Chuck Holton | Media Matters for America

Chuck Holton

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  • Major neo-Nazi website sees NRA’s recent hard-line messaging as its best hope to kill all Jewish people

    The Daily Stormer: “It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and join up with the country’s single effective pro-white organization intent on fully SMASHING THE JEW”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The Daily Stormer -- a major online hub for racists and anti-Semites that has followers who have committed mass murder -- has been telling its readers to join the National Rifle Association, as the neo-Nazis who run the website see a successful NRA as their best possible hope to see Jewish people subjected to another Holocaust.

    The Daily Stormer has been very pleased with the NRA’s hard-line messaging in the Trump era: As the neo-Nazi website itself notes, the NRA frequently singles out Jews as its political enemies and refuses to condemn anti-Semitic actions taken by members of its leadership. A February 2017 Daily Stormer article explained, “There is basically zero chance that [NRA leader Wayne] LaPierre and others in the top ranks of the NRA aren’t aware of the Jewish issue, especially as it relates to the second amendment. They’ve remained silent on this topic until now, scared of the media power that the Jews possess. But things are changing.”

    The Daily Stormer has frequently promoted NRA membership drives, including repeatedly linking to an NRA recruitment website and claiming,“The number 1 source of new recruits for the NRA has always been the Daily Stormer.”

    In articles posted on the website, Daily Stormer writers implore readers to join the NRA:

    According to The Daily Stormer, “The NRA is the country’s premiere pro-white and anti-Semitic organization. In fact, it is the only right-wing group of any kind in this country to have any success at all in the last 50 years.”

    The Daily Stormer clearly sees the NRA as a tool it can use to instigate wide-scale attacks against Jewish people. Here are a few pro-NRA threatening messages the site has posted:

    The Daily Stormer also posted a meme featuring NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch to threaten, “Our patience has its limits,” writing, “And guess what kikes? Your outrage machine is broken.”

    Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, The Daily Stormer backed the NRA’s calls for arming teachers, writing:

    The Daily Stormer is endorsing a plan to take it a step further, and arm the students as well.

    Say you’re in class, the teacher is writing something on the board, and a Jew pulls out a gun. The teacher has his back to the class and doesn’t see the Jew make his move – but you’re sitting behind him, and you’ve got a clean shot – why shouldn’t you be allowed to take it?

    The Daily Stormer is particularly enamored of five high-profile NRA employees: Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, President Oliver North, national spokesperson Dana Loesch, NRATV host Chuck Holton, and NRA board member Ted Nugent.

    The Daily Stormer has labeled LaPierre “/ourlad/” and “Reichsmarschall,” the highest military rank in Nazi Germany, and favorably called the NRA leader an “anti-Semitic white nationalist.” In particular, the site likes LaPierre because of a speech he gave after the Parkland school shooting in which he called opponents of the NRA “European-style socialists,” which, as The Daily Stormer explained, “everyone acknowledges, means ‘Jews’” or “the gun-grabbing kikes.” The Daily Stormer has favorably mentioned that LaPierre “gave a speech calling out the Jews as gun grabbers,” noted that LaPierre “purposefully pushed for an open war with the Jews,” and written that “he literally put out a Jew list, showing that everyone who disagrees with gun rights is a Jew. And he has to know, too. There is no way you list off a dozen Jews – and not a single goy – without noticing that pattern.” Indeed, LaPierre has frequently targeted Jews during his public remarks.

    In May, The Daily Stormer heaped praise on North after he became president of the NRA. An article on the neo-Nazi website argued, “The NRA just made a great pick for their new head. Great, great pick.” The website described North’s involvement in the Iran-Contra arms trafficking scandal as a positive, writing, “This is one guy who definitely does not give a single fuck about having a license to buy and sell weapons. For those who don’t know – the Iran-Contra ‘scandal’ was a program of selling weapons to Iran and using the money from that to fund communist-killing death squads in Latin America.” The article speculated that as president of the NRA, North could help arm Iran with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that the country could then use against Israel.

    The Daily Stormer also has a lot of praise for NRA national spokesperson Loesch, whom it calls “Princess Dana.” The site praised the gun group for not firing Loesch for her recently resurfaced 2010 tweet that said, “I bet Rick Sanchez was fired by a Jew.” (Sanchez was fired from CNN after he made anti-Semitic remarks about comedian Jon Stewart.) Loesch said that her tweet was meant to be an appeal to poetic justice. The Daily Stormer wrote that instead of firing her, the NRA “doubled-down by giving her a show about how she is going to destroy the Jews,” referencing promotional material for her NRATV show Relentless in which Loesch has threatened members of the media that their “time is running out.”

