Matt Drudge

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  • Politico: Secret Service Veterans “Strongly Denounce” Gary Byrne’s Crisis Of Character

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A new report from Politico highlights criticism from several Secret Service veterans targeting an upcoming anti-Hillary Clinton book from former Secret Service officer Gary J. Byrne. Those current and former Secret Service members argue Byrne “was too low-ranking” to have witnessed the gossipy events he details in the book and suggest he is lying for political and financial benefit.

    Byrne’s Crisis of Character, which is set to be released next week, has received widespread promotion from conservative media outlets. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has plugged the book several times on Twitter, claiming it shows Clinton does not have the temperament to be president. Trump also referenced the book during a June 21 Fox & Friends appearance, saying “her Secret Service agent” claims “she’s a total mess.”

    Unsurprisingly, the Drudge Report, which has repeatedly promoted allegations from Crisis of Character, reports that Byrne will give his first TV interview promoting the book on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show (Hannity has already pushed the book, including during an interview earlier this month with Trump).

    In contrast to the widespread praise from Trump and right-wing media outlets, Secret Service veterans think Byrne’s book is not credible. In a June 21 article, Politico reports complaints about the book from “several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details,” who say Byrne is “inflating his role,” relaying unverified gossip, and making “security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.”

    The nonpartisan Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service (AFAUSSS) will reportedly release a statement ripping the book, which Politico says “very carefully calls Byrne a liar.”

    From Politico:

    On Tuesday, AFAUSSS, which is strictly nonpartisan, is set to release a statement blasting Gary Byrne author of “Crisis in Character,” saying members “strongly denounce” the book, which they add has made security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.

    “There is no place for any self-moralizing narratives, particularly those with an underlying motive,” reads the statement from the group’s board of directors, which says Byrne has politics and profit on his mind.

    AFAUSSS rarely issues public statements of any kind.

    The book has rankled current and former members of the Secret Service, who don’t like anyone airing their business in public — but who also take issue with Byrne inflating his role. Byrne was a uniformed officer in Bill Clinton’s White House. But that’s the lowest level of protection within the White House and around the president.

    People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere, whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post article over the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him. (That affair was a well-worn rumor during the Clinton years, though strongly denied by Eleanor Mondale, who died of brain cancer in 2011.)

    [...]

    The group’s statement, which POLITICO obtained in advance of its release, very carefully calls Byrne a liar.

    “One must question the veracity and content of any book which implies that its author played such an integral part of so many [claimed] incidents. Any critique of management by one who has never managed personnel or programs resounds hollow. Additionally, why would an employee wait in excess of ten years after terminating his employment with the Service to make his allegations public?” it reads.

  • Obama Photographed With Che Guevara In Background, Right-Wing Media Freak Out

    Flashback: Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, And Richard Nixon Have All Been Photographed In Front Of Communist Leaders

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    Right-wing media rushed to attack President Obama over a photograph from his trip to Cuba in which he appears in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución, with a mural of Che Guevara visible in the background -- apparently forgetting that Republican Presidents Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush have all been photographed in front of images of communist leaders while on trips abroad.

  • The Right-Wing Media Figures Pushing Scalia Murder Conspiracies

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right-wing media personalities have been pushing conspiracy theories about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. They've called the circumstances of his death "peculiar," "suspicious," and "fishy," and claimed President Obama or his allies may have "killed" Scalia because of his opinions on environmental regulations, gun laws, immigration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and unions. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been aiding the conspiracy theories, calling the circumstances surrounding Scalia's death "pretty unusual" and "big stuff."

  • Donald Trump Joins Right-Wing Media In Their Crush On Vladimir Putin

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump excused Vladimir Putin's extensive human rights violations by saying that "at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country." His praise for the Russian president echoes that of right-wing media, who have swooned over Putin for years as a way of attacking President Obama's supposed weakness.

  • Matt Drudge Pushes Hillary Clinton Health Conspiracy After Benghazi Hearing Coughing

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Matt Drudge, proprietor of The Drudge Report, claimed the "biggest revelation" from the October 22 House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing was Hillary Clinton's health because she had a "coughing fit."

