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Stacey Dash

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  • Fake news sites are pushing voter fraud conspiracy theories on Facebook about the Ohio election

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    As the vote count for the special election in Ohio 12th Congressional District still rolls in, fake news sites have taken to Facebook to spread conspiracy theories about Democrats rigging the election results. Some of these sites are using this fake narrative to advocate for voter ID laws, a voter suppression tactic that disproportionately affects minorities. This push comes as the Supreme Court recently upheld Ohio’s voter-purge law which Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted particularly impacts neighborhoods with low-income and minority populations.

    These voter fraud conspiracy theories are largely based on two narratives. The first is a recent report that 588 votes in Franklin County were misplaced but later found. Fake news sites and social media accounts pushed baseless allegations that the recovered votes are part of an attempt by Democrats to rig the election. I Love My Freedom’s Facebook page posted an article on the discovery with the status: “The Democrats are trying to pull a fast one on us!!!” The Political Insider posted a video from its regular contributor and radio personality Wayne Dupree in which he speculated over the timing of the votes’ recovery, wondering, “Why didn’t they find the box of ballots the same night? Why is it now?” Dupree also said that the person who “found the ballots need (sic) to go to jail.” Conservative Tribune claimed that Democrats have a “history of fixing elections and opposing accountability for election integrity” in a Facebook post that linked to an article titled “Officials Magically Find Hundreds of New Votes That Boost Dem in Toss-up Ohio Election.” And an article from BizPac Review floated the idea that voter fraud was at play with the “newly-discovered votes that are favoring the Democratic candidate.” Young Conservatives, which is part of a Republican clickbait farm, posted an article about the recovered votes that c also specifically mentioned the voting rights of felons and made baseless accusations of illegal voting by undocumented immigrants. (These two groups are frequently featured in voter suppression narratives.)

    The second source for these voter fraud conspiracy theories came from an unverified claim, originating from the far-right Mercer-funded group the Government Accountability Institute, that 170 registered voters in Ohio’s 12th district are 116-years-old. When the fake news sites picked up the claim, they added allegations of voter fraud and election rigging by Democrats to the mix. Constitution.com wrote that Democrats “tend to benefit from voter fraud at a rate that far surpasses the assistance given to conservatives through the use of the same tactics.” Truthfeed claimed, “The Left hasn’t given up trying to create conditions favorable for voter fraud in Ohio.” And a Young Conservatives article which stated that “Democrats have been known to steal close elections” was shared by former Sarah Palin’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and by conservative commentators CJ Pearson and Stacey Dash on Facebook.

    The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune posted an article that claimed this news was part of an attempt from the Democratic Party to “get their ‘blue wave’ to happen.” The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune also advocated for voter ID laws, writing, “If voter ID laws are passed and implemented … those 170 impossibly old voters would no longer be able to cast ballots — and that is something the fraudulent Democrats of the state desperately want to avoid.” The article has earned over 81,000 interactions on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, and was shared by Fox News host Shannon Bream and frequent Fox News guest Larry Elder. Western Journal and Conservative Tribune’s Facebook network also pushed the claim with most of the pages posting the exact same status alleging that Democrats attempted to rig the election.

  • These right-wing pundits keep posting identical Facebook remarks to promote a clickbait website

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    When House Republicans released the results of their investigation claiming to clear President Donald Trump of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election, the Facebook pages of several right-wing pundits posted strikingly similar thoughts at roughly the same time.

    “The news we’ve all been waiting for,” wrote former Fox News personality and current congressional candidate Stacey Dash.

    “The news we’ve all been waiting for,” remarked Sarah Palin.

    “The news we’ve all been waiting for,” CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson and Media Research Center senior fellow Allen West both wrote.

    That same pattern has repeated itself for months: Pundits post identical (or virtually identical) remarks, quips, or paragraph-long commentaries, along with a link to a website owned by Young Conservatives LLC.