    The Daily Stormer has also praised Chuck Holton, a correspondent for the NRA’s media operation NRATV. During a July 2017 appearance on NRATV, Holton suggested that Black people were poised to commit mass rape and murder against white people while referencing “what’s happening in South Africa.” In response, The Daily Stormer wrote, “Holy shit! The NRA cited the White Genocide in South Africa as a warning to America!” Holton has a lengthy history of promoting white nationalism and making racist comments, and he has repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that Jewish philanthropist George Soros is behind the migrant caravan traveling through Central America and Mexico -- a remarkably similar theory to the one that inspired a gunman to carry out an anti-Semitic massacre at a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue in October. The site is aware of NRATV and has disturbingly noted, “A NRA tv channel calling out ‘socialist corruption’ 24/7 would be the best thing ever, especially considering that all of these ‘European-style socialists’ are actually Jews.” (Three months after that Daily Stormer article was published and a day after an ISIS terror attack in Manchester, U.K., Holton argued on NRATV that “this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.”)

    The Daily Stormer also lauded NRA board member Ted Nugent for sharing an anti-Semitic meme on Facebook without repercussions from the NRA, writing, “I’ve gotta give it to Ted. I expected an apology within hours. Instead he is just straight trolling these Jews. It’s fantastic.” In February, a Daily Stormer article defending the NRA as a friendly home for anti-Semites brought up the incident: “Remember another NRA spokesperson, Ted Nugent, posted that one meme a couple years ago… So, the NRA knows and the Jews know the NRA knows, and both sides want to escalate that.”

    The NRA’s recent adoption of more extreme messaging tactics is not lost on The Daily Stormer. As the neo-Nazis who run the website cheered in a March article, “The NRA is done with euphemisms.”

  • The far-right continues to spread the conspiracy theory that inspired the synagogue shooter

    The notion that Jews are behind a nefarious plot to engineer a migrant invasion is still circulating in right-wing media

    Blog ››› ››› TALIA LAVIN


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In the month since a far-right gunman massacred 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue, seemingly driven by a conspiracy theory that Jews were orchestrating an invasion of the United States by migrants, this deadly false narrative has continued to spread as a talking point on right-wing platforms.

    The alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, used social media site Gab (a “haven for white nationalists”) to post a derogatory statement about Jewish refugee-resettlement organization HIAS. He accused the organization of bringing “invaders” into the U.S. before unleashing his deadly attack against those worshipping inside the Tree of Life synagogue. And when he was captured, he claimed Jews were “committing genocide” of his people. Since the deadly incident, rhetoric accusing Jews of committing so-called “white genocide” by supporting immigration into the United States seems to continue to proliferate unchecked.

    This week, a Twitter account called @InvasionPlot cropped up and began posting photos and names of Jewish scholars, journalists, student activists, and public officials, among others, and highlighting the individuals’ pro-immigrant and pro-refugee views. The Twitter bio says “this didn’t happen by accident,” and the account garnered thousands of followers before it was suspended.

    Sociologist Philip N. Cohen noted that after he was targeted by the account, his mentions were swamped with neo-Nazis and anti-Semites:

    The Twitter account’s emergence is far from an isolated incident. The false narrative that Jews are orchestrating an invasion of migrants to alter demographics is tightly linked to sensationalized news coverage of a caravan of migrants and asylum-seekers currently situated in Tijuana, Mexico. On the white supremacist message board Stormfront, a user postulated that immigration is a Jewish plot to murder “innocent White Children.”

    Posts on Gab, the forum the alleged synagogue shooter used, continue to assert that the migrant caravan is controlled by Jews and that Jews are orchestrating an “invasion of Europe” by Muslim immigrants.

    But the conspiracy theory has not remained confined to the extremist right, or to the fringes of the internet. On Gab, users have attempted to pin the purported plot behind the caravan on Jewish philanthropist George Soros.

    Similarly, on right-wing media, the same tactic has continued to spread, with President Donald Trump elevating this anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in October. On November 13, Ami Horowitz, a guest on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, speculated that “Soros is part” of the carvan, noting that this whole thing cost millions and millions of dollars.”

    And on November 16, NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton laid out the conspiracy theory in stark terms: “It didn’t take a whole lot ... to find a pretty direct link between George Soros money and the people in the caravan getting fed.”

