NY Post Reaches New Lows With Letter To Chelsea Clinton's Baby

The New York Post reached new lows publishing "an open letter to Chelsea Clinton's fetus" -- rather than simply reporting on Clinton's recently announced pregnancy or offering the couple well-wishes, the Post took the opportunity to attack the new baby and soon-to-be grandparents Bill and Hillary Clinton under the guise of "news."   The April 22 letter told the baby that "what makes you so special" is "you're going to live your whole life in make-believe." The Post labeled the child a "campaign asset" and "stage prop" for "Lady Pantsuit" and non-"maternal" Hillary Clinton:  Welcome to advanced gestation! Since you're new around here, I thought you'd like to know a little bit about what makes you so special. The reason is, you're going to live your whole life in make-believe! [...] In two years or so, when most babies are just learning to crawl, you will be hitting the road! Grandma Hillary is going to need you to smile and coo whenever there are Sunshine Men around. So play nice and don't projectile vomit. Grandma is not what grown-ups call "maternal," and was busy turning $1000 into $100,000 in the magical cow trading market when your mommy was a baby, so she will have to make believe she is really "helping out" with you. No crying if she gets the diaper on the wrong end! [...] The best part of your make-believe Clinton-Mezvinsky life is that people will pretend you're good at things and give you gifts like high-paying consultancy gigs when you just got out of college, jobs reporting for NBC News when you have as much camera-awareness as a smoked flounder, and the leadership of the free world because you "deserve it."

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 11:14 am

Fox's O'Reilly: If "You Oppose Gay Marriage, You Could Get Hurt"

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly became the latest right-wing media personality to frame gay rights supporters as bullies, baselessly alleging that support for marriage equality has risen so quickly because activists have threatened to "harm" and "hurt" opponents of same-sex marriage. During the "Impact" segment on the April 21 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly hosted Fox contributors Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams to discuss the controversy surrounding the recent resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. Eich stepped down after facing criticism over his 2008 donation in support of the virulently anti-gay campaign for California's Proposition 8. Eich became a right-wing cause célèbre, with conservative media personalities using his resignation to peddle the myth that gay rights supporters are persecuting conservative Christians. O'Reilly echoed that narrative on his show, proclaiming that Eich's departure highlighted how "one of the reasons gay marriage has come on so strong in the USA is intimidation." O'Reilly claimed that gay rights activists are threatening to "harm" opponents of marriage equality: O'REILLY: If you donate money to a traditional marriage cause, okay, we're going to hurt you. We're going to hurt you. We're going to find out where you live. We are going try to take your job. Maybe do vandalism to your home -- big, big difference, is there not? [...] O'REILLY: Now there are threats and demonization. And that unfortunately, has put gay marriage over the top. That is the technique that turned the tide -- intimidation and harm. That's what won it. When pressed for evidence of the alleged intimidation and "harm" against marriage equality opponents, O'Reilly was unable to cite specific examples of harassment: WILLIAMS: The only people I've heard going to somebody's house and attacking - I just heard that in the comment from that editor at The Nation, but that's not real. O'REILLY: No, it's been on websites. There have been websites who have put people's names on there. There have been a lot of that stuff. While it's true that the names of donors to Proposition 8 are publicly available, there's no evidence of widespread intimidation or harassment by marriage equality supporters. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), for example, has repeatedly tried and failed to demonstrate in court that supporters of Proposition 8 experienced serious "harm" from gay activists.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 10:50 am

Hannity Responds To Jon Stewart's Bundy Ranch Takedown: "He's Kind Of Obsessed With This Program"

From the April 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity:Previously: Watch The Daily Show Demolish Hannity's Hypocritical Support Of Rogue Rancher Cliven Bundy Hannity: "I Don't Apologize" For Touting Cliven Bundy's Standoff With Federal Agents Nevada Journalist Jon Ralston: Sean Hannity's Championing Of Nevada Rancher Is "Totally Irresponsible"

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 10:00 am

Hannity Continues Move Toward The Fringe As Guest Accuses Liberals Of Contributing To A "Modern Day Holocaust"

