Oliver North | Media Matters for America

Oliver North

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  • All the right-wing lies about Trump’s transgender military ban, debunked


    Right-wing media figures have helped promote a series of myths about transgender service members in the U.S. military in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would ban them from serving. These debunked myths include the claim that the cost of medically necessary health care for transgender service members would be in the billions, that allowing transgender members to serve would interfere with military readiness and cohesion, that a majority of transgender people are unable to be deployed due to their health care needs, and that being transgender is a mental illness that makes people unfit to be in the military.

  • Fox News and fake news purveyors praise Trump’s North Korea threat that experts call irresponsible


    Various Fox News personalities and fake news purveyors are praising President Donald Trump’s statement that he would unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea should Kim Jong Un’s regime endanger American interests. While pro-Trump media are thrilled with the president’s threat, nuclear experts have explained that “threats from the US will only increase tensions” on the Korean Peninsula, where, should war accidentally break out amid heightened tensions, armed conflict would likely cause “hundreds of thousands of deaths, mostly in South Korea.”

  • 20-Plus Years Of Anti-Gay Hate From The NRA


    While the NRA is ostensibly an organization focused on gun rights, members of its leadership have attacked LGBT people for years, including blaming a mass shooting on gay marriage, calling societal acceptance of transgender people “perverted,” claiming gay people “created” the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and labeling gay people “despicable,” “perverts,” and “degenerates.”

  • Fox's Oliver North Hypes Conspiracy Theory That State Department Holding Secret Bids For Gitmo Detainees

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Fox News' Oliver North suggested that the Obama administration's State Department is holding "secret auction[s] to the high bidder" for countries willing to take Guantanamo Bay detainees.    

    On the January 21 edition of On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, Oliver North speculated that the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in a "quid pro quo" scheme with the country of Oman, who he claimed agreed to take Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for weapons:

    OLIVER NORTH: Unfortunately, this president in his campaign promise way back in 2008, he made the campaign promise that he was going to close Gitmo within a year of taking office. Well, that didn't happen for very good reasons. Even his own investigation sent down there to go to Camp Delta there were no people there that were harmless goat herders, these were terrorists. These were bad people who tried to kill Americans and in some cases succeeded. Think about this. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11/01 attack on the United States, and with four airliners fly into buildings and killed nearly 3,000 people. He is one of the last to go. Where will he go? Think about what just happened with Oman. Ten detainees here are released to Oman and a week later Oman gets --

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (HOST): A weapons deal. 

    NORTH: Yes, a $51 million weapons deal that they've been asking for, for years. 

    VAN SUSTEREN: It's incredible. Said it's a coincidence. Obama administration says it's a coincidence. We're not that stupid. 

    NORTH: Think about this. Is the Kerry State Department holding a secret auction to the high bidder, secret sealed bids on who will take Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Think about it. I mean, if you look at what's happening with this administration, there is no concern for the safety of American troops or American citizens. This administration ought to be held accountable. 


    NORTH: I'll give you a prediction. Within six months of the new administration in Washington there will be an investigation that finds quid pro quo and things were provided to these governments for taking these incredibly bad people.

    Van Susteren invited North to push his baseless conspiracy theory without disclosing North's own relationship with illegally selling weapons in the Iran-Contra affair in 1985. North, then a Lieutenant Colonel, was fired after it was discovered that he" had been diverting funds from the arms sales [with Iran] to the Contras," anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua.

    In 1985, while Iran and Iraq were at war, Iran made a secret request to buy weapons from the United States. McFarlane sought Reagan's approval, in spite of the embargo against selling arms to Iran. 


    With the backing of the president, the plan progressed. By the time the sales were discovered, more than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, only to be replaced with three more, in what Secretary of State George Shultz called "a hostage bazaar."


    While probing the question of the arms-for-hostages deal, Attorney General Edwin Meese discovered that only $12 million of the $30 million the Iranians reportedly paid had reached government coffers. Then-unknown Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council explained the discrepancy: he had been diverting funds from the arms sales to the Contras, with the full knowledge of National Security Adviser Admiral John Poindexter and with the unspoken blessing, he assumed, of President Reagan.

    Poindexter resigned, and North was fired.

