Since Iowa based radio host Steve Deace endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in August, national media outlets have continued to rely on him as an election analyst, often without disclosure of his endorsement. Television outlets like CNN and MSNBC as well as major newspapers including the Washington Post allowed him to promote Cruz's brand and attack his opponents while providing analysis ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
In endorsing Cruz in August Deace claimed that the senator was exactly "what we have been waiting for," signaling to Deace's supporters that Deace's own brand of anti-gay views and extreme rhetoric best matched Cruz's platform. However, Deace's support for Cruz was clear long before his endorsement. In March, The Des Moines Register reported that "Deace has served as an informal, unpaid consultant" to Cruz. After his endorsement, Deace advised Cruz and appeared in promotional videos for Cruz's campaign.
Yet interviews with Deace in mainstream media would overlook his attacks on the LGBT community such as his use of phrases like "rainbow jihad" to describe their advocates, Deace's support of the deceptively edited Planned Parenthood videos, or his likening of ESPN to Nazis. Media gave Deace a pass and solely focused on his position in Iowa as a "conservative hitmaker - and hitman," and a "gatekeeper."
Beyond ignoring his rhetoric, media allowed Deace to promote Cruz for months, often without disclosure of his support of Cruz. While Deace was providing analysis on the Iowa race to national media audiences he was busy consistently promoting Cruz on his radio show and across conservative blogs and outlets including The Washington Times and Conservative Review. By April 2015 it was clear that Deace was backing Cruz; however the media failed to disclose Deace's ties to the candidate during interviews with him.
The Washington Post quoted Deace as he attacked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an April 24 article on the senator's immigration plan which Deace said was "one of the worst squanderings of political capital I've ever witnessed." The Post again quoted Deace as he attacked Donald Trump on August 13 as the host dismissed Trump's pull with evangelical voters, saying, "Everyone was paying attention, especially those who are fed up with the Republican Party, but he didn't sell them."
Though they disclosed his endorsement of Cruz, the Los Angeles Times allowed Deace to attack Carly Fiorina on September 25 by quoting Deace saying "You don't have to dig very far if you're a conservative to see some things that are troubling ... She needs to show these are not campaign conservative conversions."
USA Today disclosed Deace's endorsement but still gave Deace a post-debate analysis column that provided him free reign to attack Cruz's opponents while claiming the senator was a top performer in each analysis. After the August debate in Cleveland, Deace wrote, this time without disclosure of his Cruz endorsement, that "Jeb is Dead," "Rand Paul is on life support," and Carly Fiorina was just the "flavor of the month." In the most recent debate which many felt Cruz lost, Deace stated that "nobody really laid a glove on him."
Outlets like CNN and MSNBC also provided Deace with a television platform that allowed him to attack Cruz's opponents. In a January 26 interview, Deace was assisted in his effort when he was asked if it was "fair to pull something Trump said 17 years ago" for use in an attack ad. Deace wasted no time going after Cruz's opponent, saying Trump's comments on abortion were fair game today.
Deace has also managed to appeal to multiple audiences in different ways. For example, Deace has restrained his extreme views in order to deliver his message of support for the senator to a wider audience, such as refering to Secretary Clinton as "Killary" in his blogs and on his radio show, but reverting to "Hillary" when on national TV. Deace's code switching -- suppressing his far-right views for the camera and changing his language -- allows him to continue to be palatable for national broadcasts while providing conservative red meat to his Iowa audience.
Cruz's victory in Iowa may mean that Deace could play a larger role as surrogate for the candidate. Media outlets should note his long history of extreme rhetoric and should be wary of presenting Deace as an election analyst.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's editorial board dismissed the gender pay gap as an "injustice that doesn't actually exist," asserting that pay inequality between women and men is due to women's job choices. In reality, studies repeatedly show that gender pay inequality plagues women regardless of job choice, "at all education levels, after work experience is taken into account," and "gets worse as women's careers progress."
In one of the last rallies before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) allowed right-wing radio hosts, Glenn Beck, Michael Berry,and Steve Deace, to introduce him, despite their records of espousing extreme rhetoric.
Cruz's rally featured seven speakers including anti-gay activists like CEO of The Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats and Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson as well as Iowa's Rep. Steve King (R). However, it was the presence of radio hosts Glenn Beck, Michael Berry, and Steve Deace which best illustrated the divisive nature of Cruz's platform.
Beck, once of Fox News fame and now a television and radio host on The Blaze, previously caused controversy due to his claim that President Obama is a "racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." The host has been criticized in the past for his use of Nazi imagery, his history of violent rhetoric and for making outlandish claims like blaming President Obama for the November terrorist attack in Paris. Beck announced his endorsement of Cruz in January, making Cruz the first candidate he has officially endorsed in his broadcast career.
Iowa based radio host Steve Deace began supporting Cruz early in this election cycle and endorsed Cruz in August, saying he has a "commitment to our principals." Since his endorsement Deace has written at least 24 articles trumpeting Cruz, advised the candidate before debates, and appeared in a lengthy campaign ad for Cruz.
Deace's brand of extremism centers around a plethora of anti-gay ideas. Deace coined the phrase "rainbow jihad" to describe advocates for LGBT rights -- a phrase which Cruz paraphrased claiming "the jihad ... going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Deace's extreme views have led him to write about a hypothetical conversation with Jesus in which he claims to show Obama is not a Christian and an article which suggested divorce could make children gay. Deace has recently pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama may not leave the White House when his term is up in January 2017.
Rounding out Cruz's radio host speakers was Michael Berry, a supporter of Cruz's senate bid and "friend for over ten years." Much of Berry's show revolves around stoking the flames of racial tension. The host often undermines the intentions behind the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming "black lives matter, just not to black people" and that white people don't kill people the way black people do. Comedian Chuck Knipp, a frequent guest of Berry's, performs in blackface as "Shirley Q. Liquor" to mock racial stereotypes of black people.
Most egregious is Berry's weekly segment dedicated to mocking victims of gun violence in Chicago. Every Monday the host reads the "butcher bill," reciting the names of those shot while mocking their names and the circumstances in which they were wounded or killed. Berry has claimed that the segment is sponsored by Black Lives Matter.
