Tony Shaffer | Media Matters for America

Tony Shaffer

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  • "Personal Gestapo," "witness intimidation," and "a witch hunt": How pro-Trump media reacted to the Manafort raid

    ››› ››› KATHERINE HESS

    After President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was issued a search warrant regarding the Russia investigation, pro-Trump media -- including Fox personalities, fringe blogs, neo-Nazi sites, and fake news purveyors -- lashed out, stating that it was “not about Trump,” and insisted that this was a witch hunt and another attempt to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Others claimed the FBI was acting as “someone’s personal Gestapo,” and that the raid was a form of “witness intimidation.”

  • Conservative Media Ignore The Differences Between Iran And North Korea Nuclear Agreements

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Conservative media figures reacted to the announced nuclear deal with Iran by comparing the deal with the 1994 Agreed Framework negotiated with North Korea. These flawed comparisons failed to note several key differences between the substance of the two agreements and between the situations of the two countries at the time the deals were made.

  • Fox Host Baselessly Escalates Latest Benghazi Conspiracy Theory: Iran-Contra Edition

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL


    Fox News' embellishments of discredited journalist Sharyl Attkisson's latest Benghazi conspiracy theory have become increasingly detached from reality, most recently morphing into absurd allegations that Hillary Clinton supporters "scrubbed" documents to hide evidence of a supposed State Department effort to funnel weapons to the Islamic State militants in a "mini-Iran Contra" scenario, or, as Fox puts it, "the holy grail" of scandals.

    After Attkisson highlighted disgruntled former State Department employee Raymond Maxwell's speculating (he "couldn't help but wonder") that State Department staff "scrubbed" damaging Benghazi documents before the initial investigation, it took just hours for Fox's coverage of the claims to morph from reiteration into full-blown allegations that Hillary Clinton's office had facilitated the destruction of key documents in violation of federal law.

    Fox's own Bill O'Reilly raised doubts about whether Attkisson's story constituted a scandal, but Fox's morning show kept the conspiracy drumbeat alive on September 17 edition of Fox & Friends, escalating the speculative claims to even greater heights. Co-host Brian Kilmeade and Fox News contributor Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer speculated that the allegedly removed documents would prove that the State Department enabled an Iran-Contra-like scenario by facilitating the transfer of weapons to Islamic State militants. Insisting that "all roads lead to principal officers," Shaffer imagined that the supposed documents may hide a "direct link" to what he called a "holy grail" of Benghazi allegations, and Kilmeade concluded that "this is almost like a mini Iran-Contra thing":

  • Fox News Constructs A Catch 22 Over Possible Military Response To Benghazi Attack

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox is constructing a Catch 22 for President Obama over the possibility of a military strike in response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. If Obama orders military action before the election, that action will be politically motivated. If he doesn't he will be motivated by other political considerations.

    Fox News and a Catch 22On October 15, Associated Press reported that the White House had put military forces in North Africa on standby, "ready to strike militant targets from Libya to Mali" if a connection is found between them and the consulate attack. In response to that report, Fox rushed to politicize any such strike, claiming that Obama might order an attack in order to improve his re-election odds. 

    On today's Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked guest Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, saying that there's been "some whispering going on that potentially this administration would try to take out the people responsible for the terror attack in Libya, before the election, maybe before the foreign policy debate. Where do you fall on that?"

    Shaffer responded with a different theory, suggesting that Obama would likely not order a strike before the election because of political considerations. Shaffer explained: "This administration has talked about how great things are in Libya, based on their leading from behind, and starting shooting predator -- using Predator drones to shoot Hellfire missiles at people, right before the election is the wrong optic. I just don't think they're going to do it."

    Whether Obama orders a strike in Libya or not, it seems that Fox is ready with a response.