Timothy Johnson

Author ››› Timothy Johnson
  • Alex Jones’ website Infowars broadcasts from the White House press briefing room

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy website Infowars’ Washington bureau chief, Jerome Corsi, conducted a live broadcast from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House, telling viewers that Infowars had obtained a temporary pass and was working to obtain permanent White House press credentials.

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones operates Infowars, a disreputable outlet that has pushed conspiracy theories about tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, and Oklahoma City bombing. The site also posts false information in support of Trump, and it promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. Jones has said that he communicates with President Donald Trump and offers him advice.

    The outlet hired Corsi in January. Corsi has made a living pushing false conspiracy theories, including the claim that former President Barack Obama has a fake birth certificate, which he was instrumental in spreading.

    During the livestream, Corsi discussed an embargoed budget document and then used an iPad to give viewers a tour of the nearly empty briefing room.

    Corsi said that Infowars does not yet have permanent press credentials but that he wanted to emphasize that the site had obtained a temporary pass and was able to physically broadcast from the White House.

    While giving the tour, Corsi added, “We’re here. I think that makes clear we’re going to get press credentials and we’ll do what we need to do to get here on a regular basis to get permanent press credentials.” He signed off by saying, “Let’s kind of end this now by just saying we’re here, we’re going to get more established as we go along, and I’m very, very pleased to have made this step today.”

    Earlier today, Corsi wrote on Twitter, “Jerome Corsi, Washington Bureau Chief, http://Infowars.com. We have WH PRESS CREDENTIALS. I'm in WH May 22, 2017”:

    An accompanying Infowars article said that the outlet delivered “an epic blow to the mainstream media’s control of the narrative” by gaining access to White House press briefings and that “Alex Jones may even attend some White House press briefings in person.”

    Earlier this month, Jones announced that Infowars had been granted a weekly press pass to the White House and was working “very hard” to get permanent credentials. In January, Jones claimed that his site had been offered a White House press credential. The White House press office denied the claim. Jones later claimed he meant that Infowars “can get them if we want them, guaranteed.”

    Infowars’ access means yet another dishonest, far-right entity is in the press room.

    Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote on Twitter that Corsi’s presence in the White House made him want to “throw up” given Infowars’ ongoing role in promoting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting:

  • Law School Dean: Trump's Comey Actions “Are Evidence Of Obstruction Of Justice”

    Legal Experts See A Potentially Impeachable Offense In Trump's Comey Conduct

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Congress could consider actions taken by President Donald Trump regarding former FBI Director James Comey to constitute obstruction of justice warranting impeachment, legal experts tell Media Matters.

    Trump has been embroiled in controversy over his firing of Comey, who was leading an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

    On May 16, The New York Times published a bombshell report stating that “President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.”

    The memo purports that Trump said to Comey, “I hope you can let this go.”

    Last week, Trump himself admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that when he was deciding whether to fire Comey, he was thinking about “this Russia thing,” which he declared a “made-up story.”

    Trump’s conservative media allies -- especially those on Fox News -- have been defending and excusing the president’s actions, arguing that Trump did nothing wrong and ridiculing journalists for supposedly overreacting.

    While right-wing media are trying to convince people that what Trump did is no big deal, experts disagree.

    Legal scholars who spoke to Media Matters explained that impeachment of a president is a political matter. While a federal statute exists defining obstruction of justice, it would be up to Congress to decide whether Trump’s alleged obstruction of the Russia investigation warrants impeachment as a “high crime or misdemeanor,” of which there is “no settled definition.” (Both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were charged by Congress with obstruction of justice during impeachment proceedings.)

    Legal experts told Media Matters that Trump’s conduct could be seen by Congress as obstruction of justice, and Congress could impeach Trump on those grounds.

    Erwin Chemerinsky, the newly named dean of Berkeley Law, told Media Matters via email that Trump’s actions “are evidence of obstruction of justice” and that the current situation is “very comparable to what caused Nixon to resign.”

    “Obstruction of justice occurs when one ‘obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding.’ I think that this warrants a thorough investigation. Certainly a felony is a basis for impeachment. Whether the majority of the House will vote articles of impeachment is a different question,” Chemerinsky added.

    Victoria Nourse, a Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) professor and former Obama nominee to the Seventh Circuit, said via email that both actions taken by Trump vis-a-vis Comey could be seen by Congress as obstruction of justice and that those actions could serve as grounds for impeachment.

    Regarding Trump’s reported request for Comey to “let it go” concerning the investigation of Flynn, Nourse said, “Of course, in a criminal case, you would have to show POTUS had the ‘intent’ to obstruct, but his own words are making that easier every day.”

    “The opposition will deny it, but it’s hard to understand what he meant by ‘letting’ the investigation ‘go’ ... if he did not mean to end it. Perhaps the Comey memo will reveal more.”

    John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, explained that recent comments by Trump could be seen as obstruction of justice because Trump “explained his state of mind with Lester Holt when he fired [Comey], that this was a phony investigation.”