An editorial in New Hampshire's Union Leader praised Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie's (R-NJ) proposal to reform Social Security but avoided mentioning specific components of the plan, which critics have called "particularly cruel and regressive."
The January 17 editorial applauded Christie's eagerness to talk about his "detailed plan to save Social Security and Medicare" during a presidential debate while other candidates avoided making specific recommendations. The editorial did not mention any of the specific components of Christie's plan:
It's easy to talk tough on taxes, especially in a Republican primary.
It's much harder to tackle the long-term unfunded liabilities in the nation's entitlement programs that threaten to swamp an already unbalanced federal budget.
During last week's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, Chris Christie made sure voters knew how he plans to tackle this vital fiscal challenge.
Debate moderator Maria Bartiromo asked Marco Rubio, "One of the biggest fiscal challenges is our entitlement programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare. What policies will you put forward to make sure these programs are more financially secure?"
Rubio ducked, ignoring entitlements completely in order to attack Ted Cruz's plan for a value added tax. He and Cruz then went back and forth on the issue.
Christie jumped in to actually answer Bartiromo's question. Rubio tried to get back in, but Christie told him, "You already had your chance, Marco, and you blew it."
Vox's Matthew Yglesias called the details of Christie's reform plan "particularly cruel and regressive," and noted that the plan would "especially inflict pain on the poor." Yglesias explained that because Christie's plan would raise the age at which a person can collect Social Security to 69 years old over time, the plan would effectively cut total benefits for the poor because low income people have shorter life expectancy than higher earners.
Experts have explained that Christie's plan, which also reduces Social Security payments to certain future recipients making over $80,000 per year and ends them entirely for those making $200,000 in other income, will produce little savings for the program. Urban Institute senior fellow Karen Smith told The New York Times, "[Christie's] proposal reduces program revenue and does not reduce benefits enough soon enough to make Social Security solvent." National Women's Law Center vice president for economic security Joan Entmacher added, "you can't get much savings out of means-testing Social Security unless you go after the middle class."
The Union Leader's praise of Christie's willingness to discuss his Social Security plan while overlooking the plan's specific components has become a trend since the paper's endorsement of Christie for president in November 2015. The editorial board previously echoed Christie's campaign slogan praising his ability to "[tell] it like it is," leapt to promote his inflated counter-terrorism credentials and praised his economic record, all while newspapers from his home state were critical of his leadership during his tenure as governor.
Iowa radio host and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) surrogate Steve Deace has been warning his radio audience that President Obama may try to hold on to the presidency after his term ends. Deace claims the president has abused the Constitution so much that Obama staying after his term's completion is "really not that farfetched."
In March 2015, Deace dismissed the idea that Obama would hold on to power after his presidential term was complete. In a question posed to him, which he responded to on his blog, Deace was asked if there was any validity to the idea of a third Obama term and Deace responded that even Obama wouldn't "dare defy" Hillary Clinton "twice."
But now it seems Deace's confidence in Obama's ability to restrain himself from subverting the Constitution in order to stay in the White House is waning. During the January 6 episode of his radio show, Deace asked Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz what he thought the GOP would do if Obama decides not to leave after this term. Deace reiterated that the question was "not meant to be silly" and that he was "serious when he asked" about the possibility.
DEACE: I am going to ask you a question Daniel, and it's not meant to be silly. You know me well enough, I am serious when I ask this and I don't think the hypothetical I am asking about is all that farfetched. We have an administration in the White House that sells guns to jihadists, gives guns to Mexican drug lords, that sics the long coercive arm of the federal government on nuns. I mean really, I don't think what I am about to propose is all that crazy considering what's already on the record. So here it goes.
Suppose Hillary Clinton loses in November and Barack Obama simply says, "I'm not leaving. I am not leaving the White House." What would the Republicans do?
HOROWITZ: So it would start out like this, we would demand that in the budget bill that Republicans defund the Executive Office of the President. And Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would come out there and say, "We can't shut down the government." That's what would happen. For now here is the deal, Obama can't announce that now, because there is one thing stopping him, Hillary Clinton.
HOROWITZ: The Democrats won't stand for that, but were she to lose? There is no limit.
DEACE: Just for a second play this out for a minute. You and I are old enough to remember when Democrats said they didn't care that a president committed perjury to a federal grand jury. They don't care that a president literally just makes up immigration law, that a president just takes the first amendment through an absolute paper shredder. They don't care that he releases billions of dollars to help fuel the Iranian regime and to help them perpetuate a nuclear arsenal. They don't care. You got Joy Behar on TV yesterday saying she would vote for a rapist as long as they were a liberal. This is the other side's mindset. So we know they aren't going to give a rip if Obama just says, "You know man, it's like that whole two term limit thing doesn't exist in the Constitution. I'm staying."
Deace doubled down the next day on his radio show, this time asking his audience to consider the ramifications of Obama refusing to leave after this term:
DEACE: Suppose Hillary Clinton loses in November and Barack Obama decides in response to that, "You know what, there is really not much of the Constitution left that I could just not wantonly disregard. So I am just going to take the last final step here and make it official, I am not leaving either. I am not vacating the office." I think I could make the case that is really not that farfetched given all the other stuff we have seen.
While Deace's hypothetical is ridiculous, it is troubling coming from such an influential conservative voice. Deace, who was called one of the "most powerful Republicans you've never heard of" by Bloomberg, is promoting the idea that Obama will take at least one more term by force, in violation of the 22nd amendment.
Deace's self-described fear of political tyranny mirrors the messaging of Sen. Ted Cruz, whom the host endorsed in August and whose Leadership Team Deace is on. Since then he has been working overtime to ensure Cruz's message is heard in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Deace has appeared in a lengthy campaign ad in support of Cruz, helped the candidate prep for debates, and was introduced as "part of the campaign" while opening a Cruz office in Iowa.
Deace has a history of playing up conspiracy theories such as his promotion of birtherisim and his use of an anti-Semitic propaganda video he claimed showed Syrian refugees were trying to exploit and overtake European culture.
Iowa radio host Steve Deace defended Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) eligibility to be president after some of Cruz's 2016 presidential opponents questioned the constitutionality of a Cruz presidency because of his Canadian birth. While Deace dismissed those questioning Cruz, the radio host played an active role in promoting similar "birther" conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama.
