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  • Media follow GOP's lead and host mainly white men to discuss Republican health care bill

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

      As Senate Republicans face mounting criticism for including almost exclusively white men in their working group on the upcoming health care bill, media aren’t doing much better when discussing the legislation. Like the GOP, media are relying on mainly white people, particularly men, for their analysis and reporting on the health care bill, even though the bill would reportedly have serious consequences for women and minorities.

      Shortly after the House of Representatives passed its version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Senate Republicans put together a working group to draft their own version of the legislation. The working group was roundly criticized for its lack of diversity. For instance, CNN’s Erin Burnett took issue with the all-male group, asking, “What can they realistically bring to the table when the conversation turns to, let’s just say, childbirth, maternity leave, ovarian cancer or breast cancer?” Likewise, Roll Call’s Patricia Murphy wrote that adding diverse voices to the group would allow people to “bring their own personal experiences to the debate,” noting that African-Americans have “a higher incidence of chronic disease” and are “more likely to require ongoing medical interventions over the course of their lives.”

      Unfortunately, if people are hoping to hear a diverse group of people discussing the health care bill, media are of little help. A Media Matters analysis found that the people hosted on television to discuss the bill were disproportionately white men. Key findings include:

      • Male guest appearances outnumbered female guest appearances 2-to-1 on prime-time cable news, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows during discussions of the Republican health care bill.
      • Over 87 percent of appearances on prime-time cable news, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows during discussions of the Republican health care bill were made by white guests.

      Race

      Of the 448 guest appearances* on prime-time cable news, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows, 392 appearances, or over 87 percent, were made by white guests.

      During Fox News and CNN’s prime-time coverage of the health care bill, white guests made up over 90 percent of total guest appearances:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • Fox News hosted 77 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 75, or over 97 percent, were made by white guests. Only two appearances were made by black guests, and there were no appearances made by Asian or Hispanic guests.
      • CNN hosted 120 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 108, or 90 percent, were made by white guests. Only seven appearances, or 6 percent, were made by black guests, three appearances by Asian guests, and two appearances by Hispanic guests.
      • MSNBC hosted 134 guest during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 108, or over 80 percent, were made by white guests. Eighteen appearances, or about 13 percent, were made by black guests, four, or nearly 3 percent, by Asian guests, and four appearances by Hispanic guests.

      CBS hosted only white guests to discuss the bill during its morning and nightly news shows:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • ABC hosted 12 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 10, or just over 83 percent, were made by white guests. The network hosted no black or Asian guests, but two appearances, or 7 percent, were made by Hispanic guests.
      • CBS hosted 16 guests during discussions of the bill, all of whom were white.
      • NBC hosted 18 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 17, or over 94 percent, were made by white guests. The network hosted no black or Asian guests, and only one appearance, or about 5 percent, was made by a Hispanic guest.

      During Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press’s coverage of the health care bill, over 90 percent of appearances were made by white guests:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • ABC's This Week hosted nine guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, seven, or nearly 78 percent, were made by white guests. Only one appearance each was made by black and Asian guests, but the program did not host any Hispanic guests.
      • CBS' Face the Nation hosted 17 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 13, or over 76 percent, were made by white guests. Two appearances were made by black guests, one by Asian, and one by a Hispanic guest.
      • NBC's Meet the Press hosted 11 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 10, or nearly 91 percent, were made by white guests.One appearance was made by a black guest, but the program did not host any Asian or Hispanic guests.
      • CNN's State of the Union hosted 18 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 13, or over 72 percent, were made by white guests. Four appearances were made by black guests and one by a Hispanic guest, but the program did not host any Asian guests.
      • Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday hosted 16 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 15, or nearly 94 percent, were made by white guests. One appearance was made by a black guest, but the program did not host any Hispanic or Asian guests.

      Gender

      Of the 448 guest appearances* on prime-time cable news, broadcast news’ morning and nightly shows, and Sunday morning political shows, 299 were made by men, meaning two-thirds of the voices viewers heard were male.

      During prime-time cable news, Fox News was the network that fared the worst on gender diversity:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • Fox News hosted 77 guests during discussions of the health care bill throughout prime-time programming. Of those guest appearances, 60, or nearly 78 percent, were made be men. Only 17 of the appearances were made by women, making up about 22 percent of guest appearances on the health care bill.
      • MSNBC hosted 134 guests during discussions of the health care bill throughout prime-time programming. Of those guest appearances, 90, or over 67 percent, were made by men. Only 44 of the appearances were made by women, making up just under 33 percent of guests hosted to discuss the bill.
      • CNN hosted 120 guests during discussions of the health care bill throughout prime-time programming. Of those guest appearances, 78, or 65 percent, were made by men. Only 42 of the appearances were made by women, making up about 35 percent of guests hosted to discuss the bill.

      During broadcast morning and nightly news shows, CBS was the only network to host more women than men to discuss the bill:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • CBS hosted 16 guests during discussions of the health care bill. Of those guest appearances, 11, or nearly 69 percent, were made by men. Five, or just over 31 percent, were made by women.
      • NBC hosted 18 guests during discussions of the health care bill. Of those guest appearances, 10, or nearly 56 percent, were made by men. The network featured eight appearances by women in discussions of the bill, making up just over 44 percent of guest appearances.
      • ABC hosted 12 guests during discussions of the health care bill. Of those guest appearances, eight, or nearly 67 percent, were made by men. Four appearances, or about 33 percent, were made by women.

      On the Sunday political shows, men outnumbered women 2-to-1, but some shows fared better than others. NBC’s Meet the Press was the closest to having equal representation, while ABC’s This Week had the highest gender imbalance:


      Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

      • ABC’s This Week hosted nine guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, seven, or nearly 78 percent, were made by men. Only two appearances were made by women, making up over 22 percent of guest appearances.
      • CBS’ Face the Nation hosted 17 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 12, or nearly 71 percent, were made by men. Only five appearances were made by women, making up over 29 percent of guest appearances.
      • NBC’s Meet the Press hosted 11 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, six, or nearly 55 percent were made by men. Five appearances were made by women, making up over 45 percent of guest appearances.
      • CNN’s State of the Union hosted 16 guests during discussions of the bill. Of those guest appearances, 12, or 75 percent, were made by men. Four appearances were made by women, making up 25 percent of guest appearances.
      • Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday hosted 18 guests to discuss the bill. Of those appearances, 11, or over 61 percent, were made by men. Seven appearances were made by, making up nearly 39 percent of guest appearances.

      Sadly, the groups that have been marginalized by Senate Republicans and television news have a lot to lose with the AHCA. As FamiliesUSA noted, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “greatly benefited Black communities, who are likely to disproportionately suffer the consequences of ACA repeal and the elimination of Medicaid as we know it” under the AHCA. And, as The Hill pointed out, “Hispanics benefited more than any other group from the Affordable Care Act,” and under the AHCA, “Many Hispanic leaders are worried their communities could be forced out of coverage and back into emergency rooms for primary care.” Additionally, groups fighting for the rights of Asian Americans have condemned the AHCA for the harm it would cause.

      Women also have much to lose if the AHCA passes the Senate. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, cuts to Medicaid would drastically hurt women who “comprise the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that about 15 percent of low-income people “would lose access to care” under the AHCA due to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. And, as Marie Claire pointed out:

      For women who let their insurance lapse, maternity coverage will no longer be guaranteed, and pregnant women may face surcharges up to $17,000 for care. C-sections could also be considered a pre-existing condition, meaning that a woman could incur costs of roughly $50,000 for simply wanting another child. States could determine that having a heavy period or other menstrual irregularities is a pre-existing condition to be paid for out of pocket.

      The Republican health care bill presents a clear and present danger to millions of Americans, but minorities and women have the most to lose. Unfortunately, they’re nearly shut out of discussions about the bill, in politics and media alike.

      * Repeated guests were counted each time they appeared.

