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  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Highlights “Sinister” Effect Of Super PAC Ads On Voter Turnout

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board stressed the negative impact super PAC ads have on voter turnout as outside money targeting the presidential and Senate races begins coming into play across the country. Research highlighted by the Post-Gazette showed that the negative ads run by super PACs can discourage voter turnout, a result the board called “sinister and profoundly anti-democratic.”

    The May 30 editorial cited research from the Ohio Media Project -- “a consortium of radio and television stations and the largest newspapers in the state” --  which found that negative campaign ads like the ones often funded by super PACs “are designed to suppress voter turnout as much as they are to persuade voters to support one candidate over another.”

    The Post-Gazette underscored that while super PAC spending occurs in support of both Democratic and Republican candidates, the 2012 presidential election saw “$424.4 million [spent] supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $145 million supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.” The editorial named the billionaire Koch brothers -- who have committed at least $30 million for ads aimed at influencing Senate races in the 2016 --  as a major supporters of super PACs behind negative ads. From the Post-Gazette:

    Researchers found that only about 1 percent of voters, primarily independents, are moved from one camp to another because of negative ads, but in swing states, like Ohio, sometimes elections are decided by 1 percent or less. But the researchers also found that, “especially with moderate voters, you get a demobilization effect, where they just kind of turn off, ‘This is a nasty campaign, I just want to stay home.’ ”

    That is truly sinister and profoundly anti-democratic.

    Equally disturbing as the attack ads and their intent is the answer to this question. Who is paying for this garbage? In the 2012 presidential election, independent spending — by groups not connected with either political party — came to $424.4 million supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $145 million supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.

    The sources of that money, often called “dark money,” are being kept secret, and that is wrong.

    [...]

    The super PAC Americans for Prosperity is a good example. Look up its 2012 expenditures in opensecrets.org and the only line that comes up is: $33,542,051 spent against President Obama’s re-election.

    The Center for Responsive Politics identified AFP’s biggest contributor as Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, which is controlled by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch. But the FEC did not require this disclosure.

  • WaPo Editorial Board Blasts Trump's "Dangerous, Nonsensical Energy Plan"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s editorial board lambasted the energy proposals put forth by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump as “illogical” and “dangerous,” adding that his vow to undue environmental protections will cause future generations to “suffer.”

    After Trump gave a speech about energy issues at an oil conference last week, media figures quickly ripped apart his comments as “utter nonsense” demonstrating a “lack of basic knowledge” about the energy industry. Industry experts later questioned the feasibility of Trump’s energy-related pledges in The New York Times, in part by pointing out that his vow to restore coal jobs contradicts his pledge to expand the natural gas industry, which according to Harvard economics professor Robert N. Stavins “would actually have the effect of lowering demand for coal, causing more mines to close.”

    The Post added to the criticism by pointing out that Trump’s promise to achieve energy independence is misguided because the “best way to insulate the country from oil price volatility would be to make the economy less dependent on oil, but Mr. Trump has no interest in doing so.” The Post also argued that Trump’s pledge to kill the U.S.’s major climate policy and “cancel” the Paris climate agreement would be a “massive blow against climate change,” concluding that if he succeeds, “[f]uture generations will suffer.”

    From the May 29 editorial:

    Last week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that voters think Donald Trump would handle the economy better than would Hillary Clinton. But from his destructive tax proposals to the illogical energy plan he detailed on Thursday, there is little basis for that belief.

    [...]

    Setting “energy independence” as an overriding policy goal is a policy mistake of long standing in Washington. In fact it is far less risky to participate in the global market than to erect barriers to energy imports or ban them entirely. If you rely only on yourself for your oil, you put all of your eggs in one supply basket. Disruptions due to a natural disaster or anything else that would be relatively localized in a global oil market would cause major volatility in a closed domestic one. The best way to insulate the country from oil price volatility would be to make the economy less dependent on oil, but Mr. Trump has no interest in doing so.

