Fox's Perino On Flynn Resignation: "I Thought That They Acted Decisively, Even If It Was Maybe A Couple Weeks Late"
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With the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, English language Russian media converged with American "alt-right" messaging on the scandal, blaming widespread conspiracies, including “the military industrial complex,” and “Russophobia paranoia.”
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Pro-Trump Anti-Semites Call Flynn “One Of Our Best Guys” Who Has Been "Quite Critical Of The Jews"
Neo-Nazi writers are upset that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has resigned from his position as national security adviser. The anti-Semites are lionizing Flynn as “one of our best guys” and a “true patriot” who has “been quite critical of the Jews in the past.” They are also lamenting that his resignation is “definitely a loss … to the Jews” and are speculating that he was pushed out by “more subversive elements in the White House.”
As CNN noted, Flynn resigned on the night of February 13 “after reports surfaced that the Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.”
The disgraced former national security adviser has repeatedly pushed toxic views. Last July, Flynn shared a tweet that read in part, "Not anymore, Jews. Not Anymore." (He later apologized.) He claimed on Twitter that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” Flynn also endorsed the work of racist author Mike Cernovich, who has frequently pushed white nationalist themes on his Twitter account (many of which he later deleted). Cernovich has claimed that “diversity is code for white genocide,” “Blacks use guns for murder. Whites use guns to kill themselves,” and “Diversity is bad for national security.”
Daily Stormer: Flynn “Is One Of Our Best Guys. … This Is Definitely A Loss.”
The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website that worships Adolf Hitler, posts defenses of the Holocaust, and attacks Jewish people as “kikes.” Editor Andrew Anglin wrote that Flynn’s resignation “is dumb. Team Trump shouldn’t give these people an inch. Flynn is one of our best guys. And he did nothing wrong.” He added:
This is giving a victory to the kike media.
I actually didn’t think the block on the travel ban was a loss. I think that was all part of the plan to get the public stirred up against activist judges, to get ready for the Supreme Court to rule on an even more hardcore version of the Moslem ban.
This is definitely a loss.
To the Jews.
He posted another piece stating that Flynn was under “vile Jew attacks” and commenting that accepting Flynn’s resignation “sends the wrong message to Russia, and more importantly, it sends the wrong message to the people -- that we are going to respond to bullying. I trust Trump, however, and I do have faith that there must have been very good reason for this decision.”
Infostormer: Flynn Is “A True Patriot” Who Has “Been Quite Critical Of The Jews In The Past.”
Infostormer is a neo-Nazi website that praises Hitler and states that it is “destroying Jewish tyranny.” Writer “Marcus Cicero” responded to Flynn’s resignation by calling him “a true patriot who loves his country, has over thirty years of service to back the first point up, and has offered nothing but loyalty to Trump since day one. He has also been quite critical of the Jews in the past.” The writer concluded:
My personal guess is that this attack on Flynn was pushed internally by more subversive elements in the White House that may or may not include Jared Kushner and Rence (sic) Priebus, who have seemingly attempted to railroad President Trump at times on his more hardcore measures.
But this is just total speculation at the moment, and I don’t want to get too hasty in making assumptions.
All I know is that the Jews are loving this whole spectacle, and are acting like sharks in blood-tinged water.
Be careful, Mr. President.
Be very careful.
Cicero posted another piece headlined “Russia Rises To General Flynn’s Defense, Brush Off Sneaky Jewish Attacks.” It concluded:
We’re going to be keeping a much closer eye on the White House factional struggles in the coming days and weeks, because if my senses are correct, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will likely be the next man attacked for his ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin.
The lead-up to the demise of General Flynn was somewhat ignored by us due to the sheer level of nonsense that has been pushed forth by the Lugenpresse lately, but we won’t make that mistake again.
The Jews are not going to get away with another bullying attack on our regime – they will be called out, and they will be defeated if and when they try again.
Richard Spencer: Flynn “Did Nothing Wrong” And Is A Victim Of “The Deep State.”
