The Indiana State Department of Health found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood clinics in the state in regards to the handling of fetal tissue donations after an investigation sparked by a shady anti-choice organization's heavily edited videos was completed.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence -- a Republican who has long championed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood -- ordered an investigation by the Indiana State Department of Health in cooperation with the state's Office of the Attorney General on July 16, citing "the recent video referencing Planned Parenthood's alleged trafficking of aborted fetal tissue." The move came just days after The Center for Medical Progress released a deceptive video claiming that Planned Parenthood was "selling aborted baby parts" that was roundly called out by the media for "show[ing] nothing illegal" and having selectively edited footage. The investigation was launched despite the fact Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky "does not participate in any tissue donation program."
On July 30, Indiana officially cleared Planned Parenthood clinics in the state of wrongdoing, finding "no evidence of any laws being broken" in the handling of fetal tissue, according to an Associated Press report. Pointing to letters from the Indiana Department of Health to the clinics investigated which stated that the agency was "unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations" the report noted that "the complaint is closed":
The Indiana Department of Health said in a statement Thursday that an investigation found no evidence of any laws being broken. Health department inspectors investigated the Indiana facilities on July 21.
Letters from the health department to the three Indiana facilities dated Tuesday and released to the media by Planned Parenthood said the agency had completed its investigation into the Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions in Indiana. The letters said the agency was "unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited." The letters say the complaint is closed.
The state has the authority to license and regulate abortion clinics and to inspect them, the Health Department said. Federal law prohibits the buying and selling of human body parts or trafficking in tissue from an aborted fetus.
Indiana's findings further underscore the flimsy nature of The Center for Medical Progress' claims and reinforce the fact Planned Parenthood has simply been discussing legal reimbursement for fetal tissue donation.
Politico's Dylan Byers reported that New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet "refused to publish" a letter from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, which expressed "grave concern" with a recent flawed Times report on Clinton's email use.
The July 23 Times story, which has now been corrected twice and which came under heavy criticism from the Times' public editor and veteran journalists, originally falsely claimed that two inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into Clinton's email use. In reality, the probe was not criminal and was not focused on Clinton personally. "Despite the overwhelming evidence," Byers noted, "the Times did not remove the word [criminal] from its headline and its story, nor did it issue a correction, until the following day."
Byers explained that in response, the Clinton campaign "sent a nearly 2,000-word letter to the executive editor of The New York Times this week." The campaign then forwarded the letter to reporters after "Baquet refused to publish it in the Times":
"We remain perplexed by the Times' slowness to acknowledge its errors after the fact, and some of the shaky justifications that Times' editors have made," Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote in the letter to Dean Baquet, which the campaign forwarded to the On Media blog late Thursday night.
"I feel obliged to put into context just how egregious an error this story was," Palmieri continued. "The New York Times is arguably the most important news outlet in the world and it rushed to put an erroneous story on the front page charging that a major candidate for President of the United States was the target of a criminal referral to federal law enforcement. Literally hundreds of outlets followed your story, creating a firestorm that had a deep impact that cannot be unwound. This problem was compounded by the fact that the Times took an inexplicable, let alone indefensible, delay in correcting the story and removing 'criminal' from the headline and text of the story."
"In our conversations with the Times reporters, it was clear that they had not personally reviewed the IG's referral that they falsely described as both criminal and focused on Hillary Clinton," Palmieri wrote. "Instead, they relied on unnamed sources that characterized the referral as such. However, it is not at all clear that those sources had directly seen the referral, either. This should have represented too many 'degrees of separation' for any newspaper to consider it reliable sourcing, least of all The New York Times."
Palmieri's letter, which runs 1,915 words long, includes three other complaints: 1. That the "seriousness of the allegations... demanded far more care and due diligence than the Times exhibited prior to this article's publication. 2. That the Times "incomprehensibly delayed the issuance of a full and true correction." And 3. That the Times' "official explanations for the misreporting is profoundly unsettling."
"I wish to emphasize our genuine wish to have a constructive relationship with The New York Times," Palmieri writes in closing. "But we also are extremely troubled by the events that went into this erroneous report, and will be looking forward to discussing our concerns related to this incident so we can have confidence that it is not repeated in the future."
