Jim Hoft Announces That Trump Will Allow The Gateway Pundit To Have A Correspondent In The White House
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A false right-wing media report targeting The Washington Post’s Doris Truong has resulted in what she described as her “own personal Pizzagate” in which she was erroneously identified as being at Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing and surreptitiously taking photos of pieces of paper he left behind.
Following Tillerson’s January 11 confirmation hearing for his nomination to serve as the next secretary of state, a photo of an unidentified woman seemingly taking photos of notes left behind at Tillerson’s empty seat began circulating on Twitter. Notoriously dishonest, and consistently wrong, right-wing blogger Jim Hoft then posted the photo and a video of the incident identifying the woman as Truong. Hoft has since updated his post and admitted that the woman pictured was not Truong, but the URL still reads “sick-wapo-reporter-caught-sneaking-photos,” a reference to Hoft’s original misleading headline. From there, the false claim was pushed by other right-wing media personalities like former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and linked to by The Drudge Report, driving even more traffic to the story and leading to widespread harassment of Truong at the hands of internet trolls.
From Truong’s January 12 account of the episode published by The Washington Post:
By the time I woke up, trolls had commented on social media channels besides Twitter. My Facebook feed had dozens of angry messages from people I didn’t know, as did comments on my Instagram account. Even my rarely used YouTube channel attracted attention. My emails and my voicemail included messages calling me “pathetic” and a “sneaky thief.”
A lot of the comments also focused on my Chinese heritage, implying — or outright stating — that I must be spying for China. Some called for an FBI investigation of what they deemed illegal behavior.
Even more bizarrely, one Twitter user insisted that “facial software on the video” led to the “almost positive” conclusion that the woman was me.
But even if people believed that the person at the hearing wasn’t me, they wanted to know who she was. And that’s what’s particularly alarming about this time in our society: Why are people so quick to look for someone to condemn? And during the confusion about the woman’s identity, why is it presumed that she is a journalist? Or that taking pictures of notes in an open hearing is illegal? Or, for that matter, that she was even taking pictures of Tillerson’s notes?
Despite his admission that he has no idea who the woman is, Hoft is still identifying her as a “reporter” and pushing the unsubstantiated claim that she was “sneaking photos” without any supporting evidence.
Truong’s encounter with the far-right online fringe shares startling similarities with so-called “Pizzagate,” a fake news conspiracy theory perpetuated by Trump ally and right-wing radio host Alex Jones that eventually led one alt-right adherent to shoot inside a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. and engage in an armed standoff with police. In fact, Jim Hoft credited one of the leaders of the “pizzagate” fake news conspiracy in his original attack on Truong; right-wing blogger and sexual assault apologist Mike Cernovich, who recently directed an online harassment campaign against political satirist and video editor Vic Berger.
As was the case with “pizzagate,” wherein an armed conspiracy theorist held up a pizza parlor while he “investigated” the veracity of absurd claims he read online, many of Truong’s online harassers are demanding that she get to the bottom of this story, and identify the woman herself, before they’ll accept that it wasn’t her.
Gateway Pundit Has Been Repeatedly Cited By President-Elect Trump
Following President Obama urging Americans not to stigmatize patriotic Muslims, The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft claimed “Lame-Duck Obama Defends Islam – Blames Americans for Feeding ‘Terrorist Narrative’” and included a photo of Obama wearing traditional Somali dress in his piece.
Hoft attacked Obama’s December 6 remarks on his administration’s approach to counterterrorism where Obama spoke about the need for American’s not to “stigmatize good, patriotic Muslims” because “that just feeds the terrorists’ narrative”:
If we stigmatize good, patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorists’ narrative. It fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill. If we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, we're not just going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we’ll also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend.
Obama traveled to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida this week to address the military for the last time.
Obama defended his policies that resulted in the rise of the Islamic State.
The lame-duck president also defended Islam and blamed Americans for feeding the terrorist narrative.
The Gateway Pundit has been a go-to site for President-elect Donald Trump who has linked to the website 23 times on Twitter and used the information attack and smear President Obama.
CORRECTION: This post originally stated that Hoft featured an image of Obama wearing traditional Muslim clothing at his brother's wedding. While Fox's Bill O'Reilly recently used such an image to smear Obama on the same grounds, the image Hoft highlighted showed Obama in traditional Somali garb during a 2006 trip to Kenya.
Right-wing media outlets are falsely claiming that a Justice Department official tied to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, is “overseeing” the FBI’s review of emails that may be tied to the investigation into her use of a private server as secretary of state. Their claims are based solely on the fact that the official sent a letter to Congress about the review. In fact, the official in question leads the FBI’s Office of Legislative Affairs, and in that capacity he is responsible for communications with Congress, not active investigations.
The story appears to originate with Gateway Pundit author Jim Hoft, who is notoriously stupid but nonetheless provides a ready pipeline to other conservative outlets. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) poured cold water on the theory during an interview, pointing out that the official in question “is not a decision-maker, he is a messenger.”
