Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump's campaign, especially after National Review's "Against Trump" issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump's candidacy in its tracks. On the other are conservatives who are lauding Trump's candidacy, even if they have not officially endorsed him. Media Matters breaks down exactly who is on which side (click for the full-sized image):
From the January 27 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
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From the January 26 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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Right-wing media figures are criticizing the conservative magazine National Review after it released a comprehensive feature of conservatives blasting current GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The critics are claiming the magazine's criticism is "intellectual snobbery," that the magazine is "irrelevant," that it has "lost touch with the electorate," and that it is committing "suicide."
A report from the Center For Migration Studies (CMS) found that the undocumented immigrant population in the United States has dropped below 11 million for the first time since 2003. CMS officials specifically noted that they "took issue with the characterizations" of immigration by Republican candidates, many of whom contended that immigration is a growing problem. Those characterizations have in fact been encouraged by conservative media, which have pressured Republican presidential candidates into taking hardline anti-immigration policy stances and defended candidates that have been criticized for adopting extreme positions.
From the January 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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As President Obama delivered his final address to Congress on the State Of The Union, conservative media personalities attacked him on Twitter, calling him "divisive," a liar, and mocking his policy proposals.
An investigative report by The Intercept explained how national and local media outlets uncritically repeated a false right-wing story that claimed a Muslim American veteran was arrested in Turkey for his connection with the terrorist group ISIS. The story originated from a right-wing blog that used anonymous sources with no knowledge of why the veteran was detained. Saadiq Long was not arrested for or accused of having a connection with a terror cell and currently faces no criminal charges.
In November, PJ Media published a story claiming that Long, an American veteran who received media attention after he was secretly placed on no-fly list, was "arrested in Turkey as part of ISIS cell."
Fox News, RedState, and right-wing anti-Muslim figures like Pam Gellar, Robert Spencer, and Ann Coulter also pushed the story. Local media in Oklahoma, where Long's family resides, also joined the conservative media outlets repeating the false story.
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hassain debunked the PJ media story in a December 10 Intercept post reporting that "the widespread smearing of Long as having joined an ISIS cell, is completely false" (emphasis added):
A RIGHT-WING BLOG called "Pajamas Media" published an article on November 24 claiming that Saadiq Long, a Muslim American veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was arrested in Turkey for being an ISIS operative. Written by Patrick Poole, a professional anti-Muslim activist and close associate of Frank Gaffney, the article asserted that Long "finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison -- arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell." Its only claimed sources were anonymous: "U.S. and Turkish officials confirmed Long's arrest to PJ Media, saying that he was arrested along with eight others operating along the Turkish-Syrian border. So far, no U.S. media outlet has reported on his arrest."
Long's purported arrest as an ISIS operative was then widely cited across the internet by Fox News as well as right-wing and even non-ideological news sites. Predictably, the story was uncritically hailed by the most virulent anti-Muslim polemicists: Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, Ann Coulter, and Sam Harris. Worst of all, it was blasted as a major news story by network TV affiliates and other local media outlets in Oklahoma, where Long is from and where his family -- including his sister and ailing mother -- still reside.
But the story is entirely false: a fabrication. Neither Long nor his wife or daughter have been arrested on charges that he joined ISIS. He faces no criminal charges of any kind in Turkey.
To begin with, it's irresponsible in the extreme to spread claims that someone has been arrested for joining ISIS without a very substantial basis for believing that's true. That's a claim that will be permanently attached to the person's name. The people who uncritically spread this "report" had nothing approaching a sufficient basis for doing so, and worse, most of them simply repeated the assertion that he was an ISIS operative as though it were verified fact.
Beyond that, the only outlet to have "reported" this claim about Long and his family is Pajamas Media. Does anyone find that to be a credible news source, let alone one credible enough to permanently vilify someone as an ISIS member? The specific author of the report, Poole, swims exclusively in the most toxic, discredited, anti-Muslim far-right swamps -- he's a favorite of Frank Gaffney, last seen as the prime mover of Donald Trump's "ban Muslims" proposal -- and it is nothing short of shameful that so many people vested this anonymous smear with credibility.
Conservative commentators responded with vitriol to the December 3 announcement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that women would be allowed to serve in all military combat roles, calling the decision "a social experiment" that would jeopardize "winning in combat."
Right-wing media figures are pushing the false claim that if the victims of the terror attacks in Paris carried guns, then they could have stopped the attackers and prevented the onslaught. Experts, however, have explained that civilians with guns have not historically stopped mass attacks and that increasing gun availability actually increases violence.
Right-wing media seized on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris to make at least five false or misleading claims about Syrian refugees, past statements from Hillary Clinton, President Obama's strategy against ISIS, the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and how guns in civilian hands could have supposedly changed the outcome of the attacks.
Right-wing media are attacking President Obama and Pope Francis for what they're characterizing as the hypocrisy and cowardice of their joint remarks at the White House marking the beginning of the pope's first-ever visit to the United States.
Conservative media figures rallied to the defense of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speculating that the attendee who posed a racially charged question at a New Hampshire campaign event was a plant, not an actual supporter.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter posted a derogatory attack on Jewish Americans in response to mentions of Israel during the second Republican presidential debate.
Cruz, Huckabee Rubio all mentioned ISRAEL in their response to: "What will AMERICA look like after you are president."-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 17, 2015
How many f
ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 17, 2015
Coulter has previously asserted that "we" Christians "just want Jews to be perfected ... That's what Christianity is," during a 2007 interview with Donny Deutsch on CNBC's The Big Idea.
UPDATE: In a September 17 interview, Ann Coulter told The Daily Beast "she didn't mean to say that Jews were hoarding influence in this country," and the controversy surrounding her inflammatory tweet "was all based on a misunderstanding." Coulter asserted "'I'm accusing Republicans of thinking the Jews have so much power. They're the ones who are comedically acting out this play where Jews control everything.'" The Daily Beast's Jay Michaelson pushed back, noting "if Coulter's point was to criticize Republican candidates pandering to Israel ... isn't it still problematic to say that a group of politicians think Jews have too much power?" to which Coulter responded, "this episode is not going a long way to disprove that." Michaelson concluded by pointing out "even if asking how many fucking Jews there are isn't, itself, anti-Semitic, it sure stirred up a lot of Republicans who are."
From the September 14 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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