that marriage equality is the law of the land.  Some of the major issues still facing the LGBT community include: "Religious Freedom" Laws. Several states across the country  are considering "religious freedom" laws like the ones in Indiana and Arkansas, which aim to provide a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cite their religious beliefs as a justification to discriminate against LGBT people. Several candidates have already struggled to explain their positions on these laws, which are part of a growing  national campaign led by anti-LGBT groups. Non-Discrimination Protections. Contrary to public opinion, federal law still doesn't prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, public accommodations, and a host of other areas. LGBT groups are gearing up to push for an omnibus non-discrimination bill at the federal level. Meanwhile, conservative lawmakers are pushing for laws that would deny transgender people access to appropriate public restrooms. Asking about non-discrimination protections, which enjoy broad public support, is an easy way to explore a candidate's position LGBT equality. Reparative Therapy. "Ex-gay" or reparative therapy is a harmful and discredited practice that attempts to alter someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have outlawed reparative therapy for minors, and 20 other states are considering similar legislation. In April, President Obama officially announced support for banning the "ex-gay" practice for minors. Though it's not often discussed by major media outlets, a candidate's position on "ex-gay" therapy says a lot about how beholden they are to the socially-conservative fringe. The list of important LGBT issues doesn't end there: transgender military service, LGBT youth homelessness, detention of LGBT immigrants, etc. These issues raise important questions about a candidate's support or disdain for the LGBT community without devolving into predictable tropes about tradition and religion. Don't Settle For The Faith Excuse Political candidates often cite their religious beliefs as a means to avoid being branded as homophobic or transphobic when they hold anti-LGBT policy positions. But citing faith as a way to sidestep tough questions about LGBT equality should be a non-starter; most religious people actually support LGBT equality. Given that media outlets have historically had trouble separating anti-LGBT animus from sincere, mainstream religious beliefs, journalists should be prepared to press candidates who cite religion as their reasons for opposing LGBT equality. What exactly about a candidate's faith motivates him or her to oppose protections for LGBT people, and why does the candidate disagree with the majority of religious Americans?  Rely On Evidence Candidates who oppose legal protections for LGBT people typically cite concerns about religious liberty or a reluctance to bestow "special rights," among other popular conservative talking points. These concerns have been debunked time and time again, contradicted by the experiences of states and cities that have had similar protections in place for years. Rather than letting candidates get away with their anti-LGBT talking points, journalists should be prepared to ask follow-up questions that force candidates to provide evidence or examples of their horror stories. In the post-Obergefell media landscape, the fight for LGBT equality will turn its focus to the broader issue of discrimination against LGBT people. Journalists who want to advance the story and avoid rehashing tired debates about same-sex marriage have an unprecedented opportunity to ask smart questions that cut through polished talking points and get to the heart of candidates' positions on LGBT equality.  Photo via Flickr.com user Tony Webster 

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 10:31 am

Wash. Times Fantasy Of Feds Seizing Clinton Email Server Based On Wildly Misrepresenting Gov't Factsheet

The Washington Times misleadingly cited a government factsheet to claim that a "U.S. policy" could authorize the confiscation of Hillary Clinton's personal email server. In fact, the authority to which the Times refers explicitly notes that its "advisories are NOT binding upon U.S. Government departments and agencies." On July 1, the Times published an article headlined "Admission Of Hillary's Classified Emails Opens Door For Feds To Seize Her Servers." The report suggested that because some information on Clinton's State Department emails has now been retroactively classified, the NSA could seize the private server on which she stored the emails in order to "destroy" it. The emails in question are part of a collection of the former Secretary of State's official business correspondence, which was conducted on a non-government email account, and which the State Department is currently reviewing and releasing to the public. According to the Times, the classification of "two dozen" of her thousands of emails could "trigger a U.S. policy that authorizes the government to take control of her private server and sanitize the contents": The State Department on Wednesday conceded that two dozen of Hillary Clinton's emails did contain classified information, a fact that could trigger a U.S. policy that authorizes the government to take control of her private server and sanitize the contents. A former senior intelligence official told The Washington Times the policy also requires the government to check other Internet paths her secret information could have taken. The procedures are spelled out by the National Security Agency's special panel on controlling leaked secrets, called the Committee on National Security Systems. It published a policy, "Securing Data and Handling Spillage Events," that fits Mrs. Clinton's unauthorized private server kept at her home while she was secretary of state, according to the retired officer's reading of the regulations.