FBI Director James Comey released a letter to congressional leaders on October 28 stating that the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the” probe into Clinton’s private server and was reviewing them to “assess their importance to our investigation.” On October 29, several Democratic senators sent a letter to Comey and to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking them to promptly provide “more detailed information.”
On October 31, Peter J. Kadzik, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, responded to those senators on Lynch’s behalf, writing that the Justice Department will “continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible.”
That evening, Hoft authored a post headlined, “IT’S RIGGED => Podesta DOJ Pal Peter Kadzik Is Heading Hillary Email Probe,” contrasting the October 31 letter with mentions of Kadzik in the emails hacked from Podesta, allegedly on behalf of the Russian government. He concluded, “We all know how this will end. Hillary will walk. It’s rigged.”
In fact, responding to congressional inquiries -- and not overseeing investigations -- is Kadzik’s job. He leads the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs, which “advises and assists Department leadership on a wide variety of congressional matters; advocates for the Department’s legislative priorities; and responds to congressional inquiries and oversight requests” and helps prepare department witnesses for congressional testimony.
The story quickly spread to Fox News, where Gowdy, one of the leading congressional investigators of Clinton, shot it down. On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy commented that he “was noticing on some of the blogs this morning” that Kadzik has ties to Podesta and asked Gowdy if he was concerned. Gowdy replied that he didn’t think it was relevant because “Peter Kadzik doesn’t make these decisions; they are made at the top of the DOJ.” He added, “Peter Kadzik is not a decision-maker, he is a messenger.”
Doocy has repeatedly highlighted fabricated stories based on Hoft’s “reporting.” Fox News has a documented pattern of offering news reports based on Internet rumors that turn out to be false. In January 2007, after Doocy retracted his false assertion that then-Sen. Barack Obama "was educated in a madrassa," then-Fox News vice president for news John Moody, reportedly said in a memo to Fox News staff: "For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC. The urgent queue is our way of communicating information that is air-worthy. Please adhere to this."
Host Stuart Varney Falsely Claims Out-Of-Context Email Proves Clinton Campaign Is “Encouraging” Voter Fraud
Fox Business host Stuart Varney promoted the baseless conspiracy theory that Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta tacitly endorsed mass voter fraud based on a misreading of the contents of stolen emails released by WikiLeaks. Varney’s story comes straight from the discredited right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit, and it marks the second time in as many weeks that the Fox host has fallen for such an obviously fabricated story on air.
In an attempt to deflect criticism of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s suggestion during the third presidential debate that he might not accept the results of the general election, Varney falsely accused Podesta of arguing in an email that “if you’ve got a [driver’s] license, you should vote … whether you’re a legal citizen or not.” Varney and guest Andrew Napolitano went on to suggest that the availability of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in California and some other states would create an environment ripe for mass voter fraud:
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Now listen to this. Maybe Trump's got a point. A WikiLeaks email from Clinton campaign manager [John] Podesta shows that if you’ve got a license, you should vote. That’s what Podesta thinks, whether you're a legal citizen or not. Here is exactly what he wrote: “On the picture ID, the one thing I have thought of in that space is that if you show up on Election Day with a driver's license with a picture, attest that you are a citizen, you have a right to vote in Federal elections.” … You’ve got to stand up and attest that you're citizen when you're not so you’ve got to lie. He’s encouraging this.
Once again, Varney is pushing a conspiracy theory from hapless right-wing blogger Jim Hoft based on an intentionally misleading interpretation of emails released by WikiLeaks.
On October 19, Hoft published a blog claiming “Podesta Says It’s OK for Illegals to Vote With Driver’s License…” in which he highlighted the exact quote cited by Varney and singled out California and other states for providing driver’s licenses to “illegal aliens.” The entire October 20 segment on Varney & Co. is based on this single blog, and Varney’s argument during the segment is pulled directly from Hoft.
Varney could have followed the link back to the original WikiLeaks source and viewed a days-long email exchange from January 28, 2015, through February 4, 2015, between individuals who would soon join Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. At no point during the email exchange, which has not been authenticated, does any participant so much as mention the word “immigrant,” much less undocumented ones. The email in question is about how responsive voters are to easing voter registration restrictions -- such as by adopting a policy of automatic voter registration when you receive a driver’s license or other state ID -- and the author simply concludes -- correctly -- that “you have a right to vote in Federal elections” if you “show up on Election Day with a drivers license ... [and] attest that you are a citizen”:
It would still be a felony for a noncitizen to vote in a federal election, regardless of whether that person has a valid driver’s license. Trump supporters have been trying and failing to turn voter fraud into a core issue of the campaign, but the problem simply does not exist at any meaningful level. Fox News even admitted as much earlier the same day with an on-screen chyron reading “Experts Say Voter Fraud Is Rare.”
Varney’s face plant on the voter fraud issue marks the second time in as many weeks that he has fallen for an laughable Gateway Pundit conspiracy on air. Last week, the Fox Business host bizarrely claimed that an unsolicited racist email sent to -- not from -- John Podesta somehow proved that Hillary Clinton was a racist.
