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Cristina López G.

Author ››› Cristina López G.
  • With Bannon gone, the far-right media trolls are ready to break up with the White House

    The anti-establishment trolls have lost their biggest White House ally and are starting to go after Pence. Prepare for the right-wing media food fight.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Stephen Bannon is no longer the White House chief strategist. His departure, in addition to furthering the narrative of a Trump administration in constant chaos, is likely to become a source of acrimony between right-wing anti-establishment outlets and online trolls and those who remain in the Trump administration.

    Bannon’s departure has prompted a shift in amongst pro-Trump outlets and far-right trolls -- like The Gateway Pundit and Mike Cernovich -- who are now reporting that the White House is being taken over by a “deep state” coup led by Vice President Mike Pence. Cernovich is a right-wing opportunistic troll who rode to prominence by supporting President Donald Trump but has recently announced “a big pivot” away from the president. In response to the news about Bannon getting fired, Cernovich took to Periscope to claim that “there’s a full-on coup” organized by Pence but that Trump doesn’t deserve any sympathy because he’s “a 71-year old man” who chose to listen to his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner instead of Bannon. Pro-Trump troll Jack Posobiec (who has also recently tried to move away from the “alt-right” movement) pushed the coup narrative as well, suggesting that the “RNC is counting impeachment votes from Congress against Trump,” adding, “They want rid of him.” Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing troll who was formerly employed by Breitbart.com, celebrated Bannon’s departure by launching Bannon 2020 merchandise on his online store and saying he looks forward to “having Steve back in the trenches again.” Yiannopoulos also said he wants to see “Bannon the Barbarian crush his enemies.”

    Bannon’s departure has other possible impacts for the far-right media universe. According to reports, Bannon might be returning to Breitbart, the Mercer-funded outlet he once claimed was “platform for the ‘alt-right,’” a term its current editors (much like former proud supporters of the movement) are trying to move away from. With Bannon in the White House, Breitbart behaved like any other pro-Trump outlet, showing little editorial independence and supporting Trump’s agenda (including his war on the press). But this support lasted as long as Trump’s agenda aligned with Bannon’s: Breitbart did not shy away from attacking Kushner, who is a White House senior adviser, to defend Bannon. With Bannon out, it seems like Breitbart will hold no punches in a war against a White House it now perceives as controlled by globalists.

    The right-wing media landscape is about to shift once more, putting the Bannon-loyalists, nationalist ideologues, and opportunistic trolls in a war against an establishment Republican Party faction they think is being led by Pence and, likely, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox News and owner of the Wall Street Journal. It remains to be seen whether Trump and his White House will be caught in the middle.

  • “Pizzagate,” Seth Rich conspiracy theorist troll giddy after Trump retweets him

    Right-wing troll Jack Posobiec used to call himself “alt-right,” has promoted debunked conspiracy theories, participated in harassment campaigns against journalists, and habitually engages in sophomoric stunts to self-promote his platform.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump retweeted right-wing troll Jack Posobiec’s tweet to his more than 35 million followers in his ongoing effort to push alternative narratives to distract from his tepid condemnation of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, that included a fatal act of terrorism. Trump’s retweet shows that he has no qualms in elevating trolls whose arsenals include harassing journalists, peddling conspiracy theories and smears, and pulling absurd, attention-grabbing stunts for self-promotion. And Posobiec’s giddy reaction to Trump’s retweet demonstrates he feels validated by the presidential attention.

    In his August 14 tweet, Posobiec appeared to be accusing the media of focusing excessively on Charlottesville at the expense of covering violence in Chicago, IL, against victims he identified as African-Americans (a point he attempted to make by tweeting out local news coverage of crime in Chicago).

    Posobiec, formerly associated with the Canadian far-right outlet The Rebel, is a long-time Trump supporter who rode the coattails of the “alt-right” movement and openly identified with it in many now-deleted tweets as the movement ascended to prominence through its support of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Along with Mike Cernovich and other online personalities, Posobiec then attempted to rebrand himself as “new-right” when the “alt-right’s” brand became too closely-linked to outspoken white nationalist Richard Spencer (Spencer once posted an image where he appears with Posobiec in Cleveland, OH, for the Republican National Convention).

