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  • Sunday Show Hosts Fail To Hold Trump Surrogates Accountable For His Voter Fraud Lies 

    Journalists Must Be Better Prepared In The Trump Era

    Blog ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Sunday show hosts failed to sufficiently press Donald Trump's surrogates on the president-elect’s blatant lies about voter fraud in the 2016 election. Journalists must raise the bar even higher when interviewing Trump and his surrogates, from merely calling out falsehoods to actively putting statements into context and offering facts and data. Failure to aggressively push back on lies and contextualize misleading statements in the “post-truth” era of Trump risks leaving viewers unclear about which party is ultimately correct and tells them only what they don’t know, rather than ensuring they are informed.

    On November 27, Trump tweeted, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” In fact, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is expected to win the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes. Additionally, the Washington Post’s Phillip Bump found just three documented cases of voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Nevertheless, Trump’s surrogates later defended his lie in a conference call with reporters.

    On December 4, CBS host John Dickerson interviewed Reince Priebus, who Trump has tapped for White House chief of staff, on Face the Nation and addressed Trump’s claims that he would have won the popular vote if not for mass voter fraud:

    While Dickerson did tell Priebus that “there is no evidence” that millions voted illegally, he made a series of missteps. First, he allowed Priebus to cite a Wall Street Journal op-ed that recycled discredited evidence, failing to note that the evidence was flawed and misleading. Second, while Dickerson asked if Trump needs to “tighten up his standards of proof,” he allowed Priebus to redirect the conversation away from Trump’s lies to a discussion of Trump’s penchant for tweeting in general. Finally, Dickerson never mentioned any of the numerous studies that show that claims of widespread voter fraud are false.

    CBS compounded the problem by issuing a tweet that merely read “Reince Priebus: ‘It’s possible’ millions voted illegally.” Several media outlets have recently botched their headlines and tweets when reporting on false statements made by Trump, omitting context that would illustrate the inaccuracies.

    CBS later deleted the tweet, replacing it with this one:

    The second CBS tweet still drew criticism from media observers for its failure to note that Trump’s claim is false.

    ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviewed Vice President-elect Mike Pence on This Week and also raised the question of Trump’s voter fraud tweets:

    Stephanopoulos did repeatedly press Pence to offer evidence for Trump’s claim and consistently pointed out that these claims of voter fraud are false, but he failed to provide counter-evidence to effectively establish that Trump was wrong. Stephanopoulos pushed back on Pence when he cited a Pew Research Center study as evidence that Trump’s voter fraud claims could be true, noting that the authors of the study said “it is not any evidence about what happened in this election.” This pushback, however, was insufficient to properly contextualize for the audience why this evidence is flawed, leaving it up to them to figure out which Pew study is being cited and why it doesn’t apply. Stephanopoulos also neglected to cite studies that provide persuasive proof that claims of voter fraud are grossly exaggerated and largely inaccurate.

    Given the total lack of proof for the right-wing’s voter fraud claims, journalists must be prepared to more thoroughly press Trump surrogates if he continues to lie. And more generally, journalists must be armed with the facts and data they need to hold surrogates accountable on the variety of issues about which President-elect Trump lies. In what has been dubbed a “post-truth” presidency, it will no longer be sufficient to merely say “that’s false.” Journalists must call out instances of cherry-picked data or flawed sources and counteract the misuse of data. Journalists can and must harness the power of fact-checking by using studies and data to relentlessly press Trump and his surrogates in order to convey the truth to the American public.

  • Native Water Protectors, Veterans, And Activists At Standing Rock Got Zero Attention On Major Sunday Shows Again

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    UPDATE: Hours after the Sunday political talk shows ignored the story, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they will deny the current route for the pipeline in favor of exploring alternate routes. 

    Sunday morning political talk shows entirely ignored the ongoing demonstration at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, continuing a troubling pattern of scant media attention being paid to the historic protests and the violent crackdown on the movement for environmental, civil, and Native peoples’ rights.

    Law enforcement and private security officers armed with rubber bullets, water cannons, and dogs have clashed with peaceful protesters at the reservation in North Dakota, where Native demonstrators known as water protectors have sought to delay, and ultimately redirect or derail, construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is currently slated to run near the reservation. The pipeline, which was originally supposed to be built near Bismarck, was redirected near the reservation after residents of Bismarck raised concerns that the pipeline would contaminate their water supply. The protest has become “the longest-running protest in modern history” with “the largest, most diverse tribal action in at least a century, perhaps since Little Bighorn.” 

    On December 3 and 4, thousands of U.S. veterans arrived at Standing Rock to support the Native water protectors, join their cause, and “call attention to the violent treatment that law enforcement has waged on the protesters.” The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the water protectors to vacate the site on their own reservation by December 5.

    Despite the ongoing violent retaliation against the activists by law enforcement personnel, the December 4 editions of the major Sunday morning political talk shows -- including ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union, Fox’s Fox News Sunday, and NBC’s Meet the Press -- entirely ignored the events at Standing Rock.

    The Sunday political talk shows’ outrageous Standing Rock blackout is in line with how cable news has covered, or not covered, the protests. From October 26 through November 3, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC combined spent less than an hour covering the ongoing demonstration and violent law enforcement response. Fox News stood out for its minimal coverage, devoting just four and a half minutes to reporting on the events during the time frame analyzed. A review of internal Media Matters records shows that the five main Sunday shows have failed to devote time to the events at Standing Rock since at least September.

    CNN’s media criticism show, Reliable Sources, discussed the media blackout on Standing Rock and provided some guidance on how cable news should cover the gathering moving forward. The show’s host, Brian Stelter, lamented that “one of the most important civil and environmental rights stories of our time” was receiving “off and on attention from the national media,” noting that too often, the story seems to completely “fall off the national news media’s radar.”

    Stelter’s guest -- Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, who was charged with trespassing while reporting live on the ground -- implored "all the media” to be "there on the ground giving voice to the voiceless” and said that “all the networks” “have a responsibility” to show images of police cracking down on protesters. Goodman also linked the media’s Standing Rock blackout to the national political media’s silence about climate change during the presidential campaign: “Not one debate moderator raised that as a question,” Goodman decried. “This is a key issue.” 

    Some shows on MSNBC did cover the events at Standing Rock, with Al Sharpton giving a “shoutout to the protestors” and noting that, “until recently, they weren't getting any attention from the outside world.” Joy-Ann Reid, who said that “there needs to be a lot more reporting on this,” provided exemplary coverage of the protests, inviting a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to be interviewed by MSNBC’s Cal Perry on the ground in North Dakota. Reid’s segment -- by devoting time to Standing Rock in the first place, talking with a person directly affected, and having a media presence at the site -- is a model for all news shows to follow. Reid also covered the “grossly underreported story” the week prior.

