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  • Alicia Machado Didn’t Kill Anyone, But Don King Did

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    CNN political commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski attempted to smear former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, by claiming that she “has been part of a murder.” While no charges were brought against Machado and she long ago denied involvement, Lewandowski ignored the role of Don King in Trump’s campaign -- the former boxing promoter who was “found guilty of second-degree murder for killing a gambling associate who owed him $600.”

    Lewandowski attempted to deflect from the criticism over Trump’s public shaming of Machado by smearing her on the September 29 edition of CNN’s New Day, asserting that “The Clinton campaign took a person and brought her into a debate who has been part of a murder.”

    While Machado “was accused of being an accomplice to an attempted murder” in 1998, according to a Los Angeles Times report, “A judge later said there was insufficient evidence to arrest her and ordered only her boyfriend’s arrest.” New Day co-host Alisyn Camerota explained to Lewandowski that Machado was “never charged, never indicted,” and “never convicted” of the accusations, facts reported by The New York Times as well.

    In his attack on Machado, Lewandowski ignored that Trump has leaned on Don King in efforts to court minority voters, who in 1966 was found guilty of murder for reportedly stomping his employee to death. King also shot and killed a man in 1954 (later ruled a “justifiable homicide”) who, according to ESPN.com, “tried to rob one of his gambling houses.” King’s 1966 murder charges were reduced by the judge at sentencing to manslaughter, and King was later pardoned in 1983.

    Lewandowski’s attempt to smear Machado while ignoring the role of King in Trump’s campaign isn’t surprising given his sycophantic support for Trump. Despite being a paid CNN contributor, Lewandowski is still very much involved in the Trump campaign. Lewandowski’s company Green Monster Consulting LLC received $20,000 for “strategy consulting” for the Trump campaign in August, which the campaign claimed was “severance.” Lewandowski announced September 29 that he is no longer receiving payments from the Trump campaign and it is reported that “the campaign paid off the remainder of his contract in one lump sum.” Lewandowski’s claim cannot be confirmed until future rounds of FEC filings.

    Lewandowski has also traveled with Trump on the campaign trail and was reportedly involved in preparing the Republican nominee for the first presidential debate.

  • Neo-Nazi Writer: “Virtually Every Alt-Right Nazi I Know Is Volunteering For The Trump Campaign”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Los Angeles Times is highlighting how Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy continues to draw “white supremacists into" the "political mainstream.”

    Trump and his campaign have engaged in an ongoing and unprecedented courtship with the white nationalist movement. White nationalists have donated to Trump’s campaign, endorsed him, and repeatedly cheered his policy proposals and racist comments. The candidate has on multiple occasions retweeted white supremacists on Twitter, and Trump surrogates -- including his son, Donald Jr., who has become a hero to neo-Nazis -- have given interviews to white nationalist media. In turn, the white nationalist movement has used Trump’s candidacy to fundraise and boost their organizations and media outlets.

    In a September 29 article, LA Times reporter Lisa Mascaro highlights how “Trump’s surprise rise to become the GOP presidential nominee, built largely on a willingness to openly criticize minority groups and tap into long-simmering racial divisions, has reenergized white supremacist groups and drawn them into mainstream American politics like nothing seen in decades.”

    In addition to Trump’s candidacy leading to “a sharp rise in traffic and visitors” for white nationalist websites, Mascaro writes that members of the movement have been “showing up at his rallies, knocking on doors to get out the vote and organizing debate-watching parties.”

    According to neo-Nazi writer Andrew Anglin, who heads the pro-Hitler and rabidly anti-Semitic and racist website Daily Stormer, “Trump had me at ‘build a wall’ … Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”

    From the LA Times:

    White supremacists are active on social media and their websites report a sharp rise in traffic and visitors, particularly when posting stories and chat forums about the New York businessman.

    Stormfront, already one of the oldest and largest white nationalist websites, reported a 600% increase in readership since President Obama’s election, and now has more than one in five threads devoted to Trump. It reportedly had to upgrade its servers recently due to the increased traffic.

    “Before Trump, our identity ideas, national ideas, they had no place to go,” said Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank based in Arlington, Va.

    Not since Southern segregationist George Wallace’s failed presidential bids in 1968 and 1972 have white nationalists been so motivated to participate in a presidential election.

    Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer website and an emerging leader of a new generation of millennial extremists, said he had “zero interest” in the 2012 general election and viewed presidential politics as “pointless.” That is, until he heard Trump.

    “Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Anglin said. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”

  • Trump's Debunked Google-Clinton Conspiracy Theory Comes Straight From Conservative And Russian Media

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    In prepared remarks, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pushed the debunked claim that Google is “suppressing” negative information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in its search results. The claim, which has been debunked by mainstream outlets and experts as “utter nonsense,” originated in right-wing media and was also pushed by a Russian pro-Kremlin news site and the website of Trump’s campaign CEO.

