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Eric Hananoki

Author ››› Eric Hananoki
  • Right Side Broadcasting and Nicholas Fuentes, host who participated in white supremacist rally, part ways

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right Side Broadcasting Network and host Nicholas Fuentes, who has gained infamy for participating in the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, have parted ways in a "mutual decision." Fuentes hailed the rally as a “victory” that showcased “white identity” and brought attention to the “cultural genocide … against white America.”

    Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN) is an online outlet that found success during the 2016 campaign by providing live streams of Donald Trump’s rallies. Following Trump’s victory, as Politico Magazine noted, the Alabama-based company attempted to “transform itself from a small live-stream operation into a major and diverse digital media outlet” with the goal of becoming a “24/7 news outlet of the common man.”

    But RSBN has run into a series of problems due to "steep revenue declines" and toxic comments made by its staff. It has also struggled to find viewership for its original streaming programs. In recent months, RSBN has cut programs hosted by right-wing troll Mike Cernovich, YouTube prankster Joey Saladino (also known as “Joey Salads”), and conservative blogger Wayne Dupree. The Washington Post reported in July that its “staff of 12 is down to four” and that founder Joe Seales “said he has been propping up Right Side Broadcasting with money from his own pocket.”

    Nicholas Fuentes is a college student who had hosted the pro-Trump program America First for RSBN. In April, he falsely claimed that Muslims and immigrants are not protected under the First Amendment and called for the people who run CNN to be “arrested and deported or hanged” (the network later apologized).

    Fuentes -- who says he is “25 percent Mexican” -- posted online the day of the rally that “a tidal wave of white identity is coming.” He also tweeted that “Charlottesville was a victory if only for bringing attention to the cultural genocide being committed nationwide against white America.” He told The Boston Globe that the “blood”  of anti-racism activist Heather Heyer, killed by a neo-Nazi protester in Charlottesville, “is on the hands of the alt-left,” and he also “denied being a white nationalist or a racist, and said he rejects Nazism.”

    Network CEO Joe Seales told Media Matters in an email that “we are no longer running his show as of right after Charlottesville.” He added that the parting was “honestly a mutual decision based on both of our interests- we brought the issue up of Charlottesville being a huge distraction and not falling in line with some of our core beliefs- and ultimately all of us decided was best we ended the show. We believe Nick is very talented and wish him well.” RSBN last aired his show on August 11, according to its YouTube page

    Fuentes tweeted over the weekend that he is "officially leaving America First on @RSBNetwork to pursue my own independent venture." He added: "Much love to RSB family - they took a chance on me & went above & beyond to support my show. I wish the Seales family the best! God bless!" 

    Fuentes also recently stated that he would leave Boston University, where he's been a student, because he "didn’t feel safe" and instead would attend Auburn University. The Alabama school, however, reportedly said that Fuentes has not been admitted or even applied.

  • Poll finds Americans “mostly agree” with Black Lives Matter; Conservative outlet misreads, claims the opposite

    Media Research Center corrects error after Media Matters inquiry

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The conservative Media Research Center criticized PBS for purportedly burying its own poll results showing that Americans disapproved of the goals of Black Lives Matter. But the poll actually showed the opposite: “50% of Americans mostly agree with the beliefs of Black Lives Matter” while “33% of Americans disagree.”

    Tim Graham, NewsBusters Executive Editor and Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis, wrote an August 20 post criticizing “Taxpayer-funded PBS” for “liberal bias” in part because it “buried” poll results on a recent NewsHour program finding that when it comes to Black Lives Matter (BLM), “50 percent disapproved, and only 33 percent approved.”

    MRC’s Twitter account also wrote: “PBS, NPR bury their own poll results showing only 33 percent approve of Black Lives Matter.”

    But the poll actually found that 50% of respondents said they “mostly agree” with BLM, while only 33% “mostly disagree.” Here’s the Marist write-up of the poll it conducted with PBS and NPR:

    For most Americans, there is only one side to what unfolded in Charlottesville.  Few residents nationwide agree with the beliefs held by groups attending the “Unite the Right” rally including the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists, or white nationalists.  Although the Alt-Right also has few adherents, more Americans are unsure about their feelings toward this group.

    In contrast, Black Lives Matter is viewed very differently than the groups on the right.  50% of Americans mostly agree with the beliefs of Black Lives Matter including a plurality of white residents, 46%.  33% of Americans disagree.

    NBC News political reporter Benjy Sarlin spotted MRC’s error and tweeted the actual results on the morning of August 20.

    Radio host Mark Levin shared the NewsBusters post on social media, writing: “Government funded media bury the facts.”

    Media Matters contacted Graham about the error today after it hadn’t been corrected in over a day. Graham subsequently fixed the post, which now has a “correction added” stating: “The original version of this article had these numbers incorrectly reversed.” NewsBusters tweeted a correction and Graham tweeted: "I made an honest mistake. I own it. I'm sorry it took so long to notice it. Correction is on the page.”

  • Business lobbying coalition recruits right-wing hosts to deliver virtually identical town hall ads

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Conservative radio listeners have been hearing some of their favorite hosts implore them to visit local town halls hosted by members of Congress to make their “voices” heard. But far from being a “grassroots” campaign, the coordinated ads are part of an effort by a business lobbying coalition that’s paying those hosts to deliver virtually identical “live read” ads to their audiences.

    The Job Creators Network (JCN), which claims to be the “voice of small business people,” wants to repeal Obamacare, block minimum wage laws, lower business taxes, and stop environmental protection regulations. It conducts its operations through the 501(c)(3) Job Creators Network Foundation and the 501(c)(4) advocacy group Job Creators Network Inc. JCN was originally founded as the Job Creators Alliance but changed its name in October 2013.

    JCN has lobbied Congress through the firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas on “policies to promote small business, especially tax relief and deregulation” and other tax issues, according to federal lobbying records. It also recently retained the Bockorny Group to lobby on its behalf on taxes. For publicity efforts, JCN has contracted with Berman and Company, the notorious firm headed by conservative pundit Rick Berman.

