Lou Dobbs | Media Matters for America

Lou Dobbs

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  • Right-wing media figures have led Trump's purge of Department of Justice officials they perceive as threatening

    Here’s who they have left

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & GRACE BENNETT

    Right-wing media have consistently lined up behind Donald Trump to defend him against any and all allegations regarding Russian interference in the presidential election. Led primarily by Fox News and primetime host Sean Hannity, right-wing media figures have denounced, undermined, or maligned Department of Justice and FBI officials involved in the broader Russia investigation since it began. 

  • The Fox propagandists urging Trump to criminally investigate Robert Mueller

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    NBC News reported today that President Donald Trump has been “talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting” special counsel Robert Mueller and members of his team on unstated charges as part of the administration’s effort to discredit and defang the Russia investigation. One Trump adviser explained to the network, “Here's how it would work: 'We're sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won't be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury.’"

    Several of Trump’s closest media allies, similarly seeking to protect the president by undermining the Mueller probe, have been declaring Mueller guilty of crimes and calling for his arrest and prosecution for months.

    On May 19, 2017 -- just two days after Mueller was announced as special counsel -- Fox judicial analyst Gregg Jarrett wrote that Mueller should resign because he had a conflict of interest in violation of the law governing the special counsel. The conflict, per Jarrett, was that “He and [former FBI director James] Comey are good friends and former colleagues who worked hand-in-hand at the FBI and Department of Justice. Agents will tell you they were joined at the hip.”

    This is apparently nonsense -- Mueller and Comey were longtime colleagues but not personally close, and experts say the relationship does not rise to the level of an illegal conflict of interest.

    Nonetheless, Jarrett’s claims found a ready audience with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who repeatedly cited his theory while arguing that Mueller had broken “not one, but two laws” and needed to resign or be fired. The Fox host has also regularly denounced Mueller’s team as a “Democratic hit squad,” suggesting the team members have a multitude of conflicts of interest of their own.

    Hannity -- who has spent much of the past year defending Trump from the Russia probe and denouncing his foes in increasingly vitriolic terms -- has the ear of the president, who regularly calls Hannity after his nightly broadcast.

    Then there’s Jeanine Pirro, a former district attorney and current Fox host who is a friend of the president and was interviewed for the deputy attorney general slot during Trump’s transition. During a November meeting with the president and his top aides in the Oval Office, she reportedly blasted Sessions for not investigating the Uranium One pseudoscandal, urging the appointment of a special counsel to handle the matter.

    Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has claimed that a Uranium One special counsel would be the key to ending the Mueller investigation, because the incident occurred while he was the head of the FBI and Mueller “can’t be a special prosecutor when he himself is under investigation.” Experts say this doesn’t really make sense -- unless Mueller was the target of the second special counsel’s probe.

    Pirro has repeatedly called for a criminal investigation of Mueller on Fox. Discussing Uranium One during an October appearance on Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite morning show, she said that Sessions “needs to do a grand jury” because Mueller “is totally conflicted.” She also criticized Mueller during a December rant in which she asserted: “There is a cleansing needed in our FBI and Department of Justice. It needs to be cleansed of individuals who should not just be fired but need to be taken out in handcuffs."

    Then there’s the Fox Business host the president calls “the great Lou Dobbs.” “A call for the firing of Robert Mueller no longer really truly satisfies any call for accountability,” Dobbs said on December 4, adding that Mueller and a few others “should be the subjects of criminal investigations and held fully accountable for crimes against the sitting president and the voters who supported them.”

    The president’s media allies have also urged him to fire Mueller, and demanded the firing or imprisonment of key Justice Department and FBI leaders.

    A presidential demand for a criminal investigation into a prosecutor investigating his own conduct would be a step down the dark path toward authoritarianism. It would also fly in the face of long-standing protocols that seek to ensure the rule of law by firewalling the Justice Department’s investigations from White House dictates.

    But given Trump’s reported inability to “understand why he cannot simply give orders to ‘my guys’ at what he sometimes calls the ‘Trump Justice Department,’” and his past attempts to pressure senior law enforcement officials to do his bidding and fire those who refuse, the sanctity of those protocols can no longer be guaranteed.

