CBS News analyst Frank Luntz pushed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for House Speaker, claiming "he's got a brain for policy, which is what we need in Washington right now," adding, "if Paul Ryan says no, God help us." CBS News and Luntz did not disclose that Ryan has paid Luntz's company over $100,000 in consulting fees in recent years.
President Ronald Reagan's aides and biographers are organizing to challenge factual inaccuracies in Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's new book Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency. O'Reilly is a serial fabricator whose previous books have repeatedly been criticized for inaccuracies.
The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard reported that O'Reilly's book is "coming under fire from former Reagan aides" and biographers "who are calling it bogus" and "planning a broadside to challenge the book in the coming days." The individuals reportedly include Reagan biographers Craig Shirley, Steven Hayward, Paul Kengor, Kiron Skinner, and "a handful of former Reagan aides."
Shirley said that Killing Reagan "is garbage, total B.S.," while former Reagan national security advisor Richard Allen said the book contains "plagiarism, simplicity and deception."
The DC-based paper noted that the Reagan critics pointed to O'Reilly's writing about Reagan's mental state and a purported brewing staff mutiny as main objections.
John Heubusch, the executive director of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, said O'Reilly's book "does a disservice to history."
In a September interview with Media Matters' Joe Strupp, Ron Reagan called O'Reilly a "snake oil salesman" who doesn't invest "a lot of time or energy in the truth." The late president's son said he doesn't plan to read O'Reilly's book because he's "not interested in his theories."
Questions about factual accuracy are nothing new for O'Reilly and his Killing series, which he has co-authored with Martin Dugard. Killing Lincoln contained a series of mistakes and was criticized for factual errors by Lincoln scholars. Several historians and biographers of General George S. Patton objected to O'Reilly's Killing Patton theory that the World War II commander was assassinated by the Soviet Union.
O'Reilly took a major hit earlier this year when his boasts about his reporting career began falling apart under scrutiny. One of those included his claim in Killing Kennedy -- contradicted by numerous pieces of evidence -- that he personally heard the shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Donald Trump told right-wing radio host Michael Savage there would be "common sense" if Trump appointed him head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as president. Savage has called autism "a fraud, a racket," said PTSD and depression sufferers are "losers," advised people not to get flu shots because you can't trust the government, theorized liberals have been driven insane because of seltzer bubbles, claimed President Obama was intentionally trying "to infect the nation with Ebola," and once told a caller he was a "sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die."
Matt Drudge appeared on The Alex Jones Show, where he pushed bizarre conspiracies and falsehoods, and attacked Hillary Clinton as "old" and "sick." The Drudge Report is a big driver of traffic to Jones' Infowars website and the interview cemented their relationship, with Drudge and a "star-struck" Jones heavily praising each other.
USA Today botched a poll graphic about the top descriptions "likely Democratic primary voters" used about current and potential Democratic presidential candidates, which purportedly included "Liar/Dishonest," "Unfavorable/Dislike," and "Idiot/Joke." The paper misread its own poll: those top descriptions included Republican respondents, and Democrats infrequently responded with those terms.
UPDATE (10/1): In a statement posted on its website, the Center for Security Policy said Gaffney now "strongly disagrees" with "much" of the American Renaissance website and "Had due diligence been done beforehand, such disagreements would have resulted in Mr. Taylor not being invited on the show, routine compliments to such guests not made and an offer to appear again not extended."
Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney praised the "wonderful" work of a leading white nationalist during an interview on Gaffney's nationally-syndicated radio program. Republican politicians and conservative media outlets have regularly cited Gaffney as a purported expert on foreign policy despite his long history of extremism.
Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, has raised questions about President Obama's birth certificate; was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference after accusing prominent conservatives of somehow being Muslim Brotherhood operatives; and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "one of America's most notorious Islamophobes."
The former Reagan official can now add praising a notorious leader of the white nationalist movement to his resume.
Gaffney hosted Jared Taylor on the September 29 edition of his Secure Freedom Radio program. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which first noted Taylor's appearance, wrote that Taylor is one of the country's "most outspoken and prominent white nationalists." The non-profit group wrote that Taylor hosts a conference "where racist intellectuals rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists" and "founded the New Century Foundation, a pseudo-intellectual think tank that promotes 'research' arguing for white superiority."
Gaffney introduced Taylor by saying, "I'm very pleased to have him with us. He is the editor of a wonderful online publication, American Renaissance ... and the author of six books, including White Identity." The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that American Renaissance "has been one of the vilest white nationalist publications, often promoting eugenics and blatant anti-black and anti-Latino racists. In 2005 for example, after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Taylor wrote, 'When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization -- any kind of civilization -- disappears.'"
The Anti-Defamation League wrote that Taylor "upholds racial homogeneity as the key to fostering peaceful coexistence," and they called American Renaissance a "white supremacist journal."
During the interview, Gaffney and Taylor attacked the "invasion" of Muslim refugees worldwide. Gaffney warned about the alleged dangers of Muslim refugees regarding violence and Sharia law, and later suggested such problems could come to the United States "if President Obama has his way."
Gaffney concluded by telling Taylor: "I appreciate tremendously the work you're doing at American Renaissance and The New Century Foundation. Keep it up and get back to us again very soon."
