Tomi Lahren | Media Matters for America

Tomi Lahren

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  • In the wake of mass shootings at schools, conservatives blame everything but guns


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    After nearly every school shooting, right-wing media scramble to find reasons why guns should not be blamed for gun violence.

    After 10 people were killed during a mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, TX, pro-gun proselytizers in the conservative media sphere insisted that gun safety laws would not have prevented the shooting and instead pointed to other aspects of American culture that they said required reform. Here are some of the excuses right-wing pundits offered for the May 18 shooting:

    In February, after the school shooting in Parkland, FL, claimed 17 lives, conservative media took the very same approach:

    • Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce claimed that talking about firearms doesn’t get to the “core issue” of “the human condition.” She and the hosts of Fox & Friends also blamed drugs, virtual reality, and video games for the shooting.
    • Radio host Michael Savage tweeted that “liberal judges and the ACLU” were to blame.
    • Fox guest Lou Palumbo blamed “the media, the entertainment industry,” and “the lack of parenting.”
    • Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson blamed “Leftist-run schools” and falsely claimed that the shooter was linked to antifa.
    • Fox News host Laura Ingraham blamed “mental illness”and “broken or damaged families” for the shooting on her show.
    • The Gateway Pundit suggested that the shooter supposedly being a registered Democrat was a factor. (He was not actually a registered Democrat; the blog was forced to correct the story.)
    • Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter blamed the FBI’s Russia probe for the shooting, tweeting, “The FBI was too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing it's (sic) freaking job.”
    • The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson suggested that the shooting was related to the shooter growing up without a father.
    • Liberty One TV’s Joe Biggs (formerly of Infowars) tweeted that the FBI was “too busy chasing Trump/Russia nothing burgers” to have prevented the shooting.
    • Pamela Geller falsely claimed that the shooter was connected to antifa and Islamic terrorist groups.
    • Laura Loomer shared a fake photo of the shooter and speculated that he was a “radical leftist” with potential ties to antifa and Islamic resistance groups.
    • Infowars claimed that the “MSM” (mainstream media) was “already covering it up” that the shooter was likely a “Democratic voter” and had clothing “similar to the style worn by ISIS fighters in Syria.”

    But as others have pointed out, most of the phenomena listed above are also present in other countries that don’t experience nearly as much gun violence as the United States does.

  • Right-wing media take remarks CNN’s Jim Acosta made about death threats out of context

    Acosta was discussing death threats he and other journalists have received. Some outlets pretended he was attacking Trump voters.

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Right-wing media are taking a clip of an interview with Jim Acosta out of context to claim that CNN’s chief White House correspondent was disparaging President Donald Trump’s voters as “just not smart enough.” But a closer look at the interview in question shows that Acosta was discussing the repeated attacks on journalists emanating from the Trump White House and his “concern … that a journalist is going to be hurt one of these days” by someone who took the president’s comments literally.

    On April 24, Variety published an interview with Acosta and two other well-known journalists who cover the Trump White House in which they discuss a recent trend in the Trump era of reporters finding “themselves getting death threats” as a result of their work. In response to that and a question about Trump calling journalists fake news, Acosta said, in part, “The problem is is that people around the country don’t know it’s an act. They’re not in on the act, and they take what he says very seriously. … They don't have all their faculties in some cases, their elevator might not hit all floors. My concern is is that a journalist is going to be hurt one of these days, somebody's going to get hurt. And at that point, the White House, the president of the United States, they're going to have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves whether or not they played a role in this, whether they created this toxic environment that resulted in a journalist getting hurt."

    But conservative media figures have present Acosta’s words out of context in an attempt to accuse the CNN correspondent of slandering Trump “voters.” Fox & Friends showed only the portion of Acosta’s quote about people who “don't have all their faculties in some cases, their elevator might not hit all floors” and did not clarify what question he was responding to. Numerous other right-wing and pro-Trump media outlets and personalities, including former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, have similarly taken Acosta’s words out of context to accuse him of “trash[ing] the intellect of Americans.” From the April 25 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Well, Tomi, on another topic, your favorite reporter gave an interview -- I’m just kidding, Jim Acosta gave an interview yesterday with Variety, talked about voters and gave us an input into his mindset. Take a listen to what Jim Acosta said.


