Matt Gertz

Author ››› Matt Gertz
  • Trump’s Convention Speech Will Include A Dog-Whistle To Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones’ Fans

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Donald Trump’s prepared remarks accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency include a dog-whistle to the fans of Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist radio host and 9/11 Truth leader who continues to be courted by Trump’s campaign.

    During his speech tonight, Trump will declare that “The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”

    Jones frequently invokes “globalists” as the villains behind the various conspiracy theories he discusses on his radio show. He believes that a New World Order of global elites is working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government and eliminate 80 percent of the world’s population.

    Jones also helped launch the conspiracy that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the U.S. government He has also pushed conspiracies of government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing as several mass shootings.

    Trump has courted Jones and his audience, appearing on Jones’ show in December and praising his “amazing” reputation. Key Trump ally Roger Stone regularly appears on Jones’ program. In turn, Jones has heavily promoted Trump’s campaign. Jones spoke at Stone’s July 18 “America First Unity Rally,” which was attended by Jones fans who noted the radio host’s key role in bringing them to support the GOP nominee.

    Jones reportedly has a “special guest” pass that has allowed him to attend the Republican National Convention.

     
  • 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Reportedly Received “Special Guest” Credential At RNC

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist radio host and 9/11 Truth leader who has been courted by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has reportedly been awarded with a “special guest” credential at the Republican National Convention.

    Mother Jones’ David Corn spotted Jones entering the arena:

    Jones helped launch the conspiracy that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the U.S. government and has also claimed that the government was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, and the mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Sandy Hook Elementary School, among other tragedies.

    Trump has courted Jones and his audience, appearing on Jones’ show in December and praising his “amazing” reputation. Key Trump ally Roger Stone regularly appears on Jones’ program. In turn, Jones has heavily promoted Trump’s campaign; most recently, Jones spoke at Stone’s July 18 ““America First Unity Rally,” which was attended by Jones fans who noted the radio host’s key role in bringing them to support the GOP nominee.

  • The Trump Campaign Dares The Press To Call Them Liars

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Paul Manafort

    During her speech to the Republican National Convention last night, Melania Trump plagiarized sections of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention nearly word for word. This is not a close call. This is not subject to debate. It happened.

    When asked by reporters about this obvious instance of plagiarism, the Trump campaign has repeatedly denied that the speech contained plagiarism, with campaign chairman Paul Manafort saying “no cribbing” occurred and suggesting that it happened is “crazy.” This is obviously untrue. Since the Trump campaign officials have to realize this is obviously false, they are lying.

    The Trump campaign, which has made untruths a cornerstone of its communications effort, is daring reporters to call its surrogates out for lying. And some are answering the challenge, like CNN’s Chris Cuomo. There’s little doubt that the campaign’s next move will be attacking the press for pointing out the plagiarism while continuing to deny that it happened.

    Reporters have a choice: They can report that the paragraphs sure seem similar but the Trump campaign denies plagiarism, or they can acknowledge outright that the Trump campaign is lying.

  • The Curtain Rises On The Fox-Manufactured Republican National Convention

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News has been laying the groundwork for this week’s Republican National Convention for years by building up presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s political brand and hyping a series of pseudo-scandals that will reportedly serve as the convention’s thematic foundation. The rest of the media will face a crucial test over the next four nights as they are confronted by a stream of lies.

    Fox News’ years of virulent attacks on President Obama, Hillary Clinton, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and so many others, along with its triumphalist support of the Tea Party, helped create the political movement that became Trump’s base.

    And while Trump has long been a prominent national figure, it was Fox News and its conservative media cohort that remade him as a political force by giving him a ready platform for his conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate. As a candidate, Trump has echoed the violent rhetoric, bigotry, and lies the network has been pumping out for years.

