Right-wing media smeared the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) after President Obama announced that it would be the first U.S. mosque he visits in his presidency. Conservative media accused the mosque, one of the largest Muslim centers in the mid-Atlantic region, of having ties to terrorism based on cherry-picked, decades-old connections and former employees.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust survivors warned about the demagoguery and rhetoric espoused by Donald Trump that they say echoes back to Nazi Germany -- the same rhetoric which has been sanctioned by right-wing media and praised by white nationalist media as "wonderful."
Right-wing media figures are criticizing the conservative magazine National Review after it released a comprehensive feature of conservatives blasting current GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The critics are claiming the magazine's criticism is "intellectual snobbery," that the magazine is "irrelevant," that it has "lost touch with the electorate," and that it is committing "suicide."
Right-wing media are mocking President Obama's decision to honor victims of gun violence during his January 12 State of the Union address by leaving an empty seat in First Lady Michelle Obama's guest box, calling the decision "dangerous" and "empty rhetoric."
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States on December 7. Trump's statement followed widespread calls from conservative media not to allow Muslim refugees from Syria to resettle in the United States.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump cited a misleading poll from Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy to justify a call he issued "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Gaffney has been described as "one of America's most notorious Islamophobes" and experts dismiss the poll's methodology as questionable.
Washington Times contributor and syndicated radio host Steve Deace used an anti-semitic propaganda video, which features a British far right "fascist" politician, as evidence that refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. have "brutal intentions." In reality, refugees are thoroughly vetted and evidence of refugee ties to terrorism are extremely rare.
In his November 17 column for The Washington Times, Deace warned that Europe was being overrun by refugees bent on raising the flag of Islam over the continent, and that the U.S. would suffer the same fate if refugees from the Syrian Civil War were relocated here. Deace claimed refugees met by welcoming Europeans hid sinister intentions to exploit and overtake European culture:
The waves of Syrian and other Muslim refugees inundating Europe have often been met by clapping and cheering Germans or Swedes singing their version of "this land is your land."
But the refugees already knew that sappy tune, which is why they came so far in the first place. They knew they would be given other people's money. They knew their hosts were bent on demographic suicide due to paltry birthrates. And they knew the women and young girls at the end of their journey were ripe for sexual conquest because the men would do little about it.
As evidence for his fear mongering, Deace pointed to a video "which catalogs in detail the brutal intentions of those who are welcomed under the banner of peace and understanding." Deace attributes the video to Jews News, a blog which has been criticized in the past for posting inaccurate and inflammatory misinformation about Muslims. The video purports to show a collection of footage and interviews edited to stoke fears of Middle Eastern refugees.
The racist slant of the video includes an overarching theme of anti-Semitism, which blames Jews for the assimilation and multiculturalism the video's creators warn against. The film includes footage of Nick Griffin, the former leader of the British National Party, a right-wing political party both academics and Prime Minster David Cameron refer to as "fascist." Griffin warns in the video of "an unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and zionist supremacists" who "schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation," with a "deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands."
Even the right-wing site Breitbart, which also shared the video, acknowledged that the inclusion of the "anti-Semitic" Griffin in the film represented a "swipe" at European Jews. The video closes with a warning that Jews will act as a catalyst for multiculturalism using a clip of Barbara Lerner Spectre, an American-Israeli academic, who claims Jews will play a "leading role" in making Europe "multicultural."
The origin of the video appears to be from a collaboration between users of 4chan and 8chan's "/pol/" message boards, known for their dedication to discussing self-proclaimed "politically incorrect" topics, which often venture into white supremacy. The YouTube account "Death of Nations," which is responsible for the video's release, bookended the incendiary footage with a logo referencing the /pol/ message board. According to The Daily Beast, members of these same forums posted hacked social media information of Trayvon Martin in an attempt to "depict him as a thug and drug user, and justify his shooting death."
Deace's choice to use the video as a warning against accepting refugees rejects expert analysis of the minimal security threat posed by refugees as well as statistics of refugee behavior. According to the Migration Policy Institute, it is very unlikely a terrorist would choose to infiltrate, or be successful in infiltrating, the refugee resettlement program (emphasis added):
The most common arguments against resettling more Syrian refugees, made by some Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress, is that the resettlement program could be a path for infiltration into the United States by ISIS or other terrorists. But the refugee resettlement program is the least likely avenue for a terrorist to choose. Refugees who are selected for resettlement to the United States go through a painstaking, many-layered review before they are accepted. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and national intelligence agencies independently check refugees' biometric data against security databases. The whole process typically takes 18-24 months, with high hurdles for security clearance.
The Department of Homeland Security has a strong track record in vetting refugees accepted into the U.S. Since September 11, 2001, only two of the 745,000 refugees resettled in America have been arrested for terrorist related activities (specifically aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq, not planning attacks on United States soil). According to an analysis by The New York Times, "nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims," since 9/11.