    Online publications and public media have given some coverage to the actions against the pipeline amid the national news media’s virtual blackout, bringing videos and images of the clashes directly to the nation in ways TV news networks are not. And Democracy Now, which has diligently reported on the activity at Standing Rock, posted a video of private security hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline Company attacking protesters with dogs and pepper spray that has over one million views on YouTube.

    NowThisNews’ Facebook page has an informational video about the protests, including images of violent attacks by law enforcement personnel on the protesters and interviews from activists, that also has over one million views. 

    Media have a responsibility to provide coverage of the environmental and human rights battles occurring at Standing Rock. Denying the activists due coverage allows right-wing spin to infiltrate the conversation, plays into a long-standing problem of both the lack of representation of people of color in media and a double standard in covering progressive protesters, and is a barrier to generating the public pressure necessary to induce change.

  • CNN Has Renewed Jeffrey Lord’s Contract, Ensuring Trump Will Have A Bigoted Sycophant At The Network

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET


    Controversial Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord will keep his platform at CNN through 2017 according to a report from The Washington Post. Lord was a staunch Trump apologist who used his paid position at CNN to spew hateful rhetoric and defend Donald Trump throughout the 2016 campaign.

    On December 2, The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reported that Lord "re-signed with the network through 2017," noting that he “was one of about seven commentators that CNN brought on to articulate Trump positions.”

    CNN has faced harsh criticism for hiring controversial Trump defenders including Corey Lewandowski, Jeffrey Lord, Scottie Nell Hughes, and Kayleigh McEnany. With the renewal of Lord’s contract, CNN has made clear it will continue to give representation to xenophobes who defend Trump regardless of facts and public opinion.

    Jeffrey Lord made a name for himself as an anti-immigrant contributing editor of The American Spectator who during his career claimed Obama should be impeached, called the Ku Klux Klan a leftist organization, and compared his critics to Nazis.

    Lord’s presence at CNN has been defined by false, inflammatory remarks. Lord has claimed that “David Duke is a hardcore leftist,” called the Ku Klux Klan “a non-entity,” and asked a black co-panelist to answer for whether Democrats would ever “get around to apologizing for slavery.” Lord has also argued that America has a “Muslim problem,” defended Trump’s attacks on a Muslim Gold Star family, and smeared Huma Abedin by falsely claiming she was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In extending Lord’s contract, CNN will continue to have one of Trump’s strongest defenders on the network “to carry Donald Trump’s decidedly fetid water every day.”

  • Right-Wing Media Slam Student Loan Assistance, Calling It A “Con” And A “Bailout”

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board joined a chorus of right-wing outlets in blasting the federal government’s income-based student loan repayment program, calling it a costly “con” meant to “buy millennial votes.” Yet right-wing media are ignoring the benefits of a program that could relieve millions of student borrowers of a portion of their remaining debt and that is still generating a profit.

    Right-wing media lambasted the Department of Education and student borrowers after the Journal reported on November 30 the latest findings from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that the government is on track to forgive $108 billion of $352 billion in student loans as part of federal income-driven repayment plans. The Journal’s editorial board blasted the government on December 1, calling the latest findings proof that the Department of Education’s loan program is a “con” designed to “buy millennial votes.” (The editorial column was the Journal’s second since November 1 lamenting the federal program, which has led to millions of students earning student loan forgiveness.) Earlier that day, Fox News host Jon Scott questioned if the program was a “bailout” for student borrowers. Fox Business host Stuart Varney also called the program “a bailout” on the November 30 edition of Varney & Co., while his guest Steve Costes added that the program is “a shame.”

    Federal student loan borrowers have multiple repayment plan options, including income-based plans that require borrowers to pay back loans based on a percentage of their income for a certain number of years, after which the remainder is eligible to be forgiven. The GAO’s findings were for the hypothetical cost in loan principal forgiveness for the 5.3 million borrowers who signed up for income-based repayment plans for loans issued over a 22-year period, between 1995 to 2017. These borrowers will likely see an average of $21 forgiven for every $100 in loans received. Despite right-wing media complaining about the cost of borrower relief for those on income-based payment plans, the GAO found that the Department of Education still nets a profit on student loans.

    The reason the government still makes a profit even after loan forgiveness is because many federal student loans have an interest rate at 6.8 percent -- a figure that is much higher than inflation or the 1 percent interest rate banks receive from the Federal Reserve. The 6.8 percent interest rate is so high that the GAO’s hypothetical borrower would pay almost double the original principal of their loan if the income-based plan had no cutoff date for forgiveness:

    Student loan debt is a leading concern among young people, with The Atlantic finding nearly 30 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 “cited paying off student loans as their biggest financial challenge.” According to Fortune, “there is little doubt that many Millennials are struggling financially” after a survey by PwC found that 79 percent of the 42 percent of millennials that have student loans struggle to pay those loans. Evidence shows student debt can impact personal wealth, delay homeownership affect personal decisions to marry or start a family, and that it has “cripple[d] retail sales growth.” The financial stress of student loans has a “devastating toll” on borrowers’ mental health, according to Complex, which cited findings by researchers that “student loans were associated with poorer psychological functioning.”

    While right-wing media push many myths about student debt, student concerns are valid; according to a November 21 op-ed published by Investopedia, Americans with student loan debt have “a challenging road ahead of them in the present and the future” due to workers being unable to save for retirement. The op-ed, which was authored by a financial adviser, even questioned whether people with student loans "will be able to retire” at all. The increasing debt burden can even hinder career advancement as graduates can be forced to take jobs that may have no chance of wage growth or career development so they can make debt payments on time.

    Conservative media have labeled higher education as a "privilege" and suggested students ought to choose fictional cheaper colleges. Some outlets have even defended schools that take advantage of students and leave them with significant debt. But research shows college matters now more than ever, and the cost to attend is rising across the board. The student debt crisis is especially damaging for poor students and students of color, who more frequently attend cheaper open-access and community colleges and are still forced to borrow in higher numbers to pay for their education.

    Blaming students for the student loan debt crisis ignores the facts and distracts from finding real solutions to America's skyrocketing student debt burden.

  • Meet Charlie Kirk, The “Boy Wonder” Trump Ally Behind A Poorly Sourced McCarthy-Like Watchlist Of Professors

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    A new website called Professor Watchlist is soliciting “tips” to help publicly “expose and document” college professors who “advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The conservative group Turning Point USA, led by frequent Fox News guest and former Breitbart.com contributor Charlie Kirk, is behind the site.

