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Conspiracy website Infowars’ Washington bureau chief, Jerome Corsi, conducted a live broadcast from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House, telling viewers that Infowars had obtained a temporary pass and was working to obtain permanent White House press credentials.
Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones operates Infowars, a disreputable outlet that has pushed conspiracy theories about tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, and Oklahoma City bombing. The site also posts false information in support of Trump, and it promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. Jones has said that he communicates with President Donald Trump and offers him advice.
The outlet hired Corsi in January. Corsi has made a living pushing false conspiracy theories, including the claim that former President Barack Obama has a fake birth certificate, which he was instrumental in spreading.
During the livestream, Corsi discussed an embargoed budget document and then used an iPad to give viewers a tour of the nearly empty briefing room.
Corsi said that Infowars does not yet have permanent press credentials but that he wanted to emphasize that the site had obtained a temporary pass and was able to physically broadcast from the White House.
While giving the tour, Corsi added, “We’re here. I think that makes clear we’re going to get press credentials and we’ll do what we need to do to get here on a regular basis to get permanent press credentials.” He signed off by saying, “Let’s kind of end this now by just saying we’re here, we’re going to get more established as we go along, and I’m very, very pleased to have made this step today.”
Earlier today, Corsi wrote on Twitter, “Jerome Corsi, Washington Bureau Chief, http://Infowars.com. We have WH PRESS CREDENTIALS. I'm in WH May 22, 2017”:
— Jerome Corsi (@jerome_corsi) May 22, 2017
An accompanying Infowars article said that the outlet delivered “an epic blow to the mainstream media’s control of the narrative” by gaining access to White House press briefings and that “Alex Jones may even attend some White House press briefings in person.”
Earlier this month, Jones announced that Infowars had been granted a weekly press pass to the White House and was working “very hard” to get permanent credentials. In January, Jones claimed that his site had been offered a White House press credential. The White House press office denied the claim. Jones later claimed he meant that Infowars “can get them if we want them, guaranteed.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote on Twitter that Corsi’s presence in the White House made him want to “throw up” given Infowars’ ongoing role in promoting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting:
Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump media ally Alex Jones claimed that his outlet Infowars has been granted a weekly press pass to the White House and suggested that Infowars is making progress in obtaining a more permanent press credential.
During his May 2 broadcast, Jones said, “I want to toot our horn and Mike Cernovich's horn again. The media is calling for his weekly pass he was given. We've gotten those as well. We're pending getting our regular passes which are very hard to get at the White House with Jerome Corsi.”
Cernovich, an “alt right” troll who has been making regular appearances on Jones’ show in recent weeks, attended the White House press briefing yesterday and had an outburst as the briefing concluded.
Jones said that the more permanent credentials would be for Infowars Washington, D.C., bureau chief Jerome Corsi, a disreputable right-wing figure who led the birther movement.
In January, Jones said that Infowars had been offered a White House press credential. The White House press office denied the claim. Jones later claimed he meant that Infowars “can get them if we want them, guaranteed.”
Jones and Trump have an ongoing relationship. Jones has repeatedly boasted about the president and people in the administration calling him on the phone. Then-presidential candidate Trump appeared on Jones’ program in December 2015 and praised the host for his “amazing” reputation.
From the May 2 edition of Genesis Communications Network’s The Alex Jones Show:
ALEX JONES: I want to toot our horn and Mike Cernovich's horn again. The media is calling for his weekly pass he was given. We've gotten those as well. We're pending getting our regular passes which are very hard to get at the White House with Jerome Corsi. The national media has said that it was white power -- [Cernovich] made the Trump symbol of A-OK, we’re going to handle it, everything’s being taken care of with finesse. It doesn’t matter if that means it’s handled, we’ve got it done, everything is A-OK. They say he is an evil white supremacist because he’s pointed out that Antifa is attacking people all over the United States and he was able to get that out in the briefing yesterday at the White House.
*This post has been updated.
