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Oliver Willis

Author ››› Oliver Willis
  • 186 Times Donald Trump Shared Breitbart News Articles On Social Media

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump has used his Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote Breitbart News articles at least 186 times -- often sharing stories that fawned over him and his presidential campaign. Trump recently hired Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, to be the CEO of his campaign.

    Prior to Bannon’s hiring by the campaign, Breitbart News and Trump had long engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart became embarrassingly pro-Trump during the Republican presidential primary, leading to objections by several now-former staffers. (Former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro accused Bannon of turning the site into “Trump’s personal Pravda.”)

    Breitbart’s obsequious Trump coverage was so over-the-top that several staffers reportedly alleged the candidate had paid the site in exchange for friendly treatment, which Bannon denied.

    Regardless of any pay-for-play allegations, the relationship was definitely a two-way street. Trump helped boost the site, granting numerous “exclusive” interviews with Breitbart reporters and making several appearances on Bannon’s Breitbart News Daily radio program.

    Trump also promoted Breitbart articles at least 186 times on social media in recent years, where he enjoys a massive following. He has 11 million followers on Twitter and over 10 million “likes” on Facebook, so a single Trump link would most likely lead to thousands (at least) of people visiting the site.

    Trump began to promote Breitbart News in January of 2012, linking to several articles attacking the Obama administration with the site’s signature mix of bigotry and conspiracy theories. As of this month, he continues to link to the site’s coverage of his campaign.

    He used Breitbart News to bolster his birther conspiracy theory:

    Setting himself up as a political mind, Trump highlighted a series of Breitbart News articles highlighting attacks he made in 2013 against Republican operative Karl Rove.

    Trump’s appearance at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference was one of his first major endeavors as a political figure. Trump used Breitbart News to amplify his appearance. First he linked to a Breitbart News article with the news that he was on the speaking schedule, followed that up with articles documenting his speech (as well as Breitbart News video of the speech), and then promoted articles documenting his response to criticism of his speech.

    Trump used Breitbart News articles to push his stance on immigration, and highlighted Breitbart News immigration stories and their write-ups of his speeches and comments on the topic. Trump also wrote an editorial at Breitbart News in which he complained that “a country that cannot protect its borders will not last.” He of course promoted his writing on Twitter.

    As Trump launched his presidential campaign, Breitbart News documented his every utterance, and he was sure to promote those stories. That included video clips of interviews, “exclusive” interviews with Breitbart News, or friendly write-ups of his campaign speeches.

    Trump’s favorite Breitbart News stories to promote are stories about polling. During the Republican primaries, Trump linked to Breitbart News stories month after month after month highlighting his dominance over the rest of the Republican presidential field. Similarly, Trump shared a Breitbart News write-up of the ratings when he guest hosted Saturday Night Live on NBC.

    He also used Breitbart News as a way to push back against media critiques. Trump posted a link to a Breitbart News attack on a New York Times news report about him with the note thanking Breitbart News for the coverage:

    Trump said CNN “should apologize” as he pushed a Breitbart News piece defending him after a negative fact check on the network, and most recently used a Breitbart News critique of CNN’s convention coverage to add fuel to his existing campaign against them.

    The Trump account on Facebook was also used to push Breitbart News critiques of CNN, branding them the “Clinton News Network” on multiple occasions.

    Trump also cited a Breitbart News story that bolstered his claim (rated “pants on fire” by PolitiFact) that Muslims were celebrating on roofs in New Jersey on September 11, 2001.

  • Trump’s Kitchen Cabinet, Continued: What The Media Needs To Know About The Nominee’s Top Advisers And Supporters

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump has allied himself with a cast of characters and hangers-on who, should he win the presidency, would likely have his ear. Below is an updated guide -- first published in May -- to the people the Republican presidential nominee has chosen to surround himself with.

    Stephen Bannon


    The Trump Connection

    Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon was named as the chief executive of the Trump campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has recently made a “noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Several anonymous Breitbart staffers alleged that “the company’s top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website” and claimed the candidate paid the site in exchange for favorable coverage. (Bannon denied the allegation.)

    After news surfaced that then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields had allegedly been manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager, Bannon sided with the campaign over his employee, leading to the defection of several staffers.

    Several former Bannon employees have spoken out about his hiring by the campaign. Former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro called Bannon a “legitimately sinister figure” who has led Breitbart News to embrace the “white supremacist alt-right.” Former Breitbart News spokesperson Kurt Bardella told Media Matters that Bannon is a “pathological liar” whose hiring signals a “dangerous" shift by the campaign.

    Kellyanne Conway


    The Trump Connection

    Kellyanne Conway served as a senior adviser and pollster for the Trump campaign, and was recently named campaign manager.

    What You Need To Know

    Conway has long been involved in conservative politics, mostly as a pollster working with conservative groups like the NRA, Family Research Council and Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.

    Conway once said that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers” and suggested the representation of same-sex parents in children’s programming was a “corrupting” influence.” She also once argued that “political correctness” could create a situation where there were “air traffic controllers who don’t speak great English” leading to “two planes crashing in the sky.”

    She also argued that “revulsion towards men” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement” and that “baby girls [are] being killed just because they’re girls” in America.

    David Bossie


    The Trump Connection

    Conservative activist David Bossie is taking a leave of absence from his job as president of activist group Citizens United to be the deputy campaign manager for Trump.

    What You Need To Know

    In 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush condemned Bossie and Citizens United for using what he called “filthy campaign tactics” against the Clintons during the 1992 presidential campaign. Following President Clinton’s election, Bossie used his role as Citizens United’s political director to operate “an information factory” that produced “a steady stream of tips, tidbits, documents, factoids, suspicions, and story ideas for the nation's press and for Republicans on Capitol Hill.”

    Following the 1994 congressional elections, Bossie became a top investigator for the House Government and Reform Committee. The committee was involved in investigating Whitewater, the supposed scandal in which the Clintons were accused of profiting from a real estate deal. Numerous Whitewater investigations failed to turn up evidence to charge the Clintons with anything. But Bossie resigned from that position in the wake of a firestorm regarding his role in releasing selectively edited transcripts and video of conversations with Clinton confidant Webster Hubbell, which omitted statements that downplayed alleged wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. Then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he was “embarrassed” by “the circus” that went on at the committee.

