The Trump Effect on the Media

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump, he has clearly struck a chord with Americans on several fronts: contempt for the media, the belief that America is far too often a chump when it comes to international dealings (whether trade or national security), and, of course, issues related to illegal immigration. He was even recently defended—sort of—by the liberal MSNBC pundit, Chris Matthews. Matthews appears to be somewhat moved by Trump’s recently released immigration agenda, questioning whether this candidate is a “true phenomenon.”

“Of the people who care about illegal immigration, who don`t refer to it euphemistically as ‘undocumented workers’ or something like that, who really don`t like illegal immigration, this guy seems to be scoring,” said Matthews on his August 18 “Hardball” show, turning then to Salon editor-at-large Joan Walsh.

“But you know, I mean, that proposal would create essentially a police state to round up and move out 11 million undocumented immigrants and possibly their American-born children,” said Walsh, who is usually on the same page as Matthews. “So it’s not really—”

Matthews repeatedly cut her off, and demanded to know, specifically, “What is there out there that would actually stop illegal immigration besides [Trump] talking about it?”

Americans are, quite frankly, sick and tired of the crimes being committed by illegal aliens, and then finding out that, for example, an individual who had been deported five times, and convicted of felonies seven times—was then released back onto the streets until he committed a brutal, senseless crime. In that case, Francisco Sanchez murdered Kate Steinle in San Francisco, just last month. The mainstream media consider it acceptable to look the other way and not report on festering criminal illegal alien behavior such as murder and assault. However, insisting that people who came here illegally, created a false identity for themselves, or overstayed a visa, should now be able to stay here and be given a pathway to citizenship is considered good progressive policy and highly compassionate.

“If immigrants are principally defined by their missing papers, their path to legal status becomes far more tenable,” writes Emily Bazelon for The New York Times Magazine on August 18. “Imagine if we started calling all immigrants ‘dreamers,’ which is how many of us think of our own ancestors.”

“And ‘illegals’ implies a permanent caste, as if there is no possibility of becoming anything else—even if millions of immigrants in the course of American history have shown otherwise.”

Of course, members of the mainstream media imply that if Congress would only pass comprehensive immigration reform, granting immediate amnesty followed by a pathway to citizenship, then these issues would resolve themselves.

Since President Obama refuses to enforce the existing laws, it seems far-fetched to consider it credible that he would properly enforce any new laws Congress might pass. Stephen Dinan reported for The Washington Times in April that “both arrests and deportations of criminal aliens are down about 30 percent through the first six months of fiscal year 2015.”

Clearly, the Obama administration is failing if it intends to enforce immigration law—or even selectively enforce parts of it.

“And guess what? The Democrats want the votes,” said Matthews on his show. “And that’s the secret of this whole thing, and that’s why a guy like Trump, who may well be a demagogue, is at least saying something that people can hear.” He added that, in his view, Republicans and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal want amnesty as a steady source of cheap labor.

“…sources inside the Department of Homeland Security say a new program is urging them to become citizens in time to vote in the 2016 election,” reported Fox News this April. “Of the 20 states with the highest green card population, 14 are holding Senate races in 2016, so millions of new voters could dramatically impact the election.”

Former President Bill Clinton recently claimed that net “in-migration” to the U.S. from Mexico is now neutral. However, the Center for Immigration Studiesdetermined this month that Mexican immigration has actually “increased by 740,000 from 2014 to 2015—accounting for 44 percent of the increase in the total immigrant population in the last year.”

But the question of whether the illegal immigrants residing in, and flowing to, America are Mexican citizens or originate from other countries may be a clever distraction from the real discussion: illegal immigration’s negative impacts.

“More non-Mexicans than Mexicans were apprehended at U.S. borders in 2014, the first time on record this has happened,” the Pew Research Center reported in July. More specifically, the Mexican unaccompanied alien children (UAC) and families apprehended by the Border Patrol made up less than one quarter of those apprehended along the Southwest border, according to the Border Patrol’s fiscal year 2015 numbers.