Radio host and Fox personality Sean Hannity hosted TruthRevolt.com founder David Horowitz to engage in an unimpeded rant that described President Obama as a "menace to American security" and accused Democrats and the "American left" of pushing the nation toward a modern day Holocaust. Hannity's promotion of the extreme figure may have completed his transition from conservative mouth piece to right-wing fringe promoter. On the April 22 edition of his radio show, Hannity discussed the alleged growth of anti-Semitism around the world, comparing the phenomenon with Obama's purported support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hannity asked his guests, Horowitz and writer Joel Rosenberg, whether anti-Semitism in recent news stories had the potential of turning into a "modern day Holocaust." Horowitz replied (emphasis added): HOROWITZ: I think that's exactly accurate. There's normal anti-Semitism which has been going on for thousands of years. And this Kansas City shooter, I mean he's a Klu Klux Klaner, he's a Democrat -- lifelong Democrat, Klu Klux Klan racist and anti-Semite. But he's obviously been encouraged. The irony of course is that he killed three Christians. Um, obviously encouraged by the American left. Max Blumenthal, who is the misbegotten son of Sidney Blumenthal who worked for the Clintons in the Clinton White House, has written a book filled with Jew hatred about Israel, which this guy read and cited as one of his inspirations. I actually pointed this out in a book I wrote about ten years ago. The alliance between the American left and the Islamo - I don't call them Islamo-Fascists anymore, they're Nazis. They preach the same doctrine that the Nazis did, they were allied with the Nazis during the second World War. The destruction of Israel, which is welcomed by you know, like I say normal anti-Semites. But after the Second World War, there was a certain intolerance towards these types of attitudes thanks to the American left which goes right into the White House. Obama is also responsible for this - attacking Israel. After Rosenberg disagreed with Horowitz' claim of the growth of anti-Semitism in the American left, Horowitz retorted, "On the campuses across this country the American left is calling for the destruction of Israel. How can you say there's no anti-Semitism? The American left is the fountainhead of anti-Semitism now," concluding that it is only a matter of time before the left commits violence against Jews.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 8:32 am

Fox Interview Of GOP Senate Candidate Features Campaign Ad & Obamacare Lies

Fox News gave Republican senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton (AK) the royal treatment, giving airtime to his latest campaign ad and inviting him on for a softball interview with host Eric Bolling, who failed to challenge Cotton on his faulty assertions that the Affordable Care Act is "failing" for the people of Arkansas. Filling in for Neil Cavuto, Fox's Bolling took the reins of Fox's 4 p.m. show Your World and invited Cotton on the program for the second time this month.  The Fox host aired the entirety of the senate candidate's latest campaign ad, then proceeded to ask a series of open-ended questions, many loaded with an anti-Democratic premise. "I read somewhere where Senator Pryor said that he would vote for Obamacare if he had to do it all over again," Bolling said. "You want to comment on that?" Bolling then allowed Cotton the opportunity to attack the health care law as a "failure" without noting for Cotton or viewers that Obamacare is working for the people of Arkansas.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 8:04 am

Right-Wing Media Continue Their Misinformation On Schuette , The Supreme Court's Latest Awful Affirmative Action Decision

Right-wing media are continuing to misinform about Schuette v. BAMN, the latest Supreme Court rejection of well-established civil rights law. On April 22, in a splintered decision, the conservative justices of the Supreme Court effectively overturned decades of civil rights precedent and gutted a core component of equal protection law by reinterpreting the political process doctrine of the Fourteenth Amendment. This doctrine, based on Supreme Court cases from the civil rights era, prohibits restructurings of political systems to the specific detriment of a disfavored minority. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that the state of Michigan's 2006 ban on affirmative action violated this case law by removing this policy decision from the normal political system and writing it into the state constitution. Contrary to right-wing media's framing of the case, Schuette was never about the propriety of affirmative action, although Michigan's ban has led to decreased minority enrollment and heightened racial tensions on campus. And as Justice Anthony Kennedy's controlling opinion in Schuette reaffirmed, race-conscious admissions policies in higher education remain constitutional. Still, Roger Clegg at National Review Online nevertheless called the case and its deleterious ramifications for the diversity of all future classrooms and students of color in particular "a big loss for racial preferences in the Supreme Court" and "a resounding win for the good guys." Fox News' senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano took it even further, saying that "the elites who run university systems think they know better than the voters do." When host Eric Shawn asked Napolitano about the precipitous drop in minority enrollment on Michigan campuses since the ban went into effect, Napolitano brushed him off, stating the Schuette decision "lets the voters go either way." He went on to claim that race-conscious admissions were antithetical to "that thing the Civil War was supposed to have resolved":

