The Daily Caller

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  • Wash. Post Weather Editor Debunks Myth That Hurricane “Drought” Disproves Climate Science

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    The Washington Post’s weather editor Jason Samenow debunked the claim by climate science deniers and conservative media outlets that the lack of category 3 or higher hurricanes striking the U.S. over the last 11 years is "evidence that global warming is not affecting the storms."

    This month marks 11 years since the U.S. mainland was last struck by a “major” hurricane, defined by the National Hurricane Center as a category 3, 4 or 5 storm with sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour. In response, conservative media have misleadingly cited this fact to wrongly dispute the link between hurricanes and global warming.

    For instance, The New American asserted, “The latest report from NOAA that major hurricane activity has subsided for 11 years — despite high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere — provides welcome relief from the assorted predictions made by the ‘global warming’ doomsayers of catastrophic events that supposedly will be caused by human activity.” Similarly, The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch wrote that “the hurricane drought sort of runs counter to predictions global warming will make storms more frequent and more intense.” And perhaps most notably, radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that the lack of a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. over the past 11 years “bores a hole right through the whole climate change argument.”

    But as Samenow explained, researchers believe it is just "dumb luck" that Atlantic storms with sufficient wind speeds to be defined as "major" hurricanes have remained offshore or slowed down before making landfall on the U.S. coastline. Atlantic hurricane activity also accounts for only a small portion of the total storms occurring around the world, as PolitiFact noted when it rated Limbaugh's claim a "Pants on Fire" falsehood.

    Samenow, who described the hurricane “drought” as “the most overblown statistic in meteorology,” also pointed out that many hurricanes that had devastating impacts due to extreme rainfall and flooding occurred during this "drought." He noted that because the definition of a “major” hurricane is tied only to wind speeds and not impacts from water, the term “omits some of the most consequential storms in modern history”:

    But the criteria for what makes a major hurricane is impossibly restrictive. It is tied to a single hazard, wind, and ignores impacts from water, which causes the lion’s share of fatalities and damage in most hurricanes.

    While big wind speeds grab people’s attention and sound scary, precious few people, if any, ever experience a storm’s peak winds. Such high winds are typically confined to a tiny area near the hurricane’s eye.

    But tens of thousands of people are exposed to a hurricane’s water, whether it’s freshwater flooding from heavy rainfall or coastal flooding from storm surge, the rise in ocean water as the hurricane comes ashore.

    Because the definition of a major hurricane ignores the effects of water, it omits some of the most consequential storms in modern history, which have occurred during the so-called drought.

    Consider, in the 11 years since Wilma, two of the three most costly storms in U.S. history occurred: Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Ike in 2008 — neither of which was classified as “major.”

    Moreover, the "impacts from water" that Samenow describes are intensified by climate change. Scientists say that a warming climate is making storms more destructive due to warming air and oceans -- which lead to more rainfall -- and rising sea levels, which worsen storm surges.

    Samenow ultimately concluded: “The major-hurricane-landfall drought is an interesting statistic, and that’s about it. It is a fine metric to track and report as a curiosity, but it cannot be used to say anything useful about how hurricanes are affecting society or how their behavior may or may not be changing over time.” 

  • Right-Wing Media Ignore Role Of Subsidies, Claim Insurance Premium Increases Are A “Death Spiral” For Obamacare 

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Reports that benchmark health insurance premiums will increase by an average of 25 percent from 2016 to 2017 for plans purchased on marketplace exchanges have prompted right-wing media outlets to claim the price hike is proof of “the collapse” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and evidence of a so-called Obamacare “death spiral.” In reality, the majority of individual insurance customers will be insulated from cost increases due to proportional increases in the health care subsidies, and these premium increases are still in line with anticipated health care costs initially predicted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

  • Daily Caller Rewrites Woman’s Personal Story About Late-Term Abortion To Demonize Her

    Using Stigmatizing Right-Wing Media Misinformation, The Daily Caller Lashes Out Over  A Woman’s Personal Narrative About Receiving Necessary Medical Care

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s inaccurate attacks on late-term abortion at the final presidential debate, The Daily Caller “edited” a woman’s personal story to vilify and shame her for having a legal and medically necessary late-term abortion.