    Before earning presidential attention on social media, Posobiec took a page out of the right-wing troll playbook of using social media to his advantage. He promoted attention-grabbing stunts masquerading as activism, rode the controversies to increase his visibility and online followers, and eventually used the platform for political access and promotion of personal business endeavors (in Posobiec’s case, a self-congratulatory book about the movement that took Trump to victory).

    Posobiec’s long list of absurd, sophomoric stunts include disrupting a theater presentation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that he deemed as promoting political violence, filing a civil rights lawsuit over all-female screenings of Wonder Woman, and trolling a congressional press conference on net neutrality to demand that Democratic senators disavow “satanic” internet pornography.

    Like Cernovich, Posobiec justifies his stunts as activism or citizen journalism, even though his brand of journalism has included heavily pushing the “Pizzagate” narrative, a right-wing smear that falsely accused members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign of being part of a pedophilia ring that operated out of a family-friendly Washington, DC, pizza parlor. Posobiec personally investigated the pizza parlor, and falsely declared that a gunman who commandeered the restaurant because of the ugly smear was a “false flag.” Posobiec also attended a White House press briefing with temporary press credentials in May and used the opportunity to push the debunked conspiracy theory about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. On Twitter, he promoted a cache of hacked emails allegedly belonging to French President Emmanuel Macron during his campaign. Eventually, expert analysis of the documents Posobiec was pushing as #MacronLeaks showed that some were “not genuine” and tied the efforts to discredit Macron to users based in Russia.

    Posobiec was recently featured on an Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) list of far-right figures who, together with the white supremacist “alt-right,” use the internet to spread vitriol and harass people. While Posobiec reacted to the list with a tantrum, comparing ADL’s members to Nazis and claiming he was being targeted as a Trump supporter, he gleefully participated in an online campaign against CNN that resulted in CNN journalist Andrew Kaczynski getting harassed and receiving death threats.

    The troll’s giddy reactions to Trump elevating his profile, his subsequent attempts to pivot further away from the “alt-right” movement, and his threats to “start defamation cases” against media who label him an “alt-right” figure, weren’t the only consequences of the president’s retweet. It also showed that to push his war against the free press -- whom he has recently attacked for not praising his “additional remarks on Charlottesville” -- Trump is willing to enlist any unscrupulous figures no matter what harassment tactics and smear campaigns they habitually engage in.

  • The White House is relying on hate groups and their junk research to defend the RAISE Act

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & DINA RADTKE

    The White House has endorsed the RAISE Act, a staunchly anti-immigrant piece of legislation that would drastically cut legal immigration to the U.S. on the false premise that immigrants have a negative impact on the economy. To defend its support for the bill, the White House relied on widely-criticized studies by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and cited the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA for their praise of the bill. CIS, FAIR, and NumbersUSA are anti-immigrant nativist groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has labeled “hate groups.” After years of right-wing media promoting their policies and mainstream media legitimizing them in their reports, the Trump administration is finally manifesting their nativist wish list.

  • Right-wing troll Mike Cernovich says he's doing a “big pivot” away from Trump

    Cernovich: “Backing Trump has been bad for business”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Right-wing troll Mike Cernovich took to Periscope to announce that he’s doing “a big pivot” away from “being a pro-Trump guy.” Cernovich enthusiastically supported President Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign and in the first tumultuous months of the administration, but now says that “backing Trump has been bad for business," and he will “specifically reject any kind of branding about pro-Trump or whatever.”

    In a 46-minute rant on July 31, Cernovich expressed his dismay at the firing of (now former) White House Communications Director Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci. Cernovich, like many of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) trolls who fester in the alternative media environment and who rose to notoriety with Trump’s ascent to the White House, was a big fan of "the Mooch" from the start. However, more notably, Cernovich also declared that he has “pivoted from a pro-Trump guy to more of a journalistic guy” and that he’s going to continue making that pivot. It should be noted that Cernovich’s concept of journalism -- which he describes as “part activism and part real journalism” -- includes pushing baseless rumors about former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health, promoting fake conspiracy theories, denying date rape exists, and generally making false, provocative statements, like "Bill Clinton is a rapist," in an effort to garner a reaction and generate what he calls "news."

    In his Periscope broadcast (promoted by WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange), Cernovich confused what he called “basic game theory” with cost-benefit analysis, saying “there is no upside” to "getting Trump’s message out.” He also said that supporting Trump was “bad for business,” as his book on Trump “sold way less than” his Gorilla Mindset book (a non-scientific self-help book that aims to teach young men how to channel their "mindset" to look better, make money, and pick up women, among other things).

