Media Matters for America

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  1. Fox contributor and former acting director of ICE: "There should be fear in the immigrant community"

    TOM HOMAN: But let's not leave Kamala just yet. I want to say one thing. She made a comment about the fear --

    LOU DOBBS (HOST): Just so you answer my question.

    HOMAN: She says, "fear in the immigrant community." There should be fear in the immigrant community. If immigrants are illegally, they're [inaudible] in fear. Let me make something clear. If you're illegally in the United States, you're supposed to be uncomfortable. If you and I go on a highway a hundred miles an hour, we're afraid we'll get a ticket. If you lie on the taxes you're afraid of being audited. If you choose to enter this country illegally, which is a crime, you should be uncomfortable. 

    Previously: 

    Fox guest: Migrant caravan is "nothing short of an invasion"​

    Sean Hannity: Caravan members "are planning to firebomb anybody that gets in their way"​

    Lou Dobbs claims birthright citizenship led to an "explosion" of welfare in the 1960's​

  2. Fox's Jason Chaffetz says that Broward County intentionally reported recount results late to hurt Rick Scott's campaign

    MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): Meantime, in the governor's race, the machine recount showing Republican candidate Ron DeSantis with a big enough lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum that a manual recount will not be required. And now all eyes are on the Democratic stronghold of Broward County. The county missed yesterday's 3 pm deadline -- hmm -- after reporting the machine recount results two minutes late. Now Scott's campaign is accusing the county's embattled elections supervisor Brenda Snipes of intentionally missing the deadline to invalidate the results, which showed Democrat Bill Nelson losing ground to Governor Scott.

    ...

    JASON CHAFFETZ (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Do you think it's just a coincidence every time there's a mistake like this it's because it was going to go in the Republicans' direction, but they know it actually helps the Democrat?

    Previously:

    Mike Huckabee pushes bogus claim that Florida election officials are attempting to "swing an election"

    Sean Hannity says efforts to count all Florida votes “purposefully violated the federal law and Florida state law"

    Fox's Jeanine Pirro suggests both that there were "more votes than people" in Florida and that a "truckload" of ballots were destroyed

  3. National broadcast TV news mentioned climate change in less than 4 percent of California wildfire coverage


    Meliss Joskow / Media Matters

    This month’s catastrophic California wildfires garnered significant media coverage, with major national news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC airing more than 100 segments about the unfolding disasters. But Media Matters found that just 3.7 percent of those segments mentioned the link between climate change and worsening wildfires. That's a minuscule improvement over their coverage of Western wildfires this summer, when the networks incorporated climate change into less than 2 percent of their segments.

    On the local level, TV news programs on California stations included discussion of climate change in numerous segments about the ongoing wildfires. News shows on major TV network affiliates in the state’s three largest media markets aired 44 episodes that addressed how climate change exacerbates wildfires.

    Climate change is a critical factor contributing to the growing severity of wildfires in the United States, according to researchers. Scientists have documented an increase in both the number of large fires and the total area burned per year in the U.S. Fifteen of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s history have occurred since 2000, as rising temperatures in the West have lengthened wildfire season by several months. Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist and dean of the University of Michigan’s environmental school, told The Associated Press that the increasing severity of fires is “much less due to bad management and is instead the result of our baking of our forests, woodlands and grasslands with ever-worsening climate change.”

    NBC mentioned climate change in just two segments, while ABC and CBS each made only one mention

    The three national broadcast TV networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- aired 107 segments about the California wildfires on their major morning and evening news programs from November 8 to 13. Only four of these, or 3.7 percent, included discussion of climate change. NBC aired two of the segments that mentioned climate change, while ABC and CBS aired one each.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Both of NBC’s climate change mentions came from weather anchor Al Roker on the November 12 episode of Today. During the show’s 7 a.m. hour, Roker discussed the factors that have made the fires so bad: “July was the hottest month ever recorded in California. That hot weather dries out the vegetation. They’ve had no rain to speak of really in the last three months. Parched conditions. And this is all due to climate change.” He noted that the annual number of large fires in the state has more than tripled since 1970, and that there have been six times as many acres burned per year on average since then. He made many of the same points in a later segment during the same episode. Here's the first segment:

    CBS’ climate change mention came on the November 11 episode of CBS This Morning, during a segment by WCBS New York weather anchor Lonnie Quinn. He said researchers believe that “both forest management and the changing climate play a role” in worsening wildfires. “California’s temperatures have increased 2 to even 3 degrees over the last century," he explained. "Making matters worse, there was a five-year drought from 2011 to 2016. That drought killed more than 129 million trees. That's just fuel for the current fires that are out there."

    ABC's coverage was the weakest, seeming to downplay the effect of climate change on the wildfires. On the November 10 episode of ABC’s Good Morning America, anchor Eva Pilgrim said to ABC senior meteorologist Rob Marciano, “It seems like these fires are getting worse and worse every year. Is this climate change? What’s the deal with all this?” Marciano responded, “This summer we saw excessive heat waves and drought in some cases, you can link a little bit of that to climate change. But this is a Santa Ana season, so this is not unusual to get winds blowing flames like this, and this is a dry season as well.”