    JCN groups' raised roughly $4.6 million in 2015, the most recent year in which their financials are available. Founders to the group in recent years include the Mercer Family Foundation, run by Republican megadonor and Breitbart News investor Rebekah Mercer; the Marcus Foundation, led by Home Depot co-founder and JCN co-founder Bernie Marcus; and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

    A major part of JCN’s current media efforts is the website StopIgnoringMyVoice.com, which has a list of upcoming town halls by legislators and encourages conservatives “to show up at town halls and to have your voice heard.” The website states that it is “a project of the Job Creators Network” and is partnered with conservative groups such as FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, and Let Freedom Ring.

    Leading conservative radio hosts such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have been doing “live reads” for JCN in the past several weeks, according to a Media Matters review of conservative radio programs. Live reads are a common advertising practice in which radio hosts integrate sponsors into their program by delivering, and often personalizing, advertising copy themselves (“live reads” can be delivered live during radio segments or aired prerecorded during designated commercial breaks).

    Ingraham did the following prerecorded one-minute read for JCN, which has aired during her program this month:

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): You sent a message to the media and the political elites last fall loud and clear. You wanted new leadership that focused on the middle class, not the political class. On your lives, not theirs. Well, the media elites didn’t get the message. They’ve been working nonstop since Election Day to undo your vote. Their goal is clear -- to delegitimize your candidates and the issues you care about and set up Democratic victories in 2018 and beyond. Well this summer, Democratic activists, with the media’s help, plan to overwhelm the town halls of our congressmen and senators. But that can’t happen. And you can stop it by showing up and being heard. That’s why I’m urging all of you to go to StopIgnoringMyVoice.com now and find out what you can do. Again, it’s StopIgnoringMyVoice.com. Don’t let the mainstream media and the Democrats steal your voice or our town halls. Go to StopIgnoringMyVoice.com now and find out how you can be heard. That’s StopIgnoringMyVoice.com.

    Mark LevinLarry ElderSean Hannity, Dana Loesch, Mike Gallagher, and Hugh Hewitt have delivered similar reads for JCN, though some hosts varied their script.

    Hewitt included his other employer, MSNBC, in his read, stating on his August 9 program that StopIgnoringMyVoice.com is a project of JCN, a “great sponsor of his program,” and adding: “You sent a message to the media and political elites last fall -- I talked about it on [the MSNBC program] Hardball last night -- it was loud, it was clear. It was like the dragon in Game of Thrones: it shows up, you can not miss it.” Gallagher added during his advertising read that the effort was truly “grassroots.”

    Such advertisements have been very lucrative for conservative radio hosts for years.

    Politico reported in 2011 that “prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees” to conservative hosts to buy “a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups, while urging listeners to donate – often woven seamlessly into programming in ways that do not seem like paid advertising.” The publication added in 2014 that “conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including [Glenn] Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh between the first talk radio deals in 2008 and the end of 2012.” Levin defended the practice in 2011 by writing: “This is how the market of ideas and commerce work. There is no secret about it. It is all done in open, in front of tens of millions of listeners. It is ethical, legitimate, and legal in every respect.”

    JCN did not respond to a request for comment.

  • CNN law enforcement analyst claims “the left” shares blame for Heather Heyer’s death

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck tweeted today that “the left has to take some responsibility” for the death of anti-racism activist Heather Heyer. He also defended the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA:

    Houck had previously claimed that “antifa” (short for anti-fascists) and Black Lives Matter “started the violence” and that “haters on both the far left and far right invaded what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration in VA yesterday.”

    He has also claimed:

    Media Matters has documented that Houck has a long history of race-baiting commentary, which includes frequently blaming victims of police brutality and describing Black Lives Matter as a “thug group.” He also regularly uses his national platform on CNN to peddle racist tropes about black criminality. He recently claimed that President Donald Trump encouraging police brutality is not "that big a deal."

    As Carlos Maza -- now with Vox -- wrote for Media Matters last year: “Despite his rhetoric, CNN continues to pay Houck as an expert, bringing his race-baiting to a national audience any time a story of over-policing or police brutality makes headlines.”

  • Cheyenne Mountain Resort cancels plans to host white nationalist VDare conference after wide criticism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The Colorado resort that was scheduled to host a conference for the white nationalist group VDare has canceled those plans.  

    As Media Matters reported, VDare recently announced, and started taking reservations for, its April 2018 conference at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. The event was scheduled to feature “a weekend of candor, fellowship, and top-notch speakers, as we celebrate the shifting political tides and discuss the way forward for patriotic immigration reform and American national identity.”

    Those plans were canceled today by the resort, which is a part of Benchmark Resorts & Hotels. The resort emailed the following statement: “Cheyenne Mountain Resort will not be hosting the VDARE Foundation in April of next year.  We remain committed to respecting the privacy of guests at the resort.”

    VDare regularly posts white nationalist content that argues against nonwhite immigration and attacks minorities. For its conference next year, VDare had similarly scheduled speakers with a history of pushing racist, anti-immigrant, and white nationalist views. Those speakers included Breitbart.com columnist and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who demonized immigrants as dangerous and disloyal invaders; writer John Derbyshire, who has described himself as “a mild and tolerant” “racist” and “homophobe” and was fired from the National Review after he penned a column suggesting that white and Asian parents warn their children about the supposed threats posed by black people; and VDare leader Peter Brimelow, who has warned that nonwhite immigrants are destroying the country.

    Jason Kessler, the white supremacist who organized the recent August rally in Charlottesville, VA, has written multiple articles for VDare.

    Numerous media outlets based in Colorado covered VDare’s plans for the conference and noted the group’s white nationalist ideology. Anti-racism activists in the area organized against VDare’s plans and were scheduled to voice their opposition to the event. Colorado Springs Republican Mayor John Suthers issued a statement saying he “would encourage local businesses to be attentive to the types of events they accept and the groups that they invite to our great city” and the city wouldn’t “provide any support or resources” to the event.

    VDare had attempted to hold a conference earlier this year at Tenaya Lodge in at Yosemite National Park. The company that owns the lodge ultimately decided to cancel that booking.

  • Right-wing media provided home for white supremacist before he organized Charlottesville rally

    Daily Caller has now removed Jason Kessler’s work from its site

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Before he organized the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Jason Kessler wrote for The Daily Caller and the white nationalist site VDare and appeared as a purported expert on Alex Jones’ Infowars network.