During a January 6 interview with Senator Cruz, Deace sought to dismiss GOP rivals' doubts that Cruz is eligible to be president because he was born to an American citizen living in Canada. "It's like there is no factual amount of evidence that can be presented to the contrary when people get this issue stuck in their craw," said Deace. While Deace is quick to agree with legal experts that Cruz is eligible to hold office, he denied overwhelming evidence that President Obama was eligible to be president after his election.
In 2009 Deace provided a platform for some of the most notorious birther conspiracy theorists to promote their unfounded ideas surrounding Obama's presidential eligibility. As the Iowa Independent reported, Deace dedicated significant time to the birther issue as well as hosting several conspiracy theorists including Drew Zahn of leading birther website WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) and Orly Taitz, who filed several lawsuits against President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in an effort to stop Obama's presidency:
Conspiracy theorists claiming President Barack Obama is not a United States citizen were granted an hour of drive-time radio Friday to lay out the "evidence" by Christian radio host Steve Deace.
Deace discussed the issue with Drew Zahn, editor of the conspiracy theory Web site World Net Daily, who said that while his cohorts have been "ridiculed and mocked" for continuing to follow the story, it simply won't go away.
"We're catching heat from almost every direction," Zahn said.
Zahn and Deace started off blasting the "mainstream media" for not fully investigating an issue that deals with whether "we're going to follow the Constitution at its most basic level."
The pair then attempted to debunk any evidence produced that may contradict their theory -- including a certificate of live birth and newspapers accounts at the time -- ultimately concluding all materials could be easily obtained fraudulently or easily fabricated.
Deace discussed the issue once before in January, when he interviewed the birther movement's most high profile advocate, Orly Taitz, a woman news site Politico describes as "the Russian-born attorney/dentist who has become a kind of ringleader for the movement." Among other things, Taitz has become famous of late for encouraging soldiers to disobey orders from a president who is "ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief of U.S Armed Forces."
Deace also contributed to the conspiracy by writing commentary on WND ranting against Obama, who he referred to as Barry Soetoro -- a name referring to Obama's stepfather's surname, which he used temporarily while living in Indonesia. Birther theory supporters falsely claim Obama used the Soetoro name on a Columbia University student ID, proving his foreign citizenship. Deace also defended WND by sharing its birther articles as mainstream media outlets like CNN denounced their conspiracy theories.
In 2012, Deace continued his affiliation with birtherism by referring to Obama as a "Kenyan" and "foreigner":
For the past four years we've called Obama every name in the book - Marxist, socialist, Kenyan, Muslim, heretic, divider-in-chief, infanticidist, traitor, amateur and foreigner (just to name to few) - and even though some of those are actually true, the really inconvenient truth is that if the election were held today Obama would most assuredly be re-elected.
Deace also appeared on MSNBC's The Ed Show in May of 2012 to discuss the birther movement in Iowa. During the interview Deace never denied his support of the conspiracy theories, but sought to change the subject while speaking to the more mainstream outlet -- a well-known tactic of the radio host -- while pushing the idea that birtherism is just a "clash of world views" (emphasis added):
ED SCHULTZ (HOST): Steve, this is not a world view. These are facts. Steve, respectfully, these are facts. There are facts that back up that President Obama is an American citizen, he loves the country, he was born -- he has got all the documentation. Why is this an issue? Krystal, you can see just from his answers that this is where they [Republicans] are.
SCHULTZ: I mean when you have a state party talking about putting it on the platform, how much more radical can you get? I mean they do not want to accept this president.
SCHULTZ: Why aren`t the Democrats asking for Mitt Romney`s birth certificate? I mean, his dad was born in Mexico. I mean, how do we know?
CHRIS KOFINIS (DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST): You know why, because --
DEACE: Here`s what I think --
SCHULTZ: Go ahead, Steve.
DEACE: I think if unemployment -- I think if unemployment was at five percent, I think if the president had lived up to his campaign promises on turning the economy around, we probably wouldn`t be talking about this issue right now. But when you`ve got to run on the economic record, you`ve got to change the subject to stuff like this.
SCHULTZ: Well, not really. He`s got 26 months of private sector job growth. He`s saved the automobile industry, and he's added 4 million jobs. I mean, the guy is not superman. He is just president of the United States, and those are three facts right there that are --
DEACE: Ed, there must be a lot of stupid people. There must be a lot of stupid people, then, Ed, in your own NBC news poll. Because if you look at the cross-tabs on the economy in your own poll that came out yesterday, it doesn`t appear that they see things the same way you do --
SCHULTZ: That`s a messaging issue, there's no doubt -
DEACE: At best he has a 50/50 chance --
SCHULTZ: That`s -- he has added four million jobs. He has saved millions of jobs because of the turnaround of the automobile industry, and 26 months of private sector job growth. Those are three facts right now, whether it`s polled or not --
SCHULTZ: Your party in Iowa wants to put birtherism on the platform instead of talk about creating jobs. I`m out of time.
BALL: We`re not the ones that --
DEACE: What cracks me up is its considered radical that someone shows the same identification --
Deace's defense of Cruz against some of the same criticisms he used against Obama comes as no surprise as the radio host has been working overtime to push the Texas senator to victory in Iowa. His personal investment in Cruz, which includes creating a campaign ad, prepping him for debates, and promoting him on social media, has prevented him from acknowledging the hypocrisy of his birther stance.
The New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board has consistently pointed to Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as the candidate best suited to protect the country from threats, stressing his work on terrorism cases as a former US attorney. However, experts disagree with the paper, noting Christie's record and experience do not amount to significant anti-terror bona fides.
In its November 28 endorsement of Christie, the Union Leader suggested he was the candidate that "is right for these dangerous times" as he has "prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters." When critics claimed Christie was overselling his experience, the Union Leader fired back in a December 22 editorial, defending Christie's boasts that "we prosecuted two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world":
Critics of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are upset that he's sharing his experiences prosecuting terrorists with New Hampshire voters.
We're not sure whether they're mad that Christie won convictions of suspected terrorists, or that he thinks New Hampshire voters might find this relevant. Perhaps both.
