Allen West

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  • Right-Wing Media Lash Out At Obama After Attack On Police In Dallas

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN & NINA MAST

    Several conservative media figures lashed out at President Barack Obama after an attack on police officers in Dallas, TX, during a peaceful demonstration against the recent police shootings of two black men. Numerous Fox personalities blamed Obama for the attacks and right-wing media figures criticized his remarks in the aftermath of the shootings.

  • Sad! Conservative Media Resort To Unskewing Negative Trump Polls

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    There they go again.

    Conservative media figures, apparently disheartened by recent poll results showing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump heading in the wrong direction, are once again claiming biased or unreliable pollsters are unfairly weighting results against their party. If this sounds familiar, it’s because they did the same thing in 2012, spending months attempting to “unskew” polls showing Mitt Romney losing, only to watch him be soundly defeated on election day.

    In the run-up to the 2012 election, conservatives consistently complained that polls showing President Obama in the lead were inaccurately counting the gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans. According to this school of thought, the polls were being “skewed” to show Romney losing. One blogger, Dean Chambers, took the data in the polls and reweighted them with a partisan split friendlier to Republicans resulting in “unskewed” polls showing Romney easily winning. Chambers’ work -- which was more akin to wishful thinking than academic analysis -- was nonetheless widely cited by conservative media as evidence of a concerted effort to influence the results of the presidential election in Obama’s favor.

    The polls were not skewed. An average of 2012 election polling predicted that Obama would win by 0.7%. In reality, the victory was by a margin of 3.86%. If anything the polls undercounted Obama’s support.

    Polls can of course go up and down, and the occasional outlier is inevitable. But the argument that the partisan split that pollsters report as they survey voters is somehow skewed to help Democrats is a conspiracy, not actual analysis.

    Despite this, conservative media are once again pushing the “unskewed” theme as recent polls show Clinton leading Trump.

    This time, the charge against the polls is being led in part by the candidate himself. Trump recently responded to a poll showing him losing with tweets that complained “The @ABC poll sample is heavy on Democrats.  Very dishonest - why would they do that?” and “The ‘dirty’ poll done by @ABC @washingtonpost is a disgrace. Even they admit that many more Democrats were polled.”

    The ABC News/Washington Post poll in question shows Clinton ahead of Trump 51%-39%.

    FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver noticed the reboot of the “unskewed” theme and asked, “Has anyone seen Donald Trump and Dean Chambers in the same room together?”

    Conservative media figures have also zeroed in on the ABC/Wash. Post poll for criticism. On Fox News’ Fox and Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said that in the methodology for the ABC/Washington Post poll “they actually talked to 12 percent more Democrats than Republicans,” adding, “According to the Gallup poll, there are 3 percent more Democrats in the country than Republicans, so it looks like they've got a favorite in it.” During the same segment, co-host Brian Kilmeade explained to viewers, “So far Donald Trump leads in most independent polls.” This is true, if by “most,” Kilmeade meant none of the last 21 polls included in Real Clear Politics’ general election polling data.  

    The methodology for the poll, conducted by Langer Research for ABC/Washington Post, addresses the partisan breakdown":

    Partisanship can follow political preferences, and in this poll Democrats account for 36 percent of all adults and 37 percent of registered voters – a non-significant (+3) difference from last month. (The former is numerically its highest since 2009, the latter, since 2012.) Republicans account for 24 percent of all adults and 27 percent of registered voters, about their average in recent years, with the rest independents.

    This accounts for little of the shift in voter preferences, however. Even using the same party divisions from last month’s ABC/Post survey, in which Trump was +2, he’d now be -8. The reason, mentioned above, is his comparatively weak performance among Republicans – 77 percent support – compared with Clinton’s support among Democrats, 90 percent. 

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll showing Clinton with a 13% lead over Trump prompted an outburst as well.

    On Fox News host Sean Hannity’s official website, a blog post complained the poll “is heavily skewed.” On his June 27 radio show, Hannity cited the partisan breakdown and described it as a “misleading poll” because the media is “in the tank for Hillary.”

    Hannity apparently didn’t learn his lesson about attempting to unskew polls in 2012, when he was saying things like, “These polls are so skewed, so phony, that we need to start paying attention to what’s going on so that you won’t be deflated.”

