A conservative pundit who regularly appeared on outlets like Fox News, Fox Business, and CNBC used his cable news appearances to defraud investors, according to a government investigation.
The News Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sanctioned Todd Schoenberger after he admitted defrauding four investors of "a total of $130,000 after he told them he would invest it in a hedge fund that had $65 million under management." In reality, "the SEC said, his purported Onshore Fund was a limited partnership that never had any assets to its name. Schoenberger, it said, spent some of the funds investors gave him on a new house and living expenses."
The SEC stated in an order that "Schoenberger has been a frequent investment and stock market guest commentator on national cable television business news programs. He also served as an occasional business news columnist for a national newspaper and national news website. In soliciting investors, Schoenberger touted his appearances on cable news programs to bolster his credibility with investors, create around himself an aura of success, and entice investments in his scheme" (emphasis added).
Indeed, Schoenberger has made countless appearances on various cable news networks as a financial analyst:
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is asking supporters for money to help her qualify for Fox News' August 6 debate. Fiorina's appeals further cement the conservative network's gatekeeper role in the Republican presidential primary.
Fox News announced on May 20 that its debate, the first of the presidential cycle, will only include candidates "in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent national polls." That criteria could mean the exclusion of Republicans like Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham and Fiorina.
The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus wrote that the debate rules make Fox a GOP primary gatekeeper. McManus added that according to Republican strategists, candidates on the qualification fringe "will be even more desperate to boost their name recognition -- by appearing on Fox News." A Media Matters study found that in May, Fiorina made five appearances on the network.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced today he's running for president, has previously suggested he fears attacks from Fox News. Graham has attempted to placate the conservative network with nonstop appearances and praise of their coverage of issues like Benghazi and immigration reform.
Ryan Lizza reported in The New Yorker that during 2010 negotiations on a climate bill, Graham warned fellow senators "that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill 'before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process.'"
But, back in Washington, Graham warned Lieberman and Kerry that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill "before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process," one of the people involved in the negotiations said. "He would say, 'The second they focus on us, it's gonna be all cap-and-tax all the time, and it's gonna become just a disaster for me on the airwaves. We have to move this along as quickly as possible.' "
Graham later abandoned the efforts, which were heavily attacked by Fox, and said he did not believe human-caused emissions "are contributing overwhelmingly to global climate change."
In 2011, Graham told reporters that Fox News was making it difficult for him on immigration reform. He said: "When Fox News is saying 'amnesty' 24 hours a day, it makes it harder for me to get people on my side."
In 2013, however, Graham told the Wall Street Journal that Fox News chief Roger Ailes "supported fixing the broken immigration system and that his network was 'far more balanced' in covering the debate":
But Mr. Graham, an architect of last year's Senate immigration bill, said in an interview that the chief of Fox News supported fixing the broken immigration system and that his network was "far more balanced" in covering the debate than it had been during the 2006-2007 effort. Mr. Ailes has also been quoted on the record supporting the immigration overhaul, including its most contentious piece, a path to citizenship for those here illegally.
"I met with him at least three to four times in person and talked to him a lot," Mr. Graham said. He said he and others aggressively courted Mr. Ailes in hopes of toning down what Mr. Graham described as vocal opposition on Fox in the past. "People who observed the debate noticed that the tone was different and not so one-sided. It wasn't 'amnesty' every 15 minutes."
Graham has been a solid ally of Fox News' obsession with Benghazi. A 2014 Media Matters study found that Graham was the elected official interviewed most frequently on the network about the September 2011 attacks. Graham said in May 2013 of Fox's Benghazi coverage: "Thank God for Fox."
The senator has been a frequent presence on Fox News' evening and primetime programming and Fox News Sunday. Since President Obama's second inauguration to early April, Graham made 72 appearances, including 46 on Greta Van Susteren's program.
CNN declined to comment on whether Newt Gingrich is still employed at the network in light of news that he is joining the world's largest law firm.
Gingrich will start working for Dentons in June as a "senior advisor" in its public policy and regulation practice. It's unclear whether Gingrich, who has a history of conflict of interest problems, will simultaneously work for the firm and as a CNN contributor -- the network declined to clarify his current employment status to Media Matters. According to a Nexis search, Gingrich was last on CNN on March 3, 2015. During the appearance, he was identified as a CNN contributor.
While he'll work with lobbyists at Dentons, he will not officially register as one. The Wall Street Journal reported that the firm earned more than $1.275 billion in revenue last year and has "more than 6,600 lawyers and professionals" and "will have 125 offices in more than 50 countries."
Dentons' public policy and regulation practice is involved in dozens of areas such as energy, the environment, health care, and national security. Dentons US banked more than $6.5 million in lobbying income in 2014 from clients like Allstate, Credit Union National Association, Lumara Health, and Time Warner Cable, according to OpenSecrets.org. The firm's chairman stated that Gingrich will "engage and advance the goals of our clients."
