Oliver Willis

Author ››› Oliver Willis
  • Trump Punishes CNN After It Challenged Him, Rewards Breitbart For Sucking Up

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    During Donald Trump’s press conference, the president-elect criticized CNN for reporting on alleged contacts between his campaign and the Russian government, and then CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask a question. Trump refused Acosta’s repeated requests. Soon after, Trump solicited a question from Matthew Boyle of the embarrassingly pro-Trump Breitbart News, who served up a softball.

    On Tuesday, CNN reported that "classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." The documents also reportedly included "allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government." Buzzfeed followed CNN's article by publishing pages of raw memos related to the allegations.

    At his press conference, responding to a question from CBS’ Major Garrett, Trump elaborated on a tweet he sent out on Wednesday morning in which he wrote, "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

    Trump said BuzzFeed would “suffer the consequences” for publishing the memos and that CNN went “out of their way to build it up.”

    CNN reporter Jim Acosta then attempted to ask Trump a question, noting, “Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question?” Trump refused and waved him away. Acosta persisted, and Trump refused and said CNN is “terrible,” told Acosta to be quiet, and said, “You are fake news,” before moving on to another reporter.

    A few minutes later, Trump turned to Matt Boyle of Breitbart.com, who proceeded to ask Trump about “all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election” and “what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?”

    It would hardly be possible to ask a more sycophantic and fawning question, but coming from Breitbart, it’s not surprising.

    Breitbart has become the all-but-official voice of Trump over the past two years. The site has tied itself into absurd knots to defend him and attack his opponents in both the Republican and Democratic parties, while also mangling and inventing stories to serve his campaign’s narrative.

    Stephen Bannon, Trump’s incoming chief White House strategist, has been the chairman of Breitbart and has overseen its transformation from a more traditional conservative outlet to what he described as a “platform” for the so-called “alt-right,” whose noxious brand of white nationalist nativist politics now dominates the conservative movement.

    Breitbart’s dedication to Trump and its vilification of his perceived enemies were reflected in its writeup of the contentious exchange between Trump and Acosta, headlined “Trump to CNN: You Are Fake News.” Breitbart.com also posted the following headlines on its front page:

    In turn, Trump has often used the millions of followers he has on social media to direct web traffic toward Breitbart stories promoting him and his conspiracy theories.

    Later on CNN, Acosta reported that Republican National Committee communications director and incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer told him that if he were to persist in asking Trump questions in the same manner, he would be “thrown out of this press conference.”  (After his combative exchange with Acosta, Trump later fielded a question from CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond.)

    The lesson from Trump is that he won’t accept the sort of adversarial journalism CNN has engaged in here, which is necessary and vital for a modern, functioning democracy. But if you suck up like Breitbart did (and has done), you will be perfectly fine.

  • MSNBC Chyron Gives Trump Credit For Acknowledging Russian Role In Hacking During Segment Discussing His Repeated Refusal To Do So

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    A chyron during MSNBC Live erroneously claimed that President-elect Donald Trump had acknowledged Russia’s alleged role in hacking designed to swing the 2016 election in his favor, but during the same segment his repeated refusal to do so was the main topic of conversation.

    Trump has repeatedly and publicly refused to acknowledge Russia’s alleged hacking, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. On Friday, after being briefed about the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia sought to tilt the election in Trump’s favor, Trump released a muddled statement that largely downplayed Russia’s alleged actions. But you wouldn’t know that from MSNBC’s on-screen text.

    During the 3pm edition of MSNBC Live on January 9, on-screen text read, “Trump, Team Acknowledge Russia’s Role In Election Hacks.”

    But in the accompanying segment, host Kate Snow and guest Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the Department of Defense, were largely focused on Trump’s repeated refusal to accept the findings presented by U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Snow noted comments from senior Trump aide Kellyanne Conway indicating that Trump may roll back some of the sanctions imposed by President Obama in retaliation for the alleged election interference, and explained that other Republicans -- like Sen. John McCain -- have not shown the same reluctance to accept the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.

    Snow also displayed a tweet Trump sent this weekend, in which he brushed off concerns about the hacking and said that “the only reason” it is a topic of conversation “is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed.” She then asked Bash if Trump would keep up “this kind of rhetoric” and continue “to be skeptical of all this” as he takes office.

    In response, Bash told Snow that “in some ways, [Trump’s] statement Friday was a little better, because he actually didn’t dispute the core finding that Russia did try to hack our election, but I do think Trump team members will tell you -- and I’ve heard directly from them -- they see this in a political context.”

    Trump’s official statement, issued immediately after his briefing on the topic, refused to place direct blame on Russia, instead muddling both their potential involvement in the hacking and the allegation that they did so with the intention of aiding Trump’s candidacy: “While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”

    As Politico reported, despite RNC chairman Reince Priebus’ statement that Trump accepted reports of Russia’s behavior,  “Trump has only indirectly acknowledged the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election and has consistently downplayed its significance — and the president-elect has a history of later contradicting what his surrogates tell the media.”

    Yet MSNBC’s chyron told a different story, one at odds not only with Trump’s repeated statements on the topic during the campaign but also with his behavior since the first details of the intelligence community’s findings began to be publicized. The chyron focused the conversation on Trump’s fleeting, begrudging, and inadequate reference to Russia’s potential role in hacking, letting him off the hook for his months of obfuscation and avoid the larger question of why Russia wanted to help him.

    As Brendan Nyhan, an assistant professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College who has “conducted several studies on fact-checking in recent years” explained to Poynter during the 2016 campaign when CNN began using chyrons to fact-check Trump in real time, it is crucial chyrons relay accurate information "because cable news chyrons often reinforce misleading messages or create doubt over relatively settled questions."

  • Conservatives Baselessly Blame Attack On Black Lives Matter Movement With “#BLMKidnapping” Hashtag

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Conservatives are baselessly blaming the Black Lives Matter movement after a white man was kidnapped and attacked in Chicago. Four black people were arrested on January 4 after a Facebook Live video surfaced of a young white man with special needs being tied up, assaulted, and threatened. In the video, one of the assailants said, “Fuck Donald Trump, fuck white people.”

    Chicago police have filed hate crime and battery charges against the four suspects.

    Several conservatives and “alt-right” figures blamed the attack on the Black Lives Matter movement and used the social media hashtag #BLMKidnapping in discussions about the event. Yet the video does not reference Black Lives Matter and thus far, no connection between the assailants and Black Lives Matter has been established. CNN reported “police said they have not been able to make any connection to the Black Lives Matter activist group, contrary to some reports circulating on social media.”

    Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large for conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones’ website Infowars, was among the first to tie the attack to Black Lives Matter, with a Twitter post instructing others, “#BLMKidnapping is the hashtag to get this story trending.” Watson’s own write-up of the story on Infowars, which he linked to in his tweet, makes no mention of Black Lives Matter or a connection between the attack and the movement.

    Watson later described the victim of the attack as “the BLM torture victim” on Twitter.

    Rape apologist and “alt-right” figure Mike Cernovich wrote, “#BlackLivesMatter activists in custody after filming kidnapping video,” then used Watson’s hashtag to write, “#BLMKidnapping suspects are in custody.” He also described one of the suspects as a “#BLMKidnapping ring leader.” On his blog, Cernovich made the same assertion, without evidence to back it up.

    Lee Stranahan, a Breitbart contributor, questioned Cernovich’s assertions, particularly his claim that the attackers were Black Lives Matters supporters. Stranahan also pointed out that mainstream media reports on the attack had not mentioned Cernovich’s claims.

    In contrast to Stranahan, fellow Breitbart contributor Katie McHugh referenced “the victim of the Chicago #BLMkidnapping.”

    Fake news promoter and “alt-right” figure Jack Posobiec recorded a Periscope video about the attack with the #BLMKidnapping hashtag and claimed that the attackers were “members of Black Lives Matter in Chicago.”

    Trump supporter Bill Mitchell described the attack as a “#BLM atrocity” that “proves that given enough time, evil always shows its true nature.”

    Michael Flynn Jr., son of incoming Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, also labeled the event with the #BLMKidnapping in several tweets. Flynn was removed from the presidential transition team after it was reported that he helped to spread several fake news stories and conspiracy theories.

    Gavin McInnes, who has a history of making racist commentary, also used the hashtag.

    Conservative Steven Crowder wrote, “#BLMKidnapping and the media's reaction is proof positive that the left doesn't care about racism.”

    Conservatives have frequently, without evidence, blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for violence. Radio host Rush Limbaugh called them “a terrorist group committing hate crimes,” while frequent Fox News guest David Clarke called them a “subversive movement” attempting to “overthrow” the government. Fox host Sean Hannity compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, Bill O’Reilly compared them to Nazis, and a Fox News graphic described it as a “murder movement.”

  • VIDEO: WSJ’s New Op-Ed Boss, James Taranto, Has A Problem With Women

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal announced that he would be leaving the paper’s “Best of the Web” column to run “the op-ed pages of the newspaper and its digital counterparts” as editorial features editor.

    Taranto has a long history of producing overtly sexist content at the Journal. He has claimed that “female sexual freedom” has led to a “war on men,” said attempts to address sexual assault in the military were becoming an “effort to criminalize male sexuality,” and argued that "contemporary feminism" is “based on a false theory of equality.”

    Here is a video compilation of some of the worst sexism from James Taranto:

  • Trump Brings His Devious Social Media Director, Dan Scavino, To The White House

    Scavino Uses His Twitter Feed To Push Conspiracy Theories And Harassment

    ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    President-elect Donald Trump’s newly announced assistant to the president and director of social media, Dan Scavino, frequently used social media while working on the Trump campaign to share links from sites that push fake news and conspiracy theories. He was also responsible for an anti-Semitic Trump campaign tweet and routinely attacked Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who cited Scavino as a reason she received death threats during the campaign.

  • Alex Jones Threatens To Sue Facebook Over New Initiative To Fight Fake News, Which He Claims Is A CIA Plot

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Alex Jones

    Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones, who was one of the major proponents of the false “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, threatened to sue Facebook after the company announced new efforts to fight fake news.

    BuzzFeed reported that Facebook will partner with organizations that have signed on with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) fact-checkers’ code of principles to label false news stories on its network. The Associated Press, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, Snopes, The Washington Post, and ABC News are the first organizations based in the United States that have agreed to the principles.

    Jones, who has promoted numerous conspiracies and false stories including the claim that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government and the allegation that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax done with actors, attacked the announcement on his December 15 internet/radio show.

    Running through several New York Times stories which he described as “fake news,” Jones threatened “to sue” Facebook if it allowed certain Times articles to remain active while “censoring” stories from Jones’ website Infowars. Jones also threatened to sue the fact-checking site Snopes for “their treacherous, tortuous interference and all the rest of it.” Snopes has repeatedly criticized Infowars for publishing false stories.

    Jones described the initiative as a “blacklist” that would involve “burying news, like the communist Chinese do.” He said the announcement heralded “the end of free internet.”

    Referencing the IFCN, Jones said international involvement meant “the U.N.’s involved now.” Jones also bizarrely claimed that the CIA is behind the Facebook decision and called on Trump to “unfund the CIA trying to run this.”

    Business Insider reported that the program will begin with “a test with a small percentage of [Facebook] users” Jones responded by instructing his followers to "go on” and “create a fake liberal network” so Jones and his company can label outlets like CNN and MSNBC as “fake news.”

    Jones was recently caught by Media Matters scrubbing his website of content promoting the false and dangerous conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trafficked children through a D.C. pizzeria (numerous pizzagate posts still remain on his website). The criminal complaint filed after a man fired an assault rifle in the pizzeria indicated that the suspect had recently shared a video created by Jones about the conspiracy.

  • NY Times, Washington Post Hide Racism Of Trump Source They Frequently Quote

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Roger Stone

    The New York Times and Washington Post have frequently quoted Republican dirty trickster and top Trump ally Roger Stone without informing their readers of Stone’s racist and sexist comments that have gotten him banned from appearing on at least two cable news networks.

    The Times and Post quote Stone, who previously served as a paid Trump campaign adviser and who has been an informal political adviser to him for decades. When they have done so, both outlets have routinely not explained to readers that Stone authored a series of tweets attacking others in a racist and sexist manner (including about Times reporters).

    The Times and Post have quoted Stone in over 20 stories since June 2016 in which the papers did not reveal to their readers the racial animus motivating him. The Times reported on Stone’s racial slurs and the cable news fallout in May, while the Post noted them in an April story.

    Among the descriptions the Times used with Stone were “Republican strategist and Trump confidant,” “veteran political operative,” “the longest-serving Trump adviser,” and “an informal adviser to Mr. Trump over many years.” The Post called him a “Nixon-era political trickster,” “sometime-Trump adviser,” “longtime Trump associate,” and “on-again, off-again Trump adviser.”

    Stone called commentator Roland Martin a “stupid negro” and “fat negro.” He referred to commentator Herman Cain as “mandingo” and called former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) an “arrogant know-it-all negro.” He also called commentator Al Sharpton a “professional negro” who likes fried chicken and asked if former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was an “Uncle Tom.”

    Stone referred to Martin and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro (who is Latina) as “quota hires.” He said of Navarro: “Black beans and rice didn’t miss her,” described her as a “diva bitch” and called Martin a “token.”

    He also called New York Times columnist Gail Collins an "elitist c*nt" and tweeted "DIE BITCH" at former Times executive editor Jill Abramson. Stone formed the anti-Clinton group “C.U.N.T.” in 2008.

    After Stone’s comments came to light, CNN said he “will no longer appear” on the network. MSNBC told The Washington Post, “Roger Stone will not be a guest on MSNBC because of his now very well-known offensive comments.” Stone has also not recently appeared on Fox News, and Stone said, “I’m banned at Fox because I kick their ass.”

    Stone has been a frequent guest and is now a contributor to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio/internet show, and reportedly facilitated a line of communication between Jones and Trump. Stone has written several conspiracy theory books, and has made several false claims: the Clintons are “plausibly responsible” for the deaths of about 40 people, the Bush family “tried to kill” Ronald Reagan, and that Lyndon Johnson was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

    But as recently as December 9, The New York Times, in an article by Maggie Haberman, quoted Stone and did not tell readers his toxic background (she simply referred to him as “a long-serving informal adviser to Mr. Trump”). On December 8, a Washington Post article by Jenna Johnson also quoted Stone, and hid his background from readers as well (only describing him as a “longtime friend” of Trump).

    It is possible that the desire to quote Stone comes from a dearth of media contacts between the Trump team and the press, but it does a disservice to readers to obscure his problematic background in this manner.

    Additionally, the following articles in both publications over the last six months quoted Stone, but did not tell readers about his racist comments or the repercussions from CNN or MSNBC:

    New York Times

    “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” by Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers

    • Described Stone as “Republican strategist and Trump confidant.”

    “In Donald Trump, Conspiracy Fans Find a Campaign to Believe In” by Campbell Robertson

    • Called Stone “veteran political operative and longtime confidant of Donald J. Trump.”

    “Will Donald Trump Play Infidelity Card at Debate? Clinton Camp Girds” by Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick

    • Referred to Stone as “the longest-serving Trump adviser.”

    “Donald Trump’s Campaign Hires Ex-Christie Aide to Bolster Political Operation” by Maggie Haberman and Kate Zernike

    • Called Stone “an informal adviser to Mr. Trump over many years.”

    “Donald Trump's Journey: From Crashing a Party to Controlling Its Future” by Adam Nagourney and Alexander Burns

    • Said Stone was “a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump.”

    “Donald Trump May Break the Mold, but He Fits a Pattern, Too” by Alexander Burns

    • Called him “a political strategist who has advised Mr. Trump since the 1980s.”

    “Would Donald Trump Quit if He Wins the Election? He Doesn’t Rule It Out” by Jason Horowitz

    • Described Stone as “Mr. Trump’s longtime political adviser.”

    “What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy’s Right-Hand Man” by Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer

    • Called Stone a “roguish former Nixon adviser and master of the political dark arts.”

    Washington Post

    “How Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, got Donald Trump’s ear” by Manuel Roig-Franzia

    • Called Stone a “Nixon-era political trickster.”

    “Is Trump’s new chief strategist a racist? Critics say so.” by David Weigel

    • Referred to Stone as “sometime-Trump adviser.”

    “Democrats sue Trump, Republicans in four states and allege ‘campaign of vigilante voter intimidation’” by Mark Berman and William Wan

    • Described him as “Trump supporter.”

    “As race tightens, Clinton campaign is counting on minority support” by David Weigel

    • Called him a “Trump supporter.”

    “Election officials brace for fallout from Trump’s claims of a ‘rigged’ vote” by Sean Sullivan and Philip Rucker

    • Referred to Stone as “a longtime Trump associate.”

    “Trump claims election is ‘rigged’ and seems to suggest Clinton was on drugs at debate” by Jose A. DeReal and Sean Sullivan

    • Noted Stone was a “longtime ally” of Trump.

    “Trump backers realize they’ve been played as WikiLeaks fails to deliver October surprise” by Griff Witte

    • Called him a “longtime Trump associate.”

    “An image linking Trump to the alt-right is shared by the candidate’s son” by David Weigel

    • Called Stone an “on-again, off-again Trump adviser.”

    “Inside debate prep: Clinton’s careful case vs. Trump’s ‘WrestleMania’” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Anne Gearan

    • Called Stone “a controversial bon vivant and self-proclaimed political dirty-trickster.”

    “Inside Donald Trump’s new strategy to counter the view of many that he is ‘racist’” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Jenna Johnson

    • Referred to Stone as “a longtime Trump confidant.”

    “For Trump, a new ‘rigged’ system: The election itself” by David Weigel

    • Called Stone an “off-again, on-again adviser.”

    “Donald Trump’s long history of clashes with Native Americans” by Shawn Boburg

    • Described Stone as Trump’s “longtime lobbyist and adviser.”

    “Racial tensions and shootings sharpen contrasts between Clinton and Trump” by Jenna Johnson and Abby Phillip

    • Referred to Stone as “a former Nixon staffer and one of Trump’s longtime advisers who has no formal role with the campaign.”

    “This is Trumpism: A personality-fueled run that resonates in an anxious era” by Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa

    • Referenced Stone as someone “who last year parted ways with Trump’s campaign but remains close to the candidate.”

    It is unusual for a political figure to be barred from appearing on at least two cable news networks, particularly for racist and sexist commentary. If the Times and Post -- and others -- continue to quote Stone, they should inform their readers about the background of who they’re quoting, or decline to do so.

  • After Pizzeria Death Threats And Sandy Hook Harassment Indictment, Alex Jones Still Pushing, Expanding Conspiracies

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Alex Jones

    Days after an armed gunman went to Washington, D.C’s Comet Ping-Pong pizzeria in a self-described attempt to investigate the false “pizzagate” conspiracy, radio host Alex Jones attempted to distance himself from the story, which he and his website Infowars have promoted -- while also adding more to the strange theory.

    Jones, who runs the website Infowars, has played a key role in popularizing the erroneous notion that the pizzeria is a child-trafficking hub. The Washington Post reported, "On the far-right site Infowars, talk-show host Alex Jones repeatedly suggested that Clinton was involved in a child sex ring and that her campaign chairman, John Podesta, indulged in satanic rituals." Vox noted that Jones “is more responsible than any other single person for the spread of “Pizzagate” — the totally false theory that DC pizza joint Comet Ping Pong is a front for a child sex ring involving Hillary and Bill Clinton.”

    But on his December 7 show, Jones distanced himself from the allegations. He claimed that the multiple news outlets that highlighted his role in the story were telling a “lie” and defended his own comments by suggesting he was simply sharing the information, noting that “everybody else covered it too.” But the coverage of the conspiracy percolated between Jones’ Infowars and online forums like Reddit and 4Chan.

    Yet despite his attempt at creating distance between himself and the armed shooter, Jones then baselessly speculated that there were “questionable events” surrounding the incident and that “witnesses say no shots fired but the news says there is and it’s an admitted actor.” He described the incident as “classic scripting” and compared it to “fake events” and “fake videos for the campaign with Hillary” with “actors in ‘em.”

    A pizzeria in Brooklyn has also begun to receive death threats over the "pizzagate" conspiracy. Police say a worker who answered the phone at Roberta's pizzeria was told "you are going to bleed and be tortured," and other callers have asked if the restaurant is connected to the fictitious child sex ring promoted by Jones and others.

    Echoing the real-world consequences of the "pizzagate" conspiracy, a Florida woman has been indicted for allegedly making threats against the parents of a 6-year-old who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the 2012 mass shooting. CBS Miami reports that the FBI said the woman, Lucy Richards, "believed the event didn’t happen, … which motivated her to make a series of death threats against the victim." While there is currently no evidence that Richards was inspired by Jones, Jones has repeatedly used his platform  to push Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.

    On the same episode of his program, Jones also claimed he has been unfairly accused of saying the Sandy Hook school shooting was a faked event and said, “I said that’s what people have said.” But as he did with the pizzeria story, Jones then pushed more conspiracy elements. He accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of being affiliated with the CIA and said he “got caught in a blue/green screen with his nose disappearing” while reporting on the shooting. Without evidence, Jones said, “They got caught doing fake satellite interviews.”

    Alex Jones has claimed the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies in Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and at the Boston Marathon, along with pushing other unsupported conspiracy theories. Throughout the past year he has partnered with Donald Trump to bolster his candidacy. The president-elect has frequently echoed Jones' theories and rhetoric, and he appeared on Jones’ program to praise his "amazing" reputation.

    From the December 7 edition of Genesis Communications Networks’ The Alex Jones Show:

    ALEX JONES (HOST):  Oh no, Bill Clinton’s not mafia, he didn’t steal 94 percent of the money from Haiti. Billions. Oh no, he didn’t fly on Jerry Epstein’s plane with the pedophiles. Oh no, it’s not in the FBI manuals that they call child pornography “cheese pizza.”

    But see how they lie, they go, “Alex Jones created a whole fiction and a lie about Podesta and sex and satanism and blamed some pizza place called Comet Ping-Pong and said some weird hallucination about pizza.”

    We covered WikiLeaks that had a code about pizzas in New York that’s in the FBI files, said I don’t know what that is but they say it’s this -- it could also be about drugs, it should be investigated. Everybody else covered it too. But that doesn’t matter.

    Then they use linguistics and words to go, oh, there’s a pizza place listed here, somebody mentioned it on Reddit, let’s say it’s all about this one pizza place to only limit it to that one area, put all the focus there, make them victims, have some very questionable events where witnesses say no shots fired but the news says there is and it’s an admitted actor. Who’s been in trouble with the law. I mean, the whole thing is classic scripting. I’m not saying it’s scripted -- it has all the telltale signs, they’ve been caught doing it before, they did all those fake videos for the campaign with Hillary. With fake actors in ‘em. This is what they do.

    They always say I said nobody died at Sandy Hook and the whole thing’s fake. I said that’s what people have said. All I know is, Anderson Cooper – CIA – got caught in a blue-slash-green screen with his nose disappearing. They got caught doing fake satellite interviews, where one’s in New York, one’s in Connecticut, and it’s the same cars driving behind ‘em. That’s how dumb they think you are. I don’t know how fake it is, but you’re a pack of known liars.

  • NY Times Reports Steve Bannon Holds Theory Of “Genetic Superiority” While Headline Calls Him “Combative, Populist”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Bannon

    A New York Times profile of incoming Trump chief counselor Stephen Bannon is headlined “Combative, Populist Steve Bannon Found His Man In Donald Trump,” but the most noteworthy bit of information about Bannon is not referenced in the headline.

    Bannon served as CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and led Breitbart.com before leaving to join Trump. As Media Matters and others have reported, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart became a haven for the white nationalist “alt-right” movement.

    The Times reports in the piece that one of Bannon’s former colleagues said he “occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.” The colleague said he told Bannon that such a law would exclude a lot of African-American voters, and he said Bannon responded, "Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.” (The piece also quotes the former colleague in question saying, “Steve’s not a racist … he’s using the alt-right -- using them for power.”)

    This revelation is made in the second half of the piece, and the headline gives no indication that it is in the story.

    The story also discusses Bannon’s history of racially divisive advocacy at Breitbart, as well as that site’s anti-Muslim stance during his time managing its editorial tone and posture. The Times notes, “Breitbart.com’s scorn for Muslims, immigrants and black activists drew a fervent following on the alt-right, an extremist fringe of message boards and online magazines popular with white supremacists, and after Mr. Bannon took control of the website in 2012, he built a raucous coalition of the discontented.”

    Despite the information contained in the story, the headline considerably downplays the subject’s controversial past and present in favor of a generic description.

  • Trump’s Fake Election Claims Came From Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones, But Media Aren't Reporting That

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    President-elect Donald Trump’s false claim that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” can be traced to conspiracy theorist and Trump ally Alex Jones. But multiple media reports on Trump’s falsehood failed to report the connection, which is only the latest in a growing list of conspiracy theories espoused by both Jones and the president-elect.

    Trump made his claim in response to ongoing vote counting showing former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton amassing a popular vote lead of over 2 million votes.

    Trump’s lie echoes a story from Infowars, the conspiracy-laden website run by Jones. Jones has promoted numerous outlandish conspiracies, including the allegation that the American government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing, and that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a “false flag” event involving actors and green screens.

    An Infowars story headlined “Report: Three Million Votes In Presidential Election Cast By Illegal Aliens,” which cites a tweet from “Greg Phillips of the VoteFraud.org organization,” is the basis of Trump’s fraudulent allegation.

    Phillips, without providing any evidence for his claim, wrote on Twitter, “We have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens.”

    Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson then published an article on Phillips’ tweet that baselessly claimed, “Virtually all of the votes cast by 3 million illegal immigrants are likely to have been for Hillary Clinton, meaning Trump might have won the popular vote when this number is taken into account.” As The Washington Post explained, Infowars was vital in bringing the conspiracy theory to a wider audience -- the Jones-led website's story on Phillips’ tweet was linked near the top of the Drudge Report on November 14.

    In a YouTube video entitled “Proof Donald Trump Won The Popular Vote” released following the Infowars report, Jones himself claimed “it is uncontrovertible (sic) fact that three million illegals voted” in the election and “tens of millions of people were on the voter rolls who were dead and at least four million of them voted as well,” and concluded, “Donald J. Trump didn’t just win the Electoral College in a landslide, he also clearly won the popular vote.”

    In covering Trump’s allegation (and often uncritically echoing it), multiple media outlets failed to make the connection between Trump and Jones and the other conspiracy theorists pushing this baseless story.

    The New York Times acknowledged that Trump’s claim was “baseless” but did not make the connection between the president-elect and conspiracy sites or Jones.

    The L.A. Times pointed out there is “no evidence” to back up Trump’s claim, but did not point out the false story’s origins.

    NBC News omitted references to Infowars and Alex Jones in their report on Trump’s remarks.

    Trump adopting a conspiracy from Jones and Infowars is not out of the ordinary. The relationship between the politician and the conspiracy theorist has flourished for months.

    Trump appeared on Jones’ radio/internet show in December of 2015 and praised him for his “amazing” reputation. Trump’s informal adviser, Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone, has been a regular contributor to Jones’ radio program for months and the two have made joint appearances at pro-Trump events.

    Throughout the campaign, Trump echoed Jones’ conspiratorial rhetoric as Jones said he was in contact directly with Trump, giving him advice.

    In an October speech attacking “global financial powers” while using anti-Semitic tropes and dog whistles, Trump was parroting an argument that Jones has used for years.

    After Jones said Trump should begin complaining the election was “rigged,” Trump began making similar complaints on the campaign trail.

    When Trump alleged that President Obama was “the founder of ISIS,” he was echoing Jones, whose website once wrote that “the Obama administration has been backing ISIS since the beginning.”

    After Trump delivered his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Jones saw so much of his rhetoric included that he bragged on his radio show that Trump was “totally synced” with him and his conspiratorial world view. Following Trump’s victory, Jones claimed that Trump called him to “thank” Jones’ audience and promised to appear on his show in the near future.

    This latest outburst shows that the two men remain in sync, and it’s time for the media to let the public know who is pulling the next president’s strings.