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Eric Hananoki

Author ››› Eric Hananoki
  • Fox News reporter Doug McKelway advocates for right-wing ideas and smears Democrats on Twitter

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a “freak show.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sounds like a “school marm scold” and is “best watched with the volume turned off.” The Democratic Party is defined by “racial identity politics hucksters.” There “are other viewpoints” on climate change science and it doesn’t matter anyway because the “earth will die when the sun does.”

    Those comments aren’t by a random right-wing Twitter account but by Fox News reporter Doug McKelway, who is part of the network’s bureau in Washington, D.C.. Fox’s “news division” frequently dispatches McKelway to report on presidential politics and significant stories like the white supremacist rally Charlottesville, VA. He regularly appears on Fox’s “news”-side programming and occasionally guest-anchors Special Report with Bret Baier.

    Fox News has recently touted its “news” division as separate from its “opinion” side, especially to advertisers and Democratic politicians. That distinction has long been a farce, but McKelway’s prominent presence in the “news” division only further illustrates that lie.

    The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani and Andrew Kirell reported last week that in an email recently sent to some staff members, McKelway tried to defend President Donald Trump’s infamous comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” following the August 2017 neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally and resulting counter-protests. After Digital Senior Editor Cody Derespina agreed with McKelway, Fox News Radio White House correspondent Jon Decker responded by writing that they both sounded “like a White Supremacist chat room.”

    In addition to attacking Democratic politicians, McKelway frequently uses his Twitter account to push right-wing views. He has claimed that "a good parent" would explain to their children that there are “viewpoints" other than the scientific consensus on climate change; the Green New Deal would impose "financial hardship on the US" and "won’t make a dent" on carbon reduction; special counsel Robert "Mueller's people  - or someone with apparent knowledge of the raid - tipped off Mueller ally @CNN" to the raid of Roger Stone's house (they didn't); "entitlements" programs are "looming like a giant ponzi scheme"; and social justice curriculums are "wasting your kids brain."

    Here are some of McKelway’s tweets:

  • Stephen Moore defended slave owner Robert E. Lee, wrongly claiming that “Lee hated slavery"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Shortly after the deadly August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Stephen Moore went on CNN and defended the honor of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, claiming that he “hated slavery. He abhorred slavery, but he fought for his section of the country.” After his remarks resurfaced today, historians and reporters criticized Moore for his historical revisionism.

    President Donald Trump recently picked Moore for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Moore is a right-wing commentator who has objectionable views on women and the economy.

    Moore previously worked as a commentator for CNN and appeared on the August 17, 2017, edition of CNN Newsroom, shortly after the violent Unite the Right rally in which white supremacists claimed to march against the removal of Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, VA. On August 12, 2017, neo-Nazi James A. Fields Jr. killed anti-racism activist Heather Heyer with his car during the protest.

    During that CNN appearance, Moore defended the legacy and reputation of the Confederate leader, stating that “Robert E. Lee hated slavery. He abhorred slavery, but he fought for his section of the country.” He added that “the Civil War was about the South having its own rights,” and slavery “was a big part of it, but it wasn't only that.”

    CNN anchor John Berman told Moore during the exchange: “I can't let it slide. Robert E. Lee held slaves. He ordered the beating of slaves. He ordered the return of fugitive slaves and he fought for the dissolution of the Union to maintain slavery.”

    After his comments were resurfaced by Media Matters, reporters and academics criticized Moore’s historical revisionism.

    Princeton University historian Kevin M. Kruse tweeted, “Robert E. Lee owned slaves and brutalized them. Lee led an armed revolt against the United States to preserve and expand slavery. And during that armed revolt, Lee's army captured free blacks in the North and enslaved them.”

    Washington Post reporter Michael Scherer wrote: “Gen. Lee wrote that he believed ‘the relation of master and slave, controlled by humane laws and influenced by Christianity and an enlightened public sentiment [was] the best that can exist between the white and black races…’”

    Economist Washington correspondent Jon Fasman wrote: “Moore's assertion is a) manifestly untrue, and b) no excuse for treason.”

    Cornell University historian Lawrence Glickman wrote: “Stephen Moore proves that he's just as good a historian as he is as an economist.”

    Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery tweeted about the exchange, writing that Moore mischaracterized what the Post reporter said during a previous segment that also discussed Charlottesville. Lowery wrote that Moore claimed he had argued that “Robert E. Lee and all confederate soldiers were terrorists,” while what he actually argued was that “Lee fought for a treasonous cause and committed acts of brutal racial violence - not someone who should be honored w/public monuments.” He also tweeted: “The historical record is clear, though, Robert E. Lee was a traitor and brutal slave owner.”

  • Stephen Moore's hatred of climate science inspired him to attack Ivanka Trump

    Moore: Ivanka Trump “grew up in Manhattan … Think about who all of Ivanka’s friends are: They’re Manhattan liberals”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Stephen Moore, President Donald Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, hates support for climate change science so much that he previously attacked Ivanka Trump as an elitist who’s friends with “Manhattan liberals” for her supposed (but ineffectual) support for action on climate change.