    MIKE CERNOVICH: So, I’m glad that I’ve been doing more [Gorilla] Mindset stuff, the journalism stuff. I pivoted from a pro-Trump guy to more of a journalistic guy, and I’m going to keep making that pivot. So whenever people think of me as like a pro-Trump guy, I don’t want people to think of me as a pro-Trump guy anymore. I want people to think of me as a Mindset guy, a journalist, a commentator, a social media personality, a filmmaker, an author, but I got to -- I have to pivot so far away from anything pro-Trump, I just got to keep going that way. So, I’ve been pivoting -- I’ve been pivoting a little bit, which I told you, right? I’ve been pivoting. And now the pivot is going to be even bigger because, what do you get from being a pro-Trump guy? Right, you shill for Trump all day?

    [...]

    I don’t want anyone to think of me as a pro-Trump guy. I’m going to specifically reject any kind of branding about pro-Trump or whatever. I’m going this way. Big, big pivot. Big, big pivot. So, I had already made a little bit of a pivot, a little bit more; now, all the way over here. That’s where I am.

    [...]

    When the GOP elite and the deep state goes after Trump hard, who’s going to have his back? Do you gain anything by risking your reputation, your career, your business, supporting Trump? What is the upside? So, everything in life has an upside and a downside. So, if you go risk it for Trump, you might lose it all, you have a big downside. Huge downside with Trump. What’s the upside?

    [...]

    So that’s life. If there’s no upside and there’s a downside, then you never make that decision. This is basic game theory. Basic game theory is that if you have no upside and you have a downside -- and with Trump, you have a considerable downside -- then you don’t make that move.

    [...]

    Guys, I always love when people are telling me more about my business than I already know. Do you know my biggest month of book sales in Gorilla Mindset was before I was anything for Trump? And that my Trump book [MAGA Mindset] has sold way less than my Gorilla Mindset book? So, I always love people who are like, “You’re going to lose business.” Tell me more about my business and what is actually good. Backing Trump has been bad for business.

    Like the proverbial rats that abandon the sinking ship, Cernovich has a history of re-branding himself when it’s expedient in futile attempts to obfuscate his past record of churning out conspiracy theories and racist and misogynistic comments. He went from libertarianism to identifying with the “alt-right,” only to pivot towards the “new right,” a made-up name for a “movement” that is substantially similar to the “alt-right,” but that decided to rebrand after media highlighted the original “alt-righter” Richard Spencer’s white nationalism. Spencer’s views were widely known long before Cernovich hitched his wagon to the “alt-right” though, leaving very little room to question his blatant opportunism. And while he’s -- for now -- the only one vocally pivoting away from Trump, other trolls have also started to express their frustration.

    Cernovich’s “big pivot” away from Trump is indicative of two things. First, he and other MAGA trolls are not ideologically anchored to anyone and will ride the coattails of any movement that promises them the most social media followers in order to grow their platforms and profit. For them, Trump was merely convenient; their real endgame is self-promotion and notoriety. Cernovich and his troll-peers use alternative narratives, “meme wars,stunts, and downright harassment of journalists in their quest to undermine and destroy what they refer to as the “mainstream media” because doing so creates a space and an audience for themselves. This is a space in which, as The Washington Post put it, “objectivity is less important than an impression of honesty” -- and with Cernovich’s supposed pivot toward being “a journalistic guy,” "an impression of honesty" is the closest his audience will get to the truth.

    The second takeaway? Even Trump’s most ardent supporters can spot what has become an obvious pattern when they see it: “If you try to work for Trump, he will humiliate you.”

  • Five lies that are ricocheting infinitely within the right-wing media bubble

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Spend enough time on the comments sections of the right-wing internet, and the significant number of people who hold beliefs based on completely false premises will become all too apparent. In this world, fact checks and hard evidence are all too easily flicked away with accusations of liberal bias, making civil discourse increasingly hostile and polarized at the expense of truth.

    That’s because these audiences have been trapped under a tight bubble right-wing media has built, an ecosystem that makes it hard for truth to seep in, while lies ricochet endlessly inside. The bubble holds strong because it’s sustained on the tired trope that the mainstream media is hiding liberal biases under a mask of objectivity. President Donald Trump has taken this worn-out concept to dangerous levels by constantly undermining and antagonizing media outlets that he deems critical of him. Trump’s war on the press has invigorated unscrupulous smear merchants and power-hungry zealots in control of messaging within the bubble to suggest they are an honest alternative to mainstream media -- honest in that they openly acknowledge their right-wing bias -- and present themselves as a solution to a fabricated problem.

