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  • The Trump Campaign Is Paying A Fox News Analyst $13,000 A Month

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News continues to employ contributor Walid Phares while Donald Trump's campaign pays him $13,000 a month. Phares regularly appears on the network to boost Trump on foreign policy issues.

    Two weeks ago, Fox News suspended the contributor contract of Newt Gingrich “due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection” as Trump’s running mate and “to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise.” It does not appear to be concerned with any “conflicts of interest that may arise” with Phares.

    Fox News states on Phares' biography page that he “joined Fox News in January 2007 and serves as Middle East and terrorism expert.” Trump’s monthly Federal Election Commission report shows that the campaign paid Phares $13,000 in both May and June for “policy consulting.”

    Phares frequently appears on Fox News, where he is introduced as a Fox News analyst and Trump adviser.

    “The Obama administration, unfortunately, has not accepted the principle that we're fighting an ideology,” Phares said on the July 14 broadcast of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (via Nexis). “That is what Mr. Trump is talking about. Now, to find a policy he needs to be in government not just a candidate.”

    During a June 17 appearance on Hannity, Phares called for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s finances and said Clinton’s foreign policy “concerns me.” While guesting on the June 23 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Phares responded to developing news about a German theater attack by claiming that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”

    Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still receiving severance from the Trump campaign while serving as a CNN analyst. While Lewandowski no longer holds an official spot with the campaign, he “has been pitching his own super PAC to donors,” he has served as a Trump New Hampshire delegate, and he is reportedly still giving advice to Trump. Media ethicists have harshly criticized CNN over Lewandowski’s hiring.

  • Wash. Post Debunks Trump’s Conspiracy Theory About The "Artificial" Employment Rate

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien countered Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's "conspiracy theory" that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has "massaged" the unemployment statistics, explaining that there is "zero evidence [the BLS] has changed the numbers" and that “anyone who suggests otherwise is either uninformed, or trying to uninform others.”

    Right-wing media boasts a long history of pushing the claim that the BLS artificially manipulates employment statistics in a partisan effort to portray the Obama administration as having a positive impact on the economy. Most recently, these efforts have been spearheaded by Trump, who, with the help of his family, has attempted to downplay economic progress and hype the debunked claim that 42 percent of Americans are unemployed.

    The Post explained that, while Trump hasn’t revealed the source of his unemployment statistic, “the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work” -- a figure that, right now, is 40.4 percent. But that number is problematic because it “counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally ‘unemployed’ as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any.” From the July 26 article (emphasis original):

    For a year now, the alleged billionaire has insisted that the "real" unemployment rate is something like 42 percent instead of the 4.9 percent it actually is. He hasn't said how he's gotten this — maybe it's from the same "extremely credible source" who told him President Obama's birth certificate was fake? — but the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work. That's 40.4 percent right now. The problem with using that number, though, is that it counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally "unemployed" as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any. So it doesn't tell us too much, at least not on its own, unless you think it's a problem that we have more 70-year-olds than we used to.

    Or unless conspiracy theories are one of your favorite accessories, as seems to be the case with the father, and now the son, Donald Trump Jr. On Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that the official unemployment numbers are "artificial" ones that are "massaged to make the existing economy look good" and "this administration look good." How do they supposedly do this? By, he claimed, defining "the way we actually measure unemployment" to be that "after x number of months, if someone can't find a job, congratulations, they're miraculously off [the jobless rolls]." The only problem with this theory is it's false. The BLS hasn't changed the way it measures unemployment during the Obama years, and there is zero evidence it has changed the numbers themselves. Not only that, but Donald Trump Jr. doesn't even seem to know how unemployment is defined in the first place. As the BLS explains, everyone who doesn't have a job but is trying to find one counts as "unemployed." It doesn't matter how long you've been looking as long as you are in fact still looking.

