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  • Broadcast News Allow Trump To Drown His New Scandals With A Tweetstorm

    Network News Virtually Ignored Breaking Reports Into Illegal Practices By His Business And Foundation

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump successfully deflected the media’s attention away from damaging new investigative reports into illegal practices by his foundation and business with a late night tweetstorm continuing his denigration of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

    The September 29 and 30 editions of broadcast morning shows and nightly news programs -- NBC’s Today and Nightly News, ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, and CBS’ CBS This Morning and Evening News -- spent merely 2 minutes and 28 seconds on a Newsweek report explaining that “a company controlled by Donald Trump … secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal.” The same shows almost entirely ignored a Washington Post investigation that found that the Trump foundation illegally escaped an annual audit because it “never obtained the certification that New York requires before charities can solicit money from the public,” devoting only 27 seconds of coverage to it. In contrast, coverage of a series of tweets Trump sent early in the morning on September 30 criticizing former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, calling her “disgusting” and claiming that she has a “terrible” past, which includes a “sex tape,” amounted to 10 minutes and 39 seconds.

    In his much-criticized September 30 tweetstorm, Trump rehashed his false and sexist attacks on Machado, including the debunked right-wing media smear that she was involved in a “sex tape.” In his recent national media appearances -- almost all of which have taken place inside “the conservative media cocoon” of Fox News -- Trump has repeatedly tried to justify his attacks on Machado, claiming that “she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.” Trump has had help from his conservative media allies, including Bill O’Reilly -- who asked if it was a “cheap shot” for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to bring up his criticism of Machado’s body at the debate -- and Rush Limbaugh, who claimed that “this Alicia Machado thing was a set up … planned by the Clinton campaign.”

    The investigative reports that were cast aside by broadcast news offer new insights into how Trump ran his foundation as essentially a slush fund and tax evasion scheme, and ignored federal laws in his business operations. In his September 29 Newsweek report, reporter Kurt Eichenwald explained that a company on behalf of Donald Trump “spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.” The report published correspondence between Trump and consulting firm Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. in which the firm “instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.” Additionally, the former Trump executive admitted that they had taken a trip to Cuba “to give Trump’s company a foothold should Washington loosen or lift the trade restrictions.” As Eichenwald explained, “the fact that Seven Arrows spent the money and then received reimbursement from Trump Hotels does not mitigate any potential corporate liability for violating the Cuban embargo.”

    In a September 29 investigation in The Washington Post, David Fahrenthold once again discovered that Trump’s charity had skirted the law, this time violating a New York state law which requires “any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public must obtain a special kind of registration beforehand.” In an appearance on CNN, Fahrenthold explained that if Trump “had done this the right way … he would have to get an audit” and accountants would ask if he was “spending the foundation’s money in ways that benefited himself.” Farenthold has previously reported that this was exactly what Trump did, revelations that have led the New York attorney general to open a new investigation into the foundation. Trump campaign surrogates floundered when asked about the report on cable news, and lashed out at Fahrenthold claiming that “he’s pretty much a Clinton surrogate at this point.” Only CBS covered Fahrenthold’s report, while NBC and ABC failed to mention it. (Conversely, CBS ignored the Cuba report that its competitors covered.)

    This is not the first time media has allowed Trump to drive the coverage, nor is it the first time media have ignored damaging investigations into Trump's scandals. Previously, Trump successfully hijacked the news cycle by appearing on The Dr. Oz Show to reveal bits and pieces of a report on his health. Trump also successfully dominated news coverage after he tweeted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. While dedicating disproportionate coverage to the candidate’s antics, the media has undercovered:

    • A USA Today report that found that “Trump doesn’t pay his bills.”

    • Revelations about his illegal political donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

    • Reports highlighting Trump lies and inappropriate comments about the Sept. 11 attacks.

    • Allegations that Trump’s modeling agency “profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here.”

    • The report that the Trump Foundation “may have violated laws against ‘self-dealing.’”

