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  • Politico Magazine: Trump’s Attacks On Khan Family May Be His “McCarthy Moment,” From Which He May Not Recover

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Politico Magazine contributing editor Zachary Karabell likened Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan to the culmination of Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt in 1954, drawing parallels between Trump “attacking the unimpeachable, suffering parents of a dead hero” and McCarthy “raising suspicions about the loyalties of senior officials in the U.S. Army.”

    Karabell wrote of Trump’s attacks, “we may just have witnessed his McCarthy moment,” referring to how McCarthy’s political career “never recovered” after one of his targets, Joseph Welch, “called out” “the bully” on national television.

    After Khizr Khan, whose son was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004, excoriated Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy proposals at the Democratic National Convention, Trump responded by attacking the Khan family. Trump’s attacks earned bipartisan scorn.

    The Khan family has continued to steadfastly denounce Trump’s “ignorant” behavior, pointing to his attacks as evidence “he has not read the Constitution of this country.”

    Karabell wrote that just as in 1954, when “the bully [Joseph McCarthy] had been called out in public” by Welch and “never recovered,” Trump’s attacks on the Khan family may be “his McCarthy moment.” He argued that Trump may have “crossed over some invisible line of decency that even many voters who now support him can’t stomach,” because he “touched a kind of ethical third rail by attacking the unimpeachable, suffering parents of a dead hero.” Karabell finished, “Donald Trump has churned up a great deal of darkness” with his attacks on the Khan family, “and his moment may just have passed,” just like McCarthy in 1954. From the August 1 Politico Magazine article:

    Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Those cutting words, delivered on national television, effectively ended the career of Senator Joe McCarthy. For four years, McCarthy had enjoyed a kind of immunity as he smeared anyone he pleased while on a national witch hunt for Communist sympathizers. But in the spring of 1954, during hearings on supposed infiltrators in the U.S. Army that were broadcast on the new medium of television, McCarthy casually sought to destroy a young lawyer at the firm of Joseph Welch, counsel to the Army, an esteemed Harvard-trained lawyer and fellow Republican. When McCarthy suggested the junior attorney had Communist sympathies, the courtly Welch sank his head in despair, then looked McCarthy in the eye and excoriated him with those immortal words. Tens of millions of new American TV viewers watched in fascination and horror. The senator from Wisconsin never recovered.

    Such turning points are not always evident when they happen: When does a nation reach a moment in which even a popular demagogue who has enjoyed a seeming immunity from public condemnation—no matter what he says—goes too far? History doesn’t repeat itself, and Donald Trump has defied many predictions of his downfall in the past. But it’s possible we may just have witnessed his McCarthy moment, considering the criticism that has been heaped on the GOP candidate from all sides in the past few days since Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-born American parents of an Army captain killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004, appeared at the podium of the Democratic National Convention to honor their son and make the case against Trump for president.

    [...]

    The coming days will determine whether Donald Trump has, like Joe McCarthy, crossed over some invisible line of decency that even many voters who now support him can’t stomach. In many ways the controversy is similar to past moments when Trump has attacked innocent people—like the judge in his Trump University case, Gonzalo P. Curiel, whom Trump impugned for his “Mexican heritage”—and was condemned for it, but still managed to keep his standing in the polls. This time could be different—even from when Trump insulted Sen. John McCain's war service, declaring that McCain was no hero because he was only captured, although the Arizona senator withstood torture for four years. Many predicted Trump’s downfall then too, and it didn’t happen.

    But now Trump has touched a kind of ethical third rail by attacking the unimpeachable, suffering parents of a dead hero—Capt. Khan was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions—and by cheapening the very idea of sacrifice for one’s country. And with just 98 days left until the election, the GOP candidate's campaign is consumed in another unnecessary controversy—perhaps the biggest one yet—and Trump is being condemned by leading figures in both parties.

  • The Right-Wing Figures Defending Trump’s Attacks On The Khan Family

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Several right-wing media figures are defending Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s criticisms of Khizr and Ghazala Khan -- the parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain -- following their Democratic National Convention speech in which they condemned Trump. After Donald Trump lashed out at the Khan family, right-wing media figures defended him by claiming Trump had been “set up” by the media, and that the Khan family had brought it upon themselves by appearing at the Democratic National Convention.

  • Trump Ally Roger Stone Promotes Double Agent Smears Against Deceased Capt. Khan And His Family

    Fox Host Dobbs Also Promotes Claims That Khizr Khan Is Tied To Muslim Brotherhood

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally and adviser, is promoting smears against fallen U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan and his family. Stone is claiming that Khizr Khan, Capt. Kahn’s father, is a “Muslim Brotherhood agent” and is promoting an article suggesting Humayun Khan was a double agent working for Al-Qaeda.