Richard Spencer is a neo-Nazi who, as the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, “advocates for an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’ to halt the ‘deconstruction’ of European culture.” He wrote on his AltRight.com website that Flynn “did nothing illegal; in my estimation, he did nothing wrong.” He concluded that “this scandal reveals that Trump lacks the allegiance, not just of the mass media, but of the Deep State, that is, the unelected bureaucratic and legal apparatus of the government. People within the Deep State leaked the information on Flynn’s phone call, and they will attempt to undermine Trump at every turn.”
UPDATE: White supremacist radio host and former KKK head David Duke is also blaming Jewish people for Flynn’s downfall. He tweeted: “Trump can’t let these Jews lynch General Flynn,” which linked to an unbylined piece on his website claiming that a Jewish conspiracy brought down Trump's former national security adviser. He also tweeted: “(((They))) weren't going to stop - Jewish Supremacy is out in the open like never before...”
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For his second straight press conference, President Donald Trump called on only conservative reporters, this time during a joint presser with the Canadian prime minister. By responding solely to friendly press, Trump avoided answering any questions about reports that national security adviser Michael Flynn may have violated federal law.
Reporters have been questioning whether Flynn can retain his job after multiple current and former American officials told The New York Times that he discussed lifting Russian sanctions with the country’s ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration -- a potential violation of the Logan Act, “which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government.” Vice President Mike Pence previously denied that Flynn had discussed this topic, but his assurance relied solely on Flynn’s recollection of the conversation.
During Trump’s February 13 press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, reporters had a chance to ask the president about this pressing issue, but Trump skirted that possibility by calling on only reporters for conservative outlets friendly to Trump -- Scott Thuman of the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s WJLA, the Washington, D.C., affiliate of ABC, and Kaitlan Collins of The Daily Caller, a pro-Trump outlet founded by Trump shill Tucker Carlson.
During the election, Sinclair reportedly struck a deal with the Trump campaign to “secure better media coverage” in exchange for “more access to Trump and the campaign.” Thuman, who is also a political correspondent for conspiracy theorist Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure, asked Trump about how his philosophical differences with Trudeau would affect cooperation on trade and terrorism:
The next question came from Collins, who also failed to ask about Flynn but did question Canada’s security measures surrounding refugees. Her previous work on refugees includes an article about Syrian refugees who she dubbed “Syria-sly hot,” suggesting governors opposed to allowing refugees into the country would change their minds if they saw these women:
No questions about Flynn's status even though it is leading every newscast?? Are these planted questions on the Washington side?
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) February 13, 2017
On CNN, Wolf Blitzer immediately followed the end of the presser by highlighting the lack of questions about Flynn’s future, explaining, “Presumably that’s what the White House wanted.” CNN’s Gloria Borger also questioned whether “they arranged that in advance.”
The press conference with Trudeau followed a similar one from February 10 featuring Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where Trump also took questions from only two reporters representing a couple of conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets, the New York Post and Fox Business Network. Those reporters likewise avoided asking about Flynn, even though the reporting on his possible violation of the Logan Act had come out the previous day.
Following a bombshell report that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have violated the Logan Act, President Donald Trump called on reporters only from outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch at a February 10 U.S.-Japan joint press conference, favoring news sources that have been major supporters and receiving no questions about the Flynn report.
Speaking at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump took questions from the New York Post’s Daniel Halper and Fox Business’ Blake Burman, both of whom asked about an appeals court decision upholding the suspension of his Muslim ban executive order. Neither reporter asked Trump about reports that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had spoken with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about Russian sanctions prior to Trump’s inauguration, which Trump aides had previously denied. If it’s true, Flynn could be in violation of the Logan Act, which, as The New York Times explains, “prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government.”
Murdoch has staunchly supported Trump since he began his presidential campaign. The media mogul recently sat in on an interview Trump had with one of his British newspapers and, according to the Financial Times, Trump’s daughter Ivanka was until recently “a trustee for a large bloc of shares in 21st Century Fox and News Corp that belongs to Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest daughters.” Trump has also been helpful to Murdoch in return, asking for his input on Federal Communications Commission chairman nominees.
