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Daniel Angster

Author ››› Daniel Angster
  • Trump Surrogate Howie Carr's Long History Of Attacking Elizabeth Warren With Native American Stereotypes

    ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    Howie Carr, a columnist for the Boston Herald, radio host, and surrogate for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, has a long history of attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Carr often refers to Warren as “fauxcahontas,” a “fake Indian” and as a “squaw” -- a racial slur for Native American women.

  • Boston Radio Host And Trump Agree Obama “Has More Anger” Toward Trump Than ISIS

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    During an interview with Boston radio host Howie Carr, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump agreed with the host that President Obama has “more anger” toward Trump than he does toward ISIS. Carr and Trump spent much of the interview pushing false information about gun control measures and about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s policy positions in wake of the June 12 terror attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

    Carr, an avid Donald Trump supporter who has boasted about golfing with the presumptive nominee and has appeared at the candidate’s rallies, spent much of the June 13 interview asking Trump about his response to the previous day’s attack. Trump agreed with Carr that President Obama “has more anger” toward Trump than ISIS, and he repeated the cryptic language he used earlier in the day when he said Obama’s response proves there is “something going on that is very strange,” a phrase some press believe insinuates that Obama supports terrorism and that The Washington Post reported “is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.” From the Howie Carr Show:

    HOWIE CARR (HOST): Why do you think the president of the United States gets more angry at you than he does at ISIS?

    DONALD TRUMP: Well it’s true, he has more anger toward me than he does for ISIS. And a number of people have said that. And I don’t know, there’s something going on. Very strange situation. All of the killing, all of the death, and now its ISIS related, it’s been related that it’s ISIS motivated and related, and he gives the press conference likes it’s a day in the park, like let’s all fall asleep together. I don’t get it, you don’t get it, I don’t think anybody gets it but him maybe. Maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know what he’s doing. But, certainly I don’t know if you saw his press conference today, it’s like the world is a bowl of cherries. He doesn’t have a lot of anger at what happened to these wonderful people.

    CARR (HOST): He just wants to talk about gun control. It’s the same old playbook.

    Carr asked Trump what he meant when he said “there is something going on” and how he responds to critics who suggest the candidate was insinuating Obama was complicit in the Orlando attacks. Trump responded, “I am going to let people figure that out for themselves, Howie, because to be honest with you there certainly doesn’t seem to be a lot of anger or passion” coming from Obama.

    The interview moved to the issue of gun control, with Trump scoffing at the idea that increased gun control could have prevented the attack and speculating that if more patrons in the nightclub had had guns, it would have been “a much different deal.” Trump went on to push  the myth that more gun ownership is the answer to stopping mass shootings, saying, “It sounded like there were no guns. They had a security guard, other than that, there were no guns in the room.” Trump did not directly address reports that the security guard was armed and exchanged fire with the shooter.

    Carr supported Trump’s claims that gun control wouldn’t help and mischaracterized gun control legislation as confiscation of all firearms. “If you can’t round up 11 million illegal aliens, how are you going to round up 300 million guns?” Carr asked. Trump responded by saying “Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment … and ... take all guns away from law-abiding citizens” -- a claim that Politifact has rated “false.”

    Trump also balked at the idea that the shooter was a “lone wolf” and suggested that there are “thousands, I would be willing to bet, that are just like him or worse.”

    Carr said he was “glad” that in Trump’s speech about the attack, he said the president has the “right to ban any group from the United States,” referring to Trump’s infamous pledge to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. Trump again reiterated his claim, saying the president has “an absolute right” to ban any group he perceives as a threat.

    You can listen to the entire interview between Trump and Howie Carr below:

    May Selcraig and Sarah Zieve contributed research to this post.

    Photo Credit: Newsmax via Facebook

  • These Conservative Media Figures Are Holding Out Hope That Delegates Will Dump Trump At The GOP Convention
     

    ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    Prominent voices in conservative media are holding on to the hope that delegates will block Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention (RNC). Some have made the case that a close reading of the RNC rules shows delegates are not officially bound to vote for Trump, while others are openly calling for him to be set aside in favor of an alternative conservative nominee.