    Khizr Khan gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention honoring his son, who was killed in 2004 in Iraq. Republican nominee Donald Trump responded to Khan’s speech by stating that Khizr Khan’s wife Ghazala “had nothing to say” at the convention and “maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say.” She responded to Trump’s accusations in a Washington Post op-ed, writing that her “husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not” because she was in too much pain.

    Stone has been friends with Trump for “almost 40 years.” He worked for his campaign last year and now heads a pro-Trump super PAC. Stone says he regularly talks with Trump and his senior campaign staff. Stone is a discredited researcher and conspiracy theorist who has a decades-long history of employing political dirty tricks.

    Stone is now employing dirty tricks against the Khan family. He tweeted on July 31 that Khan is “more than an aggrieved father of a Muslim son- he's Muslim Brotherhood agent helping Hillary” and Khizr Khan is "traced to the same radical Muslim group as @HumaAbedin.”

    Stone’s purported evidence comes from a piece by Theodore Shoebat and Walid Shoebat, who claim that Khizr Khan “is a Muslim Brotherhood agent.” The piece also suggests that Humayun Khan was a double agent for Al-Qaeda:

    In regards to his son, many were the ‘Muslim martyrs’ who joined the US military. Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed, for example, enlisted in the Special Forces of the US Army; he was a double working for the US and Al-Qaeda. There is also the example of Hasan K Akbar, a Muslim American soldier who murdered and injured fifteen soldiers. There was Bowe Bergdahl, an American Muslim soldier who deserted his men to join the Taliban, a desertion which led to six American being ambushed and killed while they were on the search looking for him. And of course the example Nidal Malik Hassan, who murdered fourteen Americans in cold blood in Fort Hood.

    […]

    I can go on and on. Is it likely that Khan’s son was killed before his Islamist mission was accomplished? Only another type of investigation will determine that.  Do they ever mention how many soldiers have died because of Muslim traitors? Do they ever bring up how many Christians in the US military were killed? Yet the modernists and homosexuals continue to attack Christians. But soon everything we need to know will be uncovered.

    Stone repeatedly defended the accuracy of the article on Twitter.

    Walid Shoebat is a discredited anti-Muslim writer who reportedly fabricated his biography. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Shoebat is “a Muslim convert to Christianity who claims to be a former Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist” and he “has declared that ‘Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil’ and, in 2008, said, ‘Every single … Islamic terror organization in the world supports Barack Hussein Obama. … No one is called Hussein unless he is Muslim.’”

    CNN reported in 2011 that Shoebat claims he's “a former Palestinian terrorist who once bombed an Israeli bank” but “CNN reporters in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian territories found no evidence that would support that biography. Neither Shoebat nor his business partner provided any proof of Shoebat's involvement in terrorism, despite repeated requests.”

    Stone also appeared on the show of conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Alex Jones and attacked the Khans. Stone said Trump was right to criticize the family because “Islam is a culture that does not respect, indeed abuses women.” He added that “mother probably wasn’t allowed to speak ‘cause it’s not allowed in their culture.”

    Fox Business host Lou Dobbs responded to Stone's Muslim Brotherhood claim about Khan by writing, "Need to Check This Out."

  • Fox's Fumbled Response To Khan Speech: Why Wasn't Benghazi Covered Like This?

    Fox Was Only Cable News Network Not To Air Khan, Benghazi Speeches During Conventions

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News anchors Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade erroneously claimed that “no networks covered” the Republican National Convention speech from Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, Fox News was the only cable news network not to carry Pat Smith’s speech live, yet the hosts alleged that “there is a double standard” because the “mainstream media is paying all the attention” to Khizr Khan’s Democratic convention speech.

    On July 18, the first night of the Republican National Convention, Patricia Smith -- the mother of a victim of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya -- attacked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, blaming Clinton for her son’s death.

    MSNBC and CNN both carried Smith’s speech live. Fox News did not, opting instead for a live phone interview with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    Yet on August 1, Doocy and Kilmeade lamented that “no networks” covered Smith’s remarks live. The hosts bemoaned that “the mainstream media is paying all the attention to the Khan family” -- parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain who spoke on July 28 at the Democratic National Convention and criticized Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Fox News was the only news cable network not to carry Khan’s speech, instead airing a Benghazi attack ad over the speech during commercial. Yet Kilmeade asserted “Nobody covered [Smith’s] remarks live but almost everybody covered Mr. Khan's remarks live”:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): [The Khan family] lost their son, but there is a double standard. The mainstream media is paying all the attention to the Khan family and yet not so much to the Smith family. Sean Smith lost his life in Benghazi and it was one week earlier at the Republican convention where Pat Smith directly and personally blamed Hillary Clinton for her son getting killed. And why isn't this getting coverage?

    [...]