    Even this fleeting mention of climate change is a slight improvement for ABC, which rarely brings up climate change at all in its coverage of extreme weather. During this past summer's dramatic wildfire season, ABC's coverage didn't mention climate change a single time, and the network made no mention of climate change earlier this year in its coverage of both a deadly heat wave and Hurricane Florence.

    CBS and NBC also did poorly when it came to incorporating climate change into their reporting on this summer’s wildfires in the Western U.S., even though they didn't completely strike out like ABC. From June 21 to September 21, the main morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC aired a combined 471 segments discussing the wildfires, and only nine of them, or 1.9 percent, mentioned climate change -- six on CBS and three on NBC.

    California local news shows mentioned climate change numerous times in their wildfire coverage

    Media Matters also analyzed news coverage of the wildfires on local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox in the three largest California media markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland, and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto. From November 8 to 13, we found 44 news show episodes that mentioned climate change in relation to the wildfires -- 16 in Los Angeles, and 14 each in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas. Over half of these episodes featured a clip of California Gov. Jerry Brown blaming climate change for the destructiveness of the wildfires during a November 11 press conference.

    One example of such coverage came from Los Angeles’ KTTV Fox 11 noon news program on November 12. The segment was wholly focused on Brown's comments about climate change and wildfires:

    A more muddled example aired on Sacramento’s KXTV ABC 10 Morning Blend show. The segment discussed a tweet from President Donald Trump that blamed the fires on poor forest management. The hosts noted Brown's comments about climate change, then invited viewers to take a poll and vote for either forest management or climate change as the bigger contributor to the fires. Most of the poll takers selected forest management:

    Both of these segments would have been better if they had informed viewers of what scientists and other experts actually say: Climate change is a significant contributor, and, in the case of the current fires, forest management is not.

    Still, it's notable that many local news stations made a point of discussing climate change in the context of the fires. Local stations have a greater responsibility than national ones to report on the immediate dangers that wildfires pose to their community members, including evacuation orders and specific details about how fires spread. And yet this month in California, many local programs still found time to report on how climate change worsens wildfires. There's no excuse for national networks not to do the same.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched Nexis and iQ Media for broadcast network TV news segments that covered wildfires using the search terms wildfire(s), forest fire(s), or fire(s), and then we searched within those segments for mentions of climate change or global warming. Our analysis covered morning news shows (ABC's Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and NBC's Today) and nightly news shows (ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News) from November 8-13. For local California coverage, we searched IQ Media for news shows between 4 a.m. and midnight on affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox in the media markets of Los Angeles, San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland, and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto.

  4. NRATV is still pushing the conspiracy theory that George Soros is behind the migrant caravan

    CHUCK HOLTON (NRATV CORRESPONDENT): When we’re talking about this caravan, one of the things that we’ve really been excoriated for is for saying that this thing is being, maybe not funded directly, but certainly facilitated and encouraged by left-wing groups, mostly in the United States and elsewhere. I did a little bit of research, and it didn’t take a whole lot, AWR [Hawkins], I’ll tell you, to find a pretty direct link between George Soros money and the people in the caravan getting fed. Now, I have been crucified on Twitter for this because they say that I’m pushing a conspiracy theory, but let me just break it down for you. George Soros funds the Open Society Foundation, right? OSF funds the International Migration Institute, IMI, and IMI gives money to a whole host of other organizations, one of which is called the Alianza Americana. And if you got to the Twitter page of Alianza Americana, you can see that they’re traveling along with the caravan, bringing food and shelter and comfort to those people coming north.           

    Related:

    NYTimes: Did Democrats, or George Soros, fund migrant caravan? Despite Republican claims, no

    Previously:

    NRATV correspondent: Migrant caravan is "an invasion under the guise of migration"

    NRATV attempts to blame the media after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting despite pushing similar conspiracy theories as the gunman

    NRATV correspondent downplays attempted bombing of George Soros’ New York home

  5. Fox News pushes Trump administration's bogus claim that CNN's Jim Acosta "placed his hands" on an intern, after judge orders White House to reinstate Acosta's press pass

    JON SCOTT (CO-ANCHOR): If you are a little befuddled as to what this is all about, there was a White House press conference right after the election during which the president was speaking, Jim Acosta from CNN got in a very heated exchange with him. A White House intern tried to take away the microphone and there was a little bit of an altercation. The White House said that he actually placed his hands on the intern. That's open to interpretation. Some saw it as such, some say it was overblown. But the White House pulled his press pass. Now he is getting it back according to this ruling from a federal judge.

    Related:

    CNBC: Judge orders Trump administration to restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass

    Previously:

    Fox's Howard Kurtz: It was a "misstep" for the White House to smear Jim Acosta with a "doctored video put out by Infowars"

    Fox's Stuart Varney: "Jim Acosta is a disgrace... He struggled with a young White House intern. It was an awful display, shameful, frankly." 

    Fox Business' Trish Regan asks attorney to use her background in sexual assault cases to assess CNN’s Jim Acosta's refusal to give up microphone