Murdoch’s support of Trump has directly impacted the former’s outlets. The New York Post was one of the only papers in the country to endorse Trump during either the primary or general election campaign. And according to New York magazine, Fox News under Murdoch’s direction has been pushed to go “in a more pro-Trump direction.” Fox's pro-Trump direction can also be seen on Fox Business, where hosts have spun polls to push "Trumponomics." Reporters at another Murdoch-owned outlet, The Wall Street Journal, have expressed concerns that they have been pressured “to reflect pro-Trump viewpoints.”
Trump’s decision to take questions from only these conservative-leaning outlets also fits into a broader administration approach of seemingly focusing on right-wing outlets in order to avoid challenging queries.
Fox News And NBC Ignored The Reports, While CNN’s Coverage Led The Way
Morning news programs on cable and broadcast television largely ignored reports that President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn seemingly engaged in “inappropriate and potentially illegal” communications with the Russian government, spending less than 30 minutes on it across 15 hours of programming.
The Washington Post reported on February 9 that Flynn “privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office.” The Post explained that “Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin.” The New York Times pointed out that the conversations “raise the prospect that Mr. Flynn violated a law against private citizens’ engaging in diplomacy, and directly contradict statements made by Trump advisers.”
However, the story was all but neglected on morning shows across broadcast and cable news networks, with the exception of CNN. The February 10 editions of ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’ CBS This Morning, and NBC’s Today spent a combined total of 2 minutes and 26 seconds on the story, with Good Morning America spending 1 minute and 32 seconds on it and CBS This Morning devoting only 54 seconds to the story. The story wasn’t mentioned at all on NBC’s Today.
On cable news, Fox News’ Fox & Friends also spent no time on the reports during the February 10 edition. MSNBC’s Morning Joe barely fared better, discussing the story for only 3 minutes and 3 seconds during the three hour show. CNN’s New Day, on the other hand, led the pack, spending 20 minutes and 2 seconds discussing the new reports.
Fox News and NBC’s decisions to ignore a story that is problematic for the Trump administration on their morning shows also fits into their patterns of providing favorable coverage to Trump and normalizing his incredibly abnormal administration.
During the campaign, broadcast and cable news were reluctant to devote a significant amount of time to investigative reports about Trump and those around him. Instead, outlets consistently allowed Trump to hijack the media narrative and drown out negative coverage through his tweets and antics.
Graphs by Sarah Wasko
Following Megyn Kelly’s announcement that she will be leaving Fox News for NBC, the network moved quickly to install pro-Trump host Tucker Carlson into her prime-time slot. Fox’s move cements its ongoing audition to serve as Trump’s go-to network for spreading his agenda, which has included the network devoting disproportionate airtime to his candidacy, then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes advising Trump, and network figures shielding and defending him from negative coverage. Trump also retreated to the network toward the end of the campaign, and since his election he has considered or selected a number of Fox News figures to serve in his administration.
Unaccountable so-called “citizen journalism” is on the rise, with vigilantes peddling private citizens’ personal information and engaging in illegal recording and harassment in an effort to practice what they call undercover reporting. And these tactics are actively endorsed by President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric and behavior, and his allies in the media, fueled virulent conservative distrust of established media outlets -- regardless of their individual successes and failures -- leaving a patchwork of fragmented, and often disreputable, news sources to fill that void.
Anonymous internet vigilantes and so-called “citizen journalists” like discredited video artist James O’Keefe are capitalizing on this moment of distrust to push their dangerous “reporting” tactics. O'Keefe is getting help from his supporters, such as Trump allies and media conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Roger Stone, and the anonymous internet users O’Keefe and others have tried to incite as “agents of truth.” And these self-styled journalists have been directly validated -- and even funded -- by our next president.
