Timothy Johnson

Author ››› Timothy Johnson
  • CBS Atlanta Anchor Who Gave “Pizzagate” Conspiracy Theory Credence Previously Worked With Anti-Semitic Outlet

    Anti-Defamation League Criticized Swann’s Former Network For Featuring “Programs Hosted By Anti-Semites”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Ben Swann, an anchor at CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL who is under fire for hosting a segment giving credibility to the dangerous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, previously had a radio show with Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN), a fringe outlet that is a hotbed of anti-Semitism.

    During the January 17 broadcast of WGCL’s evening news program, Swann gave credence to several components of the discredited “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trafficked children through a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. That baseless claim recently inspired a man to enter the pizzeria and fire an assault weapon while “self-investigating” the allegations.

    Swann and his employer have come under criticism for the “Pizzagate” segment. Reporters have also noted that Swann has routinely used reports packaged as real news programming to push conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terror attacks, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and other calamities.

    Swann joined WGCL in June 2015. He previously worked at Cincinnati Fox affiliate WXIX, where he also used his airtime to host a “Reality Check” segment that promoted conspiracy theories. Swann left WXIX in 2013. In between those two gigs, he worked at RT, a Russian state-sponsored news outlet, and for several months he hosted a radio show that was broadcast by RBN.

    The Ben Swann Radio Show was first broadcast in March 2014 and ended in June 2014, with Swann issuing a statement saying he is “grateful to RBN for the opportunity to launch a new platform for our brand” but that “after trying the talk radio format we have made a decision to move away from radio and to an internet broadcast format.”

    In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center profiled RBN and its owner, John Stadtmiller, as part of a series on the anti-government Patriot movement. SPLC reported that RBN’s “talk radio fare is peppered with warnings about enslavement by a one-world government” and highlighted that RBN broadcasted a show hosted by “Michael Collins Piper, who has written copiously for the anti-Semitic American Free Press and its predecessor, The Spotlight, as well as The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial journal.” (When Piper passed away in 2015, RBN issued a statement saying he had been subject to “unwarranted criticism by people who disagree with some of his perceptions” but that “he has continued to be the stalwart standard of journalistic truth.”)

    The Anti-Defamation League also criticized RBN in 2010, stating that it “regularly features programs hosted by anti-Semites.”

    In 2009, Stadtmiller aired a “series exposing zionists and elite Jews” that included topics such as “Jewish Money Controls US.” Stadtmiller, who is also the host of an RBN program, interviewed former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and notorious anti-Semite David Duke “for a conversation about current events” in 2015.

    In 2014, when Swann joined RBN, his colleagues included several anti-Semite radio hosts.

    During Swann’s tenure, the station broadcasted The American Freedom Party Report w/ James Kelso. SPLC calls Kelso “David Duke’s former right-hand man” and describes the American Freedom Party as “a political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule.”

    RBN also broadcasted Current Issues w/ Dr. Hesham Tillawi. According to the Anti-Defamation League, a televised version of his radio show “has become a megaphone for Holocaust deniers and white supremacists seeking to broadcast their hatred and anti-Semitism into American homes. Tillawi has hosted a ‘who’s who’ of American anti-Semites on his show, including David Duke, Willis Carto, Edgar J. Steele, Mark Weber and Bradley Smith.”

    Another program on RBN during Swann’s run was Spingola Speaks with Deanna Spingola, a show that has also served as a platform for Holocaust denial. Spingola is the author of the book The Ruling Elite: The Zionist Seizure of World Power. According to a 2012 RBN archive, Spingola discussed topics such as “the alleged holocaust” on her program.

    All three of these programs remain on the air at RBN.

    RBN was also the home of prominent white nationalist radio program Political Cesspool until it moved to Liberty News Radio Network in 2009.

    A cursory review of RBN’s website indicates that it was rife with anti-Semitic and racist material before, during, and after Swann’s association with the outlet.

    Days before Swann began broadcasting with RBN, the outlet published an article complaining about “the constant reminder of the mythical ‘six million jews’ who died in ‘homicidal gas chambers’ at Auschwitz, despite all evidence to the contrary.”

    During Swann’s time with RBN, the outlet published an article on May 4, 2014, with the headline “5 Geniuses who believed in Jewish Conspiracies.” The article featured quotes from prominent anti-Semites, such as Henry Ford’s claim that “Jewish bankers” started World War I. Also during Swann’s tenure, RBN published a racist article attacking President Obama as “some mongrel masquerading as an American.”