    Tonight, the president will reportedly address the need to “see our country united” during the State of the Union speech. His media allies will be cheering him on -- and hoping that the next day brings a renewed push to purge the law enforcement apparatus of those insufficiently loyal to the president.

  • "Secret society," "missing texts," and other salvos from the pro-Trump media's conspiracy war

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A pair of interconnected conspiracy theories designed to undermine the FBI and the special counsel’s investigation of President Donald Trump’s administration were concocted by the president’s Republican congressional allies, championed by the pro-Trump media, and then promptly fell apart this week.

    The conservative hysteria revolved around text messages during the 2016 presidential campaign between high-ranking FBI agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead federal investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the links between Russia and Trump’s campaign, and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was reportedly having an extramarital affair. Some of those messages included criticism of Trump (leading to Strzok’s removal from the special counsel’s investigation over the summer). The president’s allies have seized on newly released texts as part of their effort to undermine the Mueller investigation, baselessly citing them as evidence of improper “deep state” bias against the president. Meanwhile, they have largely ignored other texts that dramatically undermine that conspiracy theory.

    In this latest salvo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported on Monday that while more than 50,000 text messages had been exchanged between the two officials, the FBI’s system had not retained the messages for the period between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017. The same day, Republican members of Congress claimed in interviews with Fox News that one of the available text messages included a reference to “the first meeting of the secret society.”

    Armed with those two facts,Trump’s media allies went wild, suggesting that an FBI “secret society” was targeting the president and that the missing messages had been deliberately deleted to cover up the effort. “People at the highest level in the DOJ and the FBI ... must be investigated, they must be indicted, and probably many of them thrown in jail,” Sean Hannity said on Tuesday night. “There needs to be serious ramifications if we are going to save our country.” Fox Business host Lou Dobbs argued that it “may be time to declare war outright against the deep state, and clear out the rot in the upper levels of the FBI and the Justice Department.” “I’ve said it before - THEY NEED TO BE TAKEN OUT IN CUFFS,” Fox’s Jeanine Pirro tweeted.

    The stories became a leading fixation on Fox News throughout the day on Tuesday and Wednesday:

    Even the president got into the game, live-tweeting a Fox & Friends segment and driving the story into the mainstream press.

    And then, just as swiftly as they had arisen, the stories collapsed. Federal law enforcement officials explained that, rather than being specifically deleted as part of a nefarious cover-up, the technical glitch that prevented the archiving of five months of Page-Strzok texts had actually affected almost one in ten FBI employees.  And the actual text message, obtained by ABC, that the president’s Republican and media allies were citing showed that the comment appeared to be a joke (which was always the most plausible explanation):

    It was an embarrassing moment for the Republican congressmen who were exposed pushing obvious nonsense to protect the president by damaging the FBI, and the Fox commentators and other pro-Trump media figures who helped the story along. But of course, none of these people have any shame:

    The pro-Trump media can’t back down now. They have spent months declaring in increasingly dire terms that the “deep state” had engaged in a “coup” against the president and needed to be purged.

    The heightened intensity of that counter-narrative becomes all the more important as new reports indicate that the special counsel’s investigation is getting ever-closer to Trump himself -- and as more evidence mounts that the president has repeatedly sought to obstruct that effort and purge the Justice Department of people he considers disloyal to him.  

    But thanks to the right-wing alternative media bubble, the pro-Trump audience is existing in a parallel news universe, constantly hearing that the president did nothing wrong and that extreme actions are needed to protect him from his foes.

    The Trump allies’ latest salvos have failed. But have you heard about “the memo”? It’s going to change everything.

  • The sinister pro-Trump propaganda of Lou Dobbs

    Tune in to Lou Dobbs Tonight for creepy adulation of Donald Trump and routine calls to imprison the president’s opponents

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    At his New Year’s Eve celebration at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump grabbed a microphone and gave thanks to the guests who paid him several hundred dollars each for the privilege of attending. As he spoke, the president singled out one attendee for some especially fulsome praise: Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs. “The great Lou Dobbs is here, by the way,” Trump said. “Boy, I tell you, I’ve loved him for years, but now I really love him. And you know what? It’s not about me. It’s about -- he is saying what he believes.” To applause and cheers, the president heaped his admiration on the cable news personality: “I just want to tell you, you are fantastic, and we appreciate it. Everybody in this room appreciates it.”