  • New Hampshire Newspaper Pushes Super PAC Ad That Even Republicans Want Off The Air

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    An editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader criticizes Gov. Maggie Hassan’s (D) response to the opioid crisis, saying she has  focused more on Medicaid expansion than on the drug problem, and highlights a super PAC ad that also criticized Hassan for her failure to solve the epidemic. But Medicaid expansion would play a significant role in addressing the opioid crisis, and the ad touted by the Union Leader is in such poor taste that Hassan’s Senate opponent, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), has asked the PAC to “take down their ad.”

    The June 8 editorial points to an ad produced by “the One Nation PAC affiliated with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell,” which claims that Hassan has dragged her feet in response to the state’s ongoing opioid abuse crisis. The editorial goes on to say that “Hassan has clearly made Medicaid expansion her top legislative priority over the past three years, not the opioid crisis.” From the Union Leader:

    The Democratic governor and U.S. Senate candidate isn’t happy about a new ad that points out her lack of leadership in addressing New Hampshire’s opioid crisis. The ad, produced by the One Nation PAC affiliated with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, points out that Hassan’s veto of the state budget delayed an increase in funding for substance abuse treatment programs. It also criticizes Hassan’s do-nothing drug czar, and urges Hassan to work to pass the $1.5 million Granite Hammer program.

    Hassan and her allies freaked out about “out of state special interests.” But Hassan didn’t complain when Michael Bloomberg, Gabby Giffords or Harry Reid dumped millions in negative ads on Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

    And Hassan did veto the state budget, delaying the substance abuse program for three months. She did stand by a do-nothing drug czar for a year and a half before finally replacing him earlier this year.

    Hassan has clearly made Medicaid expansion her top legislative priority over the past three years, not the opioid crisis. She did nothing as House Democrats voted down the Granite Hammer program. If she’d cared as much as she claims, she would have worked to pass it.

    Soon after the ad was released, Ayotte tweeted that it should be taken down.

    The Union Leader’s claim that Hassan has attempted to prioritize Medicaid expansion -- which extends a state’s public health insurance program to those living at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level -- over addressing the opioid crisis ignores just how important expansion is to addressing the crisis. The Center for Disease Control notes that those people most at risk for heroin addiction include “people without insurance or enrolled in Medicaid.”

    In addition, Medicaid expansion would play a crucial role in addressing the opioid crisis because access to health insurance means greater access to drug treatment. As Vox’s German Lopez explained, studies have shown that Medicaid paid for around a quarter of the combined “public and private spending for drug abuse treatment in 2014,” which “makes it the second biggest payer for drug abuse treatment spending after all local and state government programs” Lopez went on to note the two important ways that Medicaid expansion can help provide drug treatment:
     

    1) It gives people insurance they can use to pay for drug abuse treatment. According to a March report from the Department of Health and Human Services, about 1.9 million uninsured low-income people with mental illness or drug use disorders live in states without the Medicaid expansions. (The report did not elaborate just how many have a drug use disorder specifically, but it's likely in the hundreds of thousands.)

    2) It might encourage more treatment facilities to open up. The idea: If a state expands Medicaid, more treatment facilities may open up in those locations since they know they'll have paying customers. Saloner, who's working on a study related to this issue, said there's "some evidence" that insurance expansions can cause "shifts in the market for treatment."

    By fighting for the reauthorization of medicaid expansion in New Hampshire, Hassan has been advocating for one of the most effective tools in fighting the opioid crisis.

    The Union Leader’s editorial represents at least its second attempt to politicize the opioid crisis. In March, the board attacked Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), saying the “politics were obvious” in Shaheen’s attempt to “score points” by adding an amendment to increase funding to a bill that provides states with grants aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic. The Union Leader said Shaheen’s amendment was an effort to provide “ammunition for Democrats to accuse Ayotte of not responding forcefully enough.” Yet, the editorial failed to note that Ayotte had co-sponsored and voted for the amendment.