    Bossie returned to Citizens United, where he has been president since 2000. The group’s film Hillary: The Movie prompted the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, which resulted in the 5-4 decision that has led to nearly unlimited campaign spending in elections.

    More recently, Citizens United has been pushing for the release of Hillary Clinton’s communications from the State Department when she was secretary of state, and the organization is a party in several lawsuits demanding Clinton-related materials from the agency. In the course of making those requests, Citizens United has often insinuated -- without evidence -- that wrongdoing took place. Bossie’s deceptive work is frequently cited in major media outlets.

    Paul Manafort


    The Trump Connection

    Republican strategist Paul Manafort was hired by Trump as a senior aide to his political campaign. Manafort was later promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist.

    What You Need To Know

    Manafort was partners with Roger Stone in the lobbying and consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. After a congressional investigation, Manafort admitted that the work he performed after receiving consulting fees was “influence peddling.”

    Manafort and his firms have worked with several unsavory clients including “a business group tied to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines; Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian president and ally of Vladimir Putin; and Lynden Pindling, the former Bahamian prime minister who was accused of ties to drug traffickers.”

    During the Republican primaries, Manafort accused Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” in order to win over convention delegates.

    Manafort’s consulting work on behalf of a Ukrainian political party has come under scrutiny as a result of his role in the Trump campaign.

    The Associated Press reported that Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.”

    The New York Times reported that “handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort” by the pro-Russian political party he consulted for in Ukraine.

    Roger Stone


    The Trump Connection

    Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone is a longtime Trump ally. Stone worked on his campaign until August of 2015, continues to serve as a prominent advocate for Trump’s candidacy, and regularly speaks with Trump, including recommending top aide Paul Manafort to the campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    In addition to his political dirty tricks, Stone has an extensive history of violent, racist, and sexist comments. He started an anti-Hillary Clinton group in 2008 with the acronym “C.U.N.T.,” and has called for her to be executed. He called cable news commentators a “stupid negro” and “Mandingo,” and he promotes conspiracy theories about the Clinton and Bush families murdering dozens of people. His next book is about how the Clintons purportedly murdered JFK Jr. “because he was in the way.”

    Stone’s racist and sexist tweets resulted in him being banned from appearing on CNN and MSNBC.

    While advocating for Trump, Stone has peddled several outlandish conspiracy theories. He accused the Clintons of murdering several more people, argued that the 2016 election will be “rigged” via the manipulation of voting machines, and alleged that a top Clinton campaign aide was connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stone also attacked the family of Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

    Alex Jones


    The Trump Connection

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones has been one of Trump’s loudest and most passionate supporters. And the feeling is apparently mutual. In addition to promoting Trump on his show incessantly, Jones hosted Trump for an interview, praised him as a “George Washington” figure, and encouraged listeners to donate to his campaign. (During the appearance, Trump praised Jones for his “amazing” reputation and promised, “I will not let you down.”) Trump confidant Roger Stone has also become a regular on Jones’ show, and the two worked together to organize protests on Trump’s behalf at the Republican convention. After Trump essentially clinched the nomination, Stone went on Jones’ show and told the host, “Trump himself told me that he has seen so many of your supporters and listeners at his rallies,” adding, “I’m certain that he is grateful for your support.”

    What You Need To Know

    Alex Jones is a self-described “founding father” of the “9/11 truth movement” who believes that the terrorist attacks were a “false flag.” Jones also has promoted conspiracy theories alleging that events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Aurora movie theater shooting were all government-orchestrated attacks.

    Jones publicly asked Trump to raise the conspiracy of the general election being “rigged,” which the candidate did days later. He praised Trump as being “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement and said it is “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later.”

    General Michael Flynn


    The Trump Connection

    Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is reportedly “a trusted Trump adviser and go-to man on intelligence and national security.”

    What You Need To Know

    Flynn was forced out of his position in 2014 after clashing with senior officials. He has complained that “‘political correctness’ has prevented the U.S. from confronting violent extremism, which he sees as a ‘cancerous idea that exists inside of the Islamic religion.’” Flynn accuses the U.S. government of concealing “the actions of terrorists like bin Laden and groups like ISIS, and the role of Iran in the rise of radical Islam.”

    Flynn has publicly supported Trump’s idea that the families of terrorist suspects should be killed, and he also backs Trump’s proposal for a ban on Muslim travel to the United States. Flynn has written that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

    In 2015, Flynn flew to Moscow and was filmed having a formal dinner with Vladimir Putin. The Daily Beast reported that “Pentagon brass were taken by surprise that he didn’t notify the department.”

    Flynn was paid by the state-funded Russian television network RT for his appearance at the network’s anniversary gala.

    Flynn spoke on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention, saying that “war is not about bathrooms” in reference to controversy over anti-transgender laws. He also retweeted an anti-Semitic pro-Trump message which read in part, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.” He later described the incident as “a mistake.”

    Rudy Giuliani


    The Trump Connection

    Trump told Fox News that former New York City mayor and failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani might be his choice to head up a commission to review his proposal for a temporary Muslim ban.

    What You Need To Know

    Giuliani has a long history of anti-Muslim comments and statements. He argued in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea that one way to fight terrorism is to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods,” said sexual assault in Germany proved that “these [Syrian] refugees are inherently a problem,” and praised Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for holding anti-Muslim hearings in Congress.

    Speaking before Trump at a campaign rally, Giuliani said, “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” omitting the September 11, 2001, attacks. PolitiFact rated this claim “false.”

    Ed Klein


    The Trump Connection

    Disgraced journalist Ed Klein said he has known Trump for 35 years and claimed, “I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family.” Klein recently had lunch with Trump as he campaigned in Indiana. Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account.

    What You Need To Know

    Journalists have described Klein’s columns and books attacking the Clintons and Obamas as “fan fiction” and “smut.” He has launched numerous unfounded smears, including the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary (he later walked back the allegation). Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped Klein’s Blood Feud because it “did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers.” Klein has repeatedly distorted quotes in his work, and even conservative figures have expressed skepticism about the veracity of his reporting.

    Jeffrey Lord


    The Trump Connection

    Lord, a contributor to the conservative American Spectator, has been a big booster of Trump’s candidacy. CNN hired Lord to present a pro-Trump point of view. According to Lord, Trump helped land him the gig. ThePatriot-News reported last year, “Lord said Trump complained to CNN execs that the network only featured commentators who didn't get him, so CNN asked The Donald who in the world of conservative media he would suggest, and he said Jeffrey Lord.”

