Author Page | Media Matters for America

Brendan Karet

Author ››› Brendan Karet
  • Tucker Carlson's absurd, ongoing caricature of "the left" 

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    When Fox News host Tucker Carlson isn’t promoting white supremacist conspiracy theories and attempting to mainstream white nationalism, he devotes a significant portion of his show to describing his version of “the left” and what “the left” believes.

    “The left” is many things to Carlson: It “despises the American flag,” continues to fight a “war on Christmas,” believes immigrants “are better for America than you are,” and wants to “abolish” America.

  • Sean Hannity suggests people didn’t vote for Trump because “pee tape” rumors. The Steele dossier wasn’t released until months after the election.

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    During the March 19 edition of his radio show, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that “maybe many Americans” had believed “there were two hookers in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton, Donald Trump room at the time, and they were urinating in his bed,” and “probably didn’t vote for Trump because of that.” Hannity continued, arguing “That’s election interference, using bought and paid for Russian lies. How does that not become a part of the Mueller -- the Mueller investigation?”:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Now, what did they do with the dossier? Well, they spread it like wildfire, we learned -- what, 12 different news agencies, different reporters, and it was disseminated, and to the American people, so that -- maybe many Americans actually believe there were two hookers in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton, Donald Trump’s room at the time, and they were urinating in his bed.

    And some people believed that, probably didn’t vote for Trump because of that. Well, that’s election interference, using bought and paid for Russian lies. How does that not become a part of the Mueller -- the Mueller investigation?

    Unfortunately for Hannity, Election Day was on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, and the “pee tape” rumor became public knowledge when Buzzfeed published the Steele Dossier on January 10, 2017 -- 63 days later. One part of the dossier is even dated December 13, 2016 -- after the election.

    Hannity’s laughable conspiracy theory is one of many convoluted attacks on the “pee tape” rumor, previously provided by Rush Limbaugh, Jesse Watters, and Mark Levin. Hannity has mentioned this rumor repeatedly on his Fox News show, in an attempt to discredit the various investigations into Trump and his associates.

  • Stone indictment shows coordinated campaign to speculate about Hillary Clinton's health. Here's how right-wing media obliged.

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET & NICK FERNANDEZ

    On January 25, federal authorities arrested Trump confidant Roger Stone, charging him with obstruction of an official proceeding, false statements, and witness tampering. In the indictment, prosecutors revealed that Stone had been in contact with former Infowars colleague and fellow conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who discussed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Stone and suggested he begin to attack the health of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by saying she is “old,” that she has a “bad memory,” and that she has had a “stroke.”

    Shortly after Corsi sent that email to Stone, Trump’s allies in the right-wing fever swamps began pushing conspiracy theories regarding Clinton’s health, suggesting that she suffered from “seizures” or had “brain damage,” among other absurd claims.

    Stone indictment reveals confidant Corsi suggested Stone start attacking Clinton’s health

    Corsi contacted Stone to inform him of "very damaging" information coming about the Clinton campaign, adding that it "would not hurt to start suggesting [Clinton is] old, memory bad, has stroke." According to the indictment against Stone, "Person 1" -- known to be Corsi, according to Corsi’s own legal team -- contacted Stone via email to suggest attacking Clinton's health as a campaign issue, adding that Stone should "start suggesting [Clinton is] old, memory bad, has stroke." From United States of America v. Roger Jason Stone, Jr.:

    [United States of America v. Roger Jason Stone, Jr., accessed 1/25/19; Twitter, 1/25/19]

    Daily Beast: “Jerome Corsi Told Roger Stone WikiLeaks Had Dirt on Hillary’s Health. Then the Attacks Started.” The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill reported, “Weeks before WikiLeaks released emails in 2016 implying Hillary Clinton’s health was failing, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi emailed Trump associate Roger Stone about the forthcoming leak.” She also documented how Infowars’ promotion of conspiracy theories about Clinton's health eventually spurred other far-right media figures, including Fox’s Sean Hannity, to do the same. [The Daily Beast, 11/28/18]

    Days after Corsi sent his private advice to Stone, right-wing media boosted claims that Clinton had “brain damage”

    Mike Cernovich claims to offer “Expert Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Physical and Mental Breakdown.” On August 6, conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich claimed in his now-defunct blog Danger & Play that “Hillary’s health problems are well-known among the Secret Service.” Referring to a video of her speaking, he wrote, “While still FROZEN, Hillary is rescued by a male Secret Service agent, who reassures her, ‘You’ll be OK.’ Notice how Hillary’s lips are pursed? She has completely frozen, and has lost control of her executive functions/pre-frontal cortex.” From his August 6, 2016, blog post:

    Hillary Clinton recently had a breakdown on TV. The media is of course covering this up rather than having an expert medical panel on to discuss her health. Yet what happened to Hillary was obviously a sign of a head injury and stroke.