“The Obama administration last year initially blamed bad economies and growing gang violence…for sparking the surge, but later acknowledged that human traffickers were marketing the journey by pointing out a loophole in [the] U.S. immigration system that requires non-Mexican children to be released into the U.S. while they await final immigration decisions,” reported Dinan for The Washington Times in April. “That gives them a chance to abscond and disappear into the shadows with the more than 11 million other illegal immigrants in the country.”

Many people believe the number is much higher—perhaps more like 30 million—and this week the former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. inadvertently referredto “the 30 million undocumented immigrants in the United States” on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” before “correcting” himself, saying the number was 11.3 million.

The media are content instead to play election year politics. The New York Times made space on its August 19 front page to cover how Trump’s immigration agenda may cost the Republican Party the 2016 presidential election. We know how concerned the Times must be about that possibility.

“For many readers of ‘First Thoughts’ know all too well, there’s no path to the White House for the GOP if their nominee can’t at least come close to 35% of the Hispanic vote,” wrote MSNBC’s Chuck Todd and Mark Murray on August 19. “And ending birthright citizenship could easily turn into the wedge issue NEXT fall, a la Todd Akin.” More concern for the fate of the GOP.

Trump’s immigration plan says it would “End birthright citizenship.”

The argument that anchor babies shouldn’t become U.S. citizens may be controversial, but it is by no means a “white supremacist” perspective, nor does it, as MSNBC reports, “question the legality of the Constitution.” The Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding explained in 2010 for U.S. News & World Report that in 1898 “the Supreme Court expanded the constitutional mandate, holding that the children of legal, permanent residents were automatically citizens.”

“While the decision could be (and is often) read more broadly, the court has never held that the clause confers automatic citizenship on the children of temporary visitors, much less of illegal residents,” argued Spalding. Trump told CNN on Wednesday that changing this wouldn’t require amending the Constitution, but that it could be done through legal challenges.

Trump’s utter contempt for the media has also struck a chord with Americans. He doesn’t hesitate to call their questions, or them, for that matter, “dumb” or “stupid,” and he doesn’t bow to political correctness. He is not only forcing the other candidates to respond to him, and take positions that they wouldn’t have had to take otherwise—he is also forcing the mainstream media to confront issues that reporters would rather not cover at all.

It’s a long road ahead until the first votes are cast at the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in early February, and from there a short hop to Super Tuesday on March 1st, when 12 states will choose their delegates to the summer conventions. At that point the dust may settle a bit, and we should have a much better idea of who is likely to prevail—or at least who the finalists are likely to be—in each of the major political parties. Until then, it’s anyone’s guess.


Kremlin TV Backing “Bolshevik Bernie” for President

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Thom Hartmann, a paid agent of the Russian government’s main propaganda channel, Russia Today (RT) television, is strongly supporting career politician and socialist Bernie Sanders for U.S. president. “Bernie Sanders could be the next FDR,” he says. But it might be more accurate to say that Sanders could be another Alger Hiss, the Russian agent who served FDR as his top aide and helped create the United Nations.

Before examining the curious history of “Bolshevik Bernie,” as analyst Trevor Loudon calls him, Hartmann’s service to the Kremlin is worth a look. Hartmann praises Sanders for trying “to get money out of the political process,” while Hartmann is paid by Moscow and uses a Kremlin TV channel to influence Americans on behalf of the socialist senator from Vermont.

An advocate for “transparency, openness and integrity” in the political process, Hartmann is close-mouthed on how much the Kremlin is paying him, although he claims he has editorial control over his show.

But the Hartmann/RT connection isn’t the only controversy associated with the openly socialist candidate for president, who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. As we noted in our column, “New Agers Back Socialist Sanders as Messiah,” the Vermont senator is backed by a rich and influential New Age “spiritual teacher,” Marianne Williamson. She thinks the violent Muslim prophet Mohammad had a positive impact on human history, and believes that a federal Department of Peacebuilding can disarm our enemies.

Still, the Russian connection may prove to be even more of a problem for Sanders. Hartmann regularly features a “Lunch with Bernie” segment on his radio show.