Christie served as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008. He formed a terrorism unit to work with the FBI to root out Islamic extremists before they could attack, including a plot to strike Fort Dix and an attempt to sell a shoulder-fired missile to an undercover FBI agent. These were bad people who wanted to do bad things. Christie put them in jail before they could.
In addition, a January 5 column by editorial page editor Grant Bosse again cited Christie's "focus on anti-terrorism cases" as a unique trait that sets him apart from the GOP field. The editorial board and its surrogates have largely been parroting the candidate who has similarly relied on his prosecuting record as qualifying national defense experience during recent debates.
However, fact checkers have disagreed with Christie's description of his record that the Union Leader has parroted, noting that he "arguably made more of a name for himself" as U.S. attorney "for prosecuting corrupt politicians (his office successfully prosecuted more than 130 public officials) than terrorists." The Daily Beast reported that while his record against corruption is more robust, his "antiterror resume is rather short":
As for actual terrorism cases, there are only two: Hemant Lakhani in 2005, a 71-year-old (now-deceased) British citizen who had been recorded saying he "was willing to broker the sale of shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down American passenger jets" and the "Fort Dix Six" in 2007, when five Islamic men and their gun dealer were arrested for allegedly plotting to kill U.S. soldiers "at various installations, including the Fort Dix Army a base in New Jersey."
In both cases, FBI informants played central roles in nailing the suspects, leading some critics to suggest the charges were the results of entrapment.
The Lakhani case was the subject of a 2009 This American Life installment, which painted the portrait of Lakhani as a hapless charlatan who had stumbled into the FBI's trap despite possessing no ability to broker missiles of any kind. The Fort Dix case was torn apart and dissected by The Intercept in 2015, where reporters Murtaza Hussain and Razan Ghalayini made the case that the FBI worked overtime to convince the accused men to agree to commit terrorist attacks that Christie and his office then "thwarted."
Jonathan Hafetz, former litigation director at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, told NJ.com that the Governor's promotion of his anti-terrorism record shows he is "clearly trying to rebrand himself in making a run for the White House."
Christie also came under fire for the timeline of his record after saying in the September Republican debate that he "was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Bush on Sept. 10, 2001." Politifact found that statement to be "mostly false." While Christie may have received word of a pending nomination prior to 9/11, he wasn't nominated until months after the attacks and wasn't sworn in as US attorney until January of 2002.
Christie's national security policy proposals introduced during his run for president have included a call to re-authorize less restrictive rules on the bulk collection of phone records -- which the administration already has access to -- and the blocking of Syrian refugees including "orphans under age five" in order to stop terror threats against the United States, which experts agree would be harmful to US foreign policy and its goal to stop the influence of ISIS.
The Union Leader's mimicking of Christie's tough but dubious anti-terror talk continues the paper's blind defense of the governor, even as those from his home state denounce his record of failed economic policies and scandal.
During the December 15 Republican primary debate, influential right-wing Iowa radio host Steve Deace sent out a tweet to his twenty thousand followers attacking Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. "Wow ... Fiorina goes full vagina right away," Deace wrote, a statement he would quickly retract and apologize for after receiving significant backlash on Twitter. As the tweet ricocheted across the internet, eventually landing on Fox News, Deace furiously responded to criticism of his tweet and attempted to de-link himself from the presidential candidate he has endorsed - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- saying it was "intellectually dishonest" to associate the two.
Yet, Cruz's recent surge in Iowa polls can be credited to few people more than Deace. The host and the senator have formed a close relationship that started well before Deace's early endorsement of Cruz in August. Cruz's successful attempt to win over evangelicals like Deace has solidified the Senator's position on the fringe of the right-wing, as their relationship has helped drive Cruz to the top of the polls in Iowa.
Steve Deace is one of the busiest anti-establishment conservatives. His radio show apparently outgrew its provider, USA Radio Networks, and was re-launched under the Salem Media Group, a leading Christian media organization that "operates 117 local radio stations, with 72 stations in the top 25 media markets." Deace also contributes to several conservative blogs, most notably Townhall.com and Conservative Review, and authors a column for The Washington Times. Deace's location in Iowa has also given him opportunities to appear in mainstream outlets like MSNBC and NPR as a voice for Iowa conservatives and allowed him to become a Politico Caucus "insider."
Deace's August endorsement of Cruz was one of the earliest among media figures and was aimed at giving the freshman senator a jumpstart ahead of the February Iowa caucus. "History has proven the first foe that must be defeated is the feckless Republican Party establishment," Deace said in his endorsement. As Deace's reputation has grown, so too has the value of his endorsement.
It is difficult to find another media figure providing similar coverage and promotion for one candidate like Deace is doing for Cruz. With such an influential position and unwavering support for his candidate, Deace's work across all platforms has become a crucial machine for supporting Cruz and Deace himself has proven to be a loyal defender when the candidate is criticized.
Laying out his reasons for choosing Cruz, Deace has appeared in a three minute campaign ad in which Deace says Cruz is a "principled candidate" that will ignite the passion of the conservative base and avoid the weak turnout blamed for "establishment" candidate losses of recent history
Deace has also helped the campaign by appearing at campaign office openings like one at Cruz's Iowa headquarters where he was introduced as "part of the campaign," as Cruz looked on. Before officially endorsing Cruz, Deace had been questioned via Twitter by Des Moines Register reporter Jason Noble about his advising role on the Cruz campaign. While Deace denied working for the senator at the time, he told the conservative National Review that Cruz had been asking for his help since 2013. Deace was also "part of the Cruz debate team" during the October Republican debate.
Since January 2015, Deace has written at least 24 articles trumpeting Cruz across the various outlets to which he contributes, most of which include an attack against other Republican candidates and Cruz remains a constant topic of conversation on Deace's radio show. As the host said at the time, "it's only fitting" that Ted Cruz was the first guest of his re-launched Steve Deace Show on the Salem radio network. During the interview, Deace used the campaign's own language in describing Cruz's tax plan, calling it "simple and fair" while prompting the Senator to pitch his plan.