      Methodology

      Media Matters searched Nexis for mentions of health care, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, or AHCA on prime-time cable news, broadcast news’ morning and evening news shows, and Sunday political shows between May 4 (after the House of Representatives passed the bill) and June 18. Segments were coded if they included a significant discussion of the Republican health care bill. “Significant discussion” was defined as at least two speakers in the segment engaging on the topic with one another.

      Prime-time cable news refers to CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC programming between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on weekdays. Broadcast news refers to ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS’ CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News, and NBC’s Today and NBC Nightly News. Sunday political shows refers to ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s State of the Union, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday.

    • Right-wing media lash out at Sen. Kamala Harris after she was repeatedly interrupted by GOP men while questioning Jeff Sessions

      ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & DINA RADTKE

      Conservative media figures lashed out at Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) after she was interrupted and chastised by her Republican male colleagues during her questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming she was interrupting Sessions and calling her “hysterical,” “a total fraud,” and rude. Women in mainstream media responded, pointing out the clear sexism in both the attacks on Harris and the double standard she was held to.

    • Mika Brzezinski calls out the sexist double standard in the Senate: It's "pathetic" Sen. Kamala Harris was shut down by "a lot of rude, white, older men"  

      Morning Shows on CNN and MSNBC call out the sexism Sen. Harris faced "on the national stage" during Russia hearings

      Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

      From the June 14 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

      JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): Mika, another interesting thing that happened, and I have a feeling that you may want to talk about this because you talked about it before, but the junior senator from California, Senator [Kamala] Harris (D-CA), once again called out by men on the committee because they thought that she was too assertive. Last night on a network she was called hysterical when, of course, [Sen.] Ron Wyden (D-OR) was very aggressive. Nobody called him hysterical or condemned him.

      MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): Jeff Sessions was quite colorful.

      SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. Jeff Sessions was colorful and indignant. And, "How dare you, sir? Beauregard does not answer questions like that." And nobody called him hysterical? But they called Kamala Harris hysterical for the second week in a row. 

      BRZEZINSKI: This is a secondary story given the seriousness of the nature of the questions being asked, but it's an important story. The differences between what is expected and what is allowed between men and women, even on the national stage when the cameras are on them and there should be at least an attempt at equality, is pathetic. And Kamala Harris will be our guest this morning, and I can't wait to talk to her about that, and also about the questions that she's trying to ask in the middle of being told that she's rude by a lot of rude, white older men.

    • Alex Jones melts down after being interviewed by Megyn Kelly

      Jones on Kelly: “Not feminine -- cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly”

      Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

      Prominent conspiracy theorist and President Donald Trump ally Alex Jones is lashing out after being interviewed by Megyn Kelly for an episode of NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Following Tuesday’s interview taping, Jones is now suggesting Kelly is aligned with the “New World Order” globalist conspiracy theory, complaining that she is producing a “fake news” piece about him, and declaring that she is “not feminine” but is “cold, robotic, dead.

      Kelly visited Jones at his Austin, TX, studios Tuesday to conduct an interview with him for an upcoming episode of her show.

      At the top of the June 7 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones declared Kelly’s interview of him to be “fake news” and said of the show’s producer: “I felt like the lady that’s the lead producer -- nice southern belle lady, older lady -- is like somebody that leads you to the gas chamber, or to the hangman’s noose, or to the electric chair. They comfort you, give you your last meal.”

      Jones continued complaining about the interview later in the show, suggesting that Kelly is associated with the “New World Order” conspiracy theory and claiming that she “was kind of snickering about world government and forced population control.”

      He suggested that Kelly is a “sociopath” or “psychopath,” and also said Kelly is “not feminine” but instead is “cold, robotic, dead.” He added, “I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly.”

      Prior to conducting the interview, Kelly visited Jones’ studio to observe him as he broadcast the June 6 edition of his program. Jones paused his conversation with a guest to speak with Kelly about her show and their upcoming interview. During an exchange about whether Kelly will interview Trump, Jones asked her whether she would sit in Trump’s lap, to which Kelly responded, “Move on.” Jones also said, “I got to say, she’s prettier in person.” Kelly responded, “I never know whether that’s a compliment or not in my line of work.”

      Over the past few weeks, Jones has repeatedly made lewd comments about Kelly. During his May 15 broadcast, Jones said Kelly “thinks I’m a Texas hillbilly and that a hot woman telling me how much she wants to interview me and how she’s obsessed with me will get me to talk to her. And even though I know it was B.S., it still works, so I’m going to be doing the interview.”

      He then repeatedly asked his guest co-host whether he should “put her over my knee” during the interview, later adding that he was talking about how he’d “put her over my knee politically,” and said, “Can we put [the late model] Betty Page on screen please, putting a girl over her knee?” He that he was “trolling” because “I can’t help it. I can say anything I want and it’s all over the news the next day.”

      Jones again made lewd comments about Kelly during his May 31 broadcast, saying, “Megyn Kelly’s coming next week. I want Kathy Griffin, me, and Megyn Kelly to oil wrestle next week on air.” Seconds later he said, “I’m just challenging Megyn Kelly and Kathy Griffin to a boxing match -- I’ll take both of them on,” explaining that he was trying to allude to comedian Andy Kaufman, who wrestled women.

      No air date has been announced for Jones’ interview. This week, Kelly’s show will air an interview with sportscaster Erin Andrews.

      More transcript of Jones’ complaints about Kelly:

      ALEX JONES (HOST): When we do the right thing, we join our ancestors in the great quest. In God’s great plan. The “New World Order” will fail. It will fall. All of these arrogant sellouts that serve the globalist program will be punished in this life. They all lie to themselves and think they’re part of the power elite. I told Megyn Kelly last night while she was kind of snickering about world government and forced population control. I said pediatric cancers are up over 10,000 percent. Fifty years ago, a doctor would fly across the country to see a child with cancer. Now you go to the mall, to your left, to your right, the kids have got their shaved heads, they’ve got their brain surgery marks all over them. I mean, I was in one restaurant and there was four kids you could tell had brain surgery stumbling around with their motor functions hacked in half from whatever hellish testing they’d gone through -- poor little babies.

      And I said, “Surely, surely by the time you’re an old woman, most of your family will be dead from cancer.” And I said, “Your children are going to die of cancer.” And the people around were like, “Whoa.” Her crew, she had a big -- they were like “Whoa, can we spin that? Like he’s hoping they die of cancer?” And I said, “I’m not hoping they die of cancer.” But I said, “Surely, know that if it’s 10,000-plus percent now -- and that’s an old number -- it’s going to be 20-, 30,000, 40,000 percent just the next few decades, it’s estimated. And it’s going to kill your children, Megyn. You’re going to outlive your children, Megyn. And I’ve got children on this planet too as well and I want to reverse this, so you think about working for those psychopaths.”

      Go ahead and show some pictures of her. You think about working for the “New World Order” long and hard. And everybody at Media Matters and all the rest of you, you think about that. Because you can have that painted-on Joker smile all you want. And those lawyer sociopath eyes. But at the end of the day, I’ve spoken the truth, and I’ve warned you, and I’ve laid out the facts. Because I have basic humanity. And I know that’s not the trendy mainline culture that’s pushed -- and I’m not even singling Megyn Kelly out and saying she’s the end-all, be-all of evil.

      But not feminine -- cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly. That’s not an insult to Megyn Kelly. I talked to a lot of other folks that know her, they said, “No, it’s the same.” Because you’re dealing with -- sociopath? A psychopath? I don’t know.

      But I wanted to see it for myself. The girl next door sitting there with the toad creature [Alex Jones]. And again, she can come off like the sweetest, nicest person. She told me point blank in a long phone conversation that she wasn’t going to get into the things and wasn’t going to focus on the things that I knew she was coming for. And then for 90 minutes -- that was the last interview of three yesterday -- she did everything she said she wouldn’t in spades. And I knew that from before she ever came. But I wanted to see it for myself. And so that we could all see it for ourselves as well and experience what it is to serve the force that is strangling this country.