    What You Need To Know

    Lord infamously tried to prove that a black man who was beaten to death was not technically lynched, a position that was even condemned by his colleagues at the Spectator. During his CNN appearances, Lord has defended Trump’s attack on Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, excused Trump’s failure to disavow the KKK, and described the Klan as a “leftist terrorist organization.”

    Lord blamed the pro-choice movement for gun violence and attacked the family of deceased Army Captain Humayun Khan for speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He also echoed the Trump campaign by promoting the conspiracy theory that the election “could be stolen.”

    Ben Carson


    The Trump Connection

    Carson endorsed Trump after he dropped his presidential bid and was then tasked with being Trump’s liaison between his campaign and Speaker Paul Ryan. Carson also apparently had some role in Trump’s vice presidential selection team.

    What You Need To Know

    Carson has caused controversy with a series of bizarre and offensive comments as an author, a Fox News contributor, and during his short-lived presidential campaign. During a Fox News appearance, Carson infamously compared marriage equality supporters to those who would advocate bestiality and pedophilia, and argued in his 2012 book that marriage equality could destroy America “like the fall of the Roman Empire.” Carson also claimed that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain, said being gay was a “choice,”described Obamacare as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and argued that Jewish people could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns.

    Speaking on stage at the Republican National Convention, Carson compared Hillary Clinton to “Lucifer.”

    Michael Savage


    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Michael Savage was an early backer of Trump in the conservative media who has describedhimself as “the architect of Trump’s messaging." Trump has appeared on his program multiple times -- in one appearance, Savage offered himself up to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a suggestion that Trump described as “common sense.”

    What You Need To Know

    Savage has a long history of outrageous and violent rhetoric. In 2008, he warned, “I fear that Obama will stir up a race war … in order to seize absolute power.”

    Savage also claimed that President Obama “wants to infect the nation with Ebola” and is gearing up the government to “fight a war against white people.” Savage accused Obama of engaging in “genocide” against the white race.

    Savage has described PTSD and depression sufferers as “weak” and “narcissistic” “losers.” Referencing military veterans suffering from PTSD, Savage said, “no wonder ISIS can defeat our military.”

    Additionally, Savage has called for a “revolution” in response to multiculturalism, said “I’d hang every lawyer who went down toto Guantanamo” Bay, accused President Obama of being the “new Mao,” theorized that Democrats would declare martial law, and said “the radical left and the radical Muslims are natural blood brothers.”

    Savage and Trump swapped notes on the conspiracy theory that Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered.

    Ann Coulter

    The Trump Connection

    Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has repeatedly promoted Trump’s candidacy. Trump called Coulter’s anti-immigrant book, Adios, America! “a great read.” In return, Coulter said she believes that Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was inspired by her.

    What You Need To Know

    Coulter has developed a reputation over the years for making hateful and disgusting public comments, often with a bigoted message that even conservatives have recoiled from. The conservative National Review dropped her column when, after 9/11, she said America should “invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

    Coulter’s book was apparently modeled on the rhetoric of white nationalists and other anti-immigrant extremists, and she credited white nationalist Peter Brimelow as an “intellectual influence” on her work.

    While defending Trump, Coulter called South Carolina-born Governor Nikki Haley an “immigrant” who “does not understand America’s history,” and made derogatory attacks on Jews while complaining about Trump’s rivals in a primary debate.

    She has also regularly offered bigoted anti-immigrant rhetoric, including suggesting that immigrants are more dangerous than ISIS and that “‘real’ Hispanics are on welfare.”

    Laura Ingraham


    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Laura Ingraham has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s candidacy and has praised his anti-immigrant rhetoric. She once compared Trump to Abraham Lincoln.

    What You Need To Know

    Ingraham has often used her show to demonize and attack immigrants. Ingraham said Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people,” called the children of undocumented immigrants “anchor fetuses,” andsuggested that deported immigrants attempting to re-enter the country should be “shot.”

    Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Ingraham demanded that Trump’s primary rivals “honor your pledge” and “support Donald Trump now.”

    Chris Christie

    Chris Christie

    The Trump Connection

    New Jersey governor Chris Christie endorsed Trump after he dropped out of the campaign and has served as a leading surrogate for the candidate

    What You Need To Know

    Christie has become infamous for his public arguments with voters and other figures. He told a critical voter he was “a real big shot shooting your mouth off,” called a reporter “a complete idiot,” and told a resident asking about stalled rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy to “sit down and shut up.”

    In addition to his demeanor, Christie’s administration was involved in the Bridgegate scandal, where his subordinates conspired to block traffic on the George Washington Bridge as payback for political slights against the governor.

    Larry Kudlow


    The Trump Connection

    Larry Kudlow was part of the Office of Management and Budget in Reagan’s first term, and is now a columnist and on-air personality for CNBC. Trump enlisted Kudlow (along with Stephen Moore) to work on changes to his economic plans.

    What You Need To Know

    Kudlow was a big supporter of George W. Bush’s economic policies and was infamous for missing the warning signs of the coming economic meltdown.

    Kudlow dismissed people concerned about the real estate bubble in the mid-2000s as “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes.” In December 2007, as the National Bureau of Economic Research marked the beginning of the Great Recession, Kudlow wrote, “there’s no recession coming.”

    Stephen Moore


    The Trump Connection

    Conservative economic columnist Stephen Moore was enlisted, along with Larry Kudlow, to tweak Trump’s economic policy in the general election.

    What You Need To Know

    Like Kudlow, Moore has a terrible track record when predicting the effect of both conservative and progressive policies on the economy. He also regularly makes false claims to attack policies like taxes, regulation, the minimum wage, and Obamacare.

    The editorial page director of the Kansas City Star declared she “won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore” after he used false employment numbers in a column attacking economist Paul Krugman.

    In a column promoting Trump's candidacy, Moore wrote, "It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way."

    Scottie Nell Hughes


    The Trump Connection

    Scottie Nell Hughes is a cable news pundit and CNN contributor who has often spoken in defense of Donald Trump. Glamour notes she “has been on the front line for Trump campaign since she introduced him at a September mega rally in Dallas.”

