A quote sourced to disgraced writer Ed Klein's book Unlikeable has appeared on a campaign flyer for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Klein's work has been widely criticized for including distorted quotes and implausible situations and conveying an overall lack of credibility.
In Unlikeable, Klein quotes an anonymous source -- a staple of his purported "reporting" -- who claims that while speaking about Rubio, former President Bill Clinton said, "We've got to destroy him before he gets off the ground."
According to a photo circulated by CNN executive producer Katie Hinman, the quote appears on a flyer from Rubio's presidential campaign circulating in New Hampshire ahead of its presidential primary. The quote is being used to validate the campaign's contention that a matchup in the general election between Rubio and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be advantageous to Republicans.
Rubio's campaign has gotten considerable mileage out of Klein's material. In an October 2015 fundraising email, Rubio's communications director referred to the quote as a "bombshell report in a new book about the Democrats' secret plan to take out Marco." The campaign even created a Photoshopped image of President Clinton watching Rubio on television alongside the quote.
The fundraising page with the image also included video of Klein on Fox & Friends pushing the book. The website included text telling supporters to "donate $7 today and show Bill Clinton that he can't destroy Marco Rubio."
Ed Klein's work has been thoroughly discredited. Over the years he has produced a series of books and reports (published primarily in right-wing outlets) about major politicians like President Obama and Secretary Clinton that have been debunked and criticized by reporters, including many conservatives. Klein's writing has been described as "smut," "junk journalism," "fan fiction," and "devoid" of "basic journalistic standards."
The allegations made in his books are often outrageous and outlandish, including his claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary Clinton. A prior Klein book was reportedly dropped by publisher HarperCollins because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." It was later put out by the conservative publisher Regnery, which also published Unlikeable.
When not using unverifiable claims from allegedly anonymous sources, Klein has also used completely distorted quotes in his work, or utilized quotes that sound, as one reporter described them, like "dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."
Despite his journalistic failures and deception, Klein continues to be a fixture in some quarters of the conservative media, particularly the Fox News and New York Post outposts in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. As a result, he has unfortunately become a part of the presidential election.
While Fox News and Donald Trump are engaged in the latest episode of their ongoing war of words over Trump's refusal to attend last Thursday's primary debate, they have a symbiotic relationship dating back years. Despite their current feud, the network has continued to lavish the Republican front-runner with far more interview airtime than any other presidential contender this cycle, and Fox has been promoting Trump's political ambitions since before the 2012 election.
Media Matters looks at some of the highlights of the past five years of Trump and Fox News' up-and-down relationship:
UPDATE: As expected, Palin officially endorsed Trump. Touting the endorsement, Trump said in a statement, "I am greatly honored to receive Sarah's endorsement," adding, "She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support."
ORIGINAL POST: Numerous media outlets have speculated that Sarah Palin will endorse Donald Trump for president at an Iowa rally tonight. Over the years, Palin and Trump have cultivated a mutual admiration society, complimenting and supporting each other.
The day after the 2008 election, Trump told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that despite her failure to be elected vice president, Palin was a "fine woman" who "made things interesting."
The two crossed paths in 2011 when Trump was again promoting the birther conspiracy theory about President Obama's place of birth. Palin defended Trump, telling Greta Van Susteren that "I respect what he's doing in putting his money where his mouth is. He's actually investigating his speculation there on Obama's birth certificate and Obama's college records and all those things that Obama, though he promises to be a transparent official, he certainly isn't because he could certainly reveal many of these documents and put many of these issues to rest." In another Fox interview Palin praised the birther push, saying "more power to him."
Trump later expressed his appreciation for Palin's support in a Wall Street Journal interview, noting she was "so gracious to me on the birther issue." (Think Progress has explained how the pair have "bonded over birtherism.")
Later that year when Palin went on a multi-city bus tour as speculation built that she might announce a presidential run in 2012, one of her most-covered stops was in New York City where she had pizza with Trump.
At the time there were questions about whether Palin might choose Trump as her running mate. Trump said, "She didn't ask me, but I'll tell you, she's a terrific woman."
After Trump officially announced his presidential run in 2015, Palin has been a reliable source of support for him.
On Breitbart.com, Palin wrote an op-ed praising Trump, writing that "The elites are shocked by Trump's dominance, but everyday Americans aren't."
Palin guest hosted an episode of the conservative One America News Network's program On Point and interviewed Trump. She sympathized with him over "personal 'gotcha' questions" which were "really trying to get you, us, anybody running for office off game."