    When a protester appears, Hillary freezes. In psychology you learn that the flight-or-fight response is a myth. A stressful situation trigger a fight, flight, or freeze response.

    “Freeze” is what we mean by saying someone has a “deer in the head lights look.” A prey animal freezes when it senses danger it cannot overcome and thus does not risk running away from. By freezing the deer hopes to not be seen. [Danger & Play, 8/6/16]

    Gateway Pundit: “Expert Analysis finds Hillary Clinton’s Recent Seizures a Sign of Brain Damage.” On August 6, 2016, The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft wrote that “THE PRESSURE IS TOO MUCH” and that “recent videos call Hillary Clinton’s physical and mental stability is in question.” He then quoted from Cernovich’s blog post. [The Gateway Pundit, 8/6/16]

    Cernovich: Clinton had a “seizure” and “suffered a brain injury during a fall.” From a August 7, 2016, post on Danger & Play:

    Michael Jackson, Prince, and Elvis would travel with a personal doctor who could administer needed life-saving drugs and attention during a crisis. Remember when you thought famous people like Michael Jackson and Elvis had good medical care? What’s Clinton on?

    Hillary appears to travel with her own Michael Jackson/Elvis style doctor. Who is he?

    We saw this first “doctor” or handler during Hillary’s recent freeze-up. You can see Hillary’s handler, who at first glance would not be considered the alpha male of the group, reassure Hillary, speak to her using hypnotic language, and then move the Secret Service Agents out of the way. This handler is not an ordinary SS agent.

    Hillary tries playing off the seizure by acting as if she had a “brain freeze.” As my medical experts explained to me, patients who suffer seizures become experts at playing it off.

    Hillary has suffered a brain injury during a fall. She either had a stroke, causing her to fall, or the fall caused her stroke. (Doctors were unsure whether the fall was the cause or effect of the stroke.) [Danger & Play, 8/7/16]

    Gateway Pundit: “IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT=> Photos of Hillary’s Handler Lead to More Questions about her Health – UPDATE: More Pics!” On August 7, 2016, Joe Hoft claimed that Clinton was accompanied by a “handler,” writing, “This man is still unknown although the web has now reported pictures of him at several outings with Hillary – assisting the weak and tired candidate. The fact that the man gets on stage, touches Hillary and then tells her what to do next, is very questionable.” [The Gateway Pundit, 8/7/16]

    Gateway Pundit: “PHOTOS=> Hillary’s Handler Carries DIAZEPAM Pen for Patients Who Experience Recurrent Seizures!” [The Gateway Pundit, 8/7/16]

    Breitbart: “Internet Melts Down over Photos of Hillary Clinton Getting Helped Up the Stairs.” In an August 7 blog post for Breitbart.com, Patrick Howley wrote that “Hillary Clinton needed to be physically helped up a moderate flight of stairs by her team of staffers and handlers” and that “Reuters and Getty photographs captured Hillary Clinton, 68, struggling to make it up the stairs, either as a result of her fragile body or perhaps because her well-documented brain injuries make it harder for her to transport herself through daily life activities.” [Breitbart, 8/7/16]

    Hannity hosts doctors to speculate on Clinton’s health, claims, “Some said it's like a mini-seizure. … Is there a possibility she had a mini-stroke, a TIA?” From the August 8, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Welcome back to Hannity. So an image of Hillary Clinton recently posted to the website The American Mirror is sparking new controversy for the Clinton campaign. Now, the picture, which shows Hillary Clinton apparently needing assistance to climb a flight of stairs at a campaign stop back in February, was picked up by The Drudge Report, which posted this headline over the weekend detailing Hillary Clinton's history with falls and speculating that the former secretary of state could be experiencing a serious undisclosed medical condition.

    Joining us now with analysis, from the Fox News medical A-team we have Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel, and Dr. David Samadi is with us. All right. By the way, it's in The Daily Mail, "Are Hillary Clinton's health problems more severe than thought?" A new book is coming out that claims that. The Gateway Pundit had today, "Hillary's handler carrying a Diazepam pen for patients who experience recurrent seizures.” When you look at her history, Dr. Siegel, of falling, concussions, the blood clots, et cetera, and then this other video that has emerged, what are your thoughts?

    HANNITY: Just out of fairness, I don't want to show the video, but I've asked both of you to look at the video where she seems to, like -- some have said it's like a mini-seizure. What does it look like to you?