    RBN continued to publish anti-Semitic material after Swann left. For example, a 2015 article promotes a video that it claims proves “Hitler saved Jews of Ukraine.”

  • Sen. Ted Cruz’s “Challenge” To The Media To Cover AG Nominee Sessions’ Involvement In Prosecuting A KKK Murderer Lacks Key Details

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) implored the media to run segments on attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) participation in the prosecution of an Alabama Klansman who lynched an African-American youth. But in his retelling of the 1981 prosecution, Cruz omitted key information, specifically that Sessions’ subordinate in the U.S. attorney’s office later testified that Sessions tried to dissuade him from pursuing prosecution in the case.

    On March 21, 1981, Michael Donald, an African-American teenager, was lynched in Mobile, AL, by Henry Hays and another conspirator. Hays was acting on the orders of his father, who was second in command of Alabama’s Ku Klux Klan organization, to randomly kill an African-American in retaliation for the murder of a white police officer.

    Local law enforcement severely botched the murder investigation. As reported by The Atlantic, one law enforcement officer told reporters that the murder was a case where “three junkies had killed this lowlife black man who thought he could take drugs from them and not pay.” Other members of law enforcement attempted to smear Donald with allegations of other criminal conduct.

    At the time of the murder, Sessions was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Following the failure of local law enforcement to properly investigate the case, an assistant U.S. attorney in Sessions’ office, Thomas Figures, became the “driving force” in securing the involvement of attorneys in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. During the subsequent prosecution, Sessions took on a “supervisory role,” working in concert with Figures, attorneys from the Civil Rights Division, and state prosecutors. Hays was convicted of murder, sentenced to death, and later executed.

    Sessions lists his participation in the case as one of his biggest career accomplishments, and conservative media have repeatedly cited the case to defend Sessions against longstanding allegations of racism. (In 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions’ nomination to the federal bench amid testimony that he directed racially derogatory language toward Figures, who was black, and allegations that Sessions used his position as a prosecutor to unfairly target minorities.)

    During the first day of Sessions’ confirmation hearings on January 10, Cruz cited the case and the statements of other attorneys who worked on the case who said that Sessions was cooperative and helpful during the prosecution. Cruz then issued a "challenge," saying, “I would encourage the news media: Cover this story. Tell the story on the six o’clock news about Jeff Sessions helping prosecute a Klansman who had murdered an innocent African-American man, and putting him on death row, and bankrupting -- helping bankrupt the Klan in Alabama. That’s a story that needs to be told.”

    In his remarks, Cruz failed to mention Figures’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during Sessions’ failed 1986 nomination. Figures testified that Sessions sought to prevent him from forming a prosecutable case, telling him at the time “that the case was a waste of time, that it wasn’t going anywhere, that I should spend more time on other things, and that, if the perpetrators were found, I would not be assigned to the case.” As Figures recounted, Sessions came on board only when it “became increasingly apparent that we were going to break the case.” During the 1986 hearing, Sessions denied Figures’ allegations. From The Atlantic:

    In 1986, Figures testified before the Senate that while it was “literally true” that Sessions had not “obstructed the investigation of the murder of Michael Donald,” Sessions had “tried to persuade me to discontinue pursuit of the case.” Figures said that Sessions “remarked, with regard to the investigation, that the case was a waste of time, that it wasn’t going anywhere, that I should spend more time on other things, and that, if the perpetrators were found, I would not be assigned to the case.” Figures told the Senate that after the case went to the grand jury, and it “became increasingly apparent that we were going to break the case, Mr. Sessions attitude changed” and that he supported the prosecution.

    Sessions’s statements to the Senate in 1986 about his supervisory role in the case are more modest than what he and his supporters say today, and while his testimony at the time generally did not directly contradict Figures’s account, Sessions insisted that he did not urge Figures to drop the case.

    Significantly, Cruz’s secondary claim about Sessions helping to bankrupt the Klan greatly overstates Sessions’ involvement. It was actually Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center who conceptualized and executed the novel civil lawsuit that led to that outcome, using the facts of the Hays murder case to establish that the Klan had organizational liability for Donald’s murder. A 1987 New York Times article on the verdict makes no mention of Sessions, instead focusing on the members of Donald’s family, attorneys, and activists who played the primary role in securing the outcome.