    Trump has also been a fixture on Fox, garnering more than 49 hours of interview time across 243 appearances during the primaries -- more than twice as much airtime as any other candidate. The network’s relationship with the candidate over that period was at times tumultuous, but Fox seems to have surrendered to the Republican presumptive nominee, with its top two hosts apparently competing for the mantle of Trump’s biggest fan. It’s no surprise that as the general election looms, Trump has largely retreated from appearances on other networks for the safety of Fox’s softball interviews.

    Trump will reportedly be using his convention to bring Fox News themes to the public at large. As The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg reports, Trump “has been planning to make full use of his time in his trademark way, with daily themes that will weave in staples of hot-button topics from talk radio and the Fox News Channel’s opinion programs: Bill Clinton’s infidelity, Hillary Clinton’s response to the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, and immigration.”

    That plan creates what Rutenberg describes as a “big test” for the television networks, which will have to choose between promoting Trump and interrogating claims made during the event:

    It could be one of those events that we look back on as a defining moment in American media, especially for the television networks: Did they once again this year hand themselves over to a Trumpian infomercial — the ultimate Trump infomercial — and bask in the ratings?

    Or did they rediscover their vital role of providing context, perspective and truth in a contest that is not a countdown-clock-worthy sporting event or reality show, but a competition for the presidency of the United States in fraught and dangerous times?

    All of the network executives” Rutenberg spoke with promised to “do aggressive fact-checking.” We’ll see.

  • CNN’s Corey Lewandowski Is Still Being Paid By Donald Trump

    The Network’s Ethical Morass Is Worse Than We Thought

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Corey Lewandowski

    Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still being paid by the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s campaign while simultaneously drawing a salary as a CNN contributor to discuss the candidate on-air, according to the network.

    CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and host Don Lemon noted that Lewandowski is “still receiving severance from the Trump campaign” while introducing him in July 11 and July 12 segments.

    These references appear to be the first time CNN has disclosed the severance payments even though Lewandowski was hired nearly three weeks ago, raising questions about when the network became aware that its commentator was still being paid by his former employer.

    Media observers have harshly criticized CNN over Lewandowski’s hiring pointing to his non-disclosure and likely non-disparagement agreements with the Trump campaign as “profoundly disturbing” ethical conflicts. Since his hiring, Lewandowski has by his own admission continued to advise the Trump campaign, even pushing a camera away from the candidate during a campaign stop.

    In his on-air appearances, Lewandowski has acted more like a spokesman for the campaign than as an independent commentator, defending all of Trump’s actions in a way that, as one Washington Post reporter noted, indicates he “has not yet transitioned out of his role as a Trump employee.”

    That pattern continued during the segments in which CNN revealed that he is receiving severance from the campaign. In his New Day appearance on July 11, Lewandowski defended Trump from criticism of his reference to a perceived supporter as “my African-American” by stating, “The way Mr. Trump talks, anybody who knows him, and I know him very well, he'd say, my Corey. You're my Corey. That's a term of endearment. It's not a pejorative term.” In his CNN Tonight appearance on July 12, his statements about Trump’s beliefs about race in America led Lemon to interject, “don’t give me talking points.”

    The network’s defenders have pointed out that political operatives regularly join the ranks of paid on-air pundits, and noted that CNN also employs contributors with ties to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But employing a contributor who continues to be paid by the candidate whose performance and positions he is being asked to analyze appears unprecedented.

  • Donald Trump Appears On Gretchen Carlson’s Former Show In Apparent Show Of Support For Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Hours after news broke that former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson had filed a "sexual harassment/retaliation" lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump appeared by phone for a rare interview on Carlson’s former show, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.

    Trump appeared on The Real Story only twice from May 1, 2015, through May 3, 2016, for a total of 19 minutes and 13 seconds, according to a Media Matters analysis. By contrast, during the same period Trump spent more than eight hours on Fox & Friends and more than 17 hours on Hannity.

    The complaint filed earlier today by Carlson’s lawyers alleged that Ailes “retaliated against Carlson in various ways,” including “ostracizing, marginalizing, and shunning her,” as well as “terminating her employment,” because she would not have a “sexual relationship with him.” Carlson’s contract with Fox News was terminated on June 23, according to the complaint.

    An hour before the news of Carlson’s complaint broke, Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle tweeted that she would be hosting the program, which would feature “special guest” Trump. As ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum noted, such a daytime Fox appearance is unusual for Trump, suggesting “an effort to spike ratings post-Carlson.”

    Ailes has a reported pattern of misogyny and sexism that mirrors his network’s sexist coverage.

  • “Fucking Insane”: Conservative Journalists Criticize Trump’s Praise Of Saddam Hussein

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said during a July 5 speech that while former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a “really bad guy,” he was “so good” at killing terrorists, in part because his regime “didn’t read them their rights.”

    Several conservative journalists promptly criticized Trump, with Commentary’s John Podhoretz calling him “fucking insane” and pointing out that Hussein’s Iraq was actually a state sponsor of terrorism.

    Trump’s general ignorance of foreign policy and world events has been noted by pundits across the political spectrum.

  • Don’t Get Spun By Bogus “New Revelations” In The GOP Benghazi Report

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi are taking advantage of the complexity surrounding the 2012 attacks by trying to pass off old details as “new revelations.” Reporters should be careful not to fall for their spin.

    Among the “many new revelations” the Benghazi Select Committee Republicans claim to show in the press release accompanying their final report on the attacks is that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was preparing for a trip to Libya at the time of the attacks, and that as part of that trip Ambassador Chris Stevens wanted the Benghazi diplomatic facility to be made a permanent Consulate:

    Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate.

    This has been cited as a “new detail” in The Washington Post, a “new revelation” in The Hill, and a “previously unreported detail” by NBC News.

    In reality, former Deputy Chief of Mission to Libya Gregory Hicks detailed these facts in public testimony before the House Oversight Committee on May 8, 2013 (via Nexis, emphasis added):

    REP. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): Mr. Hicks, why was ambassador Stevens headed to Benghazi? There were a lot of concerns about him. There were a lot of security issues that Mr. Nordstrom had listed in numerous reports leading up to his trip there.

    Why was the ambassador headed there?

    HICKS: According to Chris, Secretary Clinton wanted Benghazi converted into a permanent constituent post.

    [...]

    REP. THOMAS MASSIE (R-KY): OK.

    Did you tell the Accountability Review Board about Secretary Clinton's interest in establishing a permanent presence in Benghazi?

    Because, ostensibly, wasn't that the reason that the ambassador was going to Benghazi?

    HICKS: Yes, I did tell the Accountability Review Board that Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent. Ambassador Pickering looked surprised. He looked both ways on the -- to the members of the board, saying, "Does the 7th floor know about this?"

    And another factor was our understanding that Secretary Clinton intended to visit Tripoli in December.

    This isn’t the only case where Republicans are pushing out “new revelations” that have been previously reported, as Roll Call columnist and Hillary Clinton biographer Jonathan Allen noted:

    The Benghazi story is extremely complex, and “bombshells” have often turned out to be reheated old news. Journalists should be careful not to be a conduit for Republicans efforts to turn such details into new scandals.

    UPDATE: The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reports on one reason why initial stories on the Republican report have been so vulnerable to spin from GOP: Reporters from several outlets were given embargoed portions of the report, but under the terms of their agreement with the committee were barred from discussing it with Democrats until the embargo ended -- at 5 a.m. ET this morning. Wemple notes that this timeline made it impossible for reports to both be released in a timely fashion and include reasoned responses from sources other than the Republicans on the committee or their staff. 

    He concludes that this "should prompt all the participants to examine how they do business, especially considering that reporting on Benghazi has been marred in the past by highly consequential, skewed leaks," but that that won't happen. From Wemple's post.:

    The embargo against news organizations appears to have lifted around 5:00 a.m.; the report was released to the public at around 8:30 a.m.; Benghazi committee Democrats received a paper copy at 7:45 a.m. and a digital one at 8:00 a.m. What this all means is that organizations that received the early peek at sections of the report could check with their Clinton campaign and State Department sources around dawn. The problem: Those sources themselves likely didn’t have the report at that time.

