National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent suggested that America is on the path to a genocide similar to the Holocaust by posting an image on Facebook of Jews being rounded up by Nazis and commenting, "Soulless sheep to slaughter. Not me."
Nugent's post came just hours after he was condemned by the civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for posting an anti-Semitic image to his Facebook page.
Nugent's latest image depicts the rounding up of Jews in Nazi Germany and is accompanied by the text, "Back when I learned about the Holocaust in school, I remember thinking, 'How did Hitler get MILLIONS of people to follow along blindly and NOT fight back?' Then I realized I am watching my fellow Americans take the same path":
Earlier on February 8, Nugent shared an image headlined, "So who is really behind gun control?" with Israeli flags next to faces of 12 Jewish American politicians and gun violence prevention advocates. Some of the pictures feature descriptions such as "Jew York city mayor Mikey Bloomberg." Nugent captioned the image, "Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil, they would deny us the basic human right to self defense & to KEEP & BEAR ARMS while many of them have tax paid hired ARMED security! Know them well. Tell every1 you know how evil they are. Let us raise maximum hell to shut them down."
ADL responded by calling for Nugent to remove the image with organization CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt characterizing Nugent's post as "conspiratorial anti-Semitism."
Nugent, who has a lengthy history of invoking the Holocaust to demonize his critics, was previously condemned by the ADL for comparing Jewish filmmaker Harvey Weinstein to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald debunked the partisan assertions that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improperly used a private email account, pointing out that her predecessors similarly used private email accounts that received information that was retroactively classified.
For months, Conservative media figures baselessly hyped claims that Clinton violated the law by receiving State Department emails on her private email account while Secretary of State. On February 4, reports emerged that Colin Powell and aides to Condoleezza Rice also used private email accounts when they served under President George W. Bush and some of their emails contained information that was subsequently classified on a retroactive basis.
In a February 8 article for Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald explained that Powell and Rice's aides use of a private email account was "meaningless except that it sets up a rational conversation (finally) about the Hillary Clinton bogus 'email-gate' imbroglio" and showed that the fixation on Hillary Clinton's emails "has been a big nothing-burger perpetuated for partisan purposes." Eichenwald wrote that Powell and Rice, like Clinton, "did nothing wrong" and that "this could only be considered a scandal by ignorant or lying partisans":
This news involving Powell and Rice is meaningless except that it sets up a rational conversation (finally) about the Hillary Clinton bogus "email-gate" imbroglio. Perhaps the partisans on each side will now be more willing to listen to the facts. From the beginning, the "scandal" about Clinton using a personal email account when she was secretary of state--including the finding that a few documents on it were retroactively deemed classified--has been a big nothing-burger perpetuated for partisan purposes, with reports spooned out by Republicans attempting to deceive or acting out of ignorance. Conservative commentators have raged, presidential candidates have fallen over themselves in apoplectic babbling, and some politicians have proclaimed that Clinton should be in jail for mishandling classified information. The nonsense has been never-ending, and attempts to cut through the fog of duplicity have been fruitless.
So did Powell and the aides to Rice violate rules governing classified information, since the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) staff has recently determined that some of their years-old personal emails contain top-secret material? No. The rules regarding the handling of classified information apply to communications designated as secret at that time. If documents that aren't deemed classified and aren't handled through a SCIF when they are created or initially transmitted are later, in retrospect, deemed secret, the classification is new--and however the record was handled in the past is irrelevant.
In other words, just because the FOIA staff years later labeled emails sent from Powell and Rice's aides as classified does not mean those records contain some crown jewels of critical intelligence. In fact, usually they are quite benign. I have seen emails called "top secret" that contained nothing more than a forwarded news article that had been published. (The Associated Press has reported that one of Clinton's "secret" emails contains an AP article.)
The bottom line: Democrats may try to turn the revelations about the email accounts used by Powell and Rice's staff into a scandal. They may release press statements condemning the former secretaries of state; they may call for scores of unnecessary congressional hearings; they may go to the press and confidently proclaim that crimes were committed by these honorable Republicans. But it all be lies. Powell and Rice did nothing wrong. This could only be considered a scandal by ignorant or lying partisans.
So there is no Powell or Rice email scandal. And no doubt, that will infuriate the Republicans who are trying so hard to trick people into believing Clinton committed a crime by doing the exact same thing as her predecessors.
Eichenwald joins other lawmakers and media commentators who agree the revelation that Powell and aides to Condoleezza Rice also received retroactively classified information indicates that the allegations against Hillary Clinton are part of a partisan smear campaign.