  • Alex Jones’ Infowars.com Attempts To Profit Off Fort Lauderdale Mass Shooting

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show used the January 6 mass shooting at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to urge viewers to buy body armor from Jones’ online store.

    On January 6, a gunman killed five people and wounded six others when he opened fire with a handgun in the baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. The suspect, who was arrested at the scene, legally checked the firearm used for the shooting in his luggage on a flight from Anchorage, AK, to Fort Lauderdale.

    The day of the shooting, two guest hosts on The Alex Jones Show -- Infowars’ Owen Shroyer and David Knight -- used the violence to urge viewers to buy body armor.

    Citing the shooting and claiming “gun control areas are killing zones,” Knight said, “You need to make sure -- if they’re going to take your gun away, if they’re going to keep you defenseless -- you need to make sure that you can at least shield yourself. That’s why we’re selling tactical nanotechnology body armor that was previously available only to the military, only to law enforcement, is now available exclusively at InfowarsStore.com.”

    As he spoke, the screen showed body armor -- some of which costs more than $1,000 -- available for purchase at InfowarsStore.com.

    Apparently referencing the Fort Lauderdale shooting again, Knight then touted body armor inserts, saying, “You can get it in a vest form or you can buy something that you can stick into your backpack and turn your backpack into a shield, for you, for your children. So that when you’re in an airport where you're not allowed to carry a gun or you’re picking up your bags and you’ve got some idiot who decides he’s going to do this or you’re bunched up going through the TSA lines as they make you into a vulnerable target during their screening, you have something at least that will stop a bullet.”

    There is no evidence that gun-free zones pose a danger to the public or that civilians with concealed weapons are an effective deterrent to mass shootings. A strong majority of mass shootings actually occur where guns can be carried.

    Jones, a prominent conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed “founding father” of the 9/11 Truth movement, has used The Alex Jones Show to claim that several high-profile incidents of gun violence were false flags carried out by the government, including the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six educators dead.

    Jones was an important media ally of President-elect Donald Trump’s during the 2016 election. Trump appeared on Jones’ show in 2015 to praise Jones’ “amazing” reputation. Following Trump’s victory, Jones claimed that Trump told him he would appear on his show in the coming weeks, although the promised appearance has not materialized.  

  • As Axios Launches, Co-Founder Mike Allen Joins Breitbart Radio To Lavish Praise On Breitbart.com

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Former Politico reporter Mike Allen repeatedly praised Breitbart.com, the self-described “platform” for the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, in an interview discussing the launch of his new media venture, Axios.

    Allen appeared on the January 7 broadcast of Breitbart.com’s radio show, describing it as  “an honor” to join Breitbart.com reporters Matthew Boyle and Charlie Spiering.

    Allen promoted Axios -- which launched January 9 with a series of newsletters that it says will cover “media trends, tech, business and politics” -- during the interview and also said that at Axios “we admire so much what’s been built at Breitbart” because “you do things that other people aren’t, and both journalistically and as a business, that’s a great place to be right now.”

    Citing Breitbart.com’s election coverage, Allen characterized the outlet as “ahead of the curve” and concluded the interview by saying, “We admire your coverage -- we admire what Andrew Breitbart and his successors have built.”

    At no point during the interview did Allen address Breitbart.com’s noxious coverage, which has included headlines calling Bill Kristol a “renegade jew,” claiming that “birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” and giving “permission” for people to use the word “faggot.”

    As ThinkProgress noted, “The interview provides a stark example of how Breitbart  -- an outlet that recently featured a ‘black crime’ vertical, published a piece last year equating feminism with cancer, and is currently under fire for running a fake news story about a Muslim mob setting fire to a church in Germany  --  is becoming normalized in Donald Trump’s America.”

    During the interview, Allen also praised Trump transition team tactics that make it harder for media outlets to report on cabinet nominations.

    Praising plans by Trump and Senate Republicans to schedule multiple hearings per day this week for nominations to the heads of cabinet level agencies, Allen said of the move, “That’s what we call ducks in a row”: 

    MIKE ALLEN:  I think a big storyline is that the Trump administration, the machinery that they are building, I think it is much more organized and much more aggressive than people realize. I think we have a little hint of that with the confirmations that we have teed up -- I think three on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, another on Thursday. That’s what we call ducks in a row.

