Is Fox News about to be decimated by a media-monitoring service? Or is the cable news channel attempting to establish exclusive control over its news content and silence its critics? Both questions are being examined in an extremely important copyright lawsuit that could soon be decided on summary judgment.
Is Fox News about to be decimated by a media-monitoring service? Or is the cable news channel attempting to establish exclusive control over its news content and silence its critics? Both questions are being examined in an extremely important copyright lawsuit that could soon be decided on summary judgment.
Last September, we spotlighted how Fox News v. TVEyes had the potential of impacting the future of the news business. At the time, we focused on Fox News’ attempt to use a nearly century-old legal doctrine called “hot news misappropriation” on top of copyright claims to protect itself from a company that records, indexes and then distributes television clips to customers that include the United States Department of Defense, the United Nations, The New York Times, Time Warner Cable and professional sports leagues.
On Tuesday, summary judgment motions from both sides became public (minus redactions), telling the tale of litigation stakes even larger than previously imagined. Just what is this lawsuit about?
According to Fox News, it’s about a digital service that is destroying its considerable investment in news reporting. It’s about a defendant that charges customers a flat fee of $500 a month to watch live streams, view past television programs, download unlimited high-definition video clips and then edit them and share them with others. The availability of unlimited clips in real time happens without copyright notices and in unfair competition with an authorized clip-licensing service, says Fox.
"TVEyes’ subscribers who watch FNC and FBN on TVEyes (not on television) are not included in Fox News’ ratings," says the plaintiff’s memorandum. "Therefore, TVEyes’ service devalues Fox News’ content to Fox News’ affiliates, who will seek lower carriage fees as a result. If this use becomes widespread, the effect would decimate Fox News. Thus, TVEyes’ service substantially diminishes the value of Fox News’ copyrighted programming."
Now, let’s turn to TVEyes, which is mounting a fair use defense in large part by focusing onwho is using its service.
"TVEyes’ clients use the service in various ways to facilitate their research objectives," says the defendant’s memorandum. "For example, journalists use TVEyes to comment on and criticize broadcast news channels (including Fox), often by comparing and contrasting how the major news networks cover particular news events. Government officials and corporations use TVEyes to monitor the accuracy of facts reported by the media so they can make timely corrections when necessary. Political campaigns use TVEyes to monitor political advertising and appearances of candidates in election years. Financial firms use TVEyes to track and archive public statements made about securities by their employees for regulatory compliance. The White House uses TVEyes to evaluate news stories and give feedback to the press corps, including Fox News. Without TVEyes or a service akin to it, there would be no way to effectively accomplish these objectives."
About those journalists…
TVEyes mentions that one of its clients is Media Matters — the George Soros-funded organization that often picks apart inflammatory Fox News segments to feed to other media organizations. Indeed, practically every day, CNN and MSNBC use Fox News clips on evening telecasts. And in Fox News’ own summary judgment motion, it’s noted that TVEyes has entered into license agreements with other content owners (with specific names blacked out).
The defendant believes there’s something rotten happening.
"Cable news shows about the news media’s coverage of the news, and media watchdogs that criticize and expose what they deem bias and misinformation, demonstrate the extent to which news reporting is the subject of legitimate and widespread political debate," continues the defendant’s memorandum. "Denying TVEyes the ability to make excerpts of Fox broadcasts available to subscribers for research — especially for research that results in criticism of Fox — elevates Fox’s rights to exclusive ownership and control over the public’s right to continue to access information and effectively engage in political discourse. There is a public benefit to — and a First Amendment interest in — giving the public the means to carry on this conversation on its own terms."
Fox News counters that the fair use scale tips its own way.
Besides taking shots at CNN and MSNBC for allegedly moving away from covering breaking news and describing the potential irreparable harm to its own news-gathering operation, the plaintiff focuses squarely on what TVEyes — and not its customers — is doing. As a clipping service, TVEyes isn’t transforming the copyrighted content with new purpose, Fox argues, but merely providing a “direct substitute” for Fox News’ use.