    Despite clear evidence that this very conspiracy theory already inspired a massacre, the false notion that Jews are orchestrating an “invasion” of the United States doesn’t seem to be disappearing from right-wing media -- and it may inspire violence again.

  • NRATV tells people to run at active shooters

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton irresponsibly advised people who find themselves in an active shooter situation to charge the gunman and “take him out” as the first course of action. This potentially deadly advice is contrary to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines, which advise people in an active shooter situation to first attempt to escape, then hide and make barricades if escape is not possible, and finally “as a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate” the gunman.   

    During the November 27 edition of NRATV’s Relentless, host and National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch highlighted a Northwestern University training video based on the DHS guidelines that urges students and faculty to first run if they hear gunshots, to hide if running isn’t feasible, and to fight “as a last resort.” Loesch specifically focused on the “fight” portion of the video, criticizing the suggestions of using “anything you can use as a weapon,” such as a fire extinguisher, during a “last resort” situation.

    Holton took particular issue with the “linear thinking” of run, hide, fight and called it “run, hide, and die,” arguing that victims will be waiting for their “turn to get a bullet to the head.” (Holton, in fact, misrepresented the guidelines, which do call for physically confronting the gunman as a last resort when other better options are exhausted and do not advocate waiting around to die.) He claimed, “It says a lot about our culture that we’re not training our sons that you need to be the hero” and instead suggested, “You find the guy that is hurting other people, you go after him, and you take him out.” Holton also added that if “you are a capable male in the American population, then your mindset should not be run, hide, and then fight. It should be find, fix, and finish,” apparently excusing women from his erroneous advice.

    CHUCK HOLTON (NRATV CORRESPONDENT): Look, I sit on the board of a company that does security training around the country and around the world. And I can tell you that people do want the ability to be able to protect themselves. But today’s culture kind of trains that out of them. And it says, “No, no, no, no, you can’t do that. Only people who are qualified and trained can do anything.” One of the things that they’re even seeing problems with in the U.S. military today is that guys are coming into the military that have literally never enforced their physical will on another being in their life. And so they don't have any idea how to do that. They’ve been taught in a zero-tolerance school for violence at all. And that’s not necessarily bad except for the fact that this is what you end up with.

    Now, look, instead of run, hide, and die, which is essentially what they’re training them to do -- I mean, if you think about it, if you are training them -- we didn’t get to show the rest of that video that Northwestern put out -- but the first two-thirds of that video is all about how to run away and how to hide. Look, if you’re in a wheelchair or you’re not capable, well, OK, fine. But if that is the linear thinking that we’re going to engage in, run and hide, then people are going to literally be waiting to die in a situation like that. They’re going to be coming in and just basically, go, hide, and wait your turn to get a bullet to the head. Every second in a situation like that, that you wait, somebody else is dying. And I think it says a lot about our culture that we’re not training our sons that you need to be the hero in this situation.

    Look, being a hero is chosen for you very often. You didn’t wake up that day, just like Col. [Oliver] North says, and think, “I’m going to be a hero today.” You’ve gotta be trained and prepared to be a hero every day. And one of the things I trained my sons is that wherever you go, people should be safer because you are there. And that means that if you find yourself in a situation like this and you are a capable male in the American population, then your mindset should not be run, hide, and then fight. It should be find, fix, and finish. That is, you find the guy that is hurting other people, you go after him, and you take him out. You do whatever you have to do. And if somebody’s got to die, you stand up and you go, “I am the one that’s willing to die today rather than Dana Loesch or that lady over there or that little kid. I am the one that’s willing to -- I am that man that’s is going to go in and take that guy out.” And I think we need to train our boys more in that line of thinking.  

    In reality, Holton’s irresponsible advice goes against DHS guidelines in its “Active Shooter: How To Respond” guide, which specifically tells people not to seek out the gunman as a first measure.

  • Confronted with photographs of tear-gassed children, far-right media cry hoax

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    After news outlets published disturbing images of migrant children suffering the effects of tear gas fired by the U.S. Border Patrol at the Mexican border, an effort has emerged in far-right media circles to defend the indefensible by calling the photographs “staged.”

    Border Patrol agents fired tear gas at a group of roughly 500 migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border near the San Ysidro Port of Entry on November 25. CNN reported that “video of the scene showed a cloud of tear gas that sent people running and screaming, including families with young children.” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen attempted to justify Border Patrol’s actions by claiming that some migrants “attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them.”