    Mr. Trump’s error reflects a deeper contradiction in his thinking. He praises the unencumbered free market, insisting that, “the government should not pick winners and losers” and that he would “remove obstacles” in the way of private enterprises. At the same time, he promises energy independence, a renaissance for the coal industry and other goals that would require government interference in the market. The decline of coal, for example, has occurred in large part because under the Obama administration natural gas drilling has boomed, lowering the price of gas and spurring utilities to move away from coal.

    Mr. Trump’s plan is dangerous as well as incoherent. In his zeal to revoke environmental regulations, Mr. Trump promises to kill the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide rules and pull the country out of the Paris climate agreement. He also promised “clean air and clean water,” but over the past half-century, it has been government regulation, sometimes market-based, that has helped clear up the nation’s air and water. Mr. Trump’s plan would lead to dirtier air and water — and to a massive blow to the global fight against climate change. With great care and difficulty, President Obama persuaded major polluting countries such as China to listen to scientists and move with the United States toward cuts in emissions.

    Future generations will suffer if Mr. Trump succeeds in reversing that progress.

  • La Opinión Blasts Trump Yelling About Heritage Of Judge Overseeing Trump University Case

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    La Opinión’s editorial board criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for pointing to the Mexican heritage of the federal judge who ordered records unsealed in the multi-million dollar lawsuit against Trump University.

    On May 27, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered the release of documents related to Trump University after The Washington Post requested they be made public. In response, Trump devoted 12 minutes to attacking Curiel during a rally in San Diego, saying that Curiel, “a hater of Donald Trump” and a “Mexican,” was biased against him. A Trump surrogate followed up on CNN, criticizing Curiel’s membership in a Latino lawyer association. Polling data indicates Latinos will be one of the most challenging voter groups for Trump to win over, since more than 70 percent view the candidate unfavorably.

    According to the May 30 editorial in La Opinión, “Trump said that Curiel’s supposed animosity comes from being ‘Mexican.’” As the board pointed out, “In his ignorance and irresponsibility, Trump’s attack is carried out against a Mexican-American,” showing that, regardless of immigration status, anyone with a “Hispanic last name and disagreement with Trump” is “in his eyes, suspicious of deliberately antagonizing him.” From La Opinión’s May 30 editorial:

    Students who paid tens of thousands of dollars to study at Trump University must have suspected something was wrong when they were offered to take a picture with a cardboard figure of the mogul instead of with the real man. This is only one of the irregularities cited in the lawsuit for multi-million dollar fraud filed by former students. Still, Donald Trump believes that he is being accused because the judge is “a Mexican.”

    [...]

    The response of the presumptive Republican nominee was to say that Curiel is “a hater of Donald Trump,” adding that the judge – nominated by President Obama – must leave the case, citing bias. Trump said that Curiel’s supposed animosity comes from being “Mexican.” Spewed from the podium, the claim rouses a crowd of followers who feverishly wants to “build that wall,” this time to prevent judges from attacking the candidate.

    In his ignorance and irresponsibility, Trump’s attack is carried out against a Mexican-American born in Chicago, not an immigrant. His criticism is no longer directed to undocumented people or foreigners but includes dozens of millions of people born in the U.S. whose Hispanic last name and disagreement with Trump makes them, in his eyes, suspicious of deliberately antagonizing him.

  • Washington Post: “It’s Time To Shut Down The Special Panel On Fetal Tissue Research”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Posts editorial board wrote that the congressional investigative panel created in the wake of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood should be “shut down” because there is “no legitimate reason” for the panel’s existence. The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives was established by Republicans in Congress following the release of videos made by the discredited anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress which baselessly allege fetal tissue was being illegally sold. The Washington Post's editorial board noted “as we now know, those videos are bunk, neither accurate nor reliable,” and multiple investigations have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. However, the Republican-led select panel has continued to rely upon so-called evidence collected by anti-choice activists and has “issued indiscriminate subpoenas [and] intimidated witnesses” as well as potentially put individuals at risk for targeting by anti-choice extremists by not safeguarding their names. Without a “legitimate reason” for the panel’s work, the Post wrote, Speaker Paul Ryan should “should put an end to these sordid proceedings.”