The parties argue how Google’s digital scanning of library books fits in. TVEyes says it “adds something new” by transforming broadcasts into data for purposes of substantive research, akin to how scholars might use Google Books. But Fox says that TVEyes is a commercial service with no security measures and is taking more than just snippets.
Under this backdrop, the forthcoming decision in Fox News v. TVEyes will present the latest balance between intellectual property and the First Amendment in the digital age. Here’s Fox News’ full memorandum as well as TVEyes’ memorandum.
Didn’t see that one coming: Fox hosts an all-white panel of men to defend police militarization in Ferguson.
Alan Grayson is correct.
From the 05.17.2014 edition of SiriusXM’s Media Matters Radio:
Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is augmenting her campaign to paint herself as a victim of liberal media bias with conspiratorial and false attacks on Media Matters.
Earlier this year Attkisson, who had been celebrated by conservative activists for her often shoddy reporting on the Obama administration, ended her two-decade career at CBS News. She has since made numerous media appearances, often on Fox News, claiming that her reporting had been curtailed by CBS managers who opposed critical reporting on the administration. As Media Matters noted last week, Attkisson has provided little to no evidence to support her broad claims that politics, rather than newsworthiness, was keeping her stories off CBS’ air.
Attkisson responded during an April 20 appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources. After Attkisson claimed that there is a “campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do,” host Brian Stelter asked, “Media Matters has been campaigning against you and saying you’ve been inaccurate in your reporting, is that what they’re doing? They’re just trying to controversialize the issue?” Attkisson responded that she had been “targeted” by Media Matters and hinted at a motive, saying, “I don’t know if someone paid them to do it or they just took it on their own.” After Stelter asked her whether she really believed Media Matters had been paid to target her, she responded, “Perhaps, sure. I think that’s what some of these groups do, absolutely.”
Attkisson’s claims quickly found a ready audience on Fox News.
But Attkisson’s claims are false. Media Matters has never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. We have published research on her reports on green energy and Obamacare, among other topics, when those reports have been inaccurate or misleading — the same standard to which we hold any other reporter.
Attkisson decided to float this conspiracy theory without any evidence during an appearance on a news program, suggesting that she doesn’t believe she needs to prove her contentions before bringing them to a national audience. If that was the reporting standard she sought to uphold at CBS News, it’s no wonder that her managers were unwilling to let her promote half-baked conspiracies on their airwaves.
From the 04.20.2014 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources:
Stop whining, Sharyl!
h/t: Matt Gertz at MMFA
Experts have repeatedly debunked the myth that transgender non-discrimination laws give sexual predators access to women’s restrooms, but that hasn’t stopped conservative media outlets from promoting fake news stories to fear monger about trans-inclusive bathrooms.
For as long as the transgender community has fought for protection from discrimination in public spaces, conservatives have peddled the myth that sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms.
That fear has been an extremely effective tool for scaring people into voting against even basic protections for transgender people, which is why conservatives routinely use the phrase “bathroom bill" to describe laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. When conservative media outlets attack non-discrimination laws for transgender people, they almost exclusively focus on bathroom and locker room facilities.
But that fear is baseless - completely unsupported by years of evidence from states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. In a new Media Matters report, experts from twelve states - including law enforcement officials, state human rights workers, and sexual assault victims advocates - debunk the myth that non-discrimination laws have any relation to incidents of sexual assault or harassment in public restrooms:
The transgender bathroom myth is likely to persist, even in the face clear evidence that discredits it. That’s because, unable to find real incidents to substantiate their fear mongering, anti-LGBT groups have taken to fabricating countless horror stories about trans-inclusive public restrooms. These stories are picked up and widely circulated by conservative (and occasionally mainstream) news outlets. By the time they’re debunked, most of the damage to non-discrimination efforts has already been done.
Last year, for example, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported an incident in which a male student, claiming to be transgender, was allegedly harassing female students in the school’s restrooms. The story was picked up by news outlets like the Daily Mail and Examiner and eventually made its way onto Fox Nation:
The story was a complete fabrication, manufactured by the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a hate group working to repeal a California law protecting transgender students. Cristan Williams, a reporter at The Transadvocate, reached out to the school’s superintendent, who reported no incidents of harassment at the high school. Daily Mail took down its report on the incident, and Examiner published a retraction apologizing for its failure to fact-check the story. But Fox Nation didn’t note the correction, and Fox’s Sean Hannity continued to peddle PJI’s discredited horror stories about trans-inclusive restrooms. Unsurprisingly, PJI’s fears about trans-inclusive restrooms in public schools have turned out to be baseless.