    Professor Watchlist, which launched on November 21, encourages visitors to “submit a tip” to report professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” (The website originally also solicited reports of professors who “promote anti-American values,” but that language has since been deleted.) The submission form allows visitors to identify professors by name and school, and to submit evidence of perceived bias discovered via “Article/News Report,” “1st Hand Experience,” or simply “Word of Mouth.” It also allows visitors to share optional “Video/Photo Evidence” of alleged transgressions. The site’s “About Us” page notes that it will “only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else,” though it does not provide further information on the quality of previous reporting required or the overall vetting process.

    As of noon on December 1, the site lists 143 professors by name, including photos of the allegedly biased educators, brief details of reported incidents that have warranted their inclusion on the site, and links to “source(s)” that reported the incidents. Of these 143 entries, right-wing student reporter website Campus Reform, operated by the conservative activist training group the Leadership Institute, served as the singular “source” for 75. The conservative student blog The College Fix sourced 10 entries, and the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant David Horowitz Freedom Center’s website DiscoverTheNetworks, which often cites white nationalist groups, accounted for another 12. Other sources included Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, FoxNews.com posts, and edited “undercover” videos from conservative activist James O’Keefe’s discredited group Project Veritas. (Even Bill O’Reilly expressed some concern about the legitimacy of these “third-party” reports in a recent interview with Kirk.)

    Kirk’s Professor Watchlist site mimics the M.O. of other “citizen journalist” vigilantes of the far-right, like O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, by promoting “tips” from the public with little accountability for the truth, yet potential real consequences for those caught in the crossfire.

    In fact, O’Keefe was invited to attend the final presidential debate courtesy of Kirk and Turning Point USA. Last year, O’Keefe spoke about “gorilla journalism” (sic) at a Turning Point USA event in West Palm Beach, FL, and Professor Watchlist cites his videos as the sole “source” justifying four entries so far.

    The “alt-right” white nationalist news site Breitbart.com, now predictably defending Kirk’s dangerous watchlist, has previously aligned itself with O’Keefe via exclusive releases and spirited defenses of his “journalism” tactics. Both Kirk and O’Keefe also appear to support Breitbart mouthpiece Milo Yiannopoulos, a racist and sexist media stunt artist who styles himself as a journalist.

    The 23-year-old Kirk has made guest appearances on Fox Business for several years. Kirk was previously a contributor at Breitbart, and he has written pieces for The Washington Times and FoxNews.com, among other right-wing outlets, beginning when he was in high school. On Twitter, Kirk has pushed Clinton conspiracy theories, repeatedly delighted in the failures of “the media,” and targetedleftist” professors and “likely” professors for perceived bias for years.

    In 2015, Kirk was the subject of several puff profiles labeling him a “major player in conservative politics” and a “boy wonder” set to “energize” the Republican Party. His group also hosted multiple “Big Government Sucks” rallies that year, with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) making appearances. In July of this year, Kirk spoke at the Republican National Convention about Turning Point USA, describing its work to push conservative values on college campuses, which he called “the most treacherous terrain imaginable.”

    Apart from “calling back to McCarthyism and making lists of college professors who have offended their conservative sensibilities,” Kirk’s Turning Point USA is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” The group claims to have a “presence” on 1,000 college and high school campuses nationally. Another of its projects, Hypeline News, is a “young-adult driven social news site” that employs college-age writers and says it’s “taking back the media.”

    Kirk personally publicly supported Trump for the final months of the election season (although during the primaries he called Trump a “statist” and “demagogue” and was “cheering for a slowdown of the Trump train” in March). In 2011, however, Kirk -- then a high school student -- repeatedly tweeted at Trump, encouraging him to run for president. Last week, Kirk reportedly met with undisclosed members of the Trump transition team at Trump Tower to give “advice on young people and millennials and outreach.”

  • “You Showed Empty Podiums!”: GOP Operatives Blast CNN President Jeff Zucker For Network’s Obsessive Trump Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Republican presidential primary campaign operatives blasted CNN President Jeff Zucker for his network’s obsessive coverage of now president-elect Donald Trump, calling it “unfair” and obsessive.

    In October, Zucker admitted that he recognized “there was a little bit of a phenomenon to Donald Trump” and acknowledged that the network gave “him quite a bit of coverage,” but said he had no regrets.

    Politico’s Hadas Gold and Gabriel Debenedetti wrote that Zucker “was jeered and heckled” during a conference at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute Of Politics with operatives from several campaigns that criticized his networks’ obsessive coverage of Trump. Former GOP candidate Carly Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager refuted Zucker’s claim that the network “continuously asked the other candidates to come on and do interviews,” saying, “I don’t remember getting invited to call in.” According to Politico, others piped in that they “didn’t get that call,” would “be invited for eight seconds,” or would be invited on “at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.” One of former GOP candidate Marco Rubio’s senior advisers explained that it wasn’t just interviews CNN gave to Trump, the network also aired “empty podiums” awaiting Trump rallies and “hours upon hours of unfiltered unscripted coverage of Trump.” From the December 1 article:

    GOP campaign managers who worked for President-elect Donald Trump's primary opponents shouted Zucker down with increasing anger as he defended how much airtime the network gave Trump, and claimed it allowed other candidates to dial in to shows by phone.

    Zucker defended CNN’s coverage, though he admitted it perhaps aired too many of Trump’s early rallies “unedited” -- an admission he has made before.

    But the room grew more and more animated as Zucker went on to say that many campaign managers thought it was “unfair” how much coverage and attention Trump was getting.

    "I have to respectfully push back on the campaign managers who spoke here today, because frankly, respectfully, I think that’s bullshit. Donald Trump was on CNN a lot,” Zucker said, refusing to back down. “That’s because we asked him to do interviews and he agreed to do them. We continuously asked the other candidates to come on and do interviews."

    [...]

    “I don’t remember getting invited to call in, though,” Sarah Isgur Flores, Carly Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager said, kicking off a parade of comments.

    More irritated voices across the room quickly chimed in: “We didn’t get that call.” “We’d be invited for eight seconds.” “At 2 o’clock in the afternoon we’d be invited on,” another said sarcastically.

    “All of the Republican candidates were invited to come on,” Zucker said. “Cable news in general, CNN in particular, should not be held responsible for the fact that Donald Trump said yes to those interviews.”

    [..]

    "It’s not the interviews,” Rubio senior advisor Todd Harris said as another audience member shouted, "You showed empty podiums!"

    "You showed hours upon hours of unfiltered unscripted coverage of Trump, this was not about interviews,” he added.

    In fact, Zucker gave Trump his start in reality TV during his time as the head of NBC Entertainment when he launched The Apprentice, later giving him “astonishing amounts of free exposure in the Republican presidential primary … often unfiltered and without critical fact-checking.” Zucker repeatedly defended his network’s “heavy focus” on Trump and their hiring of Trump boosters -- including the ethical nightmare of CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski, who was at times simultaneously paid by the Trump campaign and the network and was likely prevented from criticizing Trump.