    • Trump’s former campaign chairman’s ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of Trump from the September 29 and 30 editions of ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, NBC’s Today and Nightly News, and CBS’ CBS This Morning and Evening News and counted the length of segments relating to Trump’s tweetstom, the Newsweek report into Trump’s business entanglements in Cuba, and the Washington Post report on the Trump Foundation’s lack of proper registration.

  • These Are The Unhinged, Misogynist Co-Authors Of The Book Trump Is Using To Attack Clinton’s Marriage

    It’s Not Just Roger Stone -- Conspiracy Theorist Robert Morrow Is Co-Author Of Trump's Anti-Clinton Book

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    The New York Times reported on the influence of The Clintons’ War on Women in Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but failed to mention the extreme misogyny of the book’s discredited co-authors, Robert Morrow and Roger Stone.

  • Media Take Note: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    When media report on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women, they should also mention the immense hypocrisy of Trump levying those claims. Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogyny. And Trump himself previously said both that Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was “totally unimportant” and that people would have been more “forgiving” if Clinton had a relationship “with a really beautiful woman.”

  • Spanish-Language News Shows Give Trump A Pass On Violation Of US Embargo Against Cuba

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    The two major Spanish-language news networks failed to accurately represent a Newsweek report indicating that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump violated the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. On their daily news shows, both networks failed to debunk false claims that the Newsweek report is inconclusive despite the existence of definitive proof that Trump violated the embargo.

    In a September 29 article, Newsweek magazine reported that a company controlled by Donald Trump “spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.” The report published correspondence between Trump and consulting firm Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. in which the firm “instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.” Additionally, the former Trump executive admitted that they had taken a trip to Cuba “to give Trump’s company a foothold should Washington loosen or lift the trade restrictions.” From the Newsweek report:

    The fact that Seven Arrows spent the money and then received reimbursement from Trump Hotels does not mitigate any potential corporate liability for violating the Cuban embargo. “The money that the Trump company paid to the consultant is money that a Cuban national has an interest in and was spent on an understanding it would be reimbursed,’’ Richard Matheny, chair of Goodwin’s national security and foreign trade regulation group said, based on a description of the events by Newsweek. “That would be illegal. If OFAC discovered this and found there was evidence of willful misconduct, they could have made a referral to the Department of Justice.”

    Newsweek pointed out that Trump blatantly lied to Cuban-Americans about this, recalling a luncheon hosted by the Cuban American National Foundation where “he proclaimed he wanted to maintain the American embargo and would not spend any money in Cuba so long as Fidel Castro remained in power.”

    Despite clear evidence that Trump acted in violation of the embargo, neither Telemundo nor Univision refuted statements made by Republican officials on their shows that the Newsweek report was inconclusive.

    On the September 29 edition of Telemundo’s Noticiero Telemundo, correspondent Angie Sandoval failed to debunk Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)’s claim that the Newsweek report “doesn’t conclude” that “one of Donald Trump’s companies invested within the island”:

    REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART: If one of Donald Trump's companies invested within the island, this would be absolutely unacceptable. But the report that says there was possibly a violation of the law, doesn't conclude that.

    Rep. Diaz-Balart also appeared on Univision’s Noticiero Univisión to murk the findings of the report, saying that “if he effectively did business or his company did business within the island, this would be a very serious thing,” implying that the Republican presidential candidate may not have violated the embargo. The Univision report also quoted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Trump supporter, who called the Newsweek report “troubling” and said that he “will reserve judgment until we know all the facts and Donald has been given the opportunity to respond.” From the September 29 edition of Noticiero Univisión:

    VILMA TARAZONA (CORRESPONDENT): The Republican Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, who has said he will vote for Trump, said in a statement, “The article makes serious and troubling accusations. I will reserve judgment until we know all the facts and Donald has been given the opportunity to respond.”

    Univision correspondent Vilma Tarazona did not explain that the Newsweek report already provided all of the facts and that the Trump campaign had already responded to the accusations earlier that day when Kellyanne Conway conceded on The View that “they paid money,” inadvertently admitting that he violated the embargo.

    Trump has a history of putting his business before other considerations, given that he was rooting for the housing collapse of 2008 for his own profit, he has been charged with fraud for misleading aspiring real estate investors, and has stiffed many employees and small business owners he has contracted for their work.