    From The Washington Post’s May 27 editorial:

    Any doubt about the kind of investigation into fetal tissue research that would be conducted by a special House panel was erased at its first hearing, when one of the witnesses called by Republicans drew comparisons between this life-saving medical work and the experiments of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. And the panel has gone downhill since.

    The committee has issued indiscriminate subpoenas, intimidated witnesses and relied on misleading information. It is abusing power at taxpayer expense, and Democrats are right to demand its shutdown.

    […]

    There is no legitimate reason for this inquiry. Individuals and organizations are being unfairly targeted and placed at risk. [House Speaker Paul] Ryan, who took office with talk of wanting to change how the House does business, should put an end to these sordid proceedings.

  • NY Times Highlights Television Networks’ Imbalanced Focus On Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum explained that because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “has become a daily fixture on influential programs” on television news, “even personally calling [networks] to shape coverage,” networks have struggled to provide equal time for other presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

    Media outlets have been widely criticized for showering Trump with nearly endless coverage. According to a study by The New York Times, Trump has received nearly $2 billion in free earned media over the course of the campaign. Networks have also been criticized for allowing Trump the unprecedented advantage of conducting interviews over the phone rather than in-person.

    In a May 30 piece, Grynbaum noted that while cable networks “are seeking novel ways to maintain balance” by getting other candidates coverage, “the presence of Mr. Trump can be irresistible” due to possibly getting “tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for an industry threatened by digital competition.” The article quoted anchors, executives and news producers who “admit[ed] unease at the unfiltered exposure [Trump] has received,” including one anchor “describing frustration about being asked to conduct on-air interviews with Mr. Trump by telephone, rather than in person.” From the May 30 New York Times piece:

    Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has become a daily fixture on influential programs, startling producers by even personally calling control rooms to shape coverage.

    Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, is not absent from cable news; she called in to CNN and MSNBC last week to rebut attacks from her rival. But she remains leery of TV’s unscripted nature, appearing far less often than Mr. Trump and irking some bookers who complain about the difficulties of luring her on the air.

    […]

    Networks are seeking novel ways to maintain balance, like staging voter town halls that provide candidates with equal airtime; seeking a wider spectrum of on-air contributors and campaign surrogates; and bringing more fact-checking into segments, as Jake Tapper has done recently on CNN to some acclaim.

    Still, the presence of Mr. Trump can be irresistible, especially in an election where viewership and advertising rates have soared, generating tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for an industry threatened by digital competition.

    Last week, none of the three major cable news networks — CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC — carried Mrs. Clinton’s speech to a workers’ union in Las Vegas, where she debuted sharp new attack lines against Mr. Trump.

    Instead, each chose to broadcast a live feed of an empty podium in North Dakota, on a stage where Mr. Trump was about to speak.

    [...]

    In interviews, more than a dozen anchors, executives and news producers displayed admiration for Mr. Trump’s facility with their medium. Some expressed a bit of soul-searching, admitting unease at the unfiltered exposure he has received, with one anchor describing frustration about being asked to conduct on-air interviews with Mr. Trump by telephone, rather than in person. But several offered the defense that whatever viewers make of Mr. Trump, he is undoubtedly newsworthy — and always accessible.

    “I don’t think anybody has seen anything like this,” said Bret Baier, the chief political anchor at Fox News.

    Mr. Baier, who has moderated a Democratic town hall with Mrs. Clinton and has interviewed Mr. Trump on his show, said that producers are “really trying to think outside the box” to balance Mr. Trump’s ubiquity onscreen.