  • Breitbart’s Climate Science Misinformation Embraced By GOP-Led House Science Committee

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    On December 1, the House Science Committee -- chaired by climate science-denying “bully” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) -- tweeted out a Breitbart.com article promoting false claims about climate science and castigating “climate alarmists”:

    The Breitbart article was written by James Delingpole, who has previously disparaged climate scientists at NASA, NOAA, and other respected institutions as “talentless low-lives who cannot be trusted." In the article, Delingpole claimed: “Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record. But the news has been greeted with an eerie silence by the world’s alarmist community.”

    As purported evidence, Delingpole cited an article by David Rose in the British tabloid Daily Mail. But Rose’s article is based on egregious cherry-picking, as climate blogger Tamino explains:

    [Rose] wants you to think that the worldwide heating we’ve seen for decades now has somehow, magically, come to an end … that it has shown some kind of “pause.” To give that impression, he had to search far and wide for one set of data from which he can cherry-pick one span of time in which he can focus on one recent event, so he can blame this year’s record-breaking heat on something other than mankind and our greenhouse-gas emissions. Thanks to the many many organizations that publish climate data, there are lots and lots and lots of data sets to choose from … so it’s no surprise he found one.

    [...]

    It’s global average temperature, not for Earth’s surface where we live, but for the lower layer of the atmosphere … not for the whole world, but for the land areas only … and it’s not all the data, it leaves out the part David Rose doesn’t want you to see.

    [...]

    Data like this, in fact almost all data, are a combination of trend — the long-term pattern that actually has some persistence — and fluctuation — the short-term ups and downs that are only temporary. And there are fluctuations. Plenty. They go up and down and down and up, but never really get anywhere.

    It’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, completely clear, and pretty simple, that when it comes to climate what matters is the trend, not the fluctuations. For climate deniers, what’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, and completely clear is what they want to avoid. Because it’s so simple, they have to bend over backwards to distract you from it. Like David Rose did.

    Breitbart has a long track record of blatant climate science misinformation, and is even considered a go-to outlet for academics who are bought off by the fossil fuel industry. So the decision by the Republican-led House Science Committee to approvingly cite Breitbart on climate change is ill-advised, to put it mildly. Indeed, it prompted a quick response from Democratic committee member Mark Takano (D-CA), who tweeted: “If Republicans on the House Science Committee are getting their science news from Breitbart, that would explain a great deal.”

    Republican committee chairman Lamar Smith, a climate science denier who has taken over $770,000 in career campaign contributions from the oil and gas and electric utility industries, has a track record of harassing and falsely attacking climate scientists -- just like Breitbart does. So it should come as no surprise that Smith has written his fair share of op-eds for Breitbart.

  • An Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Is Wielding Growing Power On Trump's Transition Team

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Wired spotlighted the growing influence of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council (FRC) on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. The publication wrote that FRC is now “as well positioned as ever” to propagate its brand of regressive anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience through “lower level government officials” who have the power to “overrule scientific advisory committees.”

    FRC has been designated as an anti-LGBTQ “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2010 due to FRC’s “distortion of known facts to demonize gay men as child molesters and similar false claims.” Despite initial reservations about Trump’s candidacy, FRC president Tony Perkins quickly embraced and endorsed him as a “teachable” candidate after he secured his party’s presidential nomination. Their relationship gave Perkins an opportunity to “shape” Trump into a nominee who embodies the former’s anti-LGBT extremism and to garner support from evangelicals for Trump.

    Wired’s Emma Ellis revealed just how much Perkins has taken advantage of that opportunity in a November 30 article about Trump’s transition team members who are affiliated with the hate group. They include:

    • Ken Blackwell, Trump’s domestic policy chair as well as an FRC senior fellow;
    • former FRC Vice President Kay Coles James, who co-leads the transition team in management and budget affairs;
    • Ed Meese, who has written for FRC and is co-leading the team in management and budget affairs; and
    •  Ken Klukowski, the transition team’s “constitutional rights” leader, Breitbart editor, and the former director of FRC’s center for religious liberty.

    Ellis’s profile also noted that many of Trump’s “cabinet appointees and soon-to-be staffers” have spoken at FRC’s annual conference, the Values Voter Summit, as did Trump.

    Despite FRC’s reputation for peddling misinformation and extremism, the group’s members “are treated as reasonable by many in Congress,” Ellis wrote. This is largely due to FRC’s success in what an English professor who studies homophobic language referred to as “‘cultivating a scientific identity,’” and in pushing an ideology that Ellis wrote “comes packaged in a way that looks like real science but is really just cherrypicked data stitched together to serve its agenda.”

    Media outlets a have largely ignored Trump’s selections for his transition team, instead mostly focusing on his cabinet picks, whom they’ve dissected in long articles exploring their professional histories and affiliations and speculating on their potential impact on policy. But Ellis noted that the “lower level political hires the transition team has the authority to make-- the undersecretaries, the assistant undersecretaries--have the power to overrule scientific advisory committees” -- and they could do so with FRC’s brand of anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience.

    From the November 30 Wired article:

    The Family Research Council isn’t content to oppose homosexuality on religious grounds; instead, it uses pseudoscience to give its homophobia a flimsy veneer of objectivity. And it could wind up shaping the incoming president’s policies.

    “They’ve been highly sophisticated in cultivating a scientific identity, which makes them powerful,” says David Peterson, an English professor who studies homophobic language at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. (The FRC and Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.)

    [...]

    The group has been making political moves since the early 1980s. Since then, it’s grown to become the most successful progeny of an effort among social conservatives to move the basis of their policy recommendations away from Scripture and toward sociology. Not that legitimate sociology is where the FRC has arrived. Rather, the group is to homophobia what the National Policy Institute is to the alt-right—a bland, respectable-sounding, quasi-academic front for a hateful, regressive ideology. It comes packaged in a way that looks like real science but is really just cherrypicked data stitched together to serve its agenda.

    [...]

    Nevertheless, FRC members perspectives are treated as reasonable by many in Congress. And now it appears they’ll enjoy similar esteem from the Trump administration. In part, that success owes itself to the group’s public relations effort to appear of respectable. Their website is well designed and hides some of the FRC’s most outré work. Perkins seems like a pleasant enough fellow on television.

