Media Matters for America

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  1. Fox guest on possible troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: "The solution is more blood, sweat, and tears" 

    JOHN HANNAH (FORMER VP CHENEY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER): The president, you know, is signaling that he wants done with this. There may be some kind of remnant of counter-terror mission here, but I think the danger is that once we withdraw our support for the Afghan government on the basis of a very phony promise from the Taliban that they are not going to try and reestablish their jihadist tyranny -- and in very much in cooperation still with Al Qaeda, that once that Afghan government is brought down, Taliban, Al Qaeda come back. It's going to be infinitely hard for the United States to conduct an effective counter-terrorism mission without an Afghan government there. 

    BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR): I apologize for the interruption there. Do you have a better solution then, John? 

    HANNAH: No, I mean, listen, the solution is more blood, sweat, and tears. I think the mission in Afghanistan, as frustrating and as long as it's been, Bill, with those several thousand troops there supporting an Afghan government -- we're not in the front lines doing the fighting -- I still think it's a sustainable mission if you believe that things can actually get much, much worse. But it needs a president who actually believes that avoiding a Taliban/Al Qaeda resurgence in the place that spawned 9/11 is important enough to continue this kind of sacrifice.

    Previously:

    Fox & Friends guest says a war against Iran would be "pretty quick and easy"

    The Trump-Fox feedback loop could cause a war with Iran

    Tomi Lahren: "If the plan were to send a huge surge of land and war power to wipe out Iran and turn it into glass ... that might actually solve the problem."

  2. Fox host defends Trump: "Just because you use harsh language doesn't mean your intent is to denigrate another race"

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Are you a racist if you criticize an African-American politician? The left says, oh, yes you are. The charge, Trump is a racist, is now an established theme in the Democrats' 2020 campaign. I object. Just because you use harsh language doesn't mean your intent is to denigrate another race. Throwing that word around, racist, shuts down the debate. You can't solve problems if you can't speak freely. The word racist is applied to just about anybody. It no longer has bite.

    Baltimore has brought the racist charge to a boil. In a series of tweets, the president has criticized Congressman Elijah Cummings. He is a Democrat who has represent a major -- majority Black district for over 20 years. The president described Cummings' district as quote, "A disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess where no human being would want to live." Oh, that caused outrage. The media jumped on it, and from there on out, branded the president a racist and a bigot. Again, I object. The president was describing reality. Bernie Sanders has said exactly the same thing, but he wasn't called a racist. Oh, no, he's a socialist. Now we find that Congressman Cummings himself had used similar language. He said Baltimore was quote, "drug-infested, and the residents walked around like zombies." He was saying same thing as the president. Nobody criticized him for telling it the way it is, but Trump is a racist.

    This smearing, this name calling is a deliberate political tactic, and I think it's going to fail. The weak performance of Democrats running big cities can no longer be covered up. This president, unlike any other president, is prepared to call it how he sees it, and damn the consequences. The president wants the votes of African-Americans. He's courting them. Instead of pandering with offers of money, he is asking what happened to the billions already spent? Baltimore got 1.8 billion just from the stimulus package. What happened to it? Where did the money go? The Democrats have opened Pandora's Box without realizing it. They thought that calling him a racist would silence him. Wrong. They've given him a campaign theme. And that theme is, the Democrats failing their own supporters.

    Previously:

    Fox host defends Trump's racist tweets: He was just saying Democrats and liberal policies have destroyed Baltimore 

    Fox's Brian Kilmeade on Baltimore: "I don't think anyone passed statewide tests in some of these inner-city schools"

    Fox host makes bizarre defense of Trump’s racism: Trump “probably never watched The Wire ”

  3. Fox News is talking more about abortion than the Democratic debates did


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    During the four nights of the two Democratic presidential primary debates in June and July, Fox News outpaced CNN and MSNBC in the amount of time it gave to abortion coverage even though the network didn’t host either debate. CNN moderators failed to ask a single question about abortion during the second primary debate this week. And even though MSNBC moderators asked the candidates questions about the topic during the network’s debate in June, Fox News spent more time discussing the issue than CNN, MSNBC, or the candidates themselves did.

    Right-wing media have been regularly dominating the conversation about abortion ahead of the 2020 elections, filling a void of abortion-related coverage by spreading misinformation and stigma about it. Fox News has been a frequent promoter of anti-abortion misinformation -- including the allegation that Democratic support for abortion access is “extreme.” Given this emphasis, as well as the decreasing accessibility of abortion care across the United States, it is essential that moderators ask candidates specific and nuanced questions about abortion during the debates.

    This trend of right-wing media dominating abortion coverage continued during three of the four nights of the Democratic debates. Media Matters monitored both debates and live pre-debate and post-debate coverage on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News and found that Fox News discussed the topic for almost 26 minutes total. In comparison, the topic was discussed on MSNBC for 11 and a half minutes and on CNN for about six minutes; this count includes the time when abortion was discussed on the debate stage as well as during pre-debate and post-debate coverage.