On February 5, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) -- Media Matters' 2015 Misinformer of the Year -- barring founder David Daleiden and alleged co-conspirators from releasing any of the deceptively edited footage they obtained under false pretenses during National Abortion Federation (NAF) events. As explained by the judge, CMP's fraudulent videos were not journalism and the value of their release did not outweigh the very real anti-choice violence they could incite.
Following Daleiden's January 25 indictment by a Houston grand jury, right-wing media have rushed to defend CMP's smear campaign against NAF and Planned Parenthood by arguing the deceptively edited videos show evidence of wrongdoing and constitute an act of journalism protected by the First Amendment.
In awarding NAF a primary injunction, federal judge William H. Orrick thoroughly refuted these claims.
Joining a chorus of investigations clearing Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, Judge Orrick wrote that after a complete review "of the records or transcripts in full and in context, I find no NAF attendees admitted to engaging in, agreeing to engage in, or expressed interest in engaging in potentially illegal sale of fetal tissue for profit."
Judge Orrick also refuted the unconvincing argument that Daleiden is an investigative journalist. Judge Orrick wrote that CMP did not "-- as Daleiden repeatedly asserts -- use widely accepted investigatory journalism techniques" and that they had "no evidence to support that assertion and no cases on point." Instead, Judge Orrick argued that videos resulting from CMP's work "thus far have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions...of criminal misconduct."
Judge Orrick also directly referenced the uptick in anti-choice violence and harassment since the release of the videos, noting "[i]t is not speculative to expect that harassment, threats, and violent acts will continue to rise if defendants were to release NAF materials":
Having reviewed the records or transcripts in full and in context, I find that no NAF attendee admitted to engaging in, agreed to engage in, or expressed interest in engaging in potentially illegal sale of fetal tissue for profit. The recordings tend to show an express rejection of Daleiden's and his associates' proposals or, at most, discussions of interest in being paid to recoup the costs incurred by clinics to facilitate collection of fetal tissue for scientific research, which NAF argues is legal.
Defendants passionately contend that public policy is on their side (and the side of public disclosure) because the recordings show criminal wrongdoing by abortion providers - a matter that is indisputably of significant public interest. ... I have reviewed the recordings relied on by defendants and find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. At the very most, some of the individuals expressed an interest in exploring a relationship with defendants' fake company in response to defendants entreaties of how "profitable" it can be and how tissue donation can assist in furthering research. There are no express agreements to profit from the sale of fetal tissue or to change the timing of abortions to allow for tissue procurement.
The context of how defendants came into possession of the NAF materials cannot be ignored and directly supports preliminarily preventing the disclosure of these materials. Defendants engaged in repeated instances of fraud, including the manufacture of fake documents, the creation and registration with the state of California of a fake company, and repeated false statements to a numerous NAF representatives and NAF members in order to infiltrate NAF and implement their Human Capital Project. The products of that Project - achieved in large part from the infiltration - thus far have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions (at least with respect to the NAF materials) of criminal misconduct.Defendants did not - as Daleiden repeatedly asserts - use widely accepted investigatory journalism techniques. Defendants provide no evidence to support that assertion and no cases on point.
As noted above, since defendants' release of the Project videos (as well as the leak of a portion of the NAF recordings), harassment, threats, and violent acts taken against NAF members and facilities have increased dramatically. It is not speculative to expect that harassment, threats, and violent acts will continue to rise if defendants were to release NAF materials in a similar way. Weighing the public policy interests on the record before me, enforcement of the confidentiality agreements against defendants is not contrary to public policy.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent shared a graphic suggesting that Jews are "really behind" gun-safety laws. The image was previously posted on Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website.
In a February 8 post on his Facebook page, Nugent shared an image headlined, "So who is really behind gun control?" with Israeli flags next to faces of 12 Jewish American politicians and gun violence prevention advocates. Some of the pictures feature descriptions such as "Jew York city mayor Mikey Bloomberg." Nugent captioned the image, "Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil, they would deny us the basic human right to self defense & to KEEP & BEAR ARMS while many of them have tax paid hired ARMED security! Know them well. Tell every1 you know how evil they are. Let us raise maximum hell to shut them down":
A similar image was used by a commenter on the white supremacist website Stormfront in 2014:
Nugent has claimed those shot in mass shootings are "losers amongst us ... [who] fall for the big lie of political correctness, and get cut down by murderous maniacs like blind sheep to slaughter."
Republican Donald Trump said he will return a donation from white nationalist leader and author William Daniel Johnson, who gave $250 to his presidential campaign.
The Hill reported today that Trump was asked about the donation at a New Hampshire town hall. "I would certainly return it if you think it is appropriate," Trump replied. "I would return it. Don't be so angry, I don't even know who he is."
