ABC Apology Over Erroneous Video of Kentucky Gun Range Leaves Media Scratching their Heads

Almost a week ago, ABC News aired a video that erroneously claimed that there was an outbreak of war in Syria between the Turkish army and U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. However, the video was inaccurately described because it was footage from a Kentucky gun range, not a war being waged in Syria.

Part of the apology from ABC said that the news division “regrets the error” and issued a statement on Twitter. The network’s World News Tonight Twitter account said, “CORRECTION: We’ve taken down video that aired on “World News Tonight” Sunday and “Good Morning America” this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy. ABC News regrets the error. Another ABC program, “Good Morning America,” also issued an apology via tweet about the erroneous video.

Yet a week after this incident, the cable news network has not elaborated on how it will prevent an inaccuracy from being nationally broadcast in the future. This is a significant concern as the public already distrusts the media and this only adds another example of why to continue the distrust of the media.

Media pundits were left scratching their heads of how this could happen to a major media outlet and network like ABC. CNN’s Brian Stelter, during his program, “Reliable Sources,” called it the “most egregious media error of the week” and pointed out that ABC “has not explained what happened.”

This is not the first major error for both cable news networks and the mainstream media, which have had to retract stories in the past related to the Trump administration. However, misattribution and conjecture are too commonly passed off by the media as fact and retractions tend to not garner as much attention as the misreported information.

In order to regain the trust of the American people, the mainstream media and cable news networks must take greater care in reporting news after verifying the information or content.

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Author: Spencer Irvine


Clinton Joins Conspiracy Theory Camp, Claims Gabbard is a Russian Asset

Hillary Clinton recently floated a conspiracy theory on a podcast, insinuating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is a “Russian asset.” Gabbard is currently running for president on the Democratic Party ticket, although a long shot, and has been an outspoken voice against U.S. interventionist policies in places such as Syria in the Middle East.

Clinton was a guest on the Campaign HQ podcast, hosted by President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe, and Plouffe asked Clinton about third-party candidates. As background, in the 2016 presidential campaign, Green Party candidate Jill Stein allegedly spoiled Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Clinton, referring to the Russian government, said, “They are also going to do third party again. I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Without mentioning Gabbard by name, Clinton continued, “She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.”

“They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it’s going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”

Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and currently a major in the Hawaiian Army National Guard, and has served in Congress since 2013. Yet, she has fought back against claims that she is a Russian asset, primarily against the New York Times in the recent primary debate. Clinton’s insinuation agreed with the New York Times’s comment, when the newspaper wrote, “She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a ‘rigging’ of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media.”

As much as Never Trump and Democratic Party lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump for conspiracy theories, there is little outcry over Hillary Clinton joining in on the conspiracy theory bandwagon. It is hypocritical that Trump is blasted for conspiracy theories, but Clinton is left unscathed. Yet the mainstream media will focus on Gabbard, instead of the broader picture that Clinton engaged in a conspiracy theory about a current presidential candidate, even though that candidate is a longshot to become the party nominee.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Media Miss: Obama Staffer Slams Mulvaney for Admitting ‘Quid Pro Quo’ – Then Admits It Happens All the Time

On CNN, former White House communications director Jen Psaki openly criticized the current White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney after he last week’s press conference.

On CNN’s State of the Union, Psaki discussed “Ukrainian aid in exchange for an investigation into the 2016 election of DNC server.”

Psaki pushed back against Mulvaney, stating, “Well, first of all, it was complete malpractice to put Mick Mulvaney in that briefing and in the White House you discussion those decisions over and over again when you decided to put a Chief of Staff out.”

Psaki then added that the idea of “quid pro quo” – sometimes referred to in other words as business as usual.

Psaki said, “How it works, you use levers like if you do more work on human rights and you’re better on that, then we may unleash some more military assistance for you. That is the national interest of the United States, Using it in political – as a political cudgel is not normal and shouldn’t be accepted and I’m surprised that Republicans are agreeing to this.”

Despite Psaki not saying quid pro quo she did, in fact, say using “levers,” and getting one thing for another. Essentially a transactional process.

CNN did not mention or explain Mulvaney’s statement, which was released after last week’s briefing. In his statement he said his comments had been taken out of context. His letter describes how his comments on Ukraine were misconstrued.

Marissa Martinez is the founder of Strategic Rush, contributor for Accuracy in Media, The Hill, and Republican Strategist for PACs and congressional candidates. Follow her stories, @MarissaAlisa

Photo by Third Way

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Author: Marissa Martinez

NBA’s Kyrie Irving Continues Trend, Hedges on NBA-China Feud

Another professional basketball athlete has chimed in on the ongoing feud between the National Basketball Association and the Communist centralized government in China.

