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Ari Rabin-Havt
ARI RABIN-HAVT is host of The Agenda, a national radio show airing Monday through Friday on SiriusXM and a Senior Fellow at People for the American Way. His writing has been featured in USA Today, The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Observer, Salon, and The American Prospect, and he has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera, and HuffPost Live.

Along with David Brock, he coauthored The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine and The Benghazi Hoax. He previously served as executive vice president of Media Matters for America and as an adviser to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and former vice president Al Gore.

Entries by Ari Rabin-Havt

A Professional Obituary For Roger Ailes

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2016 | 12:52 PM

Amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment, Roger Ailes is reportedly in talks to depart his position as chairman and CEO of Fox News.

To those of us who observed Ailes from the outside, this comes as a shock, despite multiple reports that Rupert Murdoch and his sons...

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Donald Trump's Evangelical Advisers Revolt

(5) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 5:49 PM

Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign hit a snag on Monday, after several prominent endorsers made statements suggesting his fitness to hold the highest office in our country would be undercut by his own personal behaviors and failings.*

It began with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who...

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Donald Trump's Four Decades Of Racism

(2) Comments | Posted June 16, 2016 | 12:55 PM

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump once again turned towards bigotry in the wake of this weekend's massacre in Orlando, Florida, reiterating his call for a ban on Muslim's entering the United States. Republicans, including party leaders, once again attempted to run away from questions about Trump's bigotry.

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Do Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley Agree With Trump That No Mexican Americans Should Serve On The Supreme Court?

(103) Comments | Posted June 3, 2016 | 5:35 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear this week not only that he wants Donald Trump to be president, but that the main reason he wants Trump to be president is so that he will be the one picking Supreme Court justices.

The Republican leader

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Why Is Donald Trump Race-Baiting a Federal Judge? 'Because I'm a Man of Principle'

(7) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 3:53 PM

At a campaign rally in San Diego on Friday, Donald Trump spent 12 minutes attacking the federal judge who is presiding over a lawsuit against his Trump University, at one point noting out of the blue that he believes the judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, is "Mexican." (Curiel was...

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Shaming Women Is Now a Donald Trump Policy Position

(72) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 11:17 PM

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine published today, Donald Trump continued to revise his comment to MSNBC's Chris Matthews that there should be "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions.

Robert Draper writes:

Now he argued to...

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Top GOP Benghazi Select Committee Investigator Debunks Conservative Myths: Nothing 'Could Have Been Done Differently'

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 8:00 AM

A former three-star general who served as the Republicans' chief counsel on the Benghazi Select Committee repeatedly acknowledged as he interviewed witnesses during the committee's investigation that nothing "could have been done differently to affect the outcome in Benghazi."

The quotes, which came from multiple interviews conducted...

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Chuck Grassley on Judicial Confirmations: 'Let's Do Our Jobs.' (But That Was 2005)

(9) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 2:40 PM

While discussing the confirmation of judges, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had a message for his fellow senators: "Let's do our jobs." But that was 2005.

Eleven years ago, with a Republican in the White House, Grassley was emphatic that the Senate act quickly on the president's judicial nominations, telling colleagues that slowing down the confirmation process was "like being a bully on the schoolyard playground."

According to Grassley in 2005, for the Senate to do its job, George W. Bush's nominees would have to receive up-or-down votes. Today, apparently, doing his job as chairman of the Judiciary Committee does not even include holding hearings on President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.

One wonders what 2005 Chuck Grassley would say to his 2016 self. In April of that year, during an appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball," Grassley told host Chris Matthews that "every nominee should have an opportunity to have an up-or-down vote."

That same month in a statement on his website titled "Talking Judges to Death," the Iowa senator wrote, "It's time to make sure all judges receive a fair vote on the Senate floor."

Grassley continued to make his case during a May speech on the Senate floor, telling his colleagues, "It's high time to make sure all judges receive a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor."

In the same speech, he complained that he and his colleagues were being "denied an opportunity to carry out their constitutional responsibility," telling the Senate, "That is simply not right. The Constitution demands an up-or-down vote. Fairness demands an up-or-down vote."

Grassley charged that Democrats wanted "to grind the judicial process to a halt for appellate court nominees so they can fill the bench with individuals who have been rubberstamped by leftwing extreme groups."

In 2005, Democrats opposed a small number of nominees based on their extreme ideologies. In contrast, Grassley and today's Republicans have made it clear that they will oppose anyone nominated by Obama, no matter their qualifications or ideology, essentially seeking to undo the 2012 presidential election.

Today, the only rationale for Grassley's own intransigence is fear of the far right and their demand that Republicans obstruct the president's Supreme Court appointment.

Grassley's advocacy for the Senate doing its job did not stop in the spring of 2005. In September of that year, after President Bush appointed John Roberts to the Supreme Court, Grassley cited Alexander Hamilton in claiming that "the purpose of our activities here of confirming people for the courts" was "to make sure that people who were not qualified did not get on the courts. In other words, only qualified people get appointed to the courts and that political hacks do not get appointed to the courts."

He noted that "maybe there is some historian around who will say Grassley has it all wrong."

In that same speech he stated that the president "had a mandate to appoint whom he wanted appointed, as long as they were not political hacks and as long as they were qualified" and that the president had "primacy in the appointments to the Supreme Court."