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 8:32 am

O'Reilly: Could Bakers Be Forced To Make Cakes For Nazis After SCOTUS' Marriage Ruling?

From the July 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor: O'REILLY: The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, they all have to cater weddings now, gay weddings,Julie, as you know, or they can get punished by the civil authorities. Are you okay with that? JULIE ROGINSKY: I am okay with that because they're a place of public accommodation. O'REILLY: Are you okay with a baker saying that he's not going to make any goods for a Nazi party rally? ROGINSKY: I am okay with a baker saying that if he's going to do straight marriages -- O'REILLY: No, no, no. Answer my question. Nazi party comes in, American Nazi party, they're having a picnic, and they do, and they want the baker to bake them a bunch of cakes and the baker says get the hell out of here. I'm not having -- ROGINSKY: Very different. O'REILLY: Wait a minute. They come in, they are known national socialists, they want a cake. The baker says, 'no, my belief system is that you people are wrong. I'm not baking you a cake.' Do they have to bake them a cake?  ROGINSKY: But Bill, Nazis are not a protected class. I believe that gays and lesbians should be a protected class. Right now, they are not. O'REILLY: They are not a protected class now.  ROGINSKY: They are not, but they should be.  O'REILLY: So the baker, should he have to bake the cake for the Nazis? ROGINSKY: No, because you can choose to be a Nazi, you cannot choose to be gay or straight.  [...] O'REILLY: This speaks to individual liberty to me, and I'm not comparing, and I know the websites, the far-left critics will do this. [crosstalk] Wait wait, I have to get this out, because I'm going to be attacked, they're going to say I'm comparing gays to Nazis. That's clearly not what I'm doing. It's an individual liberty question. (emphasis added) Previously:  O'Reilly Compares Anti-Discrimination Protections For LGBT People To Forcing Black Guest To Attend KKK Meeting Fox's O'Reilly: If "You Oppose Gay Marriage, You Could Get Hurt" How Fox News Fought, Lost, And Rebooted Its Fight Against Marriage Equality

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 7:45 am

O'Reilly: Religious Americans "Are In Danger" If Hillary Clinton Becomes President

From the July 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:Previously: O'Reilly Lashes Out At Obama For Rainbow White House Display After Marriage Equality Ruling O'Reilly: "We Have An Activist [Supreme] Court," Unable "To Put Ideology Aside" In Recent Rulings How Fox News Fought, Lost, And Rebooted Its Fight Against Marriage Equality

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 7:30 am

Fox's Gasparino: Obama Administration Has Been On A "Jihad Against Business"

From the July 1 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:Previously: Fox's Gasparino Calls Public Pensions "Ponzi Schemes," Wishes More "Stigma" Was Attached To Welfare Fox's Gasparino: J.P Morgan Chase Fine Is "McCarthyism" From The Obama Administration Fox Business' Gasparino: Obama Claims He Isn't A Dictator, But "Guess What, He Acts Like One Sometimes"

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 3:57 am

On CNN, Angelo Carusone Discusses Macy's Business Decision To Dump Donald Trump

From the July 1 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom:Related: First On CNN: Macy's Dumps Donald Trump Previously: Fox News Rallies To Defend Donald Trump After NBC Announces Split O'Reilly Gives Donald Trump A Platform To Continue Calling Latin American Immigrants Rapists And Criminals MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart Confronts Donald Trump Over His Insulting Remarks About Immigrants Univision Drops Trump's Miss Universe In Response To His "Insulting Remarks About Mexican Immigrants"

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 3:35 am

Washington Post Debunks Fox Favorite Claim That Rolling Back Stop-And-Frisk Policies Increases Crime