    Moore is a right-wing commentator who has come under fire for his views on women and the economy. He previously worked as a contributor to CNN and Fox News; Moore repeatedly told audiences that Fox News’ motto is “fair, balanced, and blonde” and that he enjoyed working there because he “met a lot of beautiful women.”

    Moore has also frequently made incendiary and inaccurate comments about climate science, including claiming that:

    • Global warming is the greatest scam of the last 100 years; these people are fanatics.”
    • The effort to combat climate change is “one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in world history.”  
    • Scientists are lying about climate change to get “really, really, really rich,” and they “have a vested financial interest in talking about armageddon and these kinds of things.”
    • Environmentalists “are young Stalinists. I can’t go on college campuses today to even question their religion of global warming – and it is a religion, by the way.”
    • Fracking is "like the equivalent in health care of a cure for cancer."

    On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would leave the Paris climate accord, which aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to the decision, media outlets reported that Ivanka Trump preferred that the country stay in the agreement. (Regardless of her reported views, she works for the White House as an adviser and the administration has heavily rolled back environmental protections; and she defends the administration and its anti-science policies, including retweeting the White House’s claim that “the Trump Administration has been an active and meaningful driver for science and technology policy in America.”)

    In a June 1, 2017, radio segment shortly before the announcement, radio host Rose Tennent brought up Ivanka Trump’s reported attempt to influence the president’s Paris accord decision and told Moore that while she loves the Trumps, she “didn’t vote for” her and her husband Jared Kushner. Moore responded by stating that he has “nothing but respect for them” and believes they’re “brilliant,” “hard-working,” and “impressive,” but then trashed Ivanka as out-of-touch.

    “Where did they grow up? They grew up in Manhattan,” Moore said. “You know? I mean, they have a different view of the world. Right? I mean, think about who all of Ivanka’s friends are: They’re Manhattan liberals.”

    He added: “They don’t know steel workers, they don’t know coal miners, they don’t know people who are welders and pipefitters.”

    ROSE TENNENT (HOST): One of the things though I was reading yesterday, when some of the people around him -- for example, his daughter who is very influential, she doesn’t want him to leave.

    STEPHEN MOORE: No, she doesn’t.

    TENNENT: And, yeah, and see, this is this one of my concerns. Steve, I’m going to be honest with you, and I love the Trumps. I mean I’ve interviewed every one of them. My favorite is Eric, I think he’s just amazing. You know I love them. But I don’t necessarily -- I didn’t necessarily vote to have Ivanka and her husband in the White House and having that great of an influence over Donald Trump. I love that they can -- that he has somebody to lean on and trust and count on. But I just didn’t want that input because I didn’t vote for them. I would never vote for Kushner. You know what I mean?

    MOORE: Well, I got to know Jared and Ivanka as well on the campaign trail. And, by the way, I have nothing but respect for them.

    TENNENT: Absolutely.

    MOORE: They’re brilliant people and they are so hard-working --

    TENNENT: Lovely.

    MOORE: -- and so impressive in every way. But look. Where did they grow up? They grew up in Manhattan. You know? I mean, they have a different view of the world. Right? I mean, think about who all of Ivanka’s friends are: They’re Manhattan liberals. And, you know, so, I think her attitude about this has been colored by the fact that she’s hanging out with people. They don’t -- the people that, you know, grew up in Manhattan, they don’t know steel workers, they don’t know coal miners, they don’t know people who are welders and pipefitters. And those -- again, I go back to the point that it’s working-class Americans who are going to pay the price for this if we go forward.

    While Moore suggested he’s a champion of “working-class” non-Manhattanites, in 2014, he called Cincinnati and Cleveland some of the "armpits of America."

  • Stephen Moore repeatedly said he liked working at Fox News because he met "a lot of beautiful women" there

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Stephen Moore, President Donald Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, frequently told audiences that Fox News’ motto is “fair, balanced, and blonde” and that he enjoyed working there because he “met a lot of beautiful women.”

    Moore has come under fire in recent days for his sexist commentary about women. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc reported that he “has written that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men's college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life ‘where men can take vacation from women.’”

    Moore also said during an October 2017 appearance on CNN that he got “very good advice” from a CEO who told him to “never have a meeting with a woman without someone else in the room” because women have reported sexual harassment against people in a “position of power” like Bill O’Reilly and Trump.

    Moore worked as a Fox News contributor from 2013 to early 2017, when he left the right-wing network for CNN (after Trump's Fed announcement, CNN removed him as a commentator). He also frequently appeared on Fox News as a guest before becoming an official commentator. Fox News’ workplace culture has been toxic for years, especially for women.