    As Politico noted, “the net result” of this tactic “will likely be too many events for comprehensive news coverage.”

  • As Inauguration Approaches, NRATV Says Dissent Against Trump Is An "Assault" On The Constitution

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Ostensibly a news organization, the National Rifle Association’s NRATV is actually a pro-Trump propaganda effort that routinely labels protected-speech reporting on the president-elect as a plot to destroy the United States, “anti-patriotic,” and an “assault against freedom and the Constitution.”

    In fact, the opposite is true. Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment, which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

    The protections afforded to the press by the First Amendment are, of course, not absolute. The publication of defamatory material can have legal repercussions. But the type of press activity NRATV describes as oppositional to the U.S. Constitution is actually accurate and sourced reporting on important matters of public interest.

    NRATV, a rebranding of NRA News, launched in October with the stated mission of providing “the most comprehensive video coverage of Second Amendment issues, events and culture anywhere in the world.” It brought on conservative radio's Grant Stinchfield to serve as a host, interjecting live hourly updates into a 24-hour video feed featuring archived material and other live programing. His initial updates, which signaled the NRA’s efforts to elect Trump as president, quickly took on an anti-democratic tone.

    During an October 26 broadcast, Stinchfield warned viewers about “the mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution” that “played out every night on the airwaves of America.”

    Just how was the “mainstream media” assaulting the Constitution? According to NRATV, it was by reporting on numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Trump instead of “important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment.” As Stinchfield -- citing a report by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on allegations against Trump -- explained, “Overwhelmingly biased attacks against Donald Trump” were being “cloaked as real news”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution has played out every night on the airwaves of America. The overwhelmingly biased attacks against Donald Trump are usually cloaked as real news, when in reality it’s a diversion from the important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment. Megyn Kelly performed this sleight-of-hand magic trick last night while she was interviewing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. She only wanted to talk about the sexual allegations leveled against Donald Trump, but the speaker fought back.

    Reporting on allegations of sexual assault against a presidential candidate -- often while quoting victims on the record and confirming that they spoke of the alleged incidents contemporaneously with others -- is not an assault on the U.S. Constitution, but rather an exercise of freedom of the press.  

    Following Donald Trump’s victory, NRATV has adopted an even more authoritarian tone. During a November 29 broadcast about the “dishonest and downright dirty” mainstream media, Stinchfield argued that it is “anti-patriotic” to report on Trump and his transition team if those reports raise critical questions. Claiming that “the media needs to get on board,” Stinchfield said, “They talk about being anti-patriotic; when you call into question every single thing that this president-elect does and his transition team does, it’s the media that is trying to destroy our republic. They are trying to tear it down piece by piece by sending you false information.”

    There is nothing “anti-patriotic” about the press or others raising questions about the actions of the president-elect or his transition team. And calling for the media “to get on board” with Trump is dangerous rhetoric that discounts the crucial role of dissent in democracy.

    NRATV has suggested that its programming can serve as a replacement for traditional media. Stinchfield has claimed that mainstream media outlets “stoop to levels so low it’s time the American people find new sources of information,” before saying, “We here at NRATV are clearly filling a much-needed void.”

    Based on NRATV's coverage of Trump’s candidacy and his first weeks as president-elect, its leadership apparently thinks a more appropriate way for media outlets to cover Trump and his administration is through blatant cheerleading -- like when Stinchfield guaranteed that “you will be safer” under President Trump -- and spreading misinformation about his adversaries. For months, NRATV (and the NRA itself, through massive amounts of advertising) openly campaigned on behalf of Trump.

    An example of NRATV’s desperate attempts to help Trump get elected is an Election Day segment in which Stinchfield presented an article clearly marked as “fiction” as real news in order to attack Hillary Clinton.

    During NRATV’s November 8 broadcast, Stinchfield said that “America’s 1st Freedom magazine published an eye-opening piece about what the country would look like in 2020 if Hillary Clinton is elected president today” that included the “projections” such as that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be appointed U.N. ambassador and that he would use his position to “limit our ability to purchase guns here in the United States.”

    According to Stinchfield, “That alone should be enough motivation to head to the polls right now. It is our last chance to stop Hillary Clinton.”