    On October 20, The New York Times published an op-ed by Meredith Isaksen about her decision to terminate a wanted pregnancy after the 20th week. In the op-ed, titled “Late-Term Abortion Was the Right Choice for Me,” Isaksen described deciding to terminate after discovering that the developing fetus “was missing half his heart” and was “very unlikely [to] survive delivery.” Isaksen wrote that to “Trump and politicians like him, a late-term abortion is the stuff of ’80s slasher films” -- a depiction that is “void of consideration for women, medical professionals or the truth” -- and concluded that she had no doubts that “we made the right decision for our family.”

    In response, The Daily Caller attacked Isaksen -- mocking her personal experience and rewriting her narrative “for accuracy and clarity” by substituting stigmatizing language about late-term abortion that is frequently pushed by right-wing media. In one example, The Daily Caller “revised” Isaksen’s statement that she was “a better wife, daughter and friend” after making “the right decision for our family” to read as: “I am a better wife, daughter and friend [because I chose to kill him].” In another, The Daily Caller wrote:

    As the day of my termination [the death of my baby boy] approached and I felt my baby’s kicks and wiggles, I simultaneously wanted to crawl out of my skin and suspend us together in time. I wanted him to know [before I killed him] how important he was to me, that the well of my grief and love for him would stretch deeper and deeper into the vastness of our family’s small yet limitless life.He may have moved inside me for only five months, but he had touched and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined [and soon he would feel an abortionist rip him apart piece by piece].

    Women do not elect to terminate their pregnancies after the 20th week on a whim because they simply “don’t want to have the kid” anymore.

    Stigmatizing language about late-term abortion is often used by anti-choice groups and media to “vilify women” who are often facing the “loss of a wanted pregnancy.” The language used by The Daily Caller is a prime example of how not to speak about abortion no matter where you stand on choice, or about the countless women across America who have made the decision to have one or will need to in the future.

    As Isaksen wrote (in her original words):

    As the two-year anniversary of my abortion approaches, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision for our family — and that our government has absolutely no place in the anguish which accompanies a late-term abortion, except to ensure that women and their families have the right to make their choice safely and privately.

    Saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and profound experience of my life, and the truth is, it has come to define me. Today I am a better mother because of him. I am a better wife, daughter and friend. He made me more compassionate and more patient. He taught me to love with reckless abandon, despite the knowledge that I could lose it all.

  • Trump-Allied Media Previously Attacked His Debate Guest, Malik Obama, For Alleged Ties To Extremist Groups

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced that President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, will be his personal guest at the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. The choice highlights an unusual division between Trump and some of the right-wing media outlets he often relies on, who have for years accused Malik Obama of having alleged ties to various extremist groups in a fringe effort to smear President Obama.

  • Right-Wing Media Keep Pushing Myth Of "Partial-Birth" Abortion

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In the 2016 election cycle, right-wing media have spread misinformation about the Democratic position on abortion access by alleging that the party supports so-called “partial-birth” abortions, often invoking the term as a description of an abortion that takes place in the final months or “moments” of pregnancy. In reality, “partial-birth” abortion is a term coined by anti-choice groups to vilify and stigmatize individuals who elect to have an abortion. Here is what the media should know about this common anti-choice myth and why media figures should not deploy it.

  • Kellyanne Conway’s History Of Pushing A Right-Wing Media, Anti-Choice Lie About Abortion

    To Limit Abortion Access, Trump's Campaign Manager Has Long Promoted The Dangerous Lie That Democrats Support "Sex-Selective" Abortion

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has a long history of alleging that the Democratic Party supports allowing so-called “sex-selective” abortions because it devalues "little baby girls." During the 2016 election cycle, Conway has frequently promoted this misleading and unsubstantiated right-wing media myth, which perpetuates harmful racial and ethnic stereotypes and is a cover for greater abortion restrictions.  