    With current and former FRC staff all over the Trump transition team, the group seems as well positioned as ever to propagate its ideology. Perhaps most importantly—and least conspicuously—it may find a way to accomplish its goals through lower level government officials who buy into the FRC’s beliefs. “The headlines are about who is the secretary of this or that, but they deal with broad policy,” says David Himmelstein, a professor of public health policy at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. But the lower level political hires the transition team has the authority to make—the undersecretaries, the assistant undersecretaries—have the power to overrule scientific advisory committees, Himmelstein says, and have done so even under the relatively pro-science Obama administration. Such actions by a presidential administration can also provide political cover for more radical policy shifts at the state level.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To Alex Jones: Conspiracy Theorist And Trump “Valuable Asset”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones has claimed the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon, among others. He also alleges that a shadowy cabal of global elites are planning to kill or enslave most of the world’s population; argues the government is using airplanes to spray “chemtrails” to enact population control; and claims the government is putting chemicals into everyday products to turn children gay.

    And now he has the ear of the president-elect.

    Donald Trump has taken Jones from the fringes into the mainstream and is now set to make the toxic conspiracy theorist a “valuable asset” for his administration.

    Jones is perhaps the country’s biggest producer of conspiracy theory media, which he distributes through his eponymous internet/radio show, Infowars.com website, and YouTube channel.

    He received his biggest career boost when the Trump campaign partnered with Jones during the 2016 presidential election to bolster support for his candidacy. Trump himself went on the program, and top adviser Roger Stone serves as a surrogate to Jones’ followers through frequent guest appearances. Trump has reportedly watched Jones’ program, and he has repeatedly echoed Jones’ theories and rhetoric, prompting Jones to remark that it’s “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later.”

    Jones ultimately believes that a cabal of global elites (the globalist “New World Order”) is bent on killing 80 percent of the population and corralling the survivors into prison camps. He interprets tragedies and acts of terrorism as staged or “false flag” events perpetrated by globalists -- including members of the U.S. government -- who are trying to eliminate rights or pass legislation. (Jones’ Infowars website defines false flag events as those where the “government engages in covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations seem as if they are being carried out by other entities.”)

    Jones has repeatedly claimed that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” perpetrated by the government and that Osama Bin Laden worked for the CIA. He alleged the Oklahoma City bombing was a “staged event” by “criminals in Washington” to get sympathy to pass President Clinton’s policy agenda. He claimed mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, San Bernardino, and Orlando were false flag events. And Jones said the Boston Marathon bombing was “staged” and the bombers were “recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly.”

    He’s also pushed fringe conspiracy theories about how government elites are trying to manipulate or control the world through other covert actions. Jones claimed the government is secretly encouraging “homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children.” He’s claimed vaccines are part of a covert population-control program to give the country cancer or autism. And he also said the government is controlling weather through a “weather weapon,” spraying chemicals into the air for “genocide and population reduction,” and that the singer Beyoncé is a CIA operative who's been deployed to cause mayhem in cities.

    Jones will likely become a leading Trump administration media ally despite his role as one of the worst purveyors of false stories and conspiracy theories. Trump adviser Roger Stone said that during Trump’s time in office, Jones will be “a valuable asset," noting that "somebody has to rally the people around President Trump’s legislative program.” And Trump himself reportedly indicated his relationship with Jones will continue: Jones said the president-elect called him after the election to thank his audience and promise he would return to the program.

    Below is a guide to many -- but far from all -- of Jones’ conspiracy theories.

    Alex Jones Is A Toxic Conspiracy Theorist

    Donald Trump Mainstreamed Jones, Who Will Be A “Valuable Asset” For The New Administration

    Jones: 9/11 Was An “Inside Job” Carried Out By The Government

    Jones: The Oklahoma City Bombing Was An “Inside Job” And “A Total False Flag”

    Jones: Sandy Hook Shooting Was A “Staged” “Hoax” With “Completely Fake With Actors”

    Jones Pushes Conspiracy Theories About Mass Shootings In Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, San Bernardino, And Orlando

    Jones: Boston Marathon Bombing Was “A Staged Event”

    Jones: Government Creating “Homosexuality With Chemicals”; LGBTQ Protection Will Lead To “Collapse Of Civilization”

    Jones: Vaccines Are Part Of Government Program To Kill Or Maim The Population

    Jones Pushes Conspiracy Theories About A "Weather Weapon," Chemtrails, FEMA Camps, Obama And Hillary Clinton Being Demons, And Others

    Jones Lobs Sexist Attacks Against Women: “Whore,” “Tramp,” “Bitch”

    Alex Jones Is A Toxic Conspiracy Theorist

    Alex Jones Is A Conspiracy Theorist Radio Host And Prolific Producer Of Web Content. Alex Jones is the host of The Alex Jones Show, which is syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. He also runs Infowars.com, which posts dozens of articles a day promoting conspiracy theories and attacks against progressives. The Washington Post wrote that it’s “difficult to confirm Jones’s audience size, but the host has said he has 5 million daily radio listeners and recently topped 80 million video views in a single month. He claims to have a bigger audience than Rush Limbaugh. Jones is able to multiply his audience by simulcasting his radio programming via his website and further spreading its reach on his YouTube channel.” [The Washington Post, 11/17/16]

    Jones’ Overarching Belief Is That “Globalist” Elites Are Plotting To Kill And Enslave The World. Jones believes that a cabal of global elites -- sometimes referred to as the New World Order -- are running secret programs designed to kill and enslave the world’s population, and it is up to patriots like himself to spread news of their plans for world domination. In his 2007 film Endgame, Jones laid out that scenario: 

    ALEX JONES: In the near future, Earth is dominated by a powerful world government. Once free nations are slaves to the will of a tiny elite. The dawn of a new dark age is upon mankind. Countries are a thing of the past. Every form of independence is under attack, with the family and even the individual itself nearing extinction. Close to 80% of the Earth’s population has been eliminated. The remnants of a once free humanity are forced to live within highly controlled compact prison-like cities. Travel is highly restricted. Super highways connect the mega cities and keep the population from entering into unauthorized zones.

    No human activity is private. A.I. super computers chronicle and categorize every action. A prison planet dominated by a ruthless gang of control freaks, whose power can never be challenged. This is the vision of the global elite. Their goal: a program of total dehumanization where the science of tyranny is law. A worldwide control grid designed to ensure the overlords’ monopoly of power forever. Our species will be condemned to this nightmare future, unless the masses are awakened to the New World Order master plan and mobilized to defeat it. [Endgame, 2007

    Donald Trump Mainstreamed Jones, Who Will Be A “Valuable Asset” For The New Administration

    Trump Appeared On Jones’ Program During The Presidential Campaign And Praised His “Amazing” Reputation. Donald Trump appeared on Jones’ program on December 2, 2015, and told Jones: "Your reputation's amazing. I will not let you down." [Media Matters, 12/2/15]

    Trump Called Jones A “Nice Guy” During January Campaign Event. [YouTube, 1/19/16]