    Asked whether this conduct could be impeachable, Dean responded, “It is, historically. You can make the case that Nixon was impeached for impeding the FBI inquiry into Watergate.” He added, “It is kind of a direct parallel, having the CIA go to the FBI and tell them to shut down is just a little more indirect than Trump saying can you not investigate Flynn, which is the import of that message when he and Comey are speaking.”

    David Pozen, a professor of law at Columbia Law School, told Media Matters that if the “serious charges” against Trump “are correct, they look like plausible violations of the president’s Constitutional oath and therefore impeachable offenses.” He added, “But it depends on the facts and, realistically, it depends on the politics.”

    Stressing that “impeachment is not a matter decided by judges, it is a political matter decided by representatives,” constitutional law professor Louis Michael Seidman at GULC told Media Matters, “It seems entirely possible that [Trump] made the advance to Comey and fired him because he wanted to stop the investigation because he was afraid of what it would turn up.”

    “If that were true, then it would be obstruction of justice,” he concluded.

  • After Trump Gave Russia Classified Intel, Roger Stone Offers Multiple Assurances Of The President's Mental State

    Stone Says He Has Spoken To Trump Recently And The President Is “Perfectly Sane,” “Sharp As A Tack,” And “A Genius”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Following The Washington Post’s bombshell report that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone offered several reassurances of Trump’s mental state, saying the president is “perfectly sane” and that “he’s not crazy; he’s a genius.”

    According to a May 15 report from the Post, “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.” The Post’s reporting that Trump shared classified information has been confirmed by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Reuters.

    Following these reports, Stone appeared in three videos for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet during the evening of May 15, where in each instance he said he had spoken with Trump “recently” before offering assurances about Trump’s mental state. Stone cast the Post story as part of a "major media thrust" to "destabilize" the president and portray him as mentally unfit for office.

    Stone has had a relationship with Trump for at least three decades and worked as a paid consultant to his campaign in 2015. He recently began marketing “opportunities” for advertisers based on his access to the president.

    In the first video, which was posted to Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, Stone said, “I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is perfectly sane, he is upbeat, he is combative, he has no intention of folding for the globalists, and that I can assure you.”

    ROGER STONE: To get back to the main point, this is a major media thrust, an attack on the president to further destabilize him. It is not coincidental that there is a video up today accusing the president of having Alzheimer’s and making the case that he is non compos mentis [not of sound mind]. This is the next big wave that they intend to put out there. Well, I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is perfectly sane, he is upbeat, he is combative, he has no intention to folding for the globalists, and that I can assure you.

    Stone and Jones then posted a “clean” second video where both men went through talking points nearly identical to those found in the first video. In this video, Stone said, “I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is the same as he was 40 years ago. He is resilient, he is optimistic, he is upbeat, and he is not going to be undone by the Washington quislings and the establishment stooges around him.” He also accused national security adviser H.R. McMaster of being the source for the Post’s story:

    ROGER STONE: It's not incidental that we have a video up now on the Internet claiming that the president is suffering from Alzheimer’s. I predict to you this will be the next wave of fake news -- that the president is ill on the basis of a disease. I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is the same as he was 40 years ago. He is resilient, he is optimistic, he is upbeat, and he is not going to be undone by the Washington quislings and the establishment stooges around him. If you look at it on the basis of motive and you look at everyone who was in the meeting, all fingers point to [H.R.] McMaster -- he’s the only one with the plausible motive. It's not in Reince Priebus' interest. It's not in Rex Tillerson's interest. It's certainly not in the Russians’ interests. The leak came from McMaster.

    In a third video, also shot that evening, Stone said, “I've talked to the president fairly recently -- he is sharp as a tack. There is no evidence of any deterioration in his thought process.” Expressing concern that Trump could be removed from office via the 25th Amendment, Stone added, “Look at his record on the economy, look at his appointment to the Supreme Court, look at the way he has the Chinese doing our dirty work in North Korea, and you will see he’s not crazy; he’s a genius”:

    ROGER STONE:  Disclaimer right up front. They're going to say that this is a conspiracy theory, but it's the Stone cold truth. They are going to claim that Donald Trump has Alzheimer’s and that it is progressive and that is progressing and that is the source of his "insanity." I've talked to the president fairly recently -- he is sharp as a tack. There is no evidence of any deterioration in his thought process. This is completely bogus. But under the 25th Amendment, if a majority of the cabinet plus the vice president agree that the president is incapacitated, well then he is removed. And if he seeks to fight the charges, it goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, where erosion among Republicans could destroy the Trump presidency. This is bogus. They could not beat him at the ballot box, so now they seek to remove him by claiming that he's insane. Look at his record on the economy, look at his appointment to the Supreme Court, look at the way he has the Chinese doing our dirty work in North Korea, and you will see he’s not crazy; he’s a genius.

  • Terrorists Have Praised The Gun Show Loophole, And A Furious NRA Now Has A Conspiracy Theory Why

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association's news outlet is pushing a conspiracy theory that alleges ISIS is attempting to “freak liberals out” so that they pass more restrictive gun laws, allowing the terror group to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    The basis of this claim is a distortion of recent news reports about an ISIS magazine piece. The magazine, Rumiyah, urged its followers to buy firearms from private sellers at gun shows and online who, in many states, are not required to perform background checks on their customers.