    • Alex Jones on supposed upcoming interview with "hot woman" Megyn Kelly: "Should I put her over my knee?"

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

      Alex Jones’ website Infowars is promoting a video that says he will participate in an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly this week. Kelly, formerly of Fox News, is now the host of NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. The show premiered June 4.

      Jones, the host of The Alex Jones Show, has been discussing his purported interactions with Kelly and her producers for several weeks on his daily program, often while making lewd comments about Kelly, including saying he should “oil wrestle” with her. Jones has also claimed that Kelly assured him he would “like” the interview and that it wouldn’t be a “hit piece,” but Jones thinks she was misleading him just to secure the on-camera talk.

      Politico media reporter Hadas Gold reported that NBC declined to comment on whether the interview will take place. Jones said on the June 5 broadcast of his show that Kelly will interview him Tuesday evening.

      Jones’ sexist comments aside, if the interview does happen, it will give Kelly an opportunity to attempt to hold Jones accountable for the many toxic conspiracy theories he has pushed -- and the violent language and anti-LGBT slurs he often uses when attacking his opponents.

      Will Kelly hold Jones accountable for his past claims?

      In one conversation about the supposed Kelly interview, Jones’ Infowars cohort Roger Stone advised Jones to do the interview because it could afford him an opportunity to “break through to the mainstream.” Given Kelly's prominent new role on NBC News, there are countless issues she can press Jones on to make sure the audience doesn’t come away with the impression he is anything other than a toxic conspiracy theorist.

      Jones has claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, was a “giant hoax,” saying that “the whole thing was fake.” He has claimed that that the shooting was “completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured,” adding, “I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.” He has also mocked the grief of the victims’ families and smeared the parents as actors who “do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV.”

      The families of the Sandy Hook tragedy have criticized Jones for his horrific remarks and spoken about “the hateful fictions that he spews.”

      For years, Jones has claimed that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the federal government and that Osama bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government.

      Jones has also pushed conspiracy theories about other tragedies. He alleged the Oklahoma City bombing was a “staged event” by “criminals in Washington” to get sympathy to pass President Clinton’s policy agenda. He claimed mass shootings in Aurora, CO; Columbine, CO; Tucson, AZ; San Bernardino, CA; and Orlando, FL, were “false flag” events. And Jones said the Boston Marathon bombing was “staged” and the bombers were “recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly.”

      Jones has also repeatedly bragged about his communications with President Donald Trump both before and after his election. And Trump has repeatedly pushed ideas and rhetoric that have been tied back to Jones. 

      He has also launched sexist and anti-LGBTQ attacks, and used violent rhetoric against his perceived adversaries. Jones said in late March that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) “looks like the archetypal cocksucker” and a “fairy” and then said to him about any claims that Jones is colluding with the Russians: “You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. ... Fill your hand.” He later claimed that his threat was just an “art performance.”

      Jones previewed his interview with Kelly by making lewd comments about her

      On his show, Jones has repeatedly discussed the possibility of participating in an interview with Kelly.

      He first raised the possibility during his May 15 broadcast. Jones said that Kelly called him and promised him he would “like” the outcome of the interview, but he also expressed skepticism that the interview was a setup:

      ALEX JONES: She’s a really smart lady, a good-looking lady. And she’s sitting there going, "You’re number one on my list. Alex, I’m kind of obsessed with you." Oh I’m sorry -- this is off record. "Alex, I’ve got to have this interview, Alex." And, "We’re going to do this interview, Alex, and it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be good, and you’re going to like it, and I pledge to you it’s going to be real, and I’m going to let you talk and this isn’t a hit piece, Alex.” And I’m going to stop right there because the rest is off record. But I was just like even though I knew I was being sold by the greatest used car salesman on earth, I thought P.T. Barnum had been reincarnated right in front of me. I wanted just the experience of her coming to Austin.

      Moments later in the broadcast, Jones made sexual comments about Kelly. He first said, Kelly “thinks I’m a Texas hillbilly and that a hot woman telling me how much she wants to interview me and how she’s obsessed with me will get me to talk to her. And even though I know it was BS, it still worked, so I’m going to be doing the interview.”

      He then repeatedly asked Stone whether he should “put her over my knee,” later adding he was talking about “putting her over my knee politically,” and said, “Can we put [the late model] Betty Page on screen please, putting a girl over her knee?” He said that those comments were “trolling” because “I can’t help it. I can say anything I want and it’s all over the news the next day.”

      Jones again made lewd comments about Kelly during his May 31 broadcast, saying, “Megyn Kelly’s coming next week. I want Kathy Griffin, me, and Megyn Kelly to oil wrestle next week on air.” Seconds later he said, “I’m just challenging Megyn Kelly and Kathy Griffin to a boxing match -- I’ll take both of them on,” explaining that he was trying to allude to comedian Andy Kaufman, who wrestled women.

    • Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson can’t get anything right

      Watson's fans include Donald Trump Jr. and the Trump administration

      Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

      Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson has no credibility. The longtime Alex Jones collaborator has frequently fallen for hoaxes, posted transparently false information, and pushed fringe conspiracy theories about 9/11 and mass shootings.

      Infowars and Watson have become a favorite source for President Donald Trump and his fans. The president and his aides have referred to Watson’s work during the campaign, and Jones claimed senior aides have said they “really want” Watson to be part of the White House press corps.

      Watson is an Infowars editor and writer who has been working for conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones since October 2002. He has emerged as his own brand, regularly posting videos to his own YouTube channel. His videos carry headlines like “Why Are Feminists Fat & Ugly?”; “Hillary's Weird Behavior: The Cover-Up”; “F**k Beyoncé"; and “The Deep State War on Trump.”

      He’s also a prolific presence on social media, where he regularly pushes false information and misogyny. Watson has tweeted that the Women's March on Washington would be composed of a “handful of self-entitled, fat, ugly feminists trying to get arrested in desperate attempt to impress any man”; “a feminist is a woman who hates men because she is ugly on the inside and out and no one wants to be around her”; “strident feminists are almost always joyless cunts who are not fun to be around. This is a scientific fact”; and the “stereotype of most feminists being fat, ugly and obnoxious is completely accurate.”

      Watson also rails against purported political correctness and “social justice warriors.” He complained in a June 2 Reddit Ask Me Anything discussion that liberals are anti-science because they won’t accept that African and Middle Eastern people are more aggressive because they have lower IQs, adding: “You can’t deny that there are differences between races when it comes to IQ.” He also said that there’s a “war on men and masculinity” and that popular culture glorifies “being a pussy” and having depression, which Watson falsely alleges is not a real medical condition. And Watson has claimed that “there’s no such thing as moderate Islam. Islam is a violent, intolerant religion which, in its current form, has no place in liberal western democracies.”

      Watson is a conspiracy theorist who has woven tales about the United States government's involvement in tragedies such as 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Virginia Tech shooting. He has also fallen for numerous hoaxes, including fake stories about President Obama grabbing Melania Trump’s butt, President Trump generously allowing a black woman to live in Trump Tower for free for eight years, and a “damaging new Trump tape.”

      Trump and his aides have helped mainstream Watson, Jones, and Infowars, which is aiming to get permanent White House press credentials. Trump has twice retweeted Watson’s account (Watson responded to one retweet by writing that he “can now retire”). Donald Trump Jr. loves retweeting Watson’s account and has done so nearly 40 times since October 2016, according to the Trump Twitter Archive database. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, Eric Trump, and White House director of social media Dan Scavino Jr. have also retweeted Watson or promoted his work.

      Jones said during a February 22 Reddit Ask Me Anything that he’s “talked to some of the senior Trump people” and they have told him, “‘Hey, we like you, but we really want Paul Watson’” as the Infowars White House correspondent. Jones added that Watson has declined to move to D.C.