    HANNITY: Is there a possibility she had a mini-stroke, a TIA? [Fox News, Hannity, 8/8/16]

    National Enquirer photo gallery of “Hillary Clinton’s Secret Health Crisis” suggests she had multiple sclerosis and had “endured a series of strokes.” In a series of captioned photos, the National Enquirer claimed that a “political insider” said, “Hillary’s past health problems are down to MS,” and that “other sources claimed that Hillary’s also suffered three secret strokes.” The captions also suggested that Clinton was fatigued, confused, incontinent, had a history of blackouts and memory loss, and that she had a traumatic brain injury. [National Enquirer, 8/8/16]

    Gateway Pundit: “New Questions on Hillary’s Health=> What is She Hiding Under Her Duster Jacket?” In an August 9, 2016, blog post, Jim Hoft wrote, “The Drudge Report highlighted poor Hillary’s health issues this weekend. This all started after Mike Cernovich’s post on Hillary’s delicate condition.” [Gateway Pundit, 8/9/16]

    Hannity: “I’ve talked to more doctors [who tell me that] by all appearances, she has a major, major health issue.” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Now, she hasn't had a press conference, maybe because of health issues. I don't know if you watched the Fox medical A-team last night analyzing all these issues involving Clinton's health. I've talked to more doctors that have gotten in contact with me and tell me, you know, by all appearances, she has a major, major health issue. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/9/16]

    Hannity: “One doctor friend of mine was really convinced she had a stroke,” and “a mini-stroke or a TIA may not show up the same way on an MRI.” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We had our Fox medical A-team on last night and I got to tell you, they're saying we really need to see the real records. We need to see her Wall Street speeches where she got $250 grand from all the big insurance companies, all the big banks, all the people that are buying her influence. Let's see the speeches and let's see the medical records. She keeps talking about Donald Trump's tax returns; let's talk about that.

    ...

    You know the one thing that one doctor friend of mine was really convinced she had a stroke. And that some of her reactions are indicative that that’s coming from the part of the brain where some damage happened. Now as I understand it, a mini-stroke or a TIA may not show up the same way on an MRI. I remember my brother-in-law, a radiologist, would literally -- he was at home, and they'd send him pictures -- we'd be at family dinners and he would have to go in and look at pictures, and he'd say, "See this is where the stroke took place, right here." And I'd say, "What does it means for this person?" And with perfect pinpoint accuracy and detail, he would describe what impact it would have on that portion of the brain in terms of the people's function.

    ...

    So, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask for her medical records. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/9/16]

    Hannity: “Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?” From the August 9, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Should Hillary have to reveal her medical condition as well as give us maybe those Wall Street speeches and big bank speeches? And joining us now with reaction is board-certified neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Daniel Kassicieh and from the Fox News Medical A-team is Dr. Mark Seigel. Dr. Siegel, good to see you again.

    All right, Daniel, let me start with you. Doctor, let me ask you, what do you see in her condition and some of these images where she keeps getting flustered or the coughing fits or you hear about the blood clots. What is your interpretation?

    HANNITY: Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?

    HANNITY: What about some of the weird pauses she has, the coughing fits she has? There are moments when I'm literally watching her and I'm thinking, OK, the facial expressions are odd. They seem off.

    HANNITY: Could that be impacted by a stroke or a TIA? [Fox News, Hannity, 8/9/16]

    Breitbart: “Physician: Mainstream Media ‘Strangely Silent’ About Hillary Clinton’s Health” On August 10, Breitbart’s Dr. Susan Berry wrote, “The executive director of a physicians’ organization questions how the mainstream media can ignore signs of what could be a traumatic brain injury in the Democrat nominee for president.” She added that Dr. Jane “Orient explains that serious concussions can often cause traumatic brain injury that is not always detected on standard medical tests such as a CT or MRI.” [Breitbart, 8/10/16]

    Hannity: “Hillary had another mental brain fart,” and they are “happening a lot lately.” From the August 10, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): It’s been the lead most of the day on the Drudge Report, actually fairly interesting story, I don’t think it’s going to impact the election a whole lot, but this whole comment of Julian Assange, actually raising questions about why this DNC staffer died and other things as well. So, we’ll get to all of that.

    Now, before we get to that -- all right, so, Hillary had another mental brain fart, hiccup, whatever you want to call it today. And these seem to be happening with more and more -- I don’t know, just happened more and more frequently. Listen to this one.

    Happening a lot lately, between that and coughing fits. So, I’m just thinking -- now what -- if I were to imagine what was actually going through Hillary’s mind at that moment, this would probably be what we would hear. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/10/16]

    Hannity: Clinton’s reaction to a question from a reporter was “seizure-esque.” From the August 10, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): What’s your take?

    FIONA GATA: It's just so hard to speculate based on snippets of the clips that, you know, what is going on without having a full examination and workup.

    HANNITY: Look at this video right here -- watch her reaction. Because it’s -- I'm not -- it almost seems seizure-esque to me. Is that?