Varney should be more careful when regurgitating talking points pulled from fringe blogs like The Gateway Pundit, particularly when their conclusions are based on documents that the U.S. intelligence community stated on October 7 were stolen via Russian state-sponsored hacking in an effort to “interfere with the U.S. election process.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced that President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, will be his personal guest at the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. The choice highlights an unusual division between Trump and some of the right-wing media outlets he often relies on, who have for years accused Malik Obama of having alleged ties to various extremist groups in a fringe effort to smear President Obama.
The Supposed Smoking Gun Email Was About The Phrase “Everyday Americans”
Conservative media outlets are fabricating the claim that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “hates everyday Americans” based on a blatant misinterpretation of a leaked email.
Citing a hacked email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was released by WikiLeaks, conservative outlets like Infowars, the Drudge Report, WND, and Gateway Pundit claimed to have proof that Clinton “hates everyday Americans,” when the email in question is clearly about the phrase “everyday Americans,” not actual people. Infowars has since seemingly deleted its article, and Drudge, who was originally linking to the grossly inaccurate Infowars story, is now instead linking to a Daily Caller story that makes clear the discussion was about the cliche “everyday Americans.”
Rush Limbaugh ran with the story on his radio show claiming that in the email Podesta was “admitting that Hillary Clinton has begun to hate everyday Americans.”
Indeed, the email in question is very plainly a reference to the “everyday Americans” slogan and theme used by Clinton at the launch of her presidential campaign in 2015. It reads in full: “I know she has begun to hate everyday Americans, but I think we should use it once the first time she says I'm running for president because you and everyday Americans need a champion. I think if she doesn't say it once, people will notice and say we false started in Iowa.”
The original story at Infowars (still available at sister site Prison Planet), which is the website run by Trump ally and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, originally breathlessly reported on the email as “bombshell” and a “shocking admission.” The article, by Infowars writer Paul Joseph Watson, concluded with the ridiculous question, “Will everyday Americans be more outraged by Donald Trump’s lewd comments in a tape from 11 years ago, or by the Clinton campaign’s own admission that Hillary literally hates them.”
Other conservative journalists are even pointing out that the story being circulated is false. David Martosko of the Daily Mail wrote on Twitter, “She's saying Hillary hated the PHRASE ‘everyday Americans’ ... We should all be better than this.”
Mediaite columnist John Ziegler wrote, “Everyone who thinks HRC said she ‘Hates everyday Americans’ is 100% moron & every media outlet (Drudge) who reports it should be humiliated.”
Media figures are inaccurately equating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a common tax deduction on her 2015 tax return to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s $916 million declared loss in 1995, which, The New York Times reported, he could have used to virtually wipe out his federal income tax obligations over the past two decades. Several media outlets have falsely claimed Clinton “did the same thing” as Trump when, in fact, Clinton’s 2015 tax return shows that she could take only a $3,000 deduction for her reported $700,000 loss, and her campaign reports that she has paid between a 25 and 38 percent income tax rate since 2001.
Right-wing media are claiming the statement from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign that she was diagnosed with pneumonia is actually “a cover for some more serious condition,” and that Clinton falling ill at a 9/11 memorial event “had virtually nothing to do with her having pneumonia.” Actual medical experts in the media have explained that “Clinton's wobbly incident Sunday is a near-textbook case of what can happen with ‘walking pneumonia.’”
New Campaign Chief's Website Breitbart News Regularly Uses Anti-LGBT Slurs, Pedals Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theories, And Features Articles By Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leaders
The Trump presidential campaign’s newest hires, Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, further prove Trump’s opposition to LGBT equality even as media whitewash Trump’s record on LGBT issues. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News regularly used anti-LGBT slurs, peddled anti-gay conspiracy theories, and featured articles by anti-LGBT hate group leaders.
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Yesterday Breitbart Issued A Correction After Making The Same Mistake With A Different Photo
Here’s Cleveland.com’s report on the championship parade following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Finals victory:
Yesterday Breitbart.com attempted to pass off a different photo of the Cavs championship parade as an image of a Trump rally, subsequently blaming the error on credulously taking the image from social media without confirming it was actually of the rally.
(h/t Charles Johnson)
UPDATE: Following the publication of this post, Hoft updated his report, replacing the image from the Cavs parade.
Right-wing media labeled the second night of the Democratic National Convention as an “anti-law enforcement rally” because a group of seven mothers, known as the Mothers of the Movement, were invited to speak about losing their children to gun violence or excessive use of force by police. While right-wing media figures have said that the Democratic Party “shows no respect for law enforcement,” the Pittsburgh Police Chief spoke prior to the mother's’ plea to “seek common ground” between law enforcement and communities, while one of the mothers lauded police, saying, “The majority of police officers are good people doing a good job.”
Appearing alongside former president George W. Bush in Dallas, Texas, President Obama eulogized police officers targeted in a “hate crime” last week during a Black Lives Matter march. Right-wing media figures immediately lashed out, calling Obama’s speech “bullshit,” labeled Obama the “divider-in-chief,” and claimed his statements “gave a middle finger to the cops.”
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.”