    JIM ACOSTA (CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT): The problem is is that people around the country don't know it's an act. They’re not in on the act, and they take what he says very seriously and they take attacks from Sean Spicer, and Sarah Sanders, and what they do to us on a daily basis very seriously. They don't have all their faculties in some cases, their elevator might not hit all floors.

    [END CLIP]

    HEGSETH: “They don’t have all their faculties.” They’re just not smart enough, Tomi.

    TOMI LAHREN (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I never get tired of the leftist mainstream media insulting Trump voters because it makes it even easier for us to go back in 2020 and re-elect him. The more they tell us that we’re stupid, the more we’re going to go back and vote for Donald Trump, so thank you for the boost. And I would caution the leftist mainstream media, because I know that they want to see a Democrat take it in 2020, so let's have a cautionary tale from one Hillary Clinton who called us a basket of deplorables and also insulted our intelligence. How did that work out for Hillary?

  • Here are the right-wing media figures defending Trump’s racist “shithole” comment

    ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    During a meeting on immigration policy in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump reportedly questioned the United States’ policy of accepting immigrants from, what he said, were “shithole countries,” such as Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. In the aftermath of the president’s racist remarks, many in right-wing media rallied around him to defend his comments.

  • Pro-Trump group’s Fox News / Tomi Lahren fundraising page disappeared after we asked Fox about it

    Fox contributor Ed Rollins is also using the network to promote the group

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    When Great America Alliance senior adviser Tomi Lahren was hired as a Fox News contributor, the pro-Trump group celebrated by creating a fundraising page prominently featuring Fox News’ logo and asking people for their email addresses and donations to celebrate her new job.

    That fundraising page, created in late August, was recently taken down after Media Matters asked Fox News whether it approved the use of its logo.

    Great America Alliance is a 501(c)(4) group that was started by Great America PAC in December 2016 after Donald Trump won the presidential election. According to Ed Rollins, a strategist for Great America PAC and a Fox News contributor, the PAC launched the group in its attempt to do “all we can to support and advocate" for Trump. As The Washington Post reported, both groups are also connected with’s Steve Bannon and his “political patrons, the wealthy Mercer family. The former White House strategist does not have a formal role with the organizations, but he helped install [former deputy White House political strategist Andy] Surabian as the top strategist at the advocacy group.”

    In recent months, both groups have integrated Fox News’ branding into their fundraising and publicity efforts. Great America PAC recently sent an email featuring Fox News' logo and forwarding a Rollins op-ed that promoted the group.

    And when Lahren joined Fox News as a contributor in August, Great America Alliance wrote on its Facebook page that she would “continue advocating for an America First agenda” on the network and asked its followers to sign a card congratulating “Tomi on her tremendous achievement.” From Facebook:

    The card was a sign-up page on its 501(c)(4) website that asked for users’ email addresses and then led them to a donation page. Both the sign-up page and donation page featured Fox News’ logo.

    Media Matters asked Fox News whether it approved Great America Alliance using its logo. Shortly after that request for comment, the page was taken down.

    Great America Alliance and Great America PAC wrote other posts on their Facebook pages linking to the card. The groups removed those links when asked by Media Matters about them.

    Fox News and Great America Alliance / PAC did not reply to requests for comment and clarification.

    The network has also allowed Rollins to promote Great America Alliance and its aligned super PAC on Fox platforms. The longtime political consultant and Washington insider wrote a November 1 op-ed on that decried “Washington insiders” and “the swamp” as he promoted his group, writing:

    Fortunately for conservative Americans across the country, there is now an infrastructure in place to hold establishment Republicans accountable. My organization, Great America PAC and our allied Great America Alliance, has already engaged in successful races in Georgia, Montana, and most recently in Alabama. There, we helped former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore take down the Washington establishment’s well-funded choice, Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL). Moore defeated Senator Strange by double digits, sending another conservative-turned-centrist into political irrelevance.