Deace has also heavily engaged in Cruz support on social media, sending over one hundred tweets mentioning Cruz this year as well as longer Facebook posts in support of the candidate. The host often uses social media to defend Cruz against critics and advocate for the Texas Senator's brand of anti-establishment rhetoric.
Deace's endorsement was a major prize for Cruz as the radio host is often credited with helping former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee secure an upset caucus win during the 2008 presidential primaries. With connections throughout the evangelical community, and a special relationship with "king maker" Bob Vander Plaats - leader of the anti-abortion, anti-gay Family Leader - ABC News named Deace part of the "trifecta of key Iowa endorsements" along with Vander Plaats and Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King.
Cruz has gone all out to woo evangelical leaders like Deace and Vander Plaats. Cruz has made multiple appearances at Vander Plaats' Family Leadership Summit, an event heavily supported and promoted by Deace who called it the "biggest pre-election event prior to the 2016 Iowa caucuses." In 2013, Cruz and his father were featured speakers, and the Senator continued his appearances at the summit in 2014 and 2015 along with many other Republican candidates.
Cruz's effort to win over Iowa's evangelicals has led him to mimic their rhetoric, often using similar phrasing as Deace when discussing social issues, especially women's rights and LGBT issues. Deace has claimed that the "Democrats have trotted out their phony-baloney 'war-on-women' meme" when defending conservative attacks on everything from issues of equal pay to abortion rights and praised Cruz for "taking a page - literally - out of my book" by flipping the narrative to say the war on women is actually being waged by Democrats:
Taking a page - literally - out of my book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, Cruz perfectly demonstrated the Fifth Commandment of my "10 Commandments of Political Warfare."
The Fifth Commandment reads: "Reverse the premise of your opponent's argument and use it against him."
And that's just what Cruz did recently at a women's forum in South Carolina, one of the most important states on the GOP presidential primary calendar (I'm sure that's not a coincidence, by the way). Cruz accused President Obama of waging a war on women:
"For the last six years under President Obama, 3.7 million have entered poverty. Under President Obama, the median income for women has dropped by $733. You want to talk about a war on women? That's a war on women. We're here today because we're concerned about the future for our kids and our grandkids. Right now for the first time in our nation's history, most Americans don't think their kids will have a better life than them--76 percent of Americans right now think their kids will have a worse life than they do. That has never been true in the history of our country."
On LGBT issues, the two also have parallel views and use strikingly similar language. Deace has lashed out at advancements in LGBT rights such as the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision to allow marriage equality in every state as well as positive media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner's transition and accompanying trans issues. Deace also coined the phrase "rainbow jihad" to describe advocates for LGBT equality:
What I have dubbed "the Rainbow Jihad" is a carefully coordinated cultural hijacking decades in the making. Like a parasite that long exists in a body but doesn't manifest itself until the host is at its weakest, it has been unleashed by the Left because they believe they have successfully eroded our Judeo-Christian foundation. The Rainbow Jihad is much more than an attempt to promote a behavior Western Civilization cast aside as barbaric centuries ago. It is the lethal scimitar malevolently wielded by progressives in the cultural battlefield for one existential purpose.
As Right Wing Watch first reported, Cruz used similar language during a panel discussion on religious freedom. "Look at the jihad being waged right now...going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." The discussion, which also featured former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), was hosted by Steve Deace.
Deace's radio reach, amplified by his print contributions and his stature in Iowa make him a sought after pundit on mainstream media outlets. He is often hosted by shows looking to get an "insider view" of what Iowans are thinking before the caucuses. However, his dedication to Cruz has disturbingly turned these appearances into free opportunities to pump Cruz as a candidate and to attack his opponents, often without proper disclosure of his role in the Cruz campaign. During interviews on stations like MSNBC, Deace has used the cover of conservative insider to promote Cruz even when the discussion is ostensibly about other candidates. Similarly, USA Today asked Deace to provide post-debate analysis after September's Republican debate, which led Deace to list Cruz as one of the debate's top performers.
While Deace's impact on the presidential race will likely wane after the Iowa caucuses, his influence has already left a lasting remark on Cruz, who has used Deace's ideas and endorsement to help build his platform. Despite Deace's best efforts to maintain appropriate distance from Cruz, it's clear that Deace and Cruz are linked in many ways, making Deace's comments and ideas as both a quasi-surrogate and "insider" pundit all the more important as the Iowa Caucus looms.
CNN Money reported that Las Vegas Review-Journal editor Mike Hengel was offered and accepted a buyout and will step down as editor of Nevada's largest newspaper.
Hengel's decision comes after the Review-Journal was purchased by an unnamed person later discovered to be top Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The purchase has concerned many of the reporters at the paper who feared a loss of editorial control in deference to the new owner. Prior to stepping down, Hengel had instructed reporters to begin working on identifying the long list of "perceived conflicts of interest" that were likely to surround the paper and their new owner.
CNN Money's December 22 article reporting his resignation said Hengel "thought his relationship with the Adelson family would be 'adversarial' and that it was best to let them pick their own editor."
Mike Hengel, the top editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is stepping aside, less than two weeks after the family of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson took control of the newspaper.
One reporter said the newsroom was "stunned" by the announcement, which Hengel made on Tuesdayevening in the midst of a turbulent period for Nevada's biggest newspaper.
Wednesday's edition will include a message from the Adelson family on the front page. It says "we pledge to publish a newspaper that is fair, unbiased and accurate." It describes plans for "new investments" and the establishment of an ombudsman.
Retaining the trust of readers will be difficult for the paper, especially if other veteran journalists follow Hengel to the exit.
A round of end-of-the-year buyouts were initiated before Adelson purchased the paper on December 10. Hengel was originally not eligible. But the eligibility rules were apparently changed for him.
According to tweets and people who were present for the announcement, Hengel told his staffers that he did not ask for a buyout, but that he was offered one shortly after the change in ownership. He did not say who made the offer. But he said he thought his relationship with the Adelson family would be "adversarial" and that it was best to let them pick their own editor.
"I think my resignation probably comes as a relief to the new owners, and it is in my best interest and those of my family," Hengel said, according to reporter Neal Morton.
Hengel did not respond to a request for further comment.
The owners' letter in Wednesday's paper said managers "will appoint an interim editor and will immediately begin a search for the next permanent Review-Journal editor."