      Here are 22 times Watson has pushed false stories and/or fact-free conspiracy theories:

      Watson fell for hoax that "CNN/BuzzFeed" would leak “damaging new Trump tape” before inauguration

      Watson helped start false claim that Trump “almost certainly” won popular vote due to votes “cast by illegal aliens”

      Watson posted fake photos claiming CNN made Fort Lauderdale airport shooter appear white

      Watson fell for fake story that Common Core curriculum taught 6th graders “how to use strap-on dildos”

      Watson posted -- then deleted -- story claiming WikiLeaks “bombshell” revealed that Clinton said she “hates everyday Americans”

      Watson fell for photoshopped picture of Obama supposedly grabbing Melania Trump’s butt

      Watson published false story that Obama executive order “mandate[s] the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of ‘respiratory illness’”

      Watson published 2011 story claiming “sources” say “bin Laden’s corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade”

      Watson’s Wash. Post-Seth Rich conspiracy theory fell apart

      Watson fell for fake story that trump allowed “homeless black woman” to live in Trump Tower rent free “for eight years”

      Watson falsely claims that depression is a fake condition

      Watson falsely claimed Obama adviser advocated “forced abortions” and “mass sterilization programs” through water supply

      Watson repeatedly connected Chicago attack with Black Lives Matter (police said it wasn’t connected)

      Watson falsely claims Obama’s birth certificate is “fraudulent”

      Watson falsely reported that “Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest”

      Watson conspiracy theory: “U.S. establishment” “trained, funded and allowed” 9/11 hijackers into country

      Watson conspiracy theory: WTC 7 collapse “was a controlled demolition”

      Watson conspiracy theory: Virginia Tech mass shooting might have been “another government black-op”

      Watson conspiracy theory: Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh carried out attack under the direction of the FBI

      Watson conspiracy theory: Fort Hood mass shooting appears “perfectly staged”

      Watson conspiracy theory: Norwegian shooter “a patsy?”

      Watson conspiracy theory: British government behind 7/7 London bombings

      Watson fell for hoax that "CNN/BuzzFeed" would leak “damaging new Trump Tape” before inauguration

      Watson: “CNN/BuzzFeed to release damaging new Trump Tape 48 hours before inauguration.” Watson reported that a “source claiming to work for NBC has contacted Infowars to warn of a CNN/Buzzfeed plot to release a damaging video tape of Donald Trump just 48 hours before he is inaugurated as president.” [Infowars, 1/16/17, via Internet Archive]

      Watson was tricked by man who wanted to see how gullible he is. BuzzFeed reported that a man named Markus Muir said he tricked Watson into publishing the story. He explained: “It was only two direct messages and I thought he might ask for more confirmation. I went to bed, forgot about it, then I checked his feed on the train to work and it was just him saying there was huge news about to come out. I couldn’t believe it. It was a cut-and-paste job of what I said to him and it was all bullshit -- I made it all up.” He added that his idea came to him after seeing a CNN discussion on fake news. Infowars later took down Watson’s story. [BuzzFeed, 1/18/17]

      Watson helped start false claim that Trump “almost certainly” won popular vote due to votes “cast by illegal aliens”

      Watson: “Trump may have won popular vote.” Watson posted an Infowars piece claiming that “three million votes in the U.S. presidential election were cast by illegal aliens, according to Greg Phillips of the VoteFraud.org organization,” and as a result Trump “almost certainly won the popular vote.” [Infowars, 11/14/16]

      Reality: The claim that millions of “illegal” votes swung the popular vote is a baseless conspiracy. Numerous fact checkers noted that the “three million” “illegal” votes claim is false. PolitiFact wrote that the claim was given oxygen by Infowars, and it is “inaccurate” and “false.” It added that “studies have consistently shown that voter fraud is nowhere near common enough to call into question millions and millions of votes. Indeed, the ability to carry off such a far-reaching conspiracy -- potentially involving millions of people over the course of several months and without being noticed by election administration officials, many of them in states controlled by Republicans -- is ridiculously illogical.” [PolitiFact, 11/18/16, 11/28/16]

      Watson posted fake photos claiming CNN made Fort Lauderdale airport shooter appear white

      Watson tweet: “Why is CNN attempting to make the shooter look more white? bizarre.” After Esteban Santiago was arrested for the deadly January 2017 shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Watson tweeted:

      [Twitter, 1/6/17, via archive.is]

      Watson’s photo was fake. As The Daily Beast noted, “In reality, CNN had yet to air a picture of Santiago, let alone lightened a picture of him. The conspiracy also used a picture of an entirely different man named Esteban Santiago -- not the alleged shooter. … A real image of the shooter circulated on the internet hours later, confirming that he is not the 39-year-old Santiago showed in Watson’s tweet and Gateway Pundit’s article.” Watson later deleted his tweet. [The Daily Beast, 1/6/17]

      Watson fell for fake story that Common Core curriculum taught 6th graders “how to use strap-on dildos”

      Infowars story: “6th graders taught how to use strap-on dildo.” Watson wrote in a September 2014 story that “shocking images out of a classroom in Jacksonville, Florida illustrate how 11-12 year olds in 6th grade are being taught how to use strap-on dildos amidst a debate about sexual content finding its way into other Common Core subjects, material which has been attacked by some as pornographic.” [Infowars, 9/15/14, via archive.is; Snopes.com, 1/18/14]

      Watson mistook “satire” article as real news. As The Washington Post noted, “a quick reverse image-search make it pretty clear that the images came from an LGBT event at a college in Canada … and that the story itself originated on Modern Woman Digest, a bad ‘satire,’ i.e. fake-news, site.” Infowars has since taken down the story. [The Washington Post9/19/14]

      Watson posted -- then deleted -- story claiming WikiLeaks “bombshell” revealed that Clinton said she “hates everyday Americans”

      Infowars story: “WikiLeaks bombshell: Hillary Clinton ‘hates everyday Americans.’” Watson wrote an October 2016 piece headlined “Wikileaks Bombshell: Hillary Clinton ‘Hates Everyday Americans.’” He began the story by claiming: “New Wikileaks emails released just moments ago include a shocking admission by Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that Hillary Clinton ‘has begun to hate everyday Americans’. The whistleblower organization dumped part 3 of its Podesta email release today and this has to be the most jaw-dropping revelation yet.” [Infowars, 10/11/16, via archive.is]

      Watson wildly misrepresented Clinton’s comment. As even conservatives acknowledged, Clinton did not say she hated “everyday Americans.” Rather, the email was relaying that Clinton hated the cliché phrase “everyday Americans” -- not people themselves. Infowars later deleted its story. [Media Matters, 10/11/16]

      Watson fell for photoshopped picture of Obama supposedly grabbing Melania Trump’s butt

      Watson tweeted out photo of Obama grabbing Melania Trump’s butt. Watson tweeted out the following photo after President Trump’s January 20 inauguration:

      [Twitter, 1/22/17]

      The image was photoshopped. As BuzzFeed noted, the supposed Obama-Melania Trump image is “a very badly Photoshopped image” and “so bad that you can literally still see some of Obama’s original arm in the photo.” Watson later claimed it was just a “joke.” [BuzzFeed, 1/24/17; Twitter, 1/23/17]

      Watson published false story that Obama executive order “mandate[s] the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of ‘respiratory illness’”

      Watson: Obama order allows “him to mandate the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of ‘respiratory illness.’” Watson wrote in 2014: “As the Ebola outbreak continues to cause concern, President Barack Obama has signed an amendment to an executive order that would allow him to mandate the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of ‘respiratory illness.’” [Infowars, 8/1/14]

      PolitiFact: Order did “not mandate the apprehension and detention of people who show signs of ‘respiratory illness.’” PolitiFact wrote that Infowars’ supposed reporting is “a fundamental misreading of the executive order Obama signed and the power the federal government has. The updates Obama made to a 2003 executive order do not mandate the apprehension and detention of people who show signs of ‘respiratory illness,’ has nothing to do with the current Ebola crisis and only affect people entering the country or crossing state lines. We rate the claim Pants on Fire.” [PolitiFact, 8/6/14]

      Watson published 2011 story claiming “sources” say “bin Laden’s corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade”

      Watson: “Inside Sources: Bin Laden’s corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade.” Watson reported on May 2, 2011, that contrary to the announced death of Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader had actually been dead for years and the government was merely waiting for “the most politically expedient time” to announce it, according to “sources”:

      A multitude of different inside sources both publicly and privately, including one individual who personally worked with Bin Laden at one time, told us directly that Osama’s dead corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade and that his “death” would only be announced at the most politically expedient time.

