Fox & Friends uncritically parroted debunked allegations made by Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer in his book Clinton Cash in order to falsely suggest wrong-doing at Hillary Clinton's State Department regarding the Uranium One deal that gave the Russian government ownership of U.S. uranium mines.
During a June 21 interview on WMUR's CloseUP with Josh McElveen, Hillary Clinton shut down Schweizer's false claims made in Clinton Cash that the former secretary of state had pushed through the Uranium One deal after the Clinton Foundation received donations from stakeholders in the deal, noting that the claims had "no basis" behind them. Peter Schweizer responded in a June 22 op-ed for The New York Post, suggesting that Clinton's interview showed "grave incompetence or brazen dishonesty" and doubling-down on his assertion of a quid pro quo in the Russian uranium deal. Schweizer called Clinton's statement "an admission of extreme executive negligence," and said it "strains credulity."
Fox News parroted Schweizer's attacks on Clinton during the June 23 edition of Fox & Friends. Asking whether Clinton's involvement in the Uranium One deal was evidence of "incompetence" or "deceit," host Elisabeth Hasselbeck speculated that donations to the Clinton Foundation may have influenced the outcome of the deal. Reciting Schweizer's talking points, Hasselbeck called into question Clinton's statement that nine government agencies were involved in approving the deal:
ED HENRY: As you can imagine, Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, believes that was pointed at him when she said that there was a partisan axe that was dealt here. So he's got an op-ed in the New York Post today.
HASSELBECK: Yeah, and it said this, quote 'The transfer of 20% of U.S. uranium -- the stuff used to build nuclear weapons -- to Vladimir Putin did not rise to the level of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's time and attention? Beyond being an admission of extreme executive negligence on an issue of utmost national security, Hillary's statement strains credulity to the breaking point for at least three other reasons.' And those three are this: at least nine of the investors who profited from that uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. Okay, one of them happened to go globe trotting with her husband and donated $100 million in pledges there. The second point that would bring up, and his third, is that Clinton said that there were nine government agencies. Okay, so she's correct in saying that who signed off on the deal. She forgets to mention that her State Department was one of the nine and happened to be the only agency whose chief, he states, received $145 million in donations from shareholders in that deal. Who, by the way, brings you back to point one -- who ended up donating to the Clinton Foundation. And by the way, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a single speech he delivered in Moscow, and she couldn't answer to that either.
FactCheck.org called a common conservative myth -- that the Clinton Foundation spends only a small fraction of its money on charitable works -- "simply wrong." The flimsy statistic has made the rounds on conservative media, and was most recently repeated by Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
The fact-checking organization noted on June 19 that Fiorina had claimed that "'so little' of the charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation 'actually go to charitable works.'" When pressed for more details, a super PAC supporting her campaign* claimed that only 6 percent of the foundation's revenue goes to charitable grants, and for the rest, "there really isn't anything that can be categorized as charitable."
But as FactCheck.org explained, "That just isn't so. The Clinton Foundation does most of its charitable work itself." In fact, an independent philanthropy watchdog found that about 89 percent of Clinton Foundation funding goes to charity, through their in-house work. FactCheck.org concluded the false claim "amounts to a misunderstanding of how public charities work."
This myth surfaced earlier this year thanks to the error-filled anti-Clinton book Clinton Cash, written by discredited Republican activist Peter Schweizer. While promoting his book in May, Schweizer repeatedly claimed the Clinton Foundation gives just "10 percent" of its budget "to other charitable organizations, the rest they keep for themselves."
As Media Matters noted at the time, several other media figures picked up Schweizer's cherry-picked statistic. Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed "85 percent of every dollar donated to the Clinton Foundation ended up either with the Clintons or with their staff." As FactCheck.org noted, Fox Business host Gerri Willis said only 6 percent of the foundation's revenue "went to help people." And on Fox News, The Five co-host Eric Bolling said that "only 10 cents on the dollar went to charitable uses."
But even one of Bolling's Fox News colleagues called this statistic "incredibly misleading." When Fox correspondent Eric Shawn was asked by host Bill O'Reilly about the "accusation ... that there only 10 percent of the money raised -- and it's $2 billion -- goes to grants out to poor people or institutions," Shawn responded:
That sounds really bad but it's actually incredibly misleading, because, the way the charity works, they don't give grants to other charities -- they do most of it themselves. So that, they actually have a rate of spending of about 80 percent, according to the IRS figures, they say 88 percent, you know Bill -- the experts for charity say that's very good.
PolitiFact's PunditFact has also evaluated these claims, and found them to be "mostly false."
*FactCheck.org originally reported that this information came from the Fiorina campaign, but has since corrected its post to note it came from the CARLY for America super PAC. Our language has been updated accordingly.
Clinton Cash publisher HarperCollins and author Peter Schweizer have changed "seven or eight" inaccurate passages in the Kindle version of the error-riddled book, according to Politico.
As Media Matters noted, Republican activist and consultant Peter Schweizer's book contains over twenty errors, fabrications, and distortions. A diverse array of outlets such as ABC News, MSNBC, PolitiFact, BuzzFeed, ThinkProgress, Politico, Slate, and Newsweek have picked apart the book for factual problems.