In order to back President Donald Trump’s false allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, fringe outlets and fake news purveyors -- along with some right-wing media -- are hyping a claim from Infowars’ Jerome Corsi and Alex Jones that supposedly reveals National Security Agency (NSA) documents that show Trump was spied on for years. Corsi and the “sources” he and Jones rely on have been major proponents of the debunked myth that Obama’s birth certificate is fake.
The day after he was sworn in, the president of the United States sent his press secretary to lie to the White House press corps about the attendance at his inauguration. President Trump apparently believes that up to 5 million people illegally voted and is reportedly initiating an investigation into nonexistent voter fraud based on the story of a German golfer who was stopped from voting while people “who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote” were allowed to cast ballots. Trump is spending a considerable of time watching cable news and issuing policy statements based on what he sees. His aides reportedly “talk about taking away his telephone or canceling his Twitter account,” worry that he has become fixated on his popularity and personal slights, and say he is “at his most self-destructive when the stakes are high.” A constitutional crisis seems imminent.
Donald Trump has spent his 12 days in office demonstrating that he is temperamentally unfit for the job, and driving me to check Nukemap to determine if my Washington, D.C., apartment is in the blast zone in the event that he triggers a nuclear apocalypse, either accidentally or out of pique.
There’s too much crazy shit happening to keep track of it all. But let’s take a moment to reflect on the fact that Alex Jones, the nation’s leading conspiracy theorist and an ally of the president, appears to be on the verge of getting White House briefing room access for his conspiracy website.
“I know I can get White House credentials, we've already been offered them, we're going to get them, but I've just got to spend the money to send somebody there,” Jones said in a video posted to his YouTube account last week. “Might be good to put a few reporters there, it's just all a money issue.”
After we reported Jones’ comments, a White House press aide issued a non-denial denial, telling BuzzFeed News that Jones himself “is not credentialed” and that the “White House press office has not offered him credentials.” Jones then claimed he had been taken out of context and was just considering applying for credentials.
But on Tuesday, Jerome Corsi -- Infowars’ newly-minted Washington, D.C., bureau chief and the author of the birther tome Where’s The Birth Certificate? -- announced that he had submitted the pertinent information to the White House to receive credentials. According to Corsi, the “White House press office today didn’t think there would be any problem in Infowars and Alex Jones and me getting press credentials.”
Here’s a brief list of Jones’ panoply of horribles:
Jones has repeatedly claimed that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” perpetrated by the government and that Osama Bin Laden worked for the CIA. He alleged the Oklahoma City bombing was a “staged event” by “criminals in Washington” to get sympathy to pass President Clinton’s policy agenda. He claimed mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, San Bernardino, and Orlando were false flag events. And Jones said the Boston Marathon bombing was “staged” and the bombers were “recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly.”
He’s also pushed fringe conspiracy theories about how government elites are trying to manipulate or control the world through other covert actions. Jones claimed the government is secretly encouraging “homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children.” He’s claimed vaccines are part of a covert population-control program to give the country cancer or autism. And he also said the government is controlling weather through a “weather weapon,” spraying chemicals into the air for “genocide and population reduction,” and that the singer Beyoncé is a CIA operative who's been deployed to cause mayhem in cities.
His Infowars website, which presumably would receive the press credential, is a trash heap of paranoid conspiracy theories and fake news. And Corsi has a long history of pushing conspiracy theories, including reports on how President Obama is secretly gay, Muslim, and foreign-born to an Indonesian father.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a conspiracy theory-touting website has been granted access to the White House -- the right-wing radio host and gadfly Lester Kinsolving spent years reporting from the briefing room for WorldNetDaily, the internet home of birther lies and Corsi’s previous employer.
But Kinsolving never had the relationship or mind meld with a president that Jones and Trump share.
Trump appeared on Jones’ radio show in December 2015, praising the host’s “amazing” reputation and promising, “I will not let you down.” In the subsequent 13 months, Jones has repeatedly spoken of conversations he says he had with Trump. The now-president frequently echoed Jones’ conspiracy theories during the campaign, to the point where Jones remarked that it is “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later.”