A Washington Post fact-check debunks the right-wing media myth that ending controversial stop-and-frisk policies that allow police officers to stop and search pedestrians they consider to be suspicious, has led to an increase in crime, a claim frequently made on Fox News.   Washington Post Fact Check Debunks Claim That Eliminating Stop-And-Frisk Increased Crime  Wash. Post: No Evidence Stop-And-Frisk Reduced Crime.  The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog found no evidence to support a claim by Gov. Mike Huckabee that "shootings are up 20 percent in New York City" because of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's reversal of "some of the policies of previous mayors," notably stop-and-frisk - a New York City Police Department  practice ruled unconstitutional in 2013. Kessler pointed to a study by the New York Civil Liberties Union showing that New York City's "decline in shootings and murders did not correspond with increase in stops." Kessler also pointed out that crime continued to fall in 2013 and 2014 as the policy was slowed down, and in fact 2013 was "a historically low year" for shootings: By the time de Blasio took office, the program already was on its way out. After the number of stops peaked at nearly 700,000 in 2011, it began declining. In 2013, there were fewer than 200,000 stops. In 2014, there were just under 46,000, according to NYPD data. Supporters of the program warned that violent crime would go up without stop-and-frisk. But violent crime was down across the city in 2014, the New York Times found. [...] The number of violent crimes in New York City has decreased from 2000 to 2014. The number of shooting victims are down nearly 20 percent since five years ago, and 77 percent since 22 years ago, according to NYPD. Whether stop-and-frisk effectively reduced murder and violent crime is debatable. A 2014 New York Civil Liberties Union report showed that the decline in shootings and murders did not correspond with increase in stops.  [The Washington Post, 7/1/15]   Wash. Post: 98.5 Percent Of Frisks Found No Weapon. The Post also noted that "98.5 percent of the 2.3 million frisks" conducted between 2004 and 2012 did not result in a weapon being found: Whether stop-and-frisk effectively reduced murder and violent crime is debatable. A 2014 New York Civil Liberties Union report showed that the decline in shootings and murders did not correspond with increase in stops. The federal judge who ruled the practice unconstitutional also found that in 98.5 percent of the 2.3 million frisks between 2004 and 2012, no weapon was found. [The Washington Post, 7/1/15]     Fox News Has A History Of Erroneously Blaming Stop-And-Frisk Rollback For Increased Crime Bill O'Reilly: Bill De Blasio Is Allowing Criminals To "Roam Around With ... Guns." On the May 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly blamed New York City's crime increase on Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to abandon stop-and-frisk policies. O'Reilly characterized the mayor's actions as public endangerment, saying de Blasio was allowing criminals to "roam around with the guns." Guest Lis Wiehl claimed that "the rollback of stop-and-frisk means there are more criminals out there carrying guns." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/12/15] Fox Host Guilfoyle: New York's Increase In Rapes Can Be Tied  "In Part To Stopping Stop-And-Frisk." On the June 9 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle linked an increase in rapes in New York during the first months of 2015 to "stopping stop-and-frisk": GUILFOYLE: The problem is, there are real issues right now on the streets of New York that I think can also tie in, in part, to stopping stop and frisk. [Fox News, The Five, 6/9/15]  Fox's Andrea Tantaros: The Drop In Stop-And-Frisk Tactics "Has Reportedly Emboldened Criminals." On the June 5 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros cited the decrease of New York's stop-and-frisk policy as the reason for an uptick in violent crime, saying it had "reportedly emboldened criminals." Tantaros praised the policy, saying it helped decrease black-on-black crime: TANTAROS: Well, a dramatic drop in stop-and-frisk encounters in New York City has reportedly emboldened criminals and had a chilling effect on the way police are doing their jobs.  [...] When you look at the stats on stop-and-frisk, stop-and-frisk was put into place, New York City, it helped clean up the city. The proactive policing policies of Rudy Giuliani turned the city around from years of progressive failures. And really it benefits the black-on-black crime. It really helped get rid of that the most. [Fox News,Outnumbered, 6/5/15]  Geraldo Rivera: Stop-And-Frisk "Has Been The Most Effective Tool To Keeping Guns Off The Street." On the June 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Geraldo Rivera endorsed stop-and-frisk, saying the policy "has been the most effective tool to keeping guns off the street."  Rivera also described de Blasio's rollback of stop-and-frisk as "irresponsible": RIVERA: I lived through the bad old days where there were over 2,200 murders every year. 2,200 murders every year, now we're down to 300.  One of the great tools the cops have used to reduce this carnage, which, after all, is mostly involving victims who are black or brown, minority kids are the ones whose lives have been saved. From 2,200 to 300 a year and the tactic of stop, question and frisk, which is constitutional, based on reasonable suspicion, has been the most effective tool to keeping guns off the streets. [...] Remember that of the, the difference between 2,200 and 300, so now you have 1800, 1900 lives every year, saved, times the twenty, that's like 30,000 minority lives in New York City alone have been saved by stop-and-frisk. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/3/15]