    The Washington Post reported earlier this month that “in the most recent issue of Rumiyah, its glossy multilingual propaganda magazine, the Islamic State encouraged recruits in the United States to take advantage of laws that allow people to buy firearms without having to present identification or submit to background checks. Recruits should seek out gun shows and online sales in particular, said the write-up in the magazine, which was released Thursday.”

    The Post quoted the terror group’s magazine as saying, “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales -- by way of private dealers -- with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license”:

    “The acquisition of firearms can be very simple depending on one’s geographical location,” the piece read. “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license.”

    “With approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States,” it added, “the acquisition of firearms becomes a very easy matter.”

    A caption under a photo of what appeared to be a gun show read: “Gun conventions represent an easier means of arming oneself for an attack.”

    The exhortation by this ISIS magazine echoes similar calls in recent years from Al Qaeda.

    According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 32 states have no legislation going beyond federal background check requirements, meaning that individuals otherwise prohibited by law from buying guns can make purchases through private sellers at gun shows and in other locations without a background check. This state of affairs is commonly called the “gun show loophole” or “private sales loophole.”

    In 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the NRA used falsehoods to orchestrate the defeat of modest federal background check legislation that would have required background checks for all sales at gun shows and over the internet.

    NRATV program Stinchfield, which offers lives news updates at the top of the hour on weekdays, twisted reporting on the ISIS magazine article into a nonsensical conspiracy theory.

    During a May 12 broadcast, host Grant Stinchfield falsely claimed that “in a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control” and that “ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole.” But the magazine did the opposite. Instead of calling for more gun laws, it called for current gun laws to be exploited.

    In Stinchfield’s evidence-free theory, the magazine’s supposed call for restrictive gun laws would then be used to “scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control,” allowing ISIS to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    There is another obvious reason Stinchfield’s theory doesn’t make any sense: Closing the “gun show loophole” wouldn’t disarm legal gun owners. “Gun show loophole” legislation instead merely requires that potential gun owners be checked against the background check system to ensure that they are not felons, convicted domestic abusers, or other prohibited persons. Current Supreme Court precedent says the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding Americans to keep a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.

    The NRA is very sensitive to calls by terror groups to exploit loopholes in gun laws that the NRA fights to keep open. In 2013, an NRA News program smeared BuzzFeed as “approvingly citing Al Qaeda” merely because the site reported on the existence of an Al Qaeda video that called for supporters to exploit loopholes in U.S. gun laws.

    From the May 12 broadcast of Stinchfield:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The New York Daily News is a left-wing rag, a tabloid that now takes its cues from not just liberals, but from ISIS. Yes, ISIS is pushing for more gun control in America, yet the Daily News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are all blinded to see that as they’re being used as terror pawns.

    Of course ISIS wants gun control. Disarm its enemy, then wage war. In a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control. ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole. How do they do it? By urging ISIS supporters to buy guns at gun shows. ISIS knows the call to do that would freak liberals out. So those liberals would push for more gun control.

    Now you and I know there is no such thing as a gun show loophole. It’s a scare tactic created by the anti-gunners to limit your rights to keep and bear arms. ISIS issues this calling not just to arm jihadists, but to scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control, and that’s exactly what these liberal papers are now doing. They fell for the terror trap. It’s bias by omission and it’s deception at its worst.

  • Alex Jones Says Trump Begged To Come Onto His Show, But Jones Said No

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump media ally Alex Jones claimed that then-President-elect Trump called him and begged to come onto Jones’ show, but Jones demurred, claiming the appearance would be used to hurt Trump.

    During his May 12 broadcast, Jones said that Trump called him following the election and repeatedly asked to come on The Alex Jones Show in the near future. Jones said that he refused, saying that he told the president-elect, “I think at this time that they might use that against you, and you’ve got too much going on” and that “I really don't want it to then be used against you. Just get your agenda, cut the taxes, and defend the Christians that are being murdered.”

    Jones expressed fear that critics would “misrepresent what I’ve said,” noting that they “take stuff out of context that I’ve done” to hurt Trump. He used the conversation to bolster his own image, stating, “Who else you think does that with Donald Trump? Nobody. Nobody. So the media can stick that in their pipe and smoke it. I don’t need Donald Trump, even though I admire him and think he’s a great guy.”

    Later, while musing about the reported conversation, Jones questioned his previous decision to decline Trump’s repeated requests to come on the show, saying, “And quite frankly, maybe it would be good just to have Trump on because it’s all about defeating them, throwing it in their face, destroying them, showing how they don’t care.”

    In November, Jones talked about a different conversation he had with Trump following the election, saying in a video that Trump told him, “I wanted to talk to you to thank your audience, and I’ll be on in the next few weeks to thank them.” In the video, Jones also said, “You’ll hear Trump on the show.”