Top Trump ally Roger Stone, who has his own long history of pushing conspiracy theories, became Trump’s envoy to the program. He made regular appearances on Jones’ show, working to cultivate his audience for Trump; he now occasionally guest-hosts on the network. Stone has called Jones a “valuable asset” who can “rally the people around President Trump’s legislative program.”
After Trump’s election, Jones said he had received a call from the president-elect to thank him for his support. Walking the streets of Washington, D.C., before the inauguration, he remarked, “It’s like Alex Jones is the president.” The next day, he declared that “the message we heard in this [inauguration] speech has been my message for over a decade.”
Letting Infowars into the White House would provide the Trump administration an ally -- if a volatile one -- in the press room, one it could count on not to push stories damaging to the president. Jones himself has indicated that this is part of the plan, saying yesterday that “just by being there” in the White House they would be able to move news organizations that publish mainstream news stories “out of the way."
If Jones and Corsi are right and Infowars is on the verge of receiving White House credentials, we will have seen the next step in press secretary Sean Spicer’s effort to flood the press briefings with sycophants and pro-Trump propagandists. Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette, Breitbart.com, One America News Network, and Newsmax have all had opportunities to ask questions last week.
In the video in which he first suggested a White House press credential was imminent, Jones stood with other Trump media allies like Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity in calling for delegitimizing and diminishing the access of critical news outlets in order to make room for journalists who support the Trump line. “What’s CNN doing in the front row, when Spicer keeps going to them?” Jones asked. “You should see Breitbart and Drudge, and also just reporters that are known to tell the truth from mainstream, whatever, promoted and put up to the front of those briefings, to bring up real questions, not just a battle where they're just attacking with fricking lies.”
Trump wants an army of Jeff Gannons in the White House press room. That team is starting to assemble.
Conspiracy Theorist Jerome Corsi Is The New DC Bureau Chief For Infowars
Jerome Corsi, newly announced as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars, said the outlet has formally applied for White House press credentials. Corsi said the Trump administration reportedly “didn’t think there would be any problem” admitting the 9/11 truther’s site to report alongside other news media from the official briefing room.
Jones has promoted numerous conspiracy theories and false stories including the claim that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government and the allegation that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax done with actors.
Corsi, like Jones, is a conspiracy theorist with a long history of pushing discredited attacks and allegations, including the complete falsehood that former President Barack Obama has a phony birth certificate.
During a January 31 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Corsi told Jones he was “very excited to get to Washington, to establish press credentials at the White House, and to create the Washington news bureau for Infowars.” He said he had submitted the pertinent information to the White House, including his birth certificate, joking, “I have to have a birth certificate. Of course, Barack Obama doesn’t.”
Corsi said that he hoped that by early next week, “Infowars.com is going to be in the press briefings at the White House as White House-accredited press.”
Last week, Jones claimed that Infowars had been invited to cover White House press briefings. The White House denied those reports, and Jones then claimed he had been taken out of context and was just considering applying for credentials. Today, Jones characterized that coverage as unfairly critical of Infowars’ “work.” Corsi responded that the “White House press office today didn’t think there would be any problem in Infowars and Alex Jones and me getting press credentials.”
Later in the program, Jones and Corsi discussed how they hoped to leverage their placement in the White House briefing room to promote and pursue conspiracy theories. Corsi suggested he would ask White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the conspiracy theory that people participating in recent protests against Trump were “recruited professional thugs” who were “paid” to conduct “astroturf protests.”
Jones said that “just by being there” in the White House they would be able to move news organizations that publish mainstream news stories “out of the way.” Corsi contrasted Infowars with most of the reporters in the briefing room, who he said are “all of a like ideological leftist agenda” and who he said are “all set out to attack everything Donald Trump does.”
