CBS’ 60 Minutes featured an interview with self-professed “alt-right” figure and noted men’s rights activist Mike Cernovich on its March 26 edition, highlighting how he pushes false stories. Cernovich also has a history of racist and misogynistic rhetoric, has encouraged and promoted harassment, and has promoted numerous conspiracy theories, in addition to “Pizzagate.”
60 Minutes Interviews Cernovich In Segment On Fake News
CBS’ Pelley Describes Cernovich As A “Lawyer Who Describes Himself As ‘Right-Of-Center Politically’” And Who Has “A Taste For Stories With No Basis In Fact.” During a March 26 segment on CBS’ 60 Minutes focusing on fake news, correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed self-professed “alt-right” figure and men’s rights activist Mike Cernovich. Pelley described Cernovich as “a Southern California lawyer” who calls himself “‘right-of-center politically,’ but who has become a magnet for readers with a taste for stories with no basis in fact.” Pelley pointed out that Cernovich was involved in promoting false stories, including one claiming, “‘Clinton’s inner circle includes child traffickers, pedophiles and now members of a sex cult,’” referring to the debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. From a CBS transcript of the interview:
The police say there is no sex-trafficking conspiracy. But millions read about it on dozens of websites including one called “Danger and Play,” which wrote, “Clinton’s inner circle includes child traffickers, pedophiles and now members of a sex cult.” “Danger and Play” is written by Michael Cernovich, a Southern California lawyer who describes himself as “right-of-center politically,” but who has become a magnet for readers with a taste for stories with no basis in fact.
Scott Pelley: These news stories are fakes.
Michael Cernovich: They’re definitely not fake.
Scott Pelley: They’re lies.
Michael Cernovich: They’re not lies at all. 100-percent true.
Scott Pelley: Do you believe that, or do you say that because it’s important for marketing your website?
Michael Cernovich: Oh, I believe it. I don’t say anything that I don’t believe.
Scott Pelley: That doesn’t seem like a very high bar.
Michael Cernovich: It’s a high bar because I’m an attorney. I know how to weigh and measure evidence.
Cernovich streams commentary daily and publishes on social media. He reached Twitter users 83 million times last month.
Michael Cernovich: That was a slow month, too. We hit 150 million sometimes. What I’m doing is, it’s punchy, it’s fun, it’s counterintuitive, it’s counter-narrative, and it’s information that you’re not gonna see everywhere else.
In August, he published this headline.
Scott Pelley: “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease, physician confirms.” You don’t think that’s misleading?
Michael Cernovich: No.
Scott Pelley: You believe it’s true today?
Michael Cernovich: Oh, absolutely.
That story was sourced to an anesthesiologist who never met Clinton. It got so much traction it had to be denied by Clinton’s doctor and the National Parkinson Foundation.
Michael Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day.
Scott Pelley: Well, she had pneumonia. I mean--
Michael Cernovich: How do you know? Who told you that?
Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.
Michael Cernovich: Why would you trust the campaign?
Scott Pelley: The point is you didn’t talk to anybody who’d ever examined Hillary Clinton.
Michael Cernovich: I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton is gonna say at all as true. I’m not gonna take her on her word. The media says we’re not gonna take Donald Trump on his word. And that’s why we are in these different universes. [CBS News, 3/26/17]
BuzzFeed: “Scott Pelley Wasn't Prepared” For Cernovich. BuzzFeed News explained that “Scott Pelley wasn't prepared for a troll” during the interview with Cernovich, adding that “Pelley didn't do his homework on Cernovich and the ecosystem he's a part of.” From the March 27 piece:
Scott Pelley wasn’t prepared for a troll.
Pelley and 60 Minutes’ decision to focus on fake news proved that it took the threat of the far-right’s information war seriously. But Pelley didn’t do his homework on Cernovich and the ecosystem he’s a part of. And it showed, despite the fact that CBS got to edit down the video.
“They don't understand new media,” [Cernovich] wrote Sunday evening. “Also they all think I'm a moron. It's perfect microcosm of the election and media's view on Trump.”
I asked him to elaborate.