  • What To Expect At The 2014 Value Voters Summit

    Blog ››› ››› COLEMAN LOWNDES

    The annual Values Voter Summit will take place from September 26 through September 28 in Washington, DC. The convention is sponsored by hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and regularly features extreme rhetoric and hate from politicians and conservative media members. In 2013, Ben Carson said that Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." Here is some of what you can expect at the 2014 event:

    Media figures speaking at the event are scheduled to include: Lt. General William Boykin, Fox News contributor Oliver North, Rick Santorum, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, David Limbaugh, Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor and Redstate.com Editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, Mat Staver, Mark Levin, Star Parker, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, Brigitte Gabriel, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

  • Who's Who At This Weekend's NRA Annual Meeting

    Far-Right Conservatives And An NFL Star Converge On Indianapolis

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    On April 25 the National Rifle Association kicks off its three-day annual meeting, hosted this year at the home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, which will feature far-right conservative media figures known for extreme rhetoric.

    Tourism officials expect more than 70,000 attendees at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium for the meeting, and attendees will be able to peruse more than 400,000 square feet of exhibition space to enjoy "over 600 of the most spectacular displays of firearms, shooting and hunting accessories in the world!" As in years past, the NRA expects that roughly 80 percent of attendees will be men.

    Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America -- part of the newly launched 1.5 million member Everytown for Gun Safety organization -- is planning on bringing 100 mothers and 20 gun violence survivors to Indianapolis in order to urge NRA leadership to support requiring background checks on gun sales.

    Attendees can also view a number of presentations, the most prominent of which include the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, the Annual Meeting of Members, and the Stand and Fight Rally. The NRA-ILA forum will feature several prominent GOP officials including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

    Far-right conservative figures are a mainstay of these annual meeting events. During last year's Stand and Fight Rally, keynote speaker Glenn Beck depicted then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is Jewish, in a Nazi salute, leading to condemnation from Jewish groups. Other presentations at the 2013 meeting reaffirmed the NRA's hardline stance following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including the claim of new NRA president Jim Porter that President Obama would seek "revenge" against gun owners.

    In addition to the NRA's own bombastic CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, this year's meeting will feature Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, radio host Mark Levin, religious hardliner Franklin Graham, and others known for their extreme right-wing rhetoric:

    Mark Levin, Syndicated Radio Host (NRA-ILA Leadership Forum)

    Mark Levin is a conservative commentator best known as the host of The Mark Levin Show, which is a nationally syndicated radio program by Cumulus Media Networks. Levin delivered a video message at the 2013 annual meeting in which he claimed that the Second Amendment protected a "well-armed militia" in case "the federal government got out of control." (The Second Amendment actually calls for a "well regulated militia.") Levin is known for his inflammatory commentary, including the recent claim that the "key" to a Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016 would be "her genitalia." He has also accused Obama of abusing children, compared marriage equality to incest, polygamy, and drug use, compared supporters of the Affordable Care Act to Nazi "brown shirts," and advocated for Obama to be impeached.

  • NRA Leaders Try To Insulate Organization From Board Member Ted Nugent's Obama Slur

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    After ducking the controversy over National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel," NRA leaders at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference tried to shield the organization from the fallout over those comments.

    While some NRA supporters criticized Nugent, three NRA board members sought to downplay his actions and his connection to their organization, suggesting he isn't viewed mainly as an NRA representative or brushing the controversy off as unimportant.

    Nugent issued the slur during a January interview, but the comments received new interest last month when Nugent campaigned with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Following days of negative coverage for both Abbott and Nugent, including condemnations from GOP leaders, Nugent offered a half-hearted apology, though "not necessarily to the president," for his "subhuman mongrel" comment. He then attacked Obama as a lying, law-breaking racist who engages in Nazi tactics.

    Former NRA president and current board member David Keene said the "subhuman mongrel" comments do not reflect on the gun-rights organization because "Ted is seen as Ted more than as an NRA board member."

    Grover Norquist, another NRA board member, said the comments were "not a good idea," but added they are not bad enough to hurt the NRA's image because Nugent is viewed differently than other NRA leaders.

    "He's a rock star and people know he's talking as him and he is talking outrageously," Norquist said following a CPAC "meet and greet" he hosted for fans. "If an establishment Republican said that, you'd go, 'whoa Nellie.' Rock stars and hip hop artists are cut some slack in American society."

    Despite their attempts to suggest Nugent's comments don't reflect directly on the NRA, as a musician and conservative commentator, Nugent is to many the public face of the organization. He has had a longstanding relationship with the group, serving on its board of directors since 1995. In the group's 2013 board elections Nugent was second only to Fox News contributor Oliver North for most votes in favor of reelection.