Video of the exchange was posted to YouTube by Right Side Broadcasting:
As Media Matters reported, Johnson donated $250 to the Trump campaign in September. He leads the American National Super PAC, which has been robocalling Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to praise Trump's anti-immigrant positions.
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that Johnson wrote a book under a pseudonym in which he advocated "the repeal of the 14th and 15th amendments and the deportation of almost all nonwhite citizens to other countries. Johnson further claimed that racial mixing and diversity caused social and cultural degeneration in the United States." Johnson, who wants "a white ethno-state, a country made up of only white people," regularly appears in white nationalist media.
Last week, People For the American Way called on Trump to return the donation, noting that "cashing checks from those pushing an explicitly racist agenda is unacceptable."
In recent months, several media outlets have documented how white nationalist figures have been supporting Trump's campaign. His candidacy has also been a fundraising engine for white nationalist media websites, which have praised Trump for spurring "unprecedented interest in" their ideology and putting their ideas "firmly in the mainstream."
UPDATE: People For the American Way (PFAW), which asked Trump the question, responded to his statement by saying it's "a good first step, but Trump should follow up by renouncing the racist policies he's been espousing on the campaign trail." From PFAW President Michael B. Keegan:
"We're very glad to hear that Donald Trump responded to public pressure and will return the contribution from self-described white nationalist William Daniel Johnson. This is a good first step, but Trump should follow up by renouncing the racist policies he's been espousing on the campaign trail. Xenophobia and racism should have no place in any campaign, but we've seen far too much of it during the 2016 Republican presidential primary."
The Associated Press violated its own guidelines for how to refer to transgender people in a report on a transgender man who was shot and killed by police in Arizona.
Kayden Clarke was shot and killed by police who were responding to a suicide call in his Mesa, AZ, home on February 4.
In a February 6 article, "Woman killed by Phoenix-area police had popular online video," the Associated Press violated its own guidelines for writing about transgender people, which state that transgender people should be identified by their preferred pronouns. Instead, the article repeatedly misgendered Clarke, calling him "she," even while acknowledging that Clarke was "hoping to transition from female to male and was known to friends as Kayden Clarke:"
Police in a Phoenix suburb shot and killed a knife-wielding woman whose struggles with Asperger's syndrome went viral last year when she posted an online video showing her service dog comforting her.
Two officers responding to a report of a suicidal woman were carrying stun guns but fired their weapons because they felt threatened as Danielle Jacobs, 24, lunged at them with a 12-inch kitchen knife in her home Thursday, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores said.
"They had a lethal weapon coming at them," Flores said Friday. "They were threatened."
Although police used her legal name, the Arizona Republic reported Friday night that she was hoping to transition from female to male and was known to friends as Kayden Clarke.
[Heather Allen, founder of HALO Animal Rescue] said she called police Thursday to ask that they check on Jacobs after the 24-year-old sent a suicidal email that morning asking that someone care for her dog, Sampson.
Allen questioned whether it was necessary to shoot Jacobs.
"I wasn't there, so I don't know how she was behaving," Allen said. "I wish they had been able to use non-lethal restraint, if they could have used a Taser or a beanbag gun.
"She didn't have a gun. She had a knife," Allen said. "It just seems to me there could have been a better way."
One of the officers responding to the call was retrieving a bean bag gun when the shooting occurred, Flores said. Two officers stayed in the apartment, including one who had training in crisis intervention to deal with such situations.
CNN, The Washington Post, and People all correctly identified Clarke as male in their reports on the shooting. (CNN had published an earlier article that misgendered Clarke but has since noted that the article was published before the outlet realized Clarke was transgender.)
Despite its clear guidelines requiring reporters to identify transgender people using their preferred names and pronouns, the Associated Press has recently misgendered transgender people in multiple reports.
Veteran journalism experts and two former NBC News presidents are urging CNBC to remove senior contributor Larry Kudlow from the channel as he lays the groundwork for a potential campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Kudlow has said he is "moving toward" a Senate run in Connecticut with no apparent action from the network.
Among Kudlow's steps are interviewing potential campaign staff, creating strategy, and promoting "a test-the-water committee, which would become the campaign." At the same time, CNBC has allowed Kudlow to use its platform to attack potential Democratic opponent Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
In 2010, when Kudlow was also rumored to be weighing a run for office, CNBC said it would "change" Kudlow's status with the network if he started "seriously considering" running.
Asked about Kudlow's latest apparent political aspirations, a CNBC spokesperson told Media Matters on Monday, "Larry Kudlow is not a CNBC employee and no longer anchors a show and hasn't since March 28, 2014. He is now a senior contributor."
