Joel Pollak

Tags ››› Joel Pollak
  • GOP Civil War: Conservatives Turn On National Review Over Anti-Trump Issue

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    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."

  • Media Condemn Donald Trump's "Dangerous," "Fascistic" Ban On Muslims Entering The US


    Media figures across the ideological spectrum are condemning Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, calling it "dangerous," a violation of the First Amendment, and "fascistic." Trump's proposal builds on previous calls from Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush to exclude Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the United States.

  • Right-Wing Media Attack Hillary Clinton For Not Saying "Radical Islam" During CBS Debate

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    During the November 14 CBS Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton explained that she doesn't "think we are at war with all Muslims," but rather that "we're at war with jihadists." She noted that President George W. Bush expressed a similar sentiment following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Right-wing media figures immediately condemned Clinton for not using the phrase "radical Islam," accusing Clinton of "giving Islam a pass" and likening her comments to the claim that "Hitler wasn't an anti-Semite."

  • Breitbart Attributes Fake Quote To Obama Advisor To Attack Iran Talks

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD inaccurately attributed a fake quote from a facetious tweet to Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in an attempt to smear the Obama administration for negotiating with Iran.

    Rhodes sat down with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on June 29 at the Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss the U.S.' nuclear talks with Iran. When asked whether President Obama believes negotiations will lead to a change in Iran's behavior, Rhodes responded affirmatively and added, "We believe that an agreement is necessary and has to be good enough to be worth doing even if Iran doesn't change. If 10 or 15 years from now Iran is the same as it is today, in terms of its government, the deal has to be good enough that it can exist on those merits."

    Brookings Institute senior fellow Mike Doran ridiculed Rhodes' response in a June 30 tweet, summarizing it as an effort to "turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince":

    In a rush to attack Rhodes and Obama, reported the mocking tweet as an actual quote from the interview, apparently neglecting to watch the discussion between Rhodes and Goldberg. editor Joel Pollak claimed in a July 1 post that the phrase came from Rhodes' "own words," accusing him of telling "fairy tales to the American public" (emphasis added):

    Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes-who lacks any prior qualifications for the post-has explained to the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festivalon Monday that the administration believes that a bad Iran deal is worth doing because political reform inside the Iranian regime is more likely with the deal than without. Or, to use Rhodes's own words: "We believe that the kiss of the nuke deal will turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince." 

    A "fairy tale" analogy is appropriate indeed.

    Goldberg called out Breitbart for "totally manufacturing quotes" on Twitter, and later Doran explained how he was merely "ridicul[ing]" Rhodes and it "did not occur to me that anybody would think he actually used those words":

    Last year,'s Pollak similarly attacked the wrong Loretta Lynch in an attempt to smear the attorney general nominee, misidentifying a California based attorney for the president's pick for AG.

    As of this posting, has yet to correct their inaccurate report.

  • Breitbart's Attack On Obama Attorney General Nominee Goes After The Wrong Loretta Lynch

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Members of the conservative media are attempting to scandalize President Obama's Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch by suggesting she was involved in the Whitewater investigations of the 1990s. However, the Loretta Lynch that played a bit role in Whitewater -- an investigation into fraudulent real estate deals that did not include any wrongdoing by the Clintons -- is a different person than Obama's attorney general nominee.

    According to a November 8 article by Warner Todd Huston, "few are talking about" the fact nominee Lynch "was part of Bill Clinton's Whitewater probe defense team in 1992." Huston pointed to a March 1992 New York Times article that "reported that Lynch was one of the Clintons' Whitewater defense attorneys as well as a 'campaign aide.'" And in a November 9 article Huston's colleague, Senior Editor-at Large Joel Pollak wrote, "The connection to Whitewater ought to provide additional fodder for Republicans during Lynch's confirmation hearings":

    The connection to Whitewater ought to provide additional fodder for Republicans during Lynch's confirmation hearings. It is odd that Obama chose someone so close to the Clintons--or perhaps not, given the prominent role played by Clinton insider John Podesta in the second term of the Obama White House. Lynch has been rewarded throughout her career for her political loyalty--not an unusual path up the career ladder for federal prosecutors, but certainly one that will allow the GOP, as well as Obama, to raise the political stakes.

    The Loretta Lynch referred to in the New York Times article is a California based attorney who has worked on several prominent political campaigns, not Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. Obama's nominee is shown on the right, while the Loretta Lynch Breitbart refers to is on the left:

  • Stealing Kennedy: Conservatives Try To Hijack The JFK Legacy

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    As the nation mourns the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, conservative media figures have attempted to appropriate his legacy and attribute to the beloved former president their conservative ideas and positions. This effort runs counter to Kennedy's stated positions, speeches, and other historical facts surrounding his presidency.

  • With Zimmerman Trial, Noise Machine Ends GOP's Minority Outreach Before It Begins

    Right-Wing Media Freakout Confirms Disturbing Truths

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    On July 28, 2009, the demise of Glenn Beck's career as a Fox News host began when he announced on Fox & Friends that President Obama was a "racist" and that, despite being raised by a white mother and his white grandparents, the new president had a "deep-seated hatred for white people." The advertising boycott sparked by that shockingly hateful statement soon robbed Beck of most of his commercial supporters. In 2011, Fox News, unable to turn his ratings into revenue, let Beck go.

    In 2009, Beck appeared to be an outlier within the right-wing media, using the type of incendiary, race-baiting language that even many Obama-hating pundits considered to be out of bounds. But fast-forward to 2013, and specifically fast-forward to the right-wing media reaction to the conclusion of the George Zimmerman trial, as well as Obama's reaction to it, and it seems clear that Beck's comments have been mainstreamed within the conservative movement.

    Obama hates whites? He's a racist? He's trying to start a race war? Today, more and more conservative voices in the media chorus seem entirely comfortable making those reckless allegations.  

    And somewhere the authors of the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" report must be shaking their heads.

    You'll recall that the in-depth, and at times startlingly frank, analysis of the GOP's poor showing in 2012 repeatedly stressed that for the party to compete in national elections in coming years, it must become more inclusive. And specifically, the Republican Party had to find a way to appeal to minority voters, including blacks. Plagued by what the Republican authors said was a voter perception of the GOP as being a party of rigid, out of touch ideologues, the party had to embrace new kinds of voters.

    "We know we have problems; we've identified them, and we're implementing the solutions to fix them," RNC chairman Reince Priebus said at the time of the 97-page report's release in March. He warned that "focus groups described our party as narrow minded, out of touch and "stuff old men." The party pledged to spend $10 million on outreach to minority groups.

    Four months later though, and nearly every corner of the right-wing media landscape is broadcasting the same, hateful message that Beck first enunciated four years ago: America's first black president is a racist who despises whites. It's hard to see how the GOP Noise Machine's angry, divisive memo is going to do anything but drive even more minority voters away from the party.

  • What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013


    The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.