Accuracy in Media has reported that Russia is giving an untold amount of Russian rubles to Hartmann to spout his Marxist rhetoric on RT, which is carried across the U.S. on several major cable and satellite systems. When I asked Hartmann about his backing from Moscow, during an appearance he made at a liberal conference, he tried to doubletalk his way out of it, grabbed my Flip camera and stomped away. He is embarrassed by his Russian connection, but not embarrassed enough to refuse the Russian cash.

The entire exchange, including when Hartmann went ballistic, was captured in a video titled “Progressive Star Thom Hartmann gets rubles from Russia.”

RT reporters Sara Firth and Liz Wahl have resigned from the channel in protest over the pro-Moscow slant. But Hartmann continues to take the rubles so he can promote politicians like Sanders.

RT has a large audience in the U.S. by virtue of the fact that major cable providers provide an outlet for its propaganda. “In the United States,” RT says, “about 85 million people in key urban areas can watch RT in English and Spanish via cable or satellite, including Comcast, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. Key spots include New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.”

The Department of Justice has not acted on complaints from broadcaster Jerry Kenney that foreign channels, such as RT and Al Jazeera, are operating illegally in the U.S., in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, by not disclosing in their propaganda broadcasts that they are agents of foreign powers.

As a result of this penetration of the U.S. media market, RT has been able to promote the Sanders presidential campaign on a regular basis, mostly through the Hartmann show. It is apparent that RT wants to have a role in influencing coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, the coverage could be a factor in a CNN poll that found Sanders leading all Republican front runners, including Donald Trump.

Jeff Cohen, a professor of journalism at Ithaca College, where he gives lectures to students about the media being too far to the right, was recently a guest on Hartmann’s Russia Today television program touting the “revolutionary” Sanders candidacy.

As we noted in a previous article, Sanders hung the Soviet flag in his office when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in honor of the city’s Soviet sister city Yaroslavl. Sanders, who celebrated the victory of the Soviet-backed communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, had also made Burlington a “sister city” with the city of Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua.

The British Guardian had initially reported on how a Sanders trip to Russia “doubled as a honeymoon with his new wife, Jane.”

The paper noted that Sanders “even visited Cuba—a highly unusual journey for any American in the 80s—hoping to meet with Fidel Castro. The encounter did not take place, although he did meet Havana’s mayor at the time.”

Last year Sanders returned to Cuba as a member of a Congressional delegation supporting “normalization” of relations between the U.S. and the regime. After President Barack Obama recognized the regime and removed Cuba from the United States’ list of nations that sponsor terrorism, Sanders hailed the move, saying, “While we have our strong differences with Cuba, it is not a terrorist state.”

Sanders said nothing about terrorist fugitives from justice in the U.S. who are being protected by the Castro regime, such as cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur. She fled to Cuba after escaping from prison with the help of the communist terrorist Weather Underground.

The New York Times noted that Sanders had written an article for an alternative Vermont newspaper on the tenth anniversary of the Castro takeover of Cuba, complaining that “The American press and mass media have been stepping up their usual distorted and inaccurate reporting” about Cuba. The coverage of Castro was apparently not positive enough for Sanders.

By that point in the Cuban revolution, 1969, a Castro agent, Lee Harvey Oswald, had killed President John F. Kennedy, and Castro had hosted Soviet nuclear missiles targeting the U.S. for destruction.

More recently, Sanders endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, saying, “I congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the leaders of other major nations for producing a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Later, however, Sanders issued a statement about how the deal would only “limit” Iran’s nuclear program. He endorsed it anyway, after a telephone conversation with President Obama.

Meanwhile, Iran and Russia have since boosted their military ties, with both countries signing a new deal to guarantee delivery of the S-300 air-defense missile system to the Iranian regime.

Sanders “has no billionaires supporting him,” said Hartmann on the show with Cohen. In fact, Vladimir Putin, who pays Hartmann’s salary, may be worth as much as $200 billion.

Warner Todd Huston of Breitbart has commented on the curious nature of the fact that a liberal like Hartmann is critical of the American political system while he is “in business with a network controlled by the leader of one of the world’s re-emerging dictatorships.”

Backed by a multibillionaire, Hartmann is doing his best to promote Sanders for president. But when will the media report on the billionaire in Bernie’s corner?