    It’s not a coincidence. Commentators such as Dash, Ferguson, Palin, and West all have websites connected to Young Conservatives and they all regularly share the clickbait company's content. Young Conservatives' main news site is currently americanewscentral.com. If you’ve never heard of that site it's likely because it was launched in just the past few months -- and it will likely soon be defunct.

    BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman explained this month that the company has been using a practice called domain hopping, “an increasingly popular tactic of quickly hopping from one domain name to another in order to blunt the impact of Facebook’s recent News Feed algorithm changes. It’s also used by publishers as a way to stay one step ahead of blacklists used by brands and agencies to keep their ads off controversial or inflammatory websites.” He added that West's own page at allenwestblog.americanewscentral.com has already "used more than a dozen different domains with his name in them" since January 2017.

    The extent of Young Conservatives’ involvement with those right-wing pundits is unclear. The company did not respond to an inquiry from Media Matters and declined an earlier request for comment from BuzzFeed about “Sarah Palin or its other partners.”

    Media Matters sent requests for comment to Dash through emails listed on her campaign documents and to Ferguson, Palin, and West through website contact forms but did not hear back as of posting. (A disclaimer on Palin's Facebook page indicates that she does not personally write many of the remarks on her account, stating that posts “by Sarah Palin” are signed “SP.”)

    Media Matters also sent an inquiry to the group Chicks on the Right, asking about a post on its Facebook page that included identical remarks to those of other pundits and for clarification regarding its relationship with Young Conservatives. Co-founder Miriam Weaver responded in a blog post by criticizing Media Matters and writing that it's "absolutely none of Media Matters’ business (or anyone’s, really)" whom the group works with and what financial relationships it has. She also defended the identifical Facebook post practice, stating, in part, that “we share their story the way it appears on their page, and they share our story the way it appears on our page – hence, the identical language. It’s less work that way, you see.” From Chicks on the Right's post (emphasis in original):

    Here’s the deal. Once a day, usually sometime in the evening hours, we share a post from our friends, the Young Conservatives, on our Facebook page, which we and ONLY WE manage. They, in turn, share one of our posts on their Facebook page. It’s a lovely partnership – one that allows us to cross-promote with our respective audiences. It costs us nothing to share their posts, and it costs them nothing to share ours. It’s a mutual swap, if you will. Once a day. And we share their story the way it appears on their page, and they share our story the way it appears on our page – hence, the identical language. It’s less work that way, you see. It appears, from the OH-SO-SCANDALOUS link that Media Matters included in their email, that the Young Cons have similar relationships with other folks as well. Good for them, I say. I love to see conservatives helping each other out. The more the conservative message gets out to the masses, the better!

    A Media Matters review of the Young Conservatives-connected pundits found numerous posts promoting affiliated content that contained identical or virtually identical remarks.

    One of the most frequent cut-and-pasters is Republican political commentator Stacey Dash. She has continued to post links to Young Conservatives content even though she’s running for Congress in California and her Facebook page is connected to her campaign website.

    The posts push conservative tropes and sometimes veer into vitriol. For instance, Dash, Ferguson, and West have repeatedly criticized and mocked the survivors of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

    [Dash, Ferguson, West]

    [Dash, Ferguson, West]

    [Dash, Ferguson, West]

    Here are some of the many examples of identical remarks from Young Conservatives-affiliated pundits.

    Dash, Ferguson, and West had the same reaction to an NFL story:

    Dash, Ferguson, and West had the same “Yeehaw!” reaction to a federal court ruling:

    Chicks on the RightFerguson, and Palin had the same two-sentence reaction to a court decision about California. West, however, opted to use "isn't a good idea" instead of "isn't panning out."

    And here are Dash and Ferguson doing an "insert sarcasm here" joke just one minute apart:

    Even purported first-person posts are cut and pasted across different accounts. Here are Dash and Ferguson making an observation about the Parkland shooting at the same time:

    Here are Dash and Ferguson writing about Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the same time:

    And here they are talking about Trump:

    To be fair, their posts are not always identical. When Dash and Ferguson claimed they may have found themselves a new church, Ferguson opted not to include the word “freaking”:

  • Stacey Dash filed to run for Congress. Here are her worst moments on Fox News.