    But that's not to say the unemployment rate tells us everything we need to know about the labor market. It doesn't. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will tell you that herself. There are still a lot of people who want full-time but can only find part-time jobs. Still a lot of people who want to work but weren't able to find anything for so long that they've given up looking for now. And still a lot of people who would want to work again if wages were high enough to make worth their while. But none of this is a secret. The BLS publishes this all, too. So-called broad unemployment includes all these people who technically aren't unemployed but aren't fully employed either. That's 9.6 percent today.

  • Why The Murdochs Have To Clean House At Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Butts being grabbed, women being kissed against their will, female employees being ogled at work, promotions being offered in exchange for sex, and the looming threat of being fired for anyone who complained about the degrading harassment.

    Is it just me, or does the recent ugly portrait of Fox News these days in the wake of Roger Ailes’ departure amidst allegations of sexual harassment sound more like a caricature of a sexist work environment at a record company in the 1970s than it does at a news outlet in the 21st century? Not to mention a conservative news outlet that has branded itself the champion of wholesome, Republican values for years. As Fox News’ own Howard Kurtz conceded, “this has been a painful and embarrassing period for the network."

    Indeed. “Current and former employees described instances of harassment and intimidation that went beyond Mr. Ailes and suggested a broader problem in the workplace,” The New York Times reported. “The Times spoke with about a dozen women who said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it.”

    Fox News’ July fiasco first detonated on the sixth when former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Since then, it’s been a steady stream of allegations aired in the press as current and former employees speak out.

    Ailes was shown the door on July 21, but the stain remains. And that’s why Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, who have taken oversight of Fox News, need to clean house.

    On Monday it was reported that longtime Fox News executive Michael Clemente had left the network. His exit was approved by the Murdochs, according to CNN’s Dylan Byers. Byers added, “Network insiders say the move was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes, though it's also true that Clemente showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal.”

    For now, James and Lachlan are saying all the right things about wanting to fix Fox News: “We continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”

    And to their credit, they quickly hired an outside law firm to investigate harassment allegations. The looming question now is, how do the Murdochs deal with the alleged pattern of abuse? Do they hope the story fades away with Ailes’ departure, or do they actually try to make Fox News a place where women feel comfortable working?

    New York’s Gabriel Sherman noted over the weekend that according to people he had spoken to inside the company, “the only way to change the Fox News culture is to move out all of the executives that Ailes had elevated into positions of power.” And he’s right, in part because some of those Ailes-affiliated executives reportedly tried to defend their boss this month by getting Fox hosts to disparage Carlson and her harassment claims.

    The sheer number of allegations swirling around Fox News, as recently reported by New YorkNew York Timesand The Washington Post (among others), remains startling.

    According to a former staffer, Ailes made “jokes that he liked having women on their knees.” Women did not want to be alone with Ailes in closed-door meetings. Ailes allegedly grabbed the buttocks of a young intern in 2002 after she rebuffed his sexual advances. One former employee says Ailes tried to kiss her in 2004, after telling her, “Do you know how to play the game?” According to Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, he told her in 2015, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” And at a company picnic, Ailes allegedly asked a former “rising star at the network” if she was wearing “panties” while she jumped on a trampoline. 

    But it wasn’t just Ailes.

    Former correspondent Rudi Bakhtiar has detailed how she was fired after she complained that Fox News’ then-D.C. bureau chief offered her a promotion if she agreed to sleep with him. (“I’d like to see the inside of your hotel room.”)

    Meanwhile, Fox News managers tried to set up their employees on dates with their superiors. One current employee alleged a supervisor said she could work on a new assignment if she agreed to give him oral sex.

    And of course in 2004, Bill O’Reilly was accused of sexual harassment by a former producer. The harassment came in the form O’Reilly diving into detailed discussions with a female employee about masturbation, climaxing, and shower fantasies. (The case was quickly settled out of court.)

    Your move, Murdochs.

    The behind-the-scenes story being told is that the Murdoch sons have been embarrassed by Ailes and Fox News for years and have been trying to oust the entrenched chief from his corner office. “This is not principally about sexual harassment,” Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff told the Washington Post. “This is an internal coup.”