    And the bubble becomes increasingly impenetrable by design; the tighter its grip grows over audiences, the more power its purveyors can trade to a political establishment that both needs the bubble for its survival and fears its influence.

    What follows are five examples of absolute lies promoted by right-wing media figures that will infinitely bounce among right-wing audiences trapped under the bubble, in an impervious layer of chicanery and manipulation that doesn’t allow fact-checking, evidence or reality to penetrate. Even after these lies have been debunked over and over again, we at Media Matters continue to see them pop up online and on the airwaves:

    Fox News host Sean Hannity’s Seth Rich conspiracy theory

    Fox News host Sean Hannity has grossly exploited the murder of a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer, Seth Rich, to push the baseless claim that Rich provided WikiLeaks with the 20,000 hacked DNC emails released in 2016 to hurt the Clinton campaign, and that his murder was connected to the emails. Even after the allegations were proved false, forcing Fox News to retract its story about Rich, Hannity continued to push the false narrative. Hannity, who said the murder “could become one of the biggest scandals in American history,” claimed that he would stop discussing the story “for now” in response to the Rich family's pleas to stop exploiting Rich’s death. Hannity’s obsession with pushing the lie caused him to lose advertisers, demonstrating the risk his volatility presents to brands that associate with his show.

    On August 1st, a lawsuit filed against Fox News revealed that the baseless Seth Rich story had been pushed by the network and Ed Butowsky, a Trump supporter, with the purpose of deflecting public attention from the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

    Infowars host Alex Jones: “Pizzagate is real”

    Infowars host Alex Jones relentlessly pushed the lie that a family-friendly pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. served as a cover-up for a pedophilia ring that involved the top leadership of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. In one instance, Jones invited audience members of his show to take matters into their own hands and “investigate” because “Pizzagate is real.” On December 4, 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch -- a listener -- entered the restaurant armed with a rifle to “self-investigate” the false allegations. Following the terrifying incident, Jones attempted to scrub his website of Pizzagate-related content and falsely denied having promoted the lie; yet he also apologized under pressure to the owner of the restaurant.

    Radio host Rush Limbaugh: NASA lied about finding water on Mars

    Celebrated space scientist (er, talk radio host) Rush Limbaugh told his audience that NASA’s announcement that the agency had discovered evidence of water on Mars was a “technique to advance the leftist agenda … probably something to do with global warming.” The next day, reacting to online criticism, Limbaugh both doubled down, adding that then-President Barack Obama had “turned NASA over to Muslim outreach,” and -- despite transcripts matching “word for word” what he said -- claimed his lie had been taken “out of context.”

    Fox & Friends: “Illegal aliens” are registered to vote

    In an attempt to amplify the narrative that voter fraud is rampant, Fox’s morning talk show (and Trump’s favorite show) Fox & Friends pushed the lie that “voter fraud isn’t really a myth at all.” The segment hyped a flawed and debunked claim about illegal voting in Virginia and speculated that undocumented immigrants were registered to vote. This recurring and widespread lie made its way to Trump’s Twitter feed after the election, where he claimed that millions voted illegally in the election, a claim that holds no truth whatsoever.

    In reality, experts agree that voter fraud in American elections is a myth, as cases of voter fraud are extremely rare. Data also shows that the rates of noncitizens voting are low, only occurring when people are “confused about their eligibility.”

    Breitbart.com: “Mob” of Muslims tried to burn down a German church

    On January 3, Breitbart reported the false story that a “1,000-man mob” had attacked police and set a German church on fire. The story was condemned by local police and politicians as well as debunked by local, national, and international media outlets. The reality was that as 1,000 people were gathered in the streets celebrating the new year, some set off fireworks, and one firework started a small fire -- which was quickly extinguished -- on the netting around the church's scaffolding. Breitbart responded by triumphantly claiming that the outlets debunking the story were in fact confirming it, showing facts won’t get in the way of its ongoing effort to amplify anti-Muslim sentiments.