Politico notes that Schweizer walked back claims about Bill Clinton being paid for a series of speeches arranged by an Irish billionaire and also removed a reference to a hoax press release he had cited in the original version of the book.
Schweizer alleged in his chapter "Disaster Capitalism Clinton-Style" that Hillary Clinton's State Department "was quick to send taxpayer money" through a program called the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI) to the company of Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien, who had allegedly helped arrange paid speeches for Bill Clinton around the same time that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As evidence, Schweizer claimed O'Brien "arranged at least three lucrative speeches in Ireland, for which Bill was paid $200,000 apiece, as well as a speech in Jamaica." However, BuzzFeed reported that "according to Clinton spokesperson Matt McKenna, neither the former president nor the Clinton Foundation was paid for two of the three speeches Clinton gave in Ireland, and that while the Foundation did receive a donation following his Sept. 29, 2010 speech, Clinton himself was not compensated."
That reference has been revised to now read: "O'Brien arranged speeches in Ireland, as well as a speech in Jamaica." The Kindle version also corrected an erroneous speech date which served as a marker in Schweizer's Digicel conspiracy timeline.
Peter Schweizer, whose book Clinton Cash has been criticized for numerous errors and for reading "like a hatchet job," is now claiming the Clinton Foundation gives just "10 percent" of its budget "to other charitable organizations, the rest they keep for themselves." But Schweizer's cherry-picked statistic is so deceptive that even Fox News called it "incredibly misleading."
During a recent appearance with radio host Bill Bennett, Schweizer attacked the Clinton Foundation for giving the impression that they do "hands-on" work in developing countries when "they only give about 10 percent of their income to other charitable groups." Bennett replied with shock, asking Schweizer: "You're telling me 10 percent goes to the recipients?" Schweizer replied: "Yeah, 10 percent is what they give to other charitable organizations, the rest they keep for themselves."
Schweizer's "10 percent" number has been a favorite talking point during his Clinton Cash book tour. For example:
From the May 7 edition of WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show:
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Fact-checking website PolitiFact criticized Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer for falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton changed positions on an India nuclear deal.
Schweizer claims in his new book that Clinton Foundation donors influenced Hillary Clinton's decisions as secretary of state. As evidence, Schweizer speculated that donor money caused Clinton to switch her position on a 2008 India nuclear trade deal "despite the public opposition of her closest advisers."
Schweizer has repeated the charge during media appearances promoting his book. During a May 1 appearance on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, he claimed Clinton flipped her support between 2006 and 2008, citing her voting record on several Senate amendments about the legislation.
During a May 4 interview on a Cleveland radio program, Schweizer claimed Clinton switched her support for the deal after "a bunch of money flows to the Clintons from speaking fees and from donations to the Clinton Foundation." Schweizer added Clinton's mind was "changed" by the "money."
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly called for an FBI investigation into allegations against Hillary and Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation of influence peddling from the error-ridden smear book Clinton Cash.
From the May 5 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
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In an interview released on the day of his Clinton Cash book launch, Peter Schweizer admitted he overreached in attacking Hillary Clinton's purported role in approving a Russian uranium deal.
Schweizer is a Republican activist and consultant with a long history of errors and retractions. His latest book, Clinton Cash, is being released today and claims the Clintons helped foreign donors through State Department decisions. The book features over 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions.
During an April 26 appearance on Fox News Sunday promoting the book, Schweizer falsely claimed that then-Secretary of State Clinton "had veto power" to stop the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency from purchasing Uranium One. Schweizer has suggested Clinton approved the deal as a favor for Clinton Foundation donors.
Schweizer's "veto" claim is false. As Media Matters and others have noted, the State Department was just one part of a nine-agency review panel that oversees such decisions. And members can only make recommendations to the president, not unilaterally "veto" deals. Furthermore, as TIME reported, there's "no indication of Hillary Clinton's personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations." To the contrary, one official involved in the process said Clinton "had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case."
During a May 5 Politico podcast interview, Schweizer admitted that "veto is probably not the best word" and "what I meant by veto power was as we explain the process, you know, if somebody objects it kicks in the special investigation."
Peter Schweizer and conservative radio host Dana Loesch speculated that Schweizer could be murdered by "the Clinton machine" over his new book Clinton Cash.
During a May 4 appearance on The Dana Show, Loesch told Schweizer "there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered" and asked if he considered that possibility when "getting himself security." Schweizer replied: "Yeah, I mean look -- there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations."
Schweizer added that the security decision was made by his group, the Government Accountability Institute, and the "reality is we've touched on a major nerve within the Clinton camp. They are very, very upset, and they are pulling out all the stops to attack me in an effort to kill this book off."
Anti-Clinton pundits have for years pushed the deranged conspiracy theory that the Clintons had then-deputy White House counsel Vince Foster killed in 1993 and covered it up. Multiple investigations concluded that Foster actually died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Northern Virginia's Fort Marcy Park.
There are over 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions in Clinton Cash, which is being released on May 5. Schweizer is a Republican activist and consultant who has worked for Republican politicians like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal.