     

  • WI Radio Host Talked #NeverTrump With Bill Kristol, Then Immediately Ignored Sen. Ron Johnson’s Trump Support

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER & SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes, who loudly denounced Donald Trump’s campaign during the state’s primary and who has committed himself to the “Never Trump” cause, did not bring up the presumptive Republican nominee when interviewing Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has pledged his support to Trump. Just minutes before hosting Johnson, Sykes interviewed Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and discussed drafting a third party candidate.

    Sykes gained notoriety for his resistance to Trump ahead of the Wisconsin primary. Unaware of the host’s resistance to him, Trump sparred with Sykes on his show a week before the primary in an interview that Politico called a “#NeverTrump radio buzzsaw.”

    Sykes introduced Kristol on the May 16 edition of his radio show as being “more 'Never Trump' than me if that’s possible.” The two discussed the possibility of drafting a third party nominee with the hope of stopping a Trump presidency. Sykes also brought up a Breitbart.com article that labled Kristol a “renegade Jew” for seeking to derail Trump’s campaign.

    Later in the show, Sykes hosted Sen. Johnson, whose Senate seat is viewed as vulnerable, especially with Trump as his party’s presumptive nominee. Over the weekend, Johnson said he was "sympathetic to someone like Mr. Trump" and tried to make it clear he was not endorsing Trump, but rather pledging support to the GOP nominee.

    Despite Johnson’s recent comments, Sykes never asked Johnson about his support of Trump as the presumptive nominee -- nor did he mention Trump’s name during the interview.

    As the Associated Press reported on April 4, GOP strategists have advised vulnerable senators to “keep it local” in their interviews and comments going into the election season, a strategy that was seemingly deployed by Johnson during his interview with Sykes. Johnson and Sykes talked about Johnson’s “Right To Try” legislation, which deals with terminally ill patients using experimental drugs, and his Democratic opponent Russ Feingold's criticism of Johnson for linking his Senate race to 9/11.

     

  • With Billions About To Be Spent In Political Ads, Media Coverage Is Crucial In Keeping Them Honest

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    With billions of dollars expected to be spent on political television and radio ads in 2016, the media's role in keeping those ads honest could not be more important. A recent example in Wisconsin shows the impact and value of media fact checks of ads, a public service for voters that will be increasingly valuable as the campaign season intensifies.

    The Wisconsin Senate Race And The Veteran’s Affairs Blame Game

    The Wisconsin race between incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and his challenger, former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, has demonstrated the value of providing a bigger picture when reporting about political ads.

    The ad in question was released by Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC funded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers’ network. In the ad, former Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) employee Ryan Honl blames Feingold for failing to act on a 2009 memo sent to the then-senator’s office that described potentially dangerous opioid prescription practices by VA doctors. In the ad, Honl claims Feingold ignored the memo and ties the inaction to veteran deaths.

    The ad backed by Freedom Partners’ $2 million buy was newsworthy, as it showed the escalation of the Feingold/Johnson race. But some initial reports in Wisconsin media missed the full story. Green Bay’s WBAY and Madison’s WKOW reported that the ad was backed by Freedom Partners and Koch brothers, but both failed to look into Honl’s role in the VA scandal.

    In contrast, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided more context for Honl’s past positions. The paper found that Honl, who is a supporter of Johnson, had previously criticized Johnson for the very same inaction he now claims makes Feingold unfit for office. They also reported that while Honl claims Feingold recieved the memo in 2009, “Feingold has said there is no record of his office receiving the memo.” Furthermore, the Sentinel reported that Honl filed a similar complaint with Johnson’s office in 2014, and the senator’s office then referred the situation to the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Contracting Oversight, where “the complaints died.

    Lawyers representing Feingold’s campaign wrote to state TV stations challenging the ad’s accuracy, and three stations pulled it off the air. Since then, fact checking website Politifact reviewed the ad’s claim that Feingold failed to act after receiving the 2009 memo as “false.”

