Eric Hananoki

Author ››› Eric Hananoki
  • On Alex Jones, Author Gary Byrne Speculates About Clintons Murdering People (And Whether They’ll Murder Him)

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne suggested on Alex Jones’ conspiracy radio show that the Clintons may murder him over his anti-Clinton book and pointed to “rumors of people that have had accidents” in Arkansas. Byrne also said he wouldn’t be “surprise[d]” if Jones’ theory that the administration let the Benghazi attacks happen on purpose to have Ambassador Chris Stevens “whacked” was true

    Byrne recently released the book Crisis of Character, which argues that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the temperament to be president and invokes decades-old conservative media conspiracy theories about the Clintons (including regarding the death of White House aide Vince Foster). Media have discredited the book, finding that it’s a “rehash of old rumors,” there’s “holes in his story,” and his allegations are “contradicted by his own testimony.” Secret Service veterans have also cast doubt on Byrne’s credibility, arguing he “could never have seen any of what he claims.”

    He appeared on the June 30 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show to promote the book. Jones is a pro-Trump radio host and the proprietor of Infowars.com. He is well-known for believing in toxic conspiracy theories about national tragedies, including the Oklahoma City bombing, Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown, CT, school shooting, and 9/11.

    Jones began the interview by telling Byrne, “I hope you don’t have any car accidents or airplane accidents or anything because the Clintons are organized criminals in my view and there’s a lot of death around them. … you’re putting your life on the line here.” Jones later added that he hopes Byrne has taken out life insurance, to which Byrne replied: “We knew what we were getting into and we’ve taken our precautions and did our due diligence. We’ll keep our fingers crossed”:

    ALEX JONES: Mr. Byrne, I hope you don’t have any car accidents or airplane accidents or anything because the Clintons are organized criminals in my view and there’s a lot of death around them. But I’m going to stop right there. Mr. Byrne, thank you so much for coming on. CrisisofCharacterbook.com, let’s go to the waterfront here. Tell us -- I mean, you’re putting your life on the line here. I think that goes unsaid.

    GARY BYRNE: Thank you.

    […]

    JONES: Well you know FBI agents that worked in the White House and others have been audited, harassed, all sorts of things have happened. I don’t want to get into speculation areas here.

    BYRNE: Sure, sure.

    JONES: But making the decision with you and your family to write this book, I mean really nobody else has the huevos to do this. Maybe one other person. I mean I’ve got to say, sir, I really hope you’ve got a big insurance policy taken out for your family.

    BYRNE: Yeah, so we knew what we were getting into and we’ve taken our precautions and did our due diligence. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

    […]

    And it’s not just about her crisis of character. It’s a little bit about my crisis of character, too, the process of deciding to do this and putting yourself and your family at this kind of risk.

    JONES: Yeah, I can hear it in your voice. You have really put yourself at risk, folks. I hope listeners understand this is not a game.

    Byrne later pushed the conspiracy theory that the Clintons had people murdered in Arkansas. He related the story of him talking to an unnamed deputy from Arkansas, stating:

    BYRNE: The guy looked at me, I mean right through me, and he said, “Let me tell you something, Gary. These guys can spin manure into gold. Everything you hear about them is true. Believe it. And he [President Clinton] will get elected, and he’ll be there eight years.”

    And this guy was as serious as a heart attack. And then he told me all these bizarre stories about all these rumors of people that have had accidents, the stuff that you were referring to before. So yeah, I definitely think that if she gets elected that we’re going to see the crazy stuff we’ve seen for the last eight years is going to unfortunately look like a walk in the park.

    Jones told Byrne that the Benghazi attacks were “on purpose to ship the missiles to Al Qaeda,” and that the administration had Ambassador Stevens “whacked” when he refused to go along with the plan. Byrne responded that “nothing would surprise me anymore” and agreed with Jones that Clinton is “evil.”

    JONES: You’re just too honorable of a guy, brother, to see that Benghazi was on purpose to ship the missiles to Al Qaeda to take over Syria and the Turkish ambassador was there that morning and Ambassador Stevens said no, so they pulled the security and had him whacked. But I’m not going to get off on a rabbit trail, it's just that she’s way more evil --

    BYRNE: Right.