Responding to Trump's statement that he'd "love" for Palin to serve in a Trump administration, she floated her name for secretary of energy. She told CNN's Jake Tapper, "I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby: oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind's use instead of us relying on unfriendly foreign nations."
When Trump was criticized after he disparaged the military service of former Palin running mate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Palin called both McCain and Trump heroes and said, "Trump is the candidate giving voice to untold millions of fed-up Americans witnessing a purposeful destruction of our economy and the equal opportunity for success that made America exceptional."
Trump called in to a pro-Palin internet radio show, "The Palin Update," on Mama Grizzly Radio and told listeners that voters have been asking him when he would get her support, "I still have people saying, 'Get Sarah's support! Get Sarah's support!' No matter where I go."
Palin also had Trump's back after he fumbled over a series of foreign policy questions with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. She said, "I think I'd rather have a president who is tough and puts America first than can win a game of Trivial Pursuit."
In another sign of their philosophical alignment, Trump recently hired the former chief of staff of Palin's PAC to be the national political director for his campaign.
Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently announced his support for a "convention of the states," an idea heavily promoted by conservative media figures, particularly conservative radio host and author Mark Levin. Constitutional scholars and Supreme Court Justices have said that if enacted, the idea dangerously opens up the U.S. Constitution to outside influences.
Rubio announced his support for the initiative during December campaign stops in Iowa, saying, "One of the things I'm going to do on my first day is office is I will put the prestige and power of the presidency behind a constitutional convention of the states." He described it as "the only way that we are ever going to get term limits on members of Congress or the judiciary and that is the only way we are ever going to get a balanced-budget amendment."
His official campaign website followed up with a post saying, "Marco supports establishing a Convention of the States with the sole purpose of passing amendments to limit the power of the federal government: like implementing term limits, requiring a balanced budget, and sending power out of Washington, back to the states." The campaign promised, "On the campaign trail, Marco's going to keep talking up the Convention of the States." The site also embedded a post from Levin highlighting Rubio's endorsement of his idea.
The idea of a constitutional convention has gotten attention from other Republican politicians as well. Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) recently endorsed the convention of the states, describing it as "the Texas Plan to restore the Rule of Law and return the Constitution to its intended purpose." He appeared on Levin's radio show and on The Kelly File on Fox News to discuss his decision.
The convention of the states proposal is based on Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which states that Congress can call a convention for proposing amendments if two-thirds of state legislatures formally make a proposal. This is a departure from how the 27 previous amendments to the Constitution have passed, where Congress has passed the amendments and then sent them down to the states to be ratified.
While the idea has been at the fringes of the conservative movement for decades, Levin gave a huge boost to the proposal in his 2013 book The Liberty Amendments. In an interview with the conservative news site CNSNews, Levin said his proposal "is the only way out" because "The federal government, Congress, the Supreme Court, the president, the bureaucracy, they are not going to reform themselves, they are not going to limit their activities. Only we can--through our state representatives from the bottom up."
Conservative media outlets promoted Levin and the book's ideas. Sean Hannity turned over an entire episode of his Fox News show (with a studio audience) to interviewing Levin about The Liberty Amendments.
Rush Limbaugh urged his listeners to buy the "wonderful book," and said "something" like a convention of the states "is going to be necessary, because the Constitution is broken."
On his radio show, Glenn Beck said Levin had "made that case" for a convention. In a story published on Breitbart.com and FrontPageMag.com, Spyridon Mitsotakis wrote that Levin "has now shown us a way that we the people can save ourselves." Michelle Malkin called the book "a bold, provocative manual for restoring the American republic and righting the balance of powers." Hugh Hewitt told his listeners to go into bookstores and "If you can't find it, demand that they put it up front." On Fox's Your World, host Neil Cavuto interviewed Levin and recommended reading the book "to get some historical perspective of what the hell is going on." On The Five, co-host Eric Bolling called the book "fantastic."
Before he had declared his candidacy, Donald Trump called it "a truly great & important book."
Coinciding with the release of Levin's book, a campaign called Convention of the States, which is a project of another group called Citizens for Self-Governance , was formed in order to organize and promote the concept at the state level. In a blog post, Citizens for Self-Governance said the Convention of the States is "a grassroots plan to implement the important ideas Mark Levin has begun to publicly advocate." The post also promoted Levin's Hannity appearance: "Tune in to watch Levin on Hannity Friday, then go visit our website at www.ConventionOfStates.com and see how you can get involved and play a part in history."