    Following reporting on that video, Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed during the 2012 mass shooting at the school, published an open letter to Trump urging him not to appear on Jones’ radio show because Jones has called the Sandy Hook shooting “a giant hoax.” Trump had appeared on Jones’ show in November 2015 and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.

    Jones has promoted other toxic conspiracy theories including that the United States government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, and the Boston Marathon.

    Jones has claimed that he speaks with Trump regularly. In a video Jones released in February, he touted his connections to the president, saying that he regretted having “missed” Trump’s phone calls, and claimed that Trump "or his sons" watch his videos and show “every night.” He has also said that Trump calls him to ask if he’s “happy” with his performance as president.

    More of Jones’ discussion of his conversation with Trump:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): So Donald Trump was president-elect and he gave me a call to congratulate me on being married to my second wife, my dear wife. And we were sitting there talking -- I’m at the airport, I’m talking to the president about some issues I won’t get into -- and he was like, “Well I got to do the show soon. Let’s do it in the next few weeks.” I said, “No sir,” I said, “I think at this time that they might use that against you, and you’ve got too much going on.” I just said, “Maybe just down the road come on.” He goes, “No, no, let’s do it soon,” and I said, “No.” I said, “I really don't want it to then be used against you. Just get your agenda, cut the taxes, and defend the Christians that are being murdered.” He goes, “I will, I will, [unintelligible] keep my promise.” I said, “Absolutely, sir.” I just said, “They will misrepresent what I’ve said and they take stuff out of context that I’ve done,” and I just said, “Let’s just hold off.”

    See, I didn't have Donald Trump on when he was ready to come on the next week. When he called up and talked to my wife for five minutes and told her stuff I won’t say off record. That’s the kind of guy -- I didn’t even call Trump to say I was getting married. No one knew; it was a secret. I’m telling you about it right now. I was in Hawaii and Donald Trump called me. That’s the kind of guy Donald Trump is. I said, “Sir, you don’t need to come on the show, OK? I believe they might --” I just said, “I’m not 100 percent sure in my gut that’s the right thing.” He said, “No, let’s do it. I told you.” I said, “No.” He said, “All right, all right, well.” See. Who else you think does that with Donald Trump? Nobody. Nobody. So the media can stick that in their pipe and smoke it. I don’t need Donald Trump, even though I admire him and think he’s a great guy.

    [...]

    JONES: So the truth is I told the president -- I’m like, “Down the road some time, once we’ve got the big agenda through, please come on.” And he’s like, “How about soon? how about, yeah, I want to come on. How about next week?” “Sir, I’m not sure that would be good. I’ve said a lot of things -- a lot of things out of context. I’m just not sure about that.” He just paused. See. See how that works? It isn’t about me. It’s about victory. It’s about defeating the globalists. And quite frankly, maybe it would be good just to have Trump on because it’s all about defeating them, throwing it in their face, destroying them, showing how they don’t care. They try to demonize me, they try to say I’m a horrible person, they try to lie about me, and it still fails, they still can’t destroy our audience, they can’t get rid of our listeners, we still go on. So maybe in that moment I was hesitating, scared that they would use me against Trump, but maybe he’s right that he needs to be radical and out there in the open and show what a joke they are and call them out. Did I make the wrong decision? I went with my gut. My spirit said, no don’t have Donald Trump on next week. Don’t do it. Because they’ve already sat there and hurt him by taking more radical things out of context. But then that kind of gives them the power. They’re always going to lie anyways, so I don’t know. It’s one of those things where actually kinda not sure, but I made the decision.

  • Alex Jones: “Sources Close To The President” Tell Me Spicer And Priebus Will Be Fired Soon

    Jones’ Website Claims Fox News Host Kimberly Guilfoyle Is “The Favorite To Replace” Spicer

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Donald Trump media ally Alex Jones said “sources close to the president” told him that White House press secretary Sean Spicer will be fired within a week and that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus will be fired sometime in the near future. Jones’ website claims Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle “is currently the favorite to replace” Spicer.

    During the May 11 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones said, “Now I have some sources close to the president, and we’ve talked to those sources yesterday and this morning, and we know who the next shoes to drop are going to be  -- and that’s going to be Sean Spicer, the press secretary. Reportedly he’s going to be axed in the next week. … And then he’s looking for a replacement of Reince Priebus right now.”

    An article by editor Paul Joseph Watson at Jones’ website Infowars.com initially reported that “White House sources tell Infowars that Sean Spicer is set to be fired as President Trump begins a purge of establishment advisers who he feels have failed to properly investigate leaks coming from within the administration.”

    The article also stated that “Infowars can reveal that Spicer will be gone by next week and that former prosecutor and current Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was previously considered for the role, is currently the favorite to replace him.”

    Later during the broadcast, Jones said a different White House source called him and took issue with the Infowars article. Jones said that he stood by the story but would clarify the piece to make it clear he is saying Spicer will be fired as opposed to suggesting -- as the original headline had -- that Spicer had already been fired. The article's text has since been softened after that reported White House call. 