    GATA: I mean, there are types of seizures, like focal seizures, that sometimes can cause just one body part, but it would be very rare. I mean, typically seizures will generalize, so I can't say that's a seizure. It could be distress.

    HANNITY: Are there many seizures like that, Dr. Siegel?

    MARC SIEGEL: Well I’m not a neurologist, and I don't think that that necessarily looks like a seizure, but I will say this --

    HANNITY: Let's rerack that. What do you think this is?

    SIEGEL: I’ll tell you what I think it is. I think that we've seen enough there, especially in someone who has a long medical history and who's approaching 70 years old, for me to be able to say here that both of our candidates need to release their medical information. Sean, the whole idea --

    HANNITY: This looks like violent, out-of-control movements on her part.

    SIEGEL: And it could be, and I say could be, related to previous head trauma she had. It's possible. That's why I need to see the records. That's why a neurologist needs to come forward and give a press conference and say this is what is going on with her. She may very well be completely fit, but we want to know. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/10/16]

    Breitbart: “Bizarre Behavior, Seizure Allegations Raise Doubts About Hillary Clinton’s Health.” On August 11, 2016, Breitbart linked to the conspiratorial website Zero Hedge’s claim that “as the presidential campaign enters its final stages, probing questions have emerged about the health condition of Hillary Clinton.” [Breitbart, 8/11/16]

    Breitbart: “Hated Pharma Exec Martin Shkreli: ‘I Believe Hillary Clinton Has Parkinson’s Disease.’” In an August 11, 2016, piece, Breitbart’s Charlie Nash promoted Martin Shkreli’s claim that Hillary Clinton may have “early onset Parkinson’s disease,” and linked to a Periscope livestream video in which Shkreli speculated on the status of Clinton’s physical health. [Breitbart, 8/11/16]

    Hannity: “What’s wrong with her? … Was there a neurological event of some kind?” From the August 11, 2016, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So, all of these questions are now coming up about Hillary Clinton, what happened when she was having these blood clots, the many times she’s falling. She seemed to go into, like, a mini-seizure the other day, when answering a reporter’s question. We showed you the video last night -- it’s very bizarre.

    And the fact that she continues to have these coughing fits, now ... and it goes on forever. These are not just like -- “OK, I need a second, let me get my breath.” This goes on forever.

    So, the question is -- OK, what’s wrong with her? What -- what actually happened? Was there a neurological event of some kind? What is causing all of this? Do the American people have a right to know her health issues before she were ever to be elected president of the United States?

    What do you think of the issues involving the falls, the blood clot, the many instances where she’s -- appears to be propped up by other people?

    Have you seen the video where she kind of is twitching and twitching and twitching? [Premiere Radio Network, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/11/16]

    Hannity: "What do you make of this twitching thing that she keeps doing? … Is that video we're showing a seizure, maybe?" From the August 11, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Dr. Carson, I'll show you the different examples. She's falling, you've got this sort of twitching thing that she does in front of reporters that was really bad. There's been a number of incidents and reports that she fell, and then she had this really long incident where she was out of commission for quite a while, recovering, her husband said. She's on anticoagulants. Number one, do we have a right to know? And, number two, what do you make of this twitching thing that she keeps doing? I'll run it again.

    BEN CARSON: Well, you know --

    HANNITY: Why are you laughing? You're the brain surgeon here. I'm just a humble little host.

    CARSON: It just looks funny. You know, certainly as a person gets older, you know, the number of medical conditions that we have to watch for increases, which is one of the reasons that we strongly suggest, as you get older, that you have at least a annual examination. If you're going into a very important position like this, it's critical.

    ...

    HANNITY:  Let me go back to this video, Dr. Siegel, that's on the screen now. We'll put it up again. I mean, it's a violent, violent, repetitive jerking of the head here. Now, you know -- you can see it's uncontrollable, watch the reporter, like, pull back as she -- the reporter got scared, and she keeps doing it. What is that?

    ...

    HANNITY: Is that video we're showing a seizure, maybe?

    DR. DAVID SAMADI: Well, it certainly could be --

    HANNITY: Watch it right here. Let's just -- watch it closely here, watch the reporter back, right there -- the -- you see the -- look, and it goes on and on and on. That is, to me, bizarre.

    SAMADI: There is certainly some neurologic issue going on, depending on when this tape was taken.

    ...

    HANNITY: Let me show one of the brain freezes so I can --

    ...

    HANNITY: I don't think we're getting the Wall Street speeches, the speeches, copies of the speeches that she gave to big investors and insurance companies, and I don't think we're getting this either. I think she's going to keep it undercover, which is probably by design. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/11/16]

  • Leprosy, rabies, HIV and smallpox: Fox News is spreading evidence-free conspiracy theories of a disease infested migrant caravan

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET & MADELINE PELTZ

    Fox News has been actively pushing a baseless conspiracy theory that the migrant caravan heading for the Southern U.S. border is a disease infested group of people who will infect the U.S. population if allowed entry. Over the past week, Fox hosts and guests have speculated that the migrants are carrying rabies, leprosy, smallpox, and AIDS among other diseases.

