Conservative Media Rush To Politicize First Case Of Ebola In U.S.

Conservative media began politicizing the first case of Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States almost immediately, speculating as to whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could be trusted to contain the virus considering its ties to the Obama administration and about Obama's own role in the diagnosis.CDC Announces First Case Of Ebola Diagnosed In United States CDC: First Case Of Ebola Found In Texas. In a September 30 joint press release with the Texas Health Department, the CDC confirmed that the first case of Ebola had been diagnosed in the United States earlier in the day: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today, through laboratory tests, the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20. [Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 9/30/14] Right-Wing Media Jump To Politicize Diagnosis Fox Host To CDC Director: Given That You're Part Of Obama Administration, "Why Should We Believe You" On Ebola Facts? On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy asked CDC Director Tom Frieden why he should be trusted to talk about the Ebola virus given his role in the Obama administration: DOOCY: One other theme we got on the email, Doctor, was this -- and this is a political thing, but you're part of the administration. They feel that the administration has misled a lot of people on a lot of things. Why should we believe you when you're telling us this stuff? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/1/14] Laura Ingraham Wondered If We Should "Believe What The Government Is Telling Us About Ebola," Considering What It Said About Obamacare. During the October 1 edition of her radio show, Laura Ingraham asked if listeners "believe what the government is telling us about Ebola," pointing to a "crisis in leadership, in confidence, in credibility, in competence in our nation." Discussing what she deemed to be the country's "biological incapability of telling the truth," Ingraham tied the Ebola diagnosis to the Affordable Care Act, claiming that "none of" what the government said about Obamacare has come true. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 10/1/14] Ingraham: Obama's "Core Ties To The African Continent" Are Influencing His Response To Ebola And Endangering U.S. Later on her radio program, Ingraham accused Obama of having political reasons for failing "to stop these planes from coming in from Sierra Leone." She went on: "Obama, familial connection with Africa. He has an enormous amount of, I think, you know, core ties to the African continent. He's mindful of his own family history there. ... Come on, it doesn't make any sense not to have stopped these flights from coming in." [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 10/1/14] Right-Wing Blogger Jim Hoft: "Obama Defers Deportation of Liberians On Same Day TX Ebola Patient Enters Hospital." On his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft linked the Ebola case to Obama's decision to defer deportation proceedings for Liberian refugees, writing, "Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum on September 26th to defer deportations of Liberians, the same day the Texas Ebola patient first visited the hospital." [GatewayPundit.com, 10/1/14] Fox's Tantaros: Despite What CDC Says, The Government Can't Handle Ebola If It "Can't Even Build A Website." During the October 1 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros asserted her belief that the United States isn't "as prepared as we think we are" to handle Ebola because "the government can't even build a website. So I do have doubts and questions." [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/1/14]  Fox's Katie Pavlich: "Obama Sending Troops To Combat Ebola Worked Out Really Well." In a September 30 tweet, Fox News contributor and Townhall.com editor Katie Pavlich tied the Ebola diagnosis in Texas to the Obama administration's earlier efforts to combat the virus in Africa: Well, Obama sending troops to combat Ebola worked out really well. -- Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) September 30, 2014  [Twitter.com, 9/30/14] Fox's Tammy Bruce: "The Obama Legacy Continues" With Ebola Diagnosis. In a September 30 tweet, Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce discussed the CDC's confirmation of an Ebola diagnosis by asserting that it was part of the "Obama legacy."  The Obama legacy continues. "CDC Confirms Patient In Dallas Has The Ebola Virus" http://t.co/g6hy3vulSu -- Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) September 30, 2014 [Twitter.com, 9/30/14]

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 11:50 am

Politico Lets Discredited Gossip-Monger Suggest Obama's Assassination May Be Needed To Reform Secret Service (Updated)