    Jones is a toxic conspiracy theorist who has claimed that the United States government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, and the Boston Marathon, among others

    He routinely claims to be in touch with White House officials. For example, after Trump ordered a military strike against Syria in April, Jones said that he “talked to folks very close to the president” about the United States’ policy concerning intervention in the Syrian civil war.

    Jones also claims to speak with Trump regularly. In a video Jones released in February, he touted his connections to the president, saying that he regretted having “missed” Trump’s phone calls, and claimed that Trump "or his sons" watch his videos and show “every night.” He has also said that Trump calls him to ask if he’s “happy” with his performance as president.

    Trump appeared on Jones’ show in December 2015 when he was running for president and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation. During the campaign, Jones claimed that he talked to Trump to give him political advice.

    Jones has been a harsh critic of Priebus. After he was named chief of staff in November, Jones said, “I would give Donald Trump about a 99 performance rate right now. Appointing Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican Party, who stabbed him in the back over and over again? I don’t like it” and called Priebus a “RINO neocon galactic-level weasel.”

    Jones has also accused Priebus of trying to “sabotage” Trump’s agenda and has called his hiring a “mistake.”

  • Donald Trump Jr. Interviewed By Racist NRA Commentator At NRA Annual Meeting

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump, was interviewed by NRATV commentator Bill Whittle during the NRA’s 2017 annual meeting, which is being held in Atlanta, GA.

    In the past, Whittle has promoted the racist notion that black people are inherently intellectually inferior to people of other races, cited a white nationalist to claim people in inner cities “don't have access to cognition,” and claimed African-Americans are compliant “slaves” of the Democratic Party who trade a willingness to engage in voter fraud for welfare.

    Trump will speak later today at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum.

    Whittle interviewed Trump Jr. during NRATV’s broadcast from the NRA annual meeting exhibition hall alongside NRATV host Grant Stinchfield.

    During the interview, Whittle claimed that former President Barack Obama’s administration had “weaponized” the government against “half of the country” and suggested that Obama was a dictator.

    He also suggested that Obama was lazy compared to Trump, telling Trump Jr., “There was a picture, very early, it might have been the very first or second day after the inauguration, where you’re looking at the Oval Office and there is the Resolute Desk and there’s just all these piles of paper. It’s almost like it’s an executive who's got work to do and is ready to actually do some work. There’s one picture I think of Barack Obama where there is a piece of paper on the desk and he is kind of looking down at it disdainfully whether he should grace the presence of this thing. It’s nice to have a businessman, and the hours that he puts in, the organizational skills, it’s making a real difference.”

    During a 2016 appearance on the webshow of libertarian-turned-“alt-right”-commentator Stefan Molyneux, Whittle revealed he accepted theories commonly called “academic” or “scientific” racism that tie together IQ scores, race, and crime.

    In addition to positively citing prominent white nationalist Linda Gottfredson and widely denounced book The Bell Curve in advancing the claim that there are inherent intelligence differences between races, Whittle made a racist comment about aboriginal Australians and cited an episode of Star Trek in trying to explain his belief that races can be divided along the lines of “civilized man” and “barbarian.” (Biologists and anthropologists have long-rejected the theories that Whittle promoted).

    Unsurprisingly, Whittle’s appearance on Molyneux's show was lauded by infamous neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.

    In addition to promoting “scientific” racism, Whittle frequently offers racist commentary, particularly on Muslim immigrants and African-Americans.

    While discussing “black America” during a December 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s program, Whittle described African-Americans who support the Democratic Party as literal slaves who prefer to remain in captivity. He said that the party has “30 million” slaves and the “terms of their slavery are very simple -- there’s a word for somebody who is fed, and clothed, and housed, and whose health care is taken care of by another person, and that word is slave.”

    Whittle then suggested that African-Americans commit voter fraud on behalf of Democrats as a condition of their slavery, claiming, “On the voting plantation that the Democratic Party has set up in America, we demand two hours of work from you every two years. Every two years we demand that you go down to the voting places and vote, once, twice, three, four times, however [many] times as you can imagine, or manage, and that’s the work we expect for you in exchange for keeping you in bondage.”

    During another 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show, Whittle said there is an “Islamic invasion of Europe” which he compared to “inner cities” in America “that are absolutely toxic, violent, enraged, bitter, [and] racist.” He went on to claim Black Lives Matter is “the street muscle” of the Democratic Party and that the group will make sure “everything’s gonna burn” if welfare is reduced.

    Again drawing a comparison between Europe and the United States, Whittle said, “We have the exact same problem here with these same kind of communities. They’re unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and he said that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.”

    During a January 2016 appearance on Molyneux’s show, Whittle called Obama an “unqualified, unknown individual” who was elected “specifically and only because he is black” and said that electing Obama was “atoning for our slavery.” Moments later he said, “I didn’t own any slaves, and therefore I’m not responsible for slavery. I’m not benefiting from slavery because I never owned any slaves,” and he said, “There’s nothing in this country that survived the Civil War that was the result of slavery.”