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 2:42 am

Mainstream Media Fail To Question Christie's "Truth-Teller" Persona, Missing Glaring Distortions

Mainstream media consistently fail to question GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie's self-promotion as a "straight talking" "truth-teller," but he consistently lies and misrepresents his record in interviews and speeches.Mainstream Media Fail To Question Christie's "Truth-Teller" And "Straight Talking" Self-Promotion NBC's Matt Lauer Fails To Challenge Christie's Vow To Inspire The Country "By Telling The Truth." On the July 1 edition of NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer failed to challenge Christie after he said he would inspire the country "by telling the truth." The aired portion of their interview concluded with the following exchange: LAUER: What could you do to inspire this country? A country that seems desperate for inspiration?  CHRISTIE: First off by telling them the truth. I think they think all too often politicians just tell them the version of the truth they think will sell that day. I have never been accused of that. So, I'm gonna tell the truth as I see it. [NBC, Today, 7/1/15] Time: Christie's Campaign Launch Audience "Receptive To His Pitch At Compromise And Truth-Telling." In a June 30 article, Time wrote that Christie's audience at his campaign launch speech was "receptive to his pitch at compromise and truth-telling," and prominently featured his self-promotion as a straight talker: "I'm not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and figures out what you want to hear," Christie said, acknowledging he wasn't running to be "prom king" or even popular. "I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And that's what America needs right now." [Time, 6/30/15] CNN: Christie Has Cultivated An Image As A "Straight Talker," Saying, "' We Must Tell Each Other The Truth About Problems We Have.'" In a June 30 profile of Christie's campaign announcement, CNN highlighted Christie's "straight talker" public persona, noting that his campaign slogan is "Tell It Like It Is": "I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt or too direct and saying what's on my mind just a little bit too loudly," Christie said in a video released over the weekend as part of his campaign, which uses the motto "Tell It Like It Is." [...] In New Jersey, where his approval ratings have suffered in recent months, Christie has crafted an image as an aggressive straight talker. His upfront -- even brash -- style of dealing with those who question him in public has earned the governor both praise and criticism, but could rub voters the wrong way outside New Jersey. [CNN, 6/30/15] NY Times: Christie "Embracing His Role As A Political Truth-Teller." In a May 22 article profiling Jeb Bush and Christie's efforts to court southern voters, The New York Times said that Christie was "embracing his role as a political truth-teller": Mr. Christie, embracing his role as a political truth-teller, said Republicans could not take back the White House by nominating "the most charming nominee" and outlined three speeches he had given recently about entitlement spending, the tax code and national security. Seeking to distinguish himself from the others, Mr. Christie also recalled his role as United States attorney in New Jersey after the Sept. 11th attacks, taking an implied-but-unmistakable shot at Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is leading the effort to block a Senate extension of the Patriot Act. Mr. Christie said critics of the intelligence-gathering law had "no experience dealing with what I dealt with." [The New York Times, 5/22/15] Fortune's Easton: Christie's Proposal To Cut Social Security "Plays Into The Narrative That He's Authentic And Brave And Tells It Like It Is." On the April 16 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fortune columnist and Fox contributor Nina Easton said that Christie's proposal to cut social security benefits "plays into the narrative that he's authentic and brave and tells it like it is." [Fox News, Happening Now, 4/16/15] But Christie's Past Statements Are Littered With Falsehoods And Misrepresentations Christie Lied About Court Ruling On His Pension Reform Plan. On the June 14 edition of ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Christie bragged that, "We just won a major court decision supporting the pension reforms that we put into place in 2011." According to the NJ.com, those reforms were found unconstitutional. [ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 6/14/15; NJ.com, 6/9/15]   NY Times: Christie Vowed To Keep Public Employees' Pensions "Sacred," Before Cutting Them. According to a New York Times op-ed, Christie "vowed that he would hold public employees' pensions 'sacred,' and then made cutting those pensions a centerpiece of his new administration." [The New York Times, 7/1/15] Christie Falsely Told A Crowd Of Anti-Gun Control Voters That He Had Nothing To Do With New Jersey's Gun Control Measures. In a June 27 op-ed, the New Jersey Star Ledger's Tom Moran pointed out that Christie lied about his own gun control measures in an effort to woo southern anti-gun control voters: In June in South Carolina, Christie danced for the gun rights crowd by saying this: "I know there's a lot of perception about my view on gun rights because I'm from New Jersey and because the laws are the way they are. But these laws were being made long before I was governor and no new ones have been made since I've been governor." Again, not close. Christie signed one law increasing penalties for unlawful possession of guns, another to ban those on the terrorism watch list from buying guns, and a third that required the state to cooperate with the federal criminal background check system. [NJ.com, 6/27/15] Christie Misrepresented Ongoing Bridgegate Investigation. In May, Christie told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that there would be no further charges brought in the investigation of the Bridgegate scandal, saying, "The U.S. Attorney said in his press conference a few weeks ago there will be no further charges in the bridge matter. He said it affirmatively three or four times." However, according to NJ.com, U.S. attorney Paul Fishman implied that the investigation will continue:  Note how carefully he parsed his words, saying he would not file more charges "based on the evidence that is currently available to us." He's working to make more evidence available by squeezing [former Port Authority official Bill] Baroni and [former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget] Kelly. Game on. [...] But this isn't over, not by a long shot. Fishman was asked about that, too, at his press conference. Here's what he said: "It's like the end of Downton Abbey. You've got to wait for a whole nother season." [Fox News, The Kelly File, 5/18/15; NJ.com, 5/1/15]