    CNN's moderators failed to ask the candidates any questions about abortion during the network's two nights of debates. The only time abortion was discussed during CNN’s July 31 debate night was when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked former Vice President Joe Biden about his different positions on the Hyde Amendment. Notably, even when discussing the Hyde Amendment (which prohibits federal funds from supporting abortion care except in cases of rape or incest), neither Harris nor Biden used the word “abortion.” The topic was also essentially absent from the July 30 debate.

    Even though abortion was discussed during both nights of the MSNBC debate in June as moderators questioned candidates about it, Fox News still discussed the topic more each night than the debate participants and commentators on MSNBC or CNN did. During the first night of the June debate, Fox News discussed abortion for about nine minutes and 19 seconds between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. In contrast, debate participants and commentators on MSNBC discussed the topic for only about four minutes and 15 seconds, and CNN commentators discussed abortion for only two minutes.

    This disparity was even greater during the second night of the MSNBC debate. During the same time period of 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fox discussed abortion for 15 minutes and 48 seconds, while debate participants and MSNBC commentators discussed the topic for four minutes and 44 seconds. Commentators on CNN discussed abortion for less than two minutes.

    Though there are many important topics that moderators should be raising during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates, Democratic voters are clear that they want to hear candidates discuss abortion. If moderators continue to prioritize optics, vacuous political theater, and right-wing talking points over substantive questions, right-wing media will continue dominating the discussion and will keep spreading anti-choice misinformation unabated on their own platforms.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched the SnapStream video database for mentions of the following keywords: “abortion,” “Roe,” “reproductive rights,” “right to choose,” “pro-life,” “pro-choice,” “anti-choice,” “pro-abortion,” “decisions about her body,” “infanticide,” or “Hyde.” We searched on Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC between 8 p.m and 1 a.m. for the June debates and between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. for the July debates due to the earlier start time.

    We timed segments, which we defined as instances in which a speaker in the debate or on a network discussed abortion or a related topic. Segments included host monologues, news reports or packages, interviews, and guest panels. We did not include teasers for upcoming segments or rebroadcasts.

  4. Fox & Friends touts Trump's "connections to Ohio" without noting they involve housing discrimination

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): The president of the United States was in Cincinnati last night. You saw the rally right here on Fox News Channel. There were 17,500 people there at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The president has connections to Ohio, he’s talked about it in the past. Fifty years ago his father actually owned the Swifton Village housing complex in the Bond Hill area. So he’s got a connection, not only through his family, but also, he won Ohio last time. He needs to win Ohio again this time.  

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): He’s familiar with Skyline Chili and Graeter’s ice cream because he said to that entire audience, he said, “I worked for my dad in the Swifton Village.” He said, “Does anyone know where the Swifton Village is?” And some people, you know, clapped and got excited about it. It’s always nice when someone famous comes into your town and they can relate to the people, and that’s what he does there. 

  5. The only Black Republican in the House announced he will not seek reelection. Fox News covered it for 20 seconds.

    Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) announced on August 1 that he is not seeking reelection in 2020.

    I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security. https://t.co/GeZ4Hh264f

    — Rep. Will Hurd (@HurdOnTheHill) August 2, 2019

    Politico described the importance of Hurd’s retirement:

    If you are a House Republican, this has been an absolutely gutting few weeks. And, truly, if someone is trying to spin you on how the political picture is not that bad for the House GOP right now -- at this moment -- you ought to discount them as a political professional or analyst. Because it’s really, really bad, deflating and discouraging.

    On Thursday night, Texas Rep. Will Hurd -- the only black Republican in the House -- announced he would not run for reelection. He beat Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2018 in a large district that runs the stretch of the Texas-Mexico border -- and she is running again. Republicans like to say this is an R+1 -- fine, perhaps -- but it’s an R+1 that Hillary Clinton won by 3 points, so it’s not much of an R+1.

    Others agreed.

    But while much of the political world is talking about the retirement announcement, Fox News is not as interested. Hurd was not mentioning at all during Thursday’s evening programming or Fox & Friends on Friday, and he has received only 20 seconds of coverage so far during Friday’s America’s Newsroom:

    Both CNN and MSNBC covered Hurd's announcement on Thursday and Friday.

    Fox News has spent plenty of time touting President Donald Trump’s alleged support in the Black community despite polls showing widespread disapproval of the president.

    Hurd spoke about his decision not to run again with The Washington Post, calling out Trump’s racism:

    In an interview Thursday with The Post, Hurd criticized Trump’s racist tweets last month in which the president said four Democratic minority congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the women are from the United States; a fourth, Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), is a Somali refu­gee who became a U.S. citizen as a teenager.

    “When you imply that because someone doesn’t look like you, in telling them to go back to Africa or wherever, you’re implying that they’re not an American and you’re implying that they have less worth than you,” Hurd said.

    Hurd recently told Meet The Press, “I shouldn't be the only African-American Republican in the House of Representatives."