    Trump Adviser Teamed Up With Infowars For Get-Out-The-Vote Pitch During Republican Primaries. In February, Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller praised Jones and Infowars for having "been on top of ... the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and on the immigration issue." Miller then pitched Trump to Jones' audience, telling them that "if you want to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, if you want to close the border, if you want to protect American jobs and wages, then you have to support Donald J. Trump." Responding to a question about whether anti-Trump Republicans might try to block Trump's nomination at the convention, Miller added, “The easiest thing to do if we want to have Donald J. Trump be our nominee is to show up and vote tomorrow in New Hampshire and then to vote in South Carolina and all across this country." [Media Matters, 2/10/16]

    Roger Stone Is Trump’s Surrogate To Jones And His Audience. Roger Stone is a top adviser and ally to Trump. He is also one of the most frequent guests on Jones’ program, where he serves as a conduit between Trump and Jones’ audience. Stone has said he helped set up Jones and Trump and “they hit it off.” Stone also said that Trump “has watched Infowars.” [Media Matters, 11/17/16; YouTube, accessed 11/29/16]

    Jones Said He "Personally Talked To" Trump To Give Him Advice. Jones said in August that he “personally talked to” Trump and encouraged him to push the conspiracy theory that the election is rigged, which Trump did. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/31/16]

    Trump Reportedly Praised Alex Jones For Having “One Of The Greatest Influences” He’s Ever Seen. Jones told author Jon Ronson that Trump complimented him as having “one of the greatest influences I’ve ever seen. … It’s greater than you know. Just know that your influence is second to none.” [Media Matters, 10/7/16]

    Trump Has Frequently Echoed Jones’ Conspiracy Theories “Word For Word.” Trump has repeated Jones’ claims that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are the founders of ISIS; that Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey after the 9/11 attacks; and that the 2016 election would be “rigged” against him. Following his election, Trump also adopted the false claim promoted by Jones that “millions of people” “voted illegally” in the presidential election. Trump’s regular echoing of his rhetoric caused Jones to remark in August that it’s “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later. It is amazing.” [Media Matters, 8/11/16, 8/12/16, 11/28/16; Infowars, 11/26/15]

    Trump Called Jones To “Thank” His Audience After The Election. Jones said on November 11 that Trump personally called him to "thank" Jones' audience for its support during the campaign. Jones boasted that the newly elected Trump “gave me a call, and I told him, ‘Mr. President-elect, you’re too busy, we don’t need to talk.’ But we still spent over five minutes -- he said, 'Listen, Alex, I just talked to the kings and queens of the world -- world leaders, you name it.' But he said, 'It doesn’t matter, I wanted to talk to you to thank your audience, and I’ll be on in the next few weeks to thank them.'” Jones added that Trump said it wasn’t a “private call” and told him, “I want to thank your viewers, thank your listeners for standing up for this republic. We know what you did early on and throughout this campaign to stand up for what’s right.” [Media Matters, 11/14/16]

    Stone Said Jones Will Be A “Valuable Asset” For “Trump’s Legislative Program.” The Washington Post reported that Stone envisions Jones acting as an important media component for Trump’s presidency. Stone said of Jones: “He’s a valuable asset -- somebody has to rally the people around President Trump’s legislative program.” [The Washington Post, 11/17/16]

    Jones: 9/11 Was An “Inside Job” Carried Out By The Government

    Jones’ Biography Described Him As “One Of The Very First Founding Fathers Of The 9-11 Truth Movement.” A biography for Jones that was posted on his Infowars website -- and has since been replaced -- stated that he “predicted the attacks on September 11th, 2001 and is considered one of the very first founding fathers of the 9-11 Truth Movement.” [Infowars, via Internet Archive]

    Infowars Headline: “Flashback: Alex Jones Said 9/11 Inside Job On The Day It Happened.” Jones’ website posted audio of Jones’ September 11, 2001, broadcast and carried a headline stating that Jones said 9/11 was an “inside job” following the attacks that day. [Infowars, 9/11/11]

    Jones On September 11, 2001: The Government Is “Either Using Provocateur Arabs And Allowing Them To Do It Or This Is Full Complicity With The Federal Government.” Jones said during his September 11, 2001, broadcast that the government was behind the 9/11 attacks.

    ALEX JONES: Well I’ve been warning you about it for at least five years. All terrorism that we’ve looked at from the World Trade Center to Oklahoma City to Waco has been government actions. They need this as a pretext to bring you and your family martial law. They’re either using provocateur Arabs and allowing them to do it or this is full complicity with the federal government. The evidence is overwhelming.

    […]

    What am I saying? I’m saying who stands to gain from this? Who has the motive? Who can bring you martial law and destroy your freedoms? The government -- it’s not our government. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 9/11/01

    Jones Recalls His 9/11 Broadcast: "I Went On The Air And Said, ‘Those Were Controlled Demolitions. You Just Watched The Government Blow Up The World Trade Center.’” Rolling Stone interviewed Jones for a 2011 profile and wrote of his broadcasts on the day of the attacks:

    Seven weeks later, Jones became the only radio host in America to begin his September 11th broadcast with a tirade against the U.S. government. "I went on the air and said, 'Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.' I lost 70 percent of my affiliates that day. Station managers asked me, 'Do you want to be on this crusade going nowhere, or do you want to be a star?' I'm proud I never compromised." [Rolling Stone, 3/2/11]

    Jones On September 19, 2011: Attack Was “A Federal Operation,” Bin Laden “A CIA Asset.” Jones said on his show on September 19, 2001, that 9/11 was “a federal operation, that’s right, a federal operation.” He later added that he had “smoking gun evidence” that Osama Bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 9/19/01]

    Jones: The “Facts And Evidence" Show "That 9/11 Was An Inside Job.” Jones released the 2005 film Martial Law 9-11: The Rise of the Police State, which purported to document that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job.” He claimed during the film that the hijackers were agents for the “U.S. government,” and the government flew the planes into the twin towers and Pentagon through “remote control systems.” Jones also alleged that the “globalists” were thwarted in completely incapacitating the government and want to carry out a more devastating attack to enslave the planet. From the film:

    ALEX JONES: In summation, it’s important to note that we only covered a tiny portion of the facts and evidence that clearly shows that 9/11 was an inside job. Number one, the official story of 9/11 has been completely disproven. At every point we’ve caught them lying, manufacturing evidence or covering up evidence. From high-level government inside sources and publicly available facts, we now have a very clear picture of how 9/11 was carried out.