An Erick Erickson blog post called for forcing "a fight in Congress" to "shut down the government if that is what it takes" to defund Planned Parenthood.
Conservative Republicans in Congress are currently "threatening to shut down the government" by rejecting "any spending bill that does not cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood," following the release of four deceptively edited videos by conservative group Center For Medical Progress to attack the women's health organization.
In a July 31 blog post titled "Shut Down The Government. Now." Erickson encouraged individuals to show Republicans in Congress "violence in the polling booth" if they don't defund Planned Parenthood arguing, "shut down the government if that is what it takes. Shut it down now":
Your taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize an organization that extracts children, weeks from birth and capable of feeling pain and hearing, from their mothers' wombs. The organization inserts instruments into the soft part of the child's skull, rips it open, and extracts its brain. It then crushes the head and pulls it further out of the womb. From there it extracts the child's heart, liver, lungs, and other viable organs.
Friends, if Republicans in Congress will not stop giving tax payer dollars to the American Joseph Mengele, we should show the party violence in the polling booth.
The national media will not cover the savage butchery of Planned Parenthood. Forcing this fight in Congress will force coverage. They will spin it against us, but every congressman who speaks up should stand surrounded by the images of butchered children so that all Americans can see what we are fighting for.
The budget and appropriations fights are forthcoming. If Barack Obama is willing to risk a government shutdown because he demands our tax dollars continue funding an organization that kills our children and sells their organs, we should have that fight.
Shut down the government if that is what it takes. Shut it down now. If we cannot stand on this high ground, we should not stand at all. Children are being ripped apart and their hearts, brains, lungs, and livers sold. Is this not a fight worth having?
Update: Erickson additionally said he "intend[s] to ask each POTUS candidate" at the RedState Gathering on August 7, "if they'd support a gov't shutdown" to defund Planned Parenthood in a July 31 tweet:
I intend to ask each POTUS candidate next week if they'd support a gov't shutdown if that's what it took to defund Planned Parenthood.-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 31, 2015
The Daily Show lampooned conservative attacks on an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in a small town in Arkansas, setting a powerful example for how mainstream media outlets should treat bogus right-wing "horror stories" about affording legal protections to LGBT people.
During the July 29 edition of The Daily Show, correspondent Jordan Klepper traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which voted overwhelmingly in May to retain the town's non-discrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Daily Show segment mocked and dismantled some of the most popular conservative arguments against LGBT non-discrimination laws with the unwitting help of an opponent of the ordinance, who agreed to be interviewed and warned that the law infringed on the rights of Christians and allowed men to enter women's restrooms:
The myth that male sexual predators use non-discrimination laws to sneak into women's restrooms has been repeatedly debunked by experts, but it remains a tremendously popular conservative attack on legal protections for LGBT people.
Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets tend to treat the "bathroom" myth as if it were true, uncritically repeating it in their coverage of LGBT non-discrimination laws.
Fears that non-discrimination laws will punish Christians or let men sneak into women's restrooms are as ridiculous as they are pervasive. Media outlets would serve their audiences better by following The Daily Show's lead and treating right-wing attacks on LGBT non-discrimination laws as the jokes they really are.
Several media outlets that covered a Florida shooting making national headlines showed an old mugshot of the Latino victim taken after an unrelated past arrest, even though other pictures of the victim were available.
On July 23, Candelario Gonzalez was shot to death in front of his family, allegedly by Robert Doyle, following a road-rage dispute in Beverly Hills, Florida. Doyle was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree murder.
According to a report by New York's Daily News, both Doyle and an occupant in Gonzalez's car called 911 following a conflict between the two men on the road. "Florida grandfather" Gonzalez told the operator that he was going to follow Doyle to his house to learn his address. In his call, Doyle told the 911 operator, "My gun is already out. It's cocked and locked," and said he was going to shoot Gonzalez in the head. When both cars arrived at Doyle's residence, Gonzalez exited his vehicle. According to a recording of the 911 call, Gonzalez's wife yelled, "Don't shoot!" before Gonzalez was shot multiple times in front of his daughter and granddaughter. Doyle allegedly then held Gonzalez's family at gunpoint. Witnesses say Gonzalez was backing away from Doyle when he was killed.