CNBC offered the same response to the Washington Examiner when the paper asked about Kudlow in September. The Examiner noted at the time, "Kudlow is, however, under contract with CNBC. The spokesperson would not comment on the terms of that arrangement, Kudlow's compensation, or when exactly CNBC would make a decision on its relationship with him as he considers a run for public office."
In a press release announcing its October 2015 Republican debate coverage, CNBC called Kudlow one of its "top" contributors and touted his involvement in the network's "special programming" surrounding the debate. He has recently been covering the Republican primary for the network from Iowa and New Hampshire.
In comments to Media Matters, news veterans criticized Kudlow and the network.
"If I were still there I would not allow it," said William Small, who served as NBC News president from 1979-1982. "It's a misuse of a news division, a news division is not supposed to take sides. There are a lot of people, especially at Fox, who do, but it never happened on my shift. That's a conflict of interest. I'm surprised that CNBC would allow that."
Richard Wald, a former NBC News president from 1972-1977, said CNBC should make Kudlow clarify what he is doing and act accordingly by taking him off the air if he is running.
"The first step is for the management of the network to sit down with Mr. Kudlow and find out his intentions and his timing. They should not skirt the ethical positions by deliberately not knowing," Wald said via email. "He can't use the network for political advantage if he is going into electoral politics. If the network finds that he is about to join the contest, or will do so on a date certain, then they should be prepared -- as you say they have stated before -- to take him off the air until the election is over."
Several former network news reporters agreed.
"Anchors/reporters/'contributors' should not -- and should not be allowed -- to use a network to advance their political ambitions," Marvin Kalb, a 30-year Washington reporter and former host of Meet the Press, said via email. "This is done regularly on Fox, and it should not now spread to CNBC. If anyone, Kudlow included, wants to prepare a campaign for political office, it should not be from his or her perch atop a network."
Frank Sesno, former CNN Washington correspondent and current director of the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University, said Kudlow's actions are a "very bright red flag" for CNBC management.
"The network cannot, should not, doesn't want to be used as a crass launching pad for someone's political future," Sesno said. "If he hasn't had meetings with network executives, if he hasn't he's overdue. If he hasn't crossed the line, he's very, very close to it. This is not hard, if you are the head of the network you call the guy in and ask if he is running, if he says 'yes,' he is off the air. If he says 'no,' he goes back to work."
Kelly McBride, ethics instructor the Poynter Institute, echoed that view.
"CNBC should step in here and tell Larry he can't use his on-air platform as an exploratory committee because that's not in the best interests of the network and its audience," she said. "They should force him to make his decision and get on with it, now that he's already mentioned it. At the very least, he shouldn't talk about it on air again."
Edward Wasserman, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, said CNBC's problem is that anything Kudlow says, especially related to financial interests that might be funding his campaign down the road, is tainted.
"It is a straight-up conflict of interest," Wasserman said. "The reality is that he cannot help but filter and decide what he is going to put on the air in light of how it's going to serve that ambition. And once he's done that, he is a classic conflict of interest, his judgment is impaired by a classic outside entanglement."
When Samantha Bee launches her TBS program Full Frontal tonight, it will be "the only late-night satire program currently hosted by a woman, and one of very few in the decades-long history of the genre to feature a female star."
Bee has also created a diverse writing staff. As New York's Rebecca Traister reported, the weekly show crafted "a blind application process to make it more accessible to people who have not traditionally spent any time in writers' rooms. The result is a writing staff that is 50 percent female and 30 percent nonwhite."
Full Frontal, which begins airing on February 8 at 10:30 p.m. ET, will feature pieces on the Department of Veterans Affairs' handling of health care for female veterans, and Syrian refugees ("Meet the People We Are Incoherently Yelling About"). Bee told Entertainment Weekly that the show is "trying to shine our comedy light on stories that need to be told."
Bee mocked right-wing media claims that anti-gay Christian conservatives are being persecuted and victimized for their intolerance against LGBT people.
Bee responded to complaints that women would begin serving in front-line combat and highlighted double standards against women already serving in the military.
During 2011 protests in Wisconsin over collective bargaining, Bee mocked Fox News' claims that teachers are living lavishly at the expense of taxpayers.
Bee interviewed Grover Norquist, who has pushed members of Congress to sign an ironclad pledge against raising taxes. Bee asked him if there were any scenarios in which he would raise taxes. "Natural disaster? ... What about the rise of the apes?"
A dirty energy advocate with Big Oil ties is falsely smearing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' wind energy plan -- with an assist from The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal published a February 7 op-ed attacking Sanders' renewable energy plan by Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, without disclosing that the Manhattan Institute has received at least $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions more from foundations run by the oil billionaire Koch brothers. Unsurprisingly, given his track record, Bryce's criticism of Sanders is badly at odds with the facts.