    Kessler was the organizer for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that featured white supremacists and neo-Nazis. President Donald Trump responded to the violence by issuing a generic condemnation of problems "on many sides" and declining to specifically call out white supremacists -- behavior that fits his history of emboldening the white nationalist movement.

    Right-wing media outlets like The Daily Caller have also played a role in cultivating white supremacist organizers like Kessler.

    The Daily Caller contracted with Kessler “to contribute reportage to” the right-wing site this spring. He wrote two pieces in April with the headlines “Trump Supporters Vow To Rally In Berkeley Without Ann Coulter” and “Uncle: MS-13 Gangsters Mutilated Va. Teenager’s Body In Grisly Murder.” Both pieces promoted Kessler’s organization Unity and Security for America and his Twitter account.

    Kessler then wrote a May 14 piece about white supremacists Richard Spencer and Sam Dickson rallying in front of Confederate monuments. ProPublica subsequently reported that the Caller failed to disclose that Kessler “is supportive of white supremacist groups, and on the day of the march had himself made a speech to the protesters in which he praised fascist and racist organizations, thanked a prominent Holocaust denier, and declared the beginnings of a cultural ‘civil war.’” While the Caller suspended its relationship with Kessler, Executive Editor Paul Conner defended Kessler’s work:

    “The story is factually accurate and plainly states what happened at the event,” said Paul Conner, executive editor of The Daily Caller. “But in light of his activism on the issue, we have mutually agreed to suspend our freelance relationship with him.”

    Asked about the substance of Kessler’s speech in Charlottesville, Conner offered no comment on Kessler’s statements. In an email, he said only, “We pay writers for journalism, not their opinions.”

    An editor’s note was appended to Kessler’s article after ProPublica reached out to the Caller about the piece, stating: “The author notified The Daily Caller after publication that he spoke at a luncheon May 14 on behalf of an effort to preserve the monument.”

    Media Matters contacted Daily Caller editors this morning about the outlet’s relationship with Kessler, whether the editors regretted publishing him, and if they would consider publishing him in the future. Shortly afterward, the publication removed Kessler’s author page and all his pieces on the site. Media Matters followed up by asking for a clarification about why the site deleted those pieces. The Caller did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.


    Screenshots of Kessler's Daily Caller work

    Infowars has also had a role in promoting Kessler and his racist work.

    Editor Paul Joseph Watson, who himself has a history of racism, aired a roughly 30-minute interview with Kessler in January to “discuss the insanity of the left and how they have lost all grip on reality.” The interview is featured on Alex Jones’ Youtube channel with the headline “Jason Kessler: Anti-White Racism Must End.” Infowars also posted a roughly 20-minute April interview with Kessler during which he warned Infowars viewers that there’s a “very pressing danger with these people” who are trying to take down Confederate statues. Both interviews promoted Kessler’s nonprofit and Twitter account.

    Alex Jones aired a roughly 15-minute interview with Kessler on August 13, the day after the Saturday rally. During the segment, Jones complained that the media is “penalizing this guy because he’s saying one-third of the racist stuff that I disagree with against the [George] Soros group that’s a total cutout, just make us fight with each other. So how does media say he caused all the violence when clearly antifa was the ones attacking?” (Infowars has been claiming that philanthropist and one-time Media Matters donor George Soros has been purposely funding the Charlottesville violence.) Jones later said during the interview that Kessler walked into a “trap” set by Kessler's enemies by being at the Charlottesville rally this past weekend.

    Kessler wrote three pieces for the “alt-right” affiliated outlet GotNews from January through March. Trump has reportedly received news from that outlet, which is headed by racist troll Charles C. Johnson.

    Kessler has also written several posts for the anti-immigrant white nationalist site VDare. A June 19 post (his most recent) concludes that the “governments of the West are waging a campaign of slow extermination against their own core populations. It is white genocide.”

    VDare recently announced that it will host a conference next year at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. The 2018 event will feature VDare Editor Peter Brimelow, Breitbart.com columnist and former Republican Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, and writer John Derbyshire, who describes himself as a “mild and tolerant” “homophobe” and “racist.”

    Brimelow has also contributed op-eds for The Daily Caller. His website posted a defense of the rally on August 12 by “Charlottesville Survivor,” which concluded that “it’s not Unite The Right that is ‘dividing’ America. Whites who aren’t comfortable with being dispossessed in every single Western country, or with seeing the symbols of their heritage wiped out, gathered to protest peacefully. … Why should Unite The Right apologize for anything? Indeed, how can the ‘Far Right’ be regarded as anything other than an incredibly moderate protest movement against a deliberate campaign of genocide?” (The white supremacists did not actually “protest peacefully.”)

  • How Donald Trump emboldened Charlottesville white supremacists

    Trump's response to Charlottesville is another wink and nod to white supremacists

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    White supremacists have been engaging in violent and racist protests this weekend in Charlottesville, VA. President Donald Trump responded to the violence by issuing a generic condemnation of problems "on many sides" and declining to specifically call out white supremacists. Trump's response fits a pattern: He has repeatedly enabled and emboldened the white nationalist movement and its racist media figures throughout his political rise.

    White supremacists and “alt right” figures have been gathering in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally “to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.” The rally features white nationalist media figures such as Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch and was organized by racist writer Jason Kessler, who has written for The Daily Caller.

    Former KKK leader David Duke, who is attending the protest, said today that the Charlottesville protests are an indication that “we are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

    Media Matters has documented how Trump has engaged in a disturbing courtship with the racist white nationalist movement and its media figures:

    White nationalist leaders are supporting Trump and see him as their “last stand.”

    White nationalists praised Trump and his actions throughout the presidential campaign.

    Trump and his campaign had disturbing interactions with white nationalists.

    White nationalists have said Trump has helped them grow their movement.

    Since Trump was elected in November, white nationalists have cheered the president’s rhetoric and the administration’s moves on appointing Stephen Bannon to a senior position; making Jeff Sessions the attorney general; attempting to ban people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States; and many others. They have also praised White House adviser Stephen Miller for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer for his April comments about the Holocaust.  