Hengel's departure comes at a time of widespread unease about what the new owners intend to do.
Longtime Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith, who was once sued by Adelson, wrote over the weekend that "Adelson is precisely the wrong person to own this or any newspaper."
An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal criticized recent maneuvers made by Ohio's attorney general Mike DeWine who has "join[ed] the bashing" of Planned Parenthood following release of deceptively-edited videos produced by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress.
A December 16 editorial by the Akron Beacon Journal discussed the attorney general's investigation into Planned Parenthood based on the "heavily edited and thus misleading" videos which alleged the organization was illegally selling fetal tissue. The videos that prompted the investigation have been thoroughly debunked despite being continuously touted by right-wing media. As the editorial notes, the attorney general's investigation "found no indication that fetal tissue is sold by the Planned Parenthood organizations in Ohio" which "mirrored results elsewhere." However, the attorney general has recently claimed Planned Parenthood was violating state law in its disposal of fetal tissue, which the editorial explained, "fits the pattern" of Republican lawmakers "seizing [the] opportunity" to take "a range of steps to curb abortion rights in the state." The editorial said "nothing indicates that Planned Parenthood has been out of compliance in the past, let alone some dark, rogue operation":
Mike DeWine launched his investigation last summer to determine whether Planned Parenthood in Ohio sold fetal tissue for profit. That was the accusation Planned Parenthood faced in the wake of videos put together by anti-abortion activists. The videos proved heavily edited and thus misleading, to say the least. The state attorney general pushed ahead, anyway, as did officials in other states, encouraged by Republican presidential candidates.
What did DeWine discover? On Friday, he told the director of the state Department of Health, that "a thorough investigation ... found no indication that fetal tissue is sold by the Planned Parenthood organizations in Ohio." That outcome mirrored results elsewhere.
The attorney general didn't stop there. He argued that his investigation turned up information showing that Planned Parenthood violated state law in disposing of fetal tissue. State regulations require disposal in a "humane manner." The attorney general described Planned Parenthood contracting with a waste firm, the "steam cooking" of tissue and sending it to "a landfill ... in Kentucky," suggesting the tissue received treatment in line with trash left at the curb.
No surprise that many lawmakers in the Republican majorities at the Statehouse voiced their outrage. They already have approved denying funding to Planned Parenthood, not to mention taken a range of steps to curb abortion rights in the state. They now have proposed legislation that would define "humane" as either burial or cremation. One bill would require the woman to select one of the two as part of receiving an abortion.
The attorney general plainly is sincere and passionate about his opposition to abortion, as are many Ohioans. At the same time, it is hard to overlook the political theater at work, before the cameras, springing his revelation.
If Planned Parenthood weren't portrayed as such a villain by Republicans in the legislature, this episode might not appear so calculated. As things are, it fits the pattern, the attorney general seizing his opportunity to join the bashing, just as he eagerly enters controversial lawsuits across the country to trumpet his views.
And yet, Planned Parenthood makes a valuable contribution in communities, providing access to health care for many who are disadvantaged, earning a reputation for trust and quality. Its family planning services help to curb abortions. Still, when a woman chooses to end a pregnancy, difficult as that decision is, Planned Parenthood is there to see that it is done safely, without shaming and demonizing.
An editorial published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail purporting to fact-check AFL-CIO radio ads targeting so-called "right-to-work" laws being pushed by West Virginia legislators identified no errors in the advertisements, but still attacked the labor union by promoting flawed and biased studies funded by anti-union donors.
The December 14 editorial was authored by the editorial board of the Charleston Daily Mail (in July the Charleston Daily Mail and Charleston Gazette merged to form the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The paper retains two independent editorial boards).*
The editorial discussed a West Virginia radio network's decision to pull three AFL-CIO ads from its airwaves, which reportedly cited them as "inflammatory." The editorial board claims the ads "mislead by quoting studies that don't necessarily address correlation and causation." The editorial continues by juxtaposing the claims in the AFL-CIO ad with "conservative" studies in an attempt to prove the AFL-CIO's claims are flawed:
The 54 percent increase in injury and death statistic comes from a 2014 AFL-CIO report "Death on the job, the toll of neglect," using Bureau of Labor statistics.
Yet a 2012 study by the conservative Meighen Institute suggests that union workplaces have more injuries than non-union workplaces. And a 2012 report from a Michigan group supporting right-to-work legislation cites a reduction in injuries and illnesses in Oklahoma over a 10-year period after right-to-work laws went into effect in 2001.
"It's true that right-to-work states have a greater incidence of fatal workplace injuries, but the very dangerous occupations are concentrated ... in occupations like farming, fishing and forestry regardless of whether the state has a right-to-work law," the CAPCON report says.
The AFL-CIO says that right-to-work states have lower average wage rates. That too is true, but as Daily Mail columnist Laurie Lin covered last week, those states also generally have much lower cost-of-living rates.
"When adjusting for cost of living, workers in right-to-work states have 4.1 percent higher per-capita personal incomes than workers in non-right-to-work states," reports the Mackinac Institute.
The editorial notes multiple times that the AFL-CIO's statements are true, even citing sources that back up the union's claims.
For example, the editorial cites "CAPCON" or Michigan Capitol Confidential -- an online outlet created by the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy to push the organization's studies -- agreeing with the AFL-CIO's argument that states with so-called "right-to-work" laws have higher incidences of fatal workplace injuries. CAPCON and the editorial noted that "It's true that right-to-work states have a greater incidence of fatal workplace injuries," but caveat the fact by claiming these right-to-work states engage in more dangerous occupations without providing any evidence of the fact. The studies and reports cited by the editorial fail to adequately counter the claims made by the AFL-CIO, as neither of the sources cited by the paper address workplace fatalities in their data, except to agree with the AFL-CIO's argument that right-to-work states lag behind other states in terms of workplace safety.
The editorial also claimed that the AFL-CIO's contention that "right-to-work states have lower average wage rates [...] is true," but defended the typically low wages of states with right-to-work laws by claiming that these states "generally have much lower cost-of-living rates."