  • Trump Ally Roger Stone’s Teleconference Was Full Of Lies And Smears

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Political trickster Roger Stone, a close confidant of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, used his biweekly open teleconference with the public to push numerous lies and smears in an effort to damage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign

    Stone is a discredited author and a Republican political operative with a history of racism and sexism. He is an informal adviser to the candidate. He has previously peddled falsehoods about election rigging, 9/11, and the Clinton and Bush families committing murders, including of John F. Kennedy Jr., among other conspiracies. CNN and MSNBC have banned Stone from appearing on air because of his offensive rhetoric and disregard for truth. Even so, the Trump campaign’s recent shift in campaign strategy to focus on the Clintons’ personal affairs indicates it will follow an election strategy laid out by Stone.

    During his September 29 “Insider Teleconference,” Stone continued to spread conspiracy theories and smears about the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, and billionaire George Soros.

    Stone Claimed Clinton Wore An Earpiece During Debate: “The Fix Was In”

    During the live teleconference, Stone falsely claimed Clinton was “quite clearly operating with an earpiece” to receive answers to questions during the September 26 presidential debate because “she can’t remember anything.”

    He also falsely alleged that Clinton “clearly had advance notice to the questions” at the debate and accused NBC of “some funny business,” including sending an intern to Clinton’s campaign headquarters ahead of the debate to help prepare. Stone added that it was “clear” that “the mainstream media fix was in,” and he attacked moderator Lester Holt. This conspiracy theory, also pushed by fellow Trump ally Newt Gingrich, originated from a fake news website.

    Stone Warned That Clinton Could Rig Voting Machines “For A Desired Result”

    Stone warned his listeners that Clinton may rig voting machines to defeat Trump. Stone said “there is no doubt” that voter machines are “easy to manipulate” and “program to have a desired result.” He baselessly claimed there was evidence showing voting machines were “rigged by Hillary to screw Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries,” and that “if Hillary will cheat Bernie, she’ll cheat Donald Trump and the American people.” Trump has also pushed the “rigged” claim, and numerous media figures have condemned it as “preposterous” and “irresponsible.”

    Stone leads the pro-Trump group Stop The Steal, which aims to “stop the Democrats from stealing the election from Donald Trump.” The group claims that it will “[d]emand inspection of the software used to program the voting machines in every jurisdiction prior to the beginning of voting by an independent and truly non-partisan third party” and “[c]onduct targeted EXIT-POLLING in targeted states and targeted localities that we believe the Democrats could manipulate.”

    Stone Called Billionaire George Soros A “Nazi War Criminal”

    Stone encouraged listeners to join his “Defend the Donald” blogging campaign aimed at fighting Trump criticism online. Stone also attacked Media Matters, which he claimed receives funding from billionaire political activist George Soros, who is Jewish and who Stone called a “Nazi war criminal.” The smear against Soros, who has donated to Media Matters in the past, has previously been debunked

    Stone tweeted in 2014 that Soros should be “detained, charged, tried, convicted and executed. He is a cancer on the body politic.”

    Stone Doubted CIA Reports On Russian Hackers And Claimed CIA Director Works For Clinton’s Campaign

    Stone also raised doubts about CIA Director John Brennan’s finding that the United States should be concerned about Russian cyberattacks and attempts to influence the 2016 election, calling such concerns “laughable.” Stone challenged Brennan to put forth evidence, said that the director “has been politicized,” and accused him of “reading the talking points from the Clinton campaign, presumably because he wants to keep his job.” Brennan’s warning came after security officials agreed that Russian hackers were most likely responsible for stealing email records from the Democratic National Committee over the summer and noted that there was evidence they were behind other hacking attempts.

    Stone also called concerns about Trump’s connections to Russia “the new McCarthyism” despite Trump’s numerous campaign connections to Russia and Trump’s support and praise for Russia’s president and policies.

