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  • Vince Foster’s Sister In Wash. Post: “Trump Should Be Ashamed” For Pushing Murder Conspiracy Theory

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The sister of late White House deputy counsel Vince Foster wrote a Washington Post op-ed strongly condemning presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for reviving the conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed her brother.

    Trump recently told the Post that the circumstances of Foster’s death were “very fishy” and Foster “knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”

    Sheila Foster Anthony responded to Trump’s “wrong,” “irresponsible,” and “cruel” remarks in a May 26 piece headlined, "Vince Foster was my brother. Donald Trump should be ashamed." She wrote: “For Trump to raise these theories again for political advantage is wrong. I cannot let such craven behavior pass without a response.”

    She noted that five investigations concluded that Foster’s death was a suicide and he “told me he was battling depression” days before he committed suicide.

    “Never for a minute have I doubted that was what happened,” she added.

    Anthony noted that after Foster’s death, she began to read “countless conspiracy theories spun by those who claimed that the Clintons had Vince murdered because he knew something about Whitewater” and “These outrageous suggestions have caused our family untold pain because this issue went on for so long and these reports were so painful to read.”

    Asked about Anthony’s op-ed, Trump today said, “I really know nothing about the Vince Foster situation.” He also claimed it shouldn’t be a part of the campaign “unless some evidence to the contrary of what I’ve seen comes up.”

    Leading conservative media figures and outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News have pushed conspiracy theories about Foster and the Clintons in the years after his death.

    While many reporters condemned Trump’s remarks as “bizarre” and “kooky,” his reference to the Foster conspiracy theory drew praise from fringe conservative media.

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones on May 24 claimed “there’s a cover-up going on, so we don’t know what it is, but that’s good for an open investigation with the death. .... The Clintons thought they would just have their past not looked at, but Donald Trump is willing to do it.” Jones is one of Trump’s most vocal allies and has hosted the candidate on his program.

    WND, best known for obsessing over President Obama’s birth certificate, recently claimed that Trump’s conspiracy is “backed by new evidence.” The site’s 2015 “man of the year” was none other than Donald Trump, who called the accolade an “amazing honor.”

  • Right-Wing Media Lose It After Obama Dances The Tango

    ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA & BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing commentators ripped President Obama for dancing the tango at a state dinner in Argentina a day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, criticizing him for "dancing the night away" "while Brussels burns." Meanwhile, journalists and analysists slammed conservative media figures' "easy attacks," noting that right-wing media would have criticized Obama "either way," regardless of whether he continued on or cut his trip short following the Brussels attacks.

  • Right-Wing Media Distort Hillary Clinton's Comments About Libya Intervention

    Conservative Media Follow RNC Lead In Smearing Clinton For Accurately Stating No Americans Died In Military Campaign To Oust Gadhafi

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ, TYLER CHERRY & BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing media figures are distorting a comment made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a MSNBC town hall, where Clinton said "we didn't lose a single person" during the 2011 U.S. military intervention in Libya. Conservative commentators parroted the GOP in berating Clinton for allegedly "forgetting" about the four Americans who were killed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks, when in reality Clinton was referring only to the military intervention in Libya, which ended nearly a year before the Benghazi attacks.

  • How A Right-Wing Media Myth Made It Into Oral Arguments For A Case Challenging Texas' Restrictive Abortion Law

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN & SHARON KANN

    In the oral arguments for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt -- the case before the Supreme Court concerning Texas' anti-choice law, HB 2 -- Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller relied on a common right-wing media myth to justify medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. In his argument, Keller made the long-debunked claim -- pushed for years by right-wing media -- that HB 2 was passed to prevent another "Kermit Gosnell scandal," in which illegal operations led to multiple deaths at a Philadelphia clinic.

  • Right-Wing Media Run With "Unreliable" Arkansas Woman's Claims That The Clintons Want Her Dead

    Even The National Enquirer Scorned Her In The 1990s

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Right-wing media have seized upon Arkansan Sally Miller's baseless claims that Hillary Clinton is plotting to have her killed and that she had an affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s, who supposedly told her that "Hillary is a lesbian." Miller's allegations spread through right-wing media websites and Rush Limbaugh's talk radio show after the Drudge Report highlighted an interview detailing Miller's attempt to sell a "tell-all memoir." Miller's claims were dismissed decades ago by Arkansas media outlets who regarded her as "unreliable," and even the National Enquirer ridiculed her assertions at the time.