    Last year, our team placed 30 million phone calls and sent over 2.5 million pieces of direct mail. We motivated millions of active, engaged Trump supporters across the country. And we will do so again in 2018 to elect real representatives who will stand behind our president’s America First agenda and drain the swamp.

    In 2016, we took our blue campaign bus on multiple national tours to get out the vote. Democrats and Republicans need to get on board with President Trump or they will be seeing the bus.

    After Rollins published his piece, Great America PAC sent the op-ed to its email list from “Ed Rollins via Fox News.” The email also included Fox News’ logo and a contribution appeal.

  • Trump sycophant Tomi Lahren joins Fox News after taking cues from Sean Hannity

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren will join Fox News as a contributor, the channel announced today. The announcement comes over a month after Lahren’s weeklong de facto “audition” on Fox News’ Hannity where she provided commentary at the end of the show that served to complement host Sean Hannity’s swooning coverage of President Donald Trump. Lahren has a long history of making racist, nativist, and misogynistic comments.

  • Tomi Lahren hire shows 21st Century Fox is complicit in Hannity's cesspool

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News has hired as its most recent contributor Tomi Lahren, a controversial conservative commentator who was previously a host at the smaller conservative networks TheBlaze and One America News Network before joining a super PAC that supports President Donald Trump in May. But don’t expect to see her joining the panels of the network’s signature news shows, Special Report or Fox News Sunday, or appearing on the network’s daytime programming. Instead, the press release announcing her hire makes clear that she will be quarantined to a very particular portion of the network: She will “offer political commentary to the network’s opinion programming, primarily Hannity.”

    That language is unique in recent history. Press releases for the network’s other 2017 hires --  Nigel Farage, Marie Harf, Ezekiel Emanuel, Jessica Tarlov, Ari Fleischer, and Jason Chaffetz -- all claimed the new contributor would provide commentary “across FNC and FOX Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming.”

    The release about Lahren seems to anticipate that Fox’s news staff will be embarrassed by what the network has done, thus requiring a public signal that only the president’s shills will be hosting the newest contributor. The reference to Sean Hannity’s program gives the game away: Fox hired a Trump propagandist to bolster its leading Trump propaganda show.

    Hannity has increasingly become an island unto himself, running his program with no sense of journalistic integrity and little apparent oversight or corporate restraint. Night after night, he finds new ways to declare that the president is besieged by powerful, dishonest foes, that the investigations into Trump’s actions are a sham, and that the president’s enemies are criminals.

    His isolation came to a head in May, after former Hannity producer Bill Shine resigned as Fox’s co-president following revelations about his reported role in enabling and covering up the extent of the sexual harassment problem at his network. Shortly before Shine's exit, Hannity had tweeted that Shine’s departure would signal “the total end of FNC as we know it”; rumors swirled that he would follow Shine out the door, but he ultimately decided to stay.

    With Shine gone, Hannity was completely unleashed, with no one left at the network with the status to rein him in. Later that month, he became the most visible national champion of the vicious Seth Rich conspiracy theory, a claim he believed would debunk the evidence that Russia sought to help Trump with the 2016 presidential election. Hannity continued to push the story even after his network had retracted its reports about it, publicly declaring, “I am not or, I retracted nothing.”

    This effort helped isolate Hannity from his colleagues. His insistence on promoting lies drew criticism from his colleagues, with “nearly a dozen reporters, pundits, and hosts” at Fox telling The Daily Beast that Hannity was “embarrassing” the network and questioning why executives were unable to put a stop to it. Last month, Hannity, in turn, portrayed himself as the sole true supporter of the president at the network, calling out Fox anchor Shep Smith in particular.