    America’s 1st Freedom is an NRA publication. The article in question did not include any reporting supporting its suggestion that Bloomberg was likely to be picked by Clinton. In addition, the article included a “disclaimer” labeling the piece “a work of fiction.” (At the time of its publication, Media Matters highlighted other fantastical predictions contained within the article, including the prospect of Syrian refugees establishing an “Islamic State in the United States” culminating in a nuclear attack on U.S. soil.)

    While the America’s 1st Freedom article was comically overwrought, the NRA at least labeled it as “fiction.” But the NRATV broadcast presented it as some type of “eye-opening” analysis, and raised Bloomberg’s possible appointment as a legitimate reason to vote against Clinton.  

    Trump has made attacks on the press, including calls for curtailment of press freedoms, a hallmark of his campaign and transition period. And following his victory, NRATV has egged him on, telling the president-elect to “not stop holding the media accountable” and to not “stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media.”

    As Trump’s inauguration rapidly approaches, one thing is clear: If, as president, Trump attempts to tamp down on First Amendment protections for the press, he will have the organization that purports to defend another part of the Bill of Rights -- the Second Amendment -- firmly at his side.    

  • 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.

  • NRATV Host: Pointing Out Police Violence Disparities Faced By African Americans Is A “Negro Pity Party”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Colion Noir, a host for the National Rifle Association’s NRATV, attacked Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham for writing a column that argued that African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims considering gun ownership “must also carry the sobering knowledge that constitutional guarantees tend to fall short when the hand holding a gun is black or brown.”

    In a December 8 video clip released by NRATV, Noir reacted to Graham’s piece, stating that it was an example of “exploitation of racial tension” and terming Graham’s argument a “negro pity party.”

    Graham wrote about minority gun ownership and police violence in a December 4 column addressing news reports that minorities are buying more guns in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. Graham cautioned, “Here's what's also unfortunate: More people of color with guns will likely result in more people of color dead or in prison,” and continued:

    Minnesota's open carry law did not save Philando Castile. He informed the officer who stopped his car that he was carrying a licensed gun, but was still shot to death in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter in July. In 2014, Ohio's open-carry law did not spare the life of 12-year-old Tamir Rice , shot dead by a cop while playing with a toy gun. This past week, officials declined to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Keith Scott who may have had a gun in his possession but was not holding it when he was killed in Charlotte earlier this year. North Carolina is also an open-carry state.

    After Castile, who had a permit to carry a concealed gun, was shot and killed, the NRA was conspicuously silent, generating outrage from those who saw a double standard for how the NRA reacts to high-profile victims of gun violence. Following intense criticism, the NRA eventually released a perfunctory statement that did not even include Castile’s name. The NRA also had nothing to say about board member Ted Nugent, who promoted a fake news story that falsely identified Castile as a suspect in a robbery and wrote on social media that Castile did not have "enuf brainmatter (sic)" to avoid being shot. The police officer who shot Castile has since been charged with manslaughter.

    Noir’s full comments:

    COLION NOIR: The Boston Globe printed a piece this week called “More Guns, More Risk for People of Color.” Here’s a quote. “More people of color with guns will likely result in more people of color dead or in prison.” They actually printed this. And you see, the exploitation of racial tension is a big business in this country now-a-days. When you only give a platform to the far extremes, i.e. the covert, overt racists and those who believe everything is racist you only get deeper racial division. Telling me I’m a victim every chance you get doesn’t empower me, it facilitates feelings of inferiority, self-pity, hopelessness, an unhealthy dependency on a group of people who only see me as a human stepping stool to facilitate their need to bask in their own self-righteousness. This negro pity party is getting old. And if you really want to help black gun owners, how about you start changing the narrative and glorify the countless positive images of black gun owners and the non-black gun owners who embrace them and stop force feeding us inferiority. I’m not a stray dog, I don’t need you to save me so you can put a collar around my neck and then say you own me. Either power my self-sufficiency or leave me be, because I will not let you continue to make a victim out of me.

  • Alex Jones’ Infowars.com Attacks Sandy Hook Principal’s Daughter

    Infowars Reporter: “Don't You Understand That If Your Mother Had A Pistol Or A Firearm She Could Have Prevented Her Death?”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Infowars.com, the website operated by conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones, lashed out at Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, for calling on President-elect Donald Trump not to appear on Jones’ show because Jones has pushed conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.