Those two groups are led by Michael Farris and Mark Meckler. Meckler was the co-founder of the group Tea Party Patriots. Meckler recently described Rubio's endorsement as a "game-changer" for his campaign and hailed him for pushing the idea into "the mainstream of presidential politics."
Levin told Conservative Review "I have wholeheartedly endorsed the Convention of the States project" and "I serve on its Legal Board of Reference because they propose a solution as big as the problem. And they are promoting state applications for a convention for the purpose of limiting the scope, power and jurisdiction of the federal government. And that's what needs to be done."
The Convention of the States website also features testimonials from conservative media figures like Hannity, Beck, Allen West, and Sarah Palin.
In an April 2015 report on the movement to call a new convention with the aim of passing a balanced budget amendment, the Washington Post reported on the possible pitfalls of this amendment process. They note, "the founding document is silent on how such a convention would operate," and add, "There's no indication that a convention could be limited to just one topic. Hypothetically, delegates could take up any issue they wanted, from reinstating Prohibition to eliminating the direct election of senators. More extreme scenarios envision delegates revisiting the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery, or inserting corporate giveaways into the Constitution."
Figures on both the left and right have pointed out that such a convention would be dangerous.
Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe said the process would be "putting the whole Constitution up for grabs."
Even conservative Justice Antonin Scalia has described the idea as dangerous, noting, "I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?"
The late Justice Arthur Goldberg also criticized the idea, saying, "There is no enforceable mechanism to prevent a convention from reporting out wholesale changes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights." In 1983 Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote, a "Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups."
Slate's Jamelle Bouie writes, "It's worth noting that this renewed push" for a constitutional convention "comes at a time the United States is becoming younger, browner, and more liberal. For a movement whose electoral health is tied to an aging population of white conservatives, it's increasingly now or never for right-wing ideologues, or at least, moves that block liberals from achieving their goals."
With her first column of 2016, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd returned to her decades-long crusade attacking Hillary Clinton. Dowd has increased her vitriol towards Hillary Clinton in her New York Times columns since Media Matters first analyzed her body of work over a year-and-a-half ago.
As we reported, 72 percent of the 195 columns Dowd wrote from November 1993 to June 2014 with significant mentions of Clinton were negative. All 17 columns with significant mentions of Clinton that have been published since the first report were negative.
Dowd's first column of 2016 compares Hillary Clinton to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie The Revenant, which is about a revenge-minded trapper making his way through the wilderness. In a now-famous scene, DiCaprio's character is mauled by a bear.
And finally, of course, there's the politician most like Glass in her willingness to crawl through glass, flip her positions and persona, and even bear up under a mauling by a merciless, manic bear to reach that goal most yearned for. In Hillary Clinton's grimly relentless trudge toward the White House, the part of the bear is played by Donald Trump.
Dowd continues the column by accusing Clinton of being a hypocritical feminist scheming for power.
This latest column follows Dowd's script for Hillary Clinton, which she's been using for decades. In eleven of the newer columns added to this study, Dowd characterized Clinton as being power-hungry, while in fourteen of them she argued that Clinton is a phony (accusing her, for instance, of "acting like a masculine woman" in the 2008 election). Dowd also returned to presenting herself as an expert on the Clinton marriage in two of her recent columns, with claims like "[Clinton] has spent a lifetime cleaning up messes sparked by her overweening desire for control and her often out-of-control mate."
Including the past eighteen months of data, dating back to November 1993, Dowd has made significant mention of Hillary Clinton in 212 columns:
Dowd's Clinton bashing is so repetitive that she appears to occasionally recycle column headlines. In July of 2002, Dowd's column was headlined "Hooray for Hillarywood!" and then thirteen years later the exact same phrase was back, this time asking "Hooray for Hillarywood?"
The same themes are being recycled as well. Dowd has leaned on movies to an almost absurd rate in order to prop up attacks on Clinton. In the past, she called Clinton "the senator from Stepford," for example, and quoted an anonymous aide calling her "The Terminator."
In May of 2015, Dowd was back at the movie well:
Hillary Clinton's campaign has echoes of various classic movies: "Single White Female," with Hillary creepily co-opting the identity of the more trendy Elizabeth Warren; "My Fair Lady," with Hillary sitting meekly and being schooled on how to behave by tyrannical Pygmalions (Iowa voters); "The Usual Suspects," with Hillary's hoodlums, Sidney Blumenthal and David Brock, vying to be Keyser Söze; and, of course, "How to Steal a Million," a caper about a heist plotted by a couple that doesn't need the money.
Dowd even wrote a piece comparing the former secretary of state to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was embroiled in the "deflategate" controversy where it was alleged he had a role in tampering with footballs used during a playoff game.