In a statement to Equality Matters, Transadvocate's Williams described the problem of media outlets' willingness to promote wild stories about trans-inclusive restrooms without first verifying their accuracy:
In each case, an anti-LGBT group went to the media with an outlandish story about trans people who became wild after equality laws were passed and in each case, the media was eager to promote these stories without conducting proper fact checking.
PJI was only able to do what it did with the help of a credulous media that’s ready and willing to print - without question - whatever ludicrous anti-trans claim these anti-LGBT groups come up with. It’s a huge problem that does destroy lives.
Public restrooms aren’t a new battleground for civil rights. Social conservatives frequently invoke “bathroom panic” to justify discrimination against marginalized groups. As Lambda Legal notes, the regulation of bathrooms has been used as a tool to exclude people of color, women, and people with disabilities from participating in public spaces.
But the claim that sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms is a lie, plain and simple. It’s a lie that is unsupported by even a shred of evidence and contradicted by years of experience in states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. It’s a lie that does tremendous damage to efforts to protect transgender people from violence and harassment, which often occur in public restrooms. And it’s a lie that persists because conservative media outlets would rather tout made-up stories about sexual harassment than fact-check the anti-LGBT groups who invent those stories from whole cloth.
h/t: Carlos Maza at MMFA
Here’s how the site works. The front page is bar where users type in a claim. Searching that claim then pulls up “lies” or “truths” with research backing up whether it’s a truth or a lie. For instance a search of the Obama administration on Benghazi directs to a page with the the lie “The Obama administration covered up the Benghazi attack by pointing to an anti-Islam video” and the truth “A bipartisan Senate report connects the Benghazi attack to an anti-Islam video” as well as evidence backing up the truth.
The site is starting with 400 entries and will be updated regularly. The updated fact checks will be done in real time by Media Matters staff. Media Matters will start soliciting tips and feedback from audiences and could possibly start moving highly involved users of the site into a more involved role.
Last year, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik revealed in his book on Rupert Murdoch that the Fox News PR department created an elaborate series of fake commenter accounts to write “pro-Fox rants” in the comments sections of articles other outlets published about the network.
According to a new biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, the network’s online subterfuge went even further.
In The Loudest Voice in the Room, New York magazine journalist Gabriel Sherman reports that Roger Ailes was behind the creation of a blog called “The Cable Game” (TCG), which was used to attack Fox rivals like CNN and critics like Media Matters founder David Brock. According to Sherman, Ailes tapped Fox News contributor Jim Pinkerton — who worked with Ailes on the 1988 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign and was later chosen to co-author Ailes’ now-abandoned autobiography — to help write the posts.
A Media Matters review of TCG — which became defunct more than a year ago but is still partially available through the Internet Archive — finds laughably over-the-top praise of Ailes and other Fox personalities alongside vicious, often petty attacks on Fox rivals and perceived enemies. The blog’s criticism frequently echoed Fox’s own public attacks.
TCG regularly featured inside baseball content about the media that went far beyond what the casual media observer would know, much less care about. The blog cited sources inside Fox News, which it used to rebut criticism of the network. TCG was written under the pseudonym “The Cable Gamer,” and posts claimed the author was a woman.
The site was promoted on Fox News in at least four separate instances: three times by Pinkerton and once by Bill O’Reilly. Pinkerton gratuitously promoted the site on Fox News Watch on July 16, 2005 — a major promotion for an anonymous blog that had launched less than two weeks prior (July 8, 2005, with a post that asked, “is anyone cooler than Brit Hume?”).