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On Monday, former Fox News commentator Stacey Dash filed paperwork to run for Congress in California’s 44th district. As a Fox contributor, Dash made a name for herself with her frequently race-baiting, misogynist, and insensitive rhetoric. In 2015, Dash’s commentary about then-President Barack Obama proved too “inappropriate and unacceptable” even for Fox News and the network suspended her for two weeks. She returned to the network for almost a year before Fox refused to renew her contract. Here are some of the lowlights from Dash’s time at the channel:

    Dash argued that the Democratic Party has a “plantation mentality” during an appearance on Hannity in 2014. She repeated this claim on The O'Reilly Factor nearly two years later, adding that this “mentality” kept African-Americans “on entitlements.”

    Dash claimed in 2014 that government assistance is the “Democratic Party’s new version of slavery.”

    Dash responded to outrage over the lack of people of color nominated for Oscars in 2016, saying that “either we want to have segregation or integration,” and claiming that “there is no need” for the NAACP or BET Awards. She also said that “there shouldn’t be a black history month,” because there isn’t a white history month. 

    Dash repeated her argument against protests over Oscars later that day. 

    In 2015, Dash was suspended from Fox News for suggesting that former President Barack Obama didn’t “give a shit” about terrorism.

    While discussing assault on college campuses, Dash suggested in 2015 that some sexual assaults are the result of “bad girls … who like to be naughty.”

    During a 2015 discussion about the gender pay-gap in Hollywood, Dash argued that women needed to “be better negotiator[s].” In a separate segment, she urged actresses facing pay discrimination to “be grateful” for opportunities to star alongside famous men. 

    The same year, Dash attributed high divorce rates to women not knowing “how to take care of their men.”

  • Will right-wing media call out Georgia GOP leader for politicizing Scalise’s shooting?

    Conservatives have repeatedly slammed lawmakers “politicizing” tragedy by merely talking about gun violence in the wake of a shooting

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Right-wing media have been quick to criticize politicians and activists for “politicizing” mass shootings by talking about gun violence prevention in their wake. But after a GOP official in Georgia suggested that the June 14 shooting in Alexandria, VA, which critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others, “is going to win this election for us,” will conservatives care enough to call out the clear exploitation and politicization of the shooting?

    The Washington Post reported that ahead of the June 20 special election for a congressional seat in Georgia’s sixth district, Brad Carver, the chairman of the Republican party in a neighboring district, said, “I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” adding, “moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism.”

    In the past, Fox News and others in conservative media have derided officials for “politicizing” tragedies because they spoke out about gun violence prevention in the wake of shootings. After the June 12, 2016, shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, then-Fox News contributor Stacey Dash lambasted former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for “politicizing” the shooting in order to “advance an anti-gun agenda.” After an August 2015, shooting in Virginia, Sean Hannity called out Obama, saying he “tried to politicize” the shooting by talking about gun violence. And after an October 2015 mass shooting in Oregon, Fox’s Kevin Corke criticized Obama for “politicizing” gun violence, saying, “Politicizing gun violence usually is a terrible decision.”

    Carver isn’t advocating for a solution to gun violence, but rather he is celebrating the potential political advantage the shooting could bring. Despite Carver’s blunt politicization of the shooting, it seems unlikely that right-wing media will break from their campaign against Democrat Jon Ossoff to speak out against it.

  • Fox Cares About Equal Pay Only When It's Politically Advantageous

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News hyped the contents of stolen emails released by WikiLeaks that show members of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign team discussing pay disparities at the Clinton Foundation, saying it’s proof that the foundation was “not paying women equally” and asserting that it shows “hypocrisy” from Clinton, who has fought for equal pay. But Fox’s claim doesn’t hold up, as “the statistical pool is too limited” to draw any conclusions on equal pay, according to PolitiFact. Fox has a pattern of hyping deceptive and false attacks on Democrats’ records with gender pay disparities, while at the same time dismissing the larger problems around gender pay inequality.