    Nugent is also a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 200820102011,2012 and 2013.

    After the 2012 meeting, Nugent drew the attention of the Secret Service for saying he would be "dead or in jail" if Obama was reelected as president. An NRA memo indicated that he was paid $50,000 by the group for a "spoken presentation" in 2011. Nugent has also recorded the song "I Am The NRA," which includes the lyrics: "If you hate tyrants and dictators and are ready to give freedom a whirl/Celebrate the NRA and the shot heard round the world."

    Oliver North denied  knowing about the "subhuman mongrel" comments during an interview at CPAC. He accused Media Matters of trying to instigate criticism from him. Questioned at CPAC's radio row, North said, "I'm not necessarily sure how to take your word for what he said since I didn't hear it I am not going to comment about it."

  • Fox News Hits The GOP Fundraising Circuit

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Nine Fox News hosts and contributors are headlining 2014 fundraisers for Republican organizations across the country. The network employees are participating in Lincoln Day Dinners, annual fundraisers usually held near the beginning of the year that provide significant support for local party groups. 

    The Fox fundraisers include hosts Mike Huckabee, Oliver North, and Andrea Tantaros; and contributors John Bolton, Deneen Borelli, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, and Allen West.  

    The Republican events can bring in big money for local Republicans. A Huckabee event in 2011 "grossed over $100,000" for Texas' Harris County GOP, while Ben Carson and Laura Ingraham have spoken at Palm Beach GOP's (FL) Lincoln Day events, which reportedly "typically takes in around $100,000" each year. Event tickets often reach into the $100s, and can increase with private reception opportunities, photos, and book signings. The events also often sell sponsorships ranging in the thousands.

    Lincoln Dinners can also mean big money for the speakers. In prior years, Oregon's Lane County Republican Party paid Tucker Carlson $23,500 to keynote its 2011 dinner and John Bolton $28,330 to keynote its 2012 dinner, according to Oregon Secretary of State data and confirmed by Media Matters with a party official. Laura Ingraham was paid $12,500 for speaking in Palm Beach in 2013, according to local records. Then-Fox contributor Dick Morris received $10,000 to speak at a 2012 Lake County (FL) dinner. (Data for 2014 events isn't currently available through local campaign finance records, and even accessing older records can be difficult since some local governments do a poor job putting data online.) 

    The Lincoln Day speeches aren't much different from what's heard on Fox. In Sarasota, FL, Allen West reportedly "said that Democrats have repeatedly failed the black community." In Naples, FL, John Bolton took to "[c]alling the Obama administration's foreign policy weak, ineffective or nonexistent." In Sangamon County, IL, Ben Carson suggested the country has gone "from a free society to a communist or socialist society" because of the Affordable Care Act.  

    Dinner promotions have touted the speakers' affiliation with Fox News -- a regular practice with Republican events. The chair of the Sangamon County GOP told a local newspaper that they picked Carson because, "He's a conservative and (is) currently visible on TV, which makes him a celebrity draw."

    Media Matters previously documented how over 30 Fox News hosts and contributors campaigned for Republican candidates and organizations during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

    The following is a list of nine Fox Newsers, and the Republican Party apparatuses they're helping so far in 2014: 

  • Fox Ignores Facts To Declare Obama's Vietnam Remarks "Stupid"


    After President Obama acknowledged the fact that language in the Vietnamese declaration of independence was inspired by its American counterpart, Fox News attacked Obama's remarks as "stupid" and wondered whether he had offended Vietnam War veterans -- an attempt by Fox to manufacture yet another phony scandal.

    On July 25, President Obama met with Vietnam's president, Truong Tan Sang, in hopes of strengthening trade ties and military cooperation. During the press conference that followed, the president acknowledged the fact that the Vietnamese declaration of independence used language inspired by America's declaration in an effort to stress the long, if troubled history between the two nations.

    Fox analysts Ralph Peters and Oliver North agreed that Obama's statements were "stupid." Peters accused the president of being uneducated, saying, "This guy doesn't know our past." In a previous segment, Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt theorized that the President Obama "may not have studied that or been aware of," our history with Vietnam, or perhaps got "carried away rhetorically in trying to make his guest feel at home."

    But Obama was merely referencing the fact that the Vietnamese declaration paraphrases the U.S. Declaration of Independence when it says

    All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Fox has a long history of manufacturing phony scandals, something Media Matters has repeatedly documented.