Roger Ailes Set Up Anonymous Blog “The Cable Game”
From Sherman’s book:
Shut out of the partisan cage match, CNN flailed, and Ailes pressed his advantage. He set up an anonymous blog called The Cable Game that took shots at his rivals. Ailes assigned Fox News contributor Jim Pinkerton to write the entries. “The Cable Game was Roger’s creation,” one person close to Ailes said. ”Is CNN on the Side of the Killers and Terrorists in Iraq?” one headline read. “David Brock Gets Caught! (Although Secretly, He Probably Loves Being Naughty and Nasty),” blared another. The item’s text was accompanied by a photo of Brock posing in a skin-tight tank top with Congressman Barney Frank. “Media Matters, of course, is the notoriously left-wing hit group, founded by that flamboyantly self-hating conservative apostate, David Brock,” it said. “Brock has that rare distinction of being accused of being dishonest by both liberals and conservatives alike. But don’t take my word for it: Here’s what you get if you type ‘David Brock liar’ on Google: 168,000 hits.” CNN chief Jon Klein saw Ailes’s hand behind the articles. He called Ailes and blamed Fox for posting anonymous online gossip that outed the sexual orientation of CNN’s prime-time anchor, Anderson Cooper. Ailes denied any role. (Cooper wouldn’t announce he was gay until July 2012.) [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 339-340]
Sherman adds in his notes that he interviewed “a person familiar with the matter” about the blog, and “Pinkerton did not respond to requests for comment.”
The flawed 60 Minutes report represented a willing and eager decision by CBS to get mired in the Benghazi mud. CBS thought it could keep its reputation clean while cashing in on the built-in buzz it knew the right-wing noise machine would produce for the report.
But that’s a dangerous game given that there’s nothing sane or rational about the right-wing’s Benghazi fantasyand the claims it’s a “Watergate”-like scandal that implicates both President Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The far-right’s Benghazi campaign has been an endless stream of hollow allegations and smears. (i.e. “The cancer on the Presidency is lying exposed — grisly and repulsive.”) Why would a trusted brand like CBS try to wallow in that kind of conspiratorial nonsense?
In reality, Lara Logan’s report produced little new reporting of interest or significance. And much of what it did cast as new turned out to be deeply flawed. The October 27 broadcast seemed designed to whip up angry emotions from conservatives, rather than illuminate the facts.
The Benghazi fact sheet will likely haunt the network for years:
On October 27, 60 Minutes featured Dylan Davies, a British security contractor who claimed to be a “witness” of the September 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities; a witness who claimed that during the attack he heroically scaled a wall of the U.S. compound and knocked out a terrorist with his rifle butt. The action-packed tale Davies told was the same one he spelled out in a book published by CBS subsidiary, which meant the 60 Minutes report was helping to juice sales for a CBS-affiliated book. (60 Minutes did not inform their readeres of that conflict of interest.)
The story Davies told CBS though, was wildly different than the subdued account he gave his work superiors, according to an incident report that was obtained by The Washington Post on October 31. Davies had told his security contractor employer that he “could not get anywhere near” the compound the night of the attack.
With his story under fire, Davies responded that he lied to his employer because he didn’t want his boss to know he’d disobeyed strict orders that night to stay away from the Benghazi compound. While acknowledging that deceit, Davies claimed he told the truth on 60 Minutes and told the truth in his book, and said he would be vindicated by the FBI’s report on what he told agents shortly after the attack.
Then the Times reported that the FBI report actually showed that Davis also told agents he failed to make it to the U.S. compound on the night of the attack, and therefore did not engage in a night’s worth of heroic deeds.
In the days that followed the original airing of the troubled Benghazi report, CBS did nothing to re-report or fact-check the story after holes began to appear. Other journalists, including those from the Washington Post and the New York Times, took on that burden. Basically, CBS waited for outside journalists to vet its Benghazi story after it aired. And only after CBS’ competitors uncovered glaring inconsistencies did the network’s news division admit mistakes were made. But the admissions came slowly and haltingly.
As it stonewalled, CBS couldn’t avoid the fact that in 2004 when 60 Minutes II was caught in a crossfire of conservative outrage after airing a disputed report about President Bush’s Vietnam War record, the network appointed a former Republican attorney general, Richard Thornburgh, to thoroughly investigate what went wrong. The review panel, created to “protect the integrity of CBS News,” was given ”full access and complete cooperation from CBS News and CBS, as well as all of the resources necessary to complete the task.” Those resources included reporters’ notes, e-mails, and draft scripts. After interviewing 66 people over three months, the panel issued an-often scathing 234-page report.