  • Former Obama Birther Steve Deace Rushes To Defend Ted Cruz's Presidential Eligibility

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    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 --

    (CROSSTALK)

    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.

  • Right-Wing Media Echo Conservative Group's Lie That New Email Contradicts Administration's Benghazi Testimony

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Right-wing media are repeating the false claim that a Defense Department email sent to Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff showing U.S. military forces were ready to "move to Benghazi" the night of the September 11, 2012 attacks contradicts former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's testimony about the attacks. In fact, the congressional testimony that conservatives claim the email contradicts shows that military forces were deployed that night.

  • Reminder: The Right-Wing Media Vetted Obama, And It Was Priceless

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Obama conspiracy theories

    As President Obama approaches his final year in office, there's mounting frustration among Republicans and members of the conservative media that the elusive "truth" still hasn't been told about Obama, and that the mainstream media continues to hide scandalous revelations from public view.

    Using the allegation as a shield to protect himself from claims he may have fabricated parts of his own biography, Ben Carson took the lead last week when he admonished the press for allegedly giving Obama a pass. "This was the same media that time and again declared it off-limits to dig into then-candidate Barack Obama's background," claimed Carson in a recent fundraising pitch.

    That charge was excitedly echoed by the right-wing media, which have been begging the press to out Obama for the fraud they think he is. ("The media elite don't vet their own, just the enemy.")

    Again, Obama's entering his eighth year in office, but somehow he hasn't been vetted? Somehow all kinds of embarrassing and scandalous parts of his background remain under wraps? It's hard to believe. And as Media Matters detailed, not many journalists are buying the claim that Carson's being held to a unique standard.  

    "The suggestion that others have not gone through this [scrutiny] ignores history," noted Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe.

    The not-vetted complaint works side-by-side with the revived 'liberal media bias' allegation that's been at the center of the Republican campaign season in recent weeks. Together, the two claims represent the Mantle and Maris of conservative whining. The conspiratorial bookends are often used to try to explain away Obama's two electoral landslide victories. Conservatives seem to think that if only the truth were revealed, "Then the scales will fall from the voters' eyes and they'll boot him from the office he never deserved to occupy in the first place," wrote Paul Waldman at American Prospect.

    The vetting claim reflects life inside the Fox News-generated bubble. It reflects a conservative movement that's increasingly allergic to bouts of reality and common sense. It goes to a core belief that they've been right all along about Obama and his dastardly ways, it's just that the press won't inform the public.

    But here's the thing: conservative commentators, and especially conservative bloggers, are ignoring the fact that Obama was vetted -- by them. For more than two presidential election cycles.

    And it was priceless.

    Obama's a Muslim. Obama was born in Kenya. Obama forged his birth certificate. Obama is the son of Malcolm X. Obama's hiding his gay past.

    All of those claims, and much more, were forwarded by right-wing media outlets (including Fox News) that have been thrashing around in cesspools over the years, all in the name of vetting the elusive Obama. (The late blogger and satirist Al Weisel, known as Jon Swift, masterfully detailed the attempted vetting.)

    Some of the lowlights from conservative bloggers' 2008 crusade that I previously highlighted when they started complaining in 2012 that the president hadn't been properly investigated:  

    • Obama didn't actually write his memoir, Dreams of My Father. It was ghostwritten by communist sympathizer Bill Ayers.  
    • Obama wasn't born in the United States. Probably the most infamous of the right-wing media's vetting adventures, the claim that Obama couldn't be president because he was foreign-born (and forged his birth certificate) first took root in conservative media during the 2008 campaign.
    • Obama had an underage gay affair with a pedophile.
    • Obama had an affair with a Chicago fundraiser who was then exiled to a Caribbean island.
    • Obama had cocaine-fueled gay sex with an ex-convict.
    • Late in the 2008 campaign, Michelle Obama gave a shocking, race-baiting interview with something called the African Press International. (She did not.)