    One of the staples of his speeches to organizations was touting how he's met “beautiful women” at Fox News, calling it one of his employment’s “fringe benefits” and saying it makes Fox News a “fun” and “great” place to work. Here are five examples:

    • During a May 10, 2012, speech for the Freedom Foundation, Moore said: “It’s great to be working with Fox News. You know their motto, by the way? Fair, balanced, and blonde, right? I’ve met a lot of beautiful women at Fox News, including Megyn Kelly, who I have to confess -- my wife isn’t here -- I’m in love with Megyn Kelly.”
    • During an October 18, 2012, speech at the Kansas Policy Institute, Moore said: “You know the theme of Fox News, right? Fair, balanced, and blonde. I’ve met so many, you know, beautiful women at Fox and it’s a lot of fun to work there.”
    • During a November 15, 2012, speech for the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, Moore said: “People are always asking me, ‘What’s Greta [Van Susteren] really like?’ And I say, ‘Greta is absolutely perfect for Fox News. She’s fair, balanced, and blonde.’ And that is the philosophy of Fox News. ... One of the great things about working at Fox News: I have met a lot of beautiful women at Fox News. It’s a great place to work.” The Washington Post first reported on that remark.
    • During an August 7, 2013, speech for the American Legislative Exchange Council, Moore said: “My night job is working at Fox. You all know the theme of Fox News? Fair, balanced, and blonde. I’ve met a lot of beautiful women at Fox News.”  
    • During a November 21, 2013, speech at Brown University, Moore said: “By the way, for those of you who do watch Fox News, you all know the motto for Fox News, right, John? It’s Fox News: fair, balanced, and blonde. I’ve met a lot of beautiful women at Fox News and it’s one of the fringe benefits of working there.”
  • Trump Fed pick Herman Cain was a frequent gold company spokesperson

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Herman Cain, President Donald Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, frequently acted as a gold company spokesperson on his radio program. He warned listeners in advertisements that they need to put some of their assets in gold because there’s a recession coming and “even central banks are buying gold every year in astronomical amounts. What do they know that you don’t?”

    Cain is a right-wing commentator who was previously the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a Republican presidential candidate. Cain dropped out of the race in December 2011 after several women reported him for sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported that one of those women, Sharon Bialek, has said “she is willing to testify before the Senate Banking Committee if called upon. And she said Cain’s past behavior with women, including three others who have accused him of sexual harassment, should disqualify him from the Fed post.”

    Media Matters previously reported that Cain sent dubious medical information to his mailing list and also sent scammy financial emails that touted now-virtually-worthless penny stocks, pushed a “weird trick” that supposedly “adds up to $1,000 a month to Social Security checks,” and boasted of a "moneymaking strategy" that could "turn $1,000 into $800,000." He also sent sponsored emails touting the alleged benefits of investing in precious metals, including a message from a gold company which claimed that a return to the gold standard “could provide the biggest wealth building event of our lifetime.”

    In the past, Cain has advocated for the gold standard, which would tie U.S. currency to the value of gold. He recently told The Wall Street Journal: “I just know that no, I am not a beat-the-drum advocate for the gold standard these days because our economy is too complex. Too complex.”  

    Cain hosted a radio program for WSB Radio in Atlanta, GA, from 2013 to August 2018. He now does an online show.

    On his now-defunct WSB program, Cain frequently recorded advertisements for ITM Trading, an Arizona-based company that describes itself as a “full service buy/sell precious metals firm. We deal in most forms of physical gold and silver, shipped directly to your door.” Cain’s ads played into his listeners’ economic fears and touted gold as a protection against “economic calamity.” Here are four examples of ads that Cain aired on his show during 2016:

    “Have you noticed how fast gas prices are rising lately? Did consumer demand suddenly explode or is this just another Wall Street manipulation? Could this push us into the recession I have been warning about? If so, your investments could go down quite a bit, 10, 20, 30% or more. The good news is there is something you can do to protect yourself. You put some of your assets in gold. Why? When traditional investments are losing value, gold tends to rise in value. It’s a hedge against economic calamity and it’s been considered a safe haven for thousands of years.”

    “With the Dow rallying back to recent highs, everything looks good on the surface. But the underlying data is saying something very different. Some analysts are saying another recession may be on the horizon. Have you heeded my advice and gotten some gold from ITM Trading? Well I have, and you should too.”

    “It’s almost time for the presidential election and if you are like the majority of Americans, you are praying that your candidate will win and provide some much needed confidence and economic security for the country. But what if the unthinkable happens? Well regardless of the outcome, you can protect yourself now by owning gold and silver.

    “Ninety three percent of polled Americans do not trust in our Congress to do what’s best for our country. That is why gold and silver are more important than ever. … Even central banks are buying gold every year in astronomical amounts. What do they know that you don’t?”

    During one segment on his radio program, a listener called in and asked Cain questions about whether he should buy gold. He responded that he’s “not an expert” on gold but advised the caller to contact ITM Trading.

  • Eight times that Trump Fed pick Stephen Moore has endorsed some version of the gold standard

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing economist Stephen Moore has frequently recommended that the United States return to some version of the gold standard, saying that he loves the idea and that former President Richard Nixon’s decision to drop the monetary system in the 1970s was probably an impeachable offense. Now that President Donald Trump has picked him for a seat on the Federal Reserve, Moore has claimed he’s “not in favor of a gold standard” and has “never actually been a gold standard guy.”

    Moore, a longtime commentator who most recently worked for CNN, has a long history of pushing partisan and false economic propaganda. He worked for Trump’s 2016 campaign and co-authored the book Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.

    CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc recently reported that “Moore advocated for eliminating the corporate and federal income taxes entirely, calling the 16th Amendment that created the income tax the ‘most evil’ law passed in the 20th century.” He also “repeatedly said he believed capitalism was more important than democracy,” attacked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as “one of Trump's ‘worst appointments,’” and “called for firing hundreds of employees at the Federal Reserve Board,” calling them “‘worthless’ economists,” they wrote.

    Moore has also frequently endorsed the idea of the country returning to the gold standard, which would tie the United States’ currency to the value of gold. Washington Post reporter Matt O’Brien explained why such as a policy would be a “disaster”:

    So the gold standard is a lot like playing Russian roulette with the economy. It can turn recoveries into recessions, and prevent recessions from turning into recoveries just because the price of gold “wants” to go up at an inopportune moment, and we have to raise rates when everything else would tell us not to. But wait: It gets worse. This isn’t just about forcing governments to adopt bad monetary policies. It’s about stopping them from enacting good fiscal policies, too. Countries on the gold standard can’t run big deficits without markets wondering how committed they are to it — at which point, they would need to raise rates to reassure them. So even thinking about expansionary policy would require to them to impose even more contractionary policy. This isn’t a hypothetical, but rather a history of what happened in the 1930s.

    Now that he’s potentially moving from the pundit world into a job requiring Senate confirmation, Moore has been trying to hide his past support for the gold standard.

    During the April 11 edition of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Moore blatantly lied by claiming: “I don’t think I’ve ever really said anything much about the gold -- I’m not in favor of a gold standard, I am in favor of using commodities as a forward-looking indicator for where prices are.” Burnett then played three clips of him endorsing a gold standard. Moore responded: “I think that a gold standard would certainly be better than we have right now, but I think there’s a much better system that we could put in place, which would not just look at gold, but all commodities.”

    Moore also said during a March 22 appearance on Bloomberg that he’s “never actually been a gold standard guy. I’m open-minded to it.”

    Here are eight examples of Moore endorsing some version of the gold standard over the years, including the three instances CNN aired:

    “I didn't believe in this before. We need to go back to a gold standard. We really do.” [Washington Policy Center, 3/9/09]

    “How many of you are aware that Richard Nixon was the president who took America off the gold standard? In 1971, the U.S. went off the gold standard. I always said that Richard Nixon was impeached for all the wrong reasons. He should have probably been impeached for taking America off the gold standard. … I’m kind of a convert to this idea. I really think we have to go back to some kind of monetary system where we have an anchor of gold. And we’ve lost that. And so I actually have come around to the idea that I think we have to re-establish some kind of gold standard in America so the dollar retains its value.” [BBT Economics, video posted online on September 2010]

    “I don't know if I'm for a hard gold standard like we had, but I do think we have to peg the dollar to gold, because what we've seen in the last 10 years is a 30 -- about 30 percent decline in the value of the dollar, and I believe, Judge, that the number one factor behind the slowdown in this U.S. economy has been the decline in the dollar. Let's make the dollar as good as gold again. That's what the Gipper said, right? Make the dollar as good as gold.” [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 6/21/11]

    ROBERT REICH (professor and former labor secretary): “You want to go on the gold standard?”

    STEPHEN MOORE: “Yes, I do. … I want hard money, sound money!” [CNBC, The Kudlow Report, 1/11/12]

    "We have got to get rid of the Federal Reserve and move towards a gold standard in this country!" [FreedomWorks, 9/12/15, via CNN.com]

    “We need sound money. Why don’t we audit the Fed and see what these people are doing at the Federal Reserve, they’re ruining our country. And why don't we go back to a gold standard in America? Let's make our currency as good as gold again!” [FreePAC, 3/12/16]

    "We should go back to some kind of gold standard, where -- I want to take discretion away from the Fed. We don't want the Fed to be making all these decisions. … We should, I believe, we should go back to some kind of gold, maybe not a gold standard, but have the dollar be as good as gold, so that the price of the dollar is relative to what it is in gold and take the discretion away from the politicians, and if you do that, I do think you’re going to see a stable currency." [Young America’s Foundation, 9/23/16]

    “I like the idea of going to a gold standard and restoring, you know, value to our currency. … [Conservative publisher] Steve [Forbes] has a new book out on the gold standard, so I love that idea.” [Turning Point USA, 12/17/16]

  • Trump Fed pick Herman Cain sent scammy sponsored emails promoting gold companies

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing commentator Herman Cain previously sent sponsored emails touting the alleged benefits of investing in precious metals, including a message from a gold company which claimed that a return to the gold standard “could provide the biggest wealth building event of our lifetime.” Cain is President Donald Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, which helps set the country’s monetary policy.

    Cain was previously the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a Republican presidential candidate. He dropped out of the race in December 2011 after several women reported him for sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported that one of those women, Sharon Bialek, has said she is “willing to testify before the Senate Banking Committee if called upon. And she said Cain’s past behavior with women, including three others who have accused him of sexual harassment, should disqualify him from the Fed post.”

