Roger Stone | Media Matters for America

Roger Stone

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  • MSNBC helps Roger Stone sell books after previously banning him for his abusive behavior

    Blog ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Roger Stone appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to promote his new book, even though MSNBC previously announced that Stone would be no longer welcome on the network. Stone had been banned for making abusive comments about MSNBC personalities.

    Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump and a long-time conspiracy theorist who is now an Infowars correspondent, was banned from all three major cable news networks because of his sexist, racist, and threatening rhetoric. He was also locked out of his Twitter account in April 2017 after he threatened a Media Matters employee, and he was permanently suspended from the platform in October following attacks on several CNN employees.

    MSNBC previously confirmed that Stone -- who twice offered a cash reward to anyone who "punches out" network host Chris Matthews and who called host Al Sharpton a "professional negro" who ate fried chicken, and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow "Rachel the muff-diver" -- would not be welcome on the network.

    But MSNBC and CNN have both recently decided to give Stone a platform to promote his new book, Stone’s Rules. In Stone’s May 8 appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mitchell asked him to comment on Trump’s new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and pressed him about his connections to WikiLeaks, but she also plugged the book.

    The decisions to reverse bans on hosting Stone might be defensible if he were in the news or there were some other newsworthy reason. In this case, they’re just helping him sell books.

  • CNN seemingly abandons its official policy banning Roger Stone from appearing as an on-air guest

    Despite its long-standing and publicly announced policy, CNN hosted Stone to promote his upcoming book

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE & MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN hosted President Donald Trump confidant and Infowars conspiracy theorist Roger Stone to promote his new book, reversing a decision the network made in 2016 to no longer host Stone on its airwaves.

    For years, Stone regularly leveled sexist and racist attacks (often via Twitter) against politicians and members of the media, including current and former CNN personalities. He called CNN political commentator Ana Navarro an "Entitled Diva Bitch," a "pompous shithead," "borderline retarded," and "a rabid Pekinese," and wrote, "Black beans and rice didn't miss her." Stone also attacked CNN analyst Roland Martin when Martin was still at CNN, referring to him as a “stupid negro," a "fat negro," and "CNN's racist moron--dumb, embarassing (sic), token," and asked him, "Who made you God, Fattass? Eat somemore Popeye's."

    By February 2016, Stone’s vile Twitter attacks on CNN personalities resulted in an indefinite suspension from the network, with a CNN spokesperson telling Politico, “He will no longer appear as a guest on CNN.” In April 2017, Twitter briefly locked Stone’s account after he threatened a Media Matters employee. And in October 2017, Twitter permanently suspended Stone’s account “following a series of derogatory and threatening tweets from Stone to CNN personalities.”

    Stone’s May 7 appearance on New Day suggests an apparent reversal of CNN’s 2016 decision, as the network not only chose to provide a platform for the prominent conspiracy theorist and Infowars host, but also gave him an opportunity to hawk his new book.

    Media Matters has asked CNN for comment on this and will update with any response.

  • 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. 

  • Amid reports Trump may fire Rosenstein over Mueller inquiry, a Fox News drumbeat urges him on

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    President Donald Trump is newly frustrated with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to several recent reports, some of which suggest the president is contemplating firing him. While the president fumes, an array of his closest allies at Fox News are encouraging him to remove or even imprison the Republican longtime federal prosecutor who currently oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

    The pro-Trump media’s attacks on Rosenstein are not new -- his appointment of Mueller last May and his refusal to countenance removing the special counsel has made him a regular target. Sean Hannity called for Rosenstein's resignation as early as June, while other network figures have described him as part of a Justice Department “cartel, the equivalent of the mob” engaged in “what essentially amounts to a coup d'etat against Trump.

    But the tempo of the criticisms has dramatically increased over the past 10 days, as Trump’s propagandists have focused on the need to release a memo drafted by Republicans on the House intelligence committee. GOP members claim the memo shows the FBI and DOJ were biased against the president during the early phases of their investigation into improper communications between Trump associates and Russia, while Democratic members call it a cherry-picked weapon aimed at dismantling Mueller’s investigation.

    According to The New York Times, the memo focuses in part on Rosenstein’s actions, which the paper reports “indicates that Republicans may be moving to seize on his role as they seek to undermine the inquiry.” That could give Trump cover to fire Rosenstein and replace him with someone more amenable to either ending or curbing the special counsel’s investigation.

    Since Republican members of Congress first began discussing the memo on January 18, the president’s friends at Fox have engaged in a withering drumbeat of Rosenstein criticism, at times calling for his firing or even his arrest.