  • Donald And Eric Trumps’ Sexual Harassment Victim-Blaming Is A Staple In Right-Wing Media

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Donald and Eric Trump’s victim-blaming responses to questions about sexual harassment were condemned in the media, but they echoed right-wing media’s long history of putting the onus on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have suggested that being a sexual assault survivor is a “coveted status,” that victims should “make better decisions,” and that “women need to take some responsibility.”

  • Stacey Dash Blames Obama And Hillary Clinton For “Politicizing” Orlando Shooting

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News contributor Stacey Dash blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for “politicizing” the Orlando shooting in order to “advance an anti-gun agenda.”

    The June 12 shooting at the gay night club, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida was the worst mass shooting on U.S. soil. Equipped with a handgun, assault rifle, and another “device,” the gunman killed himself, 49 others and injured 53 more.

    During an interview with The Washington Examiner, Dash claimed a citizen with a gun “could have stopped this guy … but no, there was no good guy there with a weapon.” Dash claimed “nobody is messing with my Second Amendment” and that stricter laws wouldn’t have prevented the shooting.  

    An avid Trump supporter, Dash praised the candidate’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US, and claimed President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is to blame for politicizing the tragedy. From the June 13 article:       

    Conservative commentator and actress Stacey Dash on Monday hit back at critics who accused her of politicizing the terror attack in Orlando and doubled down on her assertion that more "good guys" with guns could have stopped the carnage.

    "I didn't politicize this, the president did and Hillary Clinton did," Dash told the Washington Examiner in a sit-down interview.

    She said President Obama and Clinton are using the shooting rampage, which left 49 victims dead, to advance an anti-gun agenda.

    "Nobody is messing with my Second Amendment, so my feeling is this: Had there been more people there that were able to carry guns – good guys — they could have stopped this guy," Dash said. "They could have stopped him from killing anyone. But no, there was no good guy there with a weapon."

  • Right-Wing Media's Worst Attempts to Downplay Sexual Assault and Diminish Survivors

    ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH

    For Sexual Assault Awareness month, Media Matters looks back at right-wing media's history of downplaying, and questioning the legitimacy of, sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have called reporting statutory rape “whiny,” claimed sexual assault victims have a "coveted status," said the sexual assault epidemic is "not happening," blamed feminism for encouraging sexual assault, and said attempts to curb sexual assault constitute "a war happening on boys."

  • Myths & Facts: The Gender Pay Gap And Need For Equal Pay

    Right-Wing Media Still Refuse To Acknowledge The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Equal Pay Day “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Despite efforts toward equitable pay in the United States over the past several decades, American women still face a considerable gap in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Rather than acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that American women are still paid less than men for the same work, conservative media have promoted myths and misinformation that obscure the truth about pay disparities.

  • How Right-Wing Media Attacks Against Celebrities Who Speak Out About The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    On Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how conservative media attacked female celebrities and athletes for speaking out about wage disparities in their industry and the need for a guarantee of equal pay for equal work. Right-wing media blamed wage inequality on women’s “self-esteem,” their willingness to sign and negotiate “bad” contracts, and so-called “fuzzy math” on the part of equal pay advocates; all while continuing to push the myth that the gender gap doesn’t exist.

  • How Fox News Dismisses The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    To celebrate Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has denied, downplayed, and justified the gender pay gap. From blaming women’s emotions to calling women “less ambitious” and suggesting they should be “better negotiators,” Fox personalities have blamed women and ignored facts in reporting on pay inequality.

  • Fox Figures Turn On Fox Contributor Erick Erickson For Organizing Meeting Aimed At Thwarting Trump

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Multiple current and former Fox News figures criticized fellow Fox contributor Erick Erickson for organizing an "anti-Trump" meeting aimed at finding ways to either deny Trump the Republican nomination or run a third-party candidate, calling Erickson a "Benedict Arnold" and criticizing his tactics as a "suicide mission" against Republicans that could help elect Hillary Clinton.