  • Media Debunk Pence’s Smear Of Clinton’s Reproductive Rights Positions

    In The Vice Presidential Debate, Pence Revived An Anti-Choice Myth To Attack Clinton’s Support For Reproductive Rights

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During the October 4 vice presidential debate, Republican nominee Mike Pence smeared Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s positions on reproductive rights. While Pence falsely alleged that Clinton’s position on abortion was extreme, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine pointed out that Clinton “support[s] the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience and make their own decision about pregnancy.”

  • Media Still Can’t Trust Anti-Clinton Author Ed Klein

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Discredited reporter Ed Klein is set to release a new book, Guilty as Sin, on October 4, in which he claims to have uncovered “the real story” of the FBI investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as well as of President Bill Clinton’s continuous affairs with interns.

    Klein’s has a long history of promoting false conspiracy theories about the Clintons, including the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill raped Hillary. Klein’s previous books have been roundly criticized by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. His supposed reporting has been labeled "bullshit," "smut," "junk journalism," and "fan fiction."

    Conservative media outlets The Daily Caller and the New York Post published excerpts of Klein’s new book on October 2. The Post excerpt offered an alleged account of “the ex-president continu[ing] his cozy relationships with interns” and “mus[ing] about naked pool parties on the roof.” The Daily Caller excerpt recycled several debunked claims that Hillary Clinton openly dealt with Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative work from her seventh floor State Department office while she served as secretary of state. Klein also promoted his book on the right-wing blog Breitbart News, claiming that Clinton “is often totally out of control -- screaming and sometimes even physically attacking people, including her husband and campaign workers.”

    The discredited author’s claims made it onto Fox News when Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade cited Klein’s upcoming book to suggest Bill Clinton may be engaged in affairs with interns at the Clinton library in Little Rock, AR. From the October 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Here’s the thing -- it's just a double standard. She’s going after Donald Trump for talking about women, and she says that about Gennifer Flowers. However, I do think that she has every right to hire a private investigator. If you have the money to do that, if your husband is doing all of this --

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Who, Hillary?

    EARHARDT: That’s not illegal. If your husband is having affairs and you want to catch him --

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Here's the thing, if you want to find out because it's going to save your marriage for one thing, but if you want to hammer the women because politically it's damaging to the Clinton name --

    EARHARDT: That's never --

    KILMEADE: That is totally different

    EARHARDT: Right.

    KILMEADE: I want to find out the truth. I sense that she knew the truth and wanted to defame the woman and the accuser. That's what Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Gennifer Flowers would say.

    DOOCY: And that’s just several. That’s three out of close to two dozen.

    KILMEADE: Right, which, according to Ed Klein, our guest tomorrow, might be still happening in the Clinton library, if you are to believe that book.

    Klein’s previous work has been panned by both conservative and mainstream media figures alike. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York said his last book, Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary, was “denounced as a whole pack of lies,” and in 2014 even conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dismissed Klein’s unsourced quotes as “odd.” Over 30 mainstream reporters slammed Klein’s work as “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced” “junk journalism” with “numerous factual errors,” written by “an author devoid of credibility.”

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account. Trump had lunch with Klein in May, and Klein says he has known Trump for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him."

  • Right-Wing “Porn Star” Attack On Former Miss Universe Falls Apart

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Conservative media figures are responding to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado’s statements that Donald Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and publicly humiliated her for gaining weight by accusing her of being a “porn star.” It is unclear why Trump’s behavior would be mitigated by Machado later performing in adult films, but those claims nonetheless appear to be false.

    During the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pointed to Trump’s record of mistreating women, specifically highlighting his attacks Machado. Trump, who owned the Miss Universe pageant from 1996 to 2015, doubled down the morning after the debate on the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, saying Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” Trump supporters have sought to explain away Trump’s actions by seeking to undermine Machado’s character.

