In a column at conspiracy website WND, gun activist Jeff Knox is promoting a company that sells bullets coated with "pork-infused paint" that are theoretically designed to "deter Islamists from martyrdom."
Knox heads a fringe gun group called the Firearms Coalition which recently proposed a successful resolution at the annual National Rifle Association conference urging the NRA to oppose any future restrictions on guns.
In his piece, Knox points to the May terror attack in London and asks why the two assailants didn't flee the scene and merely "waited around for the armed police." Knox posits that the men were waiting to be killed by police in order to become martyrs so they could receive "their tickets to Paradise - and 72 virgins."
While he says that there is debate among Muslims about whether "martyrs for Allah actually receive a reward of 72 virgins," Knox writes that the belief is pervasive enough to raise the question: "how do you deal with religious extremists who believe that dying for their faith is an Express Ticket to Paradise?"
According to Knox, a company in Idaho called "Jihawg Ammo" has come up with a "culturally sensitive" solution:
A company in northern Idaho has come up with a culturally sensitive approach. Jihawg Ammo has developed a proprietary system for infusing ballistic paint with pork. The special pork-infused paint is then applied to the bullets of loaded ammunition. The inclusion of pork in the paint makes the bullets haraam, or unclean. Under Islamic law, anyone who comes in contact with any haraam item is then unclean and must engage in a cleansing ritual. No unclean person can be admitted into Paradise. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 72 virgins.
After stressing the importance of no longer just "preach[ing] to the choir" when she and Fox News parted ways in January, Sarah Palin is rejoining the conservative network.
The day after Fox and Palin announced that her contract at the network would not be renewed, the former Republican vice presidential candidate gave an interview for Breitbart.com to Stephen K. Bannon, the director of the Palin hagiography The Undefeated.
During that interview, she told Bannon that it was important for conservatives to "jump out of the comfort zone, and broaden our reach." According to Palin, who indicated she was "taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom," it was imperative for the conservative movement to no longer "just preach to the choir; the message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience."
Less than six months later, apparently preaching to the choir is no longer a pressing concern. In her statement accompanying the announcement that she was rejoining Fox, Palin praised the power of the network as "unparalleled":
Palin's statement: "The power of FOX News is unparalleled. The role of FOX News in the important debates in our world is indispensible. I am pleased and proud to be rejoining Roger Ailes and the great people at FOX."
"[T]ell me why the last torchbearer of the sad ideals of the American spirit, this Molly Ross, is now being contacted by a former co-conspirator who nearly spoiled all of my plans only last year, and who also happens to be the son of my right-hand man?" - The Eye Of Moloch's 132-year-old antagonist
Building on the runaway critical success of his 2010 debut novel The Overton Window ("a lurching, low-speed derailment," "an instructively bad book," "a plodding read"), Glenn Beck is back with a second installment: The Eye Of Moloch.
The one-dimensional characters, creepy libertarian sermonizing, and extended periods of dull inaction that marked The Overton Window have returned in The Eye Of Moloch, making for a read that is as baffling as it is boring. Media Matters has picked over the book and highlighted some of The Eye Of Moloch's absurd conspiracism and impossibly wide plot holes.
The plot to The Eye Of Moloch is, in many ways, the same as The Overton Window: an evil PR firm is trying to destroy America, and a scrappy Founding Fathers-obsessed resistance group called Founders' Keepers is working to foil the scheme. This time around, the villainous corporation, led by 132-year-old supervillain Aaron Doyle, is trying to pin a series of cross-country shootings on the Founders' Keepers. Those resistance fighters, led by The Overton Window's returning protagonists Noah Gardner and Molly Ross, are on the run and trying to infiltrate a super-secret archive that details every evil conspiracy perpetrated on the American people.
And there's still terrible writing. A lot of terrible writing.
As the debate over gun legislation has raged in recent months, prominent gun activists have been appearing on the radio and TV shows of fringe conspiracy theorists to push their message.
The hosts of these shows believe in a range of absurd conspiracies, including that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9-11 attacks; that the recent mass shootings in Newton and Aurora were somehow staged; and that impoverished black men are gearing up to kill "white heterosexual Christians."
Despite regularly uniting with fringe conspiracy theorists -- and often joining them in espousing outlandish conspiracies -- Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt, longtime National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, and former NRA president David Keene represent organizations that still wield considerable influence in the debate over gun legislation.
The NRA says that it has millions of members and annual revenues in excess of $200 million, and their annual meetings regularly draw leading Republican presidential candidates. Pratt's group Gun Owners of America has also become an important player in the gun debate; an April article by The New York Times highlighted how GOA was "emerging as an influential force" over then-pending Senate gun legislation, while ignoring Pratt's own record of extremism.
