Media Matters for America

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  1. Sean Hannity challenges Jim Acosta to a fight, having taken the CNN reporter's "schoolyard" metaphor literally

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Jim Acosta is begging to be on this radio show and TV show. And, my answer is no, go sell your garbage fake news on your lowest rated cable network. I'm not subjecting my audience to your lies and conspiracy theories and the hoaxes and your arrogant, egotistical demeanor and rudeness towards the president of the country. Sell it on fake news CNN. Then he says, "You don't have the courage to meet me in the schoolyard." I said, "I'd be glad to meet you in a schoolyard, tell me where and when, especially I'm free the week of the Fourth of July. I'm available."


    I literally said to Acosta, stop telling your reps, stop them from harassing and begging my staff. The answer is no. I'm not promoting the 550th ranked book on Amazon to help you. Sell it on your crappy low-rated cable network you work for. Stop bothering my staff. I don't peddle lies like you do, go sell it on the lowest rated cable network in America. You don't deserve to be on the #1 show.


    I will gladly meet him, but I have some conditions. I'll meet him privately in a mutually agreeable schoolyard alone. As he requested. My only condition is this meeting will have nothing to do with his failing book, his failing career, or his failing network.


    Mediaite:  Jim Acosta Disses Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson: They’re ‘Not Willing to Meet Me in the Schoolyard’


    Sean Hannity reassures audience, promises to join Trump on campaign trail

    "Lock her up" and Sean Hannity's "beyond despicable" hypocrisy

    These are Sean Hannity's leading advertisers

  2. Trump's extreme rhetoric at his rally was ripped from Fox News

    During his 60th rally as president, Donald Trump said, "Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it." This rhetoric directly mirrors what Fox News personalities regularly say.

  3. CNN political reporter: None of the Democrats have "that kind of rock star quality that you see with Donald Trump"

    DON LEMON (HOST): Listen, Maeve, a lot of people have been saying -- well I shouldn't say a lot of people, I've heard people say that it was a sort of an electoral fluke last time, right, that Donald Trump won. But Baker asks a really good question, I think: Is Trump the cause of America's polarization or is he the result of it? As someone who has been out on the trail, what do you think?

    MAEVE RESTON (REPORTER): I mean I think he is the result of it. We saw this every presidential campaign that I have covered, you sort of saw it come in inches with Obama, the way that they talked about President Obama's race. People were using coded language back then to talk about their grievances, you know, about immigration. And what's different now is just that Trump has made it, made people feel comfortable saying whatever they want, no matter how politically incorrect it is, you know, in other people's minds. And I think what you see out there, what was so interesting about the rally tonight, to Amanda's point, is that you did really see the way in which he connects with his audience, how he does it, how he stokes that fire. That's really there, and I have been out with all of the Democratic candidates over the last four or five months, and nobody has that kind of rock star quality that you see with Donald Trump tonight. Nobody is camping out before these rallies, and right now, Democrats are really, I think, confused about who they want the nominee to be, because they have so many choices. And so it's fascinating to see him sort of step back into this spotlight and reset the race once again.


    Cable news fell for Trump’s campaign launch gimmick

    CNN analyst: The State of the Union address "could leave analysts saying that tonight was the night that Donald Trump finally became president"

    CNN host gushes over Trump's tweets about State of the Union

  4. Cable news fell for Trump’s campaign launch gimmick

    Melisaa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump held his 60th rally since becoming president last night in Orlando, FL, and while the event was virtually identical to his past 59 rallies, the media was still fooled into giving Trump and his rally significant coverage -- before it even began.

    Trump filed for reelection the day of his inauguration, just hours after he was sworn in and much earlier than any previous candidate. Since then, he’s held 60 rallies -- with six of them happening already in 2019. The only unique aspect of Trump’s rally last night was his claim that it marked the official launch of his reelection campaign. His messaging, however, made it seem like the event was still in 2016, with many media figures noting there was “almost nothing new” and that it was “just another rally.”

    Even though some outlets acknowledged that Trump has actually been running for reelection since the day he was inaugurated, media still flocked to cover last night’s event, giving it significant attention throughout the day. In the lead-up to the rally, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all had extensive pre-rally coverage featuring multiple correspondents reporting live from the rally site. In total, the cable news networks devoted nearly 2 1/2 hours of coverage to Trump’s rally before the president even set foot on stage. Fox News had nearly an hour and a half of pre-rally coverage, while CNN and MSNBC devoted 28 minutes and 35 minutes, respectively.

    When it came to airing the rally itself, MSNBC avoided airing the event, similar to the way it has treated Trump’s previous rallies in 2019. Fox News aired the rally in its entirety, and CNN -- which had only aired a cumulative minute and a half of the president’s first five 2019 rallies -- aired eight minutes of it. CNN’s Brian Stelter noted in his newsletter that while CNN and Fox News both aired the beginning of Trump’s speech live, “after five minutes it was clear that Trump didn't have anything new to say.”

    But demonstrating that the media have learned nothing from 2016, cable news networks subjected their audiences to endless images of Air Force One, the stadium attendees, and the empty podium along with repetitive chyrons reading “Trump departs,” “crowds filling arena,” and “Trump lands in Orlando”:

    Alex Walker and Tyler Monroe contributed to this piece.

  5. Right-wing media melt down over Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's comments about pro-choice judges

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke about her commitment to nominate only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court if she became president, right-wing media responded by leveling personal attacks against Gillibrand and by alleging she was trying to censure abortion opponents.

    On June 10, The Des Moines Register asked Gillibrand about her proposal to nominate only those judges to the Supreme Court who would vow to uphold Roe v. Wade, questioning whether “imposing a litmus test” would be “seen as an encroachment on judicial independence.” Gillibrand responded:

    I think there’s some issues that have such moral clarity that we have, as a society, decided that the other side is not acceptable. Imagine saying that it’s OK to appoint a judge who’s racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic. Telling -- asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America, I think that we are, we’ve -- I don’t think those are political issues anymore.

    And we believe in this country in the separation of church and state, and I respect the rights of every American to hold their religious beliefs true to themselves. But our country and our Constitution has always demanded that we have a separation of church and state. And all these efforts by President Trump and other ultra radical conservative judges and justices to impose their faith on Americans is contrary to our Constitution, and that’s what it is.

    And so, I believe that for all of these issues -- they are not issues that there is a fair other side. There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism. And I do not believe there is a moral equivalency when it comes to changing laws that deny women reproductive freedom.

    Gillibrand later reiterated her position during an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, explaining that her statement “had nothing to do with” the personal views of abortion opponents, but it was rather about the importance of appointing judges who support the “settled precedent” established in Roe. She concluded: “The question and my answer was specific to what kind of judges I would appoint.” Still, right-wing media responded with vitriol, saying that her comments were "shocking and stunning," that they were "just dumb and over the top," and that she was suggesting anti-choice people "should never be granted access to polite society." The meltdown is yet another example of right-wing media’s ongoing effort during the 2020 election cycle to characterize Democrats’ support for abortion rights as “extreme.”

    Right-wing media had a meltdown over Gillibrand’s comments

    • On Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum, Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt said he didn’t know whether Gillibrand is “evil or ignorant,” but that he felt comparing anti-choice views with racist views was “just absolutely shocking and stunning.”
    • Fox Business host Lou Dobbs attacked Gillibrand, asking, “Has she taken complete leave of her remaining senses?”
    • On Fox Business’ Trish Regan Primetime, guest host Gregg Jarrett characterized Gillibrand’s comments as calling someone “a racist … if you happen to be pro-life.” He continued that this was “a stupid, idiotic comparison” and claimed her comments were “just dumb and over the top.” He concluded, “If you had any doubt that Kirsten Gillibrand is obtuse on her best day, she removed all doubt.”
    • On his program, Tucker Carlson claimed that Gillibrand was equating holding anti-abortion views as being “on par with racists, maybe even the Nazis.” Carlson’s guest Lila Rose, the founder and president of the anti-abortion group Live Action, said, “This idea that it's not even justified to have the pro-life position -- you're even a racist. I mean, that term is just thrown around today. But saying that you're even a racist to be pro-life -- half of America is pro-life.”
    • Fox host Sean Hannity named Gillibrand “Villain of the Day” because of her comments.
    • Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said on his No Spin News show that Gillibrand’s comments demonstrated that she was “a dangerous person” and “a demagogue.” He continued that “Gillibrand is basically saying as a sitting senator, all the pro-life people in America are not supposed to be heard. You shut up because you’re just like a racist. How vile is this? Now that should disqualify the woman from public office.”
    • National Review called Gillibrand’s comments “more sinister than pandering” and characterized them as “irresponsible, malicious rhetoric.”
    • The Washington Times claimed that Gillibrand was “demonizing millions of pro-life citizens” with her comments.
    • Townhall accused Gillibrand of being “desperate to score some political points amongst the progressive base in hopes of boosting her ranking from dead-last in the presidential primary.”

    Other outlets published opinion pieces echoing right-wing media’s attacks and allegations

    • Philip Boas, the editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic, claimed in an opinion piece that Gillibrand’s comments “revealed her authoritarian instincts.” He wrote:

    Gillibrand added that opposition to abortion should be regarded in the same way we regard racism. In other words, critics of abortion need to be banished from the public square. They need to be treated with all the loathing and disdain we reserve for racial bigots.

    They should never be granted access to polite society. Never hold corporate jobs. Never rise to any position of legitimate authority. They should be shunned and ignored and otherwise marginalized – made so radioactive that their views are no longer to be considered. Only condemned.

    And that especially goes for federal judges one suspects may harbor anti-abortion views.

    • Syndicated columnist Michael Gerson wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post saying, “Few would accuse [Gillibrand] of seriousness in her presidential run.” He characterized Gillibrand’s comments as saying that, “pro-life people are not only wrong; they are bigoted theocrats who threaten democracy.”
    • In The Chicago Tribune, columnist John Kass summarized Gillibrand’s comments as her saying that “if you oppose abortion, then you’re equivalent to a racist” and that these views reflected the Democratic Party writ large because “her bigotry was met with silence. And silence is consent.” Kass also wrote, “In her world, babies don’t have rights. Even thinking of them as human would get in the way of politics that grant power to those who would end their lives.”