    JONES: Than I think you’re even getting at.

    BYRNE: No, well obviously she is and that’s not something I experienced, but I certainly believe that to be true. I mean nothing would surprise me anymore after what I saw those years, and what’s happened since then.

  • Gary Byrne's Crisis Of Character Panned: “Rehash Of Old Rumors,” “Contradicted By His Own Testimony”

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right-wing media and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump have been promoting former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne’s anti-Clinton book Crisis of Character, which argues that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the temperament to be president. But media have discredited the book, finding that it’s a “rehash of old rumors,” there’s “holes in his story,” and his allegations are “contradicted by his own testimony.”

  • Before Hiring Corey Lewandowski, CNN Cared About Attacks Against Its Staff

    CNN Banned Roger Stone After He Lashed Out At Network Personalities

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    CNN hired Corey Lewandowski despite the former Trump campaign manager reportedly “pushing a CNN reporter” and making “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” CNN’s actions are at odds with how it handled Roger Stone: the network banned the Trump ally as a guest in February after he wrote a series of incendiary tweets attacking network personalities.

    Stone is a longtime friend and former employee of Trump. He had become a favorite guest on the network to provide a pro-Trump point of view (unlike Lewandowski, Stone was not on CNN’s payroll). Media Matters noted at the time that Stone had attacked CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and former CNN analyst Roland Martin on Twitter with racist and sexist slurs. The network subsequently stated that Stone would no longer appear on its airwaves.

    Media Matters at the time praised CNN for correctly handling Stone by removing him from its airwaves. But CNN has reversed course in how it handles on-air Trump supporters with histories of wretched behavior toward journalists by hiring Lewandowski as a paid contributor.

    BuzzFeed reported in March that Lewandowski made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists.” The outlet also reported that he was “accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question.” In November, CNN reporter Noah Gray tweeted video of Lewandowski threatening to pull his press credentials if he didn't return to the media "pen" during a campaign event.

    Reporters told Politico in March “that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as ‘completely inappropriate in a professional setting.’”

    Due to this behavior, Lewandowski’s hiring has drawn harsh criticism from journalists across the political spectrum, including at CNN. Politico reported yesterday that “Some CNN staffers were privately grumbling on Thursday about Lewandowski's hiring, especially in light of how he has treated journalists. Lewandowski personally placed a POLITICO reporter on the campaign's ‘blacklist’ and earlier this year, he was charged with misdemeanor battery for forcibly grabbing reporter Michelle Fields as she tried to ask Trump a question following an event in March (prosecutors ultimately declined to pursue the case).”

    The Daily Beast similarly reported that one “insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, described CNN staffers as ‘furious with [CNN head] Jeff [Zucker]’ for hiring Lewandowski.” Another insider “described some CNN staffers” as “simply resigned to the new hire.”

    Michelle Fields said: “My heart goes out to all his new female coworkers who will have to deal with him daily. I imagine CNN HR will be busy this year.”

    Stone and Lewandowski are nemeses despite their support for Trump. Stone said today on The Alex Jones Show that Trump was correct to fire Lewandowski and that CNN is “the most anti-Trump” network.

  • CNN Hosts Countless Pro-Trump Guests -- Why Does It Need Corey Lewandowski?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    CNN hired former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski despite his non-disclosure agreement with Trump and history of anti-press behavior. CNN hardly needs to pay for another pro-Trump voice given it already hosts a wide number of Trump supporters.

    Washington Post media columnist Erik Wemple wondered “How many Trumpites does CNN need” when the network already has paid pro-Trump analysts Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany. He added: "Must CNN have three paid commentators who do nothing but defend their candidate?" 

    A Media Matters look at CNN’s coverage shows that CNN has had no problem finding various Trump supporters during the presidential campaign. Here are over 30 examples:

  • CNN Reportedly Hiring Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s Former Anti-Press Enforcer

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Politico is reporting that CNN is hiring former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign earlier this week, allegedly manhandled a reporter, and news outlets have reported he’s made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” He was also “accused of pushing a CNN reporter.”