  • "We want you here": Turning Point USA bans anti-Semitic YouTuber from event only because of “the optics"

    TPUSA is fine with bigotry, just not with looking like bigots

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. , MADELINE PELTZ & BRENDAN KARET


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Turning Point USA, the pro-Trump grift masquerading as a conservative college organization, has made it clear that it doesn’t reject anti-Semitism.

    TPUSA, which raises funds off of Fox fearmongering about the liberalization of college campuses, is hosting its Young Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., from October 25 to October 28. The group is leveraging the coziness between founder Charlie Kirk and the first family by having Donald Trump Jr. speak at an event and scoring participants a visit to the White House complete with an address from the president.

    Referring to the ongoing summit, Bryan Sharpe -- who is known online as “Hotep Jesus” -- claimed on October 25 that he had been banned from TPUSA events. Sharpe has a record of expressing anti-Semitic views (which didn’t keep him from appearing on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle to attack Starbucks for holding a racial bias training), and he has appeared on the explicitly white supremacist Red Ice TV. He also once said, “I’d rather align with a racist white than a cry baby Black.”

    Sharpe later posted a Periscope video in which TPUSA Director of Urban Engagement Brandon Tatum explained to him the reason he couldn’t be in TPUSA events: “the optics of the anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Tatum cited concerns that Sharpe’s record of anti-Semitic rhetoric could be reported by the press if he was in attendance. Tatum added, “You’re a grown-ass man -- I can’t force you out of here. But I want you to understand where we are coming from. You understand?” He summarized TPUSA’s position as being “between a rock and a hard place” because while “personally, none of us have a problem with you -- we want you here. It’s the optics. The media.”

    The transparently cynical concern Tatum articulated -- not with bigotry but with the appearance of bigotry, -- is consistent with TPUSA’s record of embracing extremism but rejecting accountability for it. TPUSA might have banned Sharpe from its events, but its communications director, Candace Owens, personally reached out privately to him to smooth things out, according to Sharpe. As reported by the Miami New Times, members of a TPUSA chapter were OK with racial slurs in their online chats as long as they weren’t used too often. At a different TPUSA conference, an attendee was filmed praising Nazi Germany. And when TPUSA fired an employee for writing "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all. ... I hate blacks," the organization’s replacement hire had previously said, "I love making racist jokes."

  • Mike Cernovich's far-right conspiracy theories, bigotry, and association with white supremacists

    An abundance of tweets, blog posts, and on-air appearances -- many of which he has now deleted -- reveal the conspiracy theories, rape denial, and “alt-right” shilling that brought Cernovich fame

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. , BRENDAN KARET & JOHN KERR


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Far-right grifter and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich is putting his star power behind Republican Kelli Ward by joining her on a bus tour before the Arizona primary on August 28. Ward, who is competing for the GOP nomination to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate, described Cernovich in her announcement of the bus tour as “a social media personality and the author of several books examining political and social trends,” forgivingly glossing over Cernovich’s record of peddling disgusting conspiracy theories, shilling for the “alt-right,” dismissing date rape, and endorsing misogyny.

    Questioned about the decision, Ward hilariously claimed to not know what Cernovich’s views are. Ward, along with her husband, is an administrator of a Facebook group that traffics in some of the same conspiracy theories that Cernovich pushes. Ward has also been an ally of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Cernovich has done frequent work with Jones’ Infowars in recent years.

    Despite running with Cernovich’s crowd for years, Ward can try to get away with claiming to not know who he is perhaps because of his attempts to scrub a lot of his caustic record from his online portfolio. However, an abundance of deleted tweets, blog posts, and videos reveal him for the unhinged conspiracy theorist, rape denier, and “alt-right” shill that he became famous for being.

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory

    Cernovich has pushed conspiracy theories about pedophilia, Satanism, “spirit cooking,” and more

    Cernovich pushed forged documents and propaganda

    Cernovich spread a conspiracy theory about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich

    Cernovich falsely claimed a Roy Moore accuser forged his signature in a yearbook

    Cernovich pushed conspiracy theories about mass shootings

    Cernovich has made journalists a target of many attacks

    Cernovich has repeatedly pushed bigotry, and shilled for white supremacists and the “alt-right”

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed rape denial and misogyny

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory

    During the 2016 presidential election, some supporters of President Donald Trump baselessly claimed Democrats and powerful celebrities were tied to a pedophilia ring hiding in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. As a consequence, a man went to the restaurant to “self-investigate” and opened fire inside.