    Fact-Checking Political Ads

    Political ad watchdog group FlackCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania and sister site to political critic site FactCheck.org, categorized Freedom Partner’s ad as “misleading by not telling the whole story.” FlackCheck provides viewers and reporters with tools needed to identify misinformation within political ads. The website lists six main types of misleading tactics:

    Misunderstanding the Process identifies ways in which misleading assumptions about the nature and extent of executive or legislative power drive problematic promises, attacks and self-congratulatory communication. So, for example, the complexity of the legislative process makes it possible for bills and votes to be misconstrued.

    Misleading Use Of Language features ways in which politicians exploit the ambiguities and connotations in words to prompt unjustified conclusions.

    Misleading Audio/Visual Cuing illustrates how pictures and sound can be manipulated to elicit false inferences.

    Misleading By Not Telling The Whole Story focuses attention on the process by which political sins of omission, including selective uses of evidence, deceive.

    False Logic covers common errors in argument that lead audiences to faulty conclusions.

    Hypocritical Attack examines statements that apply a different standard to one candidate than to another or imply a difference between candidates where none in fact exists.

     

    Identifying and reporting on these misconceptions is increasingly important as the volume of ads increases ahead of the election. The Wesleyan Media Project has noted that the proportion of ads that are negative has been steadily increasing since 2000 and that three-quarters of the ads in the 2012 presidential campaign “appealed to anger.” History has shown that negative ads often include false information, but voters do not necessarily distrust negative ad campaigns. In one study published in American Politics Research, researchers found that “negative campaign messages have no consistent effect on perceptions of informativeness.”

    While attack ads often contain misinformation -- and research shows citizens often do not make the connection between these ads and their ability to inform on the issues -- there is research showing that fact checks can provide a measureable balance. According to an article in Political Communication by Kim Fridkin, Patrick J. Kenney, and Amanda Wintersieck, fact-checks can make a big difference:

    [F]act-checks influence people’s assessments of the accuracy, usefulness, and tone of negative political ads. Furthermore, sophisticated citizens and citizens with low tolerance for negative campaigning are most responsive to fact-checks. The fact-checks also sway citizens’ likelihood of accepting the claims made in the advertisements. Finally, negative fact-checks (e.g., fact-checks challenging the truthfulness of the claims of the negative commercial) are more powerful than positive fact-checks.

  • Union Leader Parrots Koch-Funded Group To Attack Gov. Hassan

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    An editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader parroted the state director of a Koch-funded group in attacking Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s plan to use budget surplus funds to fill the state’s rainy day fund and address New Hampshire’s opioid crisis.  

    The April 27 editorial claimed Hassan is rushing to spend the state’s surplus funds “as fast as possible” and that she “seems to think spending large amounts of money will solve all of New Hampshire’s problems.”

    Maggie Hassan is running out of time to spend New Hampshire’s money.

    The lame duck governor is desperate to spend the surplus created by a budget she vetoed before the Legislature adjourns in two months. After all, when they come back to write the next state budget, she won’t be governor anymore.

    As business tax revenues come in faster than anticipated, Hassan is trying to take credit for the surplus, and spend it as fast as possible.

    [...]

    Maggie Hassan seems to think simply spending large amounts of money will solve all of New Hampshire’s problems.

    No wonder she wants to be a U.S. senator.

    A day before publishing the editorial, the paper reported that Hassan was seeking to deposit enough of the surplus revenue into the state’s rainy day fund to fill the savings account to its legal limit. Only after contributing to the savings fund did Hassan propose to spend “additional resources to address the opioid epidemic, fully fund education adequacy grants, additional money for Police Standards and Training Council, and to overhaul the business profits tax to make it easier for startups to attract capital.”

    The April 26 article detailing Hassan’s savings plan also quoted Americans for Prosperity (AFP) state director Greg Moore, whose group is largely funded by the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

    Moore’s critique of Hassan’s proposals sounded similar to what the Union Leader’s editorial board wrote the next day:

    “There are some things you can count on in life — death, taxes and Gov. Hassan trying to spend more taxpayer money, even before these funds have made it in the door” said Greg Moore, AFP-NH state director. “Now is exactly the time to show fiscal restraint and very carefully target any additional spending, not toss out a wish list of spending that she could not get included in the budget last year.”