    Politico wrote that “Lewandowski is joining CNN as a political commentator, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. It's a salaried position and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN, effective immediately.”

    Lewandowski allegedly manhandled reporter Michelle Fields during a March campaign event in Florida that was caught on video. Police charged him with a single count of misdemeanor battery, and the Palm Beach County state attorney subsequently decided not to prosecute. The attorney said: “While the evidence in this case is legally sufficient for the police to charge Mr. Lewandowski, it is not strong enough to meet the burden of a reasonable likelihood of a conviction.”

    BuzzFeed reported in March that Lewandowski made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists.” The outlet also reported that he was “accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question”:

    As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump campaign.

    In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.

    Asked Monday for comment on these allegations, Lewandowski emailed, “Your story is factually inaccurate.” When BuzzFeed news asked him to clarify which portions of the story he was challenging, he wrote, “Be sure before you accuse me of something it’s accurate. And, in these instances you are wrong.”

    BuzzFeed added of the CNN incident:

    At a press conference earlier this month in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lewandowski physically pushed CNN reporter Noah Gray away from Trump as he tried to ask the candidate a question, according to a source with close knowledge of the incident.

    It was not the first time the campaign manager had gotten in Gray’s face to prevent him from reporting. In November, when the reporter attempted to film protesters who were disrupting a Trump rally, Lewandowski threatened to pull his credentials unless he went back inside the pen the campaign uses to corral journalists. He was also heard warning the press secretary that if Gray didn’t obey him he would be “fucking blacklisted.” The CNN reporter’s tweets about the incident riled Lewandowski and briefly inflamed tensions between the campaign and the traveling press corps, reporters told BuzzFeed News.

    A spokesperson for CNN did not respond to a request for comment.

    In November, Gray tweeted video of Lewandowski threatening to pull his press credentials if he didn't return to the media "pen" during a campaign event:

    Politico similarly reported that “reporters told POLITICO that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as ‘completely inappropriate in a professional setting.’”

    *This post has been updated.

  • The Discredited Books At The Heart Of Trump's Speech

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump cited claims from two discredited anti-Clinton books -- Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash and Gary Byrne’s Crisis of Character -- in his June 22 speech attacking Hillary Clinton. Clinton Cash is filled with errors and sloppy research, while Crisis of Character has been strongly denounced by Secret Service veterans as implausible.

  • New Trump Adviser Tony Suarez Spoke Out Against Candidate's "Polarizing" Rhetoric Earlier This Month

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    New Donald Trump adviser pastor Tony Suarez deleted anti-Trump Facebook posts and previously attacked the presumptive Republican nominee as “a promoter of hate, division and insult.”

    Suarez is the executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), a Republican activist, and a television host and commentator. He is a member of Trump’s newly convened “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board,” which will “provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America.” A press release states that those participating on the “board were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.”

    The board also includes Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress, who has attacked LGBT people for purportedly leading "miserable" and "filthy" lives, and called Catholicism a "cult-like, pagan religion," Islam an "evil, evil religion," Mormonism a "cult" from the "pit of hell," and Judaism and Hinduism religions that lead people to "an eternity of separation from God in Hell."

    Suarez is advising Trump despite lambasting the “embarrassing” Republican as “a promoter of hate, division and insult” who alienates Hispanics and has no chance of winning the general election.

    Media Matters previously documented how political commentator Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Republican National Committee’s new director of Hispanic communications, deleted numerous tweets trashing Trump and previously criticized him during Hispanic media appearances.

    In a now-deleted Facebook post from November 13, 2015, as the Washington Examiner noted, Suarez wrote that it’s “embarrassing” to see “preachers support Trump.”

    In August, Suarez wrote that “Trump is putting on a clinic on how to NOT win the Latino vote or the White House.”

    Time quoted Suarez in October declaring of Trump: “I don’t believe he would have the support of anyone in this room and I don’t think he has a chance of winning the general election.”