In the op-ed, Bryce claimed that Sanders "better check with his Vermont constituents about the popularity of wind energy." Citing anti-wind proposals in the Vermont state legislature and a few scattered examples of local opposition to specific wind energy projects, Bryce declared: "Nowhere is the backlash [against wind energy] stronger than in Mr. Sanders's state."
However, despite the presence of a vocal minority who oppose large-scale wind projects, support for wind energy development is actually very strong in the Green Mountain State.
According to an April 2014 poll that was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), 71 percent of Vermonters support building wind turbines along the state's ridgelines, while only 23 percent oppose wind energy development. The poll also found that 86 percent of Vermonters support the state's goal of getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, and 72 percent of Vermonters said they would look more favorably on a candidate for state legislature who would make "advancing energy efficiency, clean energy and action on climate change central to their work."
These findings are in line with other polls conducted in Vermont. A May 2014 survey by the Castleton Polling Institute found that 89.3 percent of Vermonters agree that it is necessary and important to change the state's energy mix from the "current system based on fossil fuels, such as oil, and gas" to "a new energy system based on increasing energy efficiency and switching to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro and biomass." And a February 2013 Castleton poll found that 69 percent of Vermonters would favor the development of a wind farm in their own community.
Indeed, Bryce's entire attack against Sanders is premised on deceptively cherry-picking several isolated incidents of local opposition to wind energy. This cherry-picking is exemplified by the very first example he cited as supposed evidence that opposition to wind turbines "has been growing" in the state:
Wind-generated electricity in the U.S. has more than tripled since 2008, but opposition to the gigantic turbines, which can stand more than 500 feet, has been growing. In Vermont several protesters were arrested in 2011 and 2012 while trying to stop work on a wind project built on top of Lowell Mountain.
In reality, 75 percent of Lowell residents voted for Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind project on Lowell Mountain in 2010, and Lowell voters strongly reaffirmed their support for the project in March 2014, as the Associated Press noted at the time.
The Boston Globe editorial board called out "irrational objections" to a Massachusetts bill that would provide non-discrimination protections for transgender people, debunking the right-wing myth that these protections would endanger women and children.
A Massachusetts bill that would extend non-discrimination protections for transgender people to places of public accommodation has stalled in the state legislature since last year. Opponents of the bill have centered the debate on the anti-LGBT myth that protections for transgender people will allow sexual predators to pretend to be transgender so they can sneak into bathrooms and commit sexual assault.
In a February 8 editorial, the Boston Globe editorial board voiced its support for the bill, citing empirical evidence from other states and cities with transgender non-discrimination protections to refute the right-wing bathroom predator myth. The board also noted that transgender people are the ones more likely to be in danger when using the bathroom (emphasis added):
Everyone deserves the right to use public bathrooms with impunity. This would seem obvious, but if you are a transgender person, access to public spaces -- including bathrooms and locker rooms -- is not a given. A bill to protect the rights of transgender individuals to public spaces has hit headwinds in the Legislature, where it sits in committee, so far a victim of unwarranted fears, and a lack of support from Governor Charlie Baker.
The bill would ban discrimination against transgender people in parks, restaurants, libraries, and other public accommodations. It also affirms their right to use public restrooms, dressing rooms, and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. It follows the successful passage of a 2011 law that prevents transgender discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public education. Under current law, an employer can not discriminate against a transgender person in hiring, but that same establishment could deny service, or access to a bathroom.
Many in the transgender community have felt the negative effects of these loopholes. Brandon Adams, 14, of Framingham, spoke in support of the bill at a hearing last fall. When he was transitioning from a girl to a boy, he asked to use the boy's bathroom in his school, which denied his request. Brandon then avoided using the bathroom while at school, thus drinking less water, and eventually feeling dizzy and dehydrated.
Despite soaring support (the majority of the state's congressional delegation, nearly 200 businesses and organizations, and the local professional sports teams), irrational objections to the measure remain. Critics have concerns about women and children. Republican Representative Marc Lombardo called the bill "a recipe for disaster," and told the State House News Service he's afraid high school boys could suddenly say they're transgender only in order to gain access to the girls' locker room.
But no such incident has been recorded in any of the 18 other states and 200 communities nationwide where similar protections have been enacted. Research has shown that the true danger is to transgender individuals, who are more likely to face discrimination, which could lead to physical and mental health issues. In fact, Attorney General Maura Healey said her office received seven complaints last year from transgender people who have faced discrimination in public places.