By contrast, no outside panel was appointed to determine how the flawed Benghazi report was put together and who was to blame for allowing it to air; the network instead commissioned a limited internal review by CBS News executive Al Ortiz. And instead of a 234-page report, CBS issued an 11-paragraph summary of Ortiz’s findings. It seemed clear that CBS executives had no interests in opening up 60 Minutes to an independent review; one that would truly probe and ask the hard questions. (Was that because CBS News chairman Fager, Ortiz’s boss, is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes?)
It was, as one journalism association put it, “a case study in how not to correct an inaccurate report in the digital age.”
To date, nobody at CBS has lost their jobs because of the Benghazi hoax. Logan and her producer Max McClellan were asked to take a “leave of absence” following the internal review (those leaves may end as early as January), but CBS has not said whether the two are being paid during their forced hiatus.
Quite simply, how is it possible to spend a year reporting out a story only to have almost none of it stand up to the slightest scrutiny? The magnitude of the malfeasance was baffling, demonstrating that the network failed to follow even rudimentary rules of journalism in preparing the report.
In the end, CBS’s internal “review” of the debacle did little to address the troubling, central questions about how the errors were made and who was to blame. That, in turn, only led to further speculation about motives. Journalism that sloppy and misleading doesn’t happen by accident. Not at the elite level of 60 Minutes.
It took the CBS team nearly two weeks to concede what critics had pointed out as the report’s deep flaws. The price CBS paid? Its prized Benghazi report turned the network’s news team into a national punch line. (See The Colbert Report, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, and Saturday Night Live.)
The night the 60 Minutes Benghazi hoax aired, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson used her Twitter account to relentlessly hype the program. Tweeting a dozen times that night about Logan’s Benghazi piece, Attkisson urged her followers to tune in and watch.
A professional Benghazi aficionado and the declared darling of the right-wing media, Attkisson’s cheerleading wasn’t a surprise. Nor was it surprising that when the 60 Minutes report completely imploded, Attkisson never acknowledged the network’s blunder via Twitter. She simply moved on to her own Obama gotcha campaign that featured a journalism lapse that nearly matched Logan’s.
On November 11, Attkisson aired an exclusive report based on reviewing what she acknowledged were selectively leaked partial transcripts. Those transcripts likely came by the auspices of Republican anti-Obama crusader, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), whose utterly fruitless investigations of the White House as chairman of the House Oversight Committee have become legendary. Issa himself has become known as being legendarily untrustworthy, particularly in his dealings with the press. But that didn’t stop Attkisson from simply regurgitating Issa’s hit piece.
In her report, Attkisson, who’s been identified by some of her own CBS colleagues as an open GOP partisan, suggested Healthcare.gov’s chief project manager Henry Chao in September was completely unaware of “limitless” security concerns related to the government’s troubled site; concerns that could lead to identify theft.
That was Attkisson’s tale as told by the House Oversight Chairman, and the partial transcripts he allowed Attkisson to see. The entire transcript story? In his testimony, Chao was asked about security concerns that had nothing to do with the October 1 rollout of Obamacare, and instead were related to parts of Healthcare.gov that won’t be active until 2014.
That’s just atrocious journalism. As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, the Attkisson report left out “pretty much every relevant detail that points in a more accurate direction.” But it did successfully create more panic about the Obamacare launch. The fact that Attkisson’s producers allowed her to air that kind of obviously flawed and flimsy report (Attkisson had no idea what the full transcripts revealed but she leveled a bogus charge anyway), says a lot about the gotcha culture inside CBS today.
The “Ghastly” Social Security Disability Report
And then there was the October 6 scare report 60 Minutes aired that alleged widespread fraud within the Social Security disability program. (i.e. “A secret welfare system.”) Told from the perspective of another crusading Republican lawmaker, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Media Matters noted at the time the CBS report relied almost entirely on anecdotal evidence to dishonestly portray the social welfare program as wasteful, despite the fact that award rates fell during the recession and that fraud represents approximately one percent of the program.