Posted by on 1 July 2015 | 1:16 am

O'Reilly Gives Donald Trump A Platform To Continue Calling Latin American Immigrants Rapists And Criminals

From the June 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:Previously: Fox News Rallies To Defend Donald Trump After NBC Announces Split O'Reilly Justifies Donald Trump's Vitriol: Maybe He Was Inartfully "Highlighting A Problem ... That Is Harming The Nation" Hannity Defends Donald Trump's Incendiary Comments After NBC Announces Intentions To Sever Business Ties "They Are Killers": Fox's Megyn Kelly Allows GOP Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump To Vilify Mexican Immigrants

Posted by on 30 June 2015 | 7:38 am

"Greece On Steroids": Fox's Cavuto Attacks New Overtime Rules That Will Help Millions Of Workers

Fox News host and senior vice president Neil Cavuto responded to President Obama's expansion of federally guaranteed overtime pay to 5 million additional American workers by fear-mongering that the regulatory change would lead the United States down a path toward financial ruin similar to Greece while hurting the workers it is meant to protect. In a June 29 op-ed in The Huffington Post, President Obama announced his plan to update federal overtime regulations in 2016 by increasing the salary threshold at which qualifying employees are legally guaranteed overtime pay. Under current law, salaried employees earning less than $23,660 annually are legally required to be paid time-and-a-half when their position requires that they work in excess of 40 hours per week. Obama's proposal would more than double the income threshold to qualify for overtime -- covering qualifying employees earning up to $50,400 annually, or roughly 40 percent of the salaried workforce. Current overtime standards only extend to about 8 percent of salaried workers. In response to the president's proposal, Cavuto expressed concern that paying more Americans for the hours they work could contribute to an economic disaster in the United States. On the June 30 edition of Fox's Your World, Cavuto proclaimed that the U.S. was becoming "Greece on steroids," a reference to the disastrous fiscal and financial circumstances that have unraveled the comparatively tiny European economy for more than six years. Cavuto was joined by discredited economist Art Laffer, who lamented the "huge burden on these companies" that will now be required to adequately pay their employees: Despite Cavuto's dire predictions, economists expect that expanded overtime protections will be a boon for the American workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the majority of the workers who will directly benefit from the overtime change are women, and nearly 30 percent of affected workers are minorities. In an op-ed co-authored with philanthropist Nick Hanauer, economist Robert Reich blasted overtime opponents for warning of "unintended consequences" from stronger wages "without an ounce of empirical data to back it up." They also likened the policy to a "minimum wage hike for the middle class," and explained that it will either boost workers' pay or give them additional leisure time while adding new jobs. Economist Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argued in a blog published by The Washington Post that expanding overtime protections is "a critical labor standard with the potential to boost the paychecks of millions of middle-wage workers." Fox has a long history of attacking overtime protections, recently complaining that the then-rumored proposal amounted to "left-wing economic engineering" and was "probably going to hurt a lot of other people."

