Has Fox News hired the man responsible for one of the nastiest attacks on Hillary Clinton ahead of her book release and potential 2016 presidential campaign?
Fox News states twice on its website that Republican political strategist Roger Stone is now a "Fox News contributor," a title given to those with network contracts. Stone is a "professional dirty trickster" who once formed an anti-Hillary Clinton group with the acronym "C.U.N.T." after he tried "to come up with words for B.I.T.C.H. and just couldn't do it."
Fox News and Stone did not respond to Media Matters' requests for comment.
Stone is a veteran Republican operative who worked on campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, among others. Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has a long history working with Stone going back to the Nixon campaign. Stone's apparent contributor status was first noted by the blog News Corpse.
Despite his controversial history, Stone has found regular airtime on Fox News over the years. He most recently appeared on Fox & Friends and The Kelly Files in March to promote his book The Benghazi Report. Host Megyn Kelly said during her segment with Stone that she couldn't tell viewers what Stone called his anti-Clinton group:
KELLY: Our viewers should know that you formed an organization, the acronym of which I cannot repeat on the air. But it begins with a C and ends with a T, and it was all about Hillary. And that would lead many to say you know that this is not a fair presentation. [Fox News, The Kelly Files, 3/12/14]
The conservative Weekly Standard has described Stone as a "professional dirty trickster and high priest of political hijinks." In a 2012 profile, New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman wrote that "Stone thinks politics has gotten a lot less interesting since those Nixon days. For one, there are 'fewer and fewer' dirty tricks."
Shameless smears are the currency of Stone's career:
Established Anti-Hillary Clinton Group C.U.N.T. In 2008, Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton group Citizens United Not Timid, which also went by the acronym C.U.N.T. The group claimed to "educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is" and sold shirts emphasizing the acronym. Stone explained of the group's name: "The truth is, we sat around for hours trying to come up with words for B.I.T.C.H. and just couldn't do it." Below is the logo of the now-defunct group:
Endorsed Birther Smears. Stone advised Donald Trump's 2012 self-promotional tour/supposed presidential ambitions, and defended Trump's obsession with conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate. Stone said of Trump on the birther issue: "He believes he is raising a legitimate question. If there is nothing wrong why doesn't the Prez simply release his birth certificate? ... Personally I think it is brilliant. It's base building. It gives voice to a concern shared by many on the right."
During a May 2012 interview with Business Insider, Stone said he had been reading Internet analysis of Obama's "so-called birth certificate" from people alleging "that it's been altered. I have no way of knowing, I just find it very curious."
Pushed Smear That Michelle Obama Is On Tape Calling White People "Whiteys." While appearing on Fox News in 2008, Stone said that "there is a buzz, which I believe now to be credible, that some indelible record exists of public remarks that Michelle Obama allegedly made, which are outrageous at worst -- but at best, but could be termed racist, including some reference to white people as 'whiteys,' allegedly." No such recording has ever surfaced.
Resigned Campaign Amid Controversy Over Threatening Phone Call. As The New York Times reported in August 2007, Stone was forced to resign from the campaign of Republican New York state Sen. Joseph Bruno after "allegations that he left a threatening telephone message at the office of Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father."
Honed Dirty Tricks For Nixon Campaign. Jeffrey Tobin wrote of Stone's tactics for Nixon:
He was just nineteen when he played a bit part in the Watergate scandals. He adopted the pseudonym Jason Rainier and made contributions in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, who was challenging Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1972. Stone then sent a receipt to the Manchester Union Leader, to "prove" that Nixon's adversary was a left-wing stooge. Stone hired another Republican operative, who was given the pseudonym Sedan Chair II, to infiltrate the McGovern campaign. Stone's Watergate high jinks were revealed during congressional hearings in 1973, and the news cost Stone his job on the staff of Senator Robert Dole. Stone then moved into the world of political consulting, to which he was temperamentally better suited than government service.
Joe Strupp contributed reporting to this post.