The AFL-CIO's claim of higher workplace fatalities in states with anti-union laws is backed up by several studies, including one published in the American Journal of Public Health, which found similarly that, "Higher rates of fatal occupational injury were associated with a state policy climate favoring business over labor."
In addition, as a report in the Kennedy School Review notes, one study looking at unionization and coal mine safety from 1993 to 2010, found that "unionization predicted a substantial and significant decline in fatalities and traumatic injuries." The report also notes that while unionization also coincided with an increase in injury reporting, the phenomenon is most likely due "to more stringent injury reporting practices in union versus non-union mines." In essence, the Kennedy School Review found that injury reporting was held to higher standards after unionization, causing such reports to increase, while safety standards were also improved as a result of unionization, causing fatalities to decrease.
The AFL-CIO's claim that right-to-work states have lower average wages is also backed up by evidence, which contradicts the Mail's claim that incomes in states with restrictive union laws are higher after adjusting for cost-of-living. As the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) pointed out in an April 22 report, when accounting for a larger set of variables, not just cost-of-living differences, and "subject[ing] the results to a series of robustness tests," the AFL-CIO claim holds true - "wages in RTW (right-to-work) states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states."
The Mail's failed attempt to discredit the AFL-CIO relied on a number of biased anti-union sources. The Mackinac Center, part of the conservative State Policy Network group of think tanks, has received millions of dollars from anti-union donors such as the DeVos family, the Walton family, and Donors Capital Fund -- the "dark money ATM" of the conservative movement funded in part by the anti-union Koch brothers. Lastly, as SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, explains, Michigan Capitol Confidential (CAPCON) "produces articles and blog posts intended to appear like those of traditional news sources, but with a demonstrated conservative bias and pushing a right wing agenda."
*This piece has been updated throughout to clarify the relationship between the Charleston Gazette-Mail and its multiple editorial boards.
A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial defended Gov. Chris Christie's (R-NJ) Social Security proposal, claiming he would "save" the program, after the New Jersey Governor's plan was attacked by Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump. However, experts agree Christie's plan would make the program less solvent and hurt low income Americans.
The Union Leader, which endorsed Christie in November, claimed in a December 10 editorial that Trump was using "liberal scare tactics" when he criticized Christie's plan to raise the retirement age. The paper went on to praise Christie for being the "first candidate in either party to put forward a detailed plan to address entitlements." The Union Leader continued:
But Christie's plan to save Social Security and Medicare wouldn't touch the retirement age for current retirees. Trump would know this, if he actually bothered to check his facts before speaking.
[Christie] would gradually raise the retirement age for younger workers, and means-test benefits for those making more than $200,000 per year in retirement income.
Several GOP candidates have backed responsible entitlement reform plans. Trump parrots liberal scare tactics, consistent with his long-held support for big government.
Trump would pander to seniors, do nothing, and watch Social Security go as bankrupt as one of his casinos.
Trumps criticism aside, experts agree that Christie's plan is both misguided and politically toxic. As Karen Smith, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told The New York Times, "[Christie's] proposal reduces program revenue and does not reduce benefits enough soon enough to make Social Security solvent." Comparing Christie's plan to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders' plan -- which the Urban Institute says would extend solvency -- Christie's will result in Social Security becoming insolvent sooner than if no changes were made.
Christie's plan relies heavily on the populist message of reducing benefits paid to wealthy Americans. As Vox's Matthew Yglesias points out, this popular selling point has been trumpeted by media while reporting on the proposal, despite, as he explains, Christie's plan actually being "terrible for the poor." Citing life expectancy data, Yglesias writes that, because rich Americans live longer than poor Americans, Christie's plan "is a particularly cruel and regressive form of cut."
As far as Christie's proposed plan to cut off Social Security benefits to those making over $200,000 a year, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) noted that "while the rich have a large share of the income, they don't have a large share of Social Security benefits." CEPR concluded that Christie's proposal would only save about 1.1 percent of benefits currently being paid out.
New Hampshire's largest and most influential newspaper, the Union Leader, endorsed Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) ahead of NH's upcoming primary, giving the governor's presidential campaign a needed boost. In supporting Christie the Union Leader dismissed scandals such as the George Washington Bridge lane closures -- also referred to as "Bridgegate" -- as a "nothing-burger," and ignored the warnings of major New Jersey newspapers who see Christie as unfit to lead their state, let alone the country.
The Union Leader's endorsement applauded Christie's ability to win two terms as governor in "liberal New Jersey," praised his public union opposition, and claimed the governor handled Hurricane Sandy aftermath "admirably." A follow-up piece by editorial page editor Grant Bosse addressed criticism of the endorsement by positively comparing negative reactions to Christie to criticisms of former President George W. Bush. Bosse chalked up negative views of the governor to "Christie Derangement Syndrome," which he said, "should serve Christie well."
Bosse also addressed Bridgegate, which the Union Leader's endorsement ignored. While the U.S. attorney for New Jersey has not ruled out Christie's participation in the George Washington Bridge lane closures -- identified as retaliation against a New Jersey mayor who refused to endorse the governor's re-election campaign -- Bosse dismissed the governor's knowledge of the closures, calling the situation a "nothing-burger":
No political scandal has been more overblown than Bridgegate. A pair of Christie's team supposedly arranged a traffic jam as payback for a mayor not endorsing Christie's re-election. There's no evidence that Christie knew anything about it, and he fired anyone who did. Christie Derangement Syndrome has convinced otherwise normal people that this nothing-burger disqualifies Christie from the presidency.
While the Union Leader fawned over Christie in its endorsements, major newspapers in New Jersey have long warned of the negative impact Christie has had on the state, with one major newspaper going so far as to retract its endorsement after Christie's re-election.
After the Bridgegate scandal came to light, the editorial board of New Jersey's largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger, retracted their endorsement of Christie following his re-election in 2013. Writing on behalf of the Star-Ledger's editorial board, Tom Moran said the paper "blew [it]" by endorsing Christie. Moran continued:
Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn't know his crew was crazy enough to put people's lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn't know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn't know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Even before this scandal train got rolling, this endorsement was a close call and a split vote among the editorial board. We regard Christie as the most overrated politician in the country, at least until now, a man who is better at talking than governing. We criticized him for trashing the working poor, for his tea party approach to the environment, for his opposition to gay marriage and a livable minimum wage. And so on.