Adding to LeBron James’s previous comments, fellow NBA athlete Kyrie Irving hedged on the feud when he addressed the media.

As background, the NBA and China are at a standstill when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Morey deleted the tweet, but the damage was done, with Chinese businesses withdrawing partnerships and sponsorships and canceling a charity event in China. Media availability was also nixed for NBA players who were playing preseason games in China.

LeBron James criticized Morey’s tweet as “uninformed” and received significant backlash for not addressing the human rights abuses under the Chinese government. Instead, he mentioned how free speech can have negative consequences, which some interpreted it as protecting his financial investments in China. James is an outspoken social justice advocate and his comments, in the minds of some critics, appeared to sell out his values in favor of financial investments.

Irving plays for the Brooklyn Nets NBA franchise and at one point, was a teammate of LeBron James in Cleveland, Ohio. The Nets played the Toronto Raptors and at the game, pro-democracy and pro-Hong Kong protesters went to the game and wore shirts which read, “Stand with Hong Kong.”

Irving did not express explicit support for the Hong Kong protesters, similar to James, and said, “Listen, I stand for four things: inner peace, freedom, equality, and world peace, man. So if that’s being conflicted inside of me, I’m definitely going to have something to say, and I left it in that room.” He added, “The reality is, as individuals, it’s our job to stand up for what we believe in. Now, I understand Hong Kong and China are dealing with their issues, respectively. But there’s enough oppression and stuff going on in America.”

In short, Irving hid behind the confidentiality of a closed-door meeting with the NBA instead of standing in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters and yet was semi-supportive of the freedom of people to protest. But Irving did not receive as much public backlash as James did because of his wording and his expressed support for the freedom to protest (though not mentioning Hong Kong by name). Yet the constant theme in these comments and remarks by NBA athletes is to not offend the Chinese government due to the NBA’s investment in that country, which critics correctly call a sellout for many of the social-justice-minded athletes and the causes they support.

Photo by ye-wa

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Author: Spencer Irvine

WaPo: Trump Is Losing It; Support Caving, Courts, Officials, Republicans Now Against Him

Since news broke of President Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with the president of Ukraine, his approval ratings on the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll have fluctuated between 45 and 50 percent – where they have been for much of his term.

Democrats continue to investigate the call and other matters, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no plans to hold a vote on impeachment of the president and there appears to be little pressure on her to do so. Trump has at least 90 percent of his party behind him and a record – by a long shot – third-quarter fundraising haul to bolster the efforts of him and other Republicans as the 2020 campaign season begins to heat up.

He is widely credited with forcing Louisiana’s Democrat governor into a runoff with an appearance there in recent weeks and drew more than 50,000 people to a rally in Dallas last week. His worst problem – Democrat control of the House – may disappear in 2020 as Republicans reclaim districts that Trump won in 2016 but Democrats took in 2018, a growing probe of Democrat wrongdoing in the 2016 election and party infighting causes others to fall.

But according to the Washington Post, Trump, “whose paramount concern long has been showing strength, has entered the most challenging stretch of his term, weakened on virtually every front and in danger of being forced from office as the impeachment inquiry intensifies.”

That’s the verdict of Philip Rucker of the Washington Post in the story, “Trump’s season of weakness: A president who prizes strength enters key stretch in a fragile state.”

Rucker made his case in the second paragraph.

“Trump now finds himself mired in a season of weakness. Foreign leaders feel emboldened to reject his pleas or to contradict him. Officials inside his administration are openly defying his wishes by participating in the impeachment probe. Federal courts have ruled against him. Republican lawmakers are criticizing him. He has lost control over major conservative media organs. Polling shows that Americans increasingly disapprove of his job performance and support his impeachment.”

One can assume the foreign leaders Rucker refers to is principally Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey. Erdogan warned the U.S. it planned to carve out a 10-mile long, 285-mile wide buffer zone between Turkey and Syria and that the 50 or so U.S. troops operating in that area should move to avoid the attack. Trump agreed to move them – the option was a full-on war against a NATO ally over land of no significance to the U.S. 6,000 miles away.

Three days later – after Trump had threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy – a cease fire was announced that would lead to the end of the conflict and joint efforts to “defeat ISIS activities in northeast Syria.”

Trump has acquiesced to disgruntled State Department officials appearing before Congress because he has rightfully identified they have nothing incriminating to say to the committees, a key Republican congressman has said. A federal court did rule against Trump in allowing a previously stalled emoluments lawsuit to move forward, but Trump prevailed in a key immigration case that allows the administration to bar asylum for migrants who passed through another safe country en route to the U.S. in keeping with international law.