    If you know anything about Donald Trump then you can probably guess why he loves and appreciates Lou Dobbs so much: Dobbs is a committed and shameless sycophant to the president. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson and the other pro-Trump mercenaries who turn Fox News into de facto state television get the lion’s share of attention and criticism, but Dobbs’ Fox Business show is a bluntly propagandistic farce that treats Trump less as a president than a cult leader.

    The running theme of Lou Dobbs Tonight is easy to suss out: Trump is single-handedly restoring American glory despite the subversive opposition of his many internal enemies. The president’s adversaries include Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Republican congressional leaders, the “deep state,” the left-wing media, and countless other supposed malefactors. For Dobbs, one critical word aimed at the president is enough to make you a “subversive” and an enemy of the American people.

    There are a wealth of examples one could choose from to illustrate this dynamic, but Dobbs’ reaction to Trump’s reported denigration of Haiti and “shithole” African nations offers an apt data point. Dobbs kicked off his January 12 show with a defense of the president’s “colorful language” and a swipe at “duplicitous Dems” who were “claiming offense.” Without actually describing what the president is supposed to have said, Dobbs explained Trump’s “fundamental point” in insulting poorer nations and their citizens: something about the misuse of international aid.

    “What has happened to all of the aid that the U.S. government has sent to Haiti over the past quarter century?” Dobbs demanded. “Why should any president, but particularly this one, have to put up with the self-serving ignorance of the Dems and the left who call Mr. Trump a racist because he questioned why all that aid hasn't been enough to diminish if not eliminate horribly persistent poverty?”

    No reporting anywhere has linked Trump’s remarks to international aid or poverty alleviation. Not even the White House has tried floating that defense. Dobbs just conjured it up on his own and presented it as an obvious truth that the president, in his serene majesty, stated plainly only to be viciously and unjustly attacked. “President Trump shouldn’t put up with that disrespect, that ignorance, in my opinion,” Dobbs added.

    It was insane, counterfactual propaganda delivered with maximum outrage and designed to portray Donald Trump as a near-infallible demigod.

    Every episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight is pretty much exactly like this.

    Loved by Lou

    By Lou Dobbs’ reckoning, Trump is owed undiluted respect and deference at all times, and even the slightest hint of insolence should not be tolerated.

    This goes for everyone, including people who praise Trump but don’t do it quite hard enough to satisfy Dobbs. On December 19, Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union lauded the president for his “good gut” in negotiating the tax cut package. For Dobbs, celebrating Trump’s “gut” was almost an insult. “You said ‘a good gut.’ I understand the praise of intuitive success,” Dobbs said, “but I think it’s time for people to start talking about the man’s intellect, about his judgment, and suggesting he’s intuiting all of this, I think, is a disservice to him.”

    Dobbs also expects Trump’s judicial nominees to maintain unfailing respect for the president or face harsh consequences. Back in February, then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that Trump’s relentless attacks on the judiciary were “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” For this mild rebuke of the president, Dobbs demanded Gorsuch withdraw his own nomination immediately. “Gorsuch has really demonstrated a lack of honor,” Dobbs said on February 9, 2017, “and if he has honor, he should withdraw his name out of just the pure disrespect he’s shown our president, his lack of grace.”

    It’s all about “respect,” and Dobbs throws as much as he can at the president regardless of what Trump says or does. Since the first days of the Trump administration, he’s demonstrated a talent for lyrical suck-uppery, using florid language to describe everything Trump does as a history-making success.

    On January 25, 2017, while speaking to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Dobbs marveled at “a presidency that is moving at breakneck speed. … I don't think anyone's has seen the like of this certainly in modern history.” At that point, the Trump administration had burned two days -- roughly half its existence -- fighting with reporters about the size of the president’s inaugural crowd and his loss of the popular vote. But Dobbs was incredulous that anyone could see anything but success. “Those who find darkness in this explosion of light in Washington, D.C., have to be in a far corner of the left, I think, to be making that -- coming to that conclusion.”