    Hannity, a sometime presidential adviser who has turned his show into a nightly assault on the rule of law in an effort to protect Trump from the Russia investigation, said the night after the memo story first gained credence: “Rod Rosenstein, you need to explain your role in all of this and specifically if you were involved in extending this FISA warrant. And, frankly, Rod Rosenstein needs to be fired.” Hannity again called for Rosenstein to be “fired and investigated” on January 22. He has described the deputy attorney general as “corrupt,” suggesting he was part of a “rogue group of Obama administration holdovers that despise Donald Trump” that were “abus[ing] the powerful, unmatched tools of intelligence that we give our government to protect us” in order to “influence first the election and then undermine the choice of the American people.” He also questioned whether Rosenstein might be part of a non-existent anti-Trump “secret society.”

    Gregg Jarrett, a low-profile Fox News anchor who emerged last year as the network’s leading legal defender of the president, told Hannity on Wednesday night that Rosenstein had approved an “illegal investigation.” In an appearance on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business show the same evening, he claimed that Rosenstein has “serious political bias” and may have committed a federal crime that carries a 10-year prison sentence. Dobbs, who frequently suggests that various people have broken the law by not being sufficiently supportive of the president, replied, “So when do the arrests start?” After Jarrett said that should have happened long ago but “it was hidden for a long time,” Dobbs replied, “I hope that’s also a federal crime.”

    Discussing the memo on Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton claimed that there needs to be “pressure on the FBI to clean out its ranks at the leadership level,” adding, “If Rod Rosenstein isn’t going to do it, they should find someone who will.” Pirro, who has repeatedly called for the arrests of DOJ and FBI leaders and met with Trump in the White House in November, responded, “I got to tell you I couldn’t agree with you more. That place is dirty.”

    And in an appearance on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle, former Trump adviser Roger Stone said that Rosenstein “is not on the level” and should be fired.

    Is Trump angry at Rosenstein and contemplating firing him because of Fox’s coverage? Is Fox providing so much negative coverage about Rosenstein because its hosts know the president wants him out? Are the two efforts happening entirely in parallel? Fox’s dual role as the president’s news source and the propaganda megaphone trumpeting his message to his base, as well as the propensity of several Fox figures to advise him privately, makes it difficult to draw causality arrows. But what’s clear is that if Trump does move against Rosenstein, his most loyal followers will already be primed to accept the effort as the logical response to a purportedly disloyal Justice Department official.

  • Alex Jones and Roger Stone visited a gun range to prepare for civil war if Trump is removed from office

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Roger Stone, a conservative pundit who has advised President Donald Trump for decades, visited a shooting range to fire weapons in preparation for a civil war in the event Trump is removed from office.

    The visit was documented in a nearly one-and-a-half-hour-long December 19 video posted to Jones’ YouTube channel with the title “Roger Stone Prepares For Civil War After Trump Is Removed From Office: LIVE AUTO GUNFIRE.”

    Jones set up the video by explaining that when Stone “was recently asked by TMZ what happens if Trump is assassinated or overthrown, he said it would cause a civil war.”

    Asked to spell out his comment to TMZ, Stone, who is a contributor to Jones’ Infowars website, said, “We do not advocate violence or foment violence, but if there is a coup d’etat, if there is an illegitimate unconstitutional effort to remove Donald Trump on trumped-up charges by a biased and partisan prosecutors (sic) or an illegitimate takedown by the 25th Amendment, there will be a civil war in this country.”

    “The Trump constituency has been awakened and they will not be put to sleep,” added Stone. He then said that he was at the shooting range to practice self-defense for himself and his family, but also to “defend the Constitution” if it is necessary.

    Jones and Stone then entered the shooting area and fired an array of semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms, including one equipped with a silencer. At one point, Stone violated a basic safety rule by putting his finger on the trigger of an Uzi submachine gun before he was ready to shoot, causing the instructor to repeatedly remind Stone to take his finger off the trigger before physically removing it. Stone also remarked that he couldn’t see where the safety was because of the glasses he was wearing. While firing the weapons, Stone and Jones joked about shooting “commie dogs” and making a “JFK throat shot,” and Jones joked that Stone is “our Rambo” to “take on the globalists.”

    On his program, The Alex Jones Show, Jones has repeatedly and baselessly claimed that there is a plot by Democrats, globalists, and other forces to violently overthrow the Trump presidency, which would lead to a bloody second American civil war. While talking about the prospect of a civil war, Jones frequently indicates his willingness to personally participate in violence, including serving as an executioner for convicted traitors. In other contexts, Jones has also raised the spectre of violence, including threatening to “beat” a Democratic congressman’s “goddamn ass” and discussing his willingness to take up arms in a race war.