    Trump today tweeted of Charlottesville:

    Trump later gave a speech in New Jersey that addressed the protests and said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides." Numerous reporters and commenators criticized Trump for failing to actually call out white supremacism and speaking in generalities. They have also noted that Trump has helped enable the white nationalists in Charlottesville. Here is a sampling (Note: This section has been updated with additional tweets.):

    The following sections were originally published in August 2016 and have been reposted here in light of the Charlottesville protests.  

    White Nationalist Leaders Are Supporting Trump And See Him As Their “Last Stand”

    Associated Press: “Experts Say White Supremacists See Trump As 'Last Stand.'” The Associated Press reported that “Trump and his campaign are expressing ideas similar to those espoused by white supremacists, legal, media and civil rights experts say. In addition, the experts said Wednesday, white supremacists are using the 2016 presidential elections to attempt to control the culture of politics.” From the piece:

    Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, noted that Trump has retweeted posts from white supremacist accounts on Twitter.

    Twitter is Trump's biggest microphone, and his rhetoric correlates with some of the beliefs of white supremacy organizations and communities, Carusone said.

    Sophie Bjork-James, a Vanderbilt University lecturer and expert in white supremacist social movements, said white nationalists are attempting to increase their numbers through Trump's campaign. [The Associated Press, 8/11/16]

    David Duke: “Voting Against Donald Trump At This Point Is Really Treason To Your Heritage.” David Duke is a white supremacist radio host and former Ku Klux Klan wizard. He is currently running for the U.S. Senate and cited Trump as an inspiration for his run. [BuzzFeed, 2/25/16; Media Matters3/1/167/22/16]

    “Pro-White” Radio Host James Edwards: "Trump Will Be The First Republican Nominee That I Have Ever Voted For." James Edwards is the host of the “pro-white” radio program The Political Cesspool. Edwards is a David Duke acolyte and he “has probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Edwards has written: “For blacks in the Americas, slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing that ever happened to white Americans”; “MLK's dream is our nightmare”; and “Interracial sex is white genocide.” [Media Matters, 7/24/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]

    Hate Publication Leader Kevin MacDonald: "Trump Is Saying What White Americans Have Been Actually Thinking For A Very Long Time." The Southern Poverty Law Center described Kevin MacDonald as “the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic” who “published a trilogy that supposedly ‘proves’ that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer: "Vote For The First Time In Our Lives For The One Man Who Actually Represents Our Interests." The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website headed by Andrew Anglin that has endorsed Trump and is enthusiastically supporting his campaign. The website regularly defends Adolf Hitler, attacks “kikes,” and has a section documenting the purported “Jewish Problem.” [Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Hate Group Leader Jared Taylor: "Trump May Be The Last Hope For A President Who Would Be Good For White People." The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that Taylor “is the founder of the New Century Foundation and edits its American Renaissance magazine, which, despite its pseudo-academic polish, regularly publishes proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black and anti-Latino racists. Taylor also hosts a conference every other year where racist intellectuals rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Hate Group Leader Richard Spencer: “Trump Thinks Like Me. … Do You Think It's A Coincidence That Everybody Like Me Loves Trump And Supports Him?” Richard Spencer is the head of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. The Associated Press reported that Spencer “matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States” while at the Republican National Convention. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; The Associated Press, 7/25/16]

    Stormfront Founder Don Black: “We Are All Pulling For Him, Voting For Him If We Can.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Black is a “former Klan state leader and long-time white supremacist” who created “Stormfront.org, the first major Internet hate site.” [BuzzFeed, 3/25/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]

    White Nationalist Political Party Leader William Johnson: “I Urge You To Vote For Donald Trump.” William Daniel Johnson heads the American Freedom Party and “has called for a whites-only United States and the deportation of other races and ethnicities.” He also founded the pro-Trump group American National Super PAC, was initially selected as a Trump convention delegate, and issued pro-Trump robocalls in key primary states. [The Washington Post, 5/11/16; Talking Points Memo, 1/9/16

    White Nationalists Have Praised Trump And His Actions Throughout The Campaign

    Early In Primary Campaign, White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Stance On Immigration. Trump’s stance on immigration drew white nationalists to his campaign during the early months of the Republican primary. They said Trump was "doing the Lord's work," remarked that his plan was the "most explicit any presidential candidate has ever been," and said Trump could halt "the speed with which whites are reduced to a minority." [Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    White Nationalist Media Backed Trump's Anti-Muslim Plan. White nationalists praised Trump’s plan "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." They called Trump's proposal "so wonderful" and "100% reasonable" because Muslims purportedly provide "absolutely nothing of value to this once-great nation." [Media Matters, 12/8/15]

    Trump’s White Nationalist Backers Applauded His Racist Attacks On Federal Judge. White nationalists praised Trump’s racist attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel for purportedly being biased because “he’s a Mexican.” They called the judge a “terrorist spic,” claimed “Diversity is not strength, and it above all is not an impartial judiciary,” said the attacks against Trump are because of “Jewish manipulation,” and celebrated that Trump “is waking up” white Americans “from their collective hypnosis.” [Media Matters, 6/7/16]

    White Nationalists Hailed Trump For “Stunning” Anti-Semitic Tweet. White nationalist leaders praised Trump for tweeting an anti-Semitic image attacking Hillary Clinton. They wrote that the tweet represented “dog-whistling by The Leader” about “filthy Jew terrorists,” proof that “Trump is not backing down,” and that it’s “Nice to see Mr. Trump slipping some 'Red Pills' to the American people.” [Media Matters, 7/5/16]

    White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Convention. White nationalists praised Trump and the 2016 Republican National Convention. They celebrated that their tweets were featured in the convention hall, defended Melania Trump’s plagiarism from attacks by “the filthy Jews,” and hailed that the Republican Party “is becoming the de facto white party.” They also praised Trump’s convention speech, stating that they “couldn't have said it better” and “couldn’t be happier”; and said that Trump was focusing on the “negative effects” of immigration and using “codewords” that appeal to whites. [Media Matters, 7/20/16, 7/22/16]

    White Nationalists Loved Trump’s Attacks Against Muslim-American Gold Star Parents. White nationalists praised Trump for his “rightful” attacks against Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Khizr Khan delivered a convention speech honoring son Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq, and criticizing Trump. White nationalists said that Trump’s anti-Muslim comments prove he’s “the real thing,” claimed the fallen soldier was a “terrorist” infiltrator, and called for the Khans to be deported. [Media Matters, 8/2/16]