Birther Joins Birther To Cover Administration Led By Birther
Alex Jones announced that WorldNetDaily reporter Jerome Corsi will be Infowars.com’s new Washington bureau chief. The appointment is fitting for the discredited pro-Trump website: Corsi was instrumental to the false claim that former President Barack Obama supposedly has a fake birth certificate, and he has a long history of producing shoddy reporting in service of bizarre conspiracy theories.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced that President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, will be his personal guest at the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. The choice highlights an unusual division between Trump and some of the right-wing media outlets he often relies on, who have for years accused Malik Obama of having alleged ties to various extremist groups in a fringe effort to smear President Obama.
WND Repeatedly Highlights Claim That Obama's Mother Is Not His Mother
Why would WND dispatch Jerome Corsi to London to publish a series of reports on the trial of a conspiracy theorist? As is often the case with Corsi and WND, there's an utterly bizarre explanation: the guy on trial thinks President Obama's mother isn't his real mother.
After the nonsensical conspiracy that President Obama lacked a proper American birth certificate was finally put to rest when he released the long-form version of that document in 2011, birther conspiracy theorists have forged increasingly convoluted and bizarre allegations to try to keep the story alive. Right-wing fringe sites like WND -- which, not coincidentally, sells a wide range of birther swag at its online store -- have spent the years since the release of the long-form certificate desperately trying to breathe life back into the conspiracy. Based on things like a smudged stamp ink and a supposedly-hidden "smiley face" in the long-form certificate, writers like Corsi have declared the document to be a forgery (a ridiculous claim also endorsed by people like Donald Trump).
Hand-in-hand with the conspiracy that Obama lacks or is hiding an authentic birth certificate, conspiracy theorists have also obsessed over the idea that Barack Obama Sr. is not the president's real father. Candidates for the "real father" have included Malcolm X, an unidentified "American black," "some Indonesian," and, most prominently, Communist poet Frank Marshall Davis. (The latter theory was the focus of an inane 2012 "documentary," which found fans in Corsi and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley.)
In an article filed earlier this week from London, Corsi highlighted the outlandish claims of Michael Shrimpton, "a middle-aged London barrister by profession and self-proclaimed intelligence expert." Shrimpton is currently awaiting trial in England for allegedly intentionally misleading the British government by falsely claiming terrorists planned to detonate a nuclear weapon during the 2012 Olympics that he claimed was stolen from a sunken Russian submarine.
The conservatives behind some of the worst political smear campaigns have started a super PAC.
Takeover Super PAC is backed by a team that includes Joseph Farah, founder of the fringe conspiracy site WND; Jerome Corsi, a leading member of the Swift Boat and birther campaigns; and Floyd Brown, producer of the racist Willie Horton ads.
The group says it will "win elections and take our country back from the liberals and socialists" and exhorts potential donors, "If you're tired to [sic] putting your money to work for turncoats and traitors, join us." Takeover claims liberals want to eliminate the right to privacy, the Second Amendment, religion, want to "permanently enslave the American people" with Obamacare and entitlements, and ultimately desire "a tyrannical dictatorship."
In a fundraising email announcing the PAC, Farah stated that he's "not giving my money to the RNC any longer. I'm not giving a dime to Karl Rove's Tea Party-hating PAC, and I'm not supporting spineless Republicans who lead us down the same liberal roads. I'm giving my money to Takeover Super PAC." Farah and other conservatives have been feuding with Rove, a fight that intensified when the former Bush adviser launched an effort to protect Republicans against tea party challengers.
The section of Takeover's website for supported candidates is currently empty. Several navigation buttons on its website, such as links to its Facebook (which links to "facebook.com/takoversuperpac [sic]"), Twitter (which links to "twitter.com/takoversuperpac [sic]"), and YouTube pages do not work -- and a page devoted to the "Takeover Store" is also blank.
Takeover's advisory board indicates the group will be heavily intertwined with professional consultants.
The super PAC's executive director and treasurer is "Internet marketing and communications entrepreneur" Thomas Freiling. He previously headed Patriot Super PAC, which paid him $78,239 during the 2012 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data via OpenSecrets.org. Freiling's consulting firm Fairfax Technologies also received $18,044. Patriot Super PAC paid $374,976 to Internet communications consulting firm Grassroots Action Inc. Grassroots is headed by Steve Elliott, who also sits on Takeover's advisory board. Patriot Super PAC raised $922,266 during the 2012 cycle, and spent $163,418 on independent expenditures.