    On May 22, 2017, as he was providing live coverage of a suicide bomb attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Dobbs offered his gratitude to Trump for running for office. “I have to tell you, I am so thrilled that this man decided to run for president,” he said. “He could have done lots of other things with his time that would have taken far less of his stomach lining and his patience ... no matter how strong -- and he is plenty strong.”

    Then Dobbs offered his theory for why the Manchester attack happened: Terrorists worldwide were cowering in fear of Trump following his brief trip through the Middle East. “I really believe that it is an expression tonight that we’re watching, that they -- the Islamic State and radical Islamists at large -- so fear this president with what he’s achieved,” Dobbs ventured. “I think they’re so afraid of him that they don’t know what to do and this was the best that they could do to take attention away from what has been an immensely successful period of negotiation and success on the part of this president in so many ways, in such short order.”

    Dobbs has reaped rewards from his cringe-inducing obsequiousness in the form of White House access. Top-level White House staffers are regular guests on his program, where they are given free license to spout the administration line, often with the host’s encouragement and participation. Dobbs also managed to snag an interview with Trump himself in October 2017 and was savagely mocked for his sycophantic questioning. The president rhetorically wandered throughout the interview and was unable to coherently answer even the softest of questions, but Dobbs was there to either supply the answer for him or redirect the interview to another topic.

    Since then, Dobbs’ adulation of Trump has only grown more fervent. “This president and his family have sacrificed so much to serve this nation, and for their trouble they are attacked from all sides,” Dobbs said on January 3, his first show since Trump’s Mar-a-Lago shout-out. The attacks on Trump are “unprecedented, utterly unfair, and wrong according to every American value and standard,” he said, because “this president has worked wonders, and he’s worked hard, tirelessly, and more than anyone else in Washington.”

    Enemies of the state

    Over-the-top hosannas to the massively unpopular president aren’t enough to fill an entire hour of programming. Nor do they adequately stimulate the overdeveloped rage centers of your average cable news viewer’s brain. So, to complement his fawning adoration of the president, Dobbs sprays hot venom at anyone and everyone who he believes has committed the figurative -- or, as we’ll see in a moment, literal -- crime of showing insufficient deference to Donald Trump.

    There are a lot of people Dobbs wants to see sanctioned by law enforcement and/or thrown in prison, and the most prominent among them is former President Barack Obama. Last November, Obama went on an overseas trip and, while in Paris, obliquely criticized Trump for backing out of the international climate accord that bears that city’s name. Dobbs, as you might imagine, was not happy about this.

    “This is just bad manners. It's boorish, it's absurd. He doesn't realize how foolish he looks,” Dobbs observed on December 1, 2017. “I think the U.S. Marshals should follow [Obama],” he added. “He should be brought back by the Marshals. Isn’t there some law that says presidents shouldn’t be attacking sitting presidents?”

    There is no law preventing former presidents from being rude, even when they’re in France. Nor is there a law against presidents making foreign policy decisions that cable news hosts disagree with, but Dobbs thinks there should be. “I think we’ve got some pretty clear criminal acts, or at least apparent criminal acts,” Dobbs opined on December 1, referring to “an administration, in this instance, that waits until it has less than a month left in office before President Obama decides to retaliate against the Russians for their intervention in our elections.” Obama did “absolutely nothing about Crimea -- what would you call that?” Dobbs angrily asked, adding: “Shouldn’t there be a statute that covers that kind of wrong-headedness and absolutely absurd actions in the foreign policy?”

    A few days prior to that, Dobbs tore into Richard Cordray, former director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for designating Deputy Director Leandra English as acting head of the agency prior to his resignation. Shortly after Cordray elevated English, the Trump administration moved to install White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as director, and English took the matter to court in an attempt to block Mulvaney’s appointment. A federal judge ruled in the White House’s favor, but Dobbs felt more stringent measures were warranted for “lowlifes” Cordray and English. “Why didn’t that judge throw them both in jail for being frivolous and actually subversive,” Dobbs wondered on November 28.