    In a November 28 Infowars.com video, Infowars.com reporter Owen Shroyer said he wanted to “stand up” for Jones before attacking Lafferty’s advocacy for stronger gun laws as illogical and claiming that Lafferty needs “to address” the theories of Wolfgang Halbig, a leading Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist who has been warned by police against harrasing victims of the attack.

    Lafferty has been outspoken in calling for President-elect Trump not to appear on Jones’ radio program. Before he was elected, Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation, and Jones said that after Trump’s victory, he called Jones to promise to appear on his show in the near future.

    In a November 16 open letter to Trump, Lafferty wrote, “radio host Alex Jones has fanned the flames of a hateful conspiracy theory claiming that the shooting that took my mother never happened. It’s unthinkable. It’s unacceptable. I’m asking you to denounce it immediately and cut ties with Alex Jones and anyone who subscribes to these dangerous ideas.”

    Indeed, it is well documented that in the wake of the 2012 shooting, which left 20 children and six educators dead, Jones repeatedly suggested that the shooting was a “hoax” that never happened. Jones has reacted to Lafferty’s letter by lying about his past statements while simultaneously doubling down on his conspiratorial claims about the attack.

    Shroyer addressed Lafferty directly in his video, which was posted to Alex Jones’ YouTube channel. He said, “I just have this message to you. Why wouldn't you want a good guy on the scene with a gun when a bad guy comes? I’m just missing this logic. Don't you understand that if your mother had a pistol or a firearm she could have prevented her death? A good person with a gun could have stopped a bad person with a gun and saved lives. Why does this logic escape you?”

    In the video, Shroyer repeatedly cited Halbig, who he said has perhaps “done the best reporting” on the Sandy Hook shooting. According to Shroyer, “All Alex Jones wants is the truth. All Wolfgang Halbig wants is the truth. Why are you butting heads with people that want to find out the truth of what happened to your mother?”

    According to a profile in New York magazine, Halbig, the host of “a semi-regular Sandy Hook Justice Report podcast,” is “the hoaxers’ lead investigator,” and “one of Halbig’s favorite Sandy Hook theories is that Sasha Davidson, who was killed, is in fact alive and living as another Newtown girl named Allison Rodriguez.” (Halbig has appeared as a guest on Jones' program.)

    Shroyer concluded his video with more attacks, claiming, “We are just looking for truth and some of the things that you’ve said in your op-ed are just inaccurate and inappropriate and again I would say as you are now an advocate for gun legislation or gun safety, I ask you, if your mother had a gun ready aimed and ready to be fired at Dylann Roof (sic) when he took your mother's life, do you think she would still be alive today?”

    (Adam Lanza killed Dawn Hochsprung. Dylann Roof is the man alleged to have killed nine African-American worshippers at a South Carolina church during a racist attack.)

  • NRATV Urges President-Elect Trump To Continue Attacking The Press

    NRATV Commentator Dana Loesch: “Rat Bastards” In The Mainstream Media Got “Curb-Stomped” By Trump’s Victory

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The host of NRATV urged President-elect Donald Trump to “not stop holding the media accountable” and to not “stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media” shortly before an NRATV commentator said she was happy that mainstream media was “curb-stomped” by Trump’s victory.

    NRATV has served as a pro-Trump attack dog against the media since its launch in October, several weeks before the presidential election.

    During the November 23 broadcast of NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield said, “I hope that Donald Trump does not stop holding the media accountable, and I hope he doesn't stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media because I really do think that's what endeared him to so much of the American public.” Trump’s campaign and transition period have both been notable for the attacks the candidate -- and now president-elect -- has levied against the press and press freedoms.

    Following Stinchfield’s comment, NRATV commentator and conservative radio host Dana Loesch ranted about the “mainstream media,” claiming that its members were “curb-stomped” by Trump’s election and that the mainstream press is “the boil on the backside of American politics” and its members are “the rat bastards of the earth.”

    There seem to be no lengths to which NRATV won’t go to defend Trump. For example, during the show’s October 27 broadcast, Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous sexual assault allegations against Trump, saying outlets should instead have been reporting on people who used guns in self-defense.