    What You Need To Know

    Hughes was previously the news director for the “Tea Party News Network.” She uses odd logic to launch defenses of Trump’s actions.

    When some called for riots at the Republican convention in defense of Trump, Hughes told CNN “it’s not riots as in a negative thing.” Hughes said that Trump’s statement that women should be punished for abortions had been “misconstrued,” and that the media paying attention to Trump’s sexist tweets is unfair.

    Hughes lamented that Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) uses Spanish in his speeches, saying, “I’m hoping I’m not going to have to kind of start brushing up back on my Dora the Explorer to understand some of the speeches given” during the Democratic convention.

    She also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination is “tearing down men.”

    Pat Caddell

    Pat Caddell

    The Trump Connection

    Caddell has reportedly been “speaking regularly” with campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon about “what Trump could do in the coming weeks to expand his appeal, in particular with Democrats and independents.”

    What You Need To Know

    Caddell worked for President Jimmy Carter, but, as the Washington Post notes, his "ties to the Democratic Party have frayed in recent decades as he has become a well-known face on Fox News and more closely associated with independent candidates.”  

    Caddell has been a frequent guest on Breitbart News’ radio show, Breitbart News Daily, where he has engaged in conspiracy theories about polls being skewed against Donald Trump, and described the Obama White House as “Nixon on steroids.”

    Caddell also said reporters were supposedly making themselves “the enemies of the American people” for exhibiting bias against Trump. As the Post pointed out, Caddell’s commentary has regularly been promoted by Breitbart News.

    For years, Caddell’s commentary has often aligned far more with his conservative Fox News colleagues than anyone purporting to be a Democrat. (In one 2011 Fox Business appearance, he described the Democrats as being his “former” party.)

    In 2010, along with Doug Schoen, Caddell wrote an op-ed calling on President Obama not to seek a second term and argued, “The president has largely lost the consent of the governed.”

    This post has been updated for clarity.

  • Seeking “Balance,” The Hill Gives Conspiracy Theorist Roger Stone A Platform To Claim Election Could Be Rigged

    Hill Partners With Dirty Trickster Who Calls People “Stupid Negro,” “Elitist C*nt,” And “Horse-Faced Liberal Bitch” And Said He Would “Kick In” Money To Watch Hillary Clinton Kill Herself

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    In a ludicrous effort to provide “balance” to its readers, The Hill has published a column by informal Donald Trump adviser, conspiracy theorist, and racist Roger Stone allowing him to promote the baseless allegation that the presidential election will be “rigged” in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    In addition to giving a conspiracy theorist a platform to sow seeds of doubt about the outcome of the election, The Hill -- which identifies Stone as a “contributor” -- has also associated their brand with a man who regularly promotes conspiracy theories and has an extensive history of making racist, sexist, and bigoted comments.

    Asked why they would choose to publish Stone’s piece given his record, a spokesperson for The Hill explained that they provide “a platform for contributors, encompassing politics and policy, from all points of the political compass, including those with provocative voices about the candidates and the electoral process.” The spokesperson claimed that Stone’s allegation that the election will be rigged by Clinton shows how the paper “is always providing and seeking balance among the points of view that we present,” noting that “last week we published a column pressing the argument that in the nation’s history ‘systemic election fraud’ is non-existent.”

    The response appears to confirm that The Hill’s willingness to promote “points of view” is limited by neither their extremeness nor their factual accuracy.

    Indeed, Stone bases much of his column on the claim that “A recent study by Stanford University proved that Hillary Clinton’s campaign rigged the system to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.” The document  in question is not a Stanford University “study.” It is a research paper written by two graduate students at Stanford University and Tilburg University.

    The fact-checking site Snopes reports that the authors of the paper “acknowledged their claims and research methodology had not been subject to any form of peer review or academic scrutiny.” For much of its argument claiming that exit polling indicates that the Democratic primary was rigged, the paper relies on a figure named Richard Charnin who Snopes points out “appears to expend much of his focus on conspiracy theories related to the JFK assassination.” Stone refers to Charnin as a “mathematician and voting statistic expert” in his column and describes his work as “compelling.”

    Using such an absurd document as a basis for his vote-rigging thesis is in line with Stone’s predilection for promoting and creating conspiracy theories. The former Republican Party operative with a long history of dirty tricks has published a book in which he alleges that the Bush family “tried to kill” President Ronald Reagan, while another of his books is entitled The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.

    Stone also believes that the Clintons are “plausibly responsible” for the deaths of roughly 40 people and that John F. Kennedy Jr. was “murdered by the Clintons because he was in the way.” He recently alleged that the Clintons had four (more) people murdered.

    Stone has engaged in racist, sexist, and incendiary commentary on his Twitter account that has resulted in him being banned from the airwaves of both CNN and MSNBC.

    He called then-CNN commentator Roland Martin a “stupid negro and a “fat negro,” called Herman Cain “mandingo” and described former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) as an “arrogant know-it-all negro.” He also said Al Sharpton was a “professional negro” who likes fried chicken and asked if Ben Carson was an “Uncle Tom.”

    Stone said CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and Martin were “quota hires” because they are “so dumb and unqualified that one can reach no other conclusion." He also said of Navarro, “black beans and rice didn’t miss her.”

    He said New York Times columnist Gail Collins was an “elitist c*nt” and referred to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow as “Rachel the muff-diver.”

    Stone has also called for violence against several figures. He said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a “Soviet Agent” who “should be arrested for treason and shot.” He also said he would “kick in” money to see Hillary Clinton kill herself.

    As Trump has encountered trouble in his presidential campaign leading to lower ratings in opinion polls, Stone and his partner, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, have been peddling the notion that the election will be rigged in favor of Clinton. They have now enlisted The Hill in their campaign.

    Previously reporters for The Hill said publishing their material alongside serial liar and conservative “laughingstock” Dick Morris affected the publication’s brand. Roger Stone is worse. Much worse.

    The full statement from The Hill spokesperson to Media Matters’ Joe Strupp follows:

    The Hill has a platform for contributors, encompassing politics and policy, from all points of the political compass, including those with provocative voices about the candidates and the electoral process. Roger Stone is certainly among those. We have of course run many columns, as well, by opponents of Trump.

    Stone has been a vocal backer and consultant to the campaign of Donald Trump, and we have run several columns by him as a way of understanding the points of views of Trump backers.