    Cernovich said, “Pizzagate is real. There are pedophiles at the highest level of media, Hollywood, and in government.”

    Cernovich has attempted to scrub his wide-ranging “Pizzagate” record to obscure his role in propagating it. But since-deleted tweets show evidence of his responsibility.

    In one video, Cernovich said, “If you want to have the real power, they force you to rape children and they record it. And that does two things. One is you are now blackmailed forever. ... And then two is only someone depraved enough to rape a child is going to be allowed in the shadow government.”

    Cernovich has pushed conspiracy theories about pedophilia, Satanism, “spirit cooking,” and more

    In a video that can still be found on far-right misogynist Stefan Molyneux’s YouTube channel, Cernovich claimed John Podesta, chairman of the campaign of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, was involved in “spirit cooking” rituals, during which he claimed participants mixed “semen with breast milk” to drink.

    Besides pushing the baseless claims on his website, Cernovich also suggested that then-candidate Donald Trump should have addressed the conspiracy theory during one of his rallies and accused the Clinton family of “100 percent” being connected to pedophile rings. On another occasion, he also suggested a visit to Haiti was evidence that the Clintons were trafficking children.

    Cernovich also accused former President Barack Obama of giving children to human traffickers.

    Cernovich also claimed to have heard that Obama’s children are not actually his children.

    In another video, Cernovich said, “We have to purge the satanists from the FBI,” noting that he thought former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe was a satanist, while he was unsure about former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

    As reported by The New Yorker, Cernovich was “among the first” to falsely claim that Hillary Clinton “had a grave neurological condition.”

    Cernovich has also tried to smear all of his protesters and critics as pedophiles. And while he has avoided to outright endorse it, he is one of the far-right figures who amplified the QAnon conspiracy theory on their social media platforms.

    Cernovich pushed forged documents and propaganda

    Cernovich promoted a forged document that accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of sexually harassing a former staffer, then quickly walked back the claim when the document was reported to police as a forgery.

    He also promoted forged documents about Emanuel Macron before he was elected president of France.

    Cernovich has also reportedly help spread pro-Assad propaganda. Cernovich declared that he was “not buying” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out chemical attacks against Syrians.

    Cernovich spread a conspiracy theory about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich

    Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016. On August 9, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought up Rich unprompted on a Dutch TV program, implying (but refusing to confirm) that Rich was his source for the DNC emails Wikileaks made public before the presidential election. Cernovich promoted the interview while questioning point-blank if Rich was Assange’s source.

    Following Cernovich’s tweet, Fox’s Sean Hannity picked up the baseless story.

    Cernovich falsely claimed a Roy Moore accuser forged his signature in a yearbook

    Cernovich falsely claimed that Beverly Young Nelson, who has reported that former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16, admitted that she forged Moore’s signature in her high school yearbook. Nelson actually said she added some notes next to the signature but that it was Moore’s signature. In fact, Cernovich cast doubt on all of the reports made against Moore.

    Cernovich pushed conspiracy theories about mass shootings

    In a since-deleted blog post, Cernovich claimed that “there was more than one shooter at Pulse in Orlando,” referring to the 2016 mass shotting at Pulse nightclub in Florida. Cernovich wrote, “As you follow the story, look for” certain “evidence.” He added, “If we don’t see all of this, then there was a second shooter.”

    He also attempted to blame a mass shooting in New Mexico on anti-fascist protesters and made similar comments following a series of bombings in Austin, TX.

    After a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, who were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in England, Cernovich attacked the pop star for liberal and “anti-American” statements that she made while reacting to a tray of donuts years prior.

    Cernovich has made journalists a target of many attacks

    Cernovich lashed out at a HuffPost journalist for reporting on a notorious anti-Muslim social media account. He also once planned a website to harass journalists and since then has set out to get some journalists fired by weaponizing fake outrage over past tweets taken out of context, unleashing his followers on harassment campaigns against targeted journalists on the way. He has said, “Most people in journalism are pedophiles.”

    After Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, Cernovich told Alex Jones that it was “a total set up.”

    He also implied on Twitter that Jacobs may have had the assault coming.

    Cernovich has repeatedly pushed bigotry, and shilled for white supremacists and the “alt-right”

    Before rebranding away from the term when it became unpopular, Cernovich was among the main online proponents of the “alt-right,” rallying against diversity and going on the record to represent the movement’s views while declaring himself to be “alt-right friendly.” He also used to promote some of its figures, including “Baked Alaska” (who is white supremacist and serial-self owner Tim Gionet), Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos (whose handle was @Nero before he got permanently banned from Twitter), and white supremacist Ricky Vaughn.

    One of his tweets supportive of the “alt-right” even gave credence to the idea of “white genocide,” a common white supremacist trope.