UPDATE: Politico Magazine added an editor's note to the end of Kessler's piece, claiming readers had "misinterpreted" the conclusion: Editor's note: Some readers have misinterpreted the original last line of Kessler's article as somehow suggesting that the president should be held responsible in the event of his own assassination. That couldn't be further from the truth, and we're sorry if anyone interpreted Kessler's meaning in any other way. The note did not explain what a correct interpretation of the line would be. Politico Magazine published a piece by Ron Kessler, a discredited conservative journalist with a history of pushing conspiracy theories, which suggested that President Obama would be to blame for his own assassination and that the president's death could be necessary for the reform of the Secret Service. The September 30 piece came under fire for its conclusion, which criticized the president's management of the Secret Service: Agents tell me it's a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. Sadly, given Obama's colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service. As Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo noted, this implies either that "Obama is at fault for his inevitable assassination, or he's the only thing standing in the way of cleaning up the agency responsible for his inevitable assassination," both "bizarre" and troubling suggestions. But also bizarre and troubling is why Politico published Kessler in the first place. As Marshall pointed out, while Kessler has written several books on the Secret Service and other national law enforcement agencies, "he's made a hard veer to the right" in recent years and is "a bit of a kook." Kessler, who left credible newspapers to become the chief Washington correspondent for the right-wing website Newsmax, has been widely been criticized for peddling trashy gossip. He previously accused former first lady Hillary Clinton of "pathological lying" and pushed the conspiracy theory that she drove then-deputy White House counsel Vince Foster to suicide, because Clinton "humiliated him in front of all these White House aides." He also promoted the falsehood that Obama was in attendance at controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright sermons. As Media Matters has previously noted, numerous book critics have also slammed Kessler for his reliance on "Page Six"-style gossip and innuendo: National security reporter James Bamford wrote in The Washington Post that for his book In The President's Secret Service, Kessler "milked the agents for the juiciest gossip he could get and mixed it with a rambling list of their complaints," comparing the book's reporting to that of the National Enquirer. New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani called Kessler's Joseph P. Kennedy book The Sins of the Father a "meanspirited, speculation-filled biography ... which purveyed a determinedly poisonous portrait of the man." That book was also described by Globe and Mail's Andrew Cohen as featuring research that "is sometimes suspect" because Kessler "relies too heavily on speculation, gossip, innuendo and secondary sources." Publicity material for Kessler's The Secrets of the FBI, as Bryan Burrough wrote in the Post, even promised it would be "filled with revelations about the Bureau and Page Six tidbits." Kessler's work over the last few years has solidified his reputation for pushing gossip and conspiracy -- raising questions over Politico Magazine's decision to give him a platform. 

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 11:48 am

Ingraham Calls For Travel Ban In Response To Ebola, Claims Obama's "Core Ties To The African Continent" Undermine Public Safety

From the October 1 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:Previously: Ingraham Suggests Obama Is Willing To Expose American Troops To Ebola To Atone For Colonialism Conservatives Find A Way To Attack Obama For Fighting Ebola Right-Wing Media Exploit Ebola Outbreak In West Africa To Spread Immigration Fears

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 10:47 am

Fox Host Brian Kilmeade "Would Love To See" Allen West "In A Leadership Role With The Secret Service"

From the October 1 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:Previously: Wash. Post Piece Calls For Allen West To Head Secret Service Allen West Tells Military To Disobey Commander In Chief What The Media Should Know About GOP Surrogate And Fox News Contributor Allen West

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 9:14 am

Fox News Host On Oklahoma Beheading: "Is It Time To Profile?"

From the October 1 edition of Fox News' The Five:Previously:   Fox Uses Oklahoma Beheading To Tout Fake Obama "War On The Second Amendment" Fox's Bolling Suggests Profiling All Muslims: "If You Want To Look Forward, Focus On That Group" Fox News' Ugly, Selective War On Terror

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 5:16 am

Fox Hosts Idealize Bush's "Precedent" Of Declassifying Intelligence Briefings

Fox News' Gretchen Carlson urged President Obama to follow "precedent" set by President George W. Bush and release 18 months of daily intelligence briefings to prove what his administration knew about the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) -- despite the fact that Bush released only one intelligence briefing after years of pressure. Fox has fixated on Obama's Presidential Daily Briefs (PDB) amid ongoing U.S. air strikes against the Islamic State, reviving long debunked claims that the president skipped his scheduled briefings and thus missed intelligence on the terror group. The October 1 edition of The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson took a similar route, as Carlson and network anchor Bret Baier discussed a recent call by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for Obama to release 18 months of his PDB in order to prove when he first learned of the Islamic State from the intelligence community. According to Carlson, "President Bush did do it, so there is precedent for this," and the pair speculated about the chances of Obama doing the same now. Baier predicted that it was "not likely," adding, "There is a precedent here, in that, the last time we dealt with a big intelligence question prior to 9/11, the 9/11 Commission met with President Bush and President Bush did come forward with the Presidential Daily Briefs." Though idealized by Carlson and Baier, Bush's "precedent" on releasing PDBs is not one of disclosure. Under pressure from the 9/11 Commission, the Bush administration fought the release of PDBs for two years. Ultimately, they released only one, titled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US," years after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. From The New York Times: On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief -- and only that daily brief -- in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document's significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda's history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity. That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration's reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 4:49 am

NY Post Settles Lawsuit Over Infamous Boston Bombing "Bag Men" Cover

The New York Post has settled a lawsuit about a front page that the paper ran shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing on which it highlighted two "Bag Men" it claimed were being sought authorities.

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 3:08 am

Limbaugh: "You Have To Infer" That Ebola Patient In U.S. Is Not An American Citizen

From the October 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:Previously: Right-Wing Media Exploit Ebola Outbreak In West Africa To Spread Immigration Fears Limbaugh Suggests "Political Correctness" May Have Played A Role In Allowing Ebola To Reach The U.S. Conservative Media Rush To Politicize First Case Of Ebola In U.S.