    Upshot: People at the Clinton campaign and the State Department played a great deal of catch-up today. Politico’s story on all of the alleged stonewalling, for instance, first hit the Internet without any specific rebuttal from the State Department itself, the target of much of Politico’s piece. 

    [...]

    Embargoes have existed for years, so there’s nothing terribly new about this rash of silver-platter stories. And many Washington journalists have played ball with this awful institution — including the Erik Wemple Blog. The stories that today resulted from this journo-exclusive culture will surely do well in terms of pageviews and other Internet metrics. They won’t endure, however: Any 800-page report takes days, not hours under the harrowing rules of an embargo, to digest and properly vet. The notion that news organizations were trying to abridge the thing based on partial spoon-feeding and lightning-quick responses from the targets should prompt all the participants to examine how they do business, especially considering that reporting on Benghazi has been marred in the past by highly consequential, skewed leaks. Nothing of the sort, of course, will happen. In any case, the best stories on this report have yet to be published.

    For more information, visit Benghazihoax.com

  • Select Committee Democrats Identify Fox News As Vector For Benghazi Misinformation

    Benghazi Democrats Highlight Seven Instances Of Misinformation On Fox’s Airwaves

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The Democratic members of the Benghazi House Select Committee have released a report that implicitly highlights Fox News as a key vector for perpetuating misinformation about the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya.

    Fox has been obsessed with using the Benghazi attacks as a political weapon to damage first President Obama and then former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After the network pushed for the creation of the select committee, several of its personalities acknowledged its fundamentally political nature following House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) boast that the committee had achieved its goal of damaging Clinton's poll numbers.

    The network’s evening lineup ran nearly 1,100 segments on the attacks and their aftermath during the first 20 months following the attacks, with much of the coverage rife with misinformation about debunked conspiracy theories. Those programs also provided a ready platform for Republican members of Congress to parrot Benghazi misinformation, hosting GOP members 30 times more frequently than they did Democrats.

    Here are seven times the Democratic report highlights false statements pushed in interviews on Fox News’ airwaves:

    Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Claim That The Military’s Posture On Night Of Attacks Was Unclear

    The report highlights Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) false suggestion during a Fox News interview that the deployment of military forces on the night of the attacks had not previously been examined (italics original, citations removed):

    On May 17, 2016, Chairman Gowdy conceded during an interview on Fox News that the military could not have gotten to Benghazi in time to save the lives of the four Americans killed that night. However, he claimed that he did not know the reasons behind the military’s global positioning decisions prior to the attacks. He stated:

    Whether or not they could have gotten there in time, I don’t think there is any issue with respect to that—they couldn’t. The next question is, why could you not? Why were you not positioned to do it?

    In fact, this specific question was investigated extensively in 2013 and 2014 by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

    For example:  

    • On February 7, 2013, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled: “Attack on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya.”  

    • On March 15, 2013, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled: “The Posture of the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command.”  

    • On Sept. 19, 2013, the House Armed Services Committee received a transcribed briefing entitled: “DOD’s Posture for September 11, 2013” (Part IV, Force Posture).  

    • On Oct. 10, 2013, the House Armed Services Committee received a transcribed briefing entitled: “DOD’s Force Posture in Anticipation of September 11, 2012” (Part V, General Dempsey).

    These hearings and briefings highlighted the challenges facing the Department of Defense in responding to crises and operating in Africa given the geography, size, and political environment on the continent. As a result, the report issued by Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee concluded:

    The U.S. military’s response to the Benghazi attack was severely degraded because of the location and readiness posture of U.S. forces, and because of the lack of clarity about how the terrorist action was unfolding.

    Rep. Louie Gohmert’s False Claim That Help Was Deliberately Withheld

    The report highlights Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) false claim during a Fox News interview that help was deliberately withheld during the attacks (italics original, citations removed):

    Similarly, Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox News in September 2014:

    They let those people die at Benghazi, they could have gotten planes there sooner, they could have gotten people there sooner, and anybody that knows anything will disregard what some of these high intelligence people have said and will get straight to the truth.

    In his interview with the Select Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta emphatically rejected these Republican accusations that Secretary Clinton or anyone else ordered him to stand down on the night of the attacks:

    Q: Did the Secretary of State ever tell you to stand down or slow the Department of Defense response?

    A: Not at all. You know, that’s a—that’s a big word, “stand down.” And let me tell you, not only did I never hear that word mentioned, but if somebody had said that, I think, you know, it would not have interfered with my orders to proceed.

    Secretary Panetta explained that no one ever ordered military forces to stand down that night:

    Q: And I just want to be clear. To your knowledge, there was no stand-down—I mean, to your knowledge, any stand-down orders given with regard to this operation on that night?

    A: No. Never, never. It would have been against everything that the military stands for. You know, the military, their whole focus is on being able to protect particularly their own. That’s what they do. To even imply that somehow the military, or someone would have said, maybe we shouldn’t go, it’s too risky, it’s crazy. It’s just not the way our military operates.

    Maj. Eric Stahl’s Claim He Could Have Gotten Plane To Benghazi Faster

    The report quotes a vice admiral rejecting the claim now-retired Air Force Reserve Maj. Eric Stahl made during a Fox News appearance that he could have gotten the military transport plane to Benghazi faster (italics original, citations removed):

    On June 11, 2014, Eric Stahl, a now-retired Air Force Reserve Major, appeared on Fox News and alleged that he could have piloted the C-17 plane from Germany to Benghazi in 4.5 hours. He stated:

    A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them [the survivors] easily.”

    [...]

    Vice Admiral Charles Leidig, the Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations at AFRICOM, rejected the C-17 pilot’s allegation:

    I’m going to try to answer this as clearly as I can. I don’t know where the major was or what he was doing that night, all right? But to get a C-17 ready, with the medical capability and the configuration required to medevac the type of injuries that we had, we had the most senior people in the military around the globe working on it. For the major to suggest that he could somehow do it better than three significant staffs is incredulous to me. You often find that officers operating at the tactical level have little understanding of the larger requirements to deploy an aircraft. So again, I find his claims to be largely without credibility.

    Donald Trump’s False Claim That Clinton Ignored Hundreds Of Personal Requests For Additional Security

    The report details presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s false claim during a Fox News interview that then-Ambassador Christopher Stevens had sought additional security “500 or 600 times” (italics original, citations removed):

    Nevertheless, since the hearing, Republicans have used the talking point of “600 requests” ignored by Secretary Clinton to lodge unsubstantiated political attacks against her, including as part of the presidential campaign. For example, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stated on Fox News: “Look at Benghazi, our ambassador. He wired her 500 or 600 times asking for help.”

    The Washington Post Fact Checker addressed Trump’s claim, calling it “a whopper” because no requests for additional security went to Secretary Clinton.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Promotion Of The Unsubstantiated Document “Separat[ion]” Story

    The report says  Gowdy used a Fox News interview to promote the report that Raymond Maxwell, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Maghreb affairs, had claimed that top Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Jacob Sullivan had been “part of an operation to ‘separate’ damaging documents” about Benghazi before they were turned over for review (italics original, citations removed):

    On October 17, 2014, Chairman Gowdy was interviewed on Fox News by Greta Van Susteren, who asked if he believed Mr. Maxwell’s allegation that “documents were tossed out.” In response, the Chairman stated:

    What you would do is what I’m going to do Greta, and that is, give Mr. Maxwell an opportunity to say what he perceived to happen and he’s going to have to give us the names of the other people who were involved and then we’re going to give them an opportunity to say whether or not they have a different perspective. It’s going to be an investigation. And if there is a dispute as to what happened then we’ll let your audience decide who has more credibility.

    By the time Chairman Gowdy made this statement, however, his staff had already interviewed Mr. Maxwell without including, inviting, or even notifying Democratic Members or staff. Mr. Maxwell apparently identified for Republican staff a second witness that he claimed was present during this document review at the State Department. Mr. Maxwell identified this person as someone who could corroborate his allegations and someone he believes is credible.

    Then, on October 16—one day before Chairman Gowdy appeared on Fox News—his staff interviewed this second witness, again without including Democrats. However, this second witness did not substantiate Mr. Maxwell’s claims. To the contrary, he did not recall ever having been in the document review session Mr. Maxwell described, he said he was never instructed to flag information in documents that might be unfavorable to the Department, and he reported that he never engaged in or was aware of any destruction of documents.

    The report goes on to say that in testimony before the committee Maxwell said he was now unsure of the person who could substantiate his claim, was unable to remember if it was a man or woman, and had no evidence that documents were scrubbed. It also includes denials from the deputy office director in the Office of Maghreb Affairs, Mills, and Sullivan.

    Sen. Rand Paul’s False Claim That Ambassador Susan Rice “Deliberately Misled The Public"

    The report includes testimony from Ambassador Susan Rice regarding whether she had, as Sen. Rand Paul claimed during a Fox News interview, “deliberately misled the public” in an interview shortly after the attacks:

    Q: Similarly, on June 5, Ambassador, June 5, 2013, Senator and Presidential candidate Rand Paul appeared on FOX News and stated that you had, I quote, “directly and deliberately misled the public over Benghazi,” end of quote. Did you directly and deliberately mislead the public over Benghazi?

    A: I did not directly or deliberately mislead the public on Benghazi.

    Q: Were you aware of or involved in perpetuating any kind of an intentionally false or misleading narrative about the Benghazi attacks?

    A: No.

    Q: Some have argued that it was false because you should have known by that time that there had not been a protest. How would you respond to those critics?

    A: First of all, I did not know at the time that there had not been a protest. I was going off the best current assessment of the intelligence community. And the intelligence community subsequently made clear that they changed their assessment to conclude that there was not a protest or a demonstration several days after my appearance on the Sunday shows.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy’s False Claim That The State Department Hadn’t Provided Any Documents To The Committee

    The report states of Gowdy’s claim on Fox News that the State Department had yet to deliver “a single, solitary scrap of paper” that the committee had requested (italics original, citations removed):

    The following day, on May 15, 2015, Chairman Gowdy appeared on Fox News to argue that the State Department was intentionally obstructing the Select Committee’s investigation:

    It is a conscious decision not to cooperate with a legitimate congressional inquiry… I don’t want the drama. I want the documents. They’ve had half a year and I have not gotten a single, solitary scrap of paper.

    On May 21, 2015, PolitiFact rated Chairman Gowdy’s claim “Mostly False” after noting that the Select Committee’s own interim report in 2015 stated that the State Department provided 850 pages of documents months earlier:

    The House Benghazi Committee’s own report notes that in response to a November 2014 request for emails from Clinton and her top aides, the State Department has produced 850 pages of Clinton’s emails.

    PolitiFact also noted that the State Department “argues that Clinton’s emails were top priority, that many of the staffers’ emails have been provided in previous document requests, and that their response time is limited by department resources.”

    For more information, visit Benghazihoax.com

  • What We Do And Don't Know About CNN's Corey Lewandowski Ethics Nightmare

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Corey Lewandowski

    Yesterday, CNN announced that it had hired Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager of Donald Trump’s campaign who was fired on Monday. Based on what we already know, the hire presents an ethical nightmare for CNN. But there are still many unanswered questions about the hire that could make things worse.

    Lewandowski was known during his tenure with the campaign as Trump’s anti-press enforcer, drawing criticism for physical altercations with at least two reporters (one of whom worked for CNN) as well as reportedly making “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.”

    Here’s what we know -- and don’t know -- about the Lewandowski hire:

    We know:

    Lewandowski has a non-disclosure agreement. During Lewandowski’s first appearance on CNN as a contributor, host Erin Burnett asked him if he had signed a nondisclosure agreement when he worked for the Trump campaign. He replied that he had.

    He won’t say if he has a non-disparagement agreement. Burnett also noted that CNN had previously obtained a copy of the agreement that Trump campaign staff signed and that it included language stating that “during the term of your service and at all times thereafter, you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the company, Mr. Trump, any Trump company, any family member or any family member company.” Lewandowski refused to directly answer Burnett’s question as to whether his agreement included such a clause.

    At least one outlet decided not to make an offer to Lewandowski over ethical concerns. CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that according to a source at MSNBC, the network’s executives had also met with Lewandowski to discuss hiring him as a contributor but ultimately decided against making an offer, “mainly due to ethical concerns.”

    Journalists across the political spectrum hate this hire. After Politico broke the news, reporters and pundits from the left, right, and center condemned CNN for hiring Lewandowski. They highlighted his past history with journalists, particularly female ones, and questioned the ethics of the hire.

    Including at CNN. Stelter reported that Lewandowski’s hiring was “highly controversial, even within the newsroom, in part because he has a reputation for being hostile toward journalists.” Politico’s Hadas Gold similarly reported, “Some CNN staffers were privately grumbling on Thursday about Lewandowski's hiring, especially in light of how he has treated journalists.” The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove reported that CNN staffers are “furious with” CNN president Jeff Zucker.

    Media critics agree. In the words of former CNN bureau chief Frank Sesno, who now directs George Washington University’s media and public affairs department, “Lewandowski’s credibility becomes CNN’s credibility. If he peddles talking points and lies, then CNN will be peddling talking points and lies—to their own peril.”

    We don’t know:

    Whether Lewandowski actually has a non-disparagement agreement. Can Lewandowski criticize Trump, his family members, or his company without violating the terms of his contract with the presumptive GOP nominee? Based on Lewandowski’s responses to questions about the campaign, it sure seems like the answer is no. But we don’t know for sure.

    Whether CNN knows if Lewandowski has a non-disparagement agreement. It seems unbelievable that CNN’s executives would have hired Lewandowski without knowing the terms of his contract with the Trump campaign. But if they do know about it, they haven’t passed that information on to their reporters, who have been forced to ask Lewandowski about it and watch him evade the question.

    Whether CNN’s executives considered Lewandowski’s behavior toward journalists, particularly women, in the hiring process. Does the network care that the person they have hired to do commentary reportedly physically pushed one of their own producers when he tried to ask Trump a question? Did they take into account his reported behavior with female journalists when they were considering hiring him? As Michelle Fields, who was manhandled by Lewandowski, put it, “My heart goes out to all his new female coworkers who will have to deal with him daily. I imagine CNN HR will be busy this year.”

    What role Trump played in Lewandowski’s hiring. A Deadline source claims that “Trump was involved in brokering the deal” between Lewandowski and CNN. The network previously hired Jeffrey Lord as a contributor on Trump’s recommendation, Lord said.

    Who is paying for the lawsuit against Trump and Lewandowski. GOP operative Cheri Jacobus is currently suing Trump and Lewandowski together in a $4 million defamation suit. If Trump is funding the defense in whole, that would represent a massive conflict of interest for Lewandowski.

    What Lewandowski offers CNN that its current Trump backers don’t. CNN already employs two commentators who were hired specifically because they support Trump: Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany. If Lewandowski can’t tell CNN’s audience what he saw while running Trump’s campaign, and can’t provide candid criticism of the candidate without violating a contract, what does he offer the network other than another voice pushing canned talking points?