    NBC News quoted Suarez stating of Trump: "Mr. Trump has become a promoter of hate, division and insult and if Mr. Trump were to be the Republican nominee - I don't think he has a chance at winning the general election.” Suarez also reportedly called for Trump’s campaign “to be canceled like his last reality TV program."

    Suarez was publicly criticizing Trump and his “alienating” rhetoric earlier this month. During an interview on the June 5 edition of MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Suarez related that his boss “the Reverend Sam Rodriguez, the president of the NHCLC, recently said everyone’s waiting for Donald Trump to build a wall. He’s already actually built walls. He’s built walls with rhetoric that is polarizing and alienating the Latino electorate from his campaign.” He added at the time he wasn’t sure if he would vote for Clinton instead of Trump.

    The Huffington Post reported that “Suarez said he remained uncommitted to Trump, even after meeting with the candidate. But he said he saw the creation of the board as a positive step, if only for providing him and others a chance to urge Trump to think and talk differently about certain issues”:

    The author of that passage, the Rev. Tony Suarez, told HuffPost he probably did it out of desperation (it’s now deleted). Suarez, an executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for president.

    Like others who gathered in New York on Wednesday, Suarez said he remained uncommitted to Trump, even after meeting with the candidate. But he said he saw the creation of the board as a positive step, if only for providing him and others a chance to urge Trump to think and talk differently about certain issues.

    “I was very frustrated with Mr. Trump in the fall,” Suarez said. “But in the spirit of reconciliation and believing that everyone deserves a second chance, I’m giving Mr. Trump that opportunity. Okay, you’re talking about building bridges, you say you love Latinos, you want us to love you — then okay, let’s come to the table.”

  • It’s Not Just Trump Fans; His Media Supporters Also Call Clinton A “Bitch”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The Washington Post noted today that many of Donald Trump’s fans are routinely calling presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “bitch.” The sexist attack isn’t just common among Trump fans -- it’s also been regularly used by Trump’s leading media supporters and allies.

    The Post noted that many T-shirts calling Clinton a bitch are “sold at nearly all of Trump’s rallies” and “many Trump supporters spotted wearing the shirts at rallies over the past six weeks don’t think the term is that bad.” (Trump, who has a long history of making sexist remarks, claims he does not approve of the term for Clinton.) The Daily Caller has also promoted a Clinton “bitch” T-shirt in its “Daily Dealer” section:

    Here are examples of Trump media supporters Roger Stone, Ted Nugent, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Alex Castellanos calling Hillary Clinton a bitch over the years.

    Roger Stone Formed The Anti-Clinton Group “C.U.N.T.” Because He Couldn’t “Come Up With Words For B.I.T.C.H.”

    Stone, a longtime Trump friend and ally, heads a pro-Trump super PAC after working for his campaign last year. He has a long history of sexist commentary, especially about Hillary Clinton. In 2008, Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 group Citizens United Not Timid. The group -- now defunct -- emphasized the acronym by bolding the first letter in each word. The group claimed to "educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is." Stone said also he spent "hours trying to come up with words for B.I.T.C.H. and just couldn't do it." He also tweeted that Chelsea Clinton is a “total bitch.”

    Ted Nugent: Clinton Is A "Worthless Bitch" And "Toxic Cunt"

    Nugent is a conservative pundit and NRA board member. He has implored his fans to vote for Trump and said that “Trump is as close to Ted Nugent as you are going to get in politics."

    Nugent has called Clinton a "lying America destroying criminal ass bitch," a "worthless bitch," a "toxic cunt," and a "two-bit whore." In May, Nugent shared a video depicting Clinton being shot; he remarked, “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”

    Fellow Trump supporter Sean Hannity refused to disavow Nugent’s attack against Clinton as a "worthless bitch," stating on his Fox News program in 2007: "No, I like Ted Nugent. He's a friend of mine."

    Alex Jones To Hillary Clinton: “You Bitch”

    Jones is a conspiracy theorist radio host who plays an “important role” in organizing support for Trump. Trump has appeared on his program, and Roger Stone is a regular guest.