    His financial opinions have also come under scrutiny. Washington Post reporter Matt O’Brien recently wrote that “Cain spent the Obama years advocating for a return to the gold standard” -- which ties currency to the value of gold -- and explained why adopting such a policy would be problematic. He added that “literally every top economist in the University of Chicago Business School’s poll of them would tell you that the gold standard is a bad idea.”

    Cain has used his email list to send paid advertisements which push gold and the gold standard. He sent a sponsored email on December 24 for the precious metals company Advantage Gold. The email, which was written by Advantage Gold Managing Director Kirill Zagalsky, claimed that House Resolution 5404, which is titled “To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold” (also known as the gold standard), “could provide the biggest wealth building event of our lifetime” and “could double or even triple your retirement.” (The bill had no cosponsors and did not pass in the now-concluded 115th Congress.) Here’s an excerpt from the email:

    Clicking on the link in the email leads the readers to a form requesting that they enter their name, email address, and telephone number so they can receive a “secret” book chapter regarding gold.

    In 2015, Cain similarly sent a sponsored email touting the supposed benefits of investing in gold and silver. The email, which was written by precious metals company Goldco, carried the subject line: “Your IRA or 401K Is Now Worthless.” It then claimed: “Just a few months ago, governments and central banks from all over the world met at the G20 Summit to decide the fate of your savings account should the worlds banks crash. Their decision? Your savings account is up for grabs. … But by using 1 simple & legal IRS Loophole you can protect your retirement dollars by adding physical assets like gold & silver to your retirement account.”

    Media Matters has documented Cain’s other email grifts in light of his potential seating on the Federal Reserve Board:

  • Trump Fed pick Herman Cain promoted anti-vaxxer and medical conspiracy theories through email list

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Herman Cain, President Donald Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, took money to promote the newsletter of an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist. Cain also sent sponsored emails suggesting that the government is forcing citizens to take “7 deadly drugs” and that former first lady Nancy Reagan's "desperate fight to cure Alzheimer’s disease" may be "over." 

    Cain is a right-wing commentator who previously was the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a Republican presidential candidate. He dropped out of the race in December 2011 after several women reported him for sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported on April 4 that “Sharon Bialek, who said Cain had reached beneath her skirt in 1997 and tried to pull her head toward his crotch, said Thursday that his record of harassment should disqualify him from the Fed post.”

    Cain also recently founded a pro-Trump PAC with Floyd Brown, a right-wing birther who produced the racist Willie Horton ad attacking Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election. The PAC recently attacked the 12 Republican senators who voted against Trump's emergency border declaration as “traitors.”

    Media Matters has documented that Cain sent scammy financial emails to his mailing list, including ones that touted now-virtually-worthless penny stocks and dubious financial advice like a “weird trick” that supposedly “adds up to $1,000 a month to Social Security checks” and a "moneymaking strategy" that could "turn $1,000 into $800,000."

    Catherine Rampell, who covers economics as a Washington Post opinion columnist, recently noted that "Cain spent the years following his failed presidential campaign spamming his email followers with snake-oil scams, promising 'weird tricks' that would make his followers get rich quick or 'naturally' cure their erectile dysfunction. Of course, such grifting might enhance Cain’s candidacy in Trump’s eyes, but it hardly bodes well for a man seeking to join an institution with consumer protection duties."

    Cain has also pushed sponsored emails with scammy medical information to his email list. Here is a look at three of those dangerous paid promotions.

    Cain sent emails featuring quack Russell Blaylock, an anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist

    In 2013 and 2015, Cain sent sponsored emails touting the work of Dr. Russell Blaylock, an anti-vaccination “quack” who has repeatedly appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ program. The emails were part of an advertising campaign for a subscription to The Blaylock Wellness Report, which is published by the conservative website Newsmax.

    Blaylock is a frequent source of misinformation about vaccines through Newsmax, where he is also a columnist. Here are six false and dangerous headlines for Blaylock-written columns on Newsmax about vaccines:

    As the World Health Organization explains, “Vaccines are safe”:

    Vaccines are safe. Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested across multiple phases of trials before it is approved for use, and regularly reassessed once it is on the market. Scientists are also constantly monitoring information from several sources for any sign that a vaccine may cause an adverse event. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. In the rare event a serious side effect is reported, it is immediately investigated.

    It is far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. For example, in the case of polio, the disease can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death. While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is one too many, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks, and many more illness and deaths would occur without vaccines.

    Blaylock has also repeatedly appeared on discredited conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ program, where he has fearmongered about vaccines and other topics. A sampling of Infowars headlines about his appearances include: “Infowars.com Saves Lives: Dr. Russell Blaylock Exposes Medical Genocide”; “Dr. Russell Blaylock: Obamacare is Mandated Social Engineering”; “Blaylock: Fluoride's Deadly Secret”; “Interview: Dr. Russell Blaylock Exposes Obama's Nazi Healthcare System.”

    Some of the Cain emails had the following disclosure at the end: “Material Connection Disclosure: The sender of this email may receive compensation for the advertising contained in this message. Any products or services offered by sponsors or advertisers have not been evaluated by Herman Cain and as such no warranty or claims are made.”