      That time has now come with a years-old fake picture being presented as the only evidence of his alleged killing yesterday, while Bin Laden’s body has been hastily dumped into the sea to prevent anyone from finding out when he actually died. [Infowars, 5/2/11]

      There’s no evidence bin Laden’s body was frozen for years. Al Qaeda confirmed that bin Laden had died in the 2011 raid. [The Associated Press, 5/6/11]

      Watson’s Wash. Post-Seth Rich conspiracy theory fell apart

      Watson suggested Wash. Post released breaking story “to distract from Seth Rich bombshell.” Watson suggested on May 6 that The Washington Post “published its dubious story on President Trump leaking classified information to the Russians less than an hour after the bombshell news broke that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was in contact with Wikileaks and that DC Police were ordered to cover it up. The coincidental timing has led many Trump supporters to accuse the Post of publishing their story in an attempt to distract the rest of the media from focusing on the massive new revelations in the Seth Rich case.” [Infowars, 5/16/17]

      The Post story went up before supposed “Seth Rich bombshell.” As Post reporter Dave Weigel noted, the Post story went up before the Fox 5 story was published. (The Fox 5 story has since been disproven and the main source for the story has backtracked.) [Twitter, 5/16/17; Media Matters, 5/16/17, 5/17/17]

      Watson fell for fake story that Trump allowed “homeless black woman” to live in Trump Tower rent free “for eight years”

      Watson: “A homeless black woman reveals that she has been living in Trump Tower for eight years with the blessings of the Donald himself.” Watson posted a story with the headline “Black Homeless Woman Says Trump Allowed Her To Live In Trump Tower Rent Free For 8 Years.” He began by writing that a “homeless black woman reveals that she has been living in Trump Tower for eight years with the blessings of the Donald himself” and “this doesn’t quite fit with the media’s portrayal of Trump as a rich, racist bigot.”

      [Infowars, 12/8/16]

      Trump Hotels spokesperson said the story is not true. BuzzFeed reported in response to Infowars that the story is not true, according to Trump Hotels:

      A woman’s claims in a now-viral video that she has lived in Trump Tower rent-free for up to nine years with the blessing of President-elect Donald Trump himself is not true, a Trump Hotels spokesperson told BuzzFeed News Friday.

      “There is no validity to the video,” said Jennifer Rodstrom, a spokeswoman for Trump Hotels, who answered a BuzzFeed News request sent to a transition team spokeswoman. “The woman depicted is not our guest.”

      The video, which first appeared to be posted on YouTube in July, gained traction on Thursday after it was published on InfoWars, a right-wing conspiracy outlet, and celebrated by Trump supporters who said it contradicts criticism that Trump is a bigot.

      The InfoWars link was shared more than 28,000 times on Facebook.

      Infowars later added an editor’s note stating that the story was “unconfirmed,” but was worth reporting “given Trump’s long and documented history of helping those in need.” [BuzzFeed, 12/9/16; Infowars, 12/8/16; Internet Archive, accessed 6/5/17]

      Watson falsely claims that depression is a fake condition

      Watson: Depression shouldn’t be a “medical condition.” Watson posted a January 2017 video attacking people who have depression, complaining that “being weak-minded and emotionally incontinent” has “become a positive personality trait.” Watson concluded that people who have depression have been “misled” because depression is “temporary” and the pharmaceutical industry just wants to “control people” and make money off of them:

      PAUL JOSEPH WATSON: Why is everyone so depressed now when we've got it so much easier? It's because you've been completely misled about what depression actually is. Depression is nothing more than dissatisfaction with life. It's temporary unhappiness, but the dominant culture in the pharmaceutical industry figured out that it could control people and make tons of money by treating depression as a pathological disease. So now depression is not unhappiness but a medical condition which it’s the responsibility of the doctor to alleviate by medical means. And they're only too happy to, often being paid to do so under the insane justification that depression is a chemical imbalance -- which it isn't. [Infowars, 1/4/17; YouTube, 1/4/17]

      Medical professionals: Depression is real. The American Psychiatric Association notes that depression “is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” The organization notes that “several factors can play a role in depression” and that “differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.” [American Psychiatric Association, accessed 6/5/17]

      Watson falsely claimed Obama adviser advocated “forced abortions” and “mass sterilization programs” through water supply

      Watson: Obama adviser advocated “totalitarian measures of population control, including forced abortions, mass sterilization programs conducted via the food and water supply.” Watson wrote of former Obama science adviser John P. Holdren in 2009:

      President Obama’s top science and technology advisor John P. Holdren co-authored a 1977 book in which he advocated the formation of a “planetary regime” that would use a “global police force” to enforce totalitarian measures of population control, including forced abortions, mass sterilization programs conducted via the food and water supply, as well as mandatory bodily implants that would prevent couples from having children.

      The concepts outlined in Holdren’s 1977 book Ecoscience, which he co-authored with close colleagues Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, were so shocking that a February 2009 Front Page Magazine story on the subject was largely dismissed as being outlandish because people couldn’t bring themselves to believe that it could be true. [Infowars, 7/11/09]

      PolitiFact: Claim is “pants on fire” false. PolitiFact wrote that many conservatives, including Glenn Beck, were quoting from Holdren’s book “out of context” and concluded he was not advocating those positions:

      But with regard to Beck's claim that Holdren "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population," the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions.

      Some have argued that Holdren's view of the imminent and grave global dangers posed by overpopulation should provide pause, given Holdren's current view that global warming now presents imminent and grave global dangers. That's a matter for reasoned debate.

      But in seeking to score points for a political argument, Beck seriously mischaracterizes Holdren's positions. Holdren didn't advocate those ideas then. And, when asked at a Senate confirmation hearing, Holdren said he did not support them now. We think it's irresponsible to pluck a few lines from a 1,000-page, 30-year-old textbook, and then present them out of context to dismiss Holdren's long and distinguished career. And we rate Beck's claim Pants on Fire! [PolitiFact, 7/29/09]

      Watson repeatedly connected Chicago attack with Black Lives Matter (police said it wasn’t connected)

      Watson was among the first to tie Chicago kidnapping and attack with BLM. On January 4, four black people were arrested after they live-streamed a kidnapping and attack of a white man with special needs in Chicago. Watson repeatedly claimed that the attack was connected to Black Lives Matter, tweeting among other things: “#BLMKidnapping is the hashtag to get this story trending” and “the BLM torture victim was held for 24-48 hours. #BLMKidnapping.” [Media Matters, 1/5/17; Twitter, 1/5/17]

      CNN: “Chicago police say they see no connection between the suspects and the Black Lives Matter activist group.” CNN reported following the attack that “Chicago police say they see no connection between the suspects and the Black Lives Matter activist group, contrary to some reports on social media” and noted that Watson was an early promoter of the connection:

      Chicago police say they see no connection between the suspects and the Black Lives Matter activist group, contrary to some reports on social media.

      Yet in less than 24 hours, the hashtag #BLMKidnapping was mentioned more than 480,000 times on Twitter and became one of the top five Twitter trends across the country Thursday.