    Noted Financial Review columnist Neil Chenoweth, based in Murdoch’s home country of Australia, “It looked like an excuse to dump Ailes, for the minor Murdochs to have their revenge.”

    Now that the sons have finally succeeded, thanks to the threat of outside legal action, are they going to simply remove Ailes, read an outside investigation about rampant sexual harassment allegations, shelve the lecherous findings, and carry on without any kind of radical shift in leadership? It doesn’t seem possible that just one man was responsible for that much alleged harassment.

    Meaning, if James and Lachlan make no concerted effort to fix the widespread problems facing the women working at Fox News, that means James and Lachlan will soon own that problem and that stigma.

    I’m under no illusions Murdoch and his sons will start poaching top scribes from the New York Times or National Public Radio and clean away the dreck and the sludge that now line the editorial halls at Fox News. Boss Murdoch has made his career peddling ugly lies and marketing falsehoods, and he’s happy to make a buck playing the partisan game.

    So no, I don’t expect Fox News to become a beacon of journalism anytime soon. But it's hard to justify allowing Fox News to continue to reward an outdated, hands-on, Mad Men culture. 

  • CNN Reports First High-Level Executive Leaves Fox News Only Days After Sexual Harassment Investigation Forced Out Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    CNN's Dylan Byers reports that former Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente has left the network "days after Roger Ailes' departure from Fox News.”

    CNN reported that Clemente’s departure “was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes,” which continues to plague the network, with new reports that sexual harassment may be widespread at Fox. Clemente’s number two, Peter Boyer, also left the network. CNN noted that Clemente "showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal”:

    Michael Clemente, a longtime executive vice president of News at Fox who was effectively demoted earlier this year, has left the network, spokespeople confirmed. Peter Boyer, a former New Yorker writer who recently served as Clemente's number two, has also left.

    Clemente's departure, first reported by TVNewser, was approved by 21st Century Fox co-chairman Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Network insiders say the move was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes, though it's also true that Clemente showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal.

    Clemente's exit from Fox follows reports from New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman that Fox News executives had helped Ailes "cover up" sexual harassment allegations, as well as Good Morning America's report that there was a "culture inside Fox News" of sexual harassment.

  • At Party Conventions, Big Oil’s Media Manipulation Strategy Is On Full Display

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    A few months ago, we documented that the American Petroleum Institute (API), the trade group for oil companies including industry giants ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell, was blanketing CNN’s airwaves with ads persuading Americans to support the oil industry’s agenda. It’s a standard formula for the well-heeled industry to control the on-air narrative around climate and energy issues -- and one that in this case drowned out the cable network’s meager discussion of the ominous global warming records that were being set.  

    Now, as the Republican and Democratic parties are in the midst of hosting their national conventions, we are reminded of yet another tool at Big Oil’s disposable for influencing media coverage of key energy issues. Vote4Energy, the same API campaign featured in the ads on CNN, is sponsoring events held by Politico, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post at both conventions.

    As reported by The Intercept's Alex Emmons, at the recently concluded GOP convention, The Atlantic hosted a forum on energy and the environment that featured two climate science-denying congressmen and an API lobbyist -- with no one present to address the scientific facts of climate change. The Intercept added that API also sponsored events held by The Washington Post and Politico “where API literature was distributed, API representatives gave opening remarks, and not one speaker was an environmentalist, climate expert, scientist, or Democrat.”

    Both The Atlantic and the Post said that they tried but were unable to find speakers who could represent the other side of the energy debate. In any event, the end result was a forum for misinformation. For instance, all three events included at least one speaker who espoused some form of climate science denial, according to remarks included in The Intercept article:

    At The Atlantic‘s event, [North Dakota Rep. Kevin] Cramer and [Ohio Rep. Bill] Johnson both downplayed concerns about climate science. “The 97 percent of the scientists who believe [it’s] real, don’t all believe the exact same level,” said Cramer. “Whose fault it is, what’s going to stop it … there’s a wide range in that spectrum.”