  • The Men Behind Trump’s Attacks On Clinton Marriage Have A History Of Sexual Harassment, Spousal Abuse, And Marital Infidelity

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Trump, Ailes, Gingrich

    Republican presidential nominee Donald  Trump’s campaign is circulating talking points that instruct his supporters and campaign surrogates to attack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity. If the media is going to report on those claims they should also note that Trump and his closest advisers are profoundly poor messengers for those claims.

    According to CNN, one talking point says, “Hillary Clinton bullied and smeared women like Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky.” Another reads, “Are you blaming Hillary for Bill's infidelities? No, however, she's been an active participant in trying to destroy the women who has (sic) come forward with a claim.”

    Politico reported that after the Republican nominee’s poor performance in the presidential debate, “threats emanated from Trump Tower on Tuesday that the Republican nominee was preparing to name-check Bill Clinton’s mistresses -- alleged or otherwise.”

    Yet Trump and several of his campaign’s top staffers, allies, and surrogates have episodes of marital infidelity, sexual harassment, and alleged spousal abuse in their pasts, making them hypocritical messengers for this particular type of attack.

    Trump and his allies have also directly attacked Clinton on this topic.

    Trump himself has previously described former President Clinton as “one of the great woman abusers of all time,” and he said Hillary Clinton “went after the women very, very strongly and very viciously.” He also praised himself for not referencing the topic during the September 26 presidential debate, claiming, “I'm really happy I was able to hold back on the indiscretions in respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton.”

    Newt Gingrich praised Trump for not bringing up the issue during the debate: “He thought about it, and I’m sure he said to himself, ‘a president of the United States shouldn’t attack somebody personally when their daughter is sitting in the audience.’” He added, “And he bit his tongue, and he was a gentleman, and I thought in many ways that was the most important moment of the whole evening. He proved that he had the discipline to remain as a decent guy even when she was disgusting.”

    Rudy Giuliani said, “The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

    CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out the problem with this line of attack on the September 29 edition of The Lead. “It doesn’t seem to me that Donald Trump, whose extramarital exploits filled tabloid after tabloid in the ‘80s and ‘90s and more has really that much of a moral high ground when it comes to the question of his rival’s husband’s infidelity.” Noting the role of Roger Ailes, Stephen Bannon, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich in furthering the story, Tapper said Trump is “surrounded by a philanderer’s club,” and asked, “Why would any of these people have any leg to stand on when it comes to this sort of thing?”

    Donald Trump

    Trump

    Trump’s first wife, Ivana, filed for divorce after news surfaced that he was having an affair with Marla Maples. In court documents she accused Trump of “cruel and inhuman treatment.” Discussing the affair with Vanity Fair, Trump said, “When a man leaves a woman, especially when it was perceived that he has left for a piece of ass—a good one!—there are 50 percent of the population who will love the woman who was left.”

    Trump later married Maples, then they divorced four years later. He married his current wife, Melania, in 2005.

    Temple Taggart, a contestant in the Miss USA pageant that Trump owned, said he introduced himself to her by kissing her “directly on the lips,” adding, “I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”

    Jill Harth worked with Trump on a beauty pageant in the 1990s and later accused him of engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior in the course of doing business with her. She said when she first met Trump, he asked her boyfriend, “‘Are you sleeping with her?’ Meaning me. And George looked a little shocked and he said, ‘Well, yeah.’ And he goes, ‘Well, for the weekend or what?’”

    In a deposition, Harth said Trump groped her under a table, and she said, “This was a very traumatic thing working for him.”

    Executives at the Trump Organization told The New York Times that Trump “occasionally interrupted routine discussions of business to opine on women’s figures.” According to Barbara Res, who worked as Trump’s head of construction, he once told her out of the blue that women in Marina del Rey “take care of their asses.”

    Recently asked by USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers how he would feel if his daughter were subjected to sexual harassment at her place of business, he said, “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”

    Roger Ailes

    Ailes

    Fox News founder and former chairman Roger Ailes has been advising the Trump campaign, and he helped prepare the candidate for the presidential debate.

    Ailes was forced out at Fox News after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network, alleging that she was pushed out of Fox after rebuffing his advances. According to The New York Times, Carlson recorded conversations with Ailes over the course of a year and a half. Carlson told the Times that in “between six and 10” of those conversations, Ailes made inappropriate comments.