    In one video, Cernovich trivially used the n-word:

    He also complained about “thugs” attacking “me and my kind,” and he admitted that he was “happy” that a white supporter of Black Lives Matter was stabbed to death, saying he wouldn’t be stabbed because “I’m a … man.”

    During one of his broadcasts to his followers, Cernovich repeatedly used a homophobic slur.

    He has said, “Anywhere Muslims go, they’re blowing things up.” He also said that Muslims in America may want to “kill all women.” In another video, Cernovich warned transgender Americans that if refugees in Germany “find out about you, they’ll rape you and kill you.”

    Cernovich called the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “anti-America” and said that it is “extorting Jews.” He also replied “exactly” when Alex Jones said ADL has “always been the group that feeds on the Jews working with the Nazis.”

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed rape denial and misogyny

    Cernovich has tried to hide his misogynistic musings, which the self-declared former “total hottie” used to post on his site Danger and Play. That site was a blog “about how to pick up women” and featured posts like “Misogyny Gets You Laid.”

    One of his posts featured statements that minimized rape, including, “If you believe in rape culture, I understand a lot about you: you’re a gullible fool who believes feminists.” In a now-archived post, Cernovich denied the existence of date rape:

    Additionally, in a post offering advice on “how to choke a woman” he claimed, “Women only want to have consensual sex with men they know could rape them,” and confessed to having “choked women unconscious” on occasion. He also advocated for choking women “when standing around,” saying to do it when she “acts up.” He’s on the record offering similar advice:

    Cernovich once presented consent as a burden, saying, “If you as a man read a signal wrong, you’re a rapist.” In one video, Cernovich complained, “If your son, or you, … has sex with your girlfriend while she is sleeping … that’s technically rape.”

    He has also said that “there is probably 10 men enslaved to every one woman enslaved.”

    Similarly, in a now-deleted article titled “When In Doubt, Whip It Out,” Cernovich wrote about exposing himself to a date who refused his sexual advances, saying she “wasn’t freaked out” by him masturbating in the backseat of her car and suggesting his readers to not “settle for the make out. If possible, at least pull out your dick. If you can get her to touch it, even better.”

    A 2016 Mediaite report rounded up a sample of Cernovich’s misogynistic tweets, which included “Have you guys ever tried ‘raping’ a girl without using force? Try it. It’s basically impossible. Date rape does not exist,” as well as “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love black women, slut shame them.” Mediaite additionally noted Cernovich had tweeted and deleted: “A whore will let her friend ruin your life with a false rape case. So why should I care when women are raped?”

  • MSNBC sides with rape apologist Mike Cernovich, fires contributor for 2009 tweet mocking rape apologists

    Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Cernovich once said, “A whore will let her friend ruin your life with a false rape case. So why should I care when women are raped?”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Update (12/7/17): Ryan Grim reports that MSNBC will be re-hiring Seder.

    MSNBC reportedly cut ties with contributor Sam Seder after far-right date rape apologist Mike Cernovich spread a 2009 tweet in which Seder mocked defenders of Roman Polański, a film director charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. MSNBC’s decision to fire Seder comes on the one year anniversary of the shooting at Comet Ping Pong, which Cernovich helped spark by relentlessly pushing the “alt-right”-fueled “pizzagate” conspiracy.

    According to a December 4 report by The Wrap, MSNBC “has decided not to renew its contract with contributor Sam Seder after an old tweet emerged … brought to wide attention last month by the pro-Trump journalist and activist Mike Cernovich.”

    Seder explained Cernovich’s “smear involves the willful misinterpretation of a tweet that I posted in 2009” that was criticizing rape apologists, but MSNBC sided with Cernovich, who previously asked “Have you guys ever tried ‘raping’ a girl without using force? Try it. It’s basically impossible. Date rape does not exist,” and claimed “A whore will let her friend ruin your life with a false rape case. So why should I care when women are raped?”

    In a tweet, Media Matters Senior Fellow Matt Gertz added that the attacks against Seder ignored that when Seder made the satirical joke in 2009, he may have been responding to the media outlets and personalities that were inappropriately defending Polanski at the time.

    The reported termination of MSNBC’s relationship with Seder comes one year after a gunman walked into Comet Ping Pong, a popular family pizza restaurant, to investigate a fringe right-wing conspiracy theory that the restaurant was a cover for a pedophilia ring. Cernovich repeatedly promoted the false claim on Twitter.

    By severing ties with Seder, MSNBC has now made the same mistake that former New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd made when she legitimized Cernovich’s harassment campaign against New York Times reporter Sopan Deb.

    MSNBC and The New York Times’ willingness to affirm a conspiratorial right-wing troll’s campaign to smear journalists and media figures sets a dangerous precedent. It threatens the credibility of serious media outlets when they choose to side with personalities like Cernovich who have a long track record of racism, misogyny, conspiracy theories, and misinformation.