    In a September 27 article headlined, “Porn Star Campaigns For Hillary Clinton,” the Daily Caller falsely reported that “Snippets of an adult film starring Machado are available on multiple free porn websites.” While the headline remains the same, that language has been removed from the article, which now states that she “is in a sextape” that was released in 2005.

    The article features the correction, “The star of Apprentass 4 was Angel Dark, not Alicia Machado.” While the correction is nonspecific, it appears that the Caller based the entire premise of their claim that Machado is a “porn star” on the incorrect belief that she was featured in that film. According to The Daily Beast, which reported on conservatives’ smear effort against Machado, “there does not appear to be any evidence suggesting the existence of professionally made pornography starring Machado.”

    While the article no longer cites an example of her appearing in an adult film, it still baselessly claims that Machado made an “appearance in porn” and has a “background in pornography.”

    The apparently unsubstantiated claim that Machado appeared in adult films rocketed through Trump’s supporters in the right-wing media. Rush Limbaugh opened his September 28 radio show by describing Machado as the “porn star Miss Piggy.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity claimed on his radio show “that she may have starred in an adult film, and available apparently on multiple free porn websites according to the Daily Caller.” He also said that Machado is “in all these porn videos” during an interview with Eric Trump. And CNN’s Jeffrey Lord repeatedly described Machado as a “porn star” in an American Spectator article headlined “Hillary’s Bad Judgement: Exploits Porn Star Surrogate.”

    This effort to shame Machado into silence would be despicable even if it were true. But it appears that the entire smear campaign is also completely false.

  • Right-Wing Media Criticize Lester Holt For Interrupting Trump, Even Though Trump Interrupted Clinton 51 Times

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media figures criticized presidential debate moderator Lester Holt for interrupting Republican nominee Donald Trump more than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Yet Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times -- three times as often as Clinton interrupted Trump -- and repeatedly went over his allotted time and made numerous factually inaccurate statements.

  • WI GOP Operatives Conspired To Use Talk Radio To Push Nonexistent Voter Fraud Claims To Help Ally Of Gov. Scott Walker

    One Day After GOP Operatives Discussed Voter Fraud Myths, Daily Caller Referenced Talk Radio Claims Of “Full Blown Voter Fraud”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Documents released by The Guardian uncovered emails which purportedly show that GOP operatives in Wisconsin wanted to use “talk radio” to push the idea of voter fraud in a close state supreme court race of an ally of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A day after the email, an article appeared in The Daily Caller which referenced a local talk radio host claiming voter fraud in the election.

    On September 14, The Guardian published leaked documents pertaining to the “‘John Doe investigation’ into suspected campaign finance violations by [Scott] Walker’s campaign and it’s network.” These previously unreleased emails now show that Wisconsin GOP operatives wanted to use talk radio outlets to push politically motivated claims of “voter fraud” in order to force a recall if Walker's ally lost a 2011 election.

    A series of emails released included one from a “Scott Jensen,” who may have been the Scott Jensen who previously served as Wisconsin Assembly Speaker and previous ALEC State Chair for Wisconsin and went on to become a lobbyist for groups implicated in the investigation. In these emails, GOP operative Steve Baas stated “I obviously think we should” start “messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number.” Jensen responded telling him that “Anything fishy should be highlighted. Stories should be solicited by talk radio hosts”:

    Page 8

    Interestingly, the day after Jensen and Baas discussed using radio outlets to push voter fraud to challenge the legitimacy of Prosser’s election results, then-Daily Caller reporter Matt Boyle penned an article titled “Election Fraud Allegations Fly In Close Wisconsin Supreme Court Race.”

    In his piece, Boyle cites “Madison and Milwaukee conservative radio host Vicki McKenna,” writing McKenna told the Daily Caller “she spent almost her entire two-hour show taking audience calls, in which listeners detailed what may be considered full-blown voter fraud.”