    As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign activities started producing more indictments and guilty pleas, Dobbs became more adamant that pretty much everyone involved with the investigation be criminally prosecuted and imprisoned. “A call for the firing of Robert Mueller no longer really truly satisfies any call for accountability,” Dobbs said on December 4, arguing that Mueller, FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI Director James Comey “should be the subjects of criminal investigations and held fully accountable for crimes against the sitting president and the voters who supported them.”

    On December 13, Dobbs called for a grand jury to investigate Strzok’s text messages, saying he was “really very tired of political accountability” and “I much prefer to see jail sentences for violating the trust of the American people, and working against the constitution and yes, the president of the United States.” On December 14, Dobbs said the Russia investigation showed that the Justice Department is “rancid” and the FBI is “riddled with corruption” that “has to be rooted out, people have to go to jail.” On December 15, while discussing the Russia investigation with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Dobbs said “I think it’s time to think about who should be put in jail for dishonoring their oath of office, for violating our constitution and subverting this president and subverting this government.”

    On January 22, Dobbs once again called for the U.S. Marshals to spring into action and “take into custody the top people” at the Justice Department and the FBI over some missing text messages between Stzrok and attorney Lisa Page. The following day, Dobbs allowed himself a little more hyperbolic flourish, declaring that “it may be time to declare war outright against the deep state, and clear out the rot in the upper levels of the FBI and the Justice Department.”

    All these arrests and jail sentences would be for “crimes” that either don’t actually exist or which Dobbs can’t demonstrate proof of beyond asserting that they happened. The only consistent theme in all this is that each person Dobbs wants to have prosecuted and locked up is, in his mind, a political enemy of President Trump’s.

    Creepy propaganda

    There’s no complicated secret to understanding why Dobbs is such a Trump devotee. He’s been a hardline anti-immigration agitator for years: In the mid-2000s, he started injecting anti-immigrant commentary into his CNN program, and he famously (and wrongly) blamed a non-existent spike in leprosy on undocumented immigrants. His televised persona evolved from well-heeled, stentorian headline reader to self-made populist hero and perpetually aggrieved scourge of “elites” -- a conversion that, coupled with his increasingly inflammatory and inaccurate opinion segments, precipitated his departure from CNN in 2009. Dobbs pegged the market for Trumpism long before Trumpism had Trump.

    It’s easy to laugh at a perpetually overwrought fanatic like Dobbs as he loses himself nightly to the imagined glory of a widely disliked demagogue. But it’s important to remember that Dobbs represents a broader corruption of conservative media in the age of Trump. Much of Fox News’ programming is similarly devoted to glorifying the president and whipping up as much anger as possible at his opponents. What sets Lou Dobbs Tonight apart from the rest is how intensely and creepily propagandistic the show is.

    This propaganda gets frequent endorsements from the president, who regularly tweets his gratitude for Dobbs’ histrionic coverage of his administration. This feedback loop creates an impenetrable sphere of disinformation -- a bizarre unreality in which the beneficent and virtuous president does not fail but is consistently frustrated by criminals and subversives in his self-sacrificial quest to save the country. It’s all scummy and bizarre and dangerous, and it happens every evening on Lou Dobbs Tonight.

    Update:

    Following the publication of this piece, Dobbs blocked me on Twitter. 

    Videos by John Kerr. 

  • The newest pro-Trump conspiracy theory: A "secret society" in the FBI is undermining Trump

    These idiots are misreading obvious sarcasm

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends pushed the conspiracy theory that a “secret society” meant to discredit President Donald Trump might actually exist in the FBI.

    The story originated when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) claimed on another Fox show, The Story, that in a text message exchange after the 2016 election, FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page said, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Gowdy omitted any context and offered no evidence to show that such a text, which has not been released, wouldn’t have been facetious.