In her column, Dowd found a way to connect the athlete with the former secretary of state:
Two controlling superstars with mutable hair and militant fans, married to two magnetic superstars who can make a gazillion an hour for flashing their faces and who have been known to stir up trouble.
A pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win.
It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think.
The comparison doesn't make a lot of sense, but it fits right in with Dowd's bizarre rhetoric over the last two decades when it comes to Clinton.
Media Matters used the Nexis database to search The New York Times archives for "hillary and clinton and BYLINE(Maureen Dowd) and Editorial Desk." We also used the Times website to identify Dowd pieces that mentioned Clinton from the Week In Review and Magazine sections prior to Dowd's 1995 move to the editorial desk. We reviewed those columns, coding ones that included any substantive discussion of Hillary Clinton for whether Dowd invoked any of 16 negative tropes in five categories.
Those variables were:
Plotting For Power
o Hillary is inflexible/uncompromising
o Hillary has a bunker mentality, will not listen to detractors
o Hillary acts tough
o Hillary is always scheming for more power
Betrayed Feminism And Played The Victim
o Hillary is bad for feminism
o Hillary traded on slights from men to get ahead
o Hillary fakes her feminism
People Don't Like Her, She's Not A Nice Person
o Hillary is mean
o Hillary is not likeable
o Hillary is cold and unemotional
She's A Phony
o Hillary doesn't know who she is
o Hillary has no 'real' identity
o Hillary doesn't believe what she says
o Hillary is scripted and prepackaged and poll-driven
Targeting The Clintons As A Couple
o The Clintons won't go away, even though everyone wants them to
o Their marriage is a sham, a trade of power for more power
Conservative political activist and notorious "dirty trickster" Roger Stone is helping conduct the latest right-wing attacks on President Bill Clinton.
In an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show, Stone claimed he has "identified 24 women who've been assaulted by Bill Clinton. He also told Politico that women accusing Clinton of harassment, "will be on TV as much as Hillary, because I'm helping."
Stone has operated as a "dirty trickster" (as the conservative Weekly Standard called him) in American politics for over 40 years. He has worked for several Republican candidates at the presidential and congressional level, and has long been a part of the conservative movement. Stone also worked as a lobbyist for Donald Trump's casinos, and was an adviser for his presidential campaign up until a few months ago.
A 2008 New Yorker profile headlined "The Dirty Trickster" laid out some of Stone's political history. For example, Stone once "adopted the pseudonym Jason Rainier and made contributions in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, who was challenging Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1972. Stone then sent a receipt to the Manchester Union Leader, to 'prove' that Nixon's adversary was a left-wing stooge." He also hired a Republican operative to infiltrate Democrat George McGovern's campaign. After that behavior was uncovered during the Watergate hearings, Stone was forced to leave his job on the staff of Senator Bob Dole.
More recently, Stone reportedly organized the so-called "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Florida, where hundreds of Republican activists stormed a county election office in a ploy to stop the process of recounting ballots during the 2000 election.
Stone was pushed out of a 2007 gubernatorial campaign after he allegedly left threatening telephone messages for the elderly father of then-New York governor Eliot Spitzer.
In a 2008 interview with the New Yorker, Stone said that a "slash-and-burn campaign" should be run on behalf of Sen. John McCain but not by McCain himself.
During the 2008 election cycle, Stone created the group Citizens United Not Timid (C.U.N.T.) to attack Hillary Clinton. Stone promoted the false story that there was a video of Michelle Obama making racist remarks about white people.
Stone recently co-authored the book The Clinton's War on Women with Robert Morrow that purports to reveal how "Bill and Hillary Clinton systematically abused women and others - sexually, physically, and psychologically - in their scramble for power and wealth." Morrow has wished death on Hillary Clinton and written bizarre sexual writings about her, called Chelsea Clinton a "slut," and posted about "niggers" and "pro-faggot judicial activism" on social media. The book was dedicated to a holocaust denier who blames a "Jewish plot" for the 9/11 terror attacks.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Fox's Sean Hannity that the source of his attacks on the private lives of the Clintons is a book written by former Trump aide Roger Stone and his co-author Robert Morrow. Both men have a history of misogyny and conspiracy theories.
Appearing on the January 5 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked Trump about recently calling Hillary Clinton an "enabler" for former President Bill Clinton, who he called "one of the great woman abusers of all time."
