Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski's tireless efforts to defend industrialists Charles and David Koch have paid off: the Koch brothers have granted them "an exclusive, first-ever joint interview" on MSNBC. The Morning Joe crew has called David Koch "a godsend," portrayed the billionaires as similar to "most Americans" in their political views, and dismissed attacks over their dark money spending as "stupid" and "embarrassing."
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson criticized today's House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing, calling it "a waste of time" and writing that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "is far too bright to be trapped."
Erickson wrote on his blog that while he believes there are still "relevant questions" about the September 2012 attacks, the "hearings are a waste of time because everything about it is politicized and nothing is going to happen," and "most" of the committee "just wants to grandstand":
The hearings are a waste of time because everything about it is politicized and nothing is going to happen. There will be no scalp collection. In fact, it is clear from today's hearing that Trey Gowdy and Peter Roskam seem to be the only two people on the committee of either party who are capable of asking exacting, precise questions. Most of the rest of the committee just wants to grandstand for the folks back home as either prosecutors of or defenders of Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton too is far too bright to be trapped in this or any questions. There have been some, by Trey Gowdy typically, that have clearly caused Mrs. Clinton to be flustered, but the long term effects of that will be to make her a martyr to her own side. But the fact is, Democratic voters are not going to reject Mrs. Clinton even if she were to admit that she had flown to Benghazi and joined Al Qaeda in the attack.
He concluded that the hearing "was all a political spectacle" and "a carnival road show of back bench congresscritters playing to the cameras and Hillary Clinton working hard to play persecuted victim."
Other conservative pundits have expressed frustration with today's committee and some of its members.
New York Post and Weekly Standard writer John Podhoretz tweeted of Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS): "Why doesn't Pompeo just go over and swear her in for president now--if he goes on like this he'll practically get her elected" and "Democrats now lining up to invite Pompeo to come into their districts to campaign against them." Daily Caller columnist Matt Lewis tweeted that unless something changes, Clinton appears to "have come out on top" and "She even seems more likable now."
The conservative group Accuracy in Media (AIM) has removed references to Wayne Simmons from its Benghazi commission website after he was arrested on "charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government," including allegedly falsely claiming he worked for the CIA.
Media Matters this morning reached out to AIM about the removal of Simmons from its website, which at the time did not include any explanation for the deletions. This afternoon the group released the following statement about Simmons on their website:
We were stunned and saddened to hear the news about Wayne Simmons. He has been a colleague of ours on the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi since we were established in 2013. We have removed Wayne's name from the list of members on the website of the CCB, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings. As with everyone charged with a crime or crimes in this country, he is innocent until proven guilty. We wish him the best.
On July 29, 2013, AIM announced in a press release that it was launching the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi (CCB) "with some of the country's top retired military officers and national security officials," including "Wayne Simmons, former CIA officer." That press release is no longer online. Other deletions include:
The speakers stressed the importance of the press, the Fourth Estate, in continuing to call for answers. Unfortunately, the George Soros-funded Media Matters, which attended the event, hyper-focused on the praise at the event for Fox News' reporting, calling AIM a "fringe" group promoting "outlandish conspiracies about the incident" which had questioned the credibility of generals and repeated the "stand down" controversy. When questioned about the role that Fox has played in the Benghazi scandal--a question posed, in fact, by Media Matters--Simmons told Media Matters that he "would suggest that, fortunately for the country, that Fox had the foresight to recognize early that there really was something dramatic and very important to the country that happened in Benghazi and the decision makers at Fox chose to not allow that to fall to the wayside."
AIM's Benghazi commission still has other questionable characters including birthers and anti-Muslim advocates. AIM itself has frequently pushed fringe rhetoric relating to LGBT issues, President Obama's birth certificate and Vince Foster's suicide.
Simmons was a frequent and favorite guest on Fox News, where he pushed for the House to form a Benghazi Select Committee and claimed the White House decided "to not rescue our former CIA Operatives and our military" in Benghazi.
Marco Rubio's presidential campaign has been using discredited author Ed Klein's dubious reporting in order to raise money. Rubio joins fellow presidential candidates Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee as Republicans who previously cited Klein despite his history of, in the words of fellow journalists, "junk journalism," "fan fiction," "lazy, cut-and-paste recycling," and "serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes."
Wayne Simmons has been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him on "charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government," including allegedly falsely claiming he worked for the CIA. Simmons was a frequent and favorite guest on Fox News, and was one of the conservative media's purported experts on the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Simmons joined several prominent conservative activists and media figures in calling for the House to convene a Benghazi Select Committee.
Fox News is promoting The Clintons' War On Women as a "bombshell" despite the authors' history of dirty tricks and misogyny. Roger Stone is "America's most notorious political hatchet man" who formed an anti-Hillary Clinton group called "C.U.N.T." Co-author Robert Morrow has wished death on Hillary Clinton and been visited by the Secret Service, posted bizarre sexual writings about the Clinton family, and called Chelsea Clinton a "slut" who might "have sex one day" with Bill Clinton.
Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow is defending Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's controversial remarks that fewer people would have been killed in the Holocaust had they been armed by criticizing German Jews for not having "more actively resisted" the Nazis.
Carson sparked an outcry after he claimed the outcome of the Holocaust "would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed." Carson has stood by his comments. The Anti-Defamation League called Carson's remarks "historically inaccurate."
In an October 9 FoxNews.com piece, Ablow defended Carson's comments by asserting, "If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved."
Ablow, who is Jewish, also lamented that German Jews did not learn "the lesson of the Old Testament" of "sacrifice":
The mindset that Jews surrendered with their guns is far more important than the hardware they turned over: They surrendered the demonstrated intention, at all costs, to resist being deprived of liberty. If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved.
Yes, that would have required immeasurable courage. Yes, that would have required unspeakable losses. But is that not the lesson of the Old Testament? Does not Abraham bind his son Issac to an altar, willing to sacrifice his son's life to God's Word--to the truth? Must not we all be ready to sacrifice ourselves to stand in the way of evil?
Granted, I was not there. Granted, hindsight is 20/20. But it turns out it was a bad idea for any Jew to have turned over a gun. It was a bad idea for any Jew to have boarded a train. It was a bad idea for any Jew to have passed through a gate into a camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to do any work at any such camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to not attempt to crush the skull or scratch out the eyes of any Nazi who turned his back for one moment. And every bullet that would have been fired into a Nazi coming to a doorway to confiscate a gun from a Jew would have been a sacred bullet.
Both Ablow and a disclosure attached to the FoxNews.com piece noted that the Fox News contributor "hosted a fundraiser for Dr. Ben Carson." Ablow reportedly hosted a Newbury, Massachusetts fundraiser for Carson on September 24. Tickets for the event ranged from $500 to $2,700.
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."