In recent weeks, extremist radio host Pete Santilli has made headlines for violent comments he made about Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the Bush family. (Santilli's inflammatory comments include saying the he wants to shoot Clinton "in the vagina and let her suffer right before my eyes" over her supposed "treason.")
While it's tempting to dismiss Santilli as just another crackpot with a microphone and an Internet connection, his show has been validated by appearances from major gun activists like Pratt and Nugent.
Nugent and Pratt's appearances on Santilli's show are not an aberration; they're symptomatic of how prominent gun activists have teamed up with fringe conspiracy theorists to oppose gun legislation and spin fantastical theories about the government disarming (or going to war with) American citizens.
Working with these fringe hosts may be a deliberate strategy; during an appearance with infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last year, Pratt praised Jones for helping increase GOA's exposure, saying "thank you for having me on, because we have a much bigger voice because of you, my friend." (During that same interview, Pratt suggested the government may have been behind the mass shooting in Aurora.)
In this report, we look at gun activists' appearances with:
Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones explained to his audience today how the government could have been behind the devastating May 20 tornado in Oklahoma.
On the May 21 edition of The Alex Jones Show, a caller asked Jones whether he was planning to cover how government technology may be behind a recent spate of sinkholes. After laying out how insurance companies use weather modification to avoid having to pay ski resorts for lack of snow, Jones said that "of course there's weather weapon stuff going on -- we had floods in Texas like fifteen years ago, killed thirty-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force."
Following a long tangent, Jones returned to the caller's subject. While he explained that "natural tornadoes" do exist and that he's not sure if a government "weather weapon" was involved in the Oklahoma disaster, Jones warned nonetheless that the government "can create and steer groups of tornadoes."
According to Jones, this possibility hinges on whether people spotted helicopters and small aircraft "in and around the clouds, spraying and doing things." He added, "if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this, but who knows if they did. You know, that's the thing, we don't know."
After Fox News pushed a claim that a Benghazi witness had been "subjected to threats and intimidation" by State Department employees, the witness' lawyer admitted on the network that his client never said he had been threatened by anyone.
In a May 6 article for FoxNews.com previewing the then-upcoming House hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News reporters James Rosen and Chad Pergram wrote that Mark Thompson, one of the scheduled witnesses, "has been subjected to threats and intimidation by as-yet-unnamed superiors at State, in advance of his cooperation with Congress." The claim was sourced to Joseph diGenova, the Republican attorney representing Thompson.
But in a May 9 appearance on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, when diGenova was asked by guest host Stuart Varney about Thompson's claims that "he was the target of threats and intimidation," diGenova responded that Thompson "actually hasn't said that."
Asked later in the interview to clarify whether Thompson was threatened, diGenova said that his client is an "ex-Marine" and "even though they made his life miserable after that night, he didn't feel intimidated, because as a Marine he never does."
Conservative columnist Erik Rush thinks President Obama or his administration "orchestrated" the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
In a column for conspiracy website WND, Rush writes that he has "always leaned in the direction of the administration having orchestrated the attack for reasons of its own" because of the president's supposed connections "to the Muslim Brotherhood and legendary understanding of all things Islamic."
As Right Wing Watch points out, Rush cites the "unresolved Trinity United murders" as evidence that Obama could be capable of planning such an attack. This is the outlandish conservative conspiracy that President Obama or his associates murdered members of Obama's old Chicago church in order to conceal his supposed hidden homosexuality.
From Rush's May 8 column:
I suppose that depends on two things: One, what is revealed in the hearings, and two, whom one asks. I have always leaned in the direction of the administration having orchestrated the attack for reasons of its own - given his connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and legendary understanding of all things Islamic, it is possible that President Obama could even have arranged for the assault on the compound without the foreknowledge of his Cabinet.
A bold charge, to be sure, but I am operating with such questions as the unresolved Trinity United murders before me. Then there are the possibilities that the tragedy came about as the result of less grave criminal action or a series of irresponsible and craven decisions.
The burning question at present (and which may remain so for some time) is why efforts were not made to rescue the beleaguered staff at the facility and whether or not a stand-down order was given to military personnel in the area. If the latter becomes the case, then obviously we want to know who issued the order. Depending on the outcome, measures might be as severe as charges filed against Cabinet officials or the impeachment of Obama himself. While this president reasonably deserves to be occupying a cell in some federal penitentiary anyway, impeachment presents many troublesome aspects.
Matt Drudge has long been conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' biggest ally. According to a Media Matters review, the heavily-trafficked Drudge Report has promoted at least 50 separate articles at Jones' Infowars website in 2013, and has linked to at least 244 different articles on the site in the past two years.