    Number one, we know that the men who were on board the aircraft who were supposedly the hijackers had their houses, cars, credit cards paid for by the U.S. government. They were in truth agents taking part in drills and nothing more. Supposed computer malfunctions at American and United [Airlines] ensured that all four planes only had 20 percent occupancy on board on a day when flights on the East Coast were an average of 80 percent full. Once the decoys, known as hijackers, were on board the planes, a gas was released knocking out the occupants of the aircraft. Then a small criminal group in control of remote control systems patented for over 20 years took control of the aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. The CIA controlled drills that morning, confused NORAD for over an hour until it was almost too late for them to shoot down the hijacked planes. I said almost too late. When they did find out, Dick Cheney wouldn’t let the planes fly over 350 miles an hour so three of the aircraft were able to hit their targets. The fourth wasn’t able to because our sources in the Pentagon have told us generals didn’t follow their orders and had Flight 93 shot down. If it would have hit its target, the capital, the government would have been completely decapitated and the president could have declared total martial law.

    By the grace of god, everything didn’t go as planned. And so now the globalists have spent the last three and a half years trying to cover up the sloppy job they did on 9/11. They’re counting on the public not being able to face the horror of what really took place so they can carry out another, even more devastating attack and finish the job they started: enslaving America and using the country as an engine to take over the planet. [Martial Law 9-11: The Rise of the Police State, 2005]

    Jones: 9/11 Was A “Hoax” And “Fraud.” During a 2006 speech at a 9/11 truther conference, Jones said: “The 9/11 hoax, the 9/11 fraud is collapsing. The government’s ridiculous conspiracy theory is filled with millions of holes.” [Speech at Cooper Union, 9/10/06, via YouTube]

    Jones: There Are Over 300 Pieces Of “Absolutely Iron-Tight Proof That The Official Story’s A Fable And An Inside Job Is The Only Explanation.” [YouTube, 9/12/12]

    Jones’ Infowars Store Sells “9/11 Was An Inside Job" T-Shirt. A description for the item states: “These great shirts are both a show of support for the 9/11 truth movement and Alex Jones' Infowars. Let others know where you stand when you wear this shirt and show the world that 9/11 Truth is not a minority movement anymore.”

    [Infowars, accessed 11/29/16]

    Jones: The Oklahoma City Bombing Was An “Inside Job” And “A Total False Flag”

    Jones: “Federal Fingerprints Were All Over” Oklahoma City Bombing; Clinton “Needed A Crisis” To Enact Gun Laws And A “Socialized America.” Jones released the 2002 film 9/11 The Road to Tyranny, which claimed to document false flag events throughout history, including the Oklahoma City bombing. Jones accused the government of perpetrating the 1995 terrorist attack so President Clinton could pass his policy agenda. [9/11 The Road to Tyranny, 2002]

    Jones: Justice Department “Did It To Blame Us, It’s A Frame-Up. … The Real Criminals In Washington, They Blow Up Daycare Centers And Blame It On Us.” [YouTube, 4/10/15]

    Jones: Bombing Was A “False Flag,” “Staged Event.” Jones said the bombing was a “false flag” and “we’ve never had one so open and shut.” He added that convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh “was a patsy, that was a staged event.” [YouTube, 4/19/15]

    Infowars Headline: “Proof The OKC Bombing Was An Inside Job.” Jones’ website posted videos promoting the film A Noble Lie, which claims to document that the bombing was an inside job. [Infowars, 12/17/11]

    Jones: “Oklahoma City Was A Total False Flag With NATO, The ATF, And The CIA And The FBI.” Jones said in August 2016 of the Oklahoma City bombing:

    ALEX JONES: Now let’s talk about Oklahoma City. Let’s talk about Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City was a total false flag with NATO, the ATF, and the CIA and the FBI. And we know the names of the men from the witnesses in the building, from the police officers, and from the declassified information that came out. The bombs in the building. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/25/16]

    Jones: Sandy Hook Shooting Was A “Staged” “Hoax” With “Completely Fake With Actors”

    Jones: Sandy Hook Was A “Giant Hoax. … The Whole Thing Was Fake.” In December 2014, as PolitiFact noted, Jones said of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT:

    ALEX JONES: The whole thing is a giant hoax. And the problem is, how do you deal with a total hoax? I mean, it’s just -- how do you even convince the public something’s a total hoax?

    [...]

    The general public doesn’t know the school was actually closed the year before. They don’t know they’ve sealed it all, demolished the building. They don’t know that they had the kids going in circles in and out of the building as a photo-op. Blue screen, green screens, they got caught using.

    I mean the whole thing -- but remember, this is the same White House that’s been caught running the fake bin Laden raid that’s come out and been faked. It’s the same White House that got caught running all these other fake events over and over again. And it’s the same White House that says, “I never said that you could keep your doctor” when he did say you could keep your doctor. People just instinctively know that there’s a lot of fraud going on. But it took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake. I mean, even I couldn’t believe it. I knew they jumped on it, used the crisis, hyped it up. But then I did deep research -- and my gosh, it just pretty much didn’t happen. Unbelievable. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 12/28/14, via PolitiFact]

    Jones: Sandy Hook Was “Completely Fake With Actors.” As PolitiFact noted, Jones claimed in January 2015 that the shooting was “a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors. I mean they even ended up using photos of kids killed in mass shootings here in a fake mass shooting in Turkey -- so yeah, or Pakistan. The sky is now the limit.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 1/13/15, via PolitiFact

    Jones Mocked Grief Over Sandy Hook Victims, Complained They’re Putting “Them In Our Face.”

    ALEX JONES: They’ll put al Qaeda in Libya or Syria to murder the Christians en masse. Our government and then -- “but oh he -- the Newtown kids! Oh!” [fake sobs] They take them, put them in our face, tell us their names, who they were. I heard an ad this morning on the radio, Bloomberg paid for it locally, going, “I dropped Billy off and watched him go around the corner and he never came back all because of the guns. Won’t you just turn your guns in for my son? Why’d you do it to him, gun owners? Well listen, I didn’t kill your kids! [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 4/9/13]

    Jones: “Sandy Hook, It’s Got Inside Job Written All Over It.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 4/9/13]

    Jones: The Government “Staged Sandy Hook.” Jones stated: “Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming.” [Media Matters, 4/15/13]

    Jones: “We’ve Clearly Got People Where It’s Actors Playing Different Parts Of Different People ” At Sandy Hook. Jones said of the school shooting:

    ALEX JONES: We’ve clearly got people where it’s actors playing different parts of different people.

    [...]