    In a post purporting to highlight “More Polling Tricks” from an “EXTREMELY SKEWED” poll, conservative blogger Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit complained this week that “Reuters freighted their poll with 20 percent more Democrats than Republicans” and concluded that “we can safely say that Trump appears to be in much better shape than the poll suggests and could likely be headed to a landslide victory in November.”

    Hoft made a similar argument in September of 2012, complaining that a CNN poll showing Obama leading Romney “drastically oversampled Democrats to get this stunning result.” He then went on to cite Dean Chambers, who said that when “unskewed” the CNN poll showed Romney leading by eight percent.

    Perhaps remembering how much egg the conservative media had on its face after the 2012 debacle, Fox News contributor Brit Hume tried to steer his fellow conservatives away from repeating their mistakes.

    In an appearance on America’s Newsroom, Hume noted that Trump “couldn’t stop talking” about polls showing him in the lead during the primaries, but now “his supporters, the ones I hear from anyway say that the poll is rigged, and all the rest of it.” Then he told host Martha MacCallum, “I don't think your viewers should pay too much attention to that. Look at the polling averages. Look at all the polls put together, to see what you get. And I think the picture's pretty clear. He's trailing, but not insurmountably.”

  • Allen West Attacks Fox News Colleagues For "Spiteful," "Petty And Petulant" Debate Conduct

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Allen West attacked his Fox News colleagues for their moderation of last night's Republican debate, calling their performance unprofessional, "petty," "petulant," and designed "to incite a spiteful environment."

    In a January 29 post on his website, the Fox News contributor wrote that he didn't "think Megyn Kelly's opening statement about 'an elephant not in the room' was professional. The snarky intro question about the person who wasn't there was just as petty and petulant as his reaction of not appearing at the debate."

    West also criticized moderators Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier for attempting "to evoke a little Trump bashing, but most of the candidates didn't take the bait -- kudos." He added: "Also, was it just me, or did Wallace, Kelly,and Baier purposefully promote a contentious atmosphere? It's one thing to present tough questions, another to incite a spiteful environment."  

    West concluded that while the debate had a "much more substantive aura ... the Fox Business News team of Maria Bartiromo and Neal Cavuto [sic], along with Sandra Smith and Trish Regan, did a much better overall job."

    The rise of Donald Trump's presidential campaign has caused a civil war within the conservative media, with numerous pundits attacking each other over their conduct.

  • Fox's Allen West Hypes Hoax Of An ISIS Inspired Stabbing Of Teacher At French Preschool

    NY Times Reported That The Story Was Fabricated

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox News contributor Allen West hyped a debunked story of an ISIS-inspired "stabbing spree" at a preschool while criticizing President Obama for not changing his strategy against the terrorist organization. The New York Times reported that the teacher fabricated the story so he could be transferred to another school.

    During the December 14 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, West spoke with host Cavuto about President Obama's December 14 visit to the Pentagon regarding the president's ISIS strategy. West criticized Obama's strategy and stoked fears about ISIS operating in Europe, claiming, "in the last 24 hours we found out about another ISIS-inspired jihadi who went on a stabbing spree": 

    ALLEN WEST (CONTRIBUTOR): So, when you're dealing with an enemy such as ISIS that is able to command and control operations into Paris and, yet again, in the last 24 hours we found out about another ISIS-inspired jihadi who went on a stabbing spree, and we know what has happened in San Bernardino, and there's the potential for more of those attacks to occur. So we need to get in there and root them out and 50 special forces operators that are going around searching for partners, as Jennifer Griffin said, what kind of mission is that and how are we put our special  operators in that type of position where they're going to go look for friends?

    NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Well you know what it loses sight of in the case of both the Paris and the California attacks aren't so much the source of the activity, what might have been in the Middle East, to the fact there are cells or friends or sympathizers already in key locales, including the United States, including San Bernardino, California, and that the one thing he did not address.

    However, West's claim of a "stabbing spree" was confirmed to be false earlier that day. According to The New York Times, French police said the teacher that claimed to be stabbed by ISIS "wounded himself alone in his classroom" and was "done so that [the teacher] could have himself transferred" to another position.