After watching the lopsided report, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik denounced CBS correspondent Steve Kroft’s “rank ignorance about the disability program” and the “ghastly” piece Kroft helped produce.
Hiltzik wasn’t alone. The Nation attacked the 60 Minutes report as a “hatchet job.” Economist Dean Bakerlamented that, “Perhaps the most remarkable part of this story is that the 60 Minutes crew seem to think they are being tough for going after people on disability.” And disability advocates, who had preemptively reached out to CBS in hopes that 60 Minutes would air a balanced report, denounced the “sensational” account as a “disservice” to people with disabilities.
Taken together, these troubling CBS reports, centered around the shocking Benghazi hoax, paint a disturbing portrait of one of Americans’ most famous news teams, and one that seems overly eager to spread Republican misinformation while doing deep damage to its own brand.
A full week after serious doubts were raised concerning “60 Minutes’” report on a supposed eyewitness to the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, CBS has finally issued a terse two paragraph statement to announce they are “currently looking into” whether they were “misled” by their star witness.
Here’s the full statement:
60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.
We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.
The statement coincides with new information that appears to further undercut the “60 Minutes” report.
As initially reported by Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post, “Morgan Jones” is actually the pseudonym of Dylan Davies, a man who worked for the Wales-based security firm Blue Mountain. Davies was reportedly a British supervisor of security guards protecting the U.S. mission during the attack last year. In an Oct. 27 report this year, said by “60 Minutes” to have been a full year in the making, he told CBS reporter Lara Logan that on the night of the attack he scaled the 12-foot wall of the compound, confronted an attacker “with the butt end of a rifle” and later saw U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead in the hospital.
That account, however, as DeYoung first reported, is at complete odds with an incident report filed by Davies with Blue Mountain on the day after the attack, when he said he had been at his seaside villa throughout the siege that resulted in the deaths of four U.S. personnel, including the ambassador, whose charred body, Davies allegedly told his employer, he had seen in a photograph sent to him by a colleague.
CBS has, until now, refused to acknowledge the conflicting stories, saying only that they “strongly” stand by their reporting. They admitted only — just earlier this week — that they made a mistake by not disclosing that Davies’ book was being published by a CBS subsidiary. Other than that, they stood by their story, even after Davies told the Daily Beast that he had lied to his employer initially in that next-day incident report.
We initially covered the questions about the “60 Minutes” report last week, after Media Matters for America’s David Brock, author of the book “The Benghazi Hoax,” penned a letter to CBS demanding a retraction of the story and a full investigation into what appeared to be a fabricated story by Davies.
Brock cited CBS’ response to questions about “60 Minutes‘” 2004 story on questions about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service (which turned out to be true, though the provenance of one of the documents used in the report was never able to be verified as authentic). Following that report by Dan Rather, CBS quickly launched a full investigation into the matter. “Similar standards must be applied in this case,” Brock said in his letter last week to CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and its president, David Rhodes.
Last Sunday, the show aired letters praising its Benghazi report, but failed to note any of the controversies that had arisen in its wake.
On the KPFK/Pacifica Radio “BradCast” this week we interviewed Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert who described the mess as a “slow motion train wreck.” He struggled to explain the difference between the quick action taken by CBS and “60 Minutes” after the Bush/Rather report, versus the complete silence they had offered in regard to their star witness’ conflicting stories in the two weeks following their Benghazi report.
The Bush/Rather story “absolutely exploded,” he said, noting that it was front page news at both the New York Times and Washington Post two days after it initially aired and that “CBS was putting out a statement almost every day for the first five days.” The CBS Evening News, he said, was addressing it night after night.
Fox News Contributor Sandy Rios at #VVS13: "Matthew Shepard Murder Was 'A Total Fraud'" | Blog | Media Matters for America
Fox News contributor Sandy Rios made several extreme anti-gay remarks during her speech at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, including calling the murder of Matthew Shepard a “total fraud” and touting the existence of “ex-gays.”