    In addition, today’s column about election fraud follows a line of attack by Trump himself on what he sees as the likelihood that the election will be “rigged.”

    And to show how The Hill is always providing and seeking balance among the points of view that we present, last week we published a column pressing the argument that in the nation’s history “systemic election fraud” is non-existent.

    The Hill welcomes  all points of view in its coverage of politics and policy and will continue to do so.

  • Hannity Responds To Trump Campaign Troubles With Clinton Health Conspiracy Parade

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS


    Over the last week, as Donald Trump faced disappointing poll numbers and continued to spawn a series of never-ending controversies on the campaign trail, Fox News’ Sean Hannity -- who has perhaps been Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the media -- has devoted large chunks of his Fox News program to engaging in baseless conspiracies that Hillary Clinton is in ill health.

    Hannity, Drudge and conspiracy media like Alex Jones’ Infowars are part of a steady, months-long drumbeat consistently pushing baseless claims that Clinton has serious health problems.

    As CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out, Hannity’s crusade is an example of “how this ecosystem exists, where something starts, in this case on pro-trump Twitter accounts, and it makes its way all the way up to some of the top shows on cable television, even though it's really rooted in a conspiracy theory.”

    Monday: “Some Said It's Like A Mini-Seizure”

    On Monday, Hannity hosted neurologist Dr. David Samadi and Dr. Marc Seigel to assess whether Clinton “could be experiencing a serious undisclosed medical condition.” During the segment, Hannity referenced a misleading Drudge-promoted photo of Clinton slipping on icy stairs to kick off a segment in which he questioned his guests on whether Clinton had suffered “a mini-seizure” or had a “mini-stroke.”

    The transcript of the exchange, via Nexis:

    HANNITY: And welcome back to HANNITY. So an image of Hillary Clinton recently posted to the Web site "The American Mirror" is sparking new controversy for the Clinton campaign. The picture, which shows Hillary Clinton apparently needing assistance to climb a flight of stairs at a campaign stop back in February, was picked up by "The Drudge Report," which posted this headline over the weekend detailing Hillary Clinton's history with falls and speculating that the former secretary of state could be experiencing a serious undisclosed medical condition.

    Earlier today we reached out to the Clinton campaign for a statement, and a spokesman told us that "The Drudge Report" is shameful, and anyone who buys into that vitriol, including yours truly, is shameful as well. So shameful we are.

    Anyway, what was noticeably missing from the statement is any reference or rebuttal to the health issues that were alleged by Drudge and others.

    Joining us now with analysis, from the FOX News medical A-Team we have FOX News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel and Dr. David Samadi is with us. It's in "The Daily Mail," are Hillary Clinton's health problems more severe than thought? A new book is coming out that claims that. The Gateway Pundit had today, "Hillary's handler carrying a diazepam pen for patients who experience recurrent seizures. When you look at her history, Dr. Siegel, of falling, concussions, the blood clots, et cetera, and then this other video that has emerged, what are your thoughts?

    DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the public has the right to know. Number one, we're talking in 2008, Sean, I looked over 1,000 pages of John McCain's records because of a melanoma he had 10 years before. What about Hillary? In 2009, a severe fall, she breaks an elbow. In 2011 she boards a plane, falls. In 2012 she has a severe concussion which Bill Clinton says it took her six months to recover from.

    Then she ends up with a blood clot on the brain. She's on lifetime blood thinners. Just to point alone, if she's prone to falling, and you see from our picture up there that it looks like she can barely get upstairs without two people carrying her. If she falls and hits her head she'll get a blood clot in her brain.

    HANNITY: Just out of fairness, I don't want to show the video. But I've asked both of you to look at the video where she seems like, some said it's like a mini-seizure. What does it look like to you.

    SIEGEL: I'm also concerned about this concussion she had in 2012. It could be post-concussion syndrome. Your balance is off. You're dizzy all the time. Your memory is off. You're not thinking clearly. Maybe that is what she meant this week when talked about that click she had with Chris Wallace. Maybe she just can't think.

    HANNITY: She says she short circuited. Also, it's not just that. She doesn't give a lot of press conferences. She doesn't want to seem to put herself in high pressure situations.

    SIEGEL: I want to know what her neurologist says. I've reached out to her neurologist at Columbia after she had that fall. No comment. I want to know what her neurological records show.

    HANNITY: You think as you have done with John McCain and other presidential candidates, obviously John McCain is older, do you think it's fair game, especially if people see that something seems a little off?

    SIEGEL: Not just fair game. Just the point alone that she's on blood thinners and seems to be prone to fall, if she falls when she's in the White House --

    HANNITY: Is there a possibility she had a mini-stroke, a TIA? What do you think?

    DR. DAVID SAMADI, FOX NEWS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The picture that you showed as she's going up the stairs speaks a million words. Is he really fatigued? Is she dehydrated? One of the main reasons why she fell in 2012 and had the concussion was severe dehydration. They're holding her and going up the stairs so she may be really dehydrated, she may have arthritis, she may have back pain. She may have fallen again. We don't know. So there are a lot more questions that are unanswered. What we know today is that she's on thyroid medication. She suffers from hypothyroid or low thyroid that can cause some fatigue and gaining weight and all of that.

    Tuesday: “What About Some Of The Weird Pauses She Has”

    On Tuesday, Hannity had neurologist Dr. Daniel Kassicieh and Dr. Marc Seigel on and again brought up the photos from the Drudge Report. He asked, “Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?”

    He also pondered, “What about some of the weird pauses she has, the coughing fits she has? There are moments when I'm literally watching her and I'm thinking, OK, the facial expressions are odd. They seem off.”

    The transcript of the exchange, via Nexis:

    HANNITY: So last time on this program we spoke about an image that was being circulated online of Hillary Clinton. The picture shows the Democratic nominee being helped a flight of stairs by her staffers. This was back in February. "The Drudge Report" picked it up and speculated about her health.

    So should Hillary have to reveal her medical condition as well as give us maybe those Wall Street speeches, maybe those big bank speeches? And joining us now with reaction is board-certified neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Daniel Kassicieh and from the FOX News Medical A-Team is Dr. Mark Seigel. Dr. Siegel, good to see you again.

    Daniel, let me start with you. Doctor, let me ask you, what do you see in her condition and some of these images where she keeps getting flustered or the coughing fits or you hear about the blood clots. What is your interpretation?