    Some members of far-right media quickly responded to the incident by questioning the veracity of photographs showing children fleeing the tear gas.

    Disreputable website The Gateway Pundit published an article claiming that “the illegal alien mother ‘fleeing’ from the border wall was all a lie. It was a setup.” Calling the photograph a “hoax,” the article bizarrely argued that the border incident was a “photo-op” because the pictures show other people not running and some with cameras in the background.

    Gateway Pundit owner Jim Hoft promoted the article, which was authored by his brother Joe, on Twitter:

    Chuck Holton, a correspondent for the National Rifle Association’s NRATV operation, claimed that the photo was “staged” in a general sense “by people who helped this woman and her kids travel 1500 miles, by a media who encouraged her dangerous trek, by leftist orgs who assisted, facilitated and goaded her to take her children to a violent mob riot.”

    Holton, who has a lengthy history of promoting white nationalism and making racist comments, had repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that philanthropist George Soros was behind the migrant caravan -- a remarkably similar theory to the one that inspired a gunman to carry out last month’s massacre at a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue.

    Holton’s NRATV colleague Grant Stinchfield claimed during a November 26 NRATV broadcast that the image is “propaganda at its best” and that “this whole thing was a set up job and the media complied.”

    The claim that the photographs from the tear gas incident were staged is also gaining traction on the far-right cesspool 4chan:

  • NRATV attempts to blame the media after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting despite pushing similar conspiracy theories as the gunman

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Grant Stinchfield, host of the National Rifle Association's media outlet, NRATV, said he felt “disgust” for the “devious media and the liberals they serve,” who he said blame the shooting at a synagogue in Pennsylvania on “everything but themselves and ... the shooter.” Stinchfield conveniently ignored the fact that NRATV relentlessly pushed conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan that were similar to those the gunman embraced.

    On October 27, a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault weapon and three handguns opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing 11 people and wounding six others, making this the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. The gunman frequently posted on the far-right social media network Gab, where he repeatedly threatened the Jewish community and spread conservative conspiracy theories about a migrant caravan of refugees headed for the U.S. Specifically, the gunman pushed the conspiracy theory that Jews are behind the caravan.

    While not mentioning any of the gunman’s right-wing conspiracy theories, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield accused the media of trying to play the “blame game” and said that “devious media and the liberals they serve want to blame everyone and everything but themselves” for the shooting. He went on to claim President Donald Trump and NRATV “have never issued calls for violence” and said, “It’s Democratic leaders who make room for antifa to riot and call on Trump haters to harass his supporters.” During his comments on the October 29 edition of Stinchfield, he also called the victims of the attack “pawns now in the game to destroy our president and his party just days before the midterms”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): When I look at the face of the devil, in a man that decided to take 11 lives simply because of their faith, I get angry. So many emotions rush through my mind -- grief for the victims, sadness for their families and a world where far too many killers among us. But I also feel disgust. Disgust for the media and the political propaganda they spread just moments after a deadly, heinous crime. It’s not just the calls for gun control and so-called assault weapons bans, but it’s the blame game that makes me angry. The devious media and the liberals they serve want to blame everyone and everything but themselves and of course the shooter, who is ultimately responsible. This time the blame reached an all-time low. Over and over again, the media from the anti-Trumpers on Meet the Press to everyone on CNN and beyond pushed this bogus, insane idea that somehow President Trump is responsible for a deranged lunatic going on a killing spree inside a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    STINCHFIELD: It is absolutely shameful. Shameful. 11 people dead, injured law enforcement, all pawns now in the game to destroy our president and his party just days before the midterms. President Trump has never issued a call for violence and they know it. We as conservatives, we at NRATV have never issued calls for violence either. Yet they have the gall to blame President Trump for this shooting when it’s Democratic leaders who make room for antifa to riot and call on Trump haters to harass his supporters.

    In actuality, NRATV hosts themselves have repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan; NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton claimed during an October 19 NRATV broadcast that “a bevy of left-wing groups are partnering with a Hungarian-born billionaire [George Soros] and the Venezuelan government to try to influence the 2018 midterms by sending Honduran migrants north” in a caravan. Soros is a prominent Jewish philanthropist who frequently makes donations to liberal and progressive causes.

    During another recent NRATV appearance, Holton falsely claimed that Soros was funding the caravan and said that he is “an expert at sowing chaos and discord around the world.” Holton went on to say that Soros’ views are “at odds with civilization as a whole” and said, “The guy really makes a kind of perfect Bond villian, don’t you think? This socialist anti-gun, anti-American agenda is nothing short of apocalyptic.”