  • Fox's Allen West Criticizes His Employer For Suspending Ralph Peters: "Oh Come On!! He Spoke The Truth"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News contributor Allen West criticized his employer for suspending Ralph Peters after Peters called President Obama "a total pussy."

    During a December 7 appearance on Fox Business, Peters said of President Obama after his December 6 Oval Office address on terrorism: "I mean this guy is such a total pussy, it's stunning." Fox News subsequently suspended Peters for two weeks, calling the language "completely inappropriate and unacceptable for our air."

    West, who has a history of incendiary remarks about progressives and President Obama, took to his Facebook page to criticize Fox News. West linked to an article about Peters' suspension and commented: "Oh come on!! He Spoke the truth and now look what happened to him..."

  • Ignoring The Facts, Conservative Media Call Bernie Sanders "Crazy" For Linking Climate Change To Terrorism

    ››› ››› KATE SARNA

    Right-wing media mocked Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for linking climate change to terrorism during the November 14 CBS Democratic presidential debate. Sanders explained that if climate change continues to go largely unaddressed, "you're going to see all kinds of international conflict." Right-wing media called Sanders "insane" and "someone who doesn't understand what the real subject is." However, major studies and reports from foreign policy and defense experts support Sanders' assessment that climate change was a significant factor contributing to the rise of ISIL (or ISIS).

  • Allen West Thought He Was The Victim Of "Sharia Law" At Walmart (He Wasn't)

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News contributor Allen West went to Walmart and thought he was the victim of "Sharia law" because a checkout clerk under the age of 21 couldn't sell him alcohol.

    West, a former congressman and head of the think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote a May 11 post originally headlined, "Sharia law comes to Walmart?" He recounted a weekend trip to Walmart, where a "Muslim employee" manning the cash register was unable to sell him alcohol. (West knew he was Muslim because, "being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes -- glasses -- to see the young checkout man's name. Let me just say it was NOT 'Steve.'"):

    There was a young man doing the checkout and another Walmart employee came over and put up a sign, "No alcohol products in this lane." So being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes -- glasses -- to see the young checkout man's name. Let me just say it was NOT "Steve."

    I pointed the sign out to Aubrey and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?

    Boy howdy, that is one astute young lady.

    Imagine that, this employee at Walmart refused to just scan a bottle or container of an alcoholic beverage -- and that is acceptable. A Christian business owner declines to participate or provide service to a specific event -- a gay wedding -- which contradicts their faith, and the State crushes them.

    Following publication of West's "Sharia" post, West's website posted an "editor's update" explaining what actually happened:

    EDITOR'S UPDATE: We spoke to the Walmart store, and apparently employees under 21 years old are prohibited from selling cigarettes and alcohol. However, that isn't to say Walmart isn't selectively caving to Muslim demands, such as this case regarding Halal meat in Ohio.

    The post no longer has the headline, "Sharia law comes to Walmart?" and instead reads, "More ominous signs of Christian persecution." A screenshot of West's post prior to the editor's note, via Bing.com, can be found here.

    West has a long history of toxic remarks, including about Muslims. He's also called President Obama an "Islamist" and "disgusting racist," attacked feminists for "neutering American men," and smeared Democrats as communists, Nazis, and anti-Semites.

  • "Disposable FEMA Coffins" And A Deliberate Ebola Outbreak: 2014 On The Fringe

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Conservative media haven't had the best luck in recent years when choosing which fringe protests or figures to elevate into the national conversation, often mistakenly tying themselves to extremism and bizarre conspiracy theories. In 2013, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Drudge, and other conservatives helped promote a rally of truckers planning to clog the Beltway to protest the government. The protest -- which eventually fizzled -- turned out to have been organized in part by someone who thinks President Obama and Osama bin Laden are literally the same person.

    This year, conservatives threw their weight behind a Nevada rancher fighting against the federal government over grazing fees, only to be burned when he was videotaped giving his thoughts on "the Negro." 2014 also featured an unhinged conspiracy about President Obama trying (and apparently failing) to spark a domestic Ebola outbreak and a staggering amount of outlandish comments from Fox News contributor Allen West.