    Continuing to discuss the Civil War, Whittle said the “greatest tragedy in American history” is “not slavery, it’s not the Civil War, it’s what happened after,” before complaining about the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois.

    White nationalists have thrown their support behind Trump and have been particularly fond of Trump Jr. During the presidential campaign, Trump Jr. made a “gas chamber” reference, retweeted an anti-Semitic author, and compared Syrian refugees to Skittles, endearing himself to neo-Nazi websites.

  • Meet The NRA’s Resident Academic Racist

    NRATV’s Bill Whittle Has Promoted “Scientific” Racism On Intelligence And Crime

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & CYDNEY HARGIS

    Bill Whittle, a newly hired commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV, has promoted the racist notion that black people are inherently intellectually inferior to people of other races and suggested that races could be divided along the lines of "civilized man" and "barbarian."

    Whittle is a commentator for the NRA who appears on a daily basis during the NRA’s live updates, which are broadcast at the top of the hour between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. He typically appears during the 1 p.m. hour, where he discusses issues of the day with host Grant Stinchfield.

    According to his website, Whittle began his gig with the NRA on January 3. “Since then, he has guest-hosted for Grant and [NRATV host] Collion (sic) Noir” and co-anchored the NRA’s afternoon coverage of the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, the site notes. The NRATV website lists more than 80 appearances by Whittle on NRA programming this year. In addition to his employment with the NRA, Whittle is a longtime conservative commentator who is best known for his work with conservative outlet PJ Media.

    Whittle will be part of NRATV’s broadcast crew during the outlet's live coverage of the NRA’s annual meetings, which will be held this year in Atlanta, GA, from April 27 through 30.

    During a 2016 appearance on libertarian-turned-“alt-right”-commentator Stefan Molyneux’s webshow, Whittle revealed his acceptance of theories commonly called “academic” or “scientific” racism that tie together IQ scores, race, and crime. He also positively cited a white nationalist to claim people in inner cities “don't have access to cognition.”

    In the February 12 broadcast, which was released with the title “Why Liberals Are Wrong About Inequality,” Molyneux premised his discussion with Whittle with claims that in terms of average IQ scores, Ashkenazi Jews “clock in at about 115” and “after the Jews come the East Asians, right, the Koreans, the Chinese, the Japanese, and so on. They clock in at 105, 106, but very good on visual-spacial skills and very, very fast reaction times, which is another way that they measure intelligence. Caucasians come in at about 100 and then below that are Hispanics, clocking in at around 90, and then American blacks, clocking in at around 85 -- partly because they have 20 percent European mixture in their gene pool -- and then sub-Saharan Africans, clocking in at around 70, which is obviously very tragic, but this is the reality of what's happened. And slightly below that are the aboriginals in Australia, clocking in around 67 or whatever.”

    The attempt to classify certain races as genetically inferior on the basis of IQ scores is a classic example of academic racism promoted by white nationalists like Richard Lynn, and it has served as the premise for widely denounced “research” by writers like Charles Murray in The Bell Curve and Jason Richwine in his infamous proposal on Latino immigration.

    This type of sorting of the races by supposed genetic differences relating to intelligence has been widely discredited by scientists and anthropologists, even as white nationalists have increasingly attempted to revive the theories to push a racist agenda.

    During his conversation with Molyneux, however, Whittle accepted and promoted ideas based on these discredited theories.

    INDEX:

    Whittle Cited A White Nationalist To Promote "Scientific" Racism

    Neo-Nazi Website Feted Whittle's Appearance

    Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected Whittle's Claims

    Whittle Has A History Of Racism

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle Prefaced His Racist Claims On Molyneux’s Show By Citing A White Nationalist And Indicating An Acceptance Of Academic Racism

    At the top of Whittle’s appearance, he cited The Bell Curve in indicating his acceptance of the notion there are differences in intelligence between races while offering an analogy he said Molyneux has used -- that “you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller” -- and linking race and intelligence to crime:

    STEFAN MOLYNEUX: We, of course, have had a whole bunch of experts from both the left and the right on talking about IQ differences between ethnicities, and I think that helped to bring the issue more to the forefront of your thinking, is that fair to say?

    BILL WHITTLE: Yeah, I mean obviously that's the controversial part of The Bell Curve is the IQ difference between ethnicities, but I think the deeper issue is since IQ seems to -- general IQ, g, right is the term they use -- since it so closely correlates to both poverty and crime on one hand and generally success and wealth on the other, it would be useful to be thinking about what a society that was recognizing these differences looked like. You can't -- I just love your example, I’ve used it every time with attribution, although it’s hard for me because it’s such a damned good analogy, but it’s like you said, you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller.

    Later in the broadcast, Whittle turned to the “enormous societal problems” we have “to solve,” and said of research claiming to show differences in intelligence among races: “It's not a question of whether or not this is true; it's a question of what do we do with what appears to be overwhelming information that IQ correlates to a lot of our social problems.”