    Conservative media and Trump allies have repeatedly attempted to scandalize texts between Strzok and Page, who were in a personal relationship, alleging that they and other FBI officials were working against Trump during the election. But as HuffPost noted, “Most of the information that came out of the bureau during the election was damaging to Hillary Clinton, not Trump,” and Strzok and Page “exchanged texts slamming politicians and officials of all ideological stripes, not just Trump.”

    The “secret society” conspiracy theory is gaining traction on other right-wing media outlets as well. Sean Hannity tweeted, "FBI CONSPIRACY? Text Messages Show Anti-Trump 'SECRET SOCIETY' at DOJ." Breitbart published an article suggesting an association between this “secret society” and the recently reported missing text messages between Strzok and Page. The Gateway Pundit ran Fox’s interview of Gowdy as the headlining story on its front page, which was later shared by Lou Dobbs and Bill Mitchell. And The Daily Caller headlined their piece, “What Deep State? Gowdy, Ratcliffe: Texts Uncover Anti-Trump ‘Secret Society’ At FBI.”

    From the January 23 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    [BEGIN CLIP]

    REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): The day after the election, the day after -- what they really, really didn't want to have happen, there is a text exchange between these two FBI agents, these supposed to be objective fact-centric FBI agents saying, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” So, of course I'm going to want to know what secret society you are talking about, because you're supposed to be investigating objectively.

    [END CLIP]

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Lawmakers outraged as bombshell texts from that anti-Trump FBI agent and his girlfriend suggest a secret society within the agency meant to perhaps discredit the president.

    [...]

    DOOCY: Well that's good. And then, we just saw the sound bite with Trey Gowdy where he’s outraged that in some of the text message with these lovebirds, they’re talking about a secret society out to get Trump.

  • More than a dozen Fox personalities have been headlining GOP fundraisers during Trump era

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    More than a dozen Fox hosts and contributors have been raising funds for Republican Party organizations around the country since Donald Trump was elected president, according to a Media Matters review.

    Fox hosts and contributors have been some of President Trump’s loudest supporters, using the network to push his agenda and attack his critics. Trump, in turn, has rewarded the network with regular interviews and praise.

    While Fox personalities’ on-air support for Trump and his party is open and well-documented, many of those same hosts and contributors have also been working off-air to raise critical funds for state and local GOP organizations. In addition to aligning themselves with Trump, those organizations provide backing and resources to Republican candidates when they run for office.

    The Fox personalities include hosts Lou Dobbs (​Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight), Greg Gutfeld (Fox News' The Five and The Greg Gutfeld Show), Pete Hegseth (Fox News' Fox & Friends Weekend), and Jeanine Pirro (Justice with Judge Jeanine), and Fox News contributors John Bolton, David Bossie, Rachel Campos-DuffyJason Chaffetz, Sebastian Gorka, Mike Huckabee, Alveda King, Ed Rollins, Karl Rove, and Allen West.

    Fox News host Laura Ingraham also headlined an October fundraiser for Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward. The New York Times reported at the time that “Fox News hosts are not usually allowed to stump for candidates, but Ms. Ingraham was granted an exception because her show had not yet begun” (Ingraham was a Fox News contributor and frequent guest host prior to starting The Ingraham Angle). But Fox's reported prohibition against hosts stumping for candidates is meaningless given that they're allowed to raise funds for political parties that help those very same candidates. 

    Keynoting fundraisers can be potentially lucrative for media personalities, according to available campaign finance data. The Larimer County Republican Party in Colorado paid Premiere Speakers Bureau, which represents Pete Hegseth, a total of $5,000 in speaking fees around the time of the event Hegseth was headlining. Jeanine Pirro has received fees ranging from roughly $5,000 to $15,000 from state and local branches of the GOP. The Manatee County GOP paid a $25,000 “fee” to Washington Speakers Bureau, which exclusively represents Dobbs, a few months before its event with the pro-Trump host. It also paid roughly $2,300 for travel expenses to the bureau shortly after the event.

    A common theme among the Republican fundraisers is the use of Fox News’ branding and notoriety to sell tickets.

