David Bossie | Media Matters for America

David Bossie

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  • Fox correspondent channeled network’s opinion side at Barr’s press conference

    Catherine Herridge asked Attorney General Barr what Hannity and Fox & Friends have been demanding: When will he investigate the investigators?

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In yet another blow to the supposed separation between Fox’s “news” side and its opinion hosts and contributors, correspondent Catherine Herridge wasted her question at Attorney General William Barr’s press conference by echoing the demands of Fox & Friends just hours earlier and Hannity the night before: When will he investigate the origins of the probe into the Trump campaign?

    Herridge chose to channel the narrative from Fox’s opinion shows at Barr’s press conference by asking, “Is there anything you can share today about your review of the genesis of the Russia investigation and whether assets have been provided to investigate?”

    This same question was repeatedly raised on Fox News earlier this morning. As the nation awaited the release of Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked, “How soon do we pivot to how this whole thing started?” Before the press conference began, Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy said that Barr should talk about “an inquiry into the origins of the investigation.” Fox & Friends guest and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, misrepresenting what actually took place, said: “We need to hold the people who did that spying accountable.” Fox contributor David Bossie followed that up by saying, “I hope that during this morning's press conference that the attorney general is going to tell the American people that he has impaneled a grand jury to investigate the investigators.” And Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz expressed a desire for Barr to skip past any investigation and go straight to prosecutions.

    All of that was just from this morning’s Fox & Friends. And it was just a continuation of similar absurdity from last night’s Hannity. During his monologue, Sean Hannity said:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The investigations taking place right now in the DOJ, in Congress, are the only thing standing in the way of this country becoming a banana republic. If we don't investigate investigators, lock up the bad actors, this country will be over as we know it. All must be held to account, including those who rigged Hillary's probe, persecuted Trump, spied on a political campaign, tried to rig a presidential election, attempted a deep-state coup on a duly elected president of the United States. If justice is not served, say goodbye to our democratic republic, say goodbye to your freedoms. You can say goodbye to your precious rights endowed by our Constitution and creator, God.

    We must protect also the 99.9% of good people in the FBI, in the intelligence community, that protect the innocent people here and around the globe, premier agencies around the world. It's only 1% that did wrong. We either get equal justice that we deserve, or we’ll have no country.

    Hannity later said, “I want to know what [former President Barack] Obama knew, and [former national security adviser Susan] Rice knew, and [former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper knew, and [former CIA Director John] Brennan knew.”

    His guests followed suit. Republican lawyer Joe diGenova expressed confidence that Barr “will start a process which is going to lead to a series of federal grand juries to hold accountable all the people you are talking about.” GOP attorney Victoria Toensing said “justice will be served” for Trump’s investigators, and Hannity contributor Sara Carter asserted:

    There are a number of indictments that are on the way. There's going to be a very serious investigation into what had happened and what had transpired since the Hillary Clinton investigation by the FBI, all the way through the origins at the very beginning of the investigation into then-candidate Trump and those within his campaign. And this is going to be significant because they are going to look for these origins, and I think -- I agree completely with Joe and with Victoria that it's going to lead all the way back to the White House. And that is what I'm hearing and I'm talking about the Obama administration.

    This narrative has been a fixation among Fox’s opinion hosts -- particularly Hannity, a close Trump adviser -- for months. That it would become the single focus of the Fox correspondent asking a question of the attorney general shows there is no division between Fox’s “news” and its opinion side -- the network is a pro-Trump propaganda outlet, plain and simple.

  • The campaign for the next White House chief of staff is playing out on Fox News

    Some at the network are promoting contributor David Bossie for the gig

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox News is emerging as a key venue for selecting the next White House chief of staff, with potential candidates like Fox contributor and former Trump aide David Bossie and their supporters pitching directly to President Donald Trump through the network’s programming, which he frequently watches.

    Bossie appeared on Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends to discuss reports that he is in the running for the position, talking up his chemistry with the president and drawing an endorsement from co-host Brian Kilmeade.

