Larry O'Connor | Media Matters for America

Larry O'Connor

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  • Fox Business smears White House reporter for playing audio of crying detained children

    Larry O'Connor complains reporters covering Trump's family separation policy are "short on facts," but he misrepresents the ProPublica article he's criticizing

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    An audio recording from ProPublica of young detained children at the border crying out for their parents, along with Border Patrol agents apparently joking about the children’s cries, received widespread attention after it was released on June 18. A Fox Business segment went after New York magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi for playing the audio during a White House press briefing, with the host at first criticizing it as “unverified” before his guest slimed reporters in general and then lied about the ProPublica story accompanying the audio.

    The Trump administration enacted a new policy of prosecuting everyone who crosses the border without authorization and has taken the children away from family groups that cross the border and detained them separately from their parents. Conservative media have been scrambling to lie about it, downplay the effect of sticking young children in camps away from their parents, and even justify it by preying on racial fears. And on the June 19 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Company, guest Larry O’Connor smeared “political reporters here in Washington” for “finding a slimier place in the gutter to dwell” by covering this Trump policy, especially for playing the ProPublica audio. He accused reporters of being “short on facts” on this issue, before lying about ProPublica’s coverage:

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced the press, called on Congress to act. One reporter played the sound of migrant children crying -- the audio of course not verified, but it was played anyway in the middle of a press conference … . Joining us now, Washington Times associate editor Larry O'Connor. Larry, I see plenty of emotion from the media and from Democrats, but I do not see any of them offering a solution. What say you?

    LARRY O'CONNOR: Yeah. And they're also short on facts. You know, Stuart, the moment you think that the political reporters here in Washington have reached the lowest depths of cynical deceit in their campaign against this president, they find a slimier place in the gutter to dwell, and we saw that yesterday in this press briefing. That audio that they played -- first of all, it’s completely unverified, those children who were crying, except for one child. ProPublica obtained this audio, they published it, and if you dive deep into their article, tons of paragraphs down to the bottom, they talk about this one El Salvadoran girl that is on this tape. Well, yeah, she was separated by her parents. Her parents actually separated her from themselves. They gave this girl to a smuggler, a human smuggler in El Salvador, and sent her on this 2,000-mile treacherous, deadly journey to America. That's not the Americans government, that's not the Trump administration. We need some facts in this. This is an important issue. There are children at stake. But all of the mess and the noise that we're getting from journalists, that's not helping anything.

    Contrary to O'Connor’s allegation, the ProPublica article makes clear that the 6-year-old girl's parents did not "separate her from themselves" -- the Trump administration’s new policy did that. According to the girl's aunt, the girl was with her mother the entire journey until they got to the border and were separated there.

    From the article (emphasis added):

    The aunt said what made the call even more painful was that there was nothing she could do. She and her 9-year-old daughter are seeking asylum in the United States after immigrating here two years ago for the exact same reasons and on the exact same route as her sister and her niece. They are from a small town called Armenia, about an hour’s drive northwest of the Salvadoran capital, but well within reach of its crippling crime waves. She said gangs were everywhere in El Salvador: “They’re on the buses. They’re in the banks. They’re in schools. They’re in the police. There’s nowhere for normal people to feel safe.”

    She said her niece and sister set out for the United States over a month ago. They paid a smuggler $7,000 to guide them through Guatemala, and Mexico and across the border into the United States. Now, she said, all the risk and investment seem lost.

    The aunt said she worried that any attempt to intervene in her niece’s situation would put hers and her daughter’s asylum case at risk, particularly since the Trump administration overturned asylum protections for victims of gang and domestic violence. She said she’s managed to speak to her sister, who has been moved to an immigration detention facility near Port Isabel, Texas. And she keeps in touch with her niece, Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid, by telephone. Mother and daughter, however, have not been able to speak to one another.

    O’Connor concluded the segment by asserting that “the facts are still on the President’s side.” It’s unclear which facts he was referring to.

  • Trump repeats right-wing radio host’s call for FBI and DOJ to investigate Clinton

    During interview, Trump complained “the saddest thing” about being president is not being able to interfere with the Justice Department

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a series of tweets on November 3, President Donald Trump repeated a claim made by right-wing radio host Larry O’Connor during his interview with the president on November 2 that listeners “keep asking … for the Justice Department to really, truly, honestly investigate Hillary Clinton [and] Uranium One. They don’t feel like justice has really been done there.”