    This story is cross-posted at BillMoyers.com

  • Anthony Scaramucci is flooding the media with nonsensical, idiotic comparisons

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    A week into the job, incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has compared the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to the abolition of slavery, his relationship with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to that of Cain and Abel, and Jared Kushner to Alexander Hamilton. But Scaramucci had been making dumb comparisons long before getting the job.

  • Chris Cillizza's Reddit AMA was a delightful catastrophe

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    CNN’s Chris Cillizza took to Reddit to participate in one of the message board community’s “Ask me anything” (AMA) forums. The questions posed, if anything, demonstrated Cillizza’s unique ability to unite people in the consensus that his brand of optics-obsessed, fact-free, punditry-style journalism sucks and, in many instances, does a disservice to political reporting. Our favorite questions featured on Cillizza’s AMA did the following:

    1. pointed out that his reporting favors “absurd horserace coverage that focuses on inside baseball to the exclusion of real working families” and is more “shallow” than informative.

    2. accurately critiqued his extremely gonzo attempt at journalism.

    3. questioned his obsessive focus on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails.

    4. used colorful descriptors of his work, such as “an insufferable hack.”

    5. went meta.

    6.  acknowledged the feet thing.

    7. talked sports.

    8. brought up the Ivanka thing.

    9. addressed wages.

    10. pointed out his similarities to another infamous bespectacled pundit.

    11. showed concern for his judgment.

  • 5 of the most batshit, xenophobic and racist reactions Trump’s "West"-centric Warsaw speech drew

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Trump kicked off his trip to Europe on July 6 with a speech in Warsaw, Poland. In his address, Trump issued a call to “the West” to defend itself and its values. In the speech, he enumerated accomplishments of the so-called “West” in a way that was similar to the claims of other parochial politicians before him, such as Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) claim that “other categories” and “subgroup[s]” of people have not made any valuable contributions to society akin with those of “Western civilization.”

    While the dog-whistle politics of the speech were obvious to many, to Trump’s most ardent admirers the speech was worthy of praise, and seemed to confirm many xenophobic and even racist biases. Here are just five examples:

    1. Fox’s Tucker Carlson asked audiences to remember “the basics”: Western civilization “makes all good things possible”

    TUCKER CARLSON: So it’s worth remembering the basics: Western civilization is our birthright. It makes all good things possible. Undefended, it collapses, and so we’ve got to fight to preserve it. Not just with airstrikes, but with a vigorous defense of our common values. Nothing matters more than that.

    2. The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin just cut to the chase and said what we were all thinking

    3. Fox’s Pete Hegseth praised Trump’s speech for encouraging “having babies and passing it on to the next generation” so that the west can "remain strong and free”

    PETE HEGSETH: What he underscored yesterday were the foundations and the fundamentals of the western civilization. [The founding fathers] would recognize what he had to say. But those very fundamentals have been forgotten by most of the leaders and countries in that room. And a message he delivered was, if we're going to save our civilization, if the west is going to remain strong and free, we have to remember the values that got us here. The values that were enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. It’s basic things like patriotism and productivity and borders and belief in your own country, having babies and passing it on to the next generation. These things are sort of passé or not as sophisticated as many in those rooms would view them as and therefore they’re discounted and they focus instead on things like diversity, multiculturalism, atheism. Frankly, he talked a lot about God. This is a guy that understands if you believe in something greater than yourself that informs who you are and what you are willing to fight for.

    4. Fox’s Newt Gingrich: Trump has “come down decisively on the side of those who worry about national identity”

    LAURA INGRAHAM (GUEST HOST): Newt, I was wishing that the audience was mic'd up better because the audience was going nuts. There were many parts they were cheering for Donald Trump, but in that moment, they are feeling the criticism, the brunt of the criticism they are getting now from Merkel and other European elites for not taking in more of the refugees. And they're like "we're not doing this, we're not doing what you're doing," and Donald Trump clearly gave support for their vision of protecting their own sovereignty and their own borders, and also, of course, fighting the common interests-- common enemies.

    NEWT GINGRICH: There is a huge gap between the values of the central Europeans, which includes not just Poland, but Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, a number of countries -- and the values of Germany and the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands and France. What Trump has done is come down decisively on the side of those who worry about national identity, worry about survival, have been very practical, and of course he set the stage for the meeting in Hamburg, and indicated clearly to Merkel he ain’t backing down. So, it'll be very interesting to see how that works.