    Like Trump, the NRA frequently pushes the talking point that the press is in cahoots with so-called global elites who are trying to take guns away from ordinary Americans. Most recently, the group’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, railed against the media in a post-election message where he claimed that “the disgraceful media attempted to manipulate” Trump supporters’ “emotions.” In another representative example of the NRA’s attacks on the press, LaPierre told attendees at a 2014 conservative gathering that the press is one of America’s “greatest threats” and said, “NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media.”

  • Trump Ally Alex Jones Doubles Down On Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories

    Jones: “We’ve Sent Reporters Up There, Man, And That Place Is Like Children Of The Corn Or Something. … All I Know Is Something’s Going On And You Don’t Like Us Looking At It”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones falsely claimed he never called the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax moments before pushing a barrage of conspiracy theories about the tragedy.

    Jones addressed the Sandy Hook shooting in response to a November 16 open letter to President-elect Donald Trump authored by Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was the principal at Sandy Hook and was killed in the attack. In her letter, Lafferty asked Trump not to appear on Jones’ show because of the latter’s false claims about the Sandy Hook attack. (Jones has reported that Trump called him after the election to say that he would come on the show “in the next few weeks.”)

    Jones, a leading conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed “founding father” of the 9/11 Truth movement (which claims that the U.S. government executed the terrorist attacks or allowed them to happen) was a key Trump media ally during the campaign, and Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation during an appearance on his show.

    On the November 17 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones claimed his past statements on Sandy Hook had been taken “out of context” and that he had never called the shooting a hoax. (In fact, he has done exactly that. PolitiFact rated as “true” the claim that Jones “said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there,” citing numerous broadcasts where he made the claim, including one in which he said that the shooting was “a giant hoax.”)

    Moments after denying he had called the shooting a hoax, Jones pushed several of the most prominent conspiracy theories about the shooting, including the following claims:

    • CNN anchor Anderson Cooper reported on the shooting “using a green screen,” which you can tell because “his nose disappears”;

    • there is footage of “the kids going in circles back into the buildings” after the shooting;

    • the Sandy Hook school “was closed years before” the shooting;

    • “no emergency helicopters were launched” to respond to the shooting; and

    • “weird videos of reported parents of kids laughing and then all of a sudden they do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV” reveal that the parents were actors.

    Jones added that “we’ve sent reporters up there, man, and that place is like Children of the Corn or something. I mean it is freaking weird.” He concluded by saying, “All I know is something’s going on and you don’t like us looking at it. You don’t like us questioning you”:
     
    ALEX JONES: And there were hundreds of articles yesterday, and CBS, and NBC, and ABC, and CNN, I can’t even watch them all. White House, you must -- Trump, you must break ties with Alex Jones the racist. No proof. And Alex Jones that says Sandy Hook didn’t happen. And they take a clip out of context where I’m war-gaming, that man the media lies so much I guess you could say no kids were killed and none of it happened and that it’s a whole total hoax because the media lies so much who knows what’s true. That was me responding to them saying I’m saying it never happened.
     
    I’m attacked by the folks that say nothing happened for saying yes, Anderson Cooper is using a green screen, his nose disappears. Yes, they have the kids going in circles back into the buildings. Yes, the building was closed years before. Yes, it was filthy. Yes, no emergency helicopters were launched. Yes, they’re sealing the death certificates and everything. Yes, I even know FBI agents that say they think it’s suspicious. But I can’t believe they’re that bold, and so no. They set it up like, you don’t think this mother is real? No, I’m sure she is. But were the polls fake on Election Night? Did they send the questions to Hillary beforehand? In the WikiLeaks is there talk of supplying kids to hot tubs for quote “entertainment” for people? I mean, look, folks. Did Hillary put jihadis in control all over the world? All I know is there is no level these people won’t stoop too. So they take it out of context and, look, he says no children ever died from mass shooting. I never said that. I said you use these events and then package them and don’t let a good crisis go to waste, bare minimum.
     

    We’ve hosted debates by the journalists that say Sandy Hook is exactly like they say it happened against people that say it didn’t happen. And then we get attacked by both sides for quote “covering up.” The truth is they have had national polls where upwards of half of Americans don’t believe Sandy Hook, because they don’t believe a word the mainstream media says. We’ve sent reporters up there, man, and that place is like Children of the Corn or something. I mean it is freaking weird. And then the weird videos of reported parents of kids laughing and then all of a sudden they do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV. All I know is something’s going on and you don’t like us looking at it. You don’t like us questioning you.