    In the tweets, Trump asserted, “Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems,” including the repeatedly debunked Uranium One story and her private email server. Trump added, “At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!”

    Trump’s tweets often echo things he sees or hears on right-wing media, particularly from segments or ads that air on Fox & Friends.

    From the November 2 edition of Cumulus Media’s The Larry O’Connor Show:

    LARRY O’CONNOR (HOST): Whenever I open up the phone lines here in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, Pennsylvania, here in the greater Washington area, say “what do you want the administration to be doing, what do you want the president to be doing.” This may shock you. One of the things they keep asking for is for the Justice Department to really, truly, honestly investigate Hillary Clinton, the Uranium One. They don’t feel like justice has really been done there. And they really want -- and the leaks, by the way. The leaks, what’s stopping the Justice Department? And they really want --

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: One of the saddest --

    O’CONNOR: And the leaks, by the way. The leaks, what’s stopping the Justice Department?

    TRUMP: Well, the leaks have stopped from the White House, pretty much. But they are all over Washington. They have been for years. And some of the leaks are really, very, very bad leaks. They’re bad for our country.

    O’CONNOR: They illegal. They’re criminal, criminal.

    TRUMP: But, you know, the saddest thing is that, because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I'm very frustrated by it. I look at what's happening with the Justice Department. Why aren't they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her -- the dossier? And the kind of money -- I don't know, is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier? And how was that, which is total phony, fake.

    O’CONNOR: It's a fraud.

    TRUMP: And how was it used? And it’s very discouraging to me -- I'll be honest, I'm very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn't going. Now, maybe they are. But you know as president, and I think you understand this, as a president you are not supposed to be involved in that process. But hopefully they are doing something. And at some point, maybe we are going to all have it out.

  • Former Breitbart Employees Slam Bannon’s “Nightmare” New Role In Trump Campaign

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Former Breitbart News staffers are slamming the announcement that Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon will serve as the new “chief executive” of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign. Several former staffers are calling out the “pathetic and disgusting” relationship between the outlet and the Trump campaign and are calling for greater scrutiny of Bannon’s leadership at Breitbart News and his relationship with Trump.

  • “The Fix Is In:” Conservative Media Decries F.B.I.’s Recommendation Of No Criminal Charges In Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures are claiming that the “coverup is on” following FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau will not recommend criminal charges to the Department of Justice in the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Conservative commentators have previously lauded Comey for his “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation, while legal experts and media figures have predicted that no criminal charges would be brought forward in the case.

  • Right-Wing Media Distort Hillary Clinton's Comments About Libya Intervention

    Conservative Media Follow RNC Lead In Smearing Clinton For Accurately Stating No Americans Died In Military Campaign To Oust Gadhafi

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ, TYLER CHERRY & BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing media figures are distorting a comment made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a MSNBC town hall, where Clinton said "we didn't lose a single person" during the 2011 U.S. military intervention in Libya. Conservative commentators parroted the GOP in berating Clinton for allegedly "forgetting" about the four Americans who were killed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks, when in reality Clinton was referring only to the military intervention in Libya, which ended nearly a year before the Benghazi attacks.

  • Breitbart.com Runs With Satirical Story About Krugman Filing For Bankruptcy

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Breitbart.com ridiculed Paul Krugman for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in a since-deleted post whose claims originated with a satire website. Just last month, Breitbart.com castigated a news outlet for running with a story from that same website.

    In the March 11 post, Breitbart.com editor at large Larry O'Connor mocked the Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist for his alleged financial mismanagement. Unfortunately for O'Connor, the report that Krugman went bankrupt is clearly a joke and originated from the satirical website The Daily Currant. O'Connor has since deleted the post without explanation. (Update: O'Connor tweeted, saying he "trusted Boston.com as the source for that Krugman piece, but they were duped by Daily Currant, therefore, so was I!")