    He also said he was stunned when Mr. Trump telephoned a control room at CNN this month, urging a midlevel producer to pursue a story he deemed favorable. It was an intervention virtually unheard-of in presidential politics, where candidates typically rely on an army of media handlers for such tasks. Mr. Trump had called producers at MSNBC that morning, as well.

    To sign Media Matters’ petition calling on media outlets to take away Trump’s special phone privilege, click here.

  • There Is A Paid Speech Controversy The Press Should Cover: Trump’s

    Trump Made Millions Addressing Alleged “Scam” Marketing Company

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Signaling long ago that it would never tire of writing about -- and generally denouncing -- the topic of paid speeches Hillary Clinton gave as a private citizen, the press keeps piling on. Just last week, The Washington Post added to its already mountainous Clinton speech coverage by publishing another long take, this one complete with charts and graphs.

    Following the press’ lead, Republican operatives are reportedly scouring the political countryside in search of what are now often portrayed as Clinton’s near-mythical speech transcripts.

    But note that this media spotlight only searches out one target: Hillary Clinton.

    And that’s been among the most baffling elements of the media’s obsession with Clinton’s speaking fees: Why are her lecture circuit earnings the only ones that matter? When so many prominent Republican candidates previously cashed big checks making paid speeches (and some of them cashed the checks while running for president), why are only the Democratic front-runner’s speeches considered to be newsworthy and borderline controversial?

    Those recent Republican candidates include Mike HuckabeeBen CarsonJeb BushCarly FiorinaMitt RomneyHerman CainNewt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani, who pocketed more than $11 million in the thirteen months prior to announcing his candidacy in 2007.

    And yes, Donald Trump.

    It turns out that a big chunk of Trump’s speaking fees revolve around ACN, a controversial multilevel marketing company that’s been accused of bilking people out of millions of dollars.

    If presented in proper context by the press, Trump’s long-running and lucrative relationship with ACN would essentially eliminate questions about Clinton’s speeches. And if queries persisted, the press would have to demand Trump also release nearly a decade worth of transcripts.

    In truth, there has been some good reporting on Trump's questionable relationship with ACN. (Interestingly, some of it has been done by the conservative press.) But apart from the initial flurry of reports last summer, Trump’s ACN association -- like so many scandals involving the presumptive Republican nominee -- has largely faded from view. And virtually none of the coverage has focused on the issue of paid speeches, or suggested Trump release transcripts to his six-figure ACN pep rallies, the way the press has hounded Clinton over that issue.

    Here’s the key point: Clinton’s paid speeches, whether to financial institutions, universities or trade associations, have never represented endorsements. On the other hand, Trump has spent years giving paid speeches and appearances specifically to ACN and quite clearly endorsing the company: “ACN has a reputation for success, success that’s really synonymous with the Trump name.” 

    In 2009 and 2011, ACN executives appeared on Trump’s NBC reality show, Celebrity Apprentice. And during one episode, Trump touted a “revolutionary” videophone that ACN was rolling out: “I simply can’t imagine anybody using this phone and not loving it.” (The product quickly flopped.)

    ACN’s website once bragged how, "Trump is a fixture at ACN International Training Events, setting the record for the most appearances from the ACN stage by any ACN special guest speaker." (The boasts have since been deleted.)

    In fact, it seemed the whole point of his speeches and personal appearances were for Trump to boost ACN’s brand and convince more people to buy into its sales system. “To prop up its business, ACN relies heavily on Trump to recruit news salespeople into the fold,” The Daily Caller noted.

    Being a multilayered marketing company means ACN relentlessly recruits people to sell its products.

    As Slate explained:

    Products sold through the multilevel marketing model aren’t sold in stores. Instead individuals purchase a startup kit (always encouraged, but not always required) and then contract with the company for the right to sell the merchandise to other individuals. They receive a commission on each sale but are not actually employed by the company. So far, so familiar. That’s the classic Avon Lady model.