In January 2006, with the appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, Grassley put out a press release that once again cited Alexander Hamilton:

The Constitution provides that the President nominates a Supreme Court Justice, and the Senate provides its advice and consent, with an up or down vote. In Federalist 66, Alexander Hamilton wrote, "it will be the office of the President to nominate, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint. There will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose - they can only ratify or reject the choice he may have made."

Citations of Hamilton, calls for the Senate to do its job, discussions of "constitutional responsibility" are now a faded memory.

If Chuck Grassley did recall his words from that year, perhaps he would remember his statement that "in my town meetings across Iowa, I hear from people all the time, why aren't the judges being confirmed?" He went on to claim, "I hear from Iowans all the time that they want to see these nominees treated in a fair manner, and they want to see an up-or-down vote."

Home for the Senate's Easter recess, he is now facing these questions from constituents like Randy Waagmeester, who told his senator at a town hall, "It's not fair for this man not to get a hearing."

Another of Grassley's constituents, Glenda Schrick, told her senator, "There's nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says we can't have a hearing and then vote yea or nay, so that we don't constantly have it thrown at us as Republicans that all we say is 'no.'"

However, these interactions will be few for the Iowa senator. According to the Des Moines Register "only three of his 19 planned events are publicly announced town hall meetings -- and they're happening in the three most heavily Republican counties in the state in terms of voter registration."

Instead of running from these challenges, Grassley should simply follow his own admonition from more than a decade ago, come back to Washington, tell his Republican colleagues "let's do our jobs" and get to work confirming Merrick Garland to the Supreme...

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Hating Breitbart Gets R Rating and the Right Screams Bias

(5) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 9:31 AM

Hating Breitbart, an R-rated documentary about the late conservative agitator, opened in theaters on Friday. Incapable of letting the opportunity pass by without inventing a scandal, online conservatives were outraged that the film received an R rating from the MPAA based on some four letter words spoken by the movie's...

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When Truth Is a Lie

(3) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 3:07 PM

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was right to apologize to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer after he mistakenly chastised the columnist for claiming that a bust of Winston Churchill that sat in the Bush Oval office had been returned to the British government. Contrary to Pfeiffer's claim that it...

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Better Idea -- Next Time, Just Light Your $35 Million on Fire

(5) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 12:55 PM

It was less than a year ago when Thomas Friedman devoted his column space in the New York Times to extolling the virtues of a "quiet political start-up." Americans Elect would hold an online convention and nominate an independent, bipartisan ticket to run for president of the United States. The...

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The Koch Brothers Behaving Like Children

(8) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 6:23 PM

For heirs whose fortunes are rooted in their father's work building refineries for Stalin during his first five-year plan, David and Charles Koch just might be the world's most delicate billionaires.

The Kochs are owners of America's second largest privately held company. But...

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From Dog Whistles to Air Raid Sirens

(8) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 5:04 PM

Conservatives and liberals shared a rare moment of interideological unity last week in condemning the racist ranting of John Derbyshire, which ultimately ended his residency at the National Review.

The irony is that Derbyshire's racism, while deplorable, is not nearly as corrosive to...

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For Murdoch, the Sky Has Fallen

(17) Comments | Posted April 6, 2012 | 2:50 PM

On Thursday, Sky News became the fifth enterprise owned by Rupert Murdoch to be implicated in criminal behavior since investigations into the phone-hacking scandal began. In this case, the news channel did so to gain information about a British man who faked his own death to collect insurance...

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The Agony and the Ecstasy of Fox News

(39) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 12:51 PM

Contrition is the rarest of acts in modern American journalism. When a mistake is acknowledged, it is typically with only a passing glance - small, poorly worded type inserted under the masthead of a newspaper, a quick mention by a host at the end of the show. Seldom are mistakes...

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Media Quotes: The Worst Things Said On Fox News

(1432) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 7:25 AM

Roger Ailes, granted unprecedented freedom by Rupert Murdoch and utilizing his unique production talent, has built Fox News into cable news's Goliath, dominating the ratings with an audience that is both large and dedicated to the network's brand. Fox is loved by the conservative base and feared by politicians of...

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"We Need A New System"

(107) Comments | Posted October 12, 2011 | 1:53 PM

In the Spring of 2000, my friend and former colleague Zack Exley arrived in Washington, DC, to observe the protests that had engulfed the city during the World Bank's annual meeting. Driving into Washington from the airport, out the window of his taxi he saw "a teenage white...

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"I'm Afraid Fox Loses This Round."

(51) Comments | Posted July 13, 2011 | 11:49 AM

As Glenn Beck's television show came to a close, Fox News launched a flurry of attacks on Media Matters for America making the ludicrous argument that the Internal Revenue Service should revoke our status as a nonprofit organization. Over the past three weeks, Fox News has run more than

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Rupert Murdoch Reportedly Funds North Korean Regime

(10) Comments | Posted September 7, 2010 | 1:32 PM

This morning, Bloomberg News carried this stunning revelation:

"Programmers from North Korea's General Federation of Science and Technology developed a 2007 mobile-phone bowling game based on the 1998 film ["The Big Lebowski"], as well as "Men in Black: Alien Assault," according to two executives at Nosotek Joint Venture...
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Rupert Murdoch Lied to Me (Personally)

(461) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 3:16 PM

Last night, Bloomberg News reported that NewsCorp gave $1,000,000 to the Republican Governors Association, making them the organizations largest single contributor.

Rupert Murdoch was singing a different tune back in April when I confronted him at the National Press Club about Fox News' support of the Tea Parties....

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