    In his post, O'Connor jabbed Krugman for supposedly spending "$84,000 in one month" on Portuguese wines and "a dress from the Victorian period," and concluded that "apparently this Keynsian [sic] thing doesn't really work on the micro level." O'Connor sourced the report to a Boston.com post written by "Prudent Investor." The post by "Prudent Investor" sources an Austrian website, which reprinted the original Daily Currant story. (Update: Boston.com appears to have deleted the story.)

    Just last month, the Breitbart team laid into the Washington Post when the paper's website adopted a satirical story about Sarah Palin from Daily Currant. In a post about the snafu, Breitbart blogger John Nolte ripped the paper for not letting "facts get in the way of a good Narrative." According to Nolte, if Post blogger Suzi Parker "had a shred of self-awareness, integrity, and dignity, she would have changed the headline to 'Too Good To Check,' and under it posted an essay about how shallow, smug, bitterly angry partisanship can blind you to common sense."

    But when his website ran with a too good to check story about Paul Krugman, they merely deleted the post without explanation.

    O'Connor is scheduled to participate in the "CPAC 2013 All Star Panel" at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference.

  • Fox Still Wrong About Income From Capital Gains: It's Still Income

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News, still fighting hard to protect the wealthy, continued today to attack President Obama's plan for deficit reduction on the grounds that once a person has paid income taxes, they should never be required to pay any more taxes on that money, ever again. Fox figures continued to pretend that income made from capital gains is somehow not income, unlike the money middle-class Americans earn from working at their jobs. This is not true. They are, in fact, both income.

    Fox's recent defend-the-rich push was sparked by Obama's announcement of a deficit reduction plan of $3 trillion that would call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, mostly on the wealthy. The plan was said to be guided by the so-called "Buffett Rule," named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who argued in a recent New York Times op-ed that he should not pay taxes at a lower rate than his employees -- as he currently does.

    Fox's spin on capital gains income began yesterday on Fox & Friends, with a bungled and confusing exchange between co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. Doocy complained, on Buffett's behalf, that not only has Buffett "already paid 35 percent" on the money he's put into the stock market, but he must also pay capital gains tax on money he makes from buying and selling stocks.

  • Geller: If You Follow "Pure Islam, Then You Support Jihad"

    Blog ››› ››› HARDEEP DHILLON

    Pamela Geller is not backing down from her Islamophobic hate speech. Last week, Pamela Geller joined Larry O'Connor on his radio show, The Stage Right Show. O'Connor who serves as editor-in-chief of Breitbart.tv, tried to help her disguise her anti-Islamic rhetoric, asking her: "But seriously, Pamela Geller I just want to be clear on this: You believe that a person is capable of being a devout Muslim and be a completely peaceful and loving person, right? You don't think that if you're Muslim, de facto, you're a violent jihadi?"

    But Geller was unable to agree with that point. The first word out of her mouth was "no," but immediately after that, she made clear that she does not believe that a believer in what she termed "pure Islam" can be peaceful:

    GELLER: No. I don't believe that. But I do believe that if you're a follower of traditional Islam, of pure Islam, then you support jihad. And that's not my opinion so much as you see in the recent Gallup poll and you see in the Pew polls that the most devout country, and specifically, of course, Pakistan and so forth. Look, they overwhelmingly supported Osama Bin Laden. And, you know, was disapproving of what America had done in taking him out. And even in the U.K., you see that 35 percent support homicide bombings. Look, there's a problem, not with all Muslims, no.

    But there is a problem. And we are not allowed to talk about it? I understand that people say, you know, "don't broad brush all." I don't. But by the same token, forgive me for not patting every single person on the back who doesn't take up -- doesn't strap one on. I don't think it's necessary to do that. I expect people not to kill other people. I expect a certain modicum of humanity. Yes, and respect for the Golden Rule. Even though there's no Golden Rule in Islam, I do believe that do unto others is a basic human -- irrespective of religion -- a basic tenet of humanity, okay. I don't believe in patting people on the back for not killing me. Sorry, Larry, I'm not going to do that.

    Geller has been trying to scrub some of the more incendiary parts of her record in response to the bombing in Norway, which she initially blamed on Muslims. But apparently, when given an engraved invitation to declare that she does not, in fact, believe that devout Muslims can be peaceful, she can't bring herself to accept it.