    Moore often places op-eds in the Union Leader and has been quoted by the paper over 100 times in the last five years, according to a Nexis search. Since the paper has given such a strong voice to AFP – including previously publishing a reworked version of an AFP press release as news -- its parroting of Moore’s talking points comes as little surprise.

    Furthermore, the editorial board at the Union Leader has its own Koch connection. Opinion editor Grant Bosse worked for the Koch-funded Josiah Bartlett Center for over four years prior to joining the paper.

  • How NY Radio Host Mark Simone Shills For Donald Trump

    ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER, KATHRYN KARMAZYN & JULIE ALDERMAN

    New York radio host Mark Simone, a longtime friend of GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump, has used his show to shill for Trump and defend him from criticism on his radio show and during guest appearances on television. Independent of his support for Trump, Simone has also attacked immigrants, minorities, and Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

  • Trump Supporter Howie Carr: Those Killed "In Brussels Yesterday Were Permanently Cured Of Their 'Islamophobia'"

    Carr: "I Don't Know If We Need To Use A Nuclear Bomb, But We Could Carpet-Bomb" Raqqa.

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    Boston Herald columnist and talk radio host Howie Carr supported xenophobic and aggressive rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates following the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. Carr agreed with Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) call to "carpet-bomb" Raqqa, Syria, and defended Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States, saying that "30 civilized human beings in Brussels yesterday were permanently cured of their 'Islamophobia.'"

    In his March 23 column in the Boston Herald, Carr wrote (emphisis added):

    Donald Trump is still right about stopping Muslim immigration "until we can figure out what is going on."

    Anybody in Brussels care to argue the point?

    It's not xenophobia to talk about a timeout for as long as necessary, and it's certainly not racism -- Islam is a religion, not a race. And by the way, any president has every right to halt the influx of these unvetted hordes, should he decide that the unwanted arrival of any group is "detrimental."

    [...]

    Muslims make up 1 percent of the American population, but since 9/11 have committed 50 percent of the terrorist attacks in the United States. Which means a Muslim is 5,000 times more likely to be a terrorist than anybody else. That stat comes from National Review, hardly a Donald Trump fanzine.

    [...]

    Bottom line: More than 30 civilized human beings in Brussels yesterday were permanently cured of their "Islamophobia." And the chattering classes still wonder why Donald Trump keeps winning primaries.

    On the day of the attack, Carr used his radio show to call for increased military action in Syria, particularly in the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa. In response to a caller who suggested dropping a nuclear weapon on the city, Carr said, "I don't know if we need to use a nuclear bomb, but we could carpet-bomb" it, repeating a suggestion Cruz has made.

    Military leadership have dismissed the idea of carpet-bombing Raqqa, saying that "indiscriminate bombing, where we don't care if we're killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values." ISIS members are surrounded by innocent civilians, and past Russian bombing of Raqqa has resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians. Military analysts also believe such attacks could be used to recruit new ISIS members.

    In his Herald editorial supporting a ban on Muslim immigrants, Carr -- who has long supported Trump -- relies on false narratives that stoke fear of Muslims. The editorial attributes the assertion that Muslims have carried out "50 percent of the terrorist attacks in the United States" to a National Review article, which does not cite any data to back its claim. But terrorism experts' analysis of attacks within the U.S. since 9/11 paint a different picture.

    According to the nonpartisan New America Foundation, there have been twice as many "far right wing" attacks than "violent jihadist" attacks in the United States since 9/11. And while the death tolls from each group are similar, The New York Times reported that "New America and most other research groups exclude" "mass killings in which no ideological motive is evident, such as those at a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school in 2012" in their analysis.

    Furthermore, while the risk of jihadist terrorism often gets more media attention, researchers Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer explained to the Times that law enforcement recognizes right-wing extremism as a larger threat.

    If such numbers are new to the public, they are familiar to police officers. A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff's departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed "Al Qaeda-inspired" violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University.

    "Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists," said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.

    Kathryn Karmazyn contributed research to this post.