    [...]

    At the Washington Post’s discussion, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said that in the past 15 years the earth was, on average, “cooling down,” but stressed “the point is that it’s not a settled science.”

    [...]

    At Politico‘s API-sponsored event, the oil lobbying group’s CEO, Jack Gerard, opened the event by telling the audience that “the United States has become the superpower of energy in the world.”

    Rep. Cramer, who was also a guest at the Politico event, joked with the audience that in his home state of North Dakota, “we’re for a warmer climate.”

    The media figures hosting the events provided limited pushback, according to The Intercept, even though the media organizations insisted that the presence of their journalists was enough to hold the panelists accountable. The most direct rebuttal to outright denial came from Washington Post opinion writer Stephen Stromberg, who informed Rep. Blackburn that “I think there would be a vast bulk of climate scientists who would disagree” with her statements about climate change, but then allowed that “we don’t have to litigate the science of it this morning.” The Atlantic’s panel moderator, Steve Clemons, told The Intercept that “I had trust in my own ability to be the alternative, and I had trust that the audience would ask questions to provide balance,” but he also conceded that he “should have done more.”

    The Atlantic, the Post, and Politico all have similar events lined up for the Democratic National Convention, which has spurred advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote to launch a petition calling on Democratic officials not to appear at the API-sponsored events. As Hill Heat noted, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) recently condemned API for its role in spreading climate science denial during his contribution to senators’ “web of denial” speeches on the Senate floor.

    Beyond the conventions, another reminder of the oil industry’s multifaceted approach to co-opting media is taking place at the Los Angeles Times, where the Occidental Petroleum spinoff company California Resources Corp. (CRC) has teamed up with the Times’ “content solutions” team to dole out more industry propaganda on the Powering California website.

    As we’ve explained, the Times’ branded content department, which the newspaper says is wholly independent from its reporting and editorial staff, produced a fearmongering video for CRC last fall suggesting that life as we know it would descend into chaos without the oil industry.

    A year later, as the oil industry stands in the way of California passing critical legislation that would set the standard for other states to fight climate change, Powering California is out with a series of new videos praising oil and attacking clean energy sources. One of the videos baselessly asserts that “renewable energy can’t replace oil,” falsely claims wind energy is “expensive,” and bombastically declares that “oil and natural gas are woven into the fabric of America.” Another video features feel-good man-on-the-street interviews with paid actors touting California’s oil and gas industry.

    Concerns about these types of arrangements between media and the fossil fuel industry have not subsided, despite media organizations’ assurances that the relationships would not affect their coverage. Pointing to the API-sponsored events and The Hill’s offer to “sell interviews” at the conventions, The Intercept’s Emmons concluded: “What were once blurred lines in the journalism business are becoming increasingly clear -- because they have been crossed.”

  • LA Times Editorial Board Joins Critics Of GOP Attack On Abortion Providers

    LA Times: Select Panel’s Interim Report is “Long on Innuendo but Remarkably Short on Revelation”

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On July 14, the Republican members of Congress’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released an interim report of its ongoing investigation of abortion providers and medical researchers, which, they allege, were involved in the sale of donated fetal tissue.

    In a July 25 editorial, the Los Angeles Times editorial board criticized the select panel’s interim report and called for the panel to be disbanded based on the complete lack of evidence the document contained. As the editorial board wrote, despite “months of investigation and subpoenas for staggering amounts of records … the chairman and Republican members of the panel released an 88-page interim report this month that is long on innuendo but remarkably short on revelations.”

    The select panel was formed in October 2015 after the anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of deceptively edited videos targeting Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue procurement companies. In the past year, CMP’s deceptive videos have been consistently debunked while multiple state investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, CMP and its founder David Daleiden have been indicted for fraud by a grand jury in Houston, TX, have been subject to several lawsuits, and have had their work soundly rejected by multiple judges and journalists.