Speaking at this year’s Values Voters Summit on October 11, Rios, a Fox News contributor and host of American Family Radio Talk’s “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” repeated the right-wing myth that the brutal murder of openly gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was actually motivated by drug use and not anti-gay bias. According to Huffington Post reporter Christinia Wilkie:
Today Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro launched TruthRevolt, a new site designed to “unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American public, and devastate their funding bases.”
Fixed Noise's Anti-Tax Zealotry Leads To Conclusion That One Should Make Less Money In Order To Avoid Paying Taxes
Fixed Noise doing their best to misinform the people on taxes as usual.
A Fox Business correspondent claimed that it was better to forgo nearly $3 million in additional prize money than to pay the roughly $400,000 in taxes due on it, representing a continuation of the baseless Fox News narrative that the rich have unduly high tax burdens.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson placed second at June’s U.S. Open golf tournament. Fox Business correspondent Lauren Simonetti argued on June 19’s edition of Fox & Friends First that it may have been better for Mickelson to have lost the tournament and place second, for he would avoid paying nearly $400,000 in additional taxes.
She explained that had Mickelson won the tournament — and won the $1.44 million first prize — he would have had to pay an additional $76,000 more in taxes than he paid by placing second and receiving $700,000. Mickelson would have also had to pay an additional $300,000 in taxes on $2.5 million in bonuses paid to him by his sponsors, had he won. She concluded it’s better to avoid paying roughly $400,000 in taxes than to win nearly $3 million in after-tax income. Simonetti said this made Mickelson “$400,000 richer.”
Television preacher and one-time Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson warned on his “700 Club” show Tuesday that he’s inclined to run a “full-scale exposé” on a web publication that he refused to identify, calling them a “nasty group” that focuses on “embarrassing conservatives” who appear on television.
There are only two groups he could be talking about: Media Matters and Right Wing Watch, both of which specialize in video clips of conservatives saying untrue, insensitive or otherwise appalling things. Given his status as America’s premiere television soothsayer, Robertson’s show is a frequent stop for both groups, but only one of them recently caused a stir at Robertson’s network.
Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way (PFAW), recently clipped Robertson saying something not so original for him, but always alarming when he repeats it. On a recent episode, he told a female viewer that her husband had an affair because she had not done enough to keep his attention, adding that she should focus on all the nice things he does for her instead, like letting her live in his house or giving her food and clothing.
Robertson has said essentially this before, telling a woman who wrote into his show in 2010 to “make yourself as attractive as possible” in order to prevent her husband from cheating,which Media Matters noted at the time.
When he repeated this meme earlier in May, Right Wing Watch was the group standing by to catch the ball, and that irked Robertson. “There are organizations, there is one in particular which I will not name, but it is set out for one purpose: to embarrass those who are conservative on television,” he said Tuesday. “So they take my words and they twist them and distort them.”
Just earlier this month, it was Robertson’s host network CBN that was embarrassed. The network explained in a statement that Robertson’s comment on adultery “was not to condone infidelity or to cast blame,” insisting they “regret any misunderstanding.”
Despite Robertson’s insistence, Right Wing Watch quoted him accurately and completely in context. “This organization misconstrues deliberately, they want to do everything they can do to make my words and they twist them,” he complained. “I will not identify the organization but one day we may have a full-scale exposé because it’s a nasty group.”
“Pat Robertson doesn’t understand how ridiculous and extreme he sounds to a mainstream audience,” Josh Glasstetter, PFAW’s research director, told Raw Story in an email. “For decades, he’s lived inside the bubble of the Christian Broadcasting Network. Right Wing Watch faithfully reports Robertson’s comments and provides appropriate context. There’s no need to ‘twist and distort’ his words to make them sound crazy or offensive. They are inherently both.”
As for that “full-scale exposé” the televangelist threatened, Glasstetter claimed he’s happy to hear it. “Robertson can’t threaten us into silence,” he explained. “He’s been attacking our founder, Norman Lear, for decades and even blamed us for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We take his outbursts as a badge of honor.”
From the 05.28.2013 edition of CBN’s The 700 Club:
Neoconservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin on Sunday demanded that CNN “mute” Take Action News host David Shuster for using what she insisted were “Media Matters talking points” to slam ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for inaccurately reporting details about the…