Gingrich told the Journal that "he's 'clearing a fair amount of time' to work at Dentons, but he'll continue doing some other projects" such as writing a novel. A request for comment passed along by Dentons to Gingrich's office was not returned.
The firm's large client list and practice areas would create innumerable conflicts for Gingrich as a media commentator.
Gingrich, who previously hosted CNN's now-defunct Crossfire reboot, has shown little concern for adhering to media ethics regarding conflicts of interest. In 2013, CNN drew an onslaught of criticism from reporters for allowing Gingrich to discuss candidates his political action committee gave money to without disclosing it. His media company also received money from the Republican National Committee, but Gingrich did not divulge that while hosting Crossfire.
During a bizarre appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested the Obama administration is engaging in "Nazi stuff" by using ethnic politics, and wants to confiscate all the country's firearms and put people "in jail for even having them."
Jones, America's leading conspiracy theorist, believes the government perpetrated mass catastrophes like the September 11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Boston Marathon bombing, and several mass shootings. Jones has recently been pushing the conspiracy theory that a military training exercise, Jade Helm, is an attempt to create martial law in the United States (it isn't). Jones is an ally of Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul and helped launch his political career.
Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine has dismissed Jones, saying he "wishes he had a platform on Fox News ... That's not going to happen, so he should stick with trying to locate the black helicopters." Some of Carlson's colleagues have dismissed Jones as a "nut job radio guy" who owns a "radical far-right Web site."
Carlson, who is also the founder and editor in chief of The Daily Caller, claimed during the appearance that progressives use ethnic politics and identity politics to divert attention from their "policy failures." He said the strategy is "really dangerous," comparing it to countries where there is a violent ethnic divide. He said of the Obama administration: "They categorize people by race in a way that, you know, you can't even imagine -- 30 years ago you would have said, 'Wait a second, that's like Nazi stuff.'"
Fox News has attacked ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos for participating in Clinton Foundation-affiliated events, calling it a "mistake" that compromises "good coverage." But Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo moderated or participated in at least eight CGI events between 2008 and 2013 while at CNBC.
The Clinton Global Initiative is a nonpartisan initiative of the Clinton Foundation that convenes notable leaders to offer "solutions to the world's most pressing challenges." It holds annual meetings during which participants make charitable commitments. For years, both CGI and the Clinton Foundation were widely praised on a bipartisan basis, with attendees and donors including leading Republican politicians and conservative media moguls. But as Hillary Clinton has emerged as a leading Democratic candidate for president, conservatives have turned on the organization, painting it as a partisan extension of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.
Bartiromo has heavily praised President Clinton and CGI, once lauding CGI as "fantastic" and saying Clinton and the foundation have done "so much in terms of raising awareness and money for the AIDS epidemic." Bartiromo was listed as a "member" of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on the program's website.
Bartiromo is the host of Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures and the future host of the Fox Business program Morning Money with Maria Bartiromo. She regularly covers Hillary Clinton on Fox News, according to a search of Nexis.* She moved to Fox from CNBC in January 2014.
Media are falsely equating donations to the Clinton Foundation with contributions to a Democratic political campaign. That comparison ignores that the foundation is expressly nonpartisan, and numerous Republicans and conservative media figures have supported the foundation's work.
The Clinton Foundation states that it builds "partnerships between businesses, NGOs, governments, and individuals everywhere" on "improving global health, increasing opportunity for women and girls, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, or helping communities address the effects of climate change."
The foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, which means it is "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."
The foundation has been under attack in recent months while Hillary Clinton has ramped up her presidential campaign. This May, Republican activist Peter Schweizer released the error-riddled Clinton Cash, which purports (but fails) to show how foundation donations affected Clinton's decisions during her time as secretary of state. And ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos correctly apologized on May 14 for failing to disclose that he had donated to the Clinton Foundation before conducting an interview with Schweizer about the foundation.
Clinton Cash publisher HarperCollins and author Peter Schweizer have changed "seven or eight" inaccurate passages in the Kindle version of the error-riddled book, according to Politico.
As Media Matters noted, Republican activist and consultant Peter Schweizer's book contains over twenty errors, fabrications, and distortions. A diverse array of outlets such as ABC News, MSNBC, PolitiFact, BuzzFeed, ThinkProgress, Politico, Slate, and Newsweek have picked apart the book for factual problems.
Politico notes that Schweizer walked back claims about Bill Clinton being paid for a series of speeches arranged by an Irish billionaire and also removed a reference to a hoax press release he had cited in the original version of the book.
Schweizer alleged in his chapter "Disaster Capitalism Clinton-Style" that Hillary Clinton's State Department "was quick to send taxpayer money" through a program called the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) to the company of Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien, who had allegedly helped arrange paid speeches for Bill Clinton around the same time that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As evidence, Schweizer claimed O'Brien "arranged at least three lucrative speeches in Ireland, for which Bill was paid $200,000 apiece, as well as a speech in Jamaica." However, BuzzFeed reported that "according to Clinton spokesperson Matt McKenna, neither the former president nor the Clinton Foundation was paid for two of the three speeches Clinton gave in Ireland, and that while the Foundation did receive a donation following his Sept. 29, 2010 speech, Clinton himself was not compensated."