    But selling goods one by one to your neighbors and friends isn’t the way to riches, no matter how much you hound them or otherwise guilt-trip them into making purchases. So multilevel marketing companies incentivize their salespeople to recruit other salespeople, promising them a cut of all that person’s sales, as long as both the original seller and the new recruit remain active.

    Becoming an ACN salesperson costs money. The company charges a $499 initiation fee, and then “ACN representatives are charged a $149 annual renewal fee, and they often pay $39.99 a month for a package of technology and marketing materials, plus extra fees to attend company meetings and conferences.” 

    Trump now seems to realize the political downside to his ACN cheerleading. When asked about his cozy, decade-long relationship with ACN, Trump last year told The Wall Street Journal he didn’t really know much about the company. (“I know nothing about the company other than the people who run the company.”) This is a company, as the Journal reported, that has paid Trump “millions of dollars” “over the past decade.”

    Indeed, Trump once bragged that in 2006 the company paid him $2.5 million for a single speech. And last year when Trump filed a financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission, three ACN speeches/appearances from 2014 and 2015 were listed among his income. Trump pocketed $450,000 for each one.

    Why are Trump’s ACN six-figure paychecks a big deal? And why, if Hillary Clinton had spent years hyping a company as suspicious as ACN, would there probably already have been Republican-led congressional hearings into that relationship?

    From the Journal [emphasis added]:

    Mr. Trump’s endorsement helped entice people such as Donna Roberson, 47 years old, a disabled Army veteran near Tacoma, Wash., who signed up as an ACN independent business owner in 2011. In an interview, she recalled thinking at the time: “If he’s pushing it, it’s got to be a good company to get into. Yeah, we can make money at this.”

    Ms. Roberson, a single mother of four, said she lost as much as $2,000 on ACN“I feel like it’s a big scam,” she said. “It was costing me more to stay in the company than what I was making.”

    Here are some additional reasons why Trump likely wants his ACN past to disappear:

    • In 2010, Montana’s securities commissioner alleged ACN was an “illegal pyramid scheme” and sought to have it shut down, according to WSJ. State regulators dropped the charge after the company promised to better train its workers.
    • The Journal also laid out how Maryland regulators accused ACN affiliate Xoom Energy of jacking up energy rates for its customers and is seeking at least $1 million in payments for customers.
    • Xoom is also the subject of a class action lawsuit in North Carolina and is accused of making “false and misleading” sales pitches. “The lawsuit includes the text of almost three dozen online complaints alleging similar acts of fraud against ACN and/or Xoom,” National Review reported.
    • A former ACN salesman confessed to a local ABC affiliate in New York that he was unintentionally “robbing people” when he got them to sign up for Xoom Energy.

    In other words, ACN is a mess and ACN is precisely the kind of questionable company a presidential candidate should stay away from, and certainly the type of company a candidate should not have spent years breathlessly endorsing in exchange for $450,000 paychecks.

    Keep that in mind the next time reporters hover around Clinton speech transcripts.

  • Telemundo Uses Flawed Poll To Misleadingly Claim Latinos May Be Warming To Trump

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Telemundo uncritically reported on a flawed NBC/SurveyMonkey poll conducted between May 16 and May 22 that showed Latino support for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump at 29 percent, a higher result than what other national polls are reporting.

    On the May 26 edition of Telemundo’s nightly news program, Noticiero Telemundo, news correspondent Cristina Londoño reported on the NBC/SurveyMonkey poll, saying that Trump’s support among Latinos has “now surpassed that of Mitt Romney’s” in 2012 and that Republican analysts are beginning to “confess that a Trump presidency is starting to seem like a real possibility”:

    Translated transcript:

    CRISTINA LONDOÑO (CORRESPONDENT): Today analysts on different sides of the political spectrum are starting to confess that they see a Trump presidency as a real possibility based specifically on how they used to consider his candidacy had such small possibilities. With the nomination almost secured, this analyst predicts that Trump will attempt to close in on Latino voters.