    Then in 2012, the same frantic, clueless sleuths vowed to redouble their efforts. Under the headline, "Re-Vetting Wars: Obama's Girlfriends Speak," American Thinker editor Thomas Lifson noted "One of the foremost concerns of the Obama re-election effort is the promised re-vetting of Obama, playing off the widespread perception that the media utterly failed to investigate the reality beneath the highly manufactured identity peddled in 2008."

    At Breitbart.com, founder Andrew Breitbart vowed to pull back the dark curtain on Obama's troubling past; to do what the supposed lapdog press refused to do in 2008.

    Breitbart's first supposed smoking gun centered around the revelation that in 1998, then-state senator Obama attended a Chicago play about activist Saul Alinsky and then took part in a panel discussion afterwards.

    Shocking stuff, indeed.

    Meanwhile, despite the fact that the White House released the president's long-form birth certificate in 2011 to debunk all the birther nonsense, right-wing columnist Jerome Corsi delved deeper down the black hole, publishing a series of reports trying to prove Obama's birth certificate was a forgery. He also promoted the claim that Obama "hid" his gay life and that, of course, he's secretly a Muslim.

    In 2012, conservative filmmaker Joel Gilbert unveiled his documentary film, Dreams From My Real Father, which claimed Obama is the son of communist writer Frank Marshall Davis. The loopy DVD movie was touted by Fox News' Monica Crowley, among others.

    So c'mon, conservative commentators, don't sell yourselves short. You did vet Obama, and it was genius. I can't wait to see what their vetting of Hillary Clinton looks like.

  • Right-Wing Media Baselessly Warn Of International Climate Change Court That Would Punish U.S.

    ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    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.

  • Trump Is "Still Right About Mexican Immigrants," According To Ann Coulter

    Blog ››› ››› JESSICA TORRES

    Conservative commentator Ann Coulter charged that "Latino culture" accepts "child rape" in order to claim Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is "still right about Mexican rapists."

    Coulter has taken credit for Trump's offensive rhetoric about immigrants, suggesting his campaign announcement remarks that the U.S. is being treated "as a dumping ground" for Mexican immigrants who are "rapists" and "murderers" were inspired by her racist book Adios, America.  

    On August 5, Coulter took to the fringe conspiracy blog World Net Daily to write that Trump is "still right about Mexican rapists": 

    There's a cultural acceptance of child rape in Latino culture that doesn't exist in even the most dysfunctional American ghettos. When it comes to child rape, the whole family gets involved. (They are family-oriented!) 

    [...]

    Far from "I am woman, hear me roar," these are cultures where women help the men rape kids.

    [...]

    When the crime is this bizarre, it's not "anecdotal." "Child rape perpetrated by more than one family member" isn't your run-of-the-mill crime. It's rather like discovering dozens of cannibalism cases in specific neighborhoods.

    How many fourth-generation American father-son child-rape duos do we have? How many American brother-sister teams are conspiring in child rape and murder? How many mothers are helping their boyfriends and husbands get away with raping their own children?

    And how many 12-year-old American girls are giving birth - to the delight of their parents?

    In some immigrant enclaves, the police have simply given up on pursuing statutory rape cases with Hispanic victims. They say that after being notified by hospital administrators that a 12-year-old has given birth and the father is in his 30s, they'll show up at the girl's house - and be greeted by her parents calling the pregnancy a "blessing."

    This happens all the time, they say.

    And yet, in the entire American media, there have been more stories about a rape by Duke lacrosse players that didn't happen than about the slew of child rapes by Hispanics that did because Democrats want the votes and businesses want the cheap labor. No wonder they hate Trump.

  • The Conservative Media War Over Donald Trump

    ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS & BEN DIMIERO

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign launch speech viciously denigrated Mexican immigrants and strongly split conservative media figures on his candidacy. While some argue Trump is a "rodeo clown," others think he is "saying things that need to be said." Several conservatives disagree with Trump's rhetoric but claim he's raising important issues.

  • NRA's Ted Nugent Praises Use Of The Word "Nigger"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent distorted recent comments President Obama made on the race issue in America to defend the use of the N-word including its racist use by former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman.