Board member Floyd Brown is president of Excellentia Inc., a conservative marketing firm. Another board member, Richard Viguerie, pioneered the use of direct mail fundraising.
The toxic background of the group's board members may actually end up hurting any supported candidates. Here's a closer look at three of the group's advisors.
Press Needs to Detail Driving Force Behind Today's GOP
Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the architect of the Republican effort to shut down the federal government, spoke at a Washington, D.C. rally, hosted by activists who were angry that the nation's memorials had been closed as part of the government shutdown. Sarah Palin also addressed the crowd.
Soon after Cruz spoke, and after Palin handed out small American flags, organizers turned to Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman. Best known in recent years for his evangelical pursuit of birtherism and all half-baked conspiracies related to the debunked claim that Barack Obama wasn't born in America and that he's an undercover Muslim, Klayman told cheering activists in Washington that the president "bows down to Allah." He announced that Obama's "not the president of 'we the people, he's a president of his people," and that Obama needed to "put the Quran down."
The Obama's-a-foreigner ugliness fermented by Klayman was soon showcased after shutdown protesters marched to the White House where, according to the conservative Washington Times, the crowd numbered "about 200," including curious onlookers. Outside the White House gates, one conservative protester waved a Confederate flag, and when local police arrived to secure the area they were greeted with calls of "brown shirts," while one demonstrator commented the scene "looks like something out of Kenya."
Note also that the recently failed right-wing truck rally in D.C. was organized by a proud online birther, and that attendees to the far-right Value Voters Summit in Washington over the weekend were invited to hear addresses by birther exhibitionists Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi.
If anyone's surprised that a proud and unapologetic birther (in 2013!) was front-and-center at a right-wing anti-Obama rally this week, or that the birther charade plays a central role in government shutdown activism, then they haven't being paying close enough attention to the conservative movement in America.
And that includes most members of the Beltway press corps.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow recently addressed the birther issue and stressed the importance of it in terms of understanding today's radical Republicans in the House:
MADDOW: They have a different sense of what is normal. They have a different sense of what counts as reasonable politics in America -- and failing to appreciate that, means that we fail to develop reasonably accurate expectations for their behavior. And that has become really important.
That failure to appreciate helps explain why the shutdown to defund a three-year-old health care law remains so perplexing to most outside observers. Viewed through the prism of traditional partisan politics, it doesn't make any sense. It's a shutdown about nothing. It's a shutdown devoid of content or purpose. (Defunding was never a realistic outcome.) It's certainly a shutdown that was executed without any clear goals by Republicans, or anything that even resembled an endgame strategy.
Social conservatives will descend on Washington, D.C., next month for the Values Voters Summit (VVS), an annual convocation put on by an assemblage of anti-LGBT groups that will prominently feature high-profile right-wing media figures.
Sponsored by organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) - both Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups - VVS got its start in 2006. As in the past, this year's gathering promises to feature leading opponents of equality for women and LGBT people. Several confirmed speakers will be familiar faces to consumers of right-wing media:
Among the right-wing media personalities slated to speak at the conference:
After the White House released a picture of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David, conservative bloggers were quick to claim that the photo had been altered or created with Adobe Photoshop or a similar graphics editing program. This follows a long, bizarre tradition of conservative media labeling a wide range of pictures and documents related to the president as fraudulent.
In the past few years, conservatives have accused President Obama and his staff of Photoshopping the short and long-form versions of the president's birth certificate, two separate photos of the president with his family, two Situation Room photos from the day of the bin Laden raid, a photo of Obama throwing a football, and now a photo of the president shooting skeet.