    Associating with Blaylock has previously been toxic for a Trump-affiliated politician. In 2014, right-wing commentator Scott Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who is now Trump’s ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, dropped Newsmax as an email advertising partner after he was criticized for sending sponsored advertising from Blaylock to his mailing list.

    "The 7 Deadly Drugs the U.S. Government can't wait for you to swallow”

    Cain sent a sponsored email from the Health Sciences Institute which claimed that "an insider near Washington D.C. has just blown the lid off the 7 Deadly Drugs the U.S. Government can't wait for you to swallow." The email assured readers that it's not a conspiracy theory since the "whistleblower has concrete evidence 'the powers that be' are shoving pure poison down your throat... and laughing all the way to the bank, while you're carted off to the graveyard. ... P.S. You won't believe what innocent little pill rounds out the list at #1. If you're taking it regularly, you're 530% more likely to die TONIGHT."

    Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy wrote a 2015 article about the scammy practices of the Health Sciences Institute, which publishes a subscription newsletter. He reported:

    Last year, a man named Brian Chambers announced a world-changing advance: An international research organization called the Health Sciences Institute had found an incredible cure for cancer hidden in the Book of Matthew. For just $74, you, too, could discover the secret.

    That was the breathless pitch emailed to hundreds of thousands of [former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee’s followers in January, beneath a “special message” from the Republican presidential candidate trumpeting “important information.” Upon closer inspection, the divine remedy—eating fewer carbs—was never recommended by St. Matthew. Chambers is not a doctor, and the studies on starvation diets he cited make no mention of “cures.”

    The Health Sciences Institute is part of a company called NewMarket Health, which is just one asset of a Baltimore-based publishing empire named Agora Inc. Agora’s subsidiaries and affiliates publish more than 40 newsletters and sell more than 300 books on a range of topics, including biblical health tips, natural-healing supplements, and “insider” investment advice—a mix of ideas the company considers the intellectual equivalent of the marketplace of ancient Athens. To find new readers for its ever-expanding catalog of publications, Agora’s subsidiaries have tapped into a network of conservative heavyweights, including Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, who sell access to their massive email lists to advertise Agora’s products.

    “[Nancy Reagan’s] Desperate Fight to Cure Alzheimer’s disease over?”

    Cain sent a sponsored email from a group called Laissez Faire in 2015 and 2016 which falsely suggested that doctors have found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. (The advertising campaign, which appears to have been aimed at selling newsletter subscriptions, has been discontinued and the landing page no longer exists.)

    Cain also sent emails in 2015 and 2016 from Laissez Faire with the subject line, “Must see: Alzheimer’s Mystery Finally Solved?”

    Laissez Faire is another Agora-affiliated company that sells a subscription-based newsletter which claims to show readers “how to live a happy, healthy, and wealthy life.” It also publishes a newsletter called Natural Health Solutions, which uses Nancy Reagan (“Nancy’s 90-Day Protocol”) in advertising materials in an attempt to gain subscribers.  

    Correction (4/10/19): This piece originally stated that Scott Brown promoted Russell Blaylock in 2013. In fact, it was in 2014.

  • CBS’ pro-Kirstjen Nielsen national security analyst has extensive DHS conflicts of interest

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    During an appearance on CBS This Morning, CBS senior national security analyst Fran Townsend praised outgoing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and suggested that DHS wasn’t to blame for the family separation policy. But the network didn’t disclose that Townsend’s company lobbies the government on DHS appropriations and that she is also the board chair of a company that been given DHS contracts.

    Townsend is a former DHS senior adviser for the Bush administration who served with Nielsen during that time (CBS noted that she knows Nielsen and has worked with her). Townsend was a vocal supporter of Nielsen’s nomination as DHS secretary and the White House sent out a release in 2017 highlighting her praise.

    Townsend defended the DHS secretary during today’s edition of CBS This Morning, stating that “she’s done her level best” and that she “worked tirelessly to, sort of, implement the president’s agenda. But it’s been a tough road. She’s had a difficult 16 months. She’s defended policies that she, at times, I think, was questioning. And so, look, she served well. I think it’s a relief for her to be able to get out and move on.”

    She also passed the buck on blame for the Trump administration’s horrific family separation policy, claiming that Nielsen has “repeatedly said, and it’s true, Congress does need to act if they don’t like the policy of the administration. Some of this can be blunted if they would simply update the law, allowing children to be returned to their country of origin just like we do with Mexico and Canada, for example, and sort of not have the problem of family separations." (The idea that the Trump administration isn’t to blame for the family separation policy is a repeated and false refrain from the administration and its allies.)

    But the network failed to disclose Townsend’s major financial conflicts of interest during her appearance.

    Townsend is the executive vice president of worldwide government, legal and business affairs for holding company MacAndrews & Forbes. The company’s portfolio includes AM General, which produces commercial and military vehicles such as the Humvee. MacAndrews & Forbes spent nearly $3 million on lobbying in 2018, including on matters related to the DHS.