    In a June 24 column for conspiracy website WND, Nugent addressed President Obama's reference to the word "nigger" on Marc Moran's WTF podcast. Obama said, "Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say 'nigger' in public."

    Apparently misinterpreting the point Obama was making about racism, Nugent praised Obama, writing that he "is not afraid of speaking honestly without fear of politically correct word nazi's going berserk."

    Nugent went on to heap praise on the word, without mentioning its long and vile association with racism. Citing himself as someone who "continue[s] to use the word nigger at one time or another," Nugent listed several well-known people, including Fuhrman, whom he said were not bound by "political correctness" in their use of the word:

    Along with President Obama and my hero Richard Pryor, we join Howard Stern, Johnny Cochran, Mark Furman [sic], O.J. Simpson, Kid Rock, James Brown, the mighty Funkbrothers, Al not so Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Malcom X, Kanye West, Fifty Cent and pretty much every black rapper and hip hopper on earth, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, a few thousand NBA, NFL, MLB sports stars, legions of famous and not so famous musicians, actors, politicians, media personalities and assorted celebrities of every color, creed, ethnicity and walk of life, along with a few million others around the world who have used and continue to use the word nigger at one time or another.

    The dishonest referencing of the word by its first letter is the epitome of political correctness gone mad.

    Fuhrman, who is now a Fox News contributor, was an LAPD homicide detective on the O.J. Simpson murder case. During Simpson's trial, the defense produced tapes of Fuhrman using the N-word more than 40 times over a 10-year period. According to the tapes, in his capacity with the LAPD, Fuhrman said things to African-Americans like, "You do what you're told, understand, nigger?" He was also recorded bragging that he liked lining up "niggers against the wall and shooting them."

    In his WND column, Nugent lavishly praised the word. He wrote, "The word nigger has historically been used in a powerfully positive way when describing the proud heritage and history of deeply respected, even revered 'blackness,'" and noted that he considered it "the greatest compliment" when someone uses the word to describe his music.

    Nugent added, "The word is used constantly across America in a friendly, even tribal greeting and salutation with no hint whatsoever of negativity nor hostility," and compared its use to the "'MF' word" -- a reference to "mother fucker" that he never spelled out, although his column did spell out the word "nigger" five times.

    Nugent also wrote, "As blacks blow away blacks in record numbers in Chicago and other urban hellzones each weekend, does anyone have the audacity to believe that words play any role in this insane widespread criminality?" adding, "What sort of goofball could possibly believe that certain words are OK for one group of people but forbidden by others?"

    On Facebook, Nugent promoted his WND column in a post that said, "When I play my Motown guitar, I niggerup."

    Nugent, who has a lengthy history of racially-charged rhetoric, is correct that he has used the N-word before. In a 1990 interview with Detroit Free Press Magazine, Nugent defended the apartheid system in South Africa and said, "I use the word nigger a lot because I hang around with a lot of niggers, and they use the word nigger, and I tend to use words that communicate ... I don't mean to offend."

    In a 1995 interview with Bob Mack of Grand Royal magazine, Nugent claimed "real America" was full of "working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning," before saying of James Brown and several other African-American musicians, "Those are niggers, those are fucking spirited, genuine African-Americans."

    During an interview for the release a 2002 album, Nugent reportedly said, "So when ever someone tries to claim that I'm a racist because I use the word 'nigger,' the word 'nigger' is a badge of honour where I come from."

    Beyond his use of racial slurs, Nugent has called Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and has claimed that African-Americans should be racially profiled the same way members of a community might profile a breed of dog that was biting children. He also said that African-Americans could "solve the black problem" if they were more honest and law-abiding, and that the African-American community has a "mindless tendency to violence" and an inability to "read or speak clearly."

    This post has been updated to include additional information.

  • "There Goes The Neighborhood": Right-Wing Media Reactions To HUD's Neighborhood Diversity Plan

    ››› ››› NICHOLAS ROGERS & KATIE SULLIVAN

    Right-wing media outlets are attacking a new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to increase diversity in American neighborhoods, calling it an attempt by President Obama to dictate where people live. But the program merely provides grant money to encourage communities to provide affordable housing and greater access to community resources.