    DR. DANIEL KASSICIEH, BOARD CERTIFIED NEUROLOGIST: My concern is going back to her concussion when she fell back in December of 2012 and she had a reported blood clot. The blood clot cleared up quickly with the blood thinners, but Bill Clinton actually reported that it took six months of hard work for Hillary to recover from her head injury.

    HANNITY: Is it possible she had a stroke, or do you really believe it was a head injury, traumatic brain injury?

    KASSICIEH: I believe that she had a concussion with a possible brain injury. Of course, I haven't seen medical records, but the blood clot once it cleared up was no longer an issue. It was the latent effects of the concussion that I would be concerned about.

    HANNITY: By the way, I'm glad you're a headache expert because any time she or any liberal speaks, I get a headache. Dr. Siegel?

    DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sean, this is a year when we're looking into the long term effects of concussion and we're finding that we're underestimating this, that someone who has a severe blow to the head can have affects later on that even an MRI doesn't show. So at the very least I want to see her medical records.

    HANNITY: What about some of the weird pauses she has, the coughing fits she has? There are moments when I'm literally watching her and I'm thinking, OK, the facial expressions are odd. They seem off.

    SIEGEL: I don't know this because I'm only looking at a video. But I saw the same video you saw and I'm wondering about a word called "aphasia" where you're searching for words, you suddenly lose those words, and that can be the sign, again, of some kind of traumatic brain injury or the after effects of a concussion.

    I'm not satisfied to just get a letter from Dr. Bardack who is her primary and say she's fit to be president. That is like getting a letter from an accountant, the taxes are OK. I want to see what a neurologist wrote about her.

    Hannity similarly promoted the conspiracy theory that Clinton had a stroke on his syndicated radio show on Tuesday, claiming, “one doctor friend of mine was really convinced she had a stroke.”

    Wednesday: “It Almost Seems Seizure-Esque To Me”

    On Wednesday, Hannity hosted Dr. Marc Siegel and Dr. Fiona Gupta, claiming that “questions continue to swirl about Hillary Clinton's health and if she is fit to serve as president of the United States.”

    The transcript of the exchange, via Nexis:

    HANNITY: Look at this video right here. Watch her reaction, because I'm not -- it almost seems seizure-esque to me.

    GUPTA: There are different types of seizures, local seizures that sometimes can cause just one body part, but it would be very rare. I mean, typically seizures will generalize, so I can't say that's a seizure.

    HANNITY: Aren't there many seizures like that, Dr. Siegel?

    DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not a neurologist, and I don't think that necessarily looks like a seizure, but I will say this --

    HANNITY: Let's re-rack this. What do you think this is?

    SIEGEL: I'll tell you what I think it is. I think that we've seen enough there, especially in someone who has a long medical history and who's approaching 70 years old for me to be able to say here that both of our candidates need to release their medical information. Sean, the whole idea --

    HANNITY: It looks like violent, out of control movements on her part.

    SIEGEL: And it could be, and I say could be, related to previous head trauma she's had. It's possible. That's why I need to see the records. That's why a neurologist needs to come forward and give a press conference and say this is what is going on with her. She may very well be completely fit, but we want to know.

    Thursday: “You've Got This Sort Of Twitching Thing That She Does”

    On Thursday, Hannity hosted Drs. Marc Siegel and David Samadi, along with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to discuss “speculation” about Clinton’s health in a segment he introduced by asking, “Why won't the mainstream media talk about this story?”

    Hannity asked the panel to comment on video supposedly showing Clinton engaging in “violent, violent, repetitive jerking of the head,” and wondered about “this sort of twitching thing that she does.”

    The transcript of the exchange, via Nexis:

    HANNITY: Dr. Carson, I'll show you the different examples. She's falling. You've got this sort of twitching thing that she does in front of reporters that was really bad. There's been a number of incidents and reports that she fell. And then she had this really long incident where she was out of commission for quite a while, recovering, her husband said. She's on anti- coagulants.

    Number one, do we have a right to know? And number two, what do you make of this twitching thing that she keeps doing? I'll run it again.

    HANNITY: Why are you laughing? You're the brain surgeon here. I'm just a humble little host.


    CARSON: Oh, it just looks funny. You know, certainly as a person gets older, you know, the number of medical conditions that we have to watch for increases, which is one of the reasons that we strongly suggest, as you get older, that you have at least an annual examination. If you're going into a very important position like this, it's critical.

  • “Totally Synced”: How Donald Trump And Alex Jones’ Conspiracy Theory Movement Speaks With One Voice

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Alex Jones announced on his radio show this week that it has been “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear [Donald] Trump say it two days later. It is amazing.” Indeed, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pointed out, it has been “completely surreal” to watch the Republican nominee for President of the United States echo the nation’s most prominent conspiracy theorist; but he’s done just that, repeatedly.

    During the campaign, Trump has echoed Jones’ conspiracy theories on several topics, including the leadership of ISIS, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and the possibility of a “rigged” general election.

    Jones’ website has described him as “one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement.” The movement believes that the U.S. government was behind the September 11, 2001, attacks. Jones also has promoted conspiracy theories about government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Boston Marathon bombing, and several mass shootings.

    Trump appeared on Jones’ show in December and praised the host for his “amazing” reputation, promising him that “I will not let you down.” In return, Jones called Trump “a true maverick” and described his presidential campaign as “epic” and “George Washington level.”

    Over the last year, Trump has frequently spoken about issues of importance to Jones and the conspiracy theory movement he leads, often in the same language and within days of those issues being raised on Jones’ program.

    Jones reportedly received “special guest” credentials to attend the Republican National Convention and praised Trump’s acceptance speech as “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement, saying that Trump’s attack on the concept of “globalism” -- a frequent target of the conspiracy movement -- “sent absolute lightning bolts of fear into their guts in the New World Order.”

    Jones has also often hosted Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone, who maintains close contact with the candidate. Trump and Stone coordinated a rally in favor of Trump at the convention and have given out instructions on how to donate to Trump’s campaign.

    In February, a senior Trump adviser gave an interview to Jones' website and urged Jones' fans to vote in the South Carolina and New Hampshire Republican primaries.