“They don't understand me and didn't even try.” [BuzzFeed, 3/27/17]
Cernovich Is Also A Purveyor Of Bigotry, A Serial Harasser, And A Conspiracy Theorist
Cernovich Is A Self-Proclaimed Member Of The “Alt-Right”
Cernovich Became Involved In The “Alt-Right” After “Realizing Tolerance Only Went One Way And Diversity Is Code For White Genocide.” In a since-deleted August 2015 tweet, Cernovich declared his allegiance to the “alt-right” -- a self-declared name for a faction of the white nationalist movement -- writing that he made his choice after “realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is code for white genocide.” [Twitter, 10/28/15]
Cernovich Regularly Makes Racist Comments
Cernovich: “White Genocide Is Real” And Will “Sweep Up The SJWs.” In a series of since-deleted tweets, Cernovich declared that “White genocide is real” and will “sweep up the SJWs,” referring to so-called “social justice warriors.” [Media Matters, 11/18/16]
Cernovich: “Detroit Schools Are A Mess? Who Runs Detroit? Blacks!"
Detroit schools are a mess? Who runs Detroit? Blacks! #DemDebate
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 7, 2016
Cernovich: There Are “Zero” Videos Of “EVIL White Nationalists Committing HATE CRIMES,” But There Is “Lots Of Videos Of Black Teens Knocking Out Whites!”
Where are videos of EVIL white nationalists committing HATE CRIMES. Zero. Zip. Nada. Lots of videos of blacks teens knocking out whites!
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 8, 2016
Cernovich: “The ‘Alt-Right’ Hasn’t Killed Anyone, But #BlackLivesMatter Regularly Slaughters The Innocent.”
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) July 8, 2016
Cernovich Is A Misogynist And Rape Denier
Cernovich: “Date Rape Does Not Exist.” In August 2012, Cernovich suggested in a since-deleted tweet that men “try” to rape “a girl without using force,” claiming that “it’s basically impossible,” and adding, “Date rape does not exist.” [The Daily Beast, 8/9/16]
Cernovich: “If You Love Black Women, Slut Shame Them” To Keep Them From Getting AIDS. In February 2016, Cernovich wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS,” adding, “If you love black women, slut shame them.” [The Daily Beast, 8/9/16]
Cernovich: “Misogyny Gets You Laid.” In a since-deleted 2011 post on his website Danger & Play titled “Misogyny Gets You Laid,” Cernovich wrote that “sex with fussy womenchild is boring” and “I am not so in need of sex that tolerating bullshit is worth the payoff.” [Danger & Play, 8/24/11]
Cernovich: “If You Believe In College Rape Culture … You’re A Gullible Fool Who Believes Feminists.” In a February 2016 post on his website Danger & Play, Cernovich declared that “if you believe in college rape culture … you’re a gullible fool who believes feminists.” From the February 28, 2016, post (emphasis original):
If you believe in college rape culture, I understand a lot about you:
- You’re a gullible fool who believes feminists.
- You trust the mainstream media.
You are afraid to question narratives. [Danger & Play, 2/28/16]
Cernovich Is A Serial Harasser
Cernovich Attacked Satirist Vic Berger Using Pizzagate Tactics. Cernovich used “pizzagate”-like tactics to attack video editor and satirist Vic Berger, subjecting him to online harassment and threats after he mocked Cernovich. [Media Matters, 12/19/16]
Cernovich Led A Harassment Campaign Against NY Times Reporter. Cernovich led an online harassment campaign against The New York Times reporter Sopan Deb after he tweeted a joke regarding rapper Bow Wow and First Lady Melania Trump. He urged his followers to email Times Public Editor Liz Spayd about Deb. As a result, Spayd wrote a piece criticizing Deb, not realizing that much of the criticism she saw of his tweet came from Cernovich’s harassment campaign. [Media Matters, 3/17/17]
Cernovich Was A Leader Behind “GamerGate.” In 2014, Cernovich was a “champion” of “GamerGate,” which The New Yorker characterized as “a vicious campaign against feminists in the video-game industry.” [The New Yorker, 10/31/16]
Cernovich Is A Noted Conspiracy Theorist
Cernovich Has Repeatedly Pushed The “Pizzagate” Conspiracy Theory. Cernovich has repeatedly claimed that the conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate” is “worldwide” and “real.” [Twitter, 11/3/16, 11/20/16, 11/25/16, 11/29/16, 12/2/16, 12/4/16; YouTube, 11/24/16]
Cernovich Was “Among The First” To Claim That Hillary Clinton “Had A Grave Neurological Condition.” According to an October 31 New Yorker profile, “Cernovich was among the first to insinuate publicly that Clinton had a grave neurological condition, and that the media was covering it up.” [The New Yorker, 10/31/16]
Cernovich Claimed That “There Was More Than One Shooter At Pulse In Orlando.” Cernovich claimed that “there was more than one shooter at Pulse in Orlando” during the 2016 shooting. In a blog post, Cernovich wrote, “As you follow the story, look for” certain “evidence.” He added, “If we don’t see all of this, then there was a second shooter.” [Danger & Play, 6/12/16]