    We’ve seen this pattern of Fox’s “news” staff calling out their “opinion” colleagues before, when open hostilities broke out due to former Fox host Glenn Beck’s violent and racist rhetoric. The network’s reporters skew their story selection to the right and promote conservative talking points, but they don’t like to be too closely linked to the worst vitriol of the evening hosts, even as Fox’s audience and ratings are built around that right-wing brand.

    Rather than try to restrain Hannity as his colleagues would prefer, Fox has now expressly hired a contributor to bolster his show.

    Lahren seems to have auditioned for the Hannity role in mid-July, when she appeared for a weeklong stretch on “The Final Word,” a taped monologue segment at the end of Hannity’s show. Other recent participants include pro-Trump commentators Diamond and Silk and Terrence Williams of YouTube.

    Lahren’s “The Final Word” monologues, much like Hannity’s own performances, feature a mix of pro-Trump cheerleading, criticism of his foes, and policy pablum. She attacked the “leftist mainstream media” for “nitpicking” Trump’s habits while ignoring that the “average American is making a comeback under this president.” She criticized the “Hollywood elitist[s]” like Kathy Griffin, Johnny Depp, and Madonna, and their “Trump derangement syndrome.” She also complained that the rest of the Republican Party refuses to get on board and pass the president’s agenda.

    What does that agenda entail? According to Lahren’s inch-deep policy knowledge, we need to:

    • build a wall on the Mexican border, because “physical barriers work”;
    • “repeal the open-ended entitlement program known as Obamacare, replace it with liberty and let’s figure out some commonsense solution to our health care problem, solutions that don't involve a blank check, by the way”;
    • take “full advantage of science, technology, and innovation,” which we aren’t doing “all because some snowflakes want to stage another protest”; and
    • pass “middle-class and corporate tax cuts” because “the silent majority has waited long enough for this.”

    You can see why Fox is a little bit embarrassed about giving Lahren a job -- and why a shameless pro-Trump shill like Hannity would want to hire her.

    Hannity has been out of control for months. At this point, we have to assume it’s by design, that Fox executives appreciate what he’s bringing to the table and are willing to indulge him as he builds his pro-Trump megaphone. The news staff may be ashamed of what Hannity is up to, but at the end of the day, he’s going to get what he wants.

  • After London terror attack, right-wing media react with predictable Islamophobia

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Right-wing media personalities launched Islamophobic attacks following the June 3 attack in London that left seven people dead and injured dozens, such as calling for the internment of Muslims in "World War II-style internment camps," suggesting the United States “close down the mosques” and claiming the U.K. “let in too many Muslim immigrants.”

  • Right-wing media cheer Trump withdrawing United States from the Paris climate agreement

    Business leaders and experts agree decision to pull out of agreement “would harm every American” and "devastate [America’s] international credibility"


    Right-wing media figures cheered President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which sought to reduce international greenhouse gas emissions. But experts and business leaders condemned the decision, calling the move a “historic mistake” and “a gratuitous thumb in everyone’s eye.”

  • Meet OANN, Another Right-Wing Outlet Shilling For Trump


    One America News Network (OANN) drew attention after President-elect Donald Trump took a question from its correspondent at his January 11 press conference. OANN, which was founded in 2013 as a right-wing news network akin to Fox News, shilled for Trump throughout his campaign and recently hired Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a commentator. The network has a history of race-baiting and presenting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-abortion reporting.

  • Three Ways Fox Is Attempting To Delegitimize Clinton’s Lead In The Polls

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News has attempted to delegitimize Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls for months, claiming that the polls are skewed due to oversampling, that the size of rallies Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds is more indicative of his support than polls, and that there are “secret” Trump supporters who are too embarrassed to tell pollsters whom they support. However, other media outlets have explained that concerns about oversampling are “laughably incorrect,” and that claims that crowds are more accurate than polling are some of “the most idiotic claims out there.”