    It recently lobbied both houses of Congress, the Executive Office of the President, and the Commerce Department regarding “Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, FY 2019, Customs Border Patrol vehicle issues,” according to its fourth quarter 2018 lobbying report. In the first and second quarter of 2018, the company directly lobbied DHS regarding a variety of issues, including DHS appropriations and “Customs Border Patrol vehicle issues.”

    Townsend is also the chair of the board for SAP National Security Services, a technology company that provides services for “the national security community,” including DHS.  

    SAP National Security Services’ most recent lobbying disclosure report states that it retains the firm Invariant LLC to “monitor defense and intelligence information technology funding and procurement policy issues” in Congress.

  • Herman Cain promoted numerous now-virtually-worthless penny stocks through his mailing list

    Cain also associated with a fraudster who was later barred by the SEC "from involvement in any future penny stock offerings"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Herman Cain, whom President Donald Trump is recommending to the Federal Reserve Board, has sent numerous sponsored emails to his mailing list promoting penny stocks that are now virtually worthless.

    Cain is a right-wing commentator and former chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He previously ran for president but dropped out after several women reported him for sexual misconduct. The Washington Post reported on April 4 that “Sharon Bialek, who said Cain had reached beneath her skirt in 1997 and tried to pull her head toward his crotch, said Thursday that his record of harassment should disqualify him from the Fed post.”

    In the years since his presidential campaign, Cain has turned his mailing list into a haven for scammy emails. In January, Media Matters documented numerous financial grift emails that Cain sent to his list. Cain also recently founded a pro-Trump PAC with Floyd Brown, a right-wing birther who produced the racist Willie Horton ad attacking Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election. The PAC recently attacked the 12 Republican senators who voted against Trump's emergency border declaration as “traitors” who can’t be trusted “to defend President Trump.”

    Cain has also repeatedly touted penny stocks to his email subscribers. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission defines "penny stock" as generally referring “to a security issued by a very small company that trades at less than $5 per share” and says such stocks are “generally considered speculative investments.” The penny stock market is riddled with unsavory practices and fraud, especially because of paid promoters who attempt to pump up the price of penny stocks for the benefit of themselves and their employers.

    Andrew Calamari, then-director of the SEC's New York office, said in 2014: "If we had a message to deliver, it would be that this is a very dangerous market for retail investors and that they should tread very, very carefully.”

    Media Matters has received numerous sponsored emails from Herman Cain promoting penny stocks which are now virtually worthless. Those emails, which were not written by Cain, told readers of countless future financial rewards, including turning "$5,000 into more than $40,000 within a few short months”; making "ten-times your money or better”; and becoming "multi-millionaires in the process."

    Cain’s penny stock mailings also include pitches from disgraced penny stock fraudster Tobin Smith, who was so corrupt that Fox News fired him in 2013 for violating a policy against paid stock promotions. In 2016, the SEC announced that Smith “agreed to settle charges that he and his company fraudulently promoted a penny stock [IceWEB Inc.] to investors” and “agreed to be barred from involvement in any future penny stock offerings.”

    Here are 10 examples of Cain’s mailing list sending sponsored emails which touted now-virtually-worthless penny stocks. (Note: Because of the transient nature of penny stock promotions and the passage of time, many of the original images in the emails are no longer available.)

    Virtus Oil & Gas (VOIL) “could yield stratospheric gains for shareholders who move in immediately”

    See the email, sent on 9/17/14, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by The Wall Street Revelator’s Andrew Carpenter:

    Virtus Oil & Gas VOIL suddenly finds itself conservatively valued in excess of $70.71 a share*...

    And you can buy VOIL right now for around $1.50!

    Opportunities like this don't come often. It's big, it's unprecedented, and it's happening right now. I urge you to follow up immediately. Virtus Oil & Gas VOIL could yield stratospheric gains for shareholders who move in immediately.

    Current stock price: $0.025.

    American Heritage International (AHII) “could easily double or triple in the next 18-24 months”

    See the email, sent on 4/10/14, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by BottomLine Newsletter's John Person:

    Disruptive technologies have the ability to change society, revolutionize entire industries, and turn savvy investors into multi-millionaires in the process.

    ...

    American Heritage (AHII) is, in my opinion, destined to become one of the leaders in the fast-growing electronic cigarette business. Currently trading for about $1-2, the stock could easily double or triple in the next 18-24 months if the company remains independent.

    Current stock price: $0.00.

    Ener-Core (ENCR) could be “the NEXT 884% Industrial Cleantech monster winner”

    See the email, sent on 4/7/14, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by Next Big Thing Investor PRO’s Tobin Smith:

    The Simple Investment Case for Ener-Core (ENCR): 2.50 dollars to 3.00 dollars over the Next 12 Months

    I discovered this company from one of the only investment banks that covers smaller industrial clean technology companies.

    These analysts (who are top drawer in the clean tech world) published an Ener-Core (ENCR)12-month price target of 2.50 dollars in the beginning of 2014.

    But I truly think their target price is too conservative in the short term--3 dollars is reasonable given that the company is OUT of its proof-of-concept stage and ramping up revenues in 2014 with a hockey-stick type sales ramp in 2015.