    Here is how the Washington State Republican Party promoted its event with Greg Gutfeld:

    Here are two flyers for events featuring Pete Hegseth:

    And here are two event pages for fundraisers with Jeanine Pirro:

    Fox considers these personalities as part of the network’s opinion side as opposed to its “news” side -- a largely meaningless distinction given how often the two sides blur together on the network. Trump himself treats Fox & Friends as a leading source of information. And Fox's opinion-side personalities have gotten numerous interviews with the president. For instance, both Hegseth and Pirro have interviewed Trump on their Fox News programs. Lou Dobbs also conducted a softball interview with the president. (Huckabee interviewed Trump though their talk aired on the former Republican governor's Trinity Broadcasting Network program.)  

    Media Matters has documented over the years how Fox News hosts and commentators actively help Republican-aligned groups grow their coffers at partisan events. In 2010, for instance, Sean Hannity keynoted a National Republican Congressional Committee dinner that “raised over $7 million.”

    The following is a non-comprehensive list of Fox News personalities who have headlined or have been scheduled to headline 2017-2018 fundraisers for Republican Party organizations.

    John Bolton

    Flagler County Republican Party (FL); San Francisco Republican Party (CA);​ Smith County Republican Club (TX).  

    David Bossie

    Republican Central Committee of Harford County (MD); St. Mary's County Republican Central Committee (MD); Washington County Republican Central Committee (MD); Wicomico County Republican Central Committee and the Salisbury University College Republicans (MD).

    Rachel Campos Duffy 

    Republican Party of Wood County (WI).

    Jason Chaffetz

    Gallatin and Madison County Republican Central Committees (MT).

    Lou Dobbs

    Manatee County Republican Executive Committee (FL). 

    Sebastian Gorka

    St. Lucie County Republican Club (FL).  

    Greg Gutfeld

    Washington State Republican Party.

    Pete Hegseth

    Larimer County Republican Party (CO);​ Powhatan County Republican Committee (VA);  Republican Party of Brazos County (TX); Snohomish County Republican Party (WA).

    Mike Huckabee

    Hawaii Republican PartyOkaloosa County Republican Party (FL).  

    Alveda King

    Cape Girardeau County Republican Women’s Club (MO).

    Jeanine Pirro

    See here.

    Ed Rollins

    New Canaan Republican Town Committee (CT).

    Karl Rove

    Allen County Republican Party (OH); Williamson County Republican Party (TX).

    Allen West

    Broward Republican Executive Committee (FL); Montgomery County Republican Party (TX); Republican Party of Coryell County (TX).

  • Video: Right-wing media call Mueller's investigation a coup against Trump

    Since Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel, right-wing media have worked overtime to delegitimize the investigation

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel on May 17. Since then, right-wing media have repeatedly called the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election (and a few related issues) a coup against Donald Trump. Watch:

    Related:

    Jesse Watters Says We May ‘Have a Coup on Our Hands in America’

    Previously:

    Why the anti-Mueller sentiment on Fox keeps getting worse

    Sean Hannity has really gone off the rails lately, but it's earned him a new fan: Alex Jones

    Fox contributor Mike Huckabee claims FBI officials intended "to stage what essentially amounts to a coup d'etat" against Trump

    Rush Limbaugh revives conspiracy theory that Mueller investigation is "a silent coup" to get rid of Trump

    Lou Dobbs unhinged over Flynn: Russia probe is a "parade of nonsense," "subversion" by the left

    Rush Limbaugh: Former intelligence chiefs are conducting a "silent coup" against Trump

    Alex Jones: There is a plot to install Robert Mueller as “the first king of America”

    Pro-Trump One America News Network: Report reveals Obama aides "plotted a coup against President Trump

    Alex Jones: Trump needs to get into a bunker right now and declare himself the victim of a coup attempt

    Rush Limbaugh conspiracy theory: "Leftists" are soliciting retired generals to possibly "lead a rebellion"

    Rush Limbaugh: "We're in the midst of a silent coup" by the GOP establishment to try "to take this president out"

    Lou Dobbs: The media is aiding a "coup d'etat against Trump"

    Jesse Watters: "What's happening right now is a coup against the will of the American people"

    Sean Hannity: "A soft coup is underway" against Trump with "sinister forces quickly aligning"