Trump specifically cited distortions from O’Keefe’s latest round of heavily edited videos on the campaign trail, and his charitable foundation gave at least $20,000 to O’Keefe’s nonprofit, Project Veritas, in 2015. Trump also personally validated and encouraged “new media” to combat “the total dishonesty of the press” on Reddit. In July, Trump hosted an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) forum in July in the popular “r/The_Donald” pro-Trump subreddit, a community that combs through hacked personal emails, pushes hateful memes, and promotes conspiracy theories under the guise of “journalism.” Shortly before the election, Trump posted a brief missive to the subreddit declaring that “MAINSTREAM MEDIA is rigged!” and encouraging followers to “stop the RIGGED mainstream media” by watching a presidential debate on his website instead of on any news channel.
Throughout the election season, Trump and his allies tweeted unvetted nuggets of misinformation from anonymous social media users, sometimes originating from the Trump subreddit. In the final weeks before Election Day, the Trump campaign seized on context-less soundbites from discredited video artist O’Keefe to push conspiracy theories at rallies and on air, stoking fear and further distrust of the government among his supporters.
GOP presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) also elevated the work of another wannabe journalist: Media Matters’ 2015 misinformer of the year, David Daleiden, who created a series of deceptively edited “investigative journalism” videos smearing Planned Parenthood. In a September CNN debate, Fiorina infamously delivered an impassioned -- and completely factually inaccurate -- speech describing a “video” in which she claimed to have seen a “fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” No such video exists, but media praised Fiorina for her “fiery” remarks.
The danger lies in the stakes: Partisan activists who pose as “citizen journalists” have no stake in getting it right. They are not beholden to editors or to upholding any publication’s reputation for accuracy. With minimal name recognition and a clearly political agenda, though, these operatives do have an incentive to get media and public attention by any means.
These operators willfully misrepresent their findings with deceptive editing and refuse to release full footage. They follow trails of misinformation -- without the benefit of a fact-checker to guide the way -- to private citizens’ doorsteps and church vans transporting people to the polls. They produce extreme headlines that don’t reflect reality but do confirm polarized beliefs -- enough for lawmakers and presidential candidates to cite them, at least. They delight in collecting “scalps” -- people who have lost their jobs because of deceptively edited undercover footage -- even as the truth later vindicates many of these individuals.
They also call to action anonymous internet users who have even less to lose and the time to pore through obscure data or tail random members of the public, looking to find and publicize the personal information of individuals they perceive as unethical. In December, this danger culminated in a man shooting a rifle at a D.C. pizzeria as he attempted to “self-investigate” a conspiracy-laden fake news story propped up by anonymous, self-styled citizen journalists who accused the restaurant of operating a child sex-trafficking ring. The early stages of this collective internet investigation, too, were encouraged by conspiracy-loving Trump allies like 9/11 truther Alex Jones, and Michael Flynn Jr., a former Trump transition team member whose father is Trump's pick for national security adviser.
Responsible, independent journalism is a hallmark of the American free press, and it’s a critical tool for holding leaders accountable for the decisions they make. It makes sense that some of the bright spots of 2016 stemmed from quality investigative reporting, but it also makes sense that a twisted view of the journalism field has elevated the worst in people this year.
In the wake of Trump’s victory, right-wing activists styling themselves as “citizen journalists” are growing bolder. Since Election Day, they’ve been fearmongering and fundraising among their new supporters, congratulating each other on their journalistic chops, and touting “serious journalism being done onFacebook (sic) and YouTube.”
O’Keefe’s post-election fundraising email included categorical threats of surveillance aimed at Attorney General Loretta Lynch, interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile, CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer, and President Barack Obama. “The tide has turned,” the email stated, “and we have them on the run.”
Additionally, O’Keefe uploaded a video to YouTube the day after the election titled “Main Stream (sic) Media Is Now Powerless,” in which he described receiving “thousands of tips about fraud” and encountering “hundreds of people who seek to become undercover journalists.” O’Keefe also thanked “truth-seekers and Internet sleuths” who “crowd-sourced the investigative journalism” on Reddit and promised viewers they would hear more from him soon.
When we do, let’s be prepared.
“Alt-right” social media personality Mike Cernovich used “pizzagate”-like tactics to attack video editor and satirist Vic Berger, who was subjected to online harassment and threats after he mocked Cernovich. In spite of his repeated harassment of other Twitter users, the social media network has taken no action against Cernovich, who became a verified user in August.