    Whittle then cited Linda Gottfredson, saying, “She said that when you really get down to it, it's not that we have a -- that in terms of like really rigid poverty, it's not that we have a money problem; we have a cognitive problem. They don't have access to cognition, I think is what she said.”

    Gottfredson is a well-known white nationalist who has received funding from the Pioneer Fund. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “Gottfredson argues that racial inequality, especially in employment, is the direct result of genetic racial differences in intelligence.” SPLC notes that the Pioneer Fund’s “original mandate was to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic stock of those ‘deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.’” It says the organization “still funds studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the ‘science’ of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.”

    In his appearance, Whittle also made a racist characterization of aboriginal Australians, claiming that members of that ethnicity would be unable to learn how to do a job such as Molyneux’s to make the point: “That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability”:

    WHITTLE: Well it's interesting when somebody would say that a bushman in Australia survives in the desert much better than you could -- that's undoubtedly true -- but the part that they're leaving out is that with several months or weeks or a year of being with the Aborigines, you could learn those techniques about as well as they could or certainly well enough to survive. The question is could they learn the techniques that you use in order to do what you do for a living and the answer apparently is not. That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability. 

    Arguing that an IQ difference among the races “certainly seems to be real,” Whittle also offered an analogy to a Star Trek episode in suggesting his claims of IQ differences among races is like comparing a “civilized man” to a “barbarian”:

    WHITTLE: If this IQ difference is real -- certainly seems to be real -- then it is not a two-way street. Forgive me for going back to my entire studio, which is nothing but a museum of Star Trek, right, but I mean there was a really fascinating point and I remember hearing it when I was probably 7, 8, 9 years old when I heard it. And it's from the classic, classic episode called Mirror, Mirror where they teleport into the alternate universe and Spock has a goatee … and Kirk in the alternate universe succeeds because of his savagery and his ruthlessness, right? Here's the whole line -- they finally solve all the stuff, they beam back to their own ships and the universes go their separate ways and Spock says to Kirk, he says, “You as a civilized man had a much easier time portraying a barbarian than a barbarian ever could as a civilized man.” And I thought yeah, yeah, yeah that's it, right?

    Perhaps most disturbingly, Whittle made clear that his beliefs about intelligence differences among races should inform public policy, claiming during his appearance that “if we don’t understand, as you said, that this cognitive ability has an impact on society in the same way that a height ability has an impact on the society of the NBA, for example, we’re going to just be throwing money at problems.”

    Neo-Nazi Website The Daily Stormer Feted Whittle’s Appearance

    The week following Molyneux’s broadcast, Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi operator of The Daily Stormer, celebrated the episode with an article headlined “Stefan Molyneux has Gone Full Shitlord.” (Although “shitlord” seems like an insult, neo-Nazis have appropriated the term as a compliment.)

    The Daily Stormer is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic website. For example, it recently characterized offensive claims about the Holocaust made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer by saying Spicer “confirms Hitler never gassed anyone” while joking (warning: disturbing image) that Nazis instead drowned Jewish babies “in buckets.” Anglin was recently sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly orchestrating a harassment campaign against a Jewish woman.

    In his write-up of Molyneux’s broadcast, Anglin said, “Here’s a good interview with Bill Whittle,” and wrote, “As I predicted would happen, Stefan Molyneux has pretty well entirely abandoned his libertarian claptrap and family counseling nonsense and gone full shitlord. Ultimately, everyone who is honestly looking for the truth is going to come to the same conclusions that we have, and he has, for the most part, come to these conclusions.”

    Real Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected The Claims About Race And Intelligence That Whittle Promoted

    Claims that genetic differences make certain races inherently less intelligent, often linked to the IQ test -- like those pushed by Whittle and Molyneux -- have been discredited by mainstream science.

    To begin, race is no longer viewed as a biological phenomenon by the majority of scientists. As explained in a 1992 article in peer-reviewed academic journal Ethnicity & Disease, “For some time, biologists and anthropologists have overwhelmingly rejected the partitioning of modern humans into biological ‘races.’ An examination of recent human evolutionary history suggests that the zoological definition of race, based on significant genetic differences, cannot be legitimately applied to contemporary humans.”

    As Ta-Nehisi Coates explained at The Atlantic, claims that are premised on supposed racial differences in intelligence proceed “from a basic flaw -- no coherent, fixed definition of race actually exists.” The leading view among scientists is that race is a “social construct without biological meaning.”

    On race and intelligence specifically, research published in 2012 found that “heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class,” and that “almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range.” Put another way, the findings offered strong evidence that non-genetic factors are primarily responsible for intelligence.

    According to the late Robert Sussman, who worked as an anthropology professor at Washington University, “There is no indication from any scientific evidence that different populations have any specific physical or intellectual attributes, or abilities. Those characteristics relate back to one’s socialization or upbringing (or nutrition).”

    Strong evidence that intelligence is a product of environmental factors rather than genetics is found in the Flynn effect, which is “the observed rise over time in standardized intelligence test scores, documented by [psychologist James] Flynn ... in a study on intelligence quotient (IQ) score gains in the standardization samples of successive versions of Stanford-Binet and Wechsler intelligence tests.”