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Meanwhile, I was on the floor for that. I did not know that no networks covered her. Nobody covered those remarks live but almost everybody covered Khan's, Mr. Khan's remarks live.

    DOOCY: There is a double standard it seems.

    Doocy and Kilmeade should take up their complaints of a “double standard” with their own network, which has long pushed the debunked myth and oft-repeated smear that Clinton deliberately lied about the cause of the Benghazi attacks.

  • Fox News Didn’t Show Democratic Convention Speeches That Cut Against Its Right-Wing Narrative

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox News did not air several Democratic National Convention speeches from figures promoting issues that run counter to the narrative the network has pushed for years -- including racial justice, reproductive rights, gun safety reform, LGBT equality, and respect for Muslim-Americans.

    During the second day of the convention on July 26, members of the “Mothers of the Movement,” a group of women whose African-American children were killed due to gun violence or in officer-involved shootings, shared their experiences and their children’s memories. The women also urged people to support Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who they said “isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter,” and pushed for criminal justice reform and gun safety reform. Fox News not only neglected to air the speeches, but the Mothers of the Movement appearance went completely unmentioned at the time. Fox News and right-wing media have repeatedly demonized the Black Lives Matter movement, likening it to “a hate group” and a “murder movement.” They have also dismissed calls for criminal justice reform, pushing the “black-on-black crime” canard as an excuse and calling concerns about systemic racism in American society “dumb.”

    The convention also featured speakers who advocated for protecting abortion rights, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards, who spoke on July 26, and NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue, who spoke on July 27. Both speeches were ignored by Fox. Protecting abortion rights runs counter to the stigma Fox casts on the medical procedure, with their hosts falsely framing abortion law restrictions as patient safety measures and calling a common abortion procedure “dismemberment abortion.” Conservative media have joined Fox figures to demonize Planned Parenthood, repeatedly pushing debunked myths that the organization profited off the selling of fetal tissue. This smear effort has been led by Fox News, which has hosted overwhelmingly anti-choice guests -- often extremists -- to push misinformation about abortion and about Planned Parenthood.

    The convention included remarks from relatives of victims of the Orlando and Sandy Hook massacres, both speaking on July 27 on behalf of gun safety reform. Fox covered neither speaker. Fox has consistently misinformed on the issue of gun safety, pushing the National Rifle Association-driven lie that gun safety measures would “take” guns away from lawful gun owners,and calling gun safety reforms “flat-out dangerous.” Right-wing media have also falsely claimed that shootings tend to occur in so-called “gun-free zones,” and have even asserted that restricting assault weapons such as those used in the Orlando and Sandy Hook mass shootings constitutes a “war on women.”

    On the final day of the convention, Sarah McBride delivered remarks as the first openly transgender person to ever speak at a party convention. McBride urged the passing of legislation to “combat violence against transgender women of color, and to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic once and for all.” Again, Fox was the only cable network to not carry the speech. Fox has long waged a war on LGBT rights, arguing marriage equality would be a slippery slope to marrying animals and portraying those opposed to the policy as victims. More recently, Fox has worked to demonize transgender Americans, calling equal access to bathrooms for transgender people a “violation … of everybody’s rights” and pushing the dangerous and long-debunked myth that safe, accessible bathrooms for all would result in grown men targeting girls in restrooms. Fox personalities have also called transgender Americans “confused” and “troubled” and “a very big threat to our culture.”

    Muslim-American Khizr Khan, whose son was a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq, also addressed the convention on July 28. Khan spoke about the honor he and his wife felt to attend the convention “as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” Khan condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims, challenging Trump to read the Constitution and concluding, “You have sacrificed nothing. And no one." Fox only aired two minutes of the 7-minute-long speech without audio as commercials -- including a Benghazi attack ad -- played over it. Fox figures have repeatedly questioned the patriotism and beliefs of Muslim-Americans, saying it is “ridiculous” to claim they “are assimilating”, claiming that Islam “was born of violence," and repeatedly ignoring Muslim-American voices to falsely assert that the community doesn’t speak out after terrorist attacks. Fox and right-wing media also gave cover to Trump’s Muslim ban proposal, calling it “rather prudent” and framing it as “the Constitution versus the Quran on every level.”

    Here are The Democratic Convention Speeches Fox Didn't Show

  • Fox News Plays Benghazi Commercial Over Khizr Khan's Anti-Trump Speech At The Democratic National Convention

    Fox News Plays Katy Perry Song After Khan Leaves Stage

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News ignored a speech by the father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 in the Iraq war, instead opting to air commercials during the speech. Fox later went live to a song by pop singer Katy Perry after the speech.