    ROLANDO BONILLA: He is going to make the necessary adjustments, and we are going to see people within the Latino community that are going to end up supporting him.

    LONDOÑO: Nevertheless, this Trump supporter claims that the businessman who just surpassed the support of Latinos that Mitt Romney obtained in 2012 has many secret Latino supporters that are afraid of being attacked.

    But the segment failed to explain that the poll they based their analysis on “did not offer the questionnaire in Spanish -- a key difference from the earlier FIU/Adsmovil and Washington Post/Univision polls.” Despite English proficiency being on the rise among Hispanics, Pew studies show that at least one third don’t speak the language “very well” or claim to “not speak English at all.”

    Telemundo also did not put the NBC/SurveyMonkey poll in context, neglecting to report on other data showing Trump’s high unfavorables among Latinos and reports that increasing naturalization rates among foreign-born Hispanics may be tied to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Univision’s Jorge Ramos in April put into context Trump’s dismal numbers among Latinos:

  • NY Times’ Greenhouse: Contraceptive Mandate At Supreme Court "Is Not A Case About Nuns”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times' Supreme Court expert, Linda Greenhouse, wrote that the recent Supreme Court case about the opt-out process developed to accommodate religious nonprofits' objections to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraceptive mandate “is not a case about nuns” -- a reference to one of the plaintiffs in the case, The Little Sisters of the Poor. Greenhouse noted that “opponents of the contraception mandate have been brilliant in positioning the case as being about nuns,” even though the Little Sisters are only one of the 30 plaintiffs, and that “it’s hard to believe” that such positioning “has not at least subliminally played on the instincts and helped to shape the views of some members of the Supreme Court.”

    In Zurbik v Burwell, the Supreme Court was asked to decide if the objecting 30 religious nonprofits -- which, Greenhouse wrote, included “Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order whose mission is to run nursing homes for the elderly poor” -- were substantially burdened by the requirement that they notify their insurance provider that they object to providing contraception coverage. This notification would then allow the insurance providers to provide cost-free contraceptive coverage to the employees of the objecting religious nonprofits. On May 16, the Supreme Court opted not to decide the case on its merits and sent it back to the lower courts, hoping that  the government and the plaintiffs would work out a compromise .

    Greenhouse wrote that aside from the Little Sisters, the other plaintiffs include high schools, colleges, charities and several individuals, saying that “it’s time for the administration and its supporters to recapture the narrative and make clear to a confused public that this is not a case about nuns. It’s a case about women who should not, by reason of their particular employment, have to forfeit the right to comprehensive health care that the law makes available to other women in the work force.”

    From The New York Times’ May 26 column:

    By my count, the Little Sisters of the Poor (who, as I’ve noted before, advertise themselves as equal-opportunity employers in the nursing home enterprise) are only one of 30 petitioners in the seven Supreme Court cases. The other 29 include Catholic and Baptist colleges, Catholic high schools, individual bishops, two chapters of Catholic Charities, other charities, and several individuals. Granted, it’s more compelling to hear about the travails of the Little Sisters (who even merited a photo op with Pope Francis last September) than about the objection to contraception coverage held by the named plaintiff in the lead case, the Most Reverend David A. Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

    Opponents of the contraception mandate have been brilliant in positioning the case as being about nuns who have a name “perfectly pitched to make liberals/progressives squirm,” as Mona Charen wrote in National Review in a post that accused The Washington Post of burying the group’s name in its story about the court’s decision. A reader had to turn to the jump, Ms. Charen complained, and “read down another five paragraphs to learn this is the case brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor.” Well, yes, and 29 other plaintiffs.

    So pervasive has the administration-versus-nuns narrative been that it’s hard to believe that it has not at least subliminally played on the instincts and helped to shape the views of some members of the Supreme Court. Now that the cases are most likely back to square one, it’s time for the administration and its supporters to recapture the narrative and make clear to a confused public that this is not a case about nuns. It’s a case about women who should not, by reason of their particular employment, have to forfeit the right to comprehensive health care that the law makes available to other women in the work force. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but an urgent task.