    Rejecting claims that linked race and intelligence on the basis of IQ scores, science journalist John Horgan wrote in 2013 that “to my mind the single most important finding related to the debate over IQ and heredity is the dramatic rise in IQ scores over the past century. This so-called Flynn effect, which was discovered by psychologist James Flynn, undercuts claims that intelligence stems primarily from nature and not nurture.”

    Whittle Frequently Makes Racist Commentary About Black People And Middle Easterners

    Whittle has offered racist commentary during appearances on Molyneux’s other broadcasts, in videos released under his own brand, and on NRATV:

    • Whittle claimed that there is a “Muslim invasion” of Europe during a November 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Whittle’s comments came during a discussion of r/K selection theory. The theory posits that r-selected species emphasize having large numbers of offspring, and investing few resources in each offspring, while K-selected species have fewer offspring to which they devote more resources. Humans are a K-selected species under the theory, although Whittle and Molyneux attempted to brand Muslim immigrants as an r-selected species.
    • While discussing “black America” during a December 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s program, Whittle described African Americans who support the Democratic Party as literal slaves who prefer to remain in captivity. He said that that the party has “30 million” slaves and the “terms of their slavery are very simple -- there’s a word for somebody who is fed, and clothed, and housed, and whose health care is taken care of by another person, and that word is slave.” Whittle then suggested that African Americans commit voter fraud on behalf of Democrats as a condition of their slavery, claiming, “On the voting plantation that the Democratic Party has set up in America, we demand two hours of work from you every two years. Every two years we demand that you go down to the voting places and vote, once, twice, three, four times, however [many] times as you can imagine, or manage, and that’s the work we expect for you in exchange for keeping you in bondage.”
    • During another 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show, Whittle compared the “Islamic invasion of Europe” to “inner cities” in America “that are absolutely toxic, violent, enraged, bitter, [and] racist.” He went on to claim Black Lives Matter is “the street muscle” of the Democratic Party and that the group will make sure “everything’s gonna burn” if welfare is reduced. Again drawing a comparison between Europe and the United States, Whittle said, “We have the exact same problem here with these same kind of communities. They’re unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and he said that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.”
    • Whittle called President Obama an “unqualified, unknown individual” who was elected “specifically and only because he is black” and said that electing Obama was “atoning for our slavery” during a January 2016 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Moments later he said, “I didn’t own any slaves, and therefore I’m not responsible for slavery. I’m not benefiting from slavery because I never owned any slaves,” and he said, “There’s nothing in this country that survived the Civil War that was the result of slavery.” Continuing to discuss the Civil War, Whittle said the “greatest tragedy in American history” is “not slavery, it’s not the Civil War, it’s what happened after,” before complaining about the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois.
    • In 2013, Whittle published a video for PJ Media with the title “The Lynching” that discussed the February 2012 shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Whittle suggested that George Zimmerman, who killed Martin, had an experience tantamount to a lynching. Whittle said that text messages found on Martin’s phone, which he said were “not ‘airable’ here for extreme graphic content,” showed that Martin was “violent and highly sexualized.” What was “airable” on Whittle’s video, however, was an image (warning: disturbing image) of Martin’s body after he had been shot, which Whittle left on the screen for several minutes.
    • Whittle bizarrely labeled CNN anchor Don Lemon “racist” against white people because Lemon pointed out that President Donald Trump sounds different when he is using a teleprompter, as compared to when he speaks without one, during a March NRATV appearance.

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle’s outlet, NRATV, was launched in October 2016 as a rebranding of the NRA’s long-running news outlet NRA News with the aim of offering more live programming created by the gun group and its advertising firm Ackerman McQueen.

    While NRA News flagship program Cam & Company, which continues to air on NRATV, serves as a font of misinformation about the debate over guns in the United States, new NRATV programming, such as the live updates on which Whittle appears, are better characterized as pro-Trump propaganda with a heavy dose of xenophobic commentary, particularly on the topic of Islam.

    NRATV is strident in its defense of Trump, and the overall NRA organization has said that it will serve as “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching ally.” For example, shortly after launching NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous reports of sexual assault against Trump, saying outlets should instead cover instances where guns were used in self-defense.

    While the NRA has long claimed that the media are part of a conspiracy against everyday Americans, the group’s attacks against the press in defense of Trump have entered new territory in recent months, with the gun outlet labeling both dissent against Trump and protected-speech reporting about Trump and his administration as oppositional to the U.S. Constitution and American values.

  • Republicans Threaten To Use Nuclear Option On Gorsuch, Media Blame Democrats

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Media figures, many of them conservative, are pushing the false talking point that Senate Democrats are to blame for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s threat to change the rules and allow Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. In fact, past Senate rule changes effectuated by Democrats have not applied to Supreme Court nominees, and they were made in response to historic GOP obstruction of noncontroversial Obama nominees. Gorsuch, on the other hand, is considered to be a highly ideological nominee who falls to the right of Antonin Scalia.