    During the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, Khizr Khan spoke about the honor he felt to be present at the convention with his wife, “as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” Khan’s speech was preceded by a video that showed Hillary Clinton calling Captain Khan “the best of America” and explaining the circumstances of his death, for which he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

    The Washington Post reported that Khizr Khan turned his attention toward GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump:

    "If it was up to Donald Trump, [Humayun] never would have been in America," Khan said. "Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country."

    "Donald Trump," he said, "you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy." He pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket. "In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law.'"

    [...]

    "Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities," Khan said.

    "You have sacrificed nothing. And no one."

    While CNN and MSNBC aired the video and Khan’s speech in full, Fox News’ The Kelly File instead continued with its regular commentary featuring Brit Hume, then went to commercial as the speech began, showing slightly more than two minutes of the speech in a small window as commercials -- including a Benghazi attack ad -- overplayed it. Watch:

    And at the end of her show, Kelly cut off her panelists’ commentary to instead air several minutes of a Katy Perry performance at the convention.  

  • Roger Stone's Pro-Trump Rally Will Be The Freak Show To The RNC Circus

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Supporters of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will be holding an “America First Unity Rally” on July 18. The event, which will be hosted by Citizens for Trump and longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, is being billed as “a massive victory rally & parade celebration of Mr. Trump’s nomination.”

    The rally recently hit a speed bump after organizers were forced to drop a white nationalist website that had previously been featured in promotional materials as a sponsor. The person who produces the website in question also resigned from a position with hosting organization Citizens for Trump.

    The “Unity” rally is slated to feature speakers and hosts with incendiary histories befitting of their support for Trump. The scheduled speakers and hosts have lobbed racist and sexist attacks against opponents; called for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ executions; openly discriminated against minorities; led the movement that claims the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job”; and alleged that President Obama and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are not American citizens.

    Here are five things to know about the “America First Unity Rally.”

    Co-Host Roger Stone Has A History Of Pushing Violent Rhetoric, Racist Taunts, Sexist Screeds And Discredited Research

    Roger Stone is co-hosting the event and been heavily promoting it on Alex Jones’ conspiracy show (Jones is also speaking at the event). Stone is a longtime friend and ally of Trump and conducted a press gaggle at the July 16 Trump event that introduced running mate Mike Pence. He has a decades-long history of employing political dirty tricks, and regularly spouts violent, racist, and sexist rhetoric, including calling Hillary Clinton a “cunt” and advocating for her and Bernie Sanders’ executions.

    Stone is also a discredited researcher and conspiracy theorist who claims the Clintons and Bushes secretly murdered dozens; the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 is “suspicious”; President Lyndon Johnson killed President John F. Kennedy; President George H.W. Bush tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan; and the Clintons killed John F. Kennedy Jr.

    For more about Stone, go here.

    Leading 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Is A Speaker And Sponsor

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones is speaking at the rally and has been encouraging his listeners to give “their time, their energy, and their money” to support it. Jones’ website Infowars.com is sponsoring the event. Jones is a 9/11 truther who said after the terrorist attacks: “Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.” His website claimed that Jones “predicted the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and is considered one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement.”

    Jones also believes the government was behind national tragedies like the Oklahoma City bombing, Boston Marathon bombing, Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Newtown, CT.

    For more about Jones’ toxic beliefs and his support of Trump, go here.

    A White Nationalist Website Previously Sponsored The Event

    The white nationalist website Eternal Sentry previously sponsored the event. Eternal Sentry is a self-described “altright" website that features racist and anti-Semitic material, repeatedly warns about “White Genocide,” and is produced by former Citizens for Trump staffer Paul Chambers, who said whites need to “fight back” against African-Americans and “send them back to the mud-huts they so desperately and obviously desire.”

    Following Media Matters’ reporting, Citizens for Trump’s Tim Selaty told Cleveland.com he was not aware of Chambers’ “harmful” views and that his group had failed to do its “due diligence.” According to Selaty, Chambers “decided to drop his sponsorship and resign his volunteer position on our staff.”

    Speaker Jan Morgan Bans Muslims From Her Business

    Jan Morgan is a rally speaker and national spokesperson for Citizens for Trump. Morgan owns an Arkansas gun range that bans Muslim customers, explaining, "why would I hand a loaded gun to a muslim and allow him to shoot lethal weapons next to people his koran commands him to kill?"

    Morgan has claimed that “Islam is also not a religion, It is a theocracy and terrorist cult that hides behind the mask of religion in order to acheive (sic) its mission of world domination.”

    Organizer Citizens For Trump Claims President Obama Is A Kenyan Citizen

    Citizens For Trump posted an April 15 image asking, “Isn’t it Time ‘We the People’ Elected An American Citizen for President?" and claiming President Obama, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are respectively Kenyan, Cuban, and Canadian citizens.

    In August 2015, Citizens for Trump posted an image of President Obama with the caption, “If Trump Becomes President I’m Moving Back To Africa.”