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 5:09 am

Fox's Tantaros: Supreme Court Rolling Back Civil Rights Laws Is What "Martin Luther King Wished For"

From the April 22 edition of Fox News' The Five:Previously:  What Gun Advocates Get Wrong About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fox's Tantaros: Civil Rights Leaders "Keep The Country Divided For Their Own Power Lust"

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 5:06 am

10 Ways "Conservatives" Celebrate Earth Day

The oil-industry funded front group for Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, has a Buzzfeed list featuring animated gifs of the "Top 10 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day: For Conservatives." Media Matters has gathered all the ways that anti-conservation "conservatives" have truly decided to celebrate Earth Day this year: 10. Heavy Weight For The Fossil Fuel Industry Fox News celebrated Earth Day by hosting Fox Business' John Stossel who is "cheering for fossil fuels" that were responsible for dozens of disasters last year. Forbes contributor and oil and gas industry consultant David Blackmon caught on to the trend, writing an op-ed glorifying the fossil fuel industry titled "Be Thankful On Earth Day For Oil & Gas."   9. Compare Earth Day To Communism Earth Day happens to lie on the same day as Vladimir Lenin's birthday, so it must be a communist plot, according to conservative blogger Erick Erickson. Erickson filled in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show on Earth Day by ranting about the connections between environmentalism and communism. 8. Break Out Your Shovel And Snow-Troll The United States (and globe) has been warming since the first Earth Day -- but that didn't prevent snow-trollers from emerging once again to cast doubt on global warming. On April 22, climate "skeptic" favorite Ryan Maue tweeted at conservative blogger Erick Erickson: "Remind folks on Earth Day... to not put away their snow shovels until July 4th." Erickson later fulfilled Maue's request as a guest host for on The Rush Limbaugh Show. 7. Burn Tires Jim Treacher, a reporter for the conservative news site Daily Caller, joked that he would celebrate Earth Day by burning "dangerous tires before they can pollute the planet," mocking NASA's Twitter campaign asking the public to take a "#GlobalSelfie" for Earth Day. 6. Call Global Warming A "Religion" Fox News frequent Marc Morano hyped a piece by Roy Spencer that equated climate science to a "religion" -- one of the most prominent ways conservatives erode trust in scientists according to a study by the Yale Project on Climate Communications. Spencer wrote, in honor of Earth Day: As in other religions, most Earth worshipers are more or less hypocritical. Spend a day being "good", spend the rest of the year failing. [...] I mostly find Earth Day just plain annoying for the rank hypocrisy on display. A state-sponsored religious day of worship, along with all of the 1st Amendment-violating regulations to codify it.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 4:45 am

Fox Pushes False Claim That Obama's Clemency Program is Unconstitutional And Unprecedented

