Media should be cautious with Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer's new book Clinton Cash. Schweizer has a disreputable history of reporting marked by errors and retractions, with numerous reporters excoriating him for facts that "do not check out," sources that "do not exist," and a basic failure to practice "Journalism 101."
Conservative pundits are attacking Hillary Clinton as "anathema to feminists" because she "married up," never achieved anything aside from being "the president's wife," and "has only ever gotten anywhere in politics because of who she's married to."
Erika Falk, an executive director at Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy, wrote in Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns that during the 2008 campaign, media "conveyed disrespect for Clinton ... by implying that she has no personal accomplishments and all her success was due to her husband." University of Maryland professor Shawn J. Parry-Giles similarly noted in Hillary Clinton in the News: Gender and Authenticity in American Politics that pundits "complained that Clinton's accomplishments derived from her opportunistic marriage rather than her own credentials, further eroding her feminist commitments and her political authenticity."
The refrain that Clinton "has only ever gotten anywhere in politics because of who she's married to" has resurfaced again regarding her 2016 presidential campaign.
Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is reportedly trying to downplay his connections to fringe conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones.
Bloomberg Politics' David Weigel reported that when "asked whether he regretted talking to Jones, Paul demurred," stating: "I've been pretty open to doing a lot of interviews with a lot of different people ... And people want to characterize one or two of them, whether they're on the right or left, you know, they're welcome to do it. But I've been pretty open to doing interviews and it's one way to get the information out."
Weigel added: "Asked if he listened to Jones's show, Paul said that he simply didn't listen to much news. 'When I'm brushing my teeth in the morning I turn on the news channel,' he said, 'but I'm busy all day.'"
Paul's suggestion that his connection to Jones was just a random media appearance is disingenuous: Paul has made numerous appearances on Jones' radio program since the 1990s and admitted Jones and his audience were integral to helping him win his first Senate race.
Further, Jones said yesterday that Paul has "been a listener of this show for years."
UPDATE (4/5): In a statement issued to media outlets on April 5, Chris Wallace apologized for his remark. He stated: "I sincerely apologize to Kelly Clarkson for my offensive comment. I admire her remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of any discussion about her."
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren called on colleague Chris Wallace to apologize for his "obnoxious" remark that singer Kelly Clarkson "could stay off the deep dish pizza."
During the April 3 edition of The Mike Gallagher Show, Gallagher asked Wallace: "Have you seen Kelly Clarkson? You know the singer, Kelly Clarkson? Holy cow, did she blow up."
Wallace remarked that "Clarkson's got a lovely voice" but "she could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while."
Van Susteren referenced Wallace's remarks on her FoxNews.com blog -- in a post headlined, "Chris Wallace owes Kelly Clarkson an apology" -- and wrote that Wallace was being "obnoxious. He should apologize."
Wallace's remarks are below:
Fox News host and Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson acknowledged he instructs his employees that "you can't go after Fox ... because I work there." Carlson added that the rule is a "conflict" and "Is that unfair? Yes, it is. But that's what it is."
Carlson's policy surfaced after blogger Mickey Kaus quit the Caller when a piece critical of Fox News was yanked from the website. Kaus said Carlson told him he took down the post because "We can't trash Fox on the site. I work there."
Carlson acknowledged his rule prohibiting criticism of Fox News during a Real Clear Politics interview posted on April 2:
CARLSON: I have two rules. One is you can't criticize the families of the people who work here. And the other rule is you can't go after Fox. Only for one reason. Not because they're conservative or we agree them; because they're doing the Lord's work. Nothing like that. It's because I work there. I'm an anchor on Fox. And so I had a couple of my employees say, "Well, isn't that a conflict?" To which I said, "yes, it's a conflict. For sure." It's a conflict that I am the owner of The Daily Caller -- my business partner and I own it. And I'm an employee of Fox. That's a conflicted situation, but I don't know what to do about it.
Carlson added: "You don't criticize your employer. I mean that's just kind of 101 ... Is that unfair? Yes, it is. But that's what it is." Prior to being hired by Fox in 2009, Carlson was one of Fox's fiercest critics, calling the network "a mean, sick group of people" and The O'Reilly Factor a "shit" show hosted by "a thin-skinned blowhard."
In a 2010 interview, Carlson claimed that his then-new site was "not going to suck up to people," stating: "Our goal is not to get Republicans elected. Our goal is to explain what your government is doing. We're not going to suck up to people in power, the way so many have. There's been an enormous amount of throne-sniffing ... It's disgusting."
Though The Daily Caller won't allow criticism of Fox, there are a lot of things they'll still permit. This includes employing blatant sexists and producing sexist content; heckling the president during a Rose Garden address; publishing anti-science "reporting" denying the existence of depression; selling out readers to a firm they previously said is headed by a fraudster; and failing to adequately correct errors, among many other issues.
Washington Examiner correspondent Eddie Scarry tweeted in response to Carlson's admission that Glenn Beck's The Blaze enacted a similar policy against criticizing Fox News. Scarry, who worked for the conservative website from 2011-2014, wrote: "100% true: I was told at TheBlaze not to write about Fox News. But no editor there would have admitted that in public." He added that the rule "was because they didn't want to upset Fox, which has heavy clout with cable providers. Blaze really wants to be on Comcast."
UPDATE: Mickey Kaus tweeted the following in response to Tucker's admission (h/t Erik Wemple):
Tucker admirably honest about his No-Trash Fox rule. Except he didn't tell me about it when he signed me up (or ever) http://t.co/XeHxghMUtP-- Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) April 2, 2015
Kaus expanded in a post on his website, writing that "The Rule is not sustainable. We're about to enter a media driven Republican presidential primary in which Fox is accused, not without basis, of favoring Jeb Bush" and "that means everything Daily Caller writes about Fox is suspect (of being BS) since they are presumably leaving out any bad parts, even if true" (emphasis in original).