    After numerous hours of public testimony, Clinton coughed during the 8pm hour. That prompted Drudge to tweet from his account:

    Conservative media previously promoted the conspiracy theory that Clinton faked a concussion to avoid testifying on Benghazi in 2012.

  • The Worst Conservative Media Reactions To The Baltimore Riots

    Right-Wing Columnist: Where I Live, "We Don't Riot. We Shoot Rioters."

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Conservative media figures responded to riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray -- an unarmed man who died of severe, unexplained spinal cord injuries while in police custody -- by recommending that participants in the riots be shot, and blaming the outbreak of violence on Democratic leadership, President Obama, public schools, welfare, and single-parent families.

  • Conservative Media Float Conspiracy That Obama Made Statement On Drone Strike To Distract From Clinton Cash

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Limbaugh

    Conservative media figures are floating a baseless conspiracy theory that President Obama's televised statement on a CIA drone strike was scheduled in order to distract from news stories about Peter Schweizer's upcoming anti-Clinton book, Clinton Cash.

    On April 23, President Obama announced that a CIA drone strike in Pakistan targeting Al Qaeda terrorists had also killed two of the hostages they were holding. Conservatives are suggesting Obama's announcement was timed to divert media attention away from stories prompted by Schweizer's book, but the administration was reportedly in the process of revealing the CIA operation before the latest round of Clinton Cash stories came out. Politico reported that "Senior U.S. officials" approached Wall Street Journal national security correspondent Adam Entous with details of the operation the night of April 22, since the "White House was planning to make the disclosure and decided to give Entous a heads up, with the request that he agree to an embargo."

    Entous reported that "Typically, it can take the CIA weeks or longer to determine who was killed in a drone strike" and that the determination by U.S. intelligence agencies that the hostages had been killed in the strike had been made only "a few days ago." Entous further reported that after making that determination, the administration "then began the process of notifying relatives of the deceased as well as the Italian government and key congressional committees."

    Opening his April 23 show, Rush Limbaugh said that while cable news was "devoted" to covering the Clinton Cash story, "all of a sudden, we were treated to a news story" about the drone strike, adding that the story was announced "right in the middle of the heat on the reporting of the fraud going on at the Clinton family foundation." Limbaugh added, "the conspiracy theories are alive and they're on fire."

    Internet gossip Matt Drudge tweeted "Obama rushes to podium and breaks 4 month old terror op... just as media saturating with Clinton scandal news?"

    On Fox News after Obama's statement, America's Newsroom anchor Bill Hemmer asked National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg that since Al Qaeda terrorist Adam Gadahn has "been dead for four months, why did we not know that?" Goldberg said the release of information about the strike "does lend itself to the sort of convenient political timing accusation, but we don't know that that's true either," noting that he was originally booked on the program to discuss the book but was now discussing the operation.

  • Media Firestorm Erupts After Matt Drudge Alleges That Patio Chair Is A Walker

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Conservative media outlets, led by the Drudge Report, are floating the idea that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a walker during a photo shoot for People magazine -- a baseless allegation the magazine quickly debunked.

    On June 4, People released an excerpt of its interview with Clinton, as well as the cover shot showing Clinton resting her hands on the back of a chair:

    The Drudge Report quickly speculated whether the picture depicted Clinton using a walker, tweeting:

    The Wall Street Journal's Capital Journal issued a similar tweet:

    The Daily Caller and the Washington Free Beacon were among the other conservative outlets that promoted Drudge's angle.

    But People quickly debunked the baseless claims.  Business Insider wrote that Nancy Valentino, senior vice president of communications at Time Inc., which publishes People, responded to the allegations (emphasis original):

  • Right-Wing Star Dinesh D'Souza Pleads Guilty In Campaign Finance Fraud

    Will Conservative Media Acknowledge His Crimes?

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Dinesh D'Souza, the right-wing media darling who conservatives had claimed was targeted for prosecution because he is a critic of the Obama administration, has pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance fraud.