During an interview last month with The New Republic, President Obama was asked if he has ever fired a gun. After the president told the magazine that he goes skeet shooting with guests at Camp David, conservatives -- as well as reporters from more mainstream outlets -- sought proof. In order to quiet the skeptics, on Saturday the White House released a photo of the president shooting clay targets at Camp David in 2012:
Linking to the picture on Twitter, White House senior adviser David Plouffe joked, "let the photoshop conspiracies begin!" While Plouffe was mocking the penchant of some conservatives to turn everything related to President Obama into a conspiracy, some conservative outlets quickly proved his point by doing just that (New York Magazine has produced a comprehensive roundup of the skeet shooting conspiracies).
In an article posted Sunday at conservative website American Thinker -- an outlet frequently touted and cited by Rush Limbaugh -- titled "Seven Reasons Why it's a Photoshop," blogger Michael Harlin concluded, "if he's shooting skeet, then I'm Daffy Duck." (While the headline calls it a Photoshop, Harlin seems to waver on whether the picture was manipulated or merely "staged like everything else in President Obama's life.")
To give you some idea of the level of analysis in the piece, among Harlin's evidence that something is off about the Obama picture is his observation that unlike Obama, "most shooters wear baseball style caps" to help "block unwanted sun in your eyes."
Obama is wearing sunglasses (or tinted protective eyewear) in the photo.
It's easy to point and laugh at analyses like these, but conservatives' obsession with these Photoshop conspiracies shows the type of paranoid nonsense that has passed for journalism at many prominent conservative outlets during the Obama era.
In this report we examine right-wing claims that the president's allies have altered:
With Sen. John Kerry's confirmation hearing as secretary of state scheduled for January 24, media reports will likely invoke the coordinated 2004 campaign to "Swift Boat" Kerry. While the smears from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) have long-since fallen apart under scrutiny, Jerome Corsi, one of the masterminds behind the campaign, is revisiting his old attacks.
A look at Corsi's "reporting" during the 2008 campaign and Obama's presidency confirms what quickly became clear during his efforts to hamstring Kerry's presidential run: he has utterly no credibility and his alleged reporting should not be taken seriously by media outlets.
Prior to the 2004 election, with the backing of major Republican donors, Vietnam veteran John O'Neill co-founded SBVT in an attempt to derail Kerry's presidential bid by casting doubt on his military service. The group launched a series of dishonest ads in August of that year, accompanied by Unfit for Command, a book co-authored by O'Neill and Corsi. In its review of Unfit for Command in October 2004, The New York Times explained that while the book was filled with "discredited," "faulty" and "totally unconvincing" claims, if Kerry's presidential bid were to fail, the tome would "go down as a chief reason."
When the book was released, co-author Corsi was practically unknown in political circles. He was a regular poster at conservative message board Free Republic and worked at a financial marketing group. After Media Matters highlighted a series of offensive comments he had made at Free Republic -- including calling Muslims "ragheads" and "boy buggers" and labeling Hillary Clinton a "fat hog" -- Unfit for Command co-author John O'Neill repeatedly tried to distance himself from Corsi to tamp down the controversy. While O'Neill tried to claim Corsi merely helped edit Unfit for Command, Corsi was listed as co-author on the book jacket and promotional materials for the book touted his involvement in co-writing it.
Shortly before the 2004 election, Corsi was hired by conservative publication WorldNetDaily, which has served as his main outlet. During the 2008 campaign and Obama's presidency, Corsi has used his WND platform to promote a staggering number of outlandish conspiracies about the president, including that Obama has a fake birth certificate and stolen Social Security number; that Obama is both secretly gay and secretly Muslim; and that Obama and his family have lied about the true identity of his father, who may be either communist writer Frank Marshall Davis or "some Indonesian."
In this report:
- "Where's The Birth Certificate?": Corsi Is Leading Birther Conspiracy Theorist
- "Where's The Real Birth Certificate?": Corsi Led Charge To Declare Obama's Long-Form Fake
- "I've Always Thought The Father Was Indonesian": Corsi's Quest To Find Obama's "Real" Father
- Corsi: Obama Is Possibly Gay, Definitely A Muslim
- A Superhighway To The Education Camps