    Days after Jones posted a video entitled “An Emergency Message to Donald Trump” asking the candidate to start pushing a narrative that the general election would be “rigged,” Trump began to echo the host. He told a rally audience that Clinton is “going to try and steal the general election,” adding, “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.” (Stone had also been urging Trump to raise the issue.)

    At a campaign rally in Florida this week, Trump said that President Obama is “the founder of ISIS,” and added, “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.” (Trump has since tried to claim he was using “sarcasm.”)

    That reflects a position that has been promoted by Jones for some time. His website alleges “there is concrete evidence that the Obama administration has been backing ISIS since the beginning.” Jones has also said Clinton was “like the commanding general of Al-Qaeda and ISIS” and said she and Obama are “the ones running ISIS.” Jones also claims that “ISIS is Obama’s proxy army.”

    Trump and Jones have also been in lockstep on other conspiracies.

    Jones has often promoted the birther conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the United States, a nonsense theory that Trump has eagerly pushed.

    Infowars promoted the idea that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had been killed around the same time Trump floated the theory in an appearance on Michael Savage’s radio show.

    And when Trump argued, without evidence, that Ted Cruz’s father Rafael Cruz was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he was echoing a claim that had already been made on Jones’ website.

  • Trump Confidante Roger Stone Pushes Clinton Aide 9/11 Conspiracy, Claims Trump Views RNC Chairman As “Second Lieutenant”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Roger Stone

    Donald Trump ally and unofficial adviser Roger Stone hosted a conference call during which he said Trump does not view Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus “as a political genius” but rather “a second lieutenant.” Stone also alleged that Clinton aide Huma Abedin was connected to the 9/11 attacks.

    Stone advertises himself as “The Ultimate Political Insider” and offers bi-weekly conference calls that allow people to discuss political issues with him.

    In the most recent call, on August 4, Stone denied media reports of possible upheavals in the Trump campaign and claimed “this is coming from the RNC.” Stone labeled Priebus a “loser” and claimed “he is part of the [Paul] Ryan political machine, he’s apoplectic. Reports today that he ‘lit into Trump’ are absurd. No one lights into Trump, because Donald Trump blows your head off. He does not see him as a political genius, he sees him as a second lieutenant.”

    He also alleged that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin “is connected to radical Islamic organizations that are in turn tied to the financing of the attacks upon America of 9/11. Huma and her entire family, her brothers and her parents, are active in the World Muslim League, which is affiliated with the Rabita Trust, which was set under the Justice Department under George W. Bush as having been used by the hijackers in the attack on America.”

    Stone also repeated his unfounded allegation that the presidential election could be “rigged” in order to elect Hillary Clinton. Stone has previously said he would work to create a “constitutional crisis” if there are “election irregularities.”

    Stone has frequently invoked Abedin’s name in his conspiracy theories. He previously accused her of being “most likely a Saudi spy” and speculated on multiple occasions that she might be a terrorist.

    Conspiracy theories about Abedin have been a staple of the conservative media, and have been condemned  by both Republicans and Democrats.

    Stone is a conspiracy theorist who has written a book accusing the Bush family of backing the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and claimed that President Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He also claims that the Clintons had John F. Kennedy Jr. killed. He is a frequent guest of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and has worked with Jones to promote Donald Trump’s candidacy.

  • Trump’s Conspiracy Theorist Allies Take Victory Lap Over Candidate’s “Rigged" Election Comments

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Conspiracy theorists who have supported and worked with Donald Trump are taking a victory lap after the Republican nominee began pushing the conspiracy theory that the general election might be “rigged” to favor Hillary Clinton.

    Amid a disastrous week for his campaign, Trump has recently been alleging that the fix might be in for November’s election. During a rally in Ohio earlier this week, Trump warned attendees, “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.”  

    In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the election ... there’s a lot of dirty pool played at the election, meaning the election is rigged. I would not be surprised.” He went on to say that “If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting.”

    Trump also told Sean Hannity that “we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged,” noting that “been hearing about it for a long time.”

    Where Trump had likely “been hearing about” the “rigged” election theory is from his conspiracy theorist allies Roger Stone and Alex Jones, who have repeatedly warned that the November election might be stolen.

    Stone, a longtime Trump friend and adviser, has been publicly pushing Trump to raise the issue of election fraud, telling The Milo Yiannopoulos Show, “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly.” He added, “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

    As Right Wing Watch noted, Stone also raised the specter of a stolen election during an appearance on Jones’ show, claiming Clinton could potentially “steal this election” with the help of the Supreme Court “now that Scalia has been taken care of.”

    Stone previously floated the idea that the Republican nomination would be “stolen” from Trump and created an effort called “Stop the Steal” to “stop the Republican establishment from stealing the Presidential nomination from Donald Trump.” He also threatened to “disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal.”

    Politico spoke to Stone, who reportedly was “pleased Trump was seemingly following his outside advice.” Stone told them, “You have to inoculate early on this. You have to educate people to the fact that this is a real possibility.”

    Stone is a conspiracy theorist who wrote a book accusing the “Bush Crime Family” of backing the attempted assassination of President Reagan, alleged that President Lyndon Johnson was involved in the murder of John F. Kennedy, and said that the Clintons were responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.

    He has also previously speculated that a staged “international incident” could be used to cancel the presidential election, adding, “I think they’re capable of anything, including martial law.”

    ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum pointed out that “the reality is that Roger Stone is currently running Trump’s campaign,” noting that “Stone has Trump's ear and is controlling the message. The things Trump says is the heart of his campaign.” He concluded, “We are now observing what happens when a fringe conspiracy theorist and hatchet man controls the message of a major campaign for Prez.”

    Infowars, the website of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, noted that Trump was “echoing sentiments expressed by Alex Jones” with his comments about a “rigged election,” and that “Trump’s comments mirror Alex Jones.”

    On July 30, Jones posted a video titled “An Emergency Message to Donald Trump,” asking the candidate to begin pushing the narrative of a rigged general election. A few days after the video was published, Trump began making his comments about the conspiracy theory.

    Discussing the speech on his radio show, Jones noted the similarities between it and his “emergency message” and remarked that Trump “sees the same thing we see.” Jones also objected to Media Matters connecting Trump’s warning about a “rigged” election to Jones’ video, saying the candidate “doesn’t need me or Roger Stone to tell him all this. He knows it”

    Trump has appeared on Jones’ radio show and praised his “amazing” reputation. In turn, Jones has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign and said the candidate was “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement in his convention acceptance speech.