Rucker contrasted Trump’s handling of the prospect of impeachment with Bill Clinton’s.

“Clinton’s strategy then was to show the American people that he was focused on doing his job as president and was not distracted by the proceedings on Capitol Hill, much as they gnawed at him,” Rucker wrote.

“Clinton paid particular attention to foreign affairs, striving to fortify alliances, whereas Trump strained alliances with his Syria decision and, in the estimation of critics, got played by Erdogan,” he wrote.

He then quotes, as an authority, Terry McAuliffe, a fundraiser for the Clintons and former governor of Virginia. “’What people loved about Clinton is they knew he was getting out of bed every day to fight for them … Here Trump gets out of bed every day and does angry tweets. It’s totally different.’”

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Author: Brian McNicoll

Hillary Clinton Reminisces on ‘Controllable’ Media Environment of the Past

Hillary Clinton bemoaned today’s fractured media landscape, where digital competitors vie for audience in an online marketplace of ideas, wishing for the good old days of the 1970s when “It was a much more controllable environment,” with the “Big Three” networks of NBC, ABC and CBS managing the national media narrative.

In a new podcast interview with Democratic strategist David Plouffe, Clinton also said “I think it’s a lot harder for Americans to know what they’re supposed to believe,” leading critics to wonder whether she was positing that in this new media environment, it was harder for politicians to tell voters what to think.

Despite the well-documented tech bias that puts the thumb on the scale against conservative-leaning digital media outlets, The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman further reports Clinton’s comments: “Beyond the Russians, she talks about an effort by Trump 2020 campaign chief Brad Parscale to ‘manipulate more voters’ minds.’

“For voters who tend to believe their minds are not so easily manipulated, Mrs. Clinton also offers a history lesson. She notes that the current impeachment effort will be more challenging than the Watergate inquiry she worked on as a young congressional aide, in part because of all the new media competition.

“Back in Nixon days, there were just three commercial broadcast television networks, plus dominant newspapers. Now, she says, ‘I think it’s a lot harder for Americans to know what they’re supposed to believe.’

“She tells the story of dealing with questions from reporter Sam Donaldson in the 1970s, rather than today’s myriad online media competitors. ‘It was a much more controllable environment,’ she laments.”

In the podcast, Clinton also claimed that the impeachment of her husband in the 1990s was “nothing but a partisan effort to take down the president,” yet she claimed that with today’s anti-Trump proceedings by House Democrats “there’s no rush to judgment.”

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Author: Carrie Sheffield

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Criticized for Free Speech Stance

In a jarring turn of events, civil rights leaders criticized social media platform giant Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg for its free speech policy changes. In a speech at Georgetown University, Zuckerberg said his company respects the freedom of speech and that it is not up to Facebook to censor content due to political or social views. Censorship could ultimately kill social movements and this policy could help “build a more inclusive society.”

Zuckerberg cited civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass as examples of free speech, lack of censorship, and building a social movement. He compared these two historical figures to the “Me Too” and “Black Lives Matter” movements, which first began online on platforms such as Facebook.

But his speech was met with derision by King’s lone surviving daughter, Bernice King, and a prominent Black Lives Matter activist Alicia Garza. King blasted Zuckerberg for invoking her father’s name in his speech and said, “I heard #MarkZuckerberg’s ‘free expression’ speech, in which he referenced my father. I’d like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians. These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination.”

Garza’s condemnation was markedly different, claiming that Facebook’s policy could enable or empower white supremacists in social media and online platforms. She tweeted her criticisms on the platform of Facebook’s social media competitor, Twitter. She said the following:

“If #BlackLivesMatter to Mark Zuckerberg, then he should ensure that Black users are not targeted with misinformation, harassment and censorship on his platform and stop cozying up to anti-Black forces. Until then, his company will be remembered as an enabler of white supremacy.”

In another tweet, Garza said, “It really lacks integrity for Mark Zuckerberg to even invoke @Blklivesmatter in this kind of insidious way. Not interested in being your mule. You’re being deceptive + it needs to stop.”

NBC News seemingly took Garza’s side, describing the Black Lives Matter movement and repercussions from its formation, “Garza and others in the Black Lives Matter movement have been threatened, described repeatedly on social media platforms and conservative TV outlets as violent and subjected to what Garza has described as surprise FBI visits.” NBC’s inserted an opinion which differed from reality, where Black Lives Matter activists shouted down former president Bill Clinton, vandalized private property, rioted in Baltimore, Md. and incurred significant damages, and whose rhetoric allegedly inspired a gunmen to kill four Dallas, Texas, police officers.