      Paul Joseph Watson, editor at large of the website "Infowars," was among the first to tie the attack to Black Lives Matter, a social justice movement that protests violence and racism against African-Americans. "Infowars" is known for promoting conspiracy theories, saying the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a government hoax and claiming the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the US government. [CNN.com, 1/5/17]

      Watson falsely claims Obama’s birth certificate is “fraudulent”

      Watson: “National security threat: Obama’s birth certificate proven fraudulent.” Watson wrote a July 2012 piece concluding that “Obama’s birth certificate betrays innumerable instances clearly indicating that the document has been tampered with in an effort to manufacture the myth that Obama was born in the United States. The manifestly logical conclusion that he was not creates an urgent national security threat and represents one of the biggest cover-ups in U.S. political history.” [Infowars, 7/18/12]

      Former President Obama’s birth certificate is not fake. Obama’s birth certificate is authentic and he was born in the United States. [PolitiFact, 7/1/09; FactCheck.org, 4/27/11]

      Watson falsely reported that “Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest”

      Infowars suggested “Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest.” Watson wrote in August 2012: “It’s not outlandish to suggest that the Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest. Social security welfare is estimated to keep around 40 per cent of senior citizens out of poverty. Should the tap run dry in the aftermath of an economic collapse which the Federal Reserve has already told top banks to prepare for, domestic disorder could ensue if people are refused their benefits.” [Infowars, 8/15/12]

      AP debunked Infowars’ claim. The Associated Press wrote at the time that the administration isn’t building up arms “to defend against unruly senior citizens”:

      The clamor became such a distraction for the agency that it dedicated a website to explaining the purchase. The explanation, it turns out, isn't as tantalizing as an arms buildup to defend against unruly senior citizens.

      The bullets are for Social Security's office of inspector general, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes, said Jonathan L. Lasher, the agency's assistant IG for external relations.

      The agents carry guns and make arrests — 589 last year, Lasher said. They execute search warrants and respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees and customers. [The Associated Press, 9/4/12

      Watson conspiracy theory: “U.S. establishment” “trained, funded and allowed” 9/11 hijackers into country

      Watson: 9/11 “was an inside job.” Watson wrote in his 2003 book Order out of Chaos: Elite Sponsored Terrorism & The New World Order that he can prove 9/11 "was an inside job,” writing:

      Initially we will document the overwhelming amount of evidence indicating that the US knew the attacks were about to take place. The question of why the attacks took place despite the fact that they could have been prevented runs parallel throughout this extended section of the book.

      It is important to note that the official story of 9/ 11 can be dismantled from two or more different angles. If we are to believe that nineteen suicide hijackers carried out the attacks on behalf of Al-Qaeda then it can be proven that these men were trained, funded and allowed into the country by the U.S. establishment. They were tracked and traced and their intentions were well known by the authorities, many months and even years before that fateful day. I will present the evidence to verify these claims in this chapter. In the following chapter I will switch to the second and more cutting edge angle of research, namely that the Al-Qaeda plot was merely a smokescreen to shadow who really carried out the attacks and what methods were used.

      […]

      One of the biggest smoking guns to indicate that the terrorist attack was an inside job is the CIA’s direct connection with the hijackers via Pakistan ISI Director General Mahmoud Ahmad. General Mahmoud Ahmad instructed Ahmad Umar Sheikh to hotwire $ 100,000 to the 9/ 11 lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta. On September 11th, Ahmad was a guest of former clandestine CIA officer and CFR member Rep. Porter Goss and Skull and Bones/ CFR member Senator Bob Graham. Since September 4th, he had met with top brass at the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House, including Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Joseph Biden and George Tenet.

      Condoleezza Rice lied in a May 16th 2002 press conference when she claimed ignorance of Ahmad's visit and the $ 100,000 transfer. Ahmad had already resigned from the ISI and the FBI had confirmed the circumstances behind this. Rice stated, "I have not seen that report, and he was certainly not meeting with me."

      What was the money man behind the terrorists doing in the halls of the US government before, during and after 9/ 11? This is just one example of the firm alliance running through the CIA, which in turn controls the ISI, which in turn controls Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. [Paul Joseph Watson, Order out of Chaos: Elite Sponsored Terrorism & The New World Order, 2003, via Kindle]

      Watson conspiracy theory: WTC 7 collapse “was a controlled demolition”

      Watson: “Building 7 was a controlled demolition.” Watson concluded in an October 13, 2010, article that the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 was actually a “controlled demolition”:

      How much more evidence do we need to conclude that Building 7 – which was not hit by a plane and suffered limited fires across just a handful of floors – could not have simply crumbled into its own footprint within seven seconds without the aid of additional explosives?

      Of course, if authorities were ever forced to admit that WTC 7 was deliberately demolished it would then tarnish the credibility of the entire 9/11 official story, which is why NIST has engaged in an obvious cover-up to firstly withhold and then edit some of the footage in an attempt to hide the self-evident fact that Building 7 was a controlled demolition. [Infowars, 10/13/10]

      Watson conspiracy theory: Virginia Tech mass shooting might have been “another government black-op”

      Watson: Purported ties between shooter and CIA are “arousing increased suspicion.” Watson wrote an April 2007 article arguing that Seung-Hui Cho, who perpetrated the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, “was a mind-controlled assassin, whether you believe he was under the influence of outside parties or not.” He wrote of the shooter’s alleged connections to the CIA:

      Questions about the sequence of events on Monday, VA Tech, as well as the profile of the killer are arousing increased suspicion.

      We have been receiving numerous calls and e mails alerting us to the fact that VA Tech is pulling links from its website concerning their relationship with the CIA. Reports from November 2005 confirm that the CIA was active in operating recruitment programs based out of VA Tech. Several professors from VA Tech are involved in government programs linked with NASA and other agencies.

      Wikipedia also pulled a bizarre recently taken photograph of Cho wearing a U.S. Marines uniform.

      Such details only fan the flames of accusations that Cho could have been a Manchurian Candidate, a mind-controlled assassin.

      The CIA's program to create mind-controlled assassins that could be triggered by code words, MK ULTRA, is not a conspiracy theory, it's a historical fact documented by declassified government files and Senate hearings. President Bill Clinton himself had to apologize for the program before he left office. [Prison Planet, 4/19/07]

      Watson: “This could very well be another government black-op.” Watson wrote of the shooting:

      Early details about the horrific school shooting at Virginia Tech strongly indicate that these events represent a Columbine-style black-op that will be exploited in the coming days to push for mass gun control and further turning our schools into prisons.

      Eyewitness Matt Kazee told the Alex Jones Show that it was a full two to three hours after the shootings began that loudspeakers installed around the campus were used to warn students to stay indoors and that a shooter was on the loose.

      Quite how the killer was afforded so much time before any action was taken to stop him is baffling, especially considering the fact that the campus, according to Kazee, was crawling with police before the event happened due to numerous bomb threats that had been phoned in last week.

      […]

      The details that are beginning to emerge fill the criteria that this could very well be another government black-op that will be used as justification for more gun control and turning our schools into prisons, festooned with armed guards, surveillance cameras and biometric scanning to gain entry. [Prison Planet, 4/16/07]

      Watson conspiracy theory: Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh carried out attack under the direction of the FBI

      Watson: “A plethora of evidence” shows FBI directed McVeigh to bomb federal building. Watson wrote in 2010 of the Oklahoma City bombing:

      In reality, as anyone who has done five minutes research into the OKC bombing will understand, the official story crumbles on the merest hint of casual examination.

      While the media, the SPLC, the ADL and similar organizations are happy to play the Timothy McVeigh card over and over again, they are less enthusiastic to mention the fact that McVeigh planned his deadly assault on the Alfred P. Murrah building under the intimate direction of a high-level FBI official, according to McVeigh’s co-conspirator Terry Nichols, a claim voluminously backed up by a plethora of evidence that has been presented in court on several occasions. [Infowars, 4/19/10]

      Watson conspiracy theory: Fort Hood mass shooting appears “perfectly staged”

      Watson: “Everything about Nidal Malik Hasan screams ‘patsy.’” Watson wrote that Nidal Malik Hasan, who was convicted of the fatal 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting, appears to be a “patsy” and the shooting was “staged”:

      The Empire strikes back – right when when public support for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan sinks to all time lows, an anti-war Islamic extremist with links to suicide bombers goes on a shooting rampage at a U.S. army base, reinvigorating support for the war on terror and demonizing opposition to it as anti-American extremism. The scam would be believable if it wasn’t so perfectly staged.

      Without getting into convoluted conspiracy theories about mind control and whatever else, not that they aren’t without merit, the facts we already know about Hasan and his behavior prior to the deadly shootings just screams out “patsy” and “set-up” and almost exactly mirrors other terror scams the Empire has run in the past.

      Just like the would-be liquid bombers that were supposedly planning on bringing down multiple airliners in August 2006, who were caught on CCTV buying bulk supplies of cake in the very hours before the plot, Hasan’s pre-shooting behavior contradicts completely the idea that he was preparing for a deadly rampage.

      […]

      When the dust settles on yesterday’s tragic events at Fort Hood it may indeed turn out to be the case that Nidal Malik Hasan was a lone nut seeking to exact revenge for what he saw as perpetual war crimes being carried out against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. If that is the case, it doesn’t make such crimes acceptable nor does it mean all people who oppose the war on terror are likely to go on a shooting rampage.

      However, from all the evidence that has emerged thus far, and in comparing it with other terror scams in the past where patsies have been deliberately groomed and set up to be the fall guys for false flag attacks, everything we know about yesterday’s events suggests that there is infinitely more to the story of Nidal Malik Hasan than meets the eye. [Prison Planet, 11/6/09]

      Watson conspiracy theory: Norwegian shooter “a patsy?”

      Watson: “Anders Behring Breivik: Manufacturing a patsy?” Watson has suggested that Anders Behring Breivik, who was convicted of murdering 77 people in a Norwegian mass shooting, was “a patsy.” He wrote a July 2011 article headlined “Anders Behring Breivik: Manufacturing a Patsy?” which claimed that “Breivik’s character of an enraged psychopath intent on butchering as many people as possible in the name of his cause is also contradicted by people who knew him personally” and concluded:

      A plethora of other questions continue to circulate surrounding Breivik and his motives. Why did this supposedly anti-Muslim crusader slaughter dozens of white Norwegian teenagers? Why didn’t he target a mosque? Why did this supposed “Christian conservative” list a television series that glorifies vampirism (True Blood) as his favorite show? How did Breivik’s ties to freemasonry and his obsession with the Knights Templar play into his rampage? Why did Breivik lift entire portions of leftist Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto and incorporate them into his own screed?

      Just like the Oklahoma City bombing, which the case has been obsessively likened with, the evidence is starting to point to a wider plot, but concurrently there seems to be a deliberate effort to manufacture a profile of Breivik as a lone-nut psychopath who was influenced by racism, nationalism, Christianity, and a hatred for Europe’s predominantly neo-liberal elite, who coincidentally will reap the greatest political benefits from this tragic massacre. [Infowars, 7/25/11]

      Watson conspiracy theory: British government behind 7/7 London bombings

      Watson wrote an article claiming British government was behind London bombings. On July 7, 2005, as The New York Times noted, 52 civilians were killed and 700 people were wounded when “four suicide bombers linked to Al Qaeda detonated explosives on a London bus and on three subway trains in the attacks.” Watson wrote a 2005 article purporting to explain how the British government “staged the London bombing,” which included: “Hire four Arabs and tell them they're taking part in an important exercise to help defend London from terrorist attacks. Strap them with rucksacks filled with deadly explosives. Tell the Arabs the rucksacks are dummy explosives and wouldn't harm a fly.” [The New York Times, 7/7/15; Prison Planet, 7/13/05

    • “Alt-right” troll files civil rights complaint after the Today show mocks him

      All Jack Posobiec wants is to go watch an all-female screening of Wonder Woman

      Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


      Dayanita Ramesh / Media Matters

      “Alt-right” personality Jack Posobiec has taken his trolling to the New York City human rights commission by filing a complaint against a movie theater and NBC Today show host Carson Daly. In his complaint, Posobiec -- formerly employed by The Rebel media -- alleges that the theater is discriminating against him by not allowing him to purchase a ticket to watch an all-female screening of Wonder Woman, and that during his show, Daly advocated for “the business” -- a “clear violation” of his civil rights.

      During the May 31 edition of NBC’s Today show, Daly reported on the internet backlash that Posobiec was receiving on Twitter by proposing “men only screenings of Star Wars” for “the entire first week” as a response to some theaters offering all-female screenings of Wonder Woman.

      Posobiec announced he had filed a complaint against Daly and one of the movie theaters holding such screeners. The complaint is just the latest stunt in Posobiec’s career as a far-right internet troll, which includes promoting emails and forged documents with the purpose of smearing French President Emmanuel Macron, pushing the debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theories, as well as screaming about the baseless Seth Rich conspiracy theory after a press conference on the White House lawn. As reported by BuzzFeed, Posobiec was also “the brainchild behind a ‘rape Melania’ sign that appeared at an anti-Trump rally in an effort to make the protesters look bad.”

      It’s tempting to discount Posobiec’s stunt as another absurd prank levied by a pro-Trump, "alt-right" internet personality with the purpose of advancing a political point. But the effects of these acts of trolling could have negative real-life consequences as they distort the true purpose of civil rights legislation and undermine legitimate institutions, like the press. His complaint could be diverting attention and resources -- a real issue when the Trump administration has vowed to defund government programs that protect civil rights -- from the serious discrimination that many people face. Other "alt-right" figures have publicly acknowledged their intent in trolling democratic institutions including the free press. Institutions protecting civil rights are clearly also not safe from becoming targets.

    • Listen to Sean Hannity contradict himself on human rights in Saudi Arabia within 5 minutes

      Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

      Right-wing Fox host and professional hypocrite Sean Hannity took two distinct positions on Saudi Arabia's human rights record and what it means for U.S. relations with the country within five minutes of each other on his radio show. As a sycophant for President Donald Trump, Hannity defended Trump’s decision to work with Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism, asserting that advances in human rights there would “come through better relations.” But just five minutes earlier, Hannity had attacked Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama for their interactions with the Saudis over the government’s oppression of women, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people. 

      Hannity has frequently cited Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses -- of which there are many -- in order to attack Clinton. However, his tone sharply changed on the May 22 edition of his show when discussing Trump’s trip to the country, which included negotiating “arms sales and infrastructure investments.” Hannity heaped praise on Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, saying that Trump was creating a “better future” by having the Saudis “working with the Israelis and the United States.” Hannity began to acknowledge the human rights abuses, saying he “got it,” but interrupted himself to say that human rights changes would “come through better relations.” He then indicated that fighting the Iranians and “Iranian-supported radical terrorists” comes first:

      SEAN HANNITY: But for the president, a better future now that you have the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians now working with the Israelis and the United States that is now being a part of it. And a president that said “radical Islamic terror” and described a better vision and future only if these nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists: “Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth.” Was so powerful, especially comparing everything that happened under Barack Obama. And pledging cooperation, principled realism, rooting in partners, not perfection.

      [...]

      If you create, like sort of like Sun Tzu and The Art of War, alliances against one common enemy, just like we allied with the former Soviet Union in World War II to defeat Nazism. The world can be a much better, safer place with less evil in it. And in that sense, would I prefer the president talk about human rights abuses? Yeah, I got it, but -- and the oppression of women, and persecution of Jews, and slaughter of Christians, and that’s all going to come through better relations. But the first big elephant in the room here is, we better all understand if you want your lives not to be -- because remember, they’re in close proximity. The Iranians want hegemony. Iranians are willing, they are now fighting proxy war after proxy war. Who do you think is fighting the Saudis out of Yemen? That would be the Iranian-supported radical terrorists there. They’re doing the bidding of the Iranians. The Iranians being Shia and the Sunni Arab nations that I’ve been discussing here like the Saudis.