  • CNN President Defends Lewandowski Hire As Ethics Disaster Continues For Network

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    CNN president Jeff Zucker defended the network’s hiring of former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a paid commentator at the network. Despite the numerous ethical issues that have been raised about Lewandowski’s CNN role, Zucker said “he’s done a really nice job.”

    As Media Matters has documented, Lewandowski’s hiring prompted widespread criticism. Media experts have called the relationship “profoundly disturbing,” “problematic,” and a “sea of muck” among numerous other concerns. Last month, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok sent a letter to Zucker detailing the numerous ethical concerns surrounding Lewandowski, including questions about the reported non-disparagement agreement he has with the Trump campaign and the disclosure by the network in early July that he was “still receiving severance from the Trump campaign” while working for CNN.

    CNN’s own media reporter Brian Stelter said the network had raised “ethical questions” with its hire of the “controversial” Lewandowski.

    In an interview with Variety, Zucker said he believes “it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee,” and, “It’s hard to find a lot of those. Our competitors tried to hire him too.” Before hiring Lewandowski, CNN did not seem to have much trouble finding Trump supporters to put on air. Media Matters compiled over 30 examples of pro-Trump voices on CNN, including network employees Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany.

    The network head also praised Lewandowski, claiming that “he’s done a really nice job,” and “He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”

    Variety also noted that Zucker "displays a framed tweet by Donald Trump complimenting CNN, written many months ago."

    Lewandowski was hired by CNN just days after he was fired in June by the Trump campaign. Media Matters and others noted that he’s an odd fit for a news network, as his role during the campaign had been tainted by allegations that he had manhandled a reporter, and news outlets reported that he made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” He had also been accused of pushing a CNN reporter.

    A Politico report indicated that Lewandowski lost a $1.2 million book deal with HarperCollins over concerns about his non-disparagement agreement with the campaign.

    Lewandowski been a staunch defender of Trump’s actions in his on-air appearances, including defending Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain this week.

    During his  CNN employment, Lewandowski gave a nominating speech at the Republican National Convention on behalf of the New Hampshire delegation for his “friend” Donald Trump. Reports have also indicated that Lewandowski is still advising Trump on campaign strategy and pitching prospective donors on a pro-Trump super PAC.

    Trump appears to be happy with the arrangement. Despite repeatedly bashing the network, Trump said in a press conference that Lewandowski has “been very loyal and he’s been on CNN and he’s really been fighting for me.”

  • Days After Conspiracy Theorist Asked Him To, Trump Worries “The Election Is Going To Be Rigged”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump echoed conspiracy theorists by claiming that he fears the general election “is going to be rigged” to benefit Hillary Clinton. Trump’s comments come just days after radio host and Trump booster Alex Jones released a video message asking Trump to raise the issue while warning, “she’s going to try to steal the general election.”

    Speaking at a rally on Monday in Columbus, OH, Trump claimed the Republican primary had been “rigged” against him and added, “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.”

    In a video posted on July 30 and headlined, “An Emergency Message to Donald Trump,” Alex Jones said Clinton is “going to try to steal the general election” and urged Trump to “seriously think about making the issue of Hillary’s election fraud in the primaries one of the central issues to defeating her in November.”

    Jones said “it is imperative that the Trump campaign make this one of the central issues” of the election. “If she stole the primary, she’s going to try to steal the general election.”

    Throughout the campaign, Trump has found a willing media ally in Jones, whose website described him as “one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement.”

    Trump has appeared on The Alex Jones Show, and his long-time adviser Roger Stone -- who says he still discusses campaign strategy with Trump -- is a regular guest on the program. Stone and Jones also organized a pro-Trump rally during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

    As Right Wing Watch notes, Stone has also recently been making the rounds suggesting Clinton plans to steal the election.

    Following his acceptance speech, in which Trump echoed Jones’ attack against  “globalism,” the radio host praised the candidate for being “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement.

  • Gretchen Carlson: Fox News Employees Who Defended Ailes “Should Have Known Better”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit led to Roger Ailes’ recent exit from the network, told The Washington Post in an interview that she was “angry that it took so long” for Ailes to be pushed out. Carlson also said that Fox News employees who publicly defended Ailes “should have known better.”

    Earlier this month, Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging that Ailes fired her after she declined his sexual advances. Since then, an additional 25 women have come forward to allege harassment by Ailes, according to Carlson’s attorney. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman reported that Fox News host Megyn Kelly told investigators that Ailes had harassed her as well. On July 19, it was reported that Ailes would leave Fox News as a result of the allegations and an internal investigation; he resigned two days later.

    In an interview with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, Carlson said her reaction to Ailes’ dismissal was, “At first, satisfaction -- or no, I think validation” and that she “felt angry that it took so long.” She also noted, “It’s complicated — there was relief that now I would be believed — and I was happy to a certain extent over that.”

    When asked about reports that Kelly came forward to speak about Ailes, Carlson said, “I appreciated that she told the truth, and I know it was risky.” Sullivan writes that Carlson was also “disturbed by the public statements of some Fox News women and men who came forward in the first few days to say glowing things about Ailes’s character.”

    Carlson said, “Some of them were lawyers. They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, ‘Wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about’,” adding, “But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated.” (Fox News has a notoriously ruthless PR department that often targets people critical of the network.) From Sullivan’s article:

    But when I asked her how she felt as she watched Roger Ailes — perhaps the most powerful media figure in America — step down as Fox News chief only two weeks after she had sued him for sexual harassment, she searched for the right description.

    “At first, satisfaction, or no, I think validation,” she told me Wednesday. And then, she said, a new round of emotion came rushing in over the sexual harassment she says she endured while working for Ailes. “I felt angry that it took so long.”

    “It’s complicated — there was relief that now I would be believed — and I was happy to a certain extent over that.”


    “I appreciated that she told the truth, and I know it was risky,” Carlson said, but she disagreed that Kelly’s statements made all the difference. It was “the multitude of women” who started to come forward, creating a critical mass that could no longer be ignored.


    Conversely, she was disturbed by the public statements of some Fox News women and men who came forward in the first few days to say glowing things about Ailes’s character, suggesting that he could never have engaged in sexual harassment.

    “Some of them were lawyers. They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, ‘Wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said. “But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated.”