    Referencing the leaked emails, election law expert Rick Hasen, who has made a career debunking baseless claims of voter fraud, explained "It shows that all this talk of fraud is all about manipulating Republican public opinion to believe that if Democrats won a close Supreme Court race, and the recall went to a recount ,that the election was stolen by Democratic voter fraud. This cynical “messaging” is sadly validating of what many of us have said."

  • Right-Wing Media Revive Local Anti-Choice Attack On New Mexico Abortion Providers

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has used documents taken from the anti-choice group the New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) to allege wrongdoing by the University of New Mexico (UNM). After a push from NMAFL to revive the allegations, conservative media outlets have recently begun circulating the panel’s misinformed anti-choice attack against UNM and New Mexico abortion providers.

  • The Conservatives Who Said That Trump’s New Campaign Chief Betrayed Breitbart's Memory By Backing Donald Trump

    ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon is the executive chairman of conservative website Breitbart News, which has been embroiled in a civil war over the publication’s Trump support. Numerous conservative media figures have slammed Bannon -- who is taking a leave of absence to work for Trump -- and Breitbart News for destroying the legacy of the site’s founder Andrew Breitbart, who said in 2011 that Donald Trump is “not a conservative.”

  • How To Faceplant While Reporting On The Clinton Tax Returns

    Seeking Scandal, Conservative Outlet Mixes Up Clinton Foundations -- Will Others Follow Suit?

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    An embarrassing misreading of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s 2015 tax returns led The Daily Caller to publish an entire article based on the false premise that the couple had given almost all their charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.

    The August 12 article, inaccurately headlined “96 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation,” claimed that while the Clintons’ tax returns indicate they gave more than $1 million to charity in 2015, “the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.” The article went on to claim that the donations went to the “Clinton Foundation," which has purportedly "been at the center of several controversies that have hobbled Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by eroding trust in the former secretary of state,” and highlighted several trumped-up scandals related to that organization.

    Unfortunately for The Daily Caller, the Clintons’ tax returns indicate that they gave that money not to the well-known Clinton Foundation but to the Clinton Family Foundation, an entirely separate entity, which in fact distributes its funds to a variety of other charitable and nonprofit organizations.

    As we noted when conservative outlets mixed up the two entities last year:

    As Nonprofit Quarterly explained, the Clinton Family Foundation acts "a clearinghouse for the family's personal philanthropy." According to the Family Foundation's 2014 tax filing, Hillary and Bill Clinton are the only donors, and the Family Foundation distributes their money to various charities and nonprofits, including New York Public Radio, the American Nurses Foundation, the American Heart Association -- and the separate William J. Clinton Foundation.

    The William J. Clinton Foundation -- which was recently renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation -- is the highly-respected international charity that has garnered significant media attention since Clinton announced her run for president. It is the foundation that helps AIDS/HIV sufferers around the world get better medicine, and battles global health crises, economic inequality, childhood obesity, and climate change.

    While there would be nothing suspicious about the Clintons donating to Clinton Foundation given their obvious commitment to its good works, the fact remains that the $1 million donation in question wasn’t directed there.

    UPDATE: The Daily Caller corrected its article, explaining that the $1 million donation was given to the Clinton Family Foundation, and not the Clinton Foundation as originally claimed:

    (Correction: This article initially identified the Clinton non-profit that received the bulk of the Clintons’ charitable donations as the Clinton Foundation. The $1 million contribution actually went to the Clinton Family Foundation. The Clintons control the entity, but it is separate from the Clinton Foundation.)

  • Right-Wing Media Monitor, Film Attendees Inside All-Gender Restroom At Democratic Convention


    Right-wing media monitored and filmed people using the designated all-gender restroom at the Democratic National Convention, looking for “obviously transgender” convention attendees in the bathroom. Conservative media have long peddled the bogus myth that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people will allow male sexual predators to sneak into women’s bathrooms by pretending to be transgender, leading to an increase in assault and misbehavior in restrooms.