    I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/14/14]

    Jones: “I Don’t Know If Kids Really Got Killed” At Sandy Hook. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/7/15]

    Jones Smeared Parents Of Sandy Hook Victims As Actors. During a November broadcast of his program, Jones claimed that parents of the Sandy Hook victims were actors because there are purportedly “weird videos of reported parents of kids laughing and then all of a sudden they do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show11/17/16]

    Jones Regarding Site Of The Shooting: “That Place Is Like Children Of The Corn Or Something. I Mean, It Is Freaking Weird.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show11/17/16]

    Jones: “The Official Story Of Sandy Hook Has More Holes In It Than Swiss Cheese.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show11/18/16]

    Jones Pushes Conspiracy Theories About Mass Shootings In Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, San Bernardino, And Orlando

    Jones: “100 Percent Chance That The Mass Murder Committed” In Aurora, CO, “Was A False Flag, Mind-Control Event.” Hours after James Holmes shot and killed 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, Jones announced to his audience that there was a “100 percent chance” the incident was a “false flag.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show7/20/12]

    Jones: Aurora Shooter Worked For Government And Was “A Patsy. He Was Set Up.” Jones claims that Holmes was an agent for the government. Jones stated: “He was totally set up, on government payroll, said he was drugged, told people in the jail -- that was even in the local paper. Then they came out and said it was never said. He’s a patsy. He was set up. He was drugged outside.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show4/27/15]

    Jones: “All The Evidence Points Toward” Aurora Shooting Being “A Staged Event.” Jones claimed the government staged the Aurora shooting in an effort to pass stronger gun laws. [YouTube, 7/20/12]

    Jones: 1999 Columbine, CO, School Shooting Was An “Extremely Suspicious Event That Had Globalist Operations Written All Over It.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show7/20/12]

    Jones: “Columbine We Know Was A False Flag -- I’d Say 100 Percent False Flag.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show7/20/12]

    Jones On Tucson Shooting: “The Whole Thing Stinks To High Heaven.” In 2011, Jared Loughner went on a deadly shooting spree in Tucson, AZ. Jones told Rolling Stone that the shooting was “a staged mind-control operation”: "‘The whole thing stinks to high heaven,’ he says. ‘This kid Loughner disappeared for days at a time before the shooting? My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media. They implanted the idea in his head by repeatedly asking, 'Is [Rep. Gabrielle] Giffords in danger?’” [Rolling Stone3/2/11]

    Jones Labeled San Bernardino, CA, Shooting A “False Flag” Because Government Wants To “Blame The Second Amendment.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show12/3/15]

    Infowars Headline: “San Bernardino Shooting Highly Suspicious.” [Infowars, 12/2/15]

    Jones: Orlando, FL, Shooting A “False Flag” To Take “Your Guns” And Speech. Jones responded to the deadly 2016 mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse by calling it a “false flag” event. Jones explained that the government “let it happen” so they can “pass laws and hate laws banning your speech” and taking “your guns.”

    ALEX JONES: The attacks in Orlando were a false flag terror attack. But before the mainstream media takes that out of context, I want to be clear. Our government and the governments of Europe allowed these huge hordes of radical jihadis in and have even allowed them in without vetting them on record, landing at airports across the country and not even checking their passports, IDs or visas. Our governments are bringing these people in and they’re allowing them to operate openly in our society so they can attack us and then have our freedoms taken.

    […]

    Yes it’s a false flag in that our government let it happen, run by Obama, just like Merkel did in Germany, so they can then say, “Oh, we’ve got to pass laws and hate laws banning your speech because you’re making the Muslims angry.” Or, “Oh my gosh, we’ve got to pass other hate laws to deal with right-wingers and stuff, and we need your guns, of course, so you can’t protect yourself.” [Media Matters6/13/16]

    Jones: Boston Marathon Bombing Was “A Staged Event”

    Jones On 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing: “This Thing Stinks To High Heaven #Falseflag .” [Twitter, 4/15/13]

    Infowars Headline: “Proof Boston Marathon Bombing Is False Flag Cover-Up.” [Infowars, 4/18/13]

    Jones: “I Have Never Seen A False Flag, Provocateured, Staged Event By A Government Come Apart Faster Than It Is Right Now.” [YouTube, 4/26/13]

    Jones: Boston Marathon Bombing “Is A False Flag. It Is A Staged Event.” Jones stated that the Boston Marathon bombing was a “false flag” and “a staged event” and the bombers were “patsies that were set up” and were actually recruited by “globalist intelligence agencies”:

    ALEX JONES: This operation is a false flag. It is a staged event. These guys are definitely patsies that were set up and they’re manipulating our tribalism that, “Hey, the guys from the other tribe bombed us but we got them.” When the truth is they were young men recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly. And they could do it to any of us. We’re all in grave danger. [YouTube, 4/26/13]

    Jones Claimed Boston Marathon Bomber "Was Totally Set Up," "We Know It Was Fake." Jones claimed that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted of the Boston Marathon bombing, “was totally set up, ladies and gentlemen, to sell the police state.” Jones also claimed that his deceased brother worked for the CIA. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 4/8/15]

    Jones: Government Creating “Homosexuality With Chemicals”; LGBTQ Protection Will Lead To “Collapse Of Civilization”

    Jones Claimed The Government Is Trying To "Encourage Homosexuality With Chemicals So That People Don't Have Children." Jones said that being gay is a “destructive lifestyle, but I don't hate these people. But the reason there's so many gay people now is because it's a chemical warfare operation. I have the government documents where they said they're going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children.” Jones went on to use a juice box as an example of how chemicals make people gay. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/11/10, via Media Matters]

    Jones Blamed LGBTQ Community For Orlando Attack. During a show in July, Jones blamed “the LGBT community” for the deadly mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. Jones stated: “I charge the left and I charge Obama and I charge the LGBT community in general with endangering America and with the blood of these 50-plus innocent men and women who did not deserve to die, who did not deserve to have bullets fired into them and all the other hundreds of thousands of other liberals and gays and others in the Middle East that have been murdered in the last five years under the Al Qaeda/ISIS onslaught that our government and CNN has pushed and said is a good thing.” [Right Wing Watch, 6/13/16]

    Jones: Giving Transgender People Rights Will Lead To Them "Vomiting And Crapping All Over The Place." Jones responded to efforts to enact non discrimination protections for transgender people, including in bathrooms, by stating: “I don't want my daughters growing up in a country where some transvestite comes walking into the thing hopped out of their brain on drugs, vomiting and crapping all over the place.” [Genesis Communications, The Alex Jones Show, 4/30/13, via Media Matters]

    Jones: Push For Same-Sex Marriage Leads To “The Breakdown Of The Family.” As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted, during a 2013 exchange, Jones said that people "have the right to do what they want as long as it doesn't hurt others" but the globalists are encouraging same-sex marriage because they “want to encourage the breakdown of the family, because the family is where people owe their allegiance. That's why they want to get rid of God. Not because they're atheists, but because they want the state to be God. And so they are taking the rights of an ancient, unified program of marriage and they are breaking it. So it's a major revolution, and they're destroying the dictionary and the definition. And now they're on television in the U.S. saying, by the way, now your kids belong to the state.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 11/22/16]

    Jones: “Trