• How Trump Dared The Press With A Campaign Built On Lies

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    As Donald Trump’s three-ring circus-style campaign of misinformation winds down, one of the lingering questions is whether the press has helped normalize the kind of post-truth performance that the Republican presidential nominee has so enthusiastically embraced.

    Faced with the tricky task of covering a radically different type of candidate who walked away from so many previous norms of American politics (i.e. truth telling for him was entirely optional), the Beltway press faced a defining test: Forcefully call out Trump’s lies, or find wiggle room to politely describe his behavior.

    Trump’s not a politician who artfully shades the truth, or who has a tendency to modestly alter his proposal based on whichever audience he’s addressing. He’s just a chronic liar.

    On this crucial assignment, I’d give the press a C+/ B- grade. 

    12 months ago, it was becoming obvious that Trump campaigned as an unrepentant liar and that the campaign press had never dealt with a candidate who felt so compelled to make stuff up while simultaneously refusing to ever acknowledge or correct those fabrications. (Even many conservatives agree on that point.)

    In other words, Trump was ripping up the old playbook. No longer concerned with media fact-checkers who proved him wrong, and no longer interested in running any sort of factual campaign, Trump invented his own model and dared journalists to alter their ways in order to adjust to the Trump fabrication revolution.

    “Chronic,” “compulsive,” “pathological.” Those are not phrases that most journalists have felt comfortable regularly using when describing Trump’s run, even though when you look at the totality of his nonstop prevarications, those adjectives certainly apply.

    For the most part, the press never entirely ripped up its old playbook in order to cover Trump’s radical run. Instead, for too much of the race, journalists often clung to the conventional template to portray Trump as running something resembling a conventional White House run. The press seemed uncomfortable with accurately identifying Trump and his campaign for what they represented. (That includes his TV surrogates.)

    And I’m still waiting for journalists to take deep dives into Trump’s troubled personality in search of an explanation for his pathological ways. (Note that the press loves playing armchair psychologist to Hillary Clinton to explain her alleged flaws.) 

    Here’s a perfect example of how, with just two weeks left until Election Day, the press is still letting Trump get away with his lying game.

    Following last week’s final presidential debate, some commentators suggested Trump had done very well during the first half-hour. They contrasted that with the remaining 60 minutes, during which Trump suggested he might not accept the results on Election Day and derided Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman.” Before those colossal missteps, pundits suggested, Trump was on his way to delivering a winning debate performance.

    We saw the same widespread media response after the first debate, as well: If only Trump had been able to maintain his focus from the first half-hour, he might have been able to able to post an impressive debate performance.

    But here’s the thing: during the first half-hour of those debates, Trump lied constantly.

    During the first debate, in roughly the first 30 minutes, the GOP nominee badly misstated facts about job losses in Ohio under President Obama, Ford shipping “small car division” jobs to Mexico, the amount of financial support Trump enjoyed from his father over the years, whether he previously called climate change a “hoax,” the rate of energy production in the United States, the idea Clinton’s been fighting ISIS her “entire adult life,” and why he can’t release his tax returns.

    During the third debate’s first half-hour, Trump made stuff up about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clinton’s gun policy, her immigration policy, abortion, being endorsed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, the economic effects of NAFTA, not having a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. security officials having “no idea” whether Russia has played a role in recent email hacks, and insisting Japan and South Korea pay nothing for American troops being based in their country.  

    Despite that cabaret of nonstop fabrications, media observers praised those portions of Trump’s debate performance even though they were built around lies and fabrications. The standard that journalists still to use for Trump was that if he looked and sounded presidential while lying during debate, he scored points.

    That’s scary.

    Beyond those 30-minute sections, the debates represented a forest fire of falsehoods for Trump. According to Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star, who methodically fact-checked the three presidential forums, Trump made 104 false statements during the debates, compared to Clinton’s 13. Incredibly, Trump unfurled 37 false statements during the third debate, which averaged out to one whopper for every minute he spoke that night.

    Obviously, one of the reasons we know Trump can’t tell the truth is because media fact-checkers have worked overtime to document his trail of deceit. And that’s been the good news. The bad news has been that the polite fact checking sometimes seemed to be cordoned off, and isn’t always used as aggressively in the day-to-day campaign coverage.

    As I previously highlighted, last December Trump uncorked the unsupportable claim that the wives of the 9/11 hijackers "knew exactly what was going to happen" the day of the terror attack and had been flown "back to Saudi Arabia" days before the hijacked plane strikes. (Fact: Most of the hijackers weren’t even married.) Addressing the specious claim, The New York Times reported that Trump was "fuzzy" on his 9/11 facts and that the wives tale didn't "align" with "the timeline and details of the hijacking of the planes." The Times suggested Trump was simply "having trouble keeping some details straight about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." 

    But that was timid 2015 Trump coverage, right?  Didn’t the press wise up to his falsehoods in time for the general election campaign? Not always.

    Last month, when the Times reported on Trump’s proposal for child-care and maternity leave plan, the paper noted that “in selling his case, Mr. Trump stretched the truth, saying that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has no such plan of her own and ‘never will.’”

    False. Trump didn’t ‘stretch the truth,’ he flat out lied: Clinton does have a plan of her own and she unveiled it last year, which the Times itself noted.

    Time and again, reporters and their editors, fumbling over polite euphemisms, simply couldn’t summon the nerve to accurately label Trump’s lies for what they were.

    And that creates a disturbing precedent going forward. Yes, it appears that Trump’s marathon of lies most likely isn’t going to win him the White House. But his bizarre detachment from the facts did highlight a stress point within the Beltway press: Its lingering hesitancy to call out a bullying Republican who dared journalists to use the “L” word.

  • Hannity Is Convinced Former Editor For Defunct Tabloid Weekly World News Worked As "Fixer" For Clinton

    Sean Hannity Is One Step Away From Hosting Bigfoot To Smear The Clintons

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Sean Hannity invited Jeff Rovin on his prime-time Fox News show to claim he worked as Bill and Hillary Clinton's longtime fixer. Rovin is a discredited science-fiction writer who worked for the now-defunct Weekly World News tabloid that repeatedly attacked the Clintons with headlines such as “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby” and “Hillary Names Bigfoot As Running Mate.”

    Hannity hosted Rovin after a series of stories were published by the National Enquirer hyping an unnamed "fixer" who helped Hillary Clinton hide her "illicit romps with both men AND women." Rovin claimed he is “coming forward now because of the endless attention the alleged indiscretions of Donald Trump have received.” During the interview Hannity asked Rovin if he was voting for Trump because “it sounds like you like Trump, Rovin responded, “I like Trump, sure”:

    Rovin is a science-fiction writer of multiple books and also co-wrote spy thrillers with the novelist Tom Clancy as well as writing novels based off the characters created by Clancy. According to a 2007 Kansas City Star article, Rovin also worked as an editor for the now-defunct supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News which published stories they claimed  “revealed Hillary Clinton's affair with a spindly space alien named P'lod. (Cover headline: "MY STEAMY NIGHTS WITH HILLARY IN UFO LOVE NEST!")”

    The Weekly World News was best known for ridiculous and outrageous front-page headlines, including; “Clinton Hires 3-Breasted Intern,” “Alien Backs Clinton,” “Alien In Slammer After Fistfight With Bill … Over Hillary,”  and “Hillary Names Bigfoot As Her Running Mate”:


    Trump sycophant Sean Hannity has continued to sink  lower and lower in order to help boost Trump’s candidacy, this time allowing himself to become the  victim of a tabloid story which was neither verified by Fox News nor any other independent analysis.  

  • Trump Backed Out Of Local Interview After Florida Reporter Refused To Provide Questions In Advance

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Donald Trump backed out of an interview with a Jacksonville, Florida reporter after she refused to provide the campaign with the interview questions in advance.

    Action News Jax reporter Jenna Bourne claimed that the Trump campaign reached out to her on October 24 and requested “a list of questions”ahead of a scheduled interview with the candidate. Bourne refused to provide the campaign with the specific questions in advance, instead sending a list of general topics, including Marco Rubio, Hispanic Florida voters, and Refugees. She provided her half of the email exchange on Twitter, and recounted her communications to who described her as a “tenacious reporter” with a “no holds barred style” to questioning:

    Jenna Bourne of Action News Jax claims to have found herself spiked, for not giving the questions to Trump’s media relations person upon demand.


    Bourne was told that Trump’s campaign contacted her station, wanting to know who was conducting the interview.

    Action News Jax said it was to be Bourne.

    From there, the Trump campaign reached out over the weekend, and asked for a “list of questions” on Monday.

    Bourne, after consulting with station management, sent a few “general topics.”

    “We agreed that was the right course of action,” Bourne said.

    The topics included Marco Rubio, “diplomacy in the White House,” “Hispanic Florida voters,” and “Refugees.”

    From there, Bourne relates, the campaign “kind of just ghosted me.”

    At the rally later on Monday, Bourne received conflicting narratives, ranging from a denial that the interview had been scheduled, to hearing that a “decision hadn’t been made.”


    Bourne waited … and waited … but it “just never happened,” even as another local Jacksonville TV outlet was approached for its interview.

    UPDATE: Trump campaign senior communications advisor Jason Miller later refused to appear on Fox News’ The Kelly File after asking host Megyn Kelly if she would question him about the latest sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump. When Kelly said it could be brought up, he cancelled the interview.

  • Trump Campaign Created Its Own News Show "To Circumvent Mainstream Media"

    After Retreating To Fox News, Trump Campaign Finds A Way To Get Favorable Media Coverage By Just Doing It Themselves

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    After retreating to more favorable right-wing media outlets, Donald Trump’s campaign will now air a nightly Facebook Live show, as “a way for the campaign to circumvent the mainstream media.”

    Trump created a similar event on Facebook Live to stream the pre-and post-debate coverage of the third presidential debate last week that journalists said could be a “preview” of Trump launching a television news network.

    Trump and his surrogates have repeatedly claimed that the media is biased and rigging the election against him, and on October 23, his campaign announced a plan to break up media conglomerates that have criticized him.

    Recently, Trump has steered from more mainstream news outlets, retreating to Fox News to help him push his campaign message.

    Wired’s Issie Lapowsky reported the event’s launch and noted  that media figures are already calling Trump’s nightly news show “a test drive for Trump TV, the post-election television network that Trump is rumored to be considering in the event he loses in November.” From the article:

    Tonight, the Trump campaign is kicking off a show that will air on the candidate’s Facebook page every night at 6:30pm ET via Facebook Live from the campaign war room at Trump Tower. The show will be hosted by Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to the campaign, Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator for Glen Beck’s TheBlaze, and Cliff Sims, another Trump adviser. In tonight’s inaugural episode they will interview Trump campaign manager KellyAnne Conway and adviser Jason Miller.

    The series, which will stream Trump’s rallies directly each night and feature pre-and post-event commentary, comes on the heels of the campaign’s debate night Facebook Live last week, which brought in more than 9 million views.


    Members of the media quickly seized on the event, calling it a test drive for Trump TV, the post-election television network that Trump is rumored to be considering in the event he loses in November. Despite reports that his son-in-law has been talking to media dealmakers about Trump TV, Trump himself has denied he has any interest in such a thing.

    Epshteyn says this nightly Facebook Live stream is simply a way for the campaign to circumvent the mainstream media Trump so publicly loathes. “We all know how strong the left wing media bias is. This is us delivering our message to voters,” he says. “It has nothing to do with Trump TV. It’s about using 21st century technology and communication in a way that’s effective.


    Of course, it’s not the Trump campaign or the Clinton campaign’s jobs to be objective purveyors of the news, and Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale acknowledges as much. “It’s an extension of our ad programs and our social media posts,” Parscale says. “The only difference is we’re going to broadcast it live.”

    Just don’t call it Trump TV.

  • On Pat Robertson’s 700 Club,Trump Doubles Down On Myth-Based “Partial-Birth” Abortion Statements

    Robertson Agrees: “It Is The Most Barbaric Thing. … That’s Infanticide.”

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In an exclusive interview with the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump repeated his false allegations about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s support for so-called “partial-birth” abortion -- a right-wing media myth Trump previously invoked during the final presidential debate.

    During the October 19 debate, Trump asserted that Clinton supports abortion procedures that “rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month [of pregnancy]” in response to moderator Chris Wallace’s question about so-called “partial-birth abortions.” His comments reflect a longstanding right-wing media myth about late-term abortions and the phrase “partial-birth abortion,” which was invented by anti-choice groups as a mechanism to vilify and shame individuals who have abortions later in pregnancy.

    Trump repeated these allegations during his October 24 interview with Robertson, claiming that “according to the rules of Hillary, you can take the baby at nine months” or even “a day prior to birth.” Robertson not only endorsed Trump’s false description, but he also went further, describing the late-term abortion procedure as a process where “the baby is about two-thirds already born in the birth canal. The doctor turns it around to get its head, punches the back of its skull, and evacuates the brain”:

    PAT ROBERTSON (HOST): Something else that Hillary did. She took the radical feminist view in relation to abortion and she didn't back off one iota in that debate, not one. And you called her on partial-birth abortion and she said it's not as bad as you said. But the truth is it's worse than what she said --

    DONALD TRUMP: -- Probably worse. It’s probably worse. According to her it wasn't bad at all. I mean, it wasn’t even like a little bit bad.

    ROBERTSON: The actual partial birth is the baby is about two-thirds already born in the birth canal. The doctor turns it around to get its head, punches the back of its skull, and evacuates the brain. It is the most barbaric thing. And to defend that and say that's a woman's right?

    TRUMP: And I said it very strongly. A lot of people, I must say I have been called by a lot of pastors, I’ve been called by priests, thanking me because they have never heard anyone explain it quite the way I explained it. And, you know, I'm very happy about that. I'm happy we can get the word out because it's terrible.

    ROBERTSON: She defended that barbaric practice of partial birth and then she defended Planned Parenthood -- a $500 million-plus federal dollars. It's terrible.

    TRUMP: Well, according to the rules of Hillary, you can take the baby at nine months and you can imagine what you have to do to that baby to get it out. And you can take that baby at nine months and you can abort. And a day prior to birth you can take the baby. And I said it's unacceptable.

    ROBERTSON: That's infanticide.

    Neither Robertson’s nor Trump’s assertions are accurate -- legally, medically, or in terms of Clinton’s position. As numerous media outlets noted, Trump’s debate comments about late-term abortion bore little resemblance to reality. Talking Points Memo called his description “a grossly inaccurate view of abortion in the United States,” while Rolling Stone concluded that “nowhere in [the third debate] was his ignorance on brighter, flashier display than on the subject of late-term abortion.”

    Statements about later-term abortions from both Trump and right-wing media overestimate the frequency of these procedures, include inaccurate information about what is involved, and undervalue the agency and lived realities of those making the often medically necessary decision to abort a wanted pregnancy at this stage.

    Approximately 99 percent of abortions in the United States take place before the 21st week of pregnancy, but the Supreme Court has explicitly protected the right to have an abortion up to the point of fetal viability -- which most states set at 24 weeks. It also determined that any restrictions imposed after viability must include exemptions to protect the life or health of the mother. As Vox’s Emily Crockett explained, women can obtain a post-viability abortion only when "there is something seriously wrong with either the fetus or her own health."

    Not only is “partial-birth” abortion a right-wing media creation, but the allegation that Clinton supports such a practice is also inaccurate. On October 9, PolitiFact Texas rated as false a statement by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that Clinton “supports unlimited abortion on demand up until the moment of birth, including partial-birth abortion.” PolitiFact noted that “abortions in the weeks leading up to birth” are an extreme rarity and that “Clinton has long said that she’d support a late-term limit on abortion--provided it has exceptions” -- a position she reiterated during the October 19 debate.

    As Huffington Post contributor Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB-GYN, wrote, Trump’s recycled assertions about “partial-birth” abortion “couldn’t be further from the truth.” She continued that despite her insistence as a medical professional that “partial-birth abortions are an inexact term rejected by the American Congress of OB/GYN,” anti-choice groups and politicians have continued using the term to restrict access to necessary reproductive health care. Gunter concluded (emphasis original):

    The myth of “ninth month” abortions and partial birth abortions accomplish two goals: firing up the base for fundraising and getting more people to believe that at least some abortion restrictions are needed. Getting 100 percent of people to align with you on one small part of the procedure makes it easier to gradually push the bar. It is the thin edge of the wedge.

    The anti-choice movement needs the idea of partial birth abortions of a healthy fetus in the “ninth month” just like they need the devil. However, if you pull back the curtain on their sideshow, all you see are women in medically desperate situations in need of high quality medical care.

  • Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Calls Sean Hannity “A True Propagandist”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden criticized Fox News’ Sean Hannity, commenting that Hannity “has entered the pantheon of a true propagandist,” after the Fox host expressed his admiration for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, which has released stolen emails of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    Hannity wrote in an October 21 tweet that “In 10 yrs, [WikiLeaks] has gotten nothing wrong & no one’s been killed bc of the info released. #freejulianassange #freeinternet for all.” Although Hannity previously called for Assange’s “arrest” for what he described as “waging” a “war against the US,” Hannity admitted that “the only reason” he “likes Assange now is” because he promised to leak private emails from Clinton’s campaign staff.

    Hayden responded to Hannity’s tweet calling him “a true propagandist,” and said that Fox News has “given up any semblance of conservatism and focused on an almost visceral hatred of all things Clinton and Obama.” From The Daily Beast’s October 24 post:

    In a scorching statement, former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden blasted Fox News host Sean Hannity for his newfound love of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. “In 10 yrs @wikileaks has gotten nothing wrong & no one’s been killed bc of the info released. #freejulianassange #freeinternet for all,” Hannity tweeted over the weekend, continuing his recent trend of praising the man he once said was “waging war” on the U.S. and deserved to be arrested. In response, Hayden told Brookings Institute senior fellow Benjamin Wittes in a statement: “Hannity has entered the pantheon of a true propagandist.” Additionally, he wrote, “Fox News has almost entirely jumped the shark. They have given up any semblance of conservatism and focused on an almost visceral hatred of all things Clinton and Obama.” The four-star general—who has served in positions under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama—concluded that Hannity reminds him a Bulgarian political official he met in the 1980s who, when asked what truth is, told Hayden, “Truth is what serves the party.”

    Hannity has dedicated his coverage of the 2016 presidential election to propping up Donald Trump’s campaign. He has attempted to justified his numerous softball interviews with for Trump by arguing, that he’s "not a journalist,” he has attacked anyone who has criticized Trump, openly admitted on air that he will vote for Trump, and even lashed out at a Fox News colleague for pointing out Trump’s media retreat to Hannity’s show.

  • Sean Hannity Brings Supermarket Tabloid To Life By Inviting Clinton “Fixer” To Fox News Prime Time

    Hannity Hypes National Enquirer Story That “Fixer” Helped "Secret Sex Freak" Hillary Clinton Set Up "Illicit Romps With Both Men And Women"

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Sean Hannity will host Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s alleged “Mr. Fix it” on his Fox News show October 24. Reports about the man’s “key role in some of the Clinton’s dirties schemes” come from the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid with a history of launching smear attacks against the Clintons.

    The Enquirer reported that “Hillary Clinton’s shady Mr. Fix It will tell all on TV tonight” as he joins Hannity to reveal his identity:

    The man who’s rocked Washington, D.C., will join Sean Hannity on tonight’s episode of “Hannity” — airing on the FOX News Channel at 10 p.m. EST — to reveal his true identity at last.

    Viewers will finally see the face of the Clinton insider who’s finally speaking out to tell voters the truth about the former First Lady and current presidential candidate.

    As The ENQUIRER reported, this man played a key role in some of the Clintons’ dirtiest schemes: the plot to take down Bill Clinton mistress Monica Lewinsky, sleazy deals to buy women’s silence, and so much more.

    In a series of stories about the purported “fixer,” the Enquirer alleged that “Hillary Clinton is a secret sex freak who paid fixers to set up illicit romps with both men AND women.” The man claimed to have been hired by the Clintons for $4,000 a month in cash, “paid by a third party” to hide “what effectively was the Clintons’ open, polyamorous marriage.” The man claimed to have kept the stories quiet in part because of Bill Clinton’s health, but said he was coming forward because of negative attention Republican nominee Donald Trump has received for his treatment of women:

    I have kept these secrets for a quarter-century because Bill Clinton had become an elder statesman with heart trouble and Hillary Clinton seemed to be focused, at last, on the business of doing her job — for better or for worse.

    I am coming forward now because of the endless attention the alleged indiscretions of Donald Trump have received. Nothing I have heard comes close to the sexual and moral corruption of the Clintons — many of which have yet to be revealed.

    Predictably, the liberal media is focusing on one man’s alleged misdeeds and ignoring another’s proven sins.

    The Enquirer, one of the few publications to endorse Trump, repeatedly published false stories about Trump’s opponents during the primary election. During the primary, the Enquirer falsely connected Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. (and Sean Hannity refused to disavow the story). The tabloid also claimed that Jeb Bush used cocaine on the night his father became president and that Ted Cruz has had affairs with multiple women.

    During the general election, the Enquirer published baseless claims that Hillary Clinton’s health is so bad she will “be dead in six months.” Sean Hannity repeated the tabloid’s allegations, even inviting doctors on his prime-time show to discuss conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health.

    It is unclear whether Fox News has independently verified the “fixer’s” identity, and Hannity’s website says only that “a reported Clinton 'fixer' speaks out.” The National Enquirer has been the only national media outlet to report on the unnamed “fixer,” but Hannity has made it clear that he is not a journalist and will do whatever it takes get Trump elected. 


  • WSJ Botches Its Latest Attempt At Scandalized Clinton Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    The Wall Street Journal botched its latest attempt to scandalize the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails by tying political donations made by Clinton ally and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee to the wife of an FBI official. The FBI said it was not a conflict of interest because the FBI official wasn’t part of the investigation until after his wife’s run for office. Journalists took to Twitter to mock the Journal’s report, calling it “embarrassing.”

    In an October 23 article titled “Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife,” the Journal reported, “The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.”

    The piece went on to explain:

    Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI.

    The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort.

    While the headline suggests scandal, the reporting in the piece fails to support any claim of impropriety. The article notes that McCabe’s involvement in the Clinton email case “wasn’t seen as a conflict or an ethics issue” by the FBI “because his wife’s campaign was over by then and Mr. McAuliffe wasn’t part of the email probe.” The piece also acknowledges an FBI statement that said McCabe “‘played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind’” for his wife’s campaign. Additionally, the article notes that according to the FBI statement, it was “‘months after the completion of her campaign’” that “‘then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.’”

    The piece was widely derided by journalists on Twitter for its flimsy claim and its attempt to implicate McAuliffe:

    The Journal has a history of hyping non-stories about Clinton, particularly regarding the Clinton Foundation. This piece comes shortly after Politico’s Joe Pompeo reported that many in the Journal’s newsroom, which is owned by the Rupert Murdoch-chaired News Corp., are disappointed with the “‘galling,’” “‘absurd,’” and “‘flattering’” treatment the paper has given Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

  • At His Most Unhinged, NRA’s LaPierre Sends “Urgent” Message To Members Describing America As A Hellscape

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The leader of the National Rifle Association insisted he wasn’t “crazy,” “paranoid,” or “nuts” before ranting to NRA members in an “urgent” video message where he made claims at odds with reality, including claiming that his widely ridiculed prediction that President Obama would come for Americans’ guns “came true.”

    During a six-minute get out the vote video, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre described America after eight years of Obama as president in hellish terms unrecognizable to anyone who actually lives here, claiming that the president has “laid waste to the America we remember” causing the country to “completely unravel.”

    After describing a calamitous America, LaPierre claimed, “I told you exactly what [Obama] would do. The media said I was nuts. But in the end, America knows I was right.” You decide whether LaPierre was right:

    • LaPierre said his prediction that Obama “would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment” “came true” following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when Obama “exploited a horrible tragedy to launch a blizzard of gun bans, magazine restrictions, and gun registration schemes against law abiding gun owners all across the country.” (Nothing proposed by Obama would have violated the Second Amendment as understood in the Antonin Scalia-authored Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller. The background check bill that was voted on in the Senate after the massacre specifically prohibited the creation of registries.)

    • Following terror attacks carried out by ISIS, LaPierre claimed Obama “attacked you harder than he attacked ISIS. He used the terrorism his own weaknesses and failures made possible to try to gut your right to shoot back at the terrorists he refused to kill.” (As commander-in-chief, Obama is actually carrying out a military campaign against ISIS which routinely kills the group’s leaders and fighters. Nothing Obama has ever proposed would bar citizens from shooting back at terrorists.)

    • LaPierre claimed that Obama “has transformed America into a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders, and illegal aliens” and that “our inner cities now rank among the most dangerous places in the world.” (Although there have been upticks as well as dips, violent crime has continued to fall under President Obama.)

    • LaPierre said Obama “handed nuclear bombs to the Iranian mullahs who dream of killing us all.” (In fact, the deal negotiated with Iran will make it much more difficult for that country to make a nuclear bomb.)

    • Under Obama, LaPierre claimed, “Our economy is on life support. Health care is an utter failure. Our schools have never been worse. You can see the despair in every parent's eyes.” (The economy is growing, the uninsured rate is an all-time low, and the high school graduation rate is at a record high.)

    • LaPierre claimed Clinton “will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home.” (Independent fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked the claim that Clinton opposes gun ownership or that she has indicated she would abolish the Second Amendment.)

    If the present-day America described by LaPierre is frightening, the scenario he describes if Clinton were to be elected is outright terrifying. According to LaPierre, Clinton’s election would harken “the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won’t even recognize” as Clinton twists “a knife into the heart of the one freedom that separates us from the rest of the world.”

    Displaying his trademark paranoia, LaPierre -- irresponsibly and without evidence -- claims that guns would be “forcibly” confiscated during Clinton’s presidency and “if you refuse to witness the self-destruction of the greatest nation the world has ever known” then NRA voters must ensure Clinton’s defeat so that America “will be great again.”

    LaPierre offered one more falsehood in his video message: He said that NRA supporters “are the Special Forces that swing elections.” The idea that the NRA has the ability to determine election outcomes has actually been vastly overstated.

    LaPierre’s entire paranoid rant:

    WAYNE LAPIERRE: I spent my entire life fighting for the Second Amendment and I’ve got the scars to prove it. The media and many in the political class have reserved some of their most vicious, nasty insults for me. Because they truly hate the freedom that I stand for and they hate that I tell the truth. They’ve called me crazy, paranoid, evil, and far worse. But the media is so focused on me, they forgot about you, the tens of millions of gun owners all over America. The men and women who come up to me at guns shows in places like Tulsa and Harrisburg, the mechanics and taxi drivers and Waffle House waitresses who tell me, “Never ever back down.” You give me the strength to speak the plain honest truth in the face of all the hate.

    When I said Barack Obama would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment, they savaged me. They called me a liar. But every one of those predictions came true. As soon as it was politically convenient, he exploited a horrible tragedy to launch a blizzard of gun bans, magazine restrictions, and gun registration schemes against law-abiding gun owners all across the country.

    I stood in front of the country and said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I said our children deserve at least the same level of protection that surrounds our jewelry stores, banks, office buildings, celebrities, and the political and media elite. They attacked me like never before. But you stood your ground, and you told me to stand mine.

    While radical Islamic terrorists shot, bombed, and butchered innocent Americans on our own soil, Barack Obama attacked you harder than he attacked ISIS. He used the terrorism his own weaknesses and failures made possible to try to gut your right to shoot back at the terrorists he refused to kill. Thank God we stopped him in his tracks. But while his term ends in a matter of months, his two Supreme Court appointees, easily among the worst justices to ever sit on that bench, will come after our guns for the rest of their lives. Eight years of his policies have laid waste to the America we remember. Through a deliberate lack of prosecution, he has transformed America into a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders, and illegal aliens. Our inner cities now rank among the most dangerous places in the world. Teenage girls are trafficked in sex trade that begins south of our porous border and ends up right under the noses of the elites in cities like Washington, D.C.

    His foreign policy enabled and inspired ISIS, handed nuclear bombs to the Iranian mullahs who dream of killing us all, emboldened Russia, China and North Korea, and left Europe on the brink of absolute implosion. Even the weakest leaders of third-rate countries feel free to publicly mock and disrespect our president while the world’s most cunning, power-hungry negotiators played him for a fool.

    Our economy is on life support. Health care is an utter failure. Our schools have never been worse. You can see the despair in every parent's eyes. Eight years; that's all it took for our country to completely unravel. I told you exactly what he would do. The media said I was nuts. But in the end, America knows I was right.

    So feel free to mark my words: If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton is elected, she will launch an all-out war on the Second Amendment. She will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home. And she will continue the disastrous policies of this administration to their inevitable conclusion: the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won’t even recognize.

    There is no red line President Hillary Clinton will not cross when it comes to attacking your rights and forcibly taking your guns. She dreams of twisting a knife into the heart of the one freedom that separates us from the rest of the world. The only thing that can stop her is you. The NRA's 5 million members are history’s most committed, most elite defenders of freedom. You are the Special Forces that swing elections, and I need you now more than ever.

    Fight with me; stand by my side like you have at all these years. If you cherish the freedom that was won for you at Lexington and Concord and on the shores of Normandy, if you believe that this freedom makes America better and stronger than every other country, if you refuse to witness the self-destruction of the greatest nation the world has ever known, then join me: Arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, we will fight for each other, for our children and for future generations, and for our shared dream that American can and will be great again. On November 8th, you are freedom's safest place.

  • Trump Campaign Releases Statement Threatening That Trump Administration Will “Break Up” Media Conglomerates That Have Criticized Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a statement promising that a Trump presidential administration would “break up” media conglomerates that operate properties that have criticized Trump.

    In an October 23 press release signed by senior Trump economics advisor Peter Navarro, the Trump campaign threatened presidential action against “NBC, and its Clinton megaphone MSNBC,” “the wildly anti-Trump CNN,” The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

    The statement promised that as president Trump “will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

    This is far from the first time the  Trump campaign has attacked the press. Beyond attacks on specific journalists, Trump has said he would "open up" libel laws to make it easier to sue news outlets. From the Trump campaign statement:

    "Over a hundred years ago, a pro-business Teddy Roosevelt busted up more than 40 oil, railroad, steel and other “trusts” that were wielding their rapacious monopoly power to gouge consumers and interfere with the efficient functioning of the American economy. Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.


    "NBC, and its Clinton megaphone MSNBC, were once owned by General Electric, a leader in offshoring factories to China. Now NBC has been bought by Comcast, which is specifically targeting the Chinese market – even as Comcast’s anchors and reporters at MSNBC engage in their Never Trump tactics.

    "AT&T, the original and abusive “Ma Bell” telephone monopoly, is now trying to buy Time Warner and thus the wildly anti-Trump CNN. Donald Trump would never approve such a deal because it concentrates too much power in the hands of the too and powerful few.

    "The New York Times strings are being pulled by Mexico’s Carlos Slim, a billionaire who benefits from NAFTA and supports Hillary Clinton’s open border policies. Amazon, which controls the Washington Post, profits from the flow of illegally subsidized foreign products through its distribution channels. Lower costs mean higher margins -- no matter if bad trade deals lead to massive unemployment in America.

    "This oligopolistic realignment of the American media along ideological and corporate lines is destroying an American democracy that depends on a free flow of information and freedom of thought. Donald Trump will drain the swamp of corruption and collusion, standing against this trend and standing for the American people."