    White Nationalists Rejoiced At Trump’s Hiring Of Breitbart News Chief Stephen Bannon. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted that under Bannon, Breitbart.com “has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas.” The Daily Beast similarly wrote that “Bannon did a lot to normalize the racist, anti-Semitic world of the alt right.” VDare’s Peter Brimelow praised Bannon’s hiring in the Daily Beast, saying that “Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and done great stuff on immigration in particular.” Richard Spencer also approved of the hiring, stating, “Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart.” The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin supported Bannon’s hiring, stating that “Breitbart has, over the last year, gone from Fox News-style cuckism to full-on Stormer-tier on most issues (not the Jews, of course).” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 4/28/16, Daily Beast, 8/17/16; Daily Stormer, 8/18/16

    White Nationalists Loved Trump’s “Nazi” Closing Ad Because It “Blasts” The “Evil Jews.” White nationalists praised Trump’s closing campaign ad, which was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, as “absolutely fantastic” because it shows that Jewish people are “eating away at the flesh of this once-great nation.” [Media Matters, 11/7/16]

    White Nationalists Praised Mike Pence For Refusing To Call David Duke “Deplorable.” White nationalists praised Trump running mate Mike Pence for refusing to call David Duke “deplorable.” The racist media figures reacted by saying Pence is “a solid guy,” “It’s good to see,” and “Bravo!” [Media Matters, 9/13/16]

    White Nationalists Cheered August Immigration Speech By Trump. On August 31, Trump delivered a speech about immigration in Arizona. The speech was hailed by white nationalists as a “Hell of a speech” and “excellent.” [Media Matters, 8/31/16]

    White Nationalists Were Thrilled With Speech That Was Packed With Anti-Semitic Themes. Trump delivered an October speech in Florida that was heavily criticized for trafficking in anti-Semitic themes. White nationalists praised the contents of Trump’s “incredible” speech because it attacked “Jewish radicals” and managed “to channel Goebbels.” [Media Matters, 10/14/16]

    White Nationalists Praised Donald Trump Jr. For Actions During Campaign. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. made a “gas chamber” reference, retweeted an anti-Semitic author, and compared Syrian refugees to Skittles. Trump Jr.’s actions endeared him to neo-Nazi websites, which have celebrated Trump's son for having “hit a nerve” with the “Jew Media” and for indicating that “a part of him has been with us since day one.” [Media Matters, 9/20/16

    Trump And His Campaign Have Had Disturbing Interactions With White Nationalists

    Trump Has Repeatedly Retweeted White Supremacist Accounts. The New York Times wrote of Trump’s penchant for promoting white nationalists on Twitter:

    But on the flatlands of social media, the border between Mr. Trump and white supremacists easily blurs. He has retweeted supportive messages from racist or nationalist Twitter accounts to his nine million followers. Last fall, he retweeted a graphic with fictitious crime statistics claiming that 81 percent of white homicide victims in 2015 were killed by blacks. (No such statistic was available for 2015 at the time; the actual figure for 2014 was 15 percent, according to the F.B.I.)

    In January and February he retweeted messages from a user with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, whose profile picture is of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. A couple of days later, in quick succession, he retweeted two more accounts featuring white nationalist or Nazi themes. Mr. Trump deleted one of the retweets, but white supremacists saw more than a twitch of the thumb. “Our Glorious Leader and ULTIMATE SAVIOR has gone full wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters,” Mr. Anglin wrote on The Daily Stormer.

    In fact, Mr. Trump’s Twitter presence is tightly interwoven with hordes of mostly anonymous accounts trafficking in racist and anti-Semitic attacks. When Little Bird, a social media data mining company, analyzed a week of Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity, it found that almost 30 percent of the accounts Mr. Trump retweeted in turn followed one or more of 50 popular self-identified white nationalist accounts. [The New York Times, 7/14/16]

    Trump Repeatedly Refused To Denounce David Duke. Trump created an uproar when he repeatedly refused to disavow David Duke for supporting his campaign. Trump later bizarrely blamed a “bad earpiece” for failing to denounce Duke during the interview. [CNN.com, 2/29/16; Washington Examiner, 2/29/16]

    Trump Refused To Denounce Neo-Nazi Supporters Who Threatened Reporter. During a May interview, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Trump if he would denounce anti-Semitic death threats against a reporter who wrote a profile of Melania Trump. Trump refused to condemn the threats, saying he was unaware of them and adding, “I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote a article that was inaccurate.” [Media Matters, 5/6/16]

    Trump Selected White Nationalist Leader As Delegate. As Mother Jones noted, the Trump campaign selected “William Johnson, one of the country's most prominent white nationalists,” as a convention delegate from California. Johnson later resigned following criticism, and the Trump campaign blamed a "database error" on the selection. [Mother Jones, 5/10/16]

    Trump Campaign Was Forced To Return Donation From Johnson. The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. [Media Matters, 3/11/16]

    Trump Adviser And GOP Congressmen Gave Pro-Trump Interviews To White Nationalist Radio Host James Edwards At The RNC. Several members of Congress and Trump campaign official Gary Berntsen gave pro-Trump interviews to James Edwards and his “pro-white” radio show The Political Cesspool during the Republican National Convention. [Media Matters, 7/24/16]

    Trump Campaign Gave Press Credentials To James Edwards. Trump's campaign gave press credentials to Edwards and The Political Cesspool to cover a Tennessee rally in February. [Media Matters, 3/1/16]

    Donald Trump Jr. Gave Interview To James Edwards. Donald Trump Jr. gave an interview to white nationalist leader James Edwards. The interview aired on the Liberty RoundTable, which is hosted by Edwards’ syndicator and guest host Sam Bushman. Edwards appeared on the program as a guest and questioner. The Trump campaign later claimed they were not aware of Edwards’ views; Edwards hit back at the campaign by claiming that the interview happened because "a press agency that's scheduling interviews for" Trump Jr. reached out to him. [Media Matters, 3/3/16]

    Trump’s Convention Displayed Tweets From White Nationalist Accounts. The Republican National Convention displayed tweets from white nationalist accounts on its ticker. The tweets came from the accounts “@Western_Triumph” and VDare.com. [Time, 7/22/16]