    Undeterred, Republican members of the select panel have sourced numerous documents from CMP’s website and videos to use as “evidence” in their ongoing campaign against Planned Parenthood. Despite calls by congressional Democrats and 50 organizations to disband the panel, House Speaker Paul Ryan has reiterated his support for its work. Furthermore, the House Administration Committee has also approved supplemental funding for the panel’s continued operation.

    Although the select panel’s interim report made a variety of allegations against Planned Parenthood, tissue procurement firms, and universities engaged in medical research, the Los Angeles Times noted that the panel “has yet to find any proof that anyone is selling or buying fetal tissue.” In fact, as the editorial board explained: “One of the panel’s main findings” -- concerning allegations against the University of New Mexico (UNM) -- “is actually just speculation.”

    Prior to their release of the interim report, select panel Republicans sent a letter to the New Mexico attorney general arguing that UNM was improperly contracting with a nearby abortion clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO). In an accompanying press release, select panel Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) accused UNM of having a “symbiotic relationship” with SWWO that was in violation of federal and state law. In reality, the Times explained, UNM “has categorically denied both allegations” and also “contends that the panel is misreading state law.”

    In another section of the report, the panel’s Republican members recounted their recommendation to the Department of Health and Human Services that the tissue procurement company StemExpress be investigated for violating federal patient privacy laws. The panel alleged that StemExpress employees placed in abortion clinics were allowed too much access to patients’ private medical information in order to assess candidates for potential fetal tissue donation.

    As the Times noted, however, this allegation, too, was unproven. Quoting a lawyer for StemExpress, the editorial board explained that StemExpress did not violate any privacy laws because “its technicians did not review medical files,” and “the panel would have known this had it interviewed any of the witnesses ‘repeatedly offered by StemExpress.’”

    Since the select panel’s inception, media have criticized its actions as a politically motivated “witch hunt” against abortion providers and medical researchers. The Times endorsed this critique and added that the panel’s Republican members have “made no secret of their mission” to advance an anti-choice agenda, regardless of its veracity:

    Having found no smoking guns in the University of New Mexico and StemExpress cases, the panel has passed its allegations to other authorities to settle while it continues to search for criminality. Beyond that, the report does little more than serve the panel’s antiabortion narrative in which clinics are desperate to get more business, fetal tissue companies are intent on getting more product, and the technicians who collect these specimens send out emails blithely discussing fetal organs and limbs. Even if this portrait were accurate — and the panel offers little evidence to back that up — it establishes no wrongdoing.

    Even if the panel’s allegations are baseless, there are still costs associated with attacks on fetal tissue research. Since the start of CMP’s smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, there has been a “chilling effect” on fetal tissue donation and research. As the Times editorial board wrote, “The real danger here is that the panel’s work will chill the activities of fetal tissue suppliers and the researchers who use it to study retinal degeneration, fetal development, the Zika virus and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

  • New Yorker’s David Remnick: The GOP Convention “Was Like A Four-Day-Long Fox-Fest”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    New Yorker editor David Remnick detailed the nexus between the messaging of Fox News and that of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in his comments at the GOP convention, explaining that Trump “adopted Fox rhetoric, Fox fury, and Fox standards of truth and falsehood” along with his own “Trumpian nativist flair.”

    Trump has a long relationship with Fox News and Fox News personalities. This close relationship led Trump to receive nearly double the airtime of any other candidate on the channel during the Republican primary. Trump’s camaraderie with Fox was criticized by conservative commentators who labeled the network a “Donald Trump super PAC,” while other media figures have highlighted Fox News’ role in the rise of Trump.

