The Presidency & White House

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  • Fox uses Manchester terror attack by UK native to justify Trump's Muslim ban

    That doesn’t even make sense

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News used a deadly terror attack that killed 22 at a concert in Manchester, England, to advocate for President Donald Trump’s stalled Muslim ban, which would ban travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. But this argument makes no sense given that Trump's ban doesn't apply to citizens and the attack was carried out by a U.K. native who was born in Manchester.

  • Alex Jones criticizes “liberal trendies” who were victims of the Manchester terror attack

    Jones: Victims are “the same people -- god love them -- on average who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a May 22 video posted on Alex Jones’ YouTube channel:

    ALEX JONES: Trump didn’t just sign a deal for $350 billion over the next decade, the first tranche $105 billion to be paid out in the next year by Saudi Arabia and United States in an arms deal. He transferred to them linkage into a threat fusion center, the biggest in the world that’s been publicly shown. They won’t show the NSA and FBI threat fusion centers, they won’t show the CIA ones either, but they showed this giant center and I covered it earlier tonight, it’s on Infowars.com. So they’re transferred the weapons, they’re transferred the technology, they’re transferred access into the surveillance grid. And less than 24 hours after President Trump finishes that speech, a big bomb goes off at a pop star’s rock concert bombing a bunch of liberal trendies. The same people -- god love them -- on average who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.

    Related:

    Alex Jones’ website Infowars broadcasts from the White House press briefing room

    A guide to Donald Trump’s relationship with Alex Jones

  • News reports on Trump's budget highlight human cost of his broken promises

    Budget proposal will include deep cuts to Medicaid and Social Security, programs Trump promised to protect during campaign

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Multiple news outlets have reported on the harsh human toll of President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, which is expected to gut programs that guarantee basic living standards, including parts of Medicaid and Social Security. These cuts directly contradict Trump’s promise to save the programs “without cuts.”

    The White House first hinted at slashing programs that help working- and middle-class Americans on February 26 when, according to Bloomberg, Trump floated proposals to increase defense spending by 10 percent while cutting programs including assistance for low-income Americans while still promising not to touch Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The White House claimed these drastic cuts would help spur economic growth, an absurd claim that was resoundingly ridiculed by economists as “deep voodoo” and “wholly unrealistic.” The administration’s initial budgetary proposals were so drastic and poorly thought out that they stunned many observers and experts. The White House even advocated cutting assistance to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would be particularly harmful to “small-town America,” and Meals on Wheels, which “doesn’t make economic sense” and would cruelly deny millions of elderly Americans basic companionship and a hot meal.

    On May 21, The Washington Post reported that the White House will unveil a formal federal budget proposal that goes even further than the administration’s earlier indications by proposing “massive cuts to Medicaid” and other anti-poverty public assistance programs. On May 22, Axios reported that the president plans to cut $1.7 trillion over 10 years from federal assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which collectively serve tens of millions of people. (Axios incorrectly stated that Trump’s budget plan “won’t reform Social Security or Medicare,” before outlining Trump’s plan to cut SSDI and incorporate massive Medicaid restrictions that would become law if his Obamacare repeal plan is ever enacted.)

    As details of Trump’s budget plan continued to leak, some media outlets explained the devastating consequences for millions of Americans if the White House gets its way and these drastic cuts take effect. They also explained that Trump’s embrace of deep cuts to components of Medicaid and Social Security represent a betrayal of his promises from the campaign.

    CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans explained on the May 22 edition of CNN Newsroom that much of the money being cut from mandatory spending would come from Medicaid, which could see up to a 25 percent reduction in federal funding, pushing the financial burden onto the states and kicking 14 million people off their health insurance programs. Romans mentioned that protecting Medicaid is one of many campaign promises from Trump “that are turning out not to be true.”

    On the May 22 edition of MSNBC Live, host Chris Jansing went even further in breaking down the human toll of Trump’s budget cuts with NBC News senior editor Beth Fouhy and New York Times national reporter Yamiche Alcindor. The show aired part of an interview with a mother of two young children, who told Fouhy that if these cuts are enacted, the costs of care for her child with cerebral palsy will bankrupt her. Then they showed a clip of Trump on the campaign trail proclaiming that he would “save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts.” Alcindor discussed a report she wrote for the Times earlier this month about the human costs of budget cuts that would lead eliminate programs that help provide small communities with access to clean drinking water, drug rehabilitation centers, and jobs programs:

  • 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:

  • On foreign trip, media figures praise Trump as “presidential” for not acting like a child

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Media figures praised President Donald Trump as “presidential” for not yet causing an international controversy on this week’s five-country trip, his first venture out of the country since the inauguration. They said the trip was “uncharacteristically normal” and praised Trump for not sounding “like the guy at the end of the bar popping off.”

  • House Science Committee Dems tell Trump: Stop falling for fake news

    Democrats are alarmed that the president was duped by a climate-denier internet hoax

    Blog ››› ››› LISA HYMAS


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump fell for an internet hoax and popular right-wing myth about global cooling, and that has Democrats on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology worried.

    "We are concerned about the process by which you receive information," seven committee Democrats wrote in a May 18 letter to Trump, first reported by Popular Science. "Disseminating stories from dubious sources has been a recurring issue with your administration."

    The letter cited an anecdote from a May 15 Politico story: Deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland put a printout on the president's desk with two Time magazine covers, one from the 1970s about a "coming ice age" and one from 2006 about climate change. "Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy," Politico reported. "But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an internet hoax that’s circulated for years." The hoax and the broader global cooling myth have been thoroughly discredited.

    That's what you get when you take a Fox News analyst and give her a job she's not qualified for, as was the case with McFarland. "That views on climate change at the highest level of government are being shaped by this nonsense is ... horrific," wrote David Roberts at Vox.

    McFarland, who spouted numerous misleading and bizarre comments during her time at Fox, is so unsuited for her deputy national security adviser position that retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, an accomplished and decorated Navy vet, refused Trump's offer to serve as national security adviser because he didn't want her on his team. McFarland is now slated to be ousted from the National Security Council and nominated as ambassador to Singapore; she has already been "largely sidelined" at the agency, Politico reported, as she waits for a successor to be put in place.

    The committee members' letter also cited examples of Trump "peddling fake news" promoted by right-wing media, like when he charged that there was massive voter fraud in the November 2016 election "after reading about subsequently-debunked 'research' pushed by alt-right websites."

    The representatives offered a suggestion to help Trump avoid being influenced by fake science news: "If you appoint a qualified [Office of Science and Technology Policy] Director, you will have a reliable source of policy advice for matters related to science and technology, which forms the bedrock of our national security and economic power."

    Don't hold your breath. Trump has been removing qualified science advisers, not hiring them.

    Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency dismissed several members of a major scientific review board; administrator Scott Pruitt is considering replacing them with industry representatives. Also, the Interior Department recently froze the work being done by more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and subcommittees, about a third of which work on scientific issues. Meanwhile, dozens of science and technology positions in the administration remain unfilled, and the Trump cabinet is stacked with officials who reject or distort mainstream climate science.

    When the Trump administration does hire science advisers, it prefers the unqualified kind -- like Sam Clovis, a climate-denying radio talk show host with no scientific background, who is Trump's reported pick to serve as chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture. That post is traditionally filled by a scientist with a background in agricultural research.

    Even if Trump did appoint a qualified director for the White House science office, it wouldn't help. He prefers to get his advice from Fox News, right-wing media figures, and conspiracy theorists.