    Trump Adviser Retweeted An Anti-Semitic Message. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is advising Trump’s campaign and was reportedly considered as a potential running mate, shared a tweet that read, "Not anymore, Jews. Not Anymore." Flynn later apologized, claiming it “was a mistake.” [CNN.com, 7/24/16]

    Trump Surrogates Promoted Campaign In Interview With Neo-Nazi. Diamond and Silk, two YouTube personalities who serve as surrogates for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, promoted his candidacy in an interview with neo-Nazi and Trump supporter John Friend. Friend believes the Holocaust is "one of the most egregious and outrageous falsehoods ever perpetrated," "Jews Did 9/11," and Adolf Hitler was "the greatest thing that's happened to Western civilization." [Media Matters, 3/24/16]

    Donald Trump Jr. Retweeted Anti-Semitic Author Kevin MacDonald. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency noted that Trump Jr. in August “retweeted an attack on Hillary Clinton by Kevin MacDonald, a psychologist notorious for his theories of Jewish manipulation and control. The Aug. 29 tweet itself had nothing to do with Jews or the theories that have made MacDonald popular among Holocaust deniers. In it, MacDonald referred to Clinton’s interactions as secretary of state with UBS, a Swiss bank that also has contributed to the Clinton Foundation.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 9/1/16]

    Trump Senior Adviser Promoted Anti-Semitic Hate Site’s Trump Endorsement. A.J. Delgado, a senior campaign adviser, retweeted a Trump endorsement from anti-Semitic website The Right Stuff in October. The Right Stuff tweeted: “At this point anyone not insane enough to want a war with Russia should vote Trump.” The tweet prior to the message that Delgado retweeted was an anti-Semitic attack on Republican strategist Dan Senor. [Media Matters, 10/11/16]

    Trump Campaign Has Accepted Donations From Prominent White Nationalist Leader William Johnson. The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September 2015 from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. However, Johnson subsequently donated more money to the Trump campaign that reportedly has not been returned. The Daily Beast reported in October 2016:

    According to FEC filings, Johnson contributed $1,000 on June 22, 2016 and an additional $500 on June 28. Both of these have yet to refunded according to the filings.

    When asked about the contributions, Johnson told The Daily Beast he thought had given even more than the documented amount.

    “I donated more than $1,500,” he said in an email. “I think I am near the max of $2,500. I paid by credit card and I don't keep my personal accounts, so I don’t know for sure, but I have given on many occasions.” [Media Matters, 3/11/16; The Daily Beast, 10/31/16

    Trump Campaign Accepted Donations From White Nationalist Leaders Michael Polignano And Peter Brimelow. Trump’s campaign accepted donations from Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, white nationalists who both manage virulently racist publications. Polignano is the managing editor and webmaster for Counter-Currents, a website and publishing company that publishes white nationalist and pro-Hitler material. Brimelow is the editor of VDare.com, a white nationalist and anti-immigrant website. [Media Matters, 9/14/16]

    White Nationalists Say Trump Has Helped Them Grow Their Movement

    Politico: “White Supremacist Groups See Trump Bump.” Politico reported in December of Trump and white supremacists:

    The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

    As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement.

    “Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Stormfront founder Don Black, who reports additional listeners and call volume to his phone-in radio show, in addition to the site’s traffic bump. Black predicts that the white nationalist forces set in motion by Trump will be a legacy that outlives the businessman’s political career. “He’s certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.” [Politico, 12/10/15]

    Politico: Experts Say “Trump Is Energizing Hate Groups And Creating An Atmosphere Likely To Lead To More Violence Against American Muslims.”

    Meanwhile, analysts from the two leading organizations that track violence against minority groups say Trump is energizing hate groups and creating an atmosphere likely to lead to more violence against American Muslims.

    According to experts at the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center who monitor hate groups and anti-Muslim sentiment, Trump’s call on Monday to halt the entrance of Muslims to the United States is driving online chatter among white supremacists and is likely to inspire violence against Muslims. [Politico, 12/10/15]

    N.Y. Times: “Trump Has Galvanized The Otherwise Marginal World Of Avowed White Nationalists.” The New York Times wrote in July:

    Some are elated by the turn. In making the explicit assertion of white identity and grievance more widespread, Mr. Trump has galvanized the otherwise marginal world of avowed white nationalists and self-described “race realists.” They hail him as a fellow traveler who has driven millions of white Americans toward an intuitive embrace of their ideals: that race should matter as much to white people as it does to everyone else. He has freed Americans, those activists say, to say what they really believe. [The New York Times, 7/13/16]

    Wall Street Journal: “White Nationalists See Advancement Through Donald Trump’s Candidacy.” The Wall Street Journal reported in May:

    White nationalists are hailing Donald Trump’s elevation to presumptive Republican presidential nominee, while also trying to boost their own political profiles and activity.

    Although Mr. Trump has spurned these extreme groups’ support, the level of interest within them for the White House candidate rivals that for segregationist George Wallace, who won five states in the 1968 election, and for conservative Republican Pat Buchanan, who denounced multiculturalism in the 1990s.

    Mr. Trump is being heralded by these groups for his proposals to bar Muslim immigrants, deport millions of people living illegally in the U.S., and build a wall along the southern border. [The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/16]

    Daily News: “Trump’s Racist Rhetoric Emboldens White Supremacist Groups, Neo-Nazis Spouting Hate On The Internet.” New York Daily News reported in December that Trump’s “decision to push divisive rhetoric and policy has opened the door for an array of white supremacy groups, that suddenly feel emboldened and legitimized by Trump’s hateful bombast, to rejoin the national conversation.” [New York Daily News, 12/10/15]

    Washington Post: “White Supremacist Movement Is Seizing On Donald Trump’s Appeal.” The Post reported:

    Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Washington Post that the KKK, for one, has a new conversation starter at its disposal.

    You might call it a “Trump card.”

    It involves, say, walking into a coffee shop or sitting on a train while carrying a newspaper with a Donald Trump headline. The Republican presidential candidate, Pendergraft told The Post, has become a great outreach tool, providing separatists with an easy way to start a conversation about issues that are important to the dying white supremacist movement. [The Washington Post, 12/21/15]

    Anti-Defamation League: “Trump’s Rhetoric Resonates With White Supremacists.” The New York Times wrote in July:

    “Trump’s rhetoric resonates with white supremacists,” said Joanna Mendelson, an investigative researcher with the Center on Extremism, a branch of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    “They’ve been essentially energized about Trump’s candidacy, and they’ve been very vocal about their support of Trump and his policies on immigration and globalism,” Mendelson said.

    In February, the ADL published a list of 10 prominent white supremacists who actively support Trump. Then, in April, it urged the candidate to drop the phrase “America First” as a campaign slogan, pointing out it had been used by Charles Lindbergh, a prominent Nazi sympathizer, in the 1940s. [The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, 6/2/16]

    White Nationalists Are Using Trump’s Campaign For Fundraising. White nationalist websites like VDare.com and American Renaissance have been using Trump’s candidacy to raise money. Fundraising solicitations hail Trump for spurring "unprecedented interest in" white nationalism and putting their ideas "firmly in the mainstream." [Media Matters, 1/12/16]

  • White nationalist VDare hosting conference in Colorado with Breitbart columnist

    Conference at Cheyenne Mountain Resort will also feature writer who describes himself as “racist” and “homophobe”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    UPDATE: Before he organized the August 12 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Jason Kessler wrote multiple articles for VDare. A June 19 post (his most recent) concludes that the “governments of the West are waging a campaign of slow extermination against their own core populations. It is white genocide.” VDare also posted a defense of the Charlottesville rally on August 12 which concluded that “it’s not Unite The Right that is ‘dividing’ America. Whites who aren’t comfortable with being dispossessed in every single Western country, or with seeing the symbols of their heritage wiped out, gathered to protest peacefully. … Why should Unite The Right apologize for anything? Indeed, how can the ‘Far Right’ be regarded as anything other than an incredibly moderate protest movement against a deliberate campaign of genocide?” (The white supremacists did not actually “protest peacefully.”) 

    UPDATE 2: Cheyenne Mountain Resort cancels plans to host white nationalist VDare conference after wide criticism

    The white nationalist and anti-immigrant hate group VDare will host its next conference at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. The 2018 event will feature anti-immigrant writer Peter Brimelow, Breitbart.com columnist Tom Tancredo, and writer John Derbyshire, who describes himself as a “mild and tolerant” “homophobe” and “racist.”

    Civil rights groups have heavily criticized VDare for its racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), VDare is a white nationalist website that “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.” The Anti-Defamation League wrote that VDare is a racist site that “posts, promotes, and archives the work of racists, anti-immigrant figures, and anti-Semites.”

    Headlines on VDare include: “One Problem With These Hispanic Immigrants Is Their Disgusting Behavior,” “Indians Aren`t That Intelligent (On Average),” “Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Hispanic Immigrants Taking Over FBI’s Ten Most Wanted,” “America Does Not Need ANY Immigrants From Africa,” and “Roll Over, JIHAD—There’s Also HIJRA, Muslim Conquest By Immigration.”

    Numerous media outlets have correctly identified the site as white nationalist, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and CNN.

    VDare recently announced, and started taking reservations for, its April 2018 conference at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, which is a part of Benchmark Resorts & Hotels. A booking page for the event states that it will feature “a weekend of candor, fellowship, and top-notch speakers, as we celebrate the shifting political tides and discuss the way forward for patriotic immigration reform and American national identity.”

    VDare attempted to hold its first public national conference at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park earlier this year, drawing criticism from Media Matters and SPLC. That event was also set to feature Brimelow, Tancredo and Derbyshire. The lodge subsequently took “steps to immediately cancel this booking” when it “became aware of the nature of VDare Foundation.” VDare responded by criticizing Media Matters for engaging in “cultural Marxism” and questioning whether “we live in a free country or not.”

    In response to Media Matters’ inquiry about VDare’s 2018 conference, a Cheyenne Mountain Resort spokesperson gave the following statement: “Cheyenne Mountain Resort respects the privacy of its guests and does not comment on groups or individuals that hold meetings at the resort.”

    VDare’s scheduled speakers for its 2018 conference have a history of pushing racist, anti-immigrant, and white nationalist views.

    Tancredo is a Breitbart columnist and a favorite immigration "expert" for White House chief strategist and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon. His columns regularly demonize immigrants as dangerous and disloyal invaders, with headlines such as “Mexico Is Sending Us Colonists, Not Immigrants,” “European Colonization, Not Refugee Resettlement,” and “From Jenner to D.C., Multiculturalism Virus Is Destroying the U.S.” He claimed in January 2016 that “Muslim rape culture … could be coming to a town near you all too soon” because of immigration.  

    Tancredo has a long history of making anti-immigrant and racist statements. The former Colorado congressman once suggested that the United States bomb Mecca; criticized Miami, FL, for purportedly becoming “a Third World country” because so many people speak Spanish there; and proposed a “civics literacy test before people can vote.”

    Derbyshire was fired from the National Review after he penned a column suggesting that white and Asian parents warn their children about the supposed threats posed by black people. Derbyshire has stated of his views: “I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.”

    In a profile of Brimelow, SPLC wrote that he “is one of the leading voices in the anti-immigrant movement. Interestingly, he is himself an immigrant (from England), a fact that he regularly brings up when he worriedly notes that his son, with his ‘blue eyes’ and ‘blond hair,’ could grow up in an America in which whites have lost their population majority. For Brimelow, immigration itself is not the problem — it's the influx of non-whites that is destroying America.”

    *Updated with additional information. 

  • Reporters rip WSJ and top editor for Trump interview conduct: "Trump toady," "suck-up," "deeply embarrassing"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Reporters are heavily criticizing The Wall Street Journal and its editor-in-chief for their handling of the paper's "deeply embarrassing" recent interview with President Donald Trump. The Journal’s leadership has been heavily criticized from both inside and outside of its newsroom for soft coverage of the new administration.

    The Journal interviewed Trump on July 25 and posted transcript and audio excerpts of their talk but declined to release a full transcript. Roughly a week later, the full transcript was posted online -- by Politico.  