That reference has been revised to now read: "O'Brien arranged speeches in Ireland, as well as a speech in Jamaica." The Kindle version also corrected an erroneous speech date which served as a marker in Schweizer's Digicel conspiracy timeline.
Mike Huckabee fans who signed up for Huckabee updates after watching his Fox News program are now on his campaign email list.
Huckabee hosted a weekly Fox News program that ended in January as he explored a run for president. A regular announcement on the program told viewers, "if you'd like to comment on tonight's show and share with me your thoughts, I welcome your response. Go to my website, MikeHuckabee.com. You can connect with me on Facebook, sign up to follow my regular messages on Twitter, or leave comments on the feedback section at MikeHuckabee.com."
Viewers who visited the website were greeted by a message asking them to sign up by giving their email address and zip code -- two key pieces of data for political campaigns.
On his final episode, Huckabee told viewers to keep updated "on my whereabouts and plans on my website, MikeHuckabee.com."
Huckabee's Fox program undoubtedly helped grow his website's list. A 2012 advertising rate card by Newsmax.com, which had managed his list, stated that MikeHuckabee.com has a list size of 625,000. The Huckabee image above, which was retrieved from his site in March 2014, claims the list has "1,000,000+ subscribers."
Media Matters created a Gmail account that signed up for Huckabee's email list on November 19. For months, the email address received normal Huckabee-authored emails and sketchy third party advertising sent by Huckabee ("#1 Item You Should be Hoarding!"). After Huckabee officially announced his campaign on May 5, the list converted to emails that solicited campaign donations and carried the disclaimer, "Paid for by Huckabee for President."
It is unclear if Huckabee's previously for-profit email list was contributed or rented to his campaign.
Huckabee's Fox News-promoted email list gives him a leg up on candidates who didn't have a weekly forum in which they could promote their websites. The Washington Post wrote in February that "a great e-mail list still trumps a buzzy social media account. And it's not close." The Post quoted strategists stating that email "is still the largest driver of fundraising and a volunteer program" and "is still the killer app."
Politico's Ken Vogel wrote in 2009 that "email addresses and zip codes have become increasingly valuable, not only for their unrivaled ability to solicit millions in contributions in explosive bursts, but also as commodities in and of themselves."
Huckabee has previously acknowledged how his Fox News platform has helped his candidacy, telling RealClearPolitics last year that he's more well-known among primary voters in Iowa because "I've been in these people's homes every week."
While Huckabee's email list is now used for campaign purposes, he previously used it as a moneymaking venture and rented it out to a wide range of shady characters, including sketchy medical cures; a for-sale stock pundit that was fired from Fox; a financial firm that was fined by the government for engaging in "deliberate fraud"; and a survival food company that profits off of readers' fears of being "herded into FEMA camps."
Fox News contributor Allen West went to Walmart and thought he was the victim of "Sharia law" because a checkout clerk under the age of 21 couldn't sell him alcohol.
West, a former congressman and head of the think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote a May 11 post originally headlined, "Sharia law comes to Walmart?" He recounted a weekend trip to Walmart, where a "Muslim employee" manning the cash register was unable to sell him alcohol. (West knew he was Muslim because, "being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes -- glasses -- to see the young checkout man's name. Let me just say it was NOT 'Steve.'"):
There was a young man doing the checkout and another Walmart employee came over and put up a sign, "No alcohol products in this lane." So being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes -- glasses -- to see the young checkout man's name. Let me just say it was NOT "Steve."
I pointed the sign out to Aubrey and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?
Boy howdy, that is one astute young lady.
Imagine that, this employee at Walmart refused to just scan a bottle or container of an alcoholic beverage -- and that is acceptable. A Christian business owner declines to participate or provide service to a specific event -- a gay wedding -- which contradicts their faith, and the State crushes them.
Following publication of West's "Sharia" post, West's website posted an "editor's update" explaining what actually happened:
EDITOR'S UPDATE: We spoke to the Walmart store, and apparently employees under 21 years old are prohibited from selling cigarettes and alcohol. However, that isn't to say Walmart isn't selectively caving to Muslim demands, such as this case regarding Halal meat in Ohio.
The post no longer has the headline, "Sharia law comes to Walmart?" and instead reads, "More ominous signs of Christian persecution." A screenshot of West's post prior to the editor's note, via Bing.com, can be found here.
West has a long history of toxic remarks, including about Muslims. He's also called President Obama an "Islamist" and "disgusting racist," attacked feminists for "neutering American men," and smeared Democrats as communists, Nazis, and anti-Semites.