Author Page | Media Matters for America

Brendan Karet

Author ››› Brendan Karet
  • 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.

  • Fox Business hosts far-right troll who yelled Seth Rich conspiracies at a Hillary Clinton book signing

    Fox Business cut away from video before Seth Rich attacks the network was forced to retract

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox Business host Liz MacDonald invited far-right, Seth Rich conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer on to the network to promote her ambush video attacking Hillary Clinton at a book signing event. MacDonald hosted Loomer, who has pushed the conspiracy theory that Clinton was involved in the murder of a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer, even after the network’s sister company, Fox News, was forced to retract a Seth Rich conspiracy story.

    MacDonald introduced her September 14 segment with Loomer by highlighting footage from Loomer criticizing Clinton during a book signing where she attacked the former presidential candidate over emails and relief money to Haiti. But the video abruptly stops before the footage shows Loomer asking Hillary Clinton “What happened to Seth Rich?,” referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that Fox was forced to retract. From the September 14 edition of Fox Business’ Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton:

    LIZ MACDONALD (HOST): Conservative activist Laura Loomer confronted Hillary Clinton about the missing emails at her book signing.

    [VIDEO BEGINS]

    LAURA LOOMER: Hi, it's so great to see you.

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well, it's great for you to be here.

    LOOMER: Thanks for having me.

    CLINTON: Thank you for coming.

    LOOMER: Thanks for having me. So, the American people would really like to know what happened to your 33,000 emails? What happened in Benghazi?

    CLINTON: Go read the book, you want to find --

    LOOMER: What happened to the millions of dollars that was supposed to go to the people in Haiti?

    CLINTON: You know what? I'm so sorry you believe things that are untrue.

    [VIDEO ENDS]

    MACDONALD: Laura Loomer, from Rebel Media. Laura took those -- the footage right there, is with me now. What was it like to confront Hillary Clinton?

    LOOMER: You know, it's always a good time. I've done it a couple times in the past before, which is why I was surprised that she hasn't recognized me. But, you know, it's -- it's definitely an adrenaline rush because this is probably the most hated woman in America and, you know, to be asking her questions that so many --

    MACDONALD: To some. Not to everybody. She got 55 million people who voted for her.

    LOOMER: Yeah, to many, but to ask her questions that one, the mainstream media refused to ask her, and two, that so many Americans want answers about, it was great that I was able to do that.

    Fox News heavily promoted the Seth Rich conspiracy theory and even after the network conceded that the story was completely false, personalities like Sean Hannity continued. Hannity promoted the story after Fox retractions and media criticism and even pushed the conspiracy theory after Seth Rich’s family demanded he stop his disgraceful campaign.

    Loomer also has a long history of promoting Seth Rich conspiracy theories on Twitter, claiming Seth Rich was murdered for “testifying against Hillary.

  • Fringe media and Fox News push conspiracy theories regarding arrested former House IT staffer

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN & BRENDAN KARET

    Following the arrest of former Democratic information technology staffer Imran Awan, far-right media and Fox News pushed multiple conspiracy theories about him, suggesting he was behind WikiLeaks getting hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, that he had damaging information on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and that the Clintons were somehow involved in the situation.

  • Fox analyst pushes Seth Rich conspiracy in attempt to exonerate Trump from Russian collusion claims

    Thomas McInerney’s shameless conspiracy mongering comes one day after Rich family told partisans "cease using Seth as a political football"

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox News military analyst and retired Lieutenant General Thomas McInerny defended Donald Trump Jr. from accusations of colluding with Russia by promoting the discredited Seth Rich murder conspiracy.

    One day after the Rich family pleaded with the public to stop using their son's murder as a “political football,” McInerny appeared on Fox Business’ After The Bell and used Rich’s murder to claim that Russia was not behind the DNC email hacks and to dismiss accusations of Russia collusion around Donald Trump Jr.:

    MELISSA FRANCIS (HOST): A couple of the assumptions that he is making based on this, that he feels that the Trump family has been discredited in terms of self-reporting on the meetings that they had. Also proving that they were in fact receptive to the idea of receiving information that would hurt the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign, based on information that the Russian government had. Let's bring in retired lieutenant-general Thomas McInerney, retired general and Fox News military analyst. Some of the things, the other conclusions that he made there, I'm not totally convinced of.

    [...]

    THOMAS MCINERNY: This is all fake news. The fact is, there are two things that that committee has got to look at. They have got to look at the DNC computer servers, that was hacked that released that information, and John Podesta's and others emails. Why hasn't the DNC turned that over to the FBI?

    FRANCIS: But tell us, why you are tying that to this?

    MCINERNY: Because this shows that the Russians did not do it. That server was turned over by Seth Rich and no one will look at his server. And those two servers blow this whole Russian conspiracy, collusion up.

    FRANCIS: Okay.

    MCINERNY: And that is why it is that simple. I've been watching this for a long time and why the Congress has not gone after those those servers, because cyber is my business, Melissa -- and so, if you get the server, you get the fingerprints of the people that hacked you.

    FRANCIS: Okay. So let's concede that we want to get that server.

    Seth Rich’s family has previously detailed the “nightmare” caused by right-wing media figures peddling conspiratorial smears about their deceased son, writing “The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.”

  • Right-wing media figures claim Trump Jr. was part of a “setup made to give the appearance of Russian collusion”

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET & NINA MAST

    Following a series of reports from The New York Times laying out Donald Trump Jr.’s correspondence arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, right-wing media figures attempted to absolve Donald Trump. Jr. by claiming he was set up by Democratic operatives and a “Russian honey pot” in an attempt to give the appearance of collusion.