    ....

    You will need to act quickly on this...you've seen how as these Industrial Cleantech stocks get discovered many have exploded in value in a matter of weeks and months.

    The key to your chance for catching the NEXT 884% Industrial Cleantech monster winner is of course to be in the stock at today's prices...but you know that.

    Current stock price: $0.10.

    Centor Energy (CNTO) could “climb to $25 and from there onwards to $100”

    See the email, sent on 2/5/14, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by The Myers Letter’s John Myers:

    Centor Energy (CNTO) just went public. Shares are now around $1, and as my just-released Special Report reveals, early investors are looking at a 1,200% winner.

    I'm John Myers and I'm going on record saying CNTO is set to jump from $1 to $8. And that's my short-term outlook. Longer term could see the stock climb to $25 and from there onwards to $100.

    Current stock price: $0.0011.

    KonaRed (KRED) “could turn $5,000 into more than $40,000 within a few short months”

    See the email, sent on 1/29/14, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by The Bowser Report’s Thomas Rice:

    Recommendation: KonaRed (KRED)

    Rated: Speculative Buy

    Current Price: $0.70

    Initial Target: $4.50

    Long-Term Target: $8.00

    KonaRed is already selling at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Albertson'’s, 7-11 and other giant retailers in Hawaii. Now, this breakthrough sensation and the company that makes it, KonaRed (KRED) is ready for prime time. It is looking at rolling out all across the U.S. mainland! Investors are thrilled -– KRED is still under $1. Buy now!

    FREE report reveals how early KRED investors (such as you!) could turn $5,000 into more than $40,000 within a few short months.

    Current stock price: $0.0151.

    Endeavor (ENIP) could “turn $10,000 into $757,200”

    See the email, sent on 12/24/13, here.

    Sample sponsored email claim, which was written by The Kolber Report’s Jonathan Kolber:

    Endeavor IP (OTCBB: ENIP) represents the hottest company I've seen in decades. I believe ENIP is a company with little downside... and a strong likelihood of seeing an extraordinarily high upside become a reality.

    P.S. Make no mistake...it takes just one company to cut a deal - or attempt a buyout - and shares of Endeavor IP (OTCBB: ENIP) could potentially move so quickly you wouldn'™t [sic] have time to get in. That's why it's so important that you act now - before the window closes - to avoid missing out on what could be your second chance to turn $10,000 into $757,200 just like investors in patent stock VHC!

    Current stock price: $0.00.

    North American Oil & Gas (NAMG) could “make ten-times your money or better”

    See the email, sent on 8/19/13, here.

    Sample sponsored email claim, which was written by Champlain Media’s Tobin Smith:

    Strike now and you stand to make ten-times your money or better with this off-radar newcomer:

    North American Oil & Gas (NAMG)!

    This is an urgent buy recommendation to act on immediately!

    Current stock price: $0.00.

    National Graphite Corp (NGRC) could turn $2,000 into $132,000 “in just months!”

    See the email, sent on 6/18/13, here.

    Sample sales pitch from the sponsored email, which was written by James Rapholz of James Rapholz's Economic Advice:

    Cash in on the Greatest Materials Bonanza Since the Invention of Plastic!

    Can you imagine investing $2,000 in National Graphite Corp (NGRC) and walking away with $132,000? It's not only possible...

    I think it could happen in just months!

    ...

    P.S. Graphite is such a modern-era commodity, watching this 40 cent stock hit $13.20 is certainly possible. Last century steel played the same role as a breakthrough material. And it was.

    Current stock price: $0.06.

    Petrosonic (PSON) “could turn $10,000 into $50,000”

    See the email, sent on 5/13/13, here.

    Sample sponsored email claim, which was written by NBT Equity Group’s Tobin Smith:

    • How this little-known breakthrough technology could help make the U.S. the world’s #1 Oil producer by 2017.

    • How this same revolutionary technology could be about to add some 6 trillion barrels oil to the world’s recoverable reserves.

    • Why Obama and the environmentalists will absolutely love it.

    • Why you really could turn $10,000 into $50,000 in the next 6-1`2 [sic] months if you act now!

    ...

    Buy Petrosonic (PSON) now while you can still get it at less than $1 and . . .

    Look for $3.50 to $4.00 in six months or less!

    Hang on for a big-oil takeover that could rocket PSON as high as $30.95!

    Current stock price: $0.0001.

    Polar Petroleum (POLR) could hand investors “near-term gains of up to 1,800%”

    See the email, sent on 5/10/13, here.

    Sample sponsored email claim, which was written by Hard Asset Report’s Ken Williams:

    Investors are buying this stock up to $10 per share... with a $20 price target

    ...

    Polar Petroleum (POLR) may be about to hand us a massive windfall, like we witnessed on Carrizo Oil (5,500%), Denbury Resources (3,400%) and Northern Oil (1,100%).

    Polar Petroleum (POLR) could blow-the-doors off all three of these stocks...

    Astute investors are buying shares in Polar Petroleum now for near-term gains of up to 1,800%

    Current stock price: $0.0001.