    Since Carlson’s lawsuit became public, at least 25 other women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexually harassing them. The Washington Post reported, “Interviews with four of those women portray the 76-year-old television powerhouse as a man who could be routinely crude and inappropriate, ogling young women, commenting about their breasts and legs, and fostering a macho, insensitive culture.”

    21st Century Fox (the parent company of Fox News) eventually paid Carlson a settlement of $20 million and issued a statement that said, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”

    Former Fox News director of booking Laurie Luhn told the law firm investigating the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes that he had harassed her for over 20 years. She described the experience as “psychological torture” to New York magazine, and she called Ailes “a predator.”

    Luhn recalled that after she met with Ailes about a position as an office manager, he took her to dinner and then as she drove him to the airport, “We pull up and I say, ‘Thank you so much for dinner.’ He leans over and slips me the tongue and kisses me.” Luhn said he then handed her a wad of cash.

    He put her on retainer to do what he described as “research,” then had her dress in lingerie and dance for him in a hotel room. Luhn said Ailes “asked her to perform oral sex,” then told her he would put a video recording of the encounter in a “safe-deposit box just so we understand each other.” Luhn said after that she regularly met Ailes in hotels for sexual encounters.

    He later hired Luhn at Fox News and she became what one colleague described to New York as a “protected person,” while others said it was known that Ailes -- who is married -- was involved with her.

    Luhn said she was instructed by Ailes to recruit young women for him, saying, “You’re going to find me ‘Roger’s Angels.’ You’re going to find me whores.”

    Luhn said she had a series of mental breakdowns that she attributes to her experience with Ailes and that she was even hospitalized for a time as a result.

    As her condition worsened, he moved her from Washington, D.C., to New York so he could monitor her. He demanded that she show him all of the emails she received and said he had to approve her outgoing messages after he would “dictate exactly” how she should respond.

    She eventually alleged sexual harassment and then left Fox after agreeing to a $3.15 million settlement. As part of the deal, she signed a nondisclosure agreement with the network that barred her from going to court against the network or speaking to government agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the FBI.

    Stephen Bannon

    Bannon

    Stephen Bannon is the CEO of the Trump campaign and is on a leave of absence from his job as the chairman of the “alt-right” Breitbart News.

    In 1996, Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness. Politico reported that a Santa Monica, CA, police report “says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account.” The report also said Bannon “reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.”

    The police report also contained an allegation of past abuse from Bannon: “In the beginning of their relationship, she said they [had] 3 or 4 argument that became physical and they had been going to counseling.”

    The case ended when Bannon’s ex-wife did not appear in court and Bannon pleaded “not guilty” to the allegations. A few months after, she filed to dissolve their marriage.

    Rudy Giuliani

    Giuliani

    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a Trump campaign surrogate.

    In 2000, Giuliani announced that he was separating from his then-wife Donna Hanover and, as The New York Times reported, “Ms. Hanover, caught unaware, then said that the couple's troubles began years ago because of a previous relationship between the mayor and a member of his staff.”

    The Times reported that Hanover’s press secretary said the staff member was Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, and “Friends of Ms. Hanover's said yesterday that she had described the relationship between her husband and Ms. Lategano-Nicholas as intimate while Ms. Lategano-Nicholas worked at City Hall.”

    That same year, the news broke that Giuliani was having an affair with Judith Nathan. At taxpayer expense, Nathan received chauffeur service from the New York Police Department, as well as police protection. Giuliani and Hanover filed for divorce, and he later married Nathan, who is his current wife.

    Newt Gingrich

    Gingrich

    Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is a Trump campaign surrogate.

    The New York Times reported that Gingrich said of his first wife, Jacqueline Battley, when filing for divorce, “She's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President. And besides, she has cancer.”

    The Times reported that after the divorce, despite the couple having children together, she “filed court papers saying he had not provided reasonable support for her living expenses and that some of her accounts were ‘two or three months past due.’”

    Gingrich remarried, and then had an affair with his congressional aide Callista Bisek, who is his current wife.