    5. To 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” message board community, Trump’s speech was the “absolute rejection of multiculturalism”

  • Coverage of Rob Kardashian’s misogynistic abuse is garbage

    How coverage of entertainment news perpetuates sexism

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A wide array of media outlets, ranging from entertainment magazines to outlets targeting women (that have higher editorial standards than their entertainment counterparts), perpetuated sexism and attempted to shame female sexuality in their terrible coverage of Rob Kardashian’s misogynistic social media behavior against his ex-girlfriend. By doing so, they downplayed, if not completely ignored, the potential crime of revenge porn that Kardashian committed.

    On July 5, Kardashian, who is currently a sock designer but who rose to fame through different iterations of television reality shows featuring his family, took to his Instagram account in apparent spite to publish graphic images his ex-girlfriend Blac Chyna had sent him. After Instagram shut down Kardashian’s account for violating its no-nudity policy, he took to Twitter to post the same content.

    Entertainment magazines like Entertainment Tonight, US Weekly, and People, presented the incident as a “social media war,” focusing on the celebrity feud and the salacious images without mentioning that Kardashian’s sexist behavior was potentially criminal. While it’s not atypical for these publications to uncritically present the problematic behavior of celebrities as entertainment, the substandard coverage of Kardashian’s abusive stunt spread to other publications, including some that write for female audiences and have higher editorial ambitions.

    Coverage from Jezebel, LatinaMarie Claire, Bustle and Refinery29 to varying degrees shared a similar form of play-by-play reporting, paraphrasing most of Kardashian’s gross posts and giving the abusive narrative new life on their platforms, thus furthering a man’s shaming of a woman for her sexual activities. Their accounts failed to mention Kardashian’s behavior could amount to revenge porn, or the distribution of “nonconsensual pornography,” an act that has been illegal in California since 2014 and can be penalized with up to 6 months in jail and a fine.

    These outlets, specifically those that target female audiences, failed women by not contextualizing the abhorrent behavior and presenting it as what it is: shaming a woman for freely exercising her sexuality and publishing material that was meant to be private with the purpose of attacking a victim. They aided Kardashian in further advancing his hateful messages while failing to inform audiences of the illegality of his behavior. They missed an opportunity to provide useful sources -- like those provided by Without My Consent, a website advocating for victims of revenge porn -- for readers that have been victimized in similar ways.

    Not every article missed the mark. Outlets including Glamour magazine and The Washington Post provided good coverage that focused on how “Kardashian’s Instagram posts are the epitome of revenge porn,” and noted that not only were Kardashian’s actions “cruel,” but also possibly illegal. Glamour called out Kardashian’s “slut-shaming,” noting “he crossed a serious line,” and The Post gave a detailed account of what revenge porn is, providing statistics on the number of Americans who have been threatened with or subjected to revenge porn.

    Women’s media outlets have stood out in the past for their political reporting and for covering the effects different policy issues have on different communities. They shouldn’t let their celebrity coverage tarnish their credibility as a go-to source for many women.

    Kelly Matthews and Katherine Hess contributed research to this piece.

  • These are the right-wing/fringe media figures Trump supposedly communicates with

    Based on reporting and the people themselves, Trump is on the phone with right-wing media and fringe figures a lot

    Blog ››› ››› SARAH WASKO & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Alex Jones, Infowars host:

    “Trump gave me a call, and I told him, ‘Mr. President-elect, you’re too busy, we don’t need to talk.’ But we still spent over five minutes -- he said, 'Listen, Alex, I just talked to the kings and queens of the world -- world leaders, you name it.' But he said, 'It doesn’t matter, I wanted to talk to you to thank your audience, and I’ll be on in the next few weeks to thank them.'” Jones added that Trump indicated it was not a “private call” and told him, “I want to thank your viewers, thank your listeners for standing up for this republic. We know what you did early on and throughout this campaign to stand up for what’s right.” -- Alex Jones [Media Matters, 11/14/16]

    “As I said in one speech, ‘I’m sorry I missed Trump’s call.’ I know the numbers. I know when he calls. He calls like three times in a row. I was on air. He gets confused. He called me and I missed the calls and I just feel guilty because who knows what it was about. And I know Trump doesn’t -- I’ll tell the enemy this because Trump knows it’s true. They need to know this. Trump just wants to connect with a spirit that is good. He needs that energy.” -- Alex Jones [Media Matters, 2/24/17]