    Politico explained that “the full version has circulated around the Journal newsroom as well as among others in New York and Washington” and Matt Murray, the Journal's deputy editor-in-chief, warned staff against leaking the transcript. Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker “asked many of the questions and took the lead byline on the main piece about the interview as well, an unusual step for the editor in chief of a paper with a large White House reporting staff.”

    In addition to Baker, Murray, Washington bureau chief Paul Beckett, and White House reporters Michael Bender and Peter Nicholas were at the interview. 

    Media Matters and other outlets have reported that staffers at the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper have been concerned about the publication's coverage of Trump, with those staffers saying that there is “pressure to reflect pro-Trump viewpoints” and “everyone in the newsroom is concerned about it.”

    NPR’s David Folkenflik reported that “some reporters and editors at the storied paper tell NPR they believe the Journal had been [soft on Trump], particularly during the campaign, to please the conservative views held by Baker and the paper's controlling owner, News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch.”

    Numerous reporters slammed the Journal for its conduct both during and after its Trump interview. Columbia Journalism Review’s Pete Vernon wrote that “outside of a few impressive pieces on Trump’s business entanglements,” the paper “has largely failed to deliver game-changing scoops. Baker’s chumminess with the Trump family, as well as the failure of any journalists in the room to push back against false claims such as Trump’s assertion that ‘we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world,’ will undoubtedly fuel the perception that the Journal isn’t pushing as hard as some of its marquee competitors.”

    Poynter’s James Warren concluded that the Journal comes off poorly and “the guy running one of the most formidable and respected newsrooms is largely to blame.”

    Reporters on Twitter roasted the Journal and Baker for their conduct. They tweeted that Baker is a "suck-up" whose behavior should make the Journal feel "ashamed" and "deeply" embarrassed. They also wrote that Baker is hurting his newsroom and "his news staff clearly has it in for him." Here is a sampling of that reaction:

    Politico editor Timothy Noah:

    Recode Executive Editor Kara Swisher:

    NPR reporter Alison Kodjak:

    Washington Post reporter Amy Brittain:

    CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski:

    Environmental journalist Dan Fagin‏:

    Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin:

    ProPublica journalist Jesse Eisinger:

    Slate national correspondent Will Saletan:

    Journalism professor Dan Gillmor:

  • The conflicts of interest hiding behind pro-pipeline op-eds around the country

    Pennsylvania publication bans retired general after he failed to disclose ties to pipeline company

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    A retired general wrote numerous op-eds attacking pipeline protesters without disclosing his financial ties to the pipeline industry, including to a security contractor that has used “counterterrorism measures” against those protesters. That deception has led at least one publication to prohibit him from writing in its pages in the future.

    James “Spider” Marks serves as a CNN military analyst after retiring from the Army under the rank of major general. He is also the advisory board chair for the international security firm TigerSwan.

    Energy Transfer Partners hired TigerSwan to provide security for the Dakota Access Pipeline. As The Intercept has documented in past months, TigerSwan used “military-style counterterrorism measures” against protesters and conducted “sweeping and invasive surveillance of” them. In interviews with Grist, several legal experts “described the contractor’s tactics as highly disturbing and perhaps unprecedented.”

    The North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board filed a lawsuit in June against TigerSwan for operating without a license in the state. In Louisiana, regulators cited that suit this month when they denied a license for the firm in their state, which is considering a proposed 162-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline.

    A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners told Media Matters in a July 21 email that “TigerSwan is one of our security advisors.” The company added that its specific work with TigerSwan in North Dakota has ended and declined to comment beyond that regarding the “details of our security efforts.”

    The internal documents given to The Intercept also revealed that in the past year, “TigerSwan agents stressed the need to change the public narrative established by protestors and to swing public support in favor of the pipeline.”

    Marks has been an integral part of a nationwide pro-pipelines P.R. effort to swing public support for pipelines, including writing numerous pieces for outlets across the country. Those pieces include:

    • a November 17 op-ed in the Omaha World-Herald headlined “Pipeline smear campaign must end”;
    • a November 18 op-ed in the Washington Examiner headlined “The Army Corps of Engineers deserves thanks, not attacks, for Dakota Access Pipeline work”;
    • a February 8 Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA) op-ed headlined “Bayou Bridge pipeline: Bringing safety and security to Louisiana”;
    • a May 24 PennLive.com op-ed headlined “Here's why Pa. should be wary of professional pipeline protesters”;
    • a July 1 Washington Examiner op-ed headlined "Qatar blockade underscores America's world opportunity in natural gas"; and
    • a July 12 Daily Caller op-ed headlined “Protect Our National Economy By Harnessing Our Natural Gas Supply.”

    None of those pieces included disclosures about Marks’ position with TigerSwan. Both The Intercept and DeSmogBlog have reported that Marks’ op-eds have run in media outlets without disclosures to readers.

    John L. Micek, opinion editor for PennLive, said that Marks misled the publication and if he had disclosed his ties to TigerSwan, the piece never would have run.

    “At no time did Gen. Marks nor his public relations people disclose their ties to TigerSwan,” Micek told Media Matters on July 20. “Had I been aware of those ties, the piece categorically would not have run. PennLive is in the business of being transparent with its readers and we object strongly to this tie being obscured by Mr. Marks and his public relations firm.”

    PennLive posted an update to its piece on July 20 stating: “The author is advisory board chair to TigerSwan, a private security firm monitoring the pipeline's construction. He failed to disclose these ties to PennLive. His work will not appear on the website again.”

    Media Matters asked TigerSwan whether Marks should have disclosed his connection. A spokesperson responded via email: “Mr. Marks was not representing TigerSwan.”

    Marks has also worked as a paid adviser for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), whose members include oil and gas companies. According to DeSmogBlog, that organization has “morphed into a national effort known as Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN),” which also includes Marks as an adviser and oil and gas interests as members. (Both MAIN and GAIN have been fronted by Craig Stevens, who is vice president of the Republican public relations firm DCI Group.)

    The Daily Caller and Examiner's July 1 piece included disclosures that Marks works for GAIN but they did not disclose that the coalition includes oil and gas interests. The World-Herald, Examiner on November 18, Daily Advertiser and PennLive (originally) just identified Marks as a retired major general and the head of the consulting firm The Marks Collaborative.