  • Fox News' Obscene And Ridiculous Trump Infomercial

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    On May 26, Fox News aired an hour-long special, Meet The Trumps, in which On The Record host Greta Van Susteren spent the hour asking flattering questions of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and his immediate family. Multiple critics compared the special to the state-run media of a dictatorship.

    This is what the special looks like when you remove Trump and his family's answers:

  • Why You Can't Believe Anything Roger Stone Says: Dick Morris Edition

    Stone Praises “Very Bright” Anti-Clinton Pundit After Previously Saying Morris Has “No Credibility” And “Is Full Of Shit”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump ally Roger Stone praised pundit Dick Morris as “a very, very bright guy” who is “largely credible” because of his anti-Clinton work. But in previous election cycles, Stone declared that “raging asshole” Morris has “no credibility,” “is full of shit,” “would work for Hitler if it paid,” and should be shot.

    Stone’s disingenuous praise is just another example of why reporters shouldn’t take anything he says at face value.

    Stone is a longtime friend and ally of Trump who heads a pro-Trump super PAC after leaving his campaign last year. He participated in a May 26 Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in the Donald Trump subreddit. Stone’s talk streamed live through Infowars.com, the main website of Trump ally and conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones. Stone regularly appears on Jones’ program to rally support for Trump.

    During the AMA, Stone was asked for his opinion about former Clinton adviser turned anti-Clinton conservative pundit Dick Morris. Morris spent much of the post-Clinton White House years working for Fox News, where he became infamous for his countless ethical violations, inaccurate electoral predictions, and offensive, false, and dishonest comments. Morris predicted Mitt Romney would win the 2012 election in a “landslide,” and his Fox contract was not renewed in 2013.

    Morris now regularly appears on Newsmax TV and writes a column for The Hill, a source of embarrassment for legitimate journalists at the Capitol Hill publication. Morris has used his remaining media perches to tout Trump’s electoral chances and criticize Hillary Clinton. Morris’ columns for The Hill and his website include such headlines as, “Trump can win,” “Hillary's women problem,” and “Hillary's BlackBerry: A Microphone For Espionage.”

    Stone praised Morris during the AMA as “a very, very engaging and bright guy” and “a conservative.” He said that while Morris “has been wrong about some things,” when it “comes to the Clintons, he was in close. He did work on their gubernatorial campaigns. He saw the interplay in their dysfunctional relationship. And I think he's largely credible.”

    ROGER STONE: I know Dick Morris. Dick is a very, very engaging and bright guy. He is a charming companion. He has an extraordinary knowledge of fine French wines. Of course, his political birthright is working for Adlai Stevenson as a child, supporting George McGovern, electing odious characters like Jerry Nadler to Congress. But somewhere along the way, I guess Dick found religion and today he is a conservative. Someone actually told me that he is an evangelical Christian. He's a very, very bright guy. Although I agree with Bill Clinton. Dick has 10 ideas, eight of them will absolutely blow up in your face. And the other two are brilliant. So he's a very smart guy, he's got a lot of experience. He is, I think he has been wrong about some things, but when it comes to the Clintons, he was in close. He did work on their gubernatorial campaigns. He saw the interplay in their dysfunctional relationship. And I think he's largely credible.

    Stone previously called Morris a “raging asshole,” a “fraud,” “NOT a conservative,” and an “odious little creep.” He said Morris has “no credibility,” “is full of shit,” “would work for Hitler if it paid,” and isn’t even like “a stopped clock---he isn't even right twice a day.” He added that “someone just needs to shoot Dick Morris,” “Those who RT [retweet] Dick Morris should be put to death with the Taliban,” and “Maybe we could make a deal to turn Dick Morris over to the Muslim Brotherhood in return for peace.”

    Here are 20 tweets Stone has written about Dick Morris in the years before this election cycle.