    “You and others have reached out and said, “If you talk to Trump, tell him this.” Half the time I’ve missed the calls and other ones, early on, calls were like 15 minutes long. We really talk. Now it’s like, “Alex. Lot of folks watching.” He knows everything he’s saying is being recorded. “Keep it up, great job. How’s the family? Just keep it up, you know I’m delivering. Are you happy?” It’s mainly a pat on the head, and I get that -- but then I talk to folks that have to go have private meetings with him and he’s just literally just like -- and I can’t get into it.” -- Alex Jones [Media Matters, 4/5/17]

    “You know why the FBI admits a month ago in Congress that I’m under investigation and that I’m being wiretapped? Because I talk to the president and I talk to people that talk to the president every day. And they want to be able to say, ‘Mr. President, he’s under investigation -- you can’t talk to Alex Jones.’” -- Alex Jones [Media Matters, 4/12/17]

    Sean Hannity, Fox News host:

    “But the fact is I know from the White House that no one in media talks to President [Donald] Trump more than Sean Hannity. Sean Hannity talks to President Trump two or three times a day, sometimes at length, and I'll just tell you right now, Sean Hannity is currently the main leader of the resistance against the globalists outside of Trump and then, of course, myself.” -- Alex Jones [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/22/17]

    Chris Ruddy, Newsmax CEO:

    “Ruddy has been a ubiquitous presence in Trump’s sphere over the past several months, the ‘Zelig’ of the administration, as the Atlantic’s Rosie Gray wrote. He converses regularly with Trump and White House officials, and says he has given the president advice on everything from health care to Chinese relations to fake news.” [The Washington Post, 6/15/17]

    Corey Lewandowski, One America News Network commentator, and David Bossie, Fox contributor:

    “President Donald Trump personally reached out to two of his former campaign aides – his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his deputy campaign manager, David Bossie – to sound them out about working with the administration as crisis managers, according to two people familiar with the situation.” [Politico, 5/22/17]

    Kimberly Guilfoyle, Fox News host:

    KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): I don't think this is a deal that anybody should be crying about. Like we said, it's nonbinding, and the United States is already a clean energy, oil and gas leader. So, we can keep doing what we're doing, we can keep reducing our emissions. Why would we in fact put ourselves at an economic disadvantage, giving and subsidizing an economic windfall to other countries, in sort of a climate redistribution of wealth scheme? It makes no sense to me. I think he did the brave and courageous thing, and in fact, I told him that this morning at 8 a.m., when he called. And I spoke to him about it, and this was something very much so on his mind, but he seemed like--

    GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): Wait a second, who called you?

    GUILFOYLE: The president.

    GUTFELD: Why?

    DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): To ask about climate change?

    GUTFELD: Why did he call you?

    GUILFOYLE: Climate change, taxes. The Five. [Fox News, The Five, 6/1/17]

    Roger Stone, Infowars contributor:

    GUEST CO-HOST: When was the last time you talked to him?

    ROGER STONE: Been a little while now. I would say -- I don’t want to characterize it, but less than a week ago.

    GUEST CO-HOST: Good talk?

    STONE: From time to time. He’s easier to find on the weekends. He’s got more time on his hands. But I’m happy to say after I was on with George Stephanopoulos, he called. After I was on with Chuck Todd, he called. After the Netflix document trailer was released, he called.

    GUEST CO-HOST: What’d he say?

    STONE: Well, I mean, he was certainly pleased with those appearances because, of course, I was happy to defend Donald Trump. [SiriusXM Patriot, The David Webb Show, 5/5/17]

    “On May 11th Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again political adviser for several decades, had just wrapped up a pair of morning television appearances when, according to two sources with direct knowledge, he received a call from the President. ... As Stone left the studio on May 11th, the President, who the evening before had essentially pretended not to know him anymore, had a simple message: good job.” [The New Yorker, 5/31/17]

    Eric Bolling, Fox News host:

    “Fox News host Eric Bolling said he’s talked to President Donald Trump about how to best go about “draining the swamp” — one of Trump’s top campaign promises and the central topic of the cable-news star’s latest book. [...] Bolling said the president has read his book, and he’s had several discussions with him about how to best go about fighting corruption.” [The Daily Caller, 6/26/17]

    Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, CEO of Fox News:

    “The president’s relationship with Mr. Murdoch is deeper and more enduring than most in his life, and the two commiserate and plot strategy in their phone calls, according to people close to both.” [The New York Times, 4/22/17]