    During yet another segment Holton hosted, NRATV showed a picture of Soros above a chyron that said, “Immigrant Caravan: Who’s Paying The Bill?”

    Both Holton and Stinchfield have referred to the caravan as an “invasion,” which is also how the gunman characterized it.

  • NRATV correspondent downplays attempted bombing of George Soros’ New York home

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Chuck Holton, a correspondent for the National Rifle Association’s NRATV, dismissed an incident in which a bomb was left in financier and philanthropist George Soros’ mailbox by suggesting he doesn’t check his own mail anyway.

    According to police, on October 22, a caretaker of Soros’ residence opened the package and found the device, which did not explode; police later “proactively detonated” it. The case has been turned over to the FBI. Soros was not home at the time of the incident.

    Soros has made numerous donations to liberal and progressive causes, including a 2010 donation to Media Matters. The attempted bombing occurred during a time when Soros has been increasingly targeted by anti-Semitic smears and other attacks, including the evidence-free claim that he is funding a caravan of migrants from Central America.

    Holton downplayed the seriousness of the incident when he retweeted a Voice of Europe article about it and wrote, “I seriously doubt George Soros checks his own mail”:

    Holton has a history of launching unhinged attacks against Soros, including pushing the falsehood that the philanthropist was paying the “fines” of protesters arrested at the Supreme Court during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling Soros the “AntiChrist,” and saying he’s “depraved” and will “spend eternity in darkness.”

    His tweet downplaying the attempted bombing comes after Holton spread conspiracy theories about Soros in several NRATV appearances, including claiming “a bevy of left-wing groups are partnering with [Soros] and the Venezuelan government to try to influence the 2018 midterms by sending Honduran migrants north” in a caravan.

  • “It seemed pretty dangerous”: Right-wing and pro-Trump media lash out at Kavanaugh confirmation hearing protesters

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Members of the right-wing and pro-Trump media -- typically the self-proclaimed vanguards of “free of speech” -- are lining up to attack protesters who are exercising their First Amendment rights by voicing their opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. They’ve attacked protesters as “venomous” and “dangerous” and even leveled sexist digs at female protesters, saying that they “are showing how truly ugly women can be.”

  • NRATV ignored the Jason Washington shooting in its live updates for a week straight

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Over the past week, NRATV, the National Rifle Association’s broadcast outlet, covered a litany of stories during its hourly live updates but ignored the police shooting of a Black veteran who had a license to carry a concealed weapon in Portland, OR.

    Billed as “live news updates,” NRATV’s Stinchfield airs for 10 minutes at the top of every hour, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Throughout the past week, the show failed to report that Portland State University campus police shot and killed 45-year-old Jason Washington outside a local bar on June 29. Washington was trying to break up a fight and dropped his legally owned firearm on the ground. According to CNN, police officers can be heard in a witness video shouting “drop the gun” repeatedly before firing several shots. The university released a statement that same day confirming that the Portland Police Bureau has launched an investigation into the shooting and that the two officers involved are on “paid administrative leave.”

    The show did, however, cover a range of other stories, including:

    The “Abolish ICE” movement:

    The “utter disgrace” of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:

    The border situation:

    “Pretty little socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

    Protests on the Fourth of July:

    Immigrants being discharged from the military:

    NRA spokesperson and NRATV host Dana Loesch mentioned the shooting twice during her hour-long show, Relentless, but during both segments she implied that Washington could have avoided the killing by not getting involved in the situation. During the first segment, on the July 2 edition of her show, Loesch referred to the incident as “tragic” but said she was “never going to keyboard quarterback what police are doing” and asked, “Should he have been in that position, even though he was being a good samaritan, because he was carrying?” During the second segment, on July 3, Loesch asked her guest, “Should someone be doing that [intervening in a fight] if they’re concealed carrying and it doesn’t look like this is going to disrupt into something fatal?” and the guest replied, “No, no, no.” Loesch also said, “When police are already there on scene, I think you have to question, do you need to be involved anymore at that point?”

    Loesch’s comments are similar to remarks she made after 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot during a traffic stop. Loesch said at the time that Castile did not deserve “to lose his life over a stop” and the incident was “awful and avoidable,” but she also implied that Castile was partially to blame by highlighting missteps she said he made such as not having his handgun permit visible.