A fringe right-wing radio host who believes the government was behind 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and several other catastrophes, has been a key figure in the political rise of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who will reportedly announce a run for president on April 7.
Paul has credited Alex Jones, who heads conspiracy website Infowars.com and an eponymous radio program, for being a vital part of his 2010 Senate campaign. Jones endorsed Paul, turned out followers to his events, and partnered with Paul for fundraising, at one point crashing his website. Since Paul's election to the Senate, Jones has continued to serve as a key Paul booster, including endorsing him for 2016.
The fringe nature of Jones' program is apparent during the introduction of one of Jones' YouTube videos featuring Paul. The video begins with images of Nazi soldiers goose-stepping next to a Nazi flag-draped White House, and a poster claiming the government covered up 9/11. Such material is regular fodder for Jones, who is "one of the earliest and most influential 9/11 conspiracy theorists."
Paul has been a longtime guest on The Alex Jones Show, originating from Jones' friendship with Rand's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Jones said last year he first interviewed Rand in 1996 and was "probably one of the first people to ever interview" him.
Jones hosted Paul several times during his 2010 Senate race, telling listeners that he "can't stress enough how important this race for the Kentucky Senate is." Jones called Paul the "real McCoy" who will fight "against the New World Order" and "stop the thieving, stop the gang raping" in Washington. Jones said on his January 26, 2015, broadcast that he privately encouraged Paul to run for Senate.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been meeting with conservative Christian leaders "to gain support for his presidential campaign," including Fox News contributor and Pastor Robert Jeffress, according to U.S. News & World Report. Jeffress has condemned the LGBT community, Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists.
Reporter Kenneth T. Walsh wrote on March 26 that "Paul has been quietly meeting with scores of leaders from the Christian right to gain support for his presidential campaign" and added that he has "talked in recent months" with Jeffress.
During the 2012 campaign, Jeffress created a firestorm when he denounced Mormonism, the faith of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as a "cult." Jeffress' remarks drew wide condemnation from Republicans. Then-Romney challenger Rick Perry was forced to distance himself from Jeffress, who had introduced Perry at an event.
Romney called the remarks divisive and said they didn't have a place in this country. Former Reagan cabinet member Bill Bennett said Jeffress was pushing "bigotry." Karl Rove said the remarks are "the kind of thing that doesn't belong in politics." Former Gov. Jon Huntsman called Jeffress a "moron." MSNBC host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough wrote: "Modern American politics as practiced by Jeffress and his ilk require that Jesus Christ be thrown under the bus with great regularity by the very same people who claim His name."
Bill O'Reilly's attempt at damage control on David Letterman's show for his repeated exaggerations about his reporting career was premised on more falsehoods.
During an appearance on The Late Show -- his first non-Fox TV interview since several stories broke exposing his pattern of embellishing his credentials as a reporter -- O'Reilly sought to defend himself from criticism by falsely suggesting that people have had to go back "38 years" to find anything to dispute. O'Reilly also suggested that his ratings received a "20 percent" boost due to the controversy. These claims are deeply dishonest: many of his remarks under scrutiny were made in the past few years and as recently as last month, and his ratings were largely flat over the month before and after the beginning of the firestorm.
During the interview, Letterman said that people have been arguing, "O'Reilly himself may have said things that were exaggerated or untrue and they had to go back, like, 30 years." O'Reilly replied: "38 years."
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson reportedly won't allow criticism of his employer Fox News on his website. But prior to being hired as a contributor, he was one the network's biggest critics, calling Fox News "a mean, sick group of people" and The O'Reilly Factor a "shit" show hosted by "a thin-skinned blowhard."
Blogger Mickey Kaus quit his job at the Caller after Carlson removed a column criticizing Fox News for purportedly "not being the opposition on immigration and amnesty." (The conservative network has repeatedly attacked Obama's immigration reform plans, pushed falsehoods about immigration reform, and used anti-immigrant rhetoric.)
Kaus told Politico that Carlson told him he took down the post because "We can't trash Fox on the site. I work there." Kaus added that "he told Carlson he needed to be able to write about Fox" and "Carlson told him it was a hard-and-fast rule, and non-negotiable."
The blogger noted to Politico that Fox News has major influence on conservatives, stating: "It's a larger problem on the right: Everybody is scared of Fox ... Fox is their route to a high-profile public image and in some cases stardom. Just to be on a Fox show is a big deal."
Carlson is an example of how landing on the Fox News payroll stifles conservative criticism of the network. The former CNN, MSNBC, and PBS anchor hosts the weekend edition of Fox & Friends. But prior to joining Fox as a contributor in 2009, he was one of Fox's fiercest critics.
Media outlets like CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Bloomberg Television have been giving a platform to a disgraced financial firm that was fined $1.5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for engaging in "deliberate fraud" and profiting from "false statements."
The firm, Stansberry Research, heavily markets itself in conservative media by catering to right-wing audiences' fears of President Obama and big government. It predicts doomsday "End of America" financial scenarios that involve waves of violence, "martial law," and the destruction of the American economy. Last year, for instance, Stansberry claimed on its EndofAmerica.com website that on "July 1st, 2014," "'H.R. 2847' goes into effect. It will usher in the true collapse of the U.S. dollar, and will make millions of Americans poorer, overnight." (America and the dollar did not end.)
Numerous observers have criticized Stansberry's marketing practices as "misleading," "dubious," "questionable," and "an example of the worst excesses of financial marketing."
The firm also paid a $55,000 civil monetary penalty to the Social Security Administration in 2011, while not admitting wrongdoing, to settle an allegation it broke federal law.