The Center for Security Policy issued a statement to Media Matters claiming that Gaffney "was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them":
Secure Freedom Radio is a weeknightly talk show program that addresses national security challenges and how they best can be countered. It features interviews with a wide variety of guests on myriad topics. Among the guests are individuals with whom the host, Frank Gaffney, and the Center for Security Policy disagree, both on topics discussed in the course of the show and on issues and viewpoints not covered in the course of the interview. The interview with Jared Taylor addressed exclusively a recent article by him concerning the dire implications for Europe, its people and civilization of large numbers of migrants from nations in which shariah-adherence is the norm. The host was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.
On American Renaissance, Taylor wrote in the comments section about the interview: "I did not expect him to be so positive. It is clear that more and more people are waking up."*
Despite his fringe history, Gaffney is still a regular source of information for the conservative media. He works for the Washington Times as a columnist and is a frequent guest on conservative outlets like Fox News.
One of his most noxious theories is that top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is trying to infiltrate the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. While several top Republicans have denounced the smear, it has frequently been repeated by Clinton foes. For instance, discredited anti-Clinton author Edward Klein recently cited Gaffney in his book Unlikeable to suggest she works for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Many Republican politicians also have no problem associating with Gaffney. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) appeared in a different segment of the September 29th program, and Gaffney interviewed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and presidential candidate Ben Carson just this month.
*Paragraph added after posting.
Jeffrey Lord is using his CNN political commentator position to defend Donald Trump's most outlandish remarks on the campaign trail. Lord's pro-Trump advocacy has been so over the top that his own colleagues have repeatedly called him out for pushing inaccuracies, defending misogynistic and anti-Muslim remarks, and carrying Trump's "fetid water every day." Lord's ongoing defense of Trump should not be a surprise, as the billionaire businessman reportedly "helped Lord get his job at CNN."
No serious news outlet should trust anything from purported reporter Ed Klein and his new book Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary. Media Matters has compiled remarks from more than 30 reporters from a wide range of outlets who have found major problems with Klein's work. Media figures have called Klein's work "junk journalism," "devoid of credibility," "suspect," "fan fiction," "lazy, cut-and-paste recycling," "strewn with serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes," "thoroughly discredited," "smut," "sordid," "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced," and "bullshit."
During a recent town hall event, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declined to correct a participant who falsely claimed President Obama is a Muslim. While reporters have questioned why Trump didn't challenge the questioner's assertions, Trump himself previously speculated on Fox News that Obama might be hiding his birth certificate because it could show "he is a Muslim." Fox News repeatedly pushed the myth that President Obama lacks a valid American birth certificate and questioned his religion.
Conservative pundit Michael Reagan has been bashing Donald Trump's presidential campaign while flooding his readers with sponsored emails for Trump donations and merchandise.
Reagan, the son of President Reagan and actress Jane Wyman, is a conservative political commentator and businessman who is frequently interviewed about all things Reagan. Since Trump's presidential announcement, and ahead of the Republican debate at the Reagan Library, he has been making the rounds criticizing the Republican candidate and minimizing the purported similarities between Trump and his father.
Reagan told Politico in a recent interview that unlike Trump, "Ronald Reagan would never take 11 million people or three million people or a million people and throw them out of the United States of America." Reagan told CNN that Trump is the candidate least like his father because "Trump will 'throw people off the bus' rather than building coalitions that can help the GOP win national elections." Reagan said on Newsmax TV in August that Trump is "using my father on one side, and on the other side trashing everything my father, in fact, believed in."
Michael Reagan's newsletter, Reagan Reports, has inundated email subscribers with sponsored messages touting Trump campaign solicitations and merchandise.
Reagan has sent readers an "Urgent Message from Donald J. Trump" to give the billionaire's campaign "a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250." Reagan sent the emails on August 1, 6, and 11. An accompanying note for the August 11 email said the Trump campaign email was "a special message from our sponsor, Donald Trump. Sponsorships like this allow us to continue our work to educate the American people on the important issues affecting our country. We appreciate your support."
Reagan has also embedded Trump campaign advertising images and text links, such as this one on August 4. The links on the advertisements take readers to a Newsmax.com advertising page which features a solicitation for campaign contributions.
Reagan Reports also sent sponsored emails promoting Trump merchandise. On August 15, Reagan sent an email for readers to get their "very own 'Make America Great Again' cap (a $25 value) FREE with this offer, just pay shipping & handling." Reagan repeatedly sent emails offering readers the chance to get "Get Your FREE Copy of Donald Trump's 'Time to Get Tough'!" through Newsmax.
Michael Reagan's email list, which claims to have 565,000 subscribers, is managed by Newsmax, a conservative website that makes tens of millions of dollars through "a smorgasbord of political, health, and financial information, self-help books, and even vitamin supplements constantly pushed through the website and e-mail lists." The Washington Post reported on August 11 that Newsmax has been partnering with email lists owners "to help raise money for Trump -- all while allowing them to keep 30 percent of what's contributed to the candidate." Other conservatives such as the Daily Caller, Dick Morris, PJ Media, and Herman Cain have also sent sponsored emails for Trump's campaign.