    Bossie is a right-wing operative with a history of employing dirty tricks and smears against Democrats. His “filthy” tactics drew condemnations from the late President George H.W. Bush and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and led to his forced resignation as top investigator for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after he was caught doctoring transcripts. After spending years running the right-wing political advocacy group Citizens United, Bossie worked as Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016.

    He joined Fox News as a contributor in February 2017, using that platform to offer boilerplate defenses of Trump that were indistinguishable from official White House statements. This past summer, Fox apologized and reportedly suspended Bossie for two weeks after he made a racist comment on air.

    Trump has been floundering since he announced on Saturday that chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving the White House at the end of the month, only to have his presumed replacement, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, turn down the role. Several other reported candidates have also said they are not interested, helping to put Bossie on the shortlist.

    Bossie’s Fox tenure makes him a natural fit for the position given the network’s entwinement with the Trump administration, which is stocked with Fox alums; just last week, Trump selected former Fox & Friends newsreader Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    His Fox colleagues are also giving his bid a boost. Kilmeade described Bossie on Monday as “perfect” for the job, saying that “he understands politics, understands the president, he understands investigations, because he was on the offensive side against Hillary Clinton with great success.”

    On Tuesday, Kilmeade teased an interview with Bossie by saying he “would be my choice” for chief of staff. Later in the program, Bossie made his own case for taking on the role, emphasizing that he is “totally committed to the future of what this next two years of his presidency is about.”

    These Fox & Friends interactions are especially significant because Trump himself regularly watches the program and at times seems to take advice from commentators who appear on the show. On Tuesday, he praised former White House aide Michael Anton for a Fox & Friends appearance in the same episode featuring Bossie’s job interview.

    Kilmeade is not the only Fox personality promoting Bossie’s candidacy. Also on Tuesday, Fox contributor Byron York tweeted that Bossie “might be [the] clear choice” for the role, citing his work investigating the Clinton White House in the 1990s.

    Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) pitched Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for the position during a Monday appearance on Fox, later telling Politico, “I lobbied the president the best way I know how. I made the Meadows case on Fox News.”

  • Right-wing media are defending Rep. Jim Jordan against accusations that he knew about -- and ignored -- sexual abuse at Ohio State University

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been accused of knowing about, and failing to act on, sexual abuse by the team doctor during his tenure as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. Multiple former athletes have accused Dr. Richard Strauss of sexual misconduct and have claimed that Jordan knew or must have known about the abuse yet failed to act.

    Jordan, who is also the co-founder of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, has denied the accusations, claiming he was unaware of any abuse. During a July 6 appearance on Fox News’ Special Report, he was quick to attack multiple accusers, criticized CNN for hosting a former wrestler to discuss the claims, and stoked conspiracy theories by claiming that “the timing” of the accusations “is suspect” because he’s about to launch a campaign for speaker of the House. Allies of the conservative congressman have been equally resolute in their defense, with both President Donald Trump and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) backing Jordan, and the entire Freedom Caucus voting to officially support him.

    Unsurprisingly, right-wing media have also jumped to Jordan’s defense, suggesting that the accusations are no more than a politically motivated smear. Here are some of right-wing media’s defenses:

    • Fox Business host Lou Dobbs criticized Ryan for failing to immediately defend Jordan from “suspiciously timed smear campaigns.” He also called the accusations “a smear campaign of the vilest sort” and said Jordan has been “dishonorably attacked by the left."

    • The Daily Caller ran an article attacking some of the accusers, arguing that their “sketchy history” raises questions about their “authenticity.”

    • Fox News contributor David Bossie tweeted that Jordan is “an honest man of unparalleled integrity” and “the scurrilous allegations against him are absurd - perpetrated by the fake news media and liberals with an agenda to stop Congressman Jordan.”

    • Radio host Wayne Dupree claimed the accusations were a “hit job” and argued that the story “seems like an inside job from our side that doesn't want a conservative becoming Speaker of the House.” He also called the accusations a “sex smear” and said that they have solidified his “unequivocal support” for Jordan.

    • Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter called the accusations “sudden” and “convenient,” claimed multiple times that the story was “bullshit,” blamed the victims, and suggested there was a “coordinated” liberal response to the wrestlers’ claims.

    • Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell said the accusations reek of “dirty tricks” and implied that they were made to derail Jordan’s campaign to join Republican House leadership.

    • During Rush Limbaugh’s July 6 radio show -- titled “With Paul Manafort in Solitary, Deep State Targets Jim Jordan” -- the radio host argued that the accusations against Jordan are just the result of “opposition research” and claimed they emerged “because he’s had a successful interrogation period with [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein and is being mentioned for possible speaker.” Limbaugh also attacked the victims’ histories and stoked conspiracy claims by noting that the “the leading Democrat law firm in all of fascist Democrat America,” Perkins Coie, is investigating the wrestlers’ accusations. Gateway Pundit made similar accusations, blaming the deep state, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) also told Dobbs that the deep state was to blame.

    • The Daily Wire ran an article that called the “timing of these allegations… suspect,” because they have come out only when “Jordan was considering a run to replace Paul Ryan (R-WI) as speaker of the House.”

    • Infowars’ Owen Shroyer claimed “intimidation tactics” were being used against Jordan, argued there are “a bunch of holes in this” story, and said, “It seems to me like this is just another case of the Clinton crime machine trying to intimidate Americans who are standing up to them.”

    • Infowars’ Roger Stone rejected the accusations as a “smear tactic” and “a hit piece” and argued that Jordan is being targeted for his criticism of Rosenstein.

  • Suspended Fox pundit David Bossie has used the network to support Rep. Barbara Comstock

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing commentator David Bossie, who was recently suspended from Fox News for making a racist remark, has used his Fox News position to support the reelection campaign of longtime friend Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

    Bossie is a right-wing operative who has a history of employing dirty tricks and smears. Bossie worked as President Donald Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and joined Fox News as a contributor in February 2017.

    On June 25, Fox News reportedly suspended Bossie for two weeks after he told Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who is Black: “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.” Fox News and Bossie later apologized for the remark.

    In recent weeks, Bossie has used his employment at Fox News to push for Comstock on-air and off-air. The Virginia representative is considered one of the most vulnerable elected Republicans in the country and Republicans such as Bossie have been organizing to help her win in the November election.

    Bossie endorsed Comstock on June 5 and touted his Fox News affiliation in the first sentence, writing: “My name is David Bossie and you might know me from Fox News where I routinely discuss my time as the Deputy Campaign Manager for President Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

    Despite his baggage (both before and after his “cotton-picking mind” remark), Comstock publicizes Bossie’s endorsement on her campaign website. She also highlighted the endorsement in a June 6 Facebook post along with a picture of one of Bossie’s appearances on Fox News. (Comstock’s campaign also spent a small amount of money to promote that post on Facebook, according to the social network’s archive of “ads with political content.”) A Media Matters request for comment to the campaign was not returned.

    Bossie promoted Comstock on Fox News just weeks before his suspension, calling her “a dedicated, principled, member of Congress who does an outstanding job.”

    The June 1 edition of Outnumbered covered an ad that compared President Donald Trump to Osama bin Laden from then-potential Comstock opponent Dan Helmer; Helmer later came in fourth in the Democratic primary. Bossie, who was co-hosting that program, used the ad to praise Comstock and attack her then-potential opponents.

    Bossie began by stating that Comstock is the godmother of his oldest daughter and he’s known the Republican for "about 25-plus years." He said of Comstock: “She is a dedicated, principled, member of Congress who does an outstanding job for the 10th District of Virginia and is going to win this November, hands down. She is in a tough race but she's going to win it.” Bossie added that Helmer and “all of the candidates in this primary, everyone on the Democrat side, have Trump Derangement Syndrome. They are all crazier than the next one. They are all hardcore leftists. And I think Barbara is going to beat whoever wins [the nomination].”

    Bossie has also aided Comstock’s campaign through fundraising efforts for the Virginia Republican Party, which helps elect Republicans throughout the state. He was the “special guest” for the party’s 3rd Annual Commonwealth Dinner in April.