    In August 2015, after the deadly shooting of a Virginia journalist and cameraman, Jones said: “Hey Hillary, you got bodyguards. Are their guns bad too? Why can’t I have a gun to protect myself, you bitch?”

    Michael Savage Describes Clinton As A Bitch

    Trump is a frequent guest on Savage’s radio program and has thanked him for his support and being “so amazing.”

    In a May 2016 interview, Savage said of Hillary Clinton: “There is a word for this kind of individual in the dog world, but I can’t use it on your show. It begins with a b.”

    Alex Castellanos On Clinton As "White Bitch": "Some Women ... Are Named That And It's Accurate"

    Castellanos, a political commentator and Republican strategist, works for the pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America Now.

    During a May 2008 segment on CNN, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin mentioned a news column in which "the punch line was a line that … Clinton was a 'white bitch.'" Castellanos, who was working as a CNN political commentator, responded: "And some women, by the way, are named that and it's accurate.” He then said: “She is a tough -- that tough lady, tough in politics, that's been her great strength. But let's face it, she can be a very abrasive, aggressive, irritating person, and a lot of voters, I think, see her that way." Castellanos later apologized for his remarks.

  • Following Orlando Tragedy, Trump Ally Roger Stone Smears Clinton Aide As Potential “Terrorist Agent”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump ally Roger Stone urged the presumptive Republican nominee to capitalize on the deadly terror attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando by smearing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin as a potential “terrorist agent.” Conservative politicians and pundits have linked Abedin to terrorists despite the charges having “no factual basis.”

    Stone worked for Trump’s presidential campaign last year and now heads a pro-Trump super PAC. Stone talks to Trump on a “semi-regular basis,” suggests campaign strategies to him, and “stump[s]” on his behalf. Stone has a decades-long history of political dirty tricks, and he regularly spouts violent, racist, and sexist rhetoric.

    As Politico noted, Stone appeared as a guest today on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily and discussed the political fallout of the deadly June 12 terror attack at the gay nightclub Pulse. Stone claimed that Trump would politically “benefit” from the attack and explained that “there’s going to be a new focus” on supposedly disloyal Americans like Abedin. Stone remarked of the Clinton aide: "She has a very troubling past. … So we have to ask: Do we have a Saudi spy in our midst? Do we have a terrorist agent?” Stone later encouraged Trump to “ask a series of questions publicly about Huma and” her purported relationship with terrorism.

    Several reporters condemned Stone’s remarks. Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian's US national security reporter, tweeted that Stone’s comments are “pure bigotry”; Wall Street Journal reporter Michael S. Derby classified the comments as “Neo-McCarthyism.” New York Daily News reporter Meera Jagannathan tweeted that Stone’s comments “would be hilarious if it were not so incredibly dangerous.”

    Stone has long smeared Abedin as a potential terrorist. He previously tweeted that Abedin is a “Muslim Brotherhood spy” and Clinton’s “Muslim Brotherhood handler,” and compared her to accused Soviet spy “Alger Hiss.” He wrote in his book The Clintons’ War on Women -- which Trump has been mining for attacks against Clinton -- that Abedin has “troubling ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Stone also wrote a Breitbart News piece today claiming America needs “answers about Huma Abedin” because she might be a “Saudi plant.”

    Republicans and conservative media have for years pushed ugly smears that Abedin is connected to terrorism through Muslim Brotherhood-linked entities. Media outlets shouldn’t allow conservatives to slime Abedin without noting the charges are bogus.

    Rumor-debunking website Snopes.com wrote that "claims that her late father, her mother and her brother were all 'connected' to Muslim Brotherhood have no factual basis to them." The Atlantic called the conspiracy theory “a little nuts” and concluded that "from person to person, you kind of have to do a somersault to get from Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood." Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have also defended Abedin from terrorist accusations.

    Ed Rollins, who now helps lead the pro-Trump super PAC Great America PAC, wrote in 2012 for FoxNews.com that “Abedin has been thru every top clearance available and would never have been given her position with any questions of her loyalty to this country.” He added that the Republican Party will “become the party of intolerance and hate" if it allows such attacks.