      Less than five minutes prior, however, Hannity had applauded Trump for being willing to “go up against evil, and confront evil, and identify evil,” saying there's a "distinction" between that approach and the actions of Obama and Clinton. In addition, he specifically attacked Clinton for the Clinton Foundation receiving money from Saudi Arabia because of the human rights abuses there, saying, “They oppress women, and kill gays and lesbians, and oppress Christians and Jews”:

      HANNITY: There you have a tale of two presidents. You have [Barack Obama] the apologist, the appeaser, versus [Donald Trump] the realist, and the individual that is willing to go up against evil, and confront evil, and identify evil.

      [...]

      You have money in the Clinton Foundation. You have the Saudis and all these corrupt governments that adhere to Sharia law, giving millions to the Clinton Foundation, buying her silence. Meanwhile, they oppress women, and kill gays and lesbians, and oppress Christians and Jews. Such a distinction.

      This was not the first time that Hannity contradicted himself on human rights in Saudi Arabia or on the country’s relationship with Democratic politicians. According to The Washington Post, Trump has business ties to the Saudis, something that Hannity has not acknowledged in his frequent bashing of the country’s donations to the Clinton Foundation.

      Hannity’s so-called concern for the murders of “gays and lesbians” and the “oppression of women” rings hollow given his storied history of sexism and homophobia. He has frequently dismissed women who give their opinions or seek power. Hannity has also said that “you could argue that Bill Cosby probably helped women in their careers,” despite numerous reports of Cosby sexually assaulting women. Hannity was fired from a short-lived radio show after making a series of homophobic remarks, including spreading the myths that gay men are prone to HIV/AIDS because they consume each other’s feces, engage in fisting, and insert gerbils into their rectums. He also agreed with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states marked “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

    • Professional sexist Tucker Carlson misses the point, declares victory on gender pay gap

      Carlson’s misleading portrayal of wage gap research blames pay inequity on women’s career choices

      Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

      Fox News host Tucker Carlson spun new research on the gender pay gap that finds the gap widens for women with children to claim it’s acceptable to pay women less than men because that’s the price of biology. Carlson is a professional sexist who has repeatedly dismissed the gender pay gap, which puts over 70 million women working in the United States at a disadvantage in the workforce.

      On May 13, New York Times correspondent Claire Cain Miller published an article, titled “The Gender Pay Gap Is Largely Because of Motherhood,” outlining the findings of two upcoming studies on the gender wage gap, which conclude that the earnings potential of American women falls in comparison to men as a result of both marriage and motherhood. According to the Times, research from economists Sari Kerr of Wellesley College, Claudia Goldin of Harvard University, Claudia Olivetti of Boston College, and Erling Barth of the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, finds the pay gap between men and women expands as a result of an unequal division of labor outside the workplace that results in women being more likely to pick up “more of the household chores and child care” than their husbands, as well as women being more likely to sacrifice their careers for the sake of their partners. From the Times:

      The big reason that having children, and even marrying in the first place, hurts women’s pay relative to men’s is that the division of labor at home is still unequal, even when both spouses work full time. That’s especially true for college-educated women in high-earning occupations: Children are particularly damaging to their careers.

      But even married women without children earn less, research shows, because women are more likely to give up job opportunities to either move or stay put for their husband’s job. Married women might also take less intensive jobs in preparation for children, or employers might not give them more responsibility because they assume they’ll have babies and take time off.

      [...]

      It is logical for couples to decide that the person who earns less, usually a woman, does more of the household chores and child care, Ms. Kerr said. But it’s also a reason women earn less in the first place. “That reinforces the pay gap in the labor market, and we’re trapped in this self-reinforcing cycle,” she said.

      These new findings add to volumes of existing evidence on the gender pay gap, including research previously highlighted by Miller, who wrote in March 2016 about data showing the professional contribution of women “simply isn’t valued as highly” as work done by men. Indeed, Miller noted that average pay in a particular industry or job sector tends to stagnate or drop when women enter that field -- “for the very same jobs that more men were doing before.”

      The nuances and caveats that determine the complex social interactions affecting men’s and women’s salaries were lost on Fox News, which instead used the Times report to dismiss the gender wage gap. Fox’s Tucker Carlson used the news -- in a classic example of not reading past the headline -- to absurdly claim that the Times “has finally admitted that the gender pay gap has nothing to do with sexism,” and bemoaned a supposed lack of “honesty” from the Times “during the eight years of Obama’s terms when demands to eliminate the sexism-based pay gap were never-ending.” From the May 18 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight:

      Carlson’s declaration of victory ignores a mountain of academic evidence that has concluded women face steep pay inequities compared to men in the U.S. In 2015, the Economic Policy Institute published an analysis showing that women earn less than men across the income spectrum. Similarly, according to data compiled by Glassdoor, the gender gap persists even after accounting for all other professional characteristics. The spring 2017 edition of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) gender pay gap report found that “women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid” in 2015. While the gap “has narrowed since 1960,” women are not expected to “reach pay parity with men” until 2059. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) found that the persistent wage gap as it stood in 2015 would result in an average American woman earning over $400,000 less than an average man “over the course of a 40-year career.” According to a November 2016 report from NWLC, the pay gap for American mothers is even more stark: “Mothers who work outside the home full time, year round typically make just 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.”

      Despite the facts, Fox News has long promoted the myth that the gender pay gap doesn’t exist or is the result of women’s choices in the workplace. Carlson in particular has a history of using his Fox program as a vehicle for misleading characterizations of the movement for pay equity. Even before the notoriously sexist Carlson was promoted to his new prime-time perch, he used his appearances on other Fox programs to proclaim that “women get paid exactly what they’re worth” and bemoan the supposed persecution of working men.

    • How To Remember Roger Ailes

      (As A Liar And Enabler Who Hurt Women)

      Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

      “He went out in such a sad way, but who doesn't have sins? We all have our sins, we all have our cross to bear.”

      That’s how Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt addressed the death of former Fox CEO Roger Ailes on Fox & Friends this morning. A few hours later, Fox News’ Happening Now co-anchor Jon Scott similarly said of Ailes, “Yes, he had his faults. We all do.” The “sins” and “faults” they’re referring to -- the ones “we all have” -- include Ailes’ serial sexual harassment of Fox News employees spanning decades. They also include the creation of a culture, on and off the air, that repeatedly told women that their bodies were not their own, but rather are subject to the sometimes-violent whims of men.

      Roger Ailes hurt women. A lot of women -- probably more than we know. And if those facts are lost in praise about the ways Ailes “forever changed the political and the media landscape,” or reduced to “kind of a sad ending to an incredible career,” it will be another message that those women don’t matter.

      In addition to the incalculable damage Ailes' signature creation has done to the political landscape in this country, his real legacy is the pain he caused for countless people: the 25 women who reported his sexual misconduct and harassment, the employees who were silenced or surveilled by Ailes and his cronies, the women and black employees who were serially harassed by others under Ailes’ watch, the surely many more Fox employees who went to work every day scared, the viewers who watched harassers deliver the news each day with Ailes’ stamp of approval, and the survivors who hear the stories about Ailes’ serial harassment and are reminded of their own pain.

      These are not “sins” that we all have committed; these are atrocities.

      Ailes’ real legacy is the message that if you’re a wealthy, powerful white man, you can hurt as many people as you want and probably get away with it. You can do it for decades, building up an environment where no one even talks about the pain you cause. And when women speak up, you can spy on them, dismiss them, and harass them.

      And when people listen to those women despite your best efforts to stop them, you can walk away with a “tarnished legacy” and an extra $40 million.