From the May 4 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
LOESCH: We're going to have more on the terror attack in Garland, Texas, last night. I'm glad that they had security, well-thought-out security for that event. And I was reading an article just the other day where author Peter Schweizer, whose new book Clinton Cash -- and this book is just, is really making a lot of people uncomfortable -- Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. I was reading the other day that Peter Schweizer who, the author who joins us by phone right now, was very smart and ended up getting himself security. And I know that Peter, first off, thanks so much for joining me. I know you don't want to talk too much about it, but there is that, there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered, and I'm sure that that was something that you took into consideration.
SCHWEIZER: Well, Dana, first of all thanks for having me on the show. I always love doing it. Yeah, I mean look -- there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations. You know, you don't like to go into too much detail, there were some things that were going on that we felt needed to be addressed. The decision on security wasn't actually made by me, it was made by board members of Government Accountability Institute, and you know, it's I think showing an abundance of caution. The reality is we've touched on a major nerve within the Clinton camp. They are very, very upset, and they are pulling out all the stops to attack me in an effort to kill this book off.
El libro del asesor político y activista republicano Peter Schweizer, Clinton Cash, obtenido por Media Matters antes de su fecha de publicación, es una descarrilada mezcla de investigación mal hecha y reportaje de baja calidad que incluye más de veinte errores, fabricaciones y distorsiones. Schweizer vende conspiraciones "basadas en poca evidencia" que son "inconsistentes con los hechos" y "falsas"; utiliza declaraciones "completamente fuera de contexto"; excluye información exculpatoria que debilita sus alegatos y cae en el engaño de un comunicado de prensa falso.
Clinton Cash author and Republican activist Peter Schweizer acknowledged that, contrary to earlier reporting, there is no similar book in the works on the personal finances and policy decisions of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a claim journalists have previously cited to legitimize Schweizer's forthcoming book on the Clintons.
There are at least 20 documented errors, fabrications, and distortions in Schweizer's forthcoming book Clinton Cash, where the conservative author speculates about allegedly unethical ties between the Clinton Foundation and actions Hillary Clinton purportedly made as secretary of state. His allegations of impropriety by the Clintons and their family foundation have been picked apart by ABC News, BuzzFeed, MSNBC, NBC News, and ThinkProgress, among several other news agencies, and Schweizer has even been accused by one of his sources of taking comments "badly out of context" in hopes of slighting the Clinton family.
Bloomberg Politics reported on April 23 that in contrast to the "left-wing clamor that Schweizer is simply out to get Hillary Clinton," "Schweizer is working on a similar investigation of Jeb Bush's finances that he expects to publish this summer." Politico and CNN subsequently reported this would be a "book" on Bush.
But days later, Schweizer admitted that no similar book on Jeb Bush will be published. On the May 3 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz asked about accusations that the book is "pursuing an agenda" based on his conservative political affiliations and activism. Schweizer acknowledged that while he's been researching Bush's finances, there are no plans to publish a book similar to Clinton Cash:
KURTZ: To be fair, you have been digging into Jeb Bush's finances --
KURTZ: -- So the Clintons aren't the only ones you're going to be looking at. But that's not going to result in a book, as I understand.
A spokesperson for Schweizer's current publisher, HarperCollins, previously told Media Matters that it has no plans to publish a book on Bush's complex finances. Instead, it expects Schweizer to issue a follow-up report at his far-right think tank, the Government Accountability Institute.
See the full segment here:
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
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Ever since Peter Schweizer's new attack book Clinton Cash was touted as the must-read tome of the campaign season, a growing number of media organizations, including Politico, BuzzFeed, ABC News, FactCheck.org, and Time, have detailed factual shortcomings in the book. (Media Matters has, too.) Noticeably absent from that fact-checking procession has been The New York Times and the Washington Post, the two newspapers that entered into exclusive editorial agreements with Clinton Cash's publisher.
The Times' and Post's seeming lack of interest in detailing the book's long list of misstatements certainly raises questions about whether the papers' exclusive pacts made the dailies reluctant to highlight Clinton Cash's obvious shortcomings.
After all, if those other media organizations can find the Clinton Cash errors, why can't the Times and the Post? And even if Times and Post reporters can't spot the misinformation, why aren't they at least writing about the key revelations that others are uncovering? Recall that it was the Times that trumpeted Clinton Cash as the "the most anticipated and feared book" of the campaign season. If it's so important, why isn't the Times documenting the crucial errors found between the Clinton Cash covers?
Hyped by its publisher -- the Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins -- as being "meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced," Clinton Cash has instead turned out to be a mishmash of allegations glued together by innuendo and falsehoods. That, according to an array of news outlets that have documented the book's shortcomings.
Republican activist and consultant Peter Schweizer's new book Clinton Cash, obtained by Media Matters ahead of its publication date, is a trainwreck of sloppy research and shoddy reporting that contains over twenty errors, fabrications, and distortions. Schweizer pushes conspiracies "based on little evidence" that are "inconsistent with the facts" and "false"; takes quotes "badly out of context"; excludes exculpatory information that undermines his claims; and falls for a fake press release.