In response, Trump said Hillary Clinton "went after the women very, very strongly and very viciously, according to the women and according to other sources." He added, "a major book's been written about it, and it's a book that's a very well respected book. And it was not a pretty picture, what she did."
The book Trump is referring to is The Clinton's War on Women, authored by Roger Stone and Robert Morrow and dedicated to a Holocaust denier who blames a "Jewish plot" for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump previously promoted the book in an October 14 tweet, calling it "a really tough one!"
Stone is a long-time conservative activist identified by multiple media outlets as a "professional dirty trickster." Up until August 2015, Stone worked for Trump's presidential campaign. He recently launched a Super PAC, the Committee to Restore America's Greatness, to promote Trump's candidacy.
In 2008, Stone created the group Citizens United Not Timid, which used the acronym C.U.N.T. and said their goal was to "educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is." Stone explained the group's name: "The truth is, we sat around for hours trying to come up with words for B.I.T.C.H. and just couldn't do it."
Stone was an adviser to Trump when he explored a presidential run in 2012, and defended Trump pushing the birther conspiracy about President Obama's birthplace noting, "If there is nothing wrong why doesn't the Prez simply release his birth certificate?" Stone also gave credence to Internet-based conspiracy theories that Obama's birth certificated had "been altered."
Stone was also involved in several campaign dirty tricks as part of Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign.
His co-author, Robert Morrow, made online postings in which he wished for Hillary Clinton's death, called Chelsea Clinton a "slut" and described a fantasy scenario about how she would "have sex one day" with Bill Clinton. Morrow also posted about "niggers" and "pro-faggot judicial activism."
Several conservative media figures attacked President Obama for crying as he spoke about child victims during a speech detailing executive actions designed to reduce gun violence.
Fox News' Todd Starnes: "President Boehner."
Fox News' Andrea Tantaros: "Check That Podium For Like A Raw Onion ... It's Not Really Believable"
[Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/5/16]
Breitbart's John Nolte: "He's Putting Something In His Eyes To Create The Fascist Tears"
National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke: "All The Best Laws Are Made By People Who Can't Control Their Emotions."
Breitbart's Ben Shapiro: "HEADLINE: Obama Cries!!!!!!!1!!!! Give Him What He Wants!!!!!1!!!!"
During the daily White House press briefing, Fox News reporter James Rosen compared President Obama consulting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the constitutionality of proposed executive action on gun violence to ordering food at a Chinese restaurant.
In his first weekly address of the year, President Obama announced that he would be consulting with the attorney general to identify his legal options for reducing gun violence.
News reports indicate that he plans, via executive action, to expand background checks as well as tighten rules involving how lost or stolen guns are reported.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Rosen that President Obama had asked the attorney general to "play a leading role" in determining what legal authority the president has in producing executive guidance that could reduce gun violence.
In response, Rosen asked if that process called "into question the independence of the attorney general if the president can simply call her up like a Chinese food restaurant and order what he wants off the menu and she serves it up?"
Earnest went on to explain to Rosen that the Department of Justice actually has a role in advising the president on what legal avenues are available to him, and which are within the purview of Congress.
In fact, as the Office of the Attorney General's website notes, the position "represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when so requested," pursuant to the Judiciary Act of 1789. In 1934, the drafting of certain legal opinions of the attorney general was delegated to the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, which "also is responsible for providing legal advice to the Executive Branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality."
Contrary to Rosen's characterization of the meeting as unorthodox or improper, such legal consultation has long been part of the attorney general's constitutional role to advise the executive branch on what, legally, is within their jurisdiction and what is not. It isn't a violation of the office's independence nor is it as simplistic as a food order.
Fox News is reportedly going to feature Donald Trump as part of the network's coverage ringing in the New Year.
Politico reports that Trump "will be live from Florida" during the 11 p.m. hour "on New Year's Eve, helping hosts Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Bolling count down to 2016."
Fox also announced Trump's attendance in a segment of the December 21 edition of The Five, describing Trump's appearance as a "huge announcement." Co-host Eric Bolling said Trump would be "ringing in the New Year with us" and that other presidential candidates would also be heard from during the program.
The special caps a year in which Fox News and Trump were virtually connected at the hip.
Between May and November, the current Republican front-runner was given more interview airtime on the network than any other candidate. Trump has appeared for a total of 21 hours and 12 minutes, more than double that of Chris Christie, his closest competition with 9 hours and 30 minutes of airtime. In November alone, Trump appeared in 3 hours and 18 minutes' worth of interviews.
No candidate appeared on Fox more often in 2015 than Donald Trump, and now he'll likely be first in line for their coverage in 2016.