    Language has been updated for clarity.

  • Hannity turns to white supremacists to help him spite Keurig for pulling ads from his show

    Associations further prove that Hannity is volatile and bad for business

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & BRENDAN KARET


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    As advertisers continue to drop Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, most recently in response to his defense of the Republican Alabama senatorial candidate accused of molesting a 14-year-old, Hannity has decided to fuel and help organize a boycott of Keurig, one of his former advertisers. But he may be digging himself into a deeper hole, as he is now promoting the boycott efforts of known white supremacists and extremists.

    On November 11, Keurig, a coffee-maker brand, announced it was dropping Fox’s Hannity in response to Hannity’s irresponsible defense of Roy Moore and attacks on victims who come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. After Hannity ginned up outrage that evening, his supporters responded with a #BoycottKeurig campaign, which apparently entails angry fans destroying their Keurig coffee makers, filming the process, and uploading the result to the internet. Hannity gleefully egged on and encouraged the boycott against his former advertiser (which remains a Fox News advertiser) by promising giveaways to the best #BoycottKeurig videos and by retweeting and amplifying his Keurig-smashing supporters, including one that promoted actual white supremacist Angelo John Gage.

    As documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Gage is a white nationalist known for “making YouTube videos warning of ‘white genocide’ [and] leading his youthful band of white nationalists on college campuses to protest the Marxist takeover of American higher education.” In 2015, Gage served as the chairman of the “youth wing of the radical-right … American Freedom Party." Gage has also appeared on Radio 3Fourteen, a production of Red Ice TV, a white supremacist and anti-Semitic online media outlet that promotes Holocaust denial. On his own YouTube channel, Gage has passionately defended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, saying, “I don’t care if Hitler was at the rally.”

    In his feverish promotion of the Keurig boycott, Hannity also amplified a piece of content from the far-right website The Red Elephants, characterizing it as “so so funny!” The piece was written by Vincent James (also known as Vincent James Foxx), who appeared in a video that features threats of killing left-wing protesters.

    The Red Elephants’ Twitter account habitually traffics in white supremacist memes (like the promotion of the message board-originated “it’s OK to be white” campaign that supposedly seeks to expose anti-white racism) and racist tropes like claiming “race and IQ correlate.” @TheRedElephants also engages with known white nationalists like Timothy Gionet -- known online as Baked Alaska -- and dabbles in conspiracy theories, like promoting the false claims that Democratic operatives ran a pedophilia ring under a family restaurant in D.C.

    All in all, Hannity might not be making the best case for himself that he’s a commercially stable and reliable person to advertise with.

  • Tucker Carlson forced to issue correction after Mandalay Bay shuts down conspiracy theory that injured guard worked under false Social Security number

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox host Tucker Carlson was forced to issue a correction after parroting far-right internet troll and conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, who baselessly claimed Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos worked under someone else’s Social Security number.

    Carlson promoted the baseless conspiracy theory during the October 17 edition of his show, claiming Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos had worked under “someone else's Social Security number.” One day later, Carlson admitted “MGM reached out” to him, and verified that Campos used had his own Social Security card when MGM verified his employment in 2015:

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Meanwhile, MGM reached out to us after a report came out suggesting that Jesus Campos was using someone else's Social Security number.

    MGM Company claims they verified his employment eligibility back in 2015, and it was his Social Security card.

    Conspiracy theorist and far-right troll Laura Loomer first promoted the claim, tweeting, “EXCLUSIVE: #JesusCampos intel report reveals he shared SSN w/ Jesus Quintero. Is #JesusCampos an illegal alien?” Loomer’s unsubstantiated conspiracy theory was subsequently promoted by Jim Hoft’s conspiracy theory-driven website, The Gateway Pundit.

  • Daily Caller publishes, then deletes anti-Semitic video

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Right-wing website the Daily Caller posted a video titled “New York Times’ Glenn Thrush Has KHOUTSPA” set to the Jewish folk song Hava Nagila.

    The Daily Caller’s video received immediate backlash for its anti-Semitic theme. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “Calling out @dailycaller for this anti-Semitic video/attack on a Jewish journalist. Take it down. Apologize to @glennthrush,” and The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote, “The Daily Caller is lower than Breitbart these days.” The video was eventually deleted after the backlash, but not before the Daily Caller editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Ingersoll, defended the video.

    The Daily Caller has a long history of publishing content with anti-Semitic undertones, including headlines like “Kill All The Jews And When That Is Done Kill Those That Refused To Defend Them,” and “FINALLY! The First Poop Swastika Of 2017 Appears On An American College Campus,” as well as using a Holocaust denier to falsely smear former President Bill Clinton.