On April 21, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that President Obama plans to use his constitutionally-granted pardon power for certain eligible nonviolent drug offenders serving excessive sentences, a systemic approach to clemency that was most recently used by former Republican President Gerald Ford. In response, Fox immediately turned to right-wing media guests to push the false idea that this proposal is unconstitutional and unprecedented. Before President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, defendants convicted of selling or using crack received sentences nearly 100 times more severe than those convicted of selling or possessing cocaine -- despite the fact that the drugs are essentially the same thing. Those convicted and punished under the disparate sentencing guidelines were disproportionately black. The Obama administration's decision to use the pardoning power to commute unduly harsh sentences would, according to Attorney General Holder, apply to those offenders who were sentenced under the "old regime." This proposal would not overturn their convictions, but would shorten their now-outdated sentences. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs reported on the clemency proposal by asserting the attorney general's explanation for the need to ameliorate systematic discrimination was one of Holder's "fictions" and was "ludicrous" because the Civil War already eliminated slavery. Dobbs also hosted right-wing media figures to accuse the president of "gutting the Constitution and separation of powers doctrine at the same time." Fox News' Special Report pushed a similar narrative, with correspondent Mike Emanuel uncritically repeating a former Bush II official's claim that "this is yet another example of Obama going around lawmakers" before misleadingly claiming "Orrin Hatch said Congress, not the president, has the authority to make sentencing policy. Hatch called on Mr. Obama to work with Congress, rather than, once again, going it alone."  Fox News' Megyn Kelly also took exception to the Obama administration's proposal, hosting NRO contributor Andrew McCarthy on The Kelly File to rail against the announcement. Kelly, upset that "convicted -- convicted" drug offenders might finally have their sentences commuted, characterized the proposal as executive overreach on the part of the Obama administration. McCarthy agreed with Kelly and claimed that Obama's use of the pardon power was a "massive abuse" and tantamount to "rewriting the federal narcotics laws which he personally thinks are too severe."

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 4:04 am

The Real Targets Of Conservative Media's Anti-Food Stamp Crusade

A report from Feeding America on food insecurity and food costs in the United States sheds new light on the real targets of the conservative media's crusade against food stamps. Conservative media often rush to baselessly condemn those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, as lazy or taking advantage of the system, but the truth is that these programs help feed millions of Americans who would otherwise go hungry. In 2013, Fox News shamelessly promoted "blissfully jobless California surfer" Jason Greenslate as the "new face of food stamps," and in April the network again attacked the program by portraying a couple living in a yacht and fraudulently collecting benefits as representative of the norm. But these attacks are out of touch with the reality that almost 41% of recipients live in a household with earnings, and according to the USDA program fraud is below one cent on the dollar.  Feeding America's report on the county and congressional district level food insecurity and county food costs in the United States paints a startlingly different picture of the food insecure than the one the right-wing media typically pushes. Feeding America found that more than 47 million people in the United States are food-insecure, meaning that they have "limited or uncertain access to adequate food," and that 16 million of those people are children. On average, about 71% of the food-insecure throughout the country fall below 185% of the poverty line, making them eligible to receive SNAP benefits. In September 2013, Politico reported that Fox distributed copies of its misleading food stamp special to members of Congress during the August recess, and Fox's portrayal of Greenslate was prominently featured in GOP talking points. When Congress reconvened, conservatives in the House voted to cut $39 billion from the program. According to NBC News, food insecurity has been exacerbated by the cuts to program and have left many Americans unable to feed their families: "The recession has subsided for most Americans but it still hasn't subsided for low-income Americans. Their situation just has not improved," he said, adding that it was "probably worse now" because a temporary funding boost in 2009 to the key government food aid program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) was allowed to lapse by Congress last year. "It seems like we are stacking the deck against" low-income people, said Everett, who was recently named to the congressional National Commission on Hunger. "We're missing rungs at the bottom of the (economic) ladder to be able to help people to get to the top."

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 3:05 am

Conservatives Trumpet False Claim Gun Safety Group Is "Crumbling"