Drudge announced this week that he had privately told friends that 2013 would be the "year of Alex Jones." Considering Drudge's penchant for promoting Jones and his Infowars website, those comments are more of a promise than a prediction.
Alex Jones is a radio host famous for pushing absurd conspiracy theories about a host of issues, including that the U.S. government perpetrated or was otherwise involved in the 9-11 attacks, the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Colombia disaster, and the Aurora movie theater shooting.
Jones has lately made headlines for his most recent conspiracy that the Boston Marathon bombings were a "false flag" attack staged by the government. Drudge has provided several links to Jones' site in the days since Jones started floating Boston conspiracies, including an article highlighting the father of the bombing suspects claiming his sons had been set up.
The links to Jones' site in the wake of the Boston bombings are not surprising; he has sent a steady stream of traffic there in 2013.
Among the fifty Infowars pieces promoted by Drudge so far in 2013: a story mulling over claims that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have been "surreptitiously" given cancer, possibly by the U.S. government; numerous articles promoting conspiracies about supposedly ominous ammunition purchases made by the Department of Homeland Security; and a story comparing Obama to "other tyrants" -- including Stalin, Hitler, and Mao -- that have "used kids as props."
Drudge has been consistently linking to Jones' site for years (Drudge Report also features two permanent links to the Infowars mainpage). Among the 244 Infowars articles Drudge has promoted since April 2011:
In advance of the opening of George W. Bush's presidential library, Fox News is gearing up to rehabilitate the former president's image with the help of former Bush administration officials turned Fox employees.
On the April 23 edition of America's Newsroom, anchor Martha MacCallum hosted former Bush senior advisor and current Fox News political analyst Karl Rove to discuss Bush's legacy. During the interview, MacCallum gave Rove a platform to praise his former boss on a wide range of issues.
Both MacCallum and Rove highlighted how history will be the true judge of Bush's performance as president:
According to TV Newser, Bush will be interviewed later in the week by his former press secretary and current Fox News host Dana Perino, whose questioning is expected to be "more personal given her prior relationship" with the former president. Special Report anchor Bret Baier will also reportedly interview Bush, with the show broadcasting from the library on both April 24 and 25.
In a piece for The Atlantic on how conservative media "failed the rank and file" with their coverage in the run-up to Mitt Romney's resounding loss last November, Conor Friedersdorf observed that "a lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption."
To wit, this week Cox Media Group has launched Rare, a new website which endorser Ted Nugent promises "will guarantee the red meat is delivered how real conservatives like it -- rare." Cox owns several daily newspapers including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, almost twenty TV stations, 87 radio stations, and boasted a 2012 revenue of nearly $2 billion. Rare will represent Cox's "first national news product."
Based on the recent history of Rare's Editor-in-Chief Brett Decker -- who served as editor for the toxic Washington Times editorial page during much of President Obama's first term -- and the largely aggregated content posted by the site so far, it's hard to escape the feeling that Rare will be just another megaphone in the conservative echo chamber, albeit one with slicker packaging.
Rare is the latest in an increasingly long line of conservatives sites promising to revolutionize online news, and it's already setting high expectations for itself. According to the lofty promises in promotional materials, Rare will be a "social content hub for modern conservatives" that represents a "real reinvention of the conservative news space" and one of the "few opportunities to actually redefine what news is today."
The results so far are not promising. In the few days since it has launched, Rare has been light on original content, largely aggregating a mix of straight news articles about the big events of the week; articles from established conservative sites like Weekly Standard and CNS News; snide dismissals of climate science; and celebrity gossip (sample headlines include "Amanda Bynes minute-long selfie"). Original content from Rare staff is largely limited to brief, sentence-long "Rare Take" comments on the stories they repost from other outlets.
Outside of those "Rare Takes," Rare is also publishing "Rare original content" op-eds from standard right-wing comentators and politicians. As of this writing, the top story on the site is a column from Ted Nugent, illustrated with a picture of the camo-clad NRA board member standing in front of an American flag with a rifle over his shoulder.
Aside from praise for Rare, the column is boilerplate Nugent, basically indistinguishable from any number of similar columns he has written for Washington Times and WND in recent years (liberals want to "erase the 2nd amendment," etc.).
This sort of reheated right-wing fare is a far cry from what Rare has promised. In a press release, Editor-in-Chief Decker positioned the outlet as a platform for the debate on how conservatism can "rebuild itself into a majority coalition."
In the months following the drubbing the GOP suffered in the 2012 presidential election, several conservatives have pondered the role messaging -- and in the words of David Frum, the "conservative entertainment complex" -- has played in the party's recent electoral woes.
Many of these complaints about the GOP's messaging problem apply directly to the editorial page of the Times during Decker's time as editor. (He resigned from the position in November.)