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 3:07 am

No Civil Rights For Them: Right-Wing Media Don't Think Unaccompanied Minors Deserve Lawyers

Right-wing media outlets are complaining about the federal government's announcement that it will provide grant money to legal services organizations willing to represent undocumented immigrant children in deportation proceedings. Earlier this summer, federal officials reported that a record number of unaccompanied minors were being apprehended while crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. Despite the fact that many of those children made the dangerous journey to escape horrific violence in their home countries, right-wing media still blamed President Obama for the increase in refugees, suggested that the children carried rare diseases, and claimed that they were "fronts for drug dealers" and terrorists. Although the number of unaccompanied minors coming into the United States has dropped over the last few months, children now in custody are entering deportation proceedings, and most of them will face the court with no lawyer -- a potential violation of due process that right-wing media don't seem to care much about. Federal law allows immigrants "the privilege of being represented, at no expense to the government, by counsel of the alien's choosing." This privilege, however, is no guarantee and often hollow as many of these minors cannot afford a private attorney. As a result, thousands of children -- who have no money -- are forced to represent themselves in complex legal proceedings because there aren't enough lawyers available to take their case pro bono, without a fee. As The New York Times reported earlier this year, minors representing themselves in court "can be comically tragic, with preschoolers propped in leather-cushioned chairs facing off against federal lawyers." Although the grant money will be a step toward addressing this glaring civil rights problem, advocates agree that "it would only touch a fraction of all the unaccompanied minors who appear in court in the coming months." To try to provide these preschoolers with basic due process, the Department of Justice announced plans to distribute $1.8 million in grants to legal aid organizations that represent unaccompanied minors in immigration court. The DOJ's grants will be awarded through AmeriCorps and "will enable legal aid organizations to enroll approximately 100 lawyers and paralegals to represent children in immigration proceedings." The Department of Health and Human Services also announced that it plans to give out $9 million over the next two years to help fund immigration services for children who face deportation. But the right-wing media weren't wild about extending civil rights to these unaccompanied minors. National Review Online complained that the grants hadn't received enough scrutiny in the media because they were "an unprecedented effort to shield illegal immigrants from deportation" and went on to say the grants are "legally dubious" and may be an "illegitimate use of taxpayer dollars." On the October 1 edition of Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade also criticized the federal grants in his "News by the Numbers" segment:

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 2:49 am

Limbaugh Suggests "Political Correctness" May Have Played A Role In Allowing Ebola To Reach The U.S.

From the October 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:Previously: Conservative Media Rush To Politicize First Case Of Ebola In U.S. Ingraham Calls For Travel Ban In Response To Ebola, Claims Obama's "Core Ties To The African Continent" Undermine Public Safety

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 2:13 am

Fox Host: College Sex Education Week Should Include "How Not To ... Blackout In A Fraternity House"

From the October 1 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:Previously: Fox's Outnumbered Defends Forbes Contributor Fired For Offensive Campus Sexual Assault Column Conservative Media Jump On Sexual Assault Truther Bandwagon, Cry Foul On White House Report "Let Men Be Men": Fox News Hosts Defend Catcalling

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 2:00 am

Fox Host On Migrant Children In Public School: "What's Worse, A Drug War In Honduras Or Common Core?"

From the October 1 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:Previously: Fox News Decries Granting Undocumented Children Their Right To Access Public Education Fox News Needs An Education On Common Core Glenn Beck Compares Common Core To Slavery

Posted by on 1 October 2014 | 1:33 am

On CNN, Mark Kelly Pushes Back Against Politico Labeling Wife Gabby Giffords "Mean"

From the September 30 edition of CNN's The Lead:Previously:    Gabby Giffords And How The D.C. Press Portrays "Mean" Women

Posted by on 30 September 2014 | 5:08 am

Fox's Renewed Attack On Obama's Economic Record Is Badly Misleading

Fox News misled viewers about trends in household income, job creation, and the use of food stamps while claiming that President Obama's policies are to blame for a supposedly stagnant economy.  During an interview that aired on the September 28 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, Obama argued that the United States "is definitely better off" economically than it was when he took office in 2009. The president said he would compare the success of his response to the "terrible, almost unprecedented financial crisis" that he inherited to the response by "any leader around the world." On the September 30 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney attempted to refute Obama's claim of economic achievement over the past six years, citing three major indicators -- household income, part-time job creation, and food stamp participation -- to make their case. In each instance, Fox cherry-picked data to obscure positive trends in the overall economy:

Posted by on 30 September 2014 | 4:31 am

STUDY: CNN Skimps On Coverage During Climate Week

CNN aired only a third as much coverage as MSNBC on the United Nations' Climate Summit and related events including the historic People's Climate March. Even Fox News aired over twice as much on the subject compared to CNN -- though much of its coverage mocked or dismissed the events.NYC's Climate Week Brings World Leaders, Businesses Together To Pledge Global Action New York City Hosts Climate Week, Including United Nations Summit. Ambassadors and top officials from countries around the world, along with business and industry leaders, met at the United Nations' Climate Summit in New York City during the week of September 22. From the Climate Summit's website: As part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is inviting Heads of State and Government along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders to a Climate Summit in September 2014, New York. This Summit will be a different kind of Climate Summit. It is aimed at catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society in areas for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to the Summit that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy. The Summit will come one year before countries aim to conclude a global climate agreement in 2015 through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although the 2014 Climate Summit is not part of the negotiating process, countries have recognized the value of the Summit, including by welcoming the Secretary-General's efforts in a Decision of the Doha climate conference in 2012. [ClimateWeekNYC, 9/23/14] People's Climate March, Largest Action Of Its Kind, Called For Strong Action On Climate Change. On September 21, two days before the U.N. summit, hundreds of thousands of activists march the streets of Manhattan to send a message to the world leaders to act on climate change. According to Politico, it was "by far the largest climate-related protest in history," with an estimated 400,000 attendees. [Politico, 9/21/14] Several Important Pledges Resulted From The Summit: ThinkProgress reported that over 30 countries pledged to "at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and... end natural forest loss by 2030." Several companies also endorsed the deal. [ThinkProgress, 9/23/14] Six top energy companies agreed to cut their methane emissions through the United Nations' framework, according to the Wall Street Journal. [Wall Street Journal, 9/22/14] Chinese officials reiterated their plans for a nationwide carbon market. Reuters recently reported that carbon emissions in Beijing have dropped since the city implemented a pilot carbon market one year ago. [Reuters, 9/26/14; Reuters, 9/29/14] On Climate Week, CNN Aired Less Coverage Than Other Top Cable Networks  CNN Offered Half As Much Coverage As Fox News. Of the three top cable networks -- CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- MSNBC offered by far the greatest amount of coverage of the U.N. climate summit, with a total of approximately one hour and 55 minutes of airtime devoted to the summit and related events. Fox News aired one hour and 20 minutes, and CNN aired approximately 37 minutes. CNN Previously Ignored U.N.'s Groundwork Report On Climate Change. CNN's relative lack of coverage during climate week mirrors the network's treatment of a top consensus report on the impacts of climate change, released by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on March 31. CNN devoted only one minute and 37 seconds of coverage to the report, far less than MSNBC's 27 minutes and Al Jazeera's 35 minutes of coverage. The report was the second of three installments from the IPCC that form the groundwork of the U.N.'s discussion at this week's summit and in the conferences ahead. [Media Matters, 4/1/14] But CNN Offered No False Balance On Climate Change -- An Improvement From Recent Coverage. CNN aired no false balance on the scientific basis of climate change while reporting on last week's events, hosting only guests who accept that climate change is real and manmade. Previously, an analysis from Union of Concerned Scientists found that throughout 2013, CNN hosted eight segments featuring debates on whether or not climate change is happening. And in May 2014, a Media Matters analysis found that 19 percent of their coverage of a landmark federal report on climate change cast doubt on the science. [Union of Concerned Scientists, April 2014; Media Matters, 5/9/14] Much Of Fox News' Coverage Attacked The Summit And Related Events. A majority* of Fox News' coverage reported on climate week negatively, by attacking Leonardo DiCaprio as being a "hypocrite" for speaking out on climate change at the summit, attacking protesters for littering at the march, casting doubt on the summit's effectiveness, or criticizing potential climate policies as expensive or harmful to the poor. On September 22, Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto featured a panel debate during which Cavuto and two panel members cast doubt on the fact that global warming is real. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/22/14] During the September 23 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld inaccurately warned that the climate policies discussed at the summit are a way for "rich people" to deny resources to the poor. [Fox News, The Five, 9/24/14 via Media Matters] The September 24 edition of Outnumbered also pushed the false meme that climate change policies will disproportionately harm the poor. During the segment, co-host Sandra Smith derided Leonardo DiCaprio as an "extremely rich man basically trying to impose policies and change policies that are mostly going to affect people that are worth much less than him. And that have a hard time making ends meet, that are going to affect them way more than anybody else." Co-host Harris Faulkner agreed, calling it "a real moral issue." [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/24/14] Sean Hannity hosted a "climate change hysteria" panel on the September 24 edition of his show, leading in with video of DiCaprio's U.N. speech, suggesting that he "stick to the day job." During the panel, guest Bernard McGuirk stated: "Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio, these two bloated, gas-guzzling gavones lecturing us on our carbon footprint is like Ray Rice lecturing us on how to treat women. It's obscene":

Posted by on 30 September 2014 | 4:16 am