Cernovich operates the website Danger & Play, which publishes numerous articles, essays, and audio recordings that attack feminists and "SJWs" (social justice warriors) and dispute the validity of date rape claims. On his Twitter accounts, Cernovich has dismissed the possibility of date rape, writing, “The hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape” and “The only rape culture is Muslim rape culture” and asking, “Why should I care when women are raped?”
Cernovich was one of many “alt-right” figures who weaponized fake news articles to push “pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that baselessly alleged Hillary Clinton’s inner circle was orchestrating a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. Cernovich and his fellow “alt-right” figures’ promotion of the story on social media resulted in “abusive social media comments” for the named pizzeria owners and inspired a man to enter the business with a gun and fire shots while attempting to “self-investigate” the claims.
Retired general Michael Flynn, whom President-elect Donald Trump has selected as his national security adviser, has frequently interacted with Cernovich on Twitter and praised Cernovich’s “terrific book” Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions, Improve Your Health and Fitness, Make More Money, and Live Life on Your Terms.
Cernovich used the same method of attack that made “pizzagate” dangerous for the Washington pizzeria owners to attack Berger, urging his followers to “monitor” Berger and his Twitter followers to “find out what is going on, who these people are, what their connections are” because “they might be harming children.” By spreading the false rumor that Berger and his Twitter followers may be involved in a child sex ring, Cernovich inspired his Twitter followers -- who have already been hearing for months that Democrats are pedophiles -- to lash out at Berger and several of his Twitter followers, including some who have never spoken to Berger but merely follow his Twitter account.
Berger starting satirizing Cernovich in November, mocking him with video supercuts, asking him to investigate a made-up conspiracy theory that Trump has rabies, and replying to Cernovich’s most disgusting tweets, which talked about “going to the gym” with “period juice all over you” and suggested that “date rape does not exist.” After Cernovich blocked Berger from following him, Berger asked his followers to write Cernovich and tell him to unblock him because “1st Amendment is very important,” apparently mocking Cernovich’s self-proclamation that he is a “free speech activist.”
Cernovich responded to Berger by alleging in an article on his site, Danger and Play, that one of Berger’s Twitter followers sent him a direct message that included a photo of a newborn baby and the word “cum” after Cernovich posted a photo of himself with his newborn daughter. Cernovich cited a screenshot that “has been deleted as it was sickening,” but is not included on any archived pages.
Cernovich’s “pizzagate” tactics have resulted in a flood of online harassment and death threats aimed at Berger from “alt-right” Twitter users. Berger tweeted on December 18 that he was abandoning his Twitter profile until the harassment “is settled” because he needed to “protect [his] family.” And that’s worrying because, as UW-Madison public affairs professor Don Moynihan pointed out, after “pizzagate” it is “reasonable to worry that lies will end in violence.” Journalist Dave Weigel also noted mockingly that this tactic of baselessly calling your opponent a pedophile and mobilizing people to take action “worked so well with Pizzagate.”
During “pizzagate,” Cernovich repeatedly pushed fake news validating the conspiracy, accused the mainstream media of “covering up” for alleged pedophiles, implied Vice President Joe Biden was a pedophile, and alleged that there was “zero evidence” connecting an armed man who entered the Washington, D.C, pizzeria to “pizzagate” in the incident’s immediate aftermath.
Cernovich activated a hotbed of Twitter users to threaten Berger using the same smear tactics the “alt-right” used to promote harassment over “pizzagate”: Publishing a smear in a news-style article format and distributing it to an eager fan base.
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Trump Has Picked -- Or Considered -- Over A Dozen Right-Wing Media Veterans For His Administration
President-elect Donald Trump has picked -- or considered -- nearly a dozen people who have worked in right-wing media, including talk radio, right-wing news sites, Fox News, and conservative newspapers, to fill his administration. And Trump himself made weekly guest appearances on Fox for a number of years while his vice president used to host a conservative talk radio show.
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