Posted by on 30 June 2015 | 6:12 am

Associated Press Leaves Out Racism Controversy While Reporting On Meeting Between Rand Paul And Cliven Bundy

The Associated Press' (AP) report on a meeting between lawless Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) completely ignored the nationwide controversy Bundy sparked in 2014 when he made a series of racist comments about "the Negro." Paul himself repudiated Bundy at the time for his "offensive" commentary, a fact that was also missing from the AP article. According to the AP, Bundy and Paul met during a June 29 campaign event in Mesquite, Nevada. Bundy said of Paul to the AP, "In general, I think we're in tune with each other." Politico additionally reported that the two men spoke for 45 minutes. In its report, AP described the April 2014 armed standoff between Bundy supporters and federal law enforcement agents as "one of the more dramatic conflicts over land rights in recent years," but made no mention of Bundy's infamous racist commentary or that Paul had previously condemned him: Paul's meeting with Bundy recalled one of the more dramatic conflicts over land rights in recent years. Hundreds of armed supporters joined Bundy in April 2013 to stop a roundup of his cattle near Bunkerville about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The Bureau of Land Management says he owes more than $1 million in grazing fees over more than 20 years. Bundy argues the federal government has no authority there. Indeed, in April 2014 violence nearly broke out as armed militia members pointed guns at federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management over Bundy's decades-long refusal to pay grazing fees for his use of federal land despite several court orders. (While the AP article presents the question of whether Bundy owes fees as an open question, journalists who have covered the Nevada rancher's legal dispute say his claims are baseless.) Significantly, the AP article made no mention of the major controversy after The New York Times reported on racist remarks made by Bundy. In comments to supporters about "the Negro," Bundy suggested that African-Americans may have been better off as slaves and that "[t]hey abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton." After the Times' report, Media Matters posted video of Bundy's comments, and Bundy's champions in conservative politics and media largely fled his cause. Sen. Paul was among those who condemned Bundy, releasing a statement saying that the rancher's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." While the AP excluded mention of the controversy and Paul's previous rebuke of Bundy, those details made it into reports on the meeting between Bundy and Paul by Politico and CNN.com. Politico reported that "Paul's presidential campaign did not respond to a request to explain why he held a private meeting with Bundy 14 months" after the controversy. Watch video of Bundy's infamous comments below:

Posted by on 30 June 2015 | 4:37 am

Conservatives Celebrate "Huge Victory" As SCOTUS Rules Against Life-Saving Pollution Safeguards

