On the front lines with Media Matters — the conservative network’s worst nightmare

The Fox News logo reflected in a pair of sunglasses on November 3, 2017. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Brian Hiatt

If you believe former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Media Matters for America is the nation’s “most dangerous organization,” which would be quite a feat for a modestly funded nonprofit whose 80 employees spend a lot of their time quietly watching cable news at their desks. The 15-year-old, left-leaning news-watchdog group’s mission of combating “conservative misinformation” extends to minute-by-minute scrutiny of right-wing media — Fox News, in particular — and its stars, who do not, as a rule, enjoy the attention. …


OK, yeah, the moon is weird, but that doesn’t mean the moon landing wasn’t real

Photo: SSPL/Getty Images

By EJ Dickson

Let’s all just agree on one thing: the moon is weird.

It’s in the sky. It glows. Sometimes it’s big, and sometimes it’s small. It also causes tides, somehow, for some reason, though if you’re looking for an in-depth explanation as to how it does this and why, you are encouraged to look elsewhere. To top it all off, in all of human history, only 12 people have actually been to the moon and experienced it firsthand; for context, this is less than the number of kids in the Duggar family.

With all of this in mind…


Former staffers of ousted President Leanna Wen paint a picture of a leader who lacked political savvy

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, speaks at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

By Tessa Stuart

The day before Dr. Leana Wen took the reins as president of Planned Parenthood — the first doctor to lead the organization in 50 years — staffers received a detailed memo indicating how things were going to operate under the new leadership. Addressed to the organization’s communications team, it included the eyebrow-raising directive “No action or requests should be taken until approval from the [Office of the President] is given.”

Planned Parenthood is a massive health care provider, serving more than 2.4 million patients at some 600 health clinics across the country, and a political powerhouse that…


From Donald Trump to Alan Dershowitz, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is connected to some of the most powerful men in the country — but what did they know?

Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump in 1997. Photo: Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

By EJ Dickson

On Saturday night, shortly after billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport on charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, Christine Pelosi, a DNC official and the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, tweeted that the arrest would possibly implicate a number of Epstein’s powerful friends on both sides of the political spectrum — except she didn’t quite put it that way. “It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may — whether on Republicans or Democrats,” she wrote on Twitter.


A conversation with the rapper, actor, and activist about the color pink, his new album, and Robert Pattinson playing Batman

Jaden Smith performs onstage at Coachella on April 12, 2019. Photo: Natt Lim/Getty Images for Coachella

By Charles Holmes

I don’t understand the story Jaden Smith is trying to tell me. He’s pitching me, with rapid intensity, the plot of his new 17-song concept album, ERYS. Mentions of classic late-Seventies cinema intertwine with colorful substances that make people into zombies. Jaden’s description of the new album is all plot-driven, but it’s difficult not to view the story of a renegade Los Angeles leader named Erys who gives a pink mind control substance to the masses a very clear metaphor.

At 20, Smith has already willed himself into multiple careers through one simple premise: People find it…


There’s a pretty long history of the flag being used by extremist right-wing movements — and a recent move by Nike has brought that into the spotlight

The first American flag might be an icon, but it’s got some baggage. Photo: Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post via Getty Images

By EJ Dickson

Conservatives absolutely love to hate Colin Kaepernick, and a recent controversy centering around Fourth of July-themed Nike sneakers proved to be no exception. On Monday evening, Nike announced it would be pulling a new edition of Fourth of July-themed sneakers featuring the original United States flag as designed by Betsy Ross, with 13 stars in a circle. …


Play it safe or go bold? In the race to beat Trump, party leaders are rolling out revolutionary policies for the first time in a generation.

Climate change activists holding signs join in on a rally supporting the “Green New Deal” in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

By Tim Dickinson

For the 2020 election, Democrats are proposing policies of sweep and ambition not seen since the New Deal or the Great Society. Ideas that would have seemed radical even five years ago — publicly funded college, a Green New Deal, Medicare for All — are now at the top of many candidates’ platforms.

Most intriguing: As once-fringe ideas enter the mainstream debate, they are proving popular. “Medicare for All is supported by at least 55 percent of the public,” says Sean McElwee, a co-founder of the progressive think tank Data for Progress. “So why is that treated…


An SPLC report indicates that transphobic hate speech is rapidly climbing

‘There is absolutely a growing focus on transgender people’ in extremist groups, says the spokesperson for National Center for Transgender Equality. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

By EJ Dickson

As Pride Month draws to a close, a troubling report from the Southern Poverty Law Center blog HateWatch sheds light on a possible uptick in threats against transgender people.

According to the post, the SPLC has witnessed a significant uptick in threats against transgender people during Pride Month. Although it did not release any hard data or figures to this effect, the SPLC said it had observed leaders of white nationalist groups increasingly making threats against transgender people, including calls for transgender people to be murdered or to take their own lives.

On the encrypted messaging app…


After decades of dismissing or outright ignoring bi- and pansexuals, TV shows are finally coming around, broadening our cultural understanding of the sexual identity spectrum

Photo sources: Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash, katlove/Pixabay

By Jenna Scherer

“Mom. Dad. I know you don’t want to talk about this, but I do. I might get married to a man, like you so clearly want. And I might not. Because this is not a phase, and I need you to understand that. I’m bisexual.” That’s Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s resident no-nonsense detective, pouring out her heart to her parents in the show’s landmark 100th episode. To which her dad (Danny Trejo) stoically replies, “There’s no such thing as being bisexual.”

Beatriz, who is bisexual herself, wrote in GQ: “When does it end? When do…


At 16 years old, the Nickelodeon star has turned reality-TV and YouTube fame into a global brand. Will she be the traditional teen idol machine’s saving grace?

JoJo Siwa at Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards on March 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

By Brittany Spanos

On a nondescript, cactus-lined street in Sherman Oaks, California, it’s hard to miss the only house with a unicorn-drawn-carriage and a custom BMW painted like a rainbow race car on its curb.

Inside the house, singer, actress, and YouTube superstar JoJo Siwa is covered in flour, sprinkles, and eggs, filming a scene for JoJo’s Dream Birthday, a one-hour special celebrating her 16th birthday. When it airs six weeks later in May on Nickelodeon, her network home of more than two years, it will be right after the first show of her 81-date headlining D.R.E.A.M. …

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