Deace's promotion of right-wing, anti-immigrant propaganda actually plays into the desires of anti-Western extremist groups like ISIS, because it complicates an already chaotic refugee crisis and encourages the sort of anti-Muslim behavior that terror groups use as a recruiting tool. The goal of terrorism is to effect change by using fear to pit populations against one another. ISIS and others aim to sow fear and promote costly overreaction. One such overreaction would be the rejection of well-vetted refugees.
At least 30 state governors -- 29 Republican, 1 Democratic -- are parroting right-wing media myths about security concerns presented by incoming Syrian refugees to argue against taking part in expanded refugee resettlement programs. However, the overwhelming majority of refugees pose no credible threat to the United States, and the vetting process for refugee applicants is thorough. Furthermore, state governments lack the legal authority to dictate immigration policy in the United States.
Conservative media used the terrorist attacks in Paris to fearmonger about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, claiming that the U.S. cannot effectively vet potential refugees, ignoring experts who say that the thoroughness of the U.S.'s refugee vetting process sets it apart from those of European countries.
The Washington Times touted a report attacking the process the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used to develop proposed restrictions on environmentally-destructive mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay, without disclosing that the report was funded by the company that wants to build the mine.
The EPA has invoked Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to protect Alaska's ecologically sensitive Bristol Bay region, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, from the possible "catastrophic" impacts of a proposed gold and copper mine. Pebble Limited Partnership, the company that has been seeking approval to construct a mine in the region, commissioned former defense secretary William Cohen's firm to author a report on whether or not EPA acted "fairly" in its evaluation of potential mining in the Bristol Bay watershed.
Rather than note that the study was funded by a company with a vested interest in the outcome, The Washington Times simply stated that the report was conducted "by Mr. Cohen, who was in Democratic President Clinton's cabinet." The Washington Times also did not mention that Cohen was a Republican member of both the House and Senate before joining the Clinton administration.
In addition to having a financial conflict of interest, the Cohen report did not make meaningfully different claims than the Pebble Limited Partnership had already made itself, and was nowhere near as accurate, comprehensive, or transparent as the EPA's own methodical scientific review.
From the November 6 article in The Washington Times:
At the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing, Republicans took aim at the EPA's objectivity in assessing the project, producing a cache of emails from EPA staffers obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.
Former Defense Secretary William Cohen, author of an Oct. 6 report critical of the process, pointed out that the project lies on state land designated for mining, not federal land.
"The notion that the EPA can make you file something that you're not ready to file, and over the objections of the state of Alaska, is, it seems to me, that's quite a stretch for EPA's power," Mr. Cohen said.
The report by Mr. Cohen, who was in Democratic President Clinton's cabinet, concluded that the EPA had acted unfairly by using the less comprehensive 404(c) authority instead of evaluating a permit application under the National Environmental Policy Act.
"EPA's unprecedented, preemptive use of Section 404(c) before a permit filing, in my judgment, exacerbated the shortcomings of the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and inhibited the involvement of two key participants -- the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Alaska," Mr. Cohen said in his testimony.
His findings were echoed in a report released Wednesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which accused the EPA of exercising a "preemptive veto" against the mine by undertaking a rarely used 404(c) review.
The report cites a 2010 email in which Mr. Hough, an environmental scientist in the EPA's wetlands division, says that, "we have never gone down the route of a 'preemptive' 404(c) action before."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working to protect Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, from the adverse environmental impacts of a proposed mineral excavation project called the Pebble Mine. Proponents of the mine have been pushing an array of falsehoods, many of which are being propagated in the media as the EPA's process for evaluating the project was scrutinized in a November 5 Congressional hearing. Here are the facts.
Conservative media are baselessly fearmongering that the upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris will create a United Nations "court" with the power to punish the U.S. for its "climate debt" and implement a massive redistribution of wealth from the U.S. and other wealthy nations to developing countries. These media figures are referring to a proposal by Bolivia to establish an "International Tribunal of Climate Justice" to deal with countries that fail to comply with an international climate change agreement, but the Tribunal is reportedly "a non-starter with almost every other country going to the Paris talks," and experts believe there are more feasible methods along the lines of nuclear non-proliferation treaties for ensuring countries meet their climate-related commitments.
After an almost 11-hour hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right-wing media conceded that House Select Committee on Benghazi members "didn't accomplish much."
On October 22, Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi regarding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi and her use of a personal email address while secretary of state. In their relentless drive to find a scandal that doesn't exist, media have spent the last three years pushing numerous myths surrounding Clinton's alleged role in the attacks and her legal use of her personal email account.
An October 8 Associated Press report, titled "Clinton Server Hack Attempts Came From China, Korea, Germany" outlined how "at least five cyberattack tries were apparently blocked by a 'threat monitoring' product that was connected to her network in October 2013." Fox News immediately began using the AP report to support spurious claims regarding Hillary Clinton's email server, but a Washington Post reporter recently explained that failed hacking attempts such as these are a routine occurrence online.