The tragedy was covered by both English and Spanish-language media, some of which showed a mugshot of Gonzalez in their reports, despite the apparent availability of other images. (Court records show that Gonzalez pled guilty to two nonviolent misdemeanors in 2014.)
Tampa Bay's ABC affiliate, WFTS, and its website, ABC Action News, as well as Los Angeles' Telemundo affiliate KVEA, all showed Gonzalez's mug shot. The July 27 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 went even further, showing a side-by-side picture of both the shooter and victim's mugshots. These same outlets also showed images of the victim with his family, proving that other pictures were available.
Negative imagery in the media reinforces existing negative stereotypes about minorities. According to a nationwide 2012 study conducted by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, people exposed to negative portrayals of Hispanics in the news "are most likely to think of Latinos in association with a culture of crime and gangs." Media Matters has documented how news outlets exacerbate the problem.
Under Florida law, Doyle can choose to avail himself of Florida's controversial and expansive "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law. This particular Florida law, which was signed by then Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005, will give Doyle the opportunity to participate in a pre-trial hearing to determine if the charges against him should be dismissed. If he ends up on trial and the case goes to a jury, instructions given by the judge to the jury will include "Stand Your Ground's" wide-ranging definition of justifiable homicide.
As reported by ThinkProgress, a 2014 Urban Institute study on "Stand Your Ground" found that "in cases with black or Hispanic victims, the killings were found justified by the Stand Your Ground law 78 percent of the time, compared to 56 percent in cases with white victims" - a lopsided finding that underscores the importance of responsible media coverage of incidents like this, before the suspect goes to trial.
Authorities say that Doyle was in possession of a valid permit to carry a concealed gun.
Image of Candelario Gonzales via screenshot
UPDATED: In another continuation of the dismaying trend of media portraying minority victims with negative imagery, NBC, BBC, CNN and Univision chose to use a mug shot of Sam Dubose -- the victim of a July 19 fatal police shooting. Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing has been indicted for the killing. Social media users pointed out that there were other available images that could have been used in the coverage:
New York magazine reports that Fox News' rules for the upcoming Republican presidential debate are generating considerable controversy among staffers at the network.
Fox News has previously announced that the top 10 performers in national polls will qualify for the first debate, but the network has yet to provide clarity on which polls will be included in its tally.
Fox has described their debate as the "Cleveland Primary." Supporters of candidates near the cutoff have been buying ad time on the network to reportedly increase their likelihood of qualifying for the debate.
Gabriel Sherman writes in New York that "inside Fox, the debate is generating controversy among Ailes's senior ranks. "A Fox personality told the reporter that there is "total confusion" about the debate process, and accused Ailes and other executives of "making it up as they go along." Another personality described it as "crazy stuff" where "you have a TV executive deciding who is in -- and out -- of a debate."
According to Sherman, advisers for Gov. John Kasich and Gov. Rick Perry "have taken to lobbying Ailes and Fox executives to use polls that put their guy over the line." A source close to the Perry campaign said that "GOP fund-raiser and Ailes friend Georgette Mosbacher recently called Ailes" on his behalf. Sherman notes that "Ailes is certainly hoping to produce the best television, which would give the unpredictable Perry the advantage."
In recent days, Perry has been attacking current front-runner Donald Trump, who has benefited from Fox News promoting him. On-air personalities like Eric Bolling have reportedly been instructed by Ailes to defend the reality TV star despite the misgivings of network owner Rupert Murdoch.
A Kasich adviser told Sherman, "We don't know what methodology they're going to use. We've been asking the question and they haven't shared."
A "Fox insider" told him that "Roger likes Kasich," who used to host a show on the network, and "knows it'll look awful if the sitting governor isn't on that stage."
It's been more than 12 years since The New York Times suffered perhaps its biggest black eye when the Jayson Blair scandal turned the paper's credibility upside down, sparked a special report, and forced the paper's two top editors to resign in disgrace.
Blair, then a 27-year-old rising reporter, committed a string of journalistic sins -- from plagiarism to outright lying about being at events he had supposedly covered.
The Gray Lady's credibility was in doubt until it set in place a list of changes aimed at correcting the systemic mistakes that had allowed Blair to get away with his lies. Among those changes was hiring its first public editor, an ombudsman positon that would independently review the paper's work and freely write about it for readers.
Soon after, in 2004, the Times issued a Policy on Confidential Sources. It stated, among other things, that the identity of anonymous sources must be known by at least one editor before a story is published, and that the paper must explain as much as possible to readers why the anonymity was granted and why the source is credible.
Oddly, that policy, cited in numerous public editor columns through the years, does not appear to currently be online at the Times website.
The Times' Ethical Journalism handbook says only that the paper has a "distaste for anonymous sourcing," and mentions the Policy on Confidential Sources, saying it is "available from the office of the associate managing editor for news administration or on the Newsroom home page under Policies."
The Times did not respond to a request for the latest version of the policy this week. Past links to the 2004 policy reach a dead page.
Since Daniel Okrent served as the first public editor from December 2003 to May 2005, four others have held that role (including Margaret Sullivan, who currently occupies the position).
Despite the public editor post and the confidential source policy, the paper has not overcome its problems with sources that seek anonymity.
The most recent example is the poor reporting on a supposed "criminal investigation" targeting Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state, which appeared in the paper last week sourced to anonymous "senior government officials." After publication, the Times had to issue corrections walking back two of the story's central claims -- that the requested probe was targeting Clinton herself, and that it was "criminal" in nature.
Stretching back to when the paper initially updated the story without issuing a formal correction, the Times has generally done a poor job managing the debacle.
The latest attempt at damage control was an editor's note issued Tuesday that said the approach to correcting the story had "left readers with a confused picture." But it did not explain how or why the paper got so much wrong.
It is clear, however, that one of the problems was relying on anonymous sources, and poor ones at that.
Sullivan wrote that two Times editors involved with the story -- executive editor Dean Baquet and deputy executive editor Matt Purdy -- agreed "that special care has to come with the use of anonymous sources." But Baquet was also quoted pinning much of the story's failure on those sources -- rather than Times staffers -- telling Sullivan, "You had the government confirming that it was a criminal referral ... I'm not sure what they could have done differently on that."
As part of her prescription for how the paper could learn from the fiasco, Sullivan suggested the Times should discuss "the rampant use of anonymous sources."
This is far from the first time a public editor has pointed to anonymous sourcing as a pressing issue at the paper. A review of public editor columns dating back to Okrent's days finds numerous incidents in which the public editor at the time had to take the paper to task for its use, or misuse, of confidential sources.
"This post is the inaugural edition of an effort to point out some of the more regrettable examples of anonymous quotations in The Times," she wrote when it launched on March 18, 2014. "I've written about this from time to time, as have my predecessors, to little or no avail."
"My view isn't black and white: I recognize that there are stories -- especially those on the national security beat -- in which using confidential sources is important," Sullivan wrote in a June 2014 column. "And I acknowledge that some of the most important stories in the past several decades would have been impossible without their use. But, in my view, they are allowed too often and for reasons that don't clear the bar of acceptability, which should be set very high."
As Sullivan explained in an October 12, 2013, column, the Times' stylebook says, "Anonymity is a last resort."
Okrent, during his first year on the job in 2004, penned a lengthy review of anonymous sourcing, noting at the time the problems the paper had with properly explaining who sources were, adding, "The easiest reform to institute would turn the use of unidentified sources into an exceptional event."
He later stated, "it's worth reconsidering the entire nature of reportorial authority and responsibility. In other words, why quote anonymous sources at all? Do their words take on more credibility because they're flanked with quotation marks?"
Byron Calame, who held the public editor post from May 2005 to May 2007, also took anonymous sourcing to task on a few occasions.
In a November 30, 2005, column urging more transparency on such sources, Calame wrote, "Anonymous sourcing can be both a blessing and a curse for journalism -- and for readers," adding that top editors' "commitment to top-level oversight, and to providing sufficient editing attention to ignite those 'daily conversations' about sources, has to be sustained long after the recent clamor over the paper's use of anonymous sourcing has faded away."
He wrote on July 30, 2006, "Some realities of anonymous sourcing negotiations deserve to be noted, even if some people think they're obvious. When reporters accept anonymity demands, it's almost always because of one overriding reason that is seldom explicitly acknowledged: the reporter wanted or needed information that a reluctant source possessed. That's probably one reason some of The Times's past explanations for anonymity have been so absurd."
Clark Hoyt, who served as public editor from May 2007 to June 2010, broached the subject numerous times -- usually with sharp demands for skepticism and rarity in the use of such sourcing.
"The Times continues to hurt itself with readers by misusing anonymous sources," Hoyt wrote on April 17, 2010, in a column laying out a list of problematic examples. "Despite written ground rules to the contrary and promises by top editors to do better, The Times continues to use anonymous sources for information available elsewhere on the record. It allows unnamed people to provide quotes of marginal news value and to remain hidden with little real explanation of their motives, their reliability, or the reasons why they must be anonymous."
On March 21, 2009, Hoyt objected again to the overuse of confidential voices, stating, "The Times has a tough policy on anonymous sources, but continues to fall down in living up to it. That's my conclusion after scanning a sampling of articles published in all sections of the paper since the first of the year. This will not surprise the many readers who complain to me that the paper lets too many of its sources hide from public view."
The public editor prior to Sullivan was Arthur Brisbane, who served in the role from August 2010 to August 2012. He opined on the issue only a handful of times, according to Times archives.
Since Sullivan took over, however, she has made the issue a key part of her regular reviews, with the Clinton email reporting problems a clear example that the paper has not followed its own guidelines and has not adhered to the Times' legendary history of correcting even the most minute details.
When Dean Baquet says that it's hard to know what the reporters and editors on the botched Clinton story "could have done differently," he is failing to take into account the anonymous source lessons of the past, and the rebukes from public editors over the years.
Houston looks set to become ground zero for the country's next major LGBT civil rights battle. How national and local media cover that fight could help determine how the rest of the country thinks about the next stage of the struggle for full LGBT equality.
For the past 15 months, the city of Houston has been embroiled in a drawn-out battle over its non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, military status, marital status, religion, disability, national origin, age, familial status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The Houston City Council adopted the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in May 2014, in the face of fierce opposition from anti-LGBT groups who immediately launched a signature-collection effort to put the ordinance on the ballot for possible repeal. Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman disqualified their effort after determining that many of the signatures collected were invalid. The result was a protracted and messy legal battle that has drawn the attention of Fox News and national conservative figures.
On July 24, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a district court decision and ordered the city to either repeal HERO or put the measure up for a public vote in the November 2015 election.
That decision has set the stage for an even more heated and expensive battle over the fate of the ordinance - one that will likely serve as a test case for how the media, and Americans at large, talk about LGBT equality in the new era of marriage equality.
HERO has been the target of conservative misinformation since it was unveiled in April of 2014. Local and national anti-LGBT groups, including the Houston Area Pastor Council, Texas Values, and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), rallied against the ordinance.
Opponents attacked HERO by lying about the ordinance; claiming it would undermine religious liberty, trigger costly and frivolous lawsuits, and allow sexual predators to sneak into women's restrooms by pretending to be transgender - predictions that have proven false in other Texas cities with similar laws in place. Horror stories about public restrooms became a central sticking point in the city council's debate over HERO, with opponents even labeling the ordinance the "Sexual Predator Protection Act."
The "sexual predator" talking point has been thoroughly debunked by law enforcement experts, government officials, and advocates for sexual assault victims in states and cities that have had laws like HERO on their books for years. Non-discrimination laws don't make sexual assault legal, and sexual predators don't decide to act based on whether a local non-discrimination ordinance exists.
But that didn't stop local media outlets in Houston from uncritically repeating the "bathroom" myth in their reporting on HERO. Opponents' talking points permeated local news coverage of the ordinance, resulting in a public debate that focused on conservative fearmongering rather than anti-LGBT discrimination:
That kind of irresponsible coverage continued after HERO's passage, as the push to put the ordinance on the ballot gave way to an intense legal battle. Houston's Fox affiliate continued to uncritically repeat the bogus "bathroom" myth, and before long, Fox News' national network took notice. Led by Mike Huckabee, the network turned the fight in Houston into a national conservative rallying cry, peddling myths about HERO and misrepresenting legal proceedings to stoke outrage. Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Huckabee in using the controversy to establish his social conservative bona fides. By November of 2014, thousands of activists were descending on Houston to rally against HERO and demand a public vote.
Following the Texas Supreme Court's decision last week, Houston Mayor Annise Parker expressed confidence that voters will approve HERO if it's put up for a vote. If that happens, Houston voters will almost certainly be bombarded with ads and mailers peddling the same misinformation that has defined conservatives' opposition to the ordinance thus far. Scare tactics that invoke bathroom attacks and religious freedom are incredibly effective in getting people to vote against legal protections for LGBT people. And if local media outlets don't do the vital work of separating fact from fiction, HERO could become the first major LGBT defeat in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality ruling.
The fight over Houston's non-discrimination ordinance foreshadows the emerging national LGBT civil rights battle in America: the push for comprehensive non-discrimination protections. On July 23, Democrats in Congress introduced the "Equality Act," which would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas. Major national LGBT groups have thrown their support behind the bill, signaling their shift in priorities now that the marriage fight has largely ended. Opponents have already begun attacking the Equality Act with the same talking points they used in their fight against HERO: horror stories about religious freedom, special rights, and bathroom predators.
It remains to be seen how effective conservatives will be at influencing the media narrative around non-discrimination protections. Since losing their fight against marriage equality, anti-LGBT activists have made controlling media depictions of non-discrimination efforts a central part of their fight against LGBT equality. By characterizing non-discrimination laws as a threat to religious freedom and personal safety, conservatives are hoping to hijack the conversation about even the most basic legal protections for LGBT people.
As the fourth largest city in the country, Houston could be a test case for how successful anti-LGBT conservatives will be at injecting their bogus talking points into media coverage of major non-discrimination fights. If anti-gay conservatives there can use misinformation and fearmongering to defeat HERO, it will set a powerful example for national anti-LGBT groups looking to shape the broader debate around laws like the federal Equality Act. If, on the other hand, local media outlets debunk and correct misinformation about the measure, they'll be setting a positive precedent for national media outlets and helping set the tone for how Americans view the continuing struggle for LGBT equality.
As outrage continued over the killing of tourist attraction Cecil the lion by a hunter in Zimbabwe, National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called the controversy "a lie" and a "joke," adding, "God are people stupid."
The 13-year-old lion was killed by an American hunter after reportedly being lured outside of the confines of Hwange National Park sometime in early July. Cecil rose to fame and became a major tourist attraction after his participation in a scientific study that involved GPS tracking of his movements.
The BBC gave an account of the hunt, which involved wounding Cecil with a crossbow before killing him with a gun more than a day later, and noted that Cecil's cubs will now be killed:
He is believed to have been killed on 1 July but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.
Mr Palmer is said to have shot Cecil with a crossbow, injuring the animal. The group didn't find the wounded lion until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters tried to destroy it, but failed, according to the ZCTF.
On Monday, the head of the ZCTF told the BBC that Cecil "never bothered anybody" and was "one of the most beautiful animals to look at".
The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed by the new male lion in the pride, Johnny Rodrigues added, in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.
Controversy over the killing grew in recent days with the identification of Cecil's killer as an American dentist, leading to widespread condemnation of the man. The hunter, who previously pled guilty to a hunting-related crime in the United States, has said that he did not intend to kill Cecil. Still, the man is reportedly now wanted for poaching in Zimbabwe and may be the subject of a congressional inquiry.
On Facebook, Nugent attacked those upset by Cecil's killing on July 28, writing, "the whole story is a lie. ... I will write a full piece on this joke asap. God are people stupid."
NRA figures have previously defended controversial hunting practices. In September 2013, widespread outrage occurred after the host of NRA-sponsored hunting show Under Wild Skies, Tony Makris, shot an elephant in the face. Makris, who has longstanding ties to the NRA, responded to outrage over his hunt by comparing his critics to Hitler. NBC Sports canceled the show, citing Makris' "outrageous and unacceptable" comments.