  • CNN Says Corey Lewandowski Is No Longer Receiving Trump Severance, But He's Still An Ethical Disaster

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    After months of simultaneously receiving payments from the Trump campaign for his continued involvement and strategic advice while employed as a CNN political commentator, Corey Lewandowski now claims he has stopped receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign, more than three months after being fired from his position as campaign manager. But Lewandowski’s claim that he has stopped receiving severance payments does not negate the ethical disaster CNN has on its hands by employing Lewandowski in the first place.

    On the September 29 edition of CNN’s New Day host Alisyn Camerota announced that it is “no longer the case” that Lewandowski is still receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign. Lewandowski confirmed Camerota’s statement, calling the news “amazing” and sarcastically adding, “40 days to go in the election, and now this is the breaking news of the day.”

    ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): CNN political commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Now, in previous appearances, we have told you that Corey was still receiving severance from the Trump campaign, but that is no longer the case we are told. Are you done with those payments, Corey?

    COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Amazing, right? Everything comes to an end. Everything comes to an end.

    CAMEROTA: I didn't think those would ever run out.

    LEWANDOWSKI: 40 days to go in the election, and now this is the breaking news of the day.

    CAMEROTA: But you're not getting any more payments from the campaign?

    LEWANDOWSKI: Correct.

    But Lewandowski’s employment at CNN is still an ethical debacle. Trump “campaign officials” admitted less than a week ago that Lewandowski “will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year,” a contradiction to Lewandowski’s statement this morning. Lewandowski’s continued involvement with the Trump campaign, his likely non-disparagement agreement with Trump, and his penchant for pushing Trump talking points on air all continue to raise serious questions about his continued employment at CNN.

    Still, CNN refuses to answer basic questions about Lewandowski’s apparent simultaneous relationship with the cable network and the Trump campaign. It is known that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker was aware that Lewandowski was receiving severance payments from the Trump campaign while CNN was paying him for his analysis, but still defended Lewandowski’s employment, saying he has “done a really nice job” with the network. CNN’s decision to continue employing Corey Lewandowski clashes with its own years-long stated policy that a person being "paid" by a campaign “would not be permitted to be a CNN contributor.”

    Sign Media Matters’ petition and tell CNN to cut ties with Corey Lewandowski immediately.

    UPDATE:

    Politico reported on September 29 that a CNN source confirmed Lewandowski “is no longer receiving monthly severance payments from the campaign” because “the campaign paid off the remainder of his contract in one lump sum.”

    This post has been update with additional information

  • Right-Wing “Porn Star” Attack On Former Miss Universe Falls Apart

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Conservative media figures are responding to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado’s statements that Donald Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and publicly humiliated her for gaining weight by accusing her of being a “porn star.” It is unclear why Trump’s behavior would be mitigated by Machado later performing in adult films, but those claims nonetheless appear to be false.

    During the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pointed to Trump’s record of mistreating women, specifically highlighting his attacks Machado. Trump, who owned the Miss Universe pageant from 1996 to 2015, doubled down the morning after the debate on the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, saying Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” Trump supporters have sought to explain away Trump’s actions by seeking to undermine Machado’s character.

    In a September 27 article headlined, “Porn Star Campaigns For Hillary Clinton,” the Daily Caller falsely reported that “Snippets of an adult film starring Machado are available on multiple free porn websites.” While the headline remains the same, that language has been removed from the article, which now states that she “is in a sextape” that was released in 2005.

    The article features the correction, “The star of Apprentass 4 was Angel Dark, not Alicia Machado.” While the correction is nonspecific, it appears that the Caller based the entire premise of their claim that Machado is a “porn star” on the incorrect belief that she was featured in that film. According to The Daily Beast, which reported on conservatives’ smear effort against Machado, “there does not appear to be any evidence suggesting the existence of professionally made pornography starring Machado.”

    While the article no longer cites an example of her appearing in an adult film, it still baselessly claims that Machado made an “appearance in porn” and has a “background in pornography.”

    The apparently unsubstantiated claim that Machado appeared in adult films rocketed through Trump’s supporters in the right-wing media. Rush Limbaugh opened his September 28 radio show by describing Machado as the “porn star Miss Piggy.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity claimed on his radio show “that she may have starred in an adult film, and available apparently on multiple free porn websites according to the Daily Caller.” He also said that Machado is “in all these porn videos” during an interview with Eric Trump. And CNN’s Jeffrey Lord repeatedly described Machado as a “porn star” in an American Spectator article headlined “Hillary’s Bad Judgement: Exploits Porn Star Surrogate.”

    This effort to shame Machado into silence would be despicable even if it were true. But it appears that the entire smear campaign is also completely false.