  • Everything right-wing media tried to blame for the Trump administration’s family separation policy

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    As President Donald Trump’s administration implemented a new “zero tolerance” prosecution policy at the border that led to unprecedented and systematic separation of immigrant families and locking kids in cages, right-wing media flailed around trying to blame the administration’s policy on anybody or anything except Trump.

    The president’s media enablers blamed Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, “the law on the book,” Democrats in Congress, the media, the families themselves, and even “the Illuminati of K Street” for the Trump administration’s policy:  

    Blaming the families themselves

    • Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt claimed that families “are choosing to be separated” by coming to the United States in the first place. Co-host Steve Doocy agreed, saying “the part that is troubling ... is the conscious decisions the parents are making” in trying to bring their children to America.

    • Recently pardoned felon Dinesh D’Souza rhetorically questioned whether the “deported aliens” were “the ones choosing to separate their families.”

    • Fox’s David Bossie said that if parents “don’t become criminals, they’re not separated” from their children.

    • Fox’s Tomi Lahren said, “If you do not want to be separated, do not cross the border illegally. Follow our laws, follow the process. That's the best way to ensure that your family stays together.”

    Blaming former presidents

    • Radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed that family separation at the border "is an entirely manufactured crisis. It’s entirely manufactured. This has been going on for years. It happened during the Obama administration."

    • American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp declared, “Obama and Trump have [the] same child protection policy.”

    • Turning Point USA Communications Director Candace Owens falsely claimed that “these policies were in place” during the Obama administration.

    • Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk falsely stated, “All of this happened for 8 years under Obama.”

    • CNN commentator Ben Ferguson shared an image on Facebook that claimed that policies of separating children from “illegal parents” had been in effect since 2009.

    • Breitbart claimed Trump’s “new ‘zero tolerance’ policy worked during the presidency of George W. Bush,” referring to an initiative that began in 2005 and has not worked.

    • Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs stated that “previous presidents, including Bush and Obama, long ignored” family separation at the border until Trump “mov[ed] to stop” the practice.

    • Fox’s Sean Hannity claimed, “This is nothing new and took place in previous administrations as well.”

    • Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said that family separation has been “standard procedure for decades” when you “pick up a group of a hundred people and you have no idea who the hell they are.”

    Blaming a nonexistent law

    Blaming media, claiming they were using family separation as a distraction

    • Fox’s Brian Kilmeade said that Trump’s media detractors “had to reach for something else” after Trump “put a lot of the skeptics to bed … and they found it with the so-called separation of kids and parents.”

    • Rush Limbaugh claimed that media is inundating Americans with “manufactured crises” like family separation to distract from the Department of Justice inspector general report and strong economy.

    • Fox’s Tucker Carlson, host of one of the most racist hours on television, said that reporting on family separation is just the media pursuing their goal “to change your country, forever.”

    • NRATV commentator Dan Bongino claimed that media reporting on family separation is “propaganda, nothing more.”

    • Hannity accused the media of harboring an “obsession” with “the so-called policy” of separating children from their parents in order to mislead Americans.

    • Twitter troll Bill Mitchell predicted, “Every Sunday news show will be about Trump's #FakeNews ‘concentration camps’ and NOTHING about the OIG.”

    • Sinclair Broadcast Group’s propagandist Boris Epshteyn devoted his “must-run” segment on family separation to attacking the media for their “politically driven” attempts “to make it seem as if those who are tough on immigration are somehow monsters.”

    Blaming Democrats, claiming they were using family separation for political ends

    • According to The Gateway Pundit, Democrats “would rather the problem persist so they can continue to wring their hands over another manufactured crisis to distract from the damning IG report and robust economy.”

    • Fox Business’ Stuart Varney complained that Democrats “hijacked” a hearing on the IG report “within seconds of it beginning,” and “poured out [their] scorn for President Trump” instead.

    • Fox’s Trish Regan commented that Democrats “would much rather cry on television like [Rep.] Elijah Cummings [D-MD] did” than stop family separation, because “it plays to any hatred they can gin up, as we go into ‘18, for Donald Trump.”

    • National Review’s David French wrote, “I have a feeling that for some partisans, it’s fascism to impose the policy and fascism to try to end it -- at least so long as the GOP is in charge of the process.”