Although King and Garza may have good intentions on calling out Zuckerberg and Facebook’s free speech policy, it may not be up to private or public companies to monitor free speech as it is a protected right under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Hate speech, for example, is protected by the First Amendment. Other companies have monitored and censored speech deemed to be hateful or offensive, and that is their prerogative. It is a tricky situation, and Facebook could be in it for pollical campaign dollars as NBC News suggested, but free speech is ultimately a freedom protected by the Constitution regardless of what views are espoused.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Dallas Reporter Says Trump Texas Crowd Is Comparable to Beto O’Rourke’s Counter-Rally

On Thursday Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rouke held his own rally to counter President Donald Trump’s rally.

CBS reporter Caroline Vandergriff based out of Dallas-Fort Worth posted a photo of O’Rourke’s rally outside the Grand Prairie theatre, which holds 6,350 seats.

Vandergriff posted this to her Twitter account two hours from the time O’Rouke’s event started.

In contrast, Vandergriff posted a “time-lapse” video of the supporters waiting for Trump’s rally, but the video was of the line some 20 hours before the rally started.

However, in reality the crowd outside of the Trump rally picked up.

Fox reported that there was a crowd of 30,000 outside of the American Airlines Center.

Marissa Martinez is the founder of Strategic Rush, contributor for Accuracy in Media, The Hill, and Republican Strategist for PACs and congressional candidates. Follow her stories, @MarissaAlisa

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Author: Marissa Martinez

NBC News Left to Guess How Warren will Pay for‘Medicare for All’ Proposal

After the last presidential primary debate, questions abound about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her version of “Medicare for All.” CNN aired the debate and their moderators asked Warren to explain how she would pay for her proposed overhaul of America’s health care and health care insurance system.

Despite the questions and Warren being asked to respond with an affirmative “yes” or “no” answer, Warren dodged the questions and pivoted to her campaign’s talking points. Warren did not provide a clear answer on how she would pay for her proposals, which is when her primary opponents criticized her from hiding behind her campaign rhetoric. South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg affirmed that many Americans do not want their private insurance abolished, which he claimed would happen under Warren’s proposal. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), another primary opponent, echoed similar sentiments and called Warren’s plan a “pipe dream.”

Due to Warren’s resistance to give a specific monetary figure on how much Medicare for All would cost and how it would be funded, NBC News published an analysis to guess how Warren would fund her health care system overhaul.

NBC News discussed the topic with multiple health experts, in their own words, “who have researched the single-payer costs and financing options to weigh in on the dispute and help give a sense of what options Warren might have to finance her health care plan and how it compares to other plans.”

The analysis acknowledged that it is extremely difficult for voters “to determine whether they would come out on top in a Medicare For All plan, by how much, and what the downstream effects on the economy might be, without knowing how it’s financed.” In other words, Warren’s ambiguity cripples voters’ abilities to determine how they will be affected by Warren’s Medicare for All proposal.

NBC News, in addressing the question about potential costs, cited a University of Massachusetts professor, Robert Pollin, who estimated the cost of total federal spending under Medicare for All at about $2.9 trillion. As NBC News pointed out that based on this estimate, it “could add up to over $10 trillion over a decade.” It brought up another important detail, which is determining how much the federal government “would have to tax and spend under Medicare for All.” Meaning, who will pay for it, will it be the doctors, patients, or hospitals?

The analysis concluded that despite Warren’s refusal to acknowledge tax hikes as a way to pay for Medicare for All, “there are many ways to finance Medicare for All and it’s likely to take a number of taxes together to get the job done.”

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Study Claims New York Times is Not Biased

Researchers from Columbia University and Rutgers University claimed that the media is not biased, contrary to popular views and opinions. Their study, published in an academic publication, said that the answer to the question of if there is media bias is “a resounding no.”

The study compared the New York Times and Reuters, which are two establishment and mainstream media outlets. The authors said they created computer algorithms to measure “the relative proportion of the difference between negative and positive articles by the two media” and Trump then compared it to “non-Trump’ stories and articles.

Among their findings, the study said that both the Times and Reuters used positive and negative emotions. It appeared that the authors that because both outlets had positive and negative emotions in their stories, that it was fair and unbiased coverage. The study said that when outlets “did use words with strong emotions, the proportion of positive to negative words was close to 50-50.”

However, the study appeared to not take into account headlines, which matter more and more in the world of shorter attention spans of readers and audiences. Also, the study appeared to ignore multiple errors and mistakes that the Times has made during the Trump presidency, along with other media outlets having to retract their stories due to unverifiable conjectures being used as facts.

It appears that this study was far from accurate in its data sets and analyses, even though it used a computer algorithm to eliminate bias. The study fell short of proving media bias’s existence or non-existence, which does not add any valuable information to the American public.

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Author: Spencer Irvine