While the extent of Christie's involvement in Bridgegate is still unclear, PolitiFact has reviewed three investigations into the matter and rated the governor's denial of involvement as "half-true," saying it "leaves out important context." PolitiFact wrote that the only investigation to fully clear the governor of wrongdoing was commissioned by his administration, thereby undermining the investigation's objectivity, while investigations by the state legislature and U.S Attorney's Office could not definitively clear the governor based on the potential for new evidence stemming from the criminal prosecution of Christie's aides.
Both the Union Leader's endorsement and Bosse's follow-up also ignored Christie's economic woes -- yet another area that has garnered New Jersey media criticism. In a September 29 editorial, the Asbury Park Press' editorial board called Christie an "absentee governor" who should follow Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) lead and "either abandon his bid for the presidency or step down as governor," citing public pension mismanagement which has caused New Jersey to be "ranked No. 1 in the nation in public debt."
Regarding Christie's management of Hurricane Sandy recovery effort, which Bosse called "admirable," the Asbury Park Press in October pointed out that, according to a Monmouth University poll, "more than 60 percent of families remain at least somewhat dissatisfied with recovery efforts; 33 percent said they were 'very' dissatisfied" and that "Christie is clearly trying to manufacture an image of competency in his recovery leadership that he hasn't earned." The Star-Ledger echoed this sentiment by criticizing the governor's record on recovery:
[Christie] didn't send his top Sandy staffers to Legislative hearings until well after his re-election, and his staff fired the lead contractor on the largest rebuilding program without a word to the public. It was only thanks to housing advocates that we found out that its decisions were riddled with errors.
To be sure, the delays aren't all the fault of the state. But nor does Christie have "a pretty good batting average" on Sandy recovery, as he recently claimed. "A few thousand" still have to rebuild, he said, out of 365,000 homes damaged or destroyed.
Yet that big number likely includes hundreds of thousands who had only minor damage, and little interaction with the state. The people in the largest rebuilding program were generally the hardest hit and actually needed help putting their lives back together. The vast majority of them are still stuck in limbo, and some have simply dropped out.
Christie said the reason he ran for re-election was to help the state recover from Hurricane Sandy. The storm now stars in his latest 2016 presidential campaign ad. But we don't need a leader who's lived through a storm. We need one who is a straight-shooter with its victims.
While the Union Leader fully bought into Christie's campaign slogan of "telling it like it is" -- even using it in their endorsement -- it is clear that the governor's rhetoric has left the New Jersey press less than impressed. Morris County's Daily Record called the slogan and record on which Christie is campaigning "nonsense" (emphasis added):
"Telling it like it is" -- That's Christie's campaign slogan, and it's pure nonsense. Think we'll hear the truth about New Jersey's lousy economy, its high foreclosure rates, or its continually downgraded credit rating? Of course not. Think we'll get a fair appraisal of the state's miserable performance in assisting Hurricane Sandy victims? Nope. We won't hear a single negative thing from Christie about any of his failures because he'll instead claim great success and blame problems on others.
In that, of course, Christie will be just be playing the same game as everyone else. Running for office is advertising, and candidates aren't going to play up their own weaknesses. But what makes Christie's brand of disingenuousness stand out is that he works so hard at placing himself upon a pedestal claiming to be different than all the rest while bullying naysayers. That relentless hypocrisy is one of his worst traits.
Christie wants the public to interpret his bluntness as honesty. But don't be fooled. His strength is that he'll manage to get noticed in a crowded GOP field, in large part because he'll make some outrageous statements along the way. But he won't be telling it like it is. He just wants you to think that.
After the Union Leader's endorsement, the Star-Ledger's Tom Moran reached out to Bosse. Bosse told Moran that Bridgegate had "nothing to do with the governor," but admitted that the Union Leader editorial board had not looked into Christie's handling of pensions and dismissing Christie's role in the state's sagging economy. Moran gathered that the Union Leader "knows nothing about [Christie's] record as governor" and concluded that "this editorial confirms my worse fears about this presidential race. It's all about performance, not substance."
In its draft leasing plan that will set the boundaries for oil development in federal waters from 2017 to 2022, the Obama Administration proposed allowing offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast between Virginia and Georgia. Newspapers in the states that would be impacted by this plan have published articles and editorials highlighting local opposition and describing the economic and environmental risks associated with offshore drilling. As the administration approaches a final decision on offshore drilling, these concerns identified by state media outlets should inform national media coverage in the days and weeks ahead.
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson argued that the terrorists who committed the Paris attacks represent the "true Islam," not Muslims who denounced the attacks.
On his November 18 radio show, Mickelson criticized Muslims who say "terrorists hijack their religion." Mickelson began by playing audio from a local television news broadcast, in which Muslims from Des Moines, Iowa, said the Paris attackers do not represent Islam, "because Muslims do not kill innocent people." Mickelson called their comments "total rubbish," and said, "I call them cigar store Muslims, meaning they are template Muslims, Americanized Muslims." Mickelson continued:
MICKELSON: So the people out here in the cheap seats saying that the cigar store Muslims here in Des Moines are the true Muslims -- the non violent, worldwide peaceful kind -- while those people over there are the aberration and they've just invented a new religion. Who's left to actually believe that except, well, people like that?
Mickelson also played an interview with Anjem Choudary, a radical preacher from the United Kingdom. Choudary, who has been condemned by major Muslim groups in the UK, is well-known for his support of ISIS and Sharia Law. Mickelson told his listeners to "put an asterisk in your memory" when some "cigar store Muslim tries to sell you otherwise," connecting Choudary's extremist statements with the local Muslims interviewed previously.
MICKELSON: Why they would allow this guy who, he, you just heard him say, "do you support the people who want to commit those kinds of acts of violence in the United States?" The guy said of course he does! And he says the Internet makes the world a very very small place. Put a little asterisk in your memory at this very point when some cigar store Muslim tries to sell you otherwise.
Mickelson has been advocating in recent months for Americans to reject Muslim refugees and keep "Islamic cultures" out of the United States. The host also recently argued "we ought to foreclose on [the] property" of churches who can't fully pay for refugees they help resettle.