Toxic air pollution from power plants has been linked to serious health problems including cancer, heart attacks, and premature death, and mercury in particular is a potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous for young children and pregnant women. But that hasn't stopped conservative media from joyfully celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision that jeopardizes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to rein in this harmful pollution.Supreme Court Ruled Against EPA On Mercury And Air Toxics Standards, Sending Case Back To Lower Court Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Industry Interests In Michigan v. EPA. On June 29, the Supreme Court ruled against the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), stating that the EPA should have considered the costs of the regulation earlier in the process and sending the case back to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. for further consideration. The EPA did not evaluate costs when it first determined that it is necessary to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, but did subsequently perform a cost-benefit analysis showing that the monetary value of the rule's public health benefits will far exceed its costs. MATS, which went into effect earlier this year, will remain in place pending further legal proceedings. [Associated Press, 6/30/15] Conservative Media Are Celebrating Decision That Could Put Public Health At Risk Fox Business's Charles Payne: "Finally, A Huge Victory." During an interview with former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the June 29 edition of Fox Business's Varney & Co., substitute host Charles Payne proclaimed of the Supreme Court ruling, "Finally, a huge victory." He later brought on David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation, who declared that the EPA will continue to "go after coal and other forms of hydrocarbon relentlessly," but that the Supreme Court's ruling is "good news for now." [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 6/29/15] Fox's Breit Baier Repeated GOP's "War On Coal" Rhetoric, Claimed SCOTUS Ruled Against "Administration's Attempt To Regulate The Industry Into Oblivion." On the June 29 edition of Fox News' Special Report, anchor Bret Baier declared that the Supreme Court had ruled against "the Environmental Protection Agency's war on coal," echoing a common Republican talking point. Baier also falsely claimed that the court "ruled that the administration's attempt to regulate the industry into oblivion is not worth the cost." In fact, the court did not address whether the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are "worth the cost," but rather more narrowly stated that the EPA did not consider the costs of the standards at the proper point in the regulatory process. [Fox News, Special Report, 6/30/15; National Journal, 7/2/13; Vox, 6/29/15] WSJ Editorial Board: Supreme Court Decision Is "A Welcome Rebuke To EPA Arrogance." The Wall Street Journal editorial board praised the Supreme Court for "sho[oting] down" one of the EPA's "regulatory abuses," and called the decision "a welcome rebuke to EPA arrogance." [The Wall Street Journal, 6/30/15] Breitbart Column: We "Should Be Heartened." Steve Milloy, who runs the climate science denial blog JunkScience, wrote in a column for Breitbart that the MATS ruling "may very well be too little too late for the coal industry," but that "the rest of us should be heartened" that the EPA must now consider costs when formulating its regulations. [Breitbart, 6/29/15] National Review: "EPA Must Consider Costs Before Destroying Economy." The National Review published a blog on its website claiming the Supreme Court said the EPA must "consider costs before destroying [the] economy." [National Review, 6/29/15] MATS Rule Would Signifcantly Reduce Toxic Emissions, Bring Health Benefits UCS: Toxic Pollution Linked To Birth Defects, Neurological Damage, Asthma, Cancer, And More. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) explained that the pollutants regulated by MATS -- including mercury, lead, arsenic, acid gases, and dioxins -- are linked to severe health problems "even in small amounts," and that power plants are "the largest source" of several of these pollutants. UCS expanded on the health impacts of mercury and other pollutants: Even in small amounts, these pollutants are linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks, and even premature death. [...] Power plants are the largest source for several toxic air pollutants. In particular, they are by far the largest source of mercury in the United States, with coal-fired power plants making up the vast majority of that. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that poses a threat to fetal and infant brain development, ultimately affecting a child's ability to walk, talk, and learn. Mercury emitted from these plants and other sources settles into water bodies where it subsequently accumulates in fish. When pregnant and nursing women (or women who may become pregnant) consume these fish, the mercury pollution ultimately affects their children. According to the EPA's data, more than 300,000 babies are born each year are at risk of mercury poisoning, while at least one in 12, and as many as one in six, American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk. [Union of Concerned Scientists, 12/21/11] EPA Rule Will Bring $37-90 Billion In Health Benefits Each Year. The EPA determined that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will bring economic benefits via air quality and health improvements, including fewer missed work days, lowered health care costs, and reduced rates of premature mortality. From the EPA (emphasis original): These new standards will avert up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year. The value of the air quality improvements for people's health alone totals $37 billion to $90 billion each year. That means that for every dollar spent to reduce this pollution, Americans get $3-9 in health benefits. The benefits are widely distributed and are especially important to minority and low income populations who are disproportionately impacted by asthma and other debilitating health conditions. Up to 540,000 missed work or "sick" days will be avoided each year, enhancing productivity and lowering health care costs for American families. [EPA.gov, accessed 6/30/15]

Posted by on 30 June 2015 | 4:13 am