    Media Matters looks back at the year on the fringe.  

  • New Think Tank CEO Allen West Plagiarized Viral Internet Story

    UPDATE: West Is Now Trying To Hide His Plagiarism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    UPDATE 1 (4:08pm): West has updated his piece but has not admitted to the plagiarism.

    The following sentence has been added to the piece, just before the series of paragraphs Media Matters highlighted as originating with the viral story: "Then I came across a widely circulated email and viral internet post about a number of stories that seem to have dropped off the radar of the mainstream media, and conveniently ignored by the Department of Justice."

    That sentence replaces one from the original version in which West had credited the research in the article to himself, writing: "I decided to do a little checking and scouring for some information. And it didn't take long to find proof of hypocrisy that reaches the highest levels -- the White House."

    The post now includes italicized paragraphs where West had previously committed mass plagiarism. He has also fixed the three plagiarized typos that were originally identified by Media Matters. There is no indication in the post that it has been changed.

    A screenshot of West's original post can be found here. A comparison of the original version (left) and current version (right) can be found here.

    UPDATE 2 (5:15pm): Following the publication of this post, Media Matters emailed West for comment. Michele Hickford, AllenBWest.com editor-in-chief, replied that "I know you've already written your story, but I have revised our post to indicate the copy that came from the original sources. I had inadvertently omitted the quotation marks when I originally posted."

    Media Matters subsequently asked Hickford for further clarification. Hickford wrote that "Allen West is the author of the post." She also said that "as editor, I had inadvertently omitted the quotes, and once I realized the quotes were omitted, added the sentence regarding the source of the original content to clarify." When asked why the post does not indicate that it has been revised, Hickford wrote: "We do not generally note updates to the stories unless substantive facts of the stories have changed. in this case, the specific shooting incidences remain unchanged."

    This explanation doesn't pass the smell test. West originally wrote that he himself did "a little checking and scouring for some information." West did not originally include any links or citations to the material that was purportedly intended to be quoted (and still does not do so). And West's editor "inadvertently omitted" quotation marks for five paragraphs (the sixth paragraph cited below has not been italicized).

    ORIGINAL POST: 

    Allen West heavily plagiarized from a viral Internet story in a piece attacking the Obama administration for purportedly ignoring the deaths of law enforcement officers. West lifted at least six paragraphs (including typos) from the story, which was previously posted on sites like Yahoo! AnswersFree RepublicFacebook, and the comments section of various websites.

    West is a Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman who was recently named the CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), a conservative think tank. Announcing his hiring, NCPA called West, who begins on January 2, "an outstanding choice for CEO. He is a visionary leader, committed to the free-market principles that form the foundation of the NCPA's research and education."

    West wrote a December 11 piece for his website responding to recent "black lives matter" protests. He wondered if President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have ever stopped to "consider if the lives of law enforcement officers matter" and claimed he did "a little checking and scouring for some information. And it didn't take long to find proof of hypocrisy that reaches the highest levels -- the Oval Office."

    He then heavily plagiarized from a viral piece that began appearing on the Internet months ago. The viral piece, which attacks President Obama's response to law enforcement murders, has been posted on various websites, comments sectionsmessage boards, and Facebook pages (including on West's fanpage by one of his followers). 

    The piece has been attributed to a wide range of people, including "a Retired Police Officer" or "a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer." It's also appeared as bylined pieces on community commentary pages and in Letters to the Editor pages under the names Doug Oxford (Citrus County Chronicle, 9/20/14), Bill Jamison (Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, 9/5/14), and Nick Hale (Naples Daily News, 8/31/14), according to a Nexis search.

    The claim that President Obama has been indifferent to the deaths of law enforcement officers is wrong. PolitiFact called a variation of the claim "pants on fire" false, writing that "We found many instances of White House 'special recognition' for fallen officers." It added: "the meat of its accusation -- that Obama has ignored the suffering of law enforcement officers killed in action -- is demonstrably wrong. We found at least six instances in which Obama honored the lives of fallen officers in writing or in speeches."

    West alternated between lightly rewriting the piece and copying its text verbatim, including typos. His examples and the viral piece's examples appear in the same order.