    In an article that will appear in the August 1 issue of The New Yorker, editor David Remnick pointed to the Republican National Convention, which he described as “a four-day-long Fox-fest, full of fearmongering, demagoguery, xenophobia, third-rate show biz, pandering, and raw anger,” as evidence of the relationship between Trump and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. From the article:

    The Ailes-Trump relationship has been turbulent, roiled by the differences of large narcissisms—two immense egos competing for the same ideological berth. Last year, Trump moodily boycotted Ailes’s network, complaining that Megyn Kelly, as a debate moderator, had unreasonably quoted back to him some of his most memorable descriptions of half of humanity: “fat pigs,” “slobs,” “disgusting animals.” Nevertheless, Trump, who admits that he reads almost nothing and gets his information from “the shows,” adopted Fox rhetoric, Fox fury, and Fox standards of truth and falsehood, all with a dollop of Trumpian nativist flair. The Republican Convention in Cleveland last week was like a four-day-long Fox-fest, full of fearmongering, demagoguery, xenophobia, third-rate show biz, pandering, and raw anger. By comparison, Nixon in ’68 was Adlai Stevenson murmuring sonnets at a library luncheon.

    [...]

    Still, Ailes could take paternal pride in Trump’s acceptance speech. The nominee began with a phrase about “generosity and warmth” (barked, it’s true, as if some kind of threat), but—untethered to statistics or facts, and with his inner volume dialled past eleven—Trump went on to portray a country facing a Clinton legacy of “death, destruction, and weakness,” a nation of lawless immigrants roaming cities and towns, “chaos” in the streets, radical Islamic terrorists opposed by nothing but a pusillanimous government and its popgun military.

    [...]

    The reckoning was long overdue. Ailes’s most ominous political spawn, however, has so far evaded accountability. Ivanka Trump introduced her father by reminding the Convention of the tremendous “sacrifice” he had made to take a leave from his business to run for office. Now, having conquered “the party of Lincoln,” the most dangerous candidate for the White House in generations is hoping to win on a platform of paranoia. We hear sirens in the night.

     
  • Florida Times-Union Fails To Contextualize Fringe, Extremist Pastor Protesting The Democratic Convention

    Pastor Kenneth Adkins Previously Photoshopped A Government Official Onto Pornographic Images, Said Victims Of Orlando Massacre Got “What They Deserve”

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    The Florida Times-Union reported that pastor Kenneth Adkins plans to protest presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton outside of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. The paper’s June 22 report failed to provide any context on Adkins and his well-documented history of rabid anti-LGBT extremism in political protesting, which includes photoshopping a government official’s face onto pornographic images and most recently tweeting about gay people “gett[ing] what they deserve” after the June 12 mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL.

    Adkins rose to prominence in local media earlier this year due to his extreme antics in protest of a proposed LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Jacksonville, FL. The pastor opposed the ordinance on Twitter with graphic and inflammatory images. He said the definition of the ordinance was "Giving Civil Rights to men who engage in Anal Sex with each other," called Jacksonville City Council Member Tommy Hazouri the "anti-Christ" for supporting the ordinance, and photoshopped Hazouri's face onto pornographic images:

    Last month, Adkins again made pages of the the Times-Union when he responded to the June 12 massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL, with a tweet saying, “been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve.” Adkins later attempted to deny that the tweet had anything to do with the Orlando shooting, though it came after a string of other tweets he wrote about the mass shooting.

    The Times-Union’s July 22 report on Adkins’ planned protest of the Democratic convention failed to mention any of Adkins’ past tweets or extremist protest tactics:

    When Democrats gather in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential candidate, Jacksonville-area pastor Ken Adkins plans to be outside, protesting their decision.

    Adkins said Friday he’s part of a slate of black and Hispanic activists scheduled to represent the conservative Douglass Leadership Institute and the Coalition of African American Pastors at a press conference Monday denouncing the former secretary of state for “hypocrisy and deception” on a range of topics.

    A release from event organizers puts a sharp point on that, contrasting the effects of crime and arrests among minorities with the Justice Department’s decision not to seek charges against Clinton for security lapses on the personal email server she used as secretary of state.

    “Secretary Clinton has thwarted the law and perverted justice. Minorities are filling up jails at alarming rates for petty crimes and Hillary Clinton is not even indicted,” the release said. “We are tired of the lies of the Democrat Party whose goal is to keep minorities enslaved and in mental deterioration by fostering government dependency that perpetuates generational poverty.”

  • “Pretty Damn Frightening”: Wash. Post’s Volokh Conspiracy Imagines Trump’s Justice Department

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Contributor to the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog Orin Kerr wrote that the Department of Justice under Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be “pretty damn frightening.”

    During last week’s Republican National Convention, Trump called for more aggressive policing, threatened critics with lawsuits, and suggested that his opponents, such as Hillary Clinton, be jailed. Trump has also praised strongmen like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan for their ability to lead and to take control in times of crisis.

    In a July 22 article, Kerr wrote that Trump’s “long-standing passions” of silencing dissenting voices and threatening lawsuits against critics convinced him that a Trump Department of Justice would be “pretty damn frightening.” Kerr argued Trump’s Justice Department would be “aggressive” against those who oppose and criticize it, citing Trump’s “expressed admiration" for dictators such as Putin, his dismissal of other country’s civil liberties violations, and Trump's response to “the ‘vicious’ and ‘horrible’ way that the Chinese government massacred pro-democracy protesters" in Tiananmen Sqaure. From the article:

    Trump’s Nixonian turn to law and order raises an important question: What would a Trump Justice Department look like?

    It would be pretty damn frightening, I think. Trump has two long-standing passions when it comes to law and law enforcement. His first passion is the suppression of protest and dissent. And his second passion is bringing lots of legal actions against his critics and threatening many more to get his way.

    [...]

     A few months ago, Trump expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin as “a strong leader” and “a powerful leader.” He has offered praise for Saddam Hussein. And just this week, when he was asked how he would respond to civil liberties violations by repressive regimes in other countries such as Turkey, Trump explained that he wouldn’t deal with that because the United States had its own mess to clean up. If you read the interview, Trump wasn’t saying that we had to to stop our own civil liberties violations before criticizing those of other governments. Rather, he was saying that the United States couldn’t criticize other countries because it needed to be “much more aggressive” at stopping the “riots” in the streets in places such as Ferguson and Baltimore. It would be “a wonderful thing,” Trump explained, if the response to the “riots” was more aggressive.

    [...]

    Trump also frequently threatens lawsuits as a way to silence his critics. If you want to focus on one example, this Politico piece on Trump’s efforts to intimidate a securities analyst who accurately predicted the failure of a Trump casino is a great read. And this week, a lot of people have seen the frivolous cease-and-desist letter that a Trump lawyer sent just this week to a Trump critic. Think about that. Right in the middle of the GOP convention, just a few days ago, Trump had his lawyers send a threat to bring a baseless lawsuit.

    Now imagine what a President Trump would do with the executive power of the United States granted to him under Article II. Under the unitary executive, President Trump would control all of federal law enforcement.

  • CNN’s Harry Houck Promotes Video Calling On Obama To “Ban Niggas”

    Video Claims “More People Murdered In A Day By Niggly Bears Than In A Year By Grizzly Bears”

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck promoted a video that calls for President Obama to “ban niggas” in order to reduce violent crime, continuing Houck’s long history of peddling racist tropes about the African-American community.

    On July 25, Houck posted a link to a video on his Twitter account featuring Atlanta radio host and men’s rights activist Tommy Sotomayor, in which Sotomayor said that Obama should “ban niggas” because black men commit more violent crimes than other groups. Houck tweeted the video with the comment, “He knows what he’s talking about!”:

    Houck has used his platform on CNN to repeatedly suggest that African-Americans are prone to criminality and to blame black victims of police violence. Houck on Twitter has often warned about “black thugs,” referred to Black Lives Matter as a “thug group,” and even tweeted a link to a white supremacist website.

    Houck continues to be employed as a law enforcement analyst by CNN. He most recently appeared during the the July 17 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources, where he attempted to link the shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge to protests regarding the death of Alton Sterling.