    D'Souza, famous for producing an anti-Barack Obama film rife with lies and outlandish claims, was indicted by the FBI in January and accused of violating campaign finance laws by "arranging excessive campaign contributions to a candidate for the U.S. Senate," and allegedly reimbursing "people who he had directed to contribute $20,000" to the unnamed candidate. On May 20 D'Souza pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and making false statements. He will be sentenced in September and likely faces imprisonment of ten to 16 months.

    Right-wing media figures -- many of whom went to bat for D'Souza's flawed film -- rallied to the filmmaker's defense following his initial indictment, claiming he was being prosecuted for his political beliefs. Fox News host Sean Hannity labeled D'Souza "the latest victim to be targeted by the Obama White House." Matt Drudge accused Attorney General Eric Holder of "unleashing the dog" on "Obama critics," and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones responded to the charges, saying, "This is like Nazi Germany ... once they're done with these guys, they're coming after you and I." Radio host Laura Ingraham characterized the indictment as being "more about stifling political dissent" than any serious allegations of wrongdoing, and Rush Limbaugh described it as an effort to "criminalize" conservatives.

    Fox News repeatedly hosted D'Souza, providing a platform for the filmmaker to defend himself against the charges and issue baseless accusations at the Obama administration.

    During one such interview in February, Fox host Megyn Kelly said the charges "raised red flags for some because D'Souza, who has pleaded not guilty, is behind the box office hit 2016: Obama's America, a film that is very critical of the president." D'Souza responded that he couldn't speak about the case specifically, but that he knows "for a fact" that Obama was personally unnerved by his film and said, "I am a public critic of the president, and I do recognize this has made me, to some degree, vulnerable to some forms of counter-attack."

    This right-wing media defense was reportedly part of a deliberate plan by D'Souza. The New York Times reported in April that, in a conversation with one of his alleged straw donors, D'Souza said that if he were charged "he might plead guilty, but would initially plead not guilty because that 'gives him a window of opportunity to get his story out there.'"

    Conservative pundits were more than happy to oblige this desire. Now will those who championed D'Souza's virtuousness finally condemn his crimes?

    For her part, Ingraham will not. She responded immediately to news of the plea by downplaying the seriousness of the crime and doubling down on her claim that D'Souza was prosecuted for political reasons.

  • "This Is Like Nazi Germany": D'Souza Allies See Conspiracy Behind Indictment

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Following the announcement Thursday that conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza has been charged with violating federal campaign finance laws, his allies are claiming that the move is evidence of a conspiracy by the Obama administration to silence its critics.

    D'Souza has been a fixture in conservative media circles for years, and his laughable 2012 documentary 2016: Obama's America became a surprise critical success thanks in part to the support of his media allies. Reuters reports that D'Souza "has been indicted by a federal grand jury for arranging excessive campaign contributions to a candidate for the U.S. Senate," allegedly reimbursing "people who he had directed to contribute $20,000" to the unnamed candidate (reportedly Wendy Long).

    Matt Drudge tweeted that the indictments against D'Souza and former Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder is "unleashing the dogs" on "Obama critics."

    In a panicked video headlined "Emergency: Obama Launches Purge" posted on his YouTube channel last night, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones told viewers that "America is going over the edge," adding, "I actually am scared." According to Jones, the charges against former Gov. McDonnell are "trumped up garbage" (for what it's worth, conservatives like Byron York disagree, labeling the details "ugly, sordid, damning").

    Pointing to the supposed persecution of D'Souza, Jones claimed that the administration is engaged in much worse behavior and warned, "The issue is here, they can find a mistake in your checking account and claim that it was fraud or wire fraud. They can do it to anybody." According to Jones, "this is like Nazi Germany" and "once they're done with these guys, they're coming after you and I." 

    The description posted on Jones' YouTube channel explains that this is an "Emergency Alert!!!," adding "This is it, we are in deep shit! If they get away with this they will come for all of us, that's how it works!!!" D'Souza has appeared on Jones' program to promote his movie.