Conservatives are cheering S.E. Cupp's false claim that the gun safety coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) has "crumbled" with its member mayors fleeing in droves. Last week former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he plans to spend $50 million on gun safety efforts, in part through the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, an umbrella organization that merges MAIG and the grassroots organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety in America. During an appearance on ABC's This Week, Cupp, a host for both CNN and Glenn Beck's network The Blaze, claimed that "Mayors Against Illegal Guns has crumbled because he duped mayors into thinking they were actually going to fight illegal guns. And when they all found out actually they were going after law abiding gun owners, they said that's not what I want to be a part of. His efforts are duplicitous and they're measurably failing." Cupp's remarks were subsequently trumpeted across the right-wing media. In fact, MAIG currently counts as members "a bipartisan group of more than 1,000 current and former mayors from nearly every state." While some mayors have left the group over the years -- at times while seeking the Republican nomination for higher office -- MAIG's overall membership has dramatically increased in recent years, from 15 mayors at its founding to 450 members in 2009 to roughly 850 in January 2013 to its current level. Likewise, Cupp's claim that the gun safety effort is "failing" ignores reality. While federal legislation received a majority vote in the Senate but was blocked by a filibuster last year, gun safety efforts resulted in major executive actions; legislative packages passed in New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, California, and Delaware, among others; and the appointment of the first permanent director of the ATF since 2006. Championing gun safety in a swing state and with the support of Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC, Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring were elected governor and attorney general of Virginia.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 2:45 am

Fox's Erick Erickson: Hillary Clinton "Is Going To Be Old" In 2016, "I Don't Know How Far Back They Can Pull Her Face"

From the April 22 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:Previously:  Fox Contributor Erick Erickson Labels Wendy Davis "Abortion Barbie" The Far-Right Pundits Tasked With Moderating The Iowa GOP Extreme Anti-Gay Group Is Hosting "An Evening With Erick Erickson"

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 1:54 am

Covering Dark Money's Tennessee Takeover

With Republicans in control of the state legislature and governor's office, Tennessee has become an easy target for out-of-state dark money groups looking to push corporate interests through state legislatures. The Koch brothers, through their political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), have been at the forefront of the Tennessee takeover, pushing tax cuts, measures to block public transportation, and anti-Medicaid legislation among others. While some of Tennessee's newspapers have been quick to connect the questionable legislation with AFP, local television coverage rarely mentions the outside influence. AFP is considered an example of a "dark money" organization -- a politically-focused group whose donors are not disclosed and whose actions reflect partisan positions. David Koch is co-founder of AFP and the Koch Family Foundation is known to have contributed generously to AFP based on records published by the foundation. In Tennessee, the state AFP chapter creates advertising campaigns and holds events that provide a platform for AFP staff to drum up support for their legislation. Tracking the Koch brothers' outsized influence has recently been a popular endeavor among national news sources, so the billionaires' leap into Tennessee sounded the alarm across national media outlets. Local and state media have been slower to point out AFP's influence in state politics. While Koch pressure in Tennessee is nothing new, the state chapter of AFP opened last year, making this year the first legislative session with active local AFP participation. As the editorial board at the Tennessean explained, AFP's push to influence state politics has profound implications: The billionaire Kochs do not live in Tennessee and never have. That is not important, as they, through their group Americans For Prosperity (AFP), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), also not Tennessee-based, are increasingly deciding what laws the General Assembly should impose on the people of our state. [...] The force of the Kochs came down last week when the Tennessee Senate voted to stop Nashville's Amp project. Stop­Amp.org Inc. publicly thanked AFP for its help. Regardless of what you think of the pricey and controversial bus rapid-transit project, such out-of-state interference is troubling, because it supersedes local knowledge and authority on either side of the issue. But an analysis of 22 local television news affiliates from January 1 to April 21 of this year -- the span of the state's most recent legislative session so far -- shows only four mentions of AFP's connection to pending legislation in the state. Despite the lack of coverage, AFP was busy pushing multiple pieces of legislation in recent months, including a reduction of state income tax, bills to slow the possibility of Medicaid expansion, and opposing Common Core education standards. While the top four newspapers covered the relevant issues and legislation being influenced by AFP in the same time frame, the disclosure of AFP's involvement varied. The Tennessean and the Knoxville News-Sentinel included AFP's involvement in their reports, mentioning the group's connections 14 and nine times respectively. The Chattanooga Times Free Press, with three mentions, and Memphis' Commercial Appeal with two mentions, made little effort to note AFP's activity. While disclosing legislative influences is crucial across all forms of media, it is especially vital for local television to disclose outside influence like AFP's as local television remains the country's top source for news.

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 1:49 am

6 Things You Should Know About Conservative Media Darling Dr. Ben Carson

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is trading on his medical reputation to ride a wave of media hype, but upon closer examination, many of his views are contradictory or emulate the uninformed chatter of a right-wing radio shock jock. Carson rose to prominence in the conservative media last year for a speech attacking the Affordable Care Act at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Obama. After that, he was hired by Fox News, became a regular on the conservative speaking circuit, joined Newt Gingrich's dubious political action committee, and launched an online magazine in coordination with the Washington Times (where he also writes an opinion column).

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 1:26 am

Sharyl Attkisson Cries Media Bias, But Her Shoddy Reporting Speaks For Itself

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has stepped up her campaign to paint herself as a victim of media bias by floating half-baked conspiracy theories about the research that exposed factual issues with her work. These newest allegations are as unsubstantiated as the shoddy reporting that has previously tarnished her -- and CBS'-- record as a reliable source.Sharyl Attkisson Frames Herself As Victim Of Media Bias Attkisson Dismisses Fact-Checks Of Her Work As "Campaign" To "Controversialize" Her Reporting. During an April 20 appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources, Attkisson claimed that there is a "campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do," and complained that she had been targeted by Media Matters. Attkisson went so far as to hint at a possible motive behind the fact-checks that exposed her shoddy reporting, saying: "I don't know if someone paid them to do it or they just took it on their own." After host Brian Stelter asked for clarification on whether she really believed Media Matters had been paid to target her, Attkisson responded, "Perhaps, sure. I think that's what some of these groups do, absolutely." [CNN, Reliable Sources, 4/20/14, via Media Matters] Attkisson Refuses To Substantiate Claims Of Politically-Motivated Stonewalling. Appearing on the April 22 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Attkisson continued her complaints about unfair treatment at CBS, though she was more circumspect about the details. Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski repeatedly asked Attkisson to clarify why and how she believed her stories had been "blocked," but Attkisson was unwilling to offer specifics, hinting that she would write about the details in her upcoming book: ATTKISSON: [O]ff and on over time there have been issues over different stories over the years. But most recently it became really more of this stone wall where virtually anything I pitched on any topic -- corporations, charities, government watchdog -- pretty much anything that I considered original or investigative was just -- there was just no appetite for it. [...] BRZEZINSKI: So I guess my first question is, what didn't make air that should have? What was blocked? ATTKISSON: I decided for many reasons not to go into a lot of detail. I'll probably write about some of this in the book when I can think it out and word it carefully. But it was just, to me, a huge variety of stories. And I'm certainly not the only one complaining about that, and it's not the only network where correspondents think this is going on. But as I say, watchdog stories about, in general, the powerful, be it corporations, charities, government. In general, there seems to be a sense now that anything about government -- and I'm not even saying politically, it may be the same no matter who's in charge -- you just don't want to go up against the government. [...] SCARBOROUGH: I can't let you go before we boil this down. Because I've been reading about you for a year at least, about how you've been trying to get the truth out and the liberal media has stopped you from getting the truth out, especially stories on Benghazi. So I'm going take one more pass at it and ask you: Do you believe your reporting at especially at the evening news -- do you believe you were stopped from reporting important facts that the audience should have listened to because they were biased against -- the fact that this story, which shed negative light -- ATTKISSON: I would more accurately say there's a tendency to shy away from stories against the powerful. And I think that might be the case at this stage that the media seems to be in no matter who's in charge. But at this -- right now happens to be the Obama administration. That's my answer. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 4/22/14] On Fox, Attkisson Suggested Her "War" With CBS Management Had A "Political Aspect." In an April 13 interview on Fox News' Media Buzz, Attkisson argued she had been waging "war" with her "own management team," as Fox host Howard Kurtz described it. In a series of interviews described by media observers as an "audition" for Fox News, Attkisson alleged there was a "political aspect" to her troubles at CBS and that her supervisors gave in to "well organized" outside campaigns that complained about coverage. She bemoaned that "The press in general seems to be very shy about challenging the administration as if it is making some sort of political statement rather than just doing our jobs as watchdogs," but Attkisson failed to back up her assertion with evidence. [Fox News, Media Buzz, 4/13/14, via Media Matters] Attkisson Tarnished Her Own Reputation With Repeated Shoddy Reporting Politico: CBS Executives Saw Attkisson As "Wading Dangerously Close To Advocacy" In Benghazi "Campaign." In May 2013, Politico reported that CBS News "has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson's Benghazi campaign." According to Politico, "CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized." [Politico, 5/8/13] Attkisson Cheerleaded CBS' Infamous Benghazi Hoax. Attkisson used her Twitter account to relentlessly hype CBS' disastrous 60 Minutes report on Benghazi which came under fire for featuring debunked myths, a serious corporate conflict of interest, and an untrustworthy "witness" who apparently fabricated his story and had once reportedly asked a journalist to pay him for his information. From conception, to execution, to the network's stubborn claims that the report met its high standards even as it publicly dissolved, the story on the Benghazi terror attack of 2012 quickly became a case study in how not to practice journalism on the national stage. When the 60 Minutes report imploded, Attkisson never acknowledged the network's blunder. [Media Matters, 12/26/14] Attkisson Hailed By Fringe Group At Conservative Conference. Attkisson was offered a journalism award at the 2012 year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from Accuracy in Media (AIM), a right-wing group with a long history of promoting anti-gay views, birther claims, climate denial, and conspiracy theories. Attkisson was the first reporter from a mainstream news outlet to be offered the dubious honor by AIM, and it came after a year of notably bad journalism from Attkisson. A range of veteran journalists and media ethicists -- including a former CBS News Washington bureau chief -- criticized Attkisson's reported decision to accept the award. Ultimately, Attkisson did not attend the award ceremony, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham accepted the award in her place. [Media Matters, 2/7/14; Media Matters, 2/8/14; Media Matters, 2/9/12] Attkisson Pushed Error-Ridden Report On "New Solyndras." CBS' This Morning ran an exclusive investigative report by Attkisson that purported to "have found a pattern of the government pouring your tax dollars into clean energy." Attkisson claimed to have identified 12 clean energy companies, including Solyndra, that were "having trouble" or had "filed for bankruptcy" after receiving a total of $6.5 billion in federal assistance. But Attkisson's flawed report failed to name 4 of the 11 "new Solyndras," and some of the clean energy companies Attkisson mentioned never received federal funding or were incorrectly linked to the assistance in question. Attkisson's misleading report was uncritically repeated by conservative media figures, including Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. [Media Matters, 1/13/12; Media Matters,1/18/12] Attkisson Pushed Inaccurate Healthcare.gov Claims Based Upon "Partial" Information Leaked By House Republicans. Attkisson aired an "exclusive" report in November 2013 based on what she acknowledged were selectively leaked partial transcripts that claimed the "project manager in charge of building the federal health care website was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website's security." The report was based on a "first look at a partial transcript" of closed-door testimony that supposedly revealed the manager was unaware of "a memo that outlined important security risks discovered in the insurance system." However, Attkisson's exclusive quickly fell apart when questioning during a House Oversight committee hearing demonstrated that, contrary to Attkisson's misleading report, the memo discussed a part of the website not in use and that does not deal with personally identifiable information. Attkisson likely obtained her selectively leaked "exclusive" information from Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. [Media Matters, 11/13/13; Media Matters, 11/12/13] Attkisson Rehashed Debunked Benghazi Myth That Obama Administration May Have Changed Benghazi Talking Points For Political Reasons. In May 2013, after former head of the CIA Gen. David Petraeus had already testified that the intelligence community had signed off on the final draft of the talking points used by Susan Rice in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack, Attkisson followed the conservative media's lead in asking if edits to the talking points revealed an emerging pattern of the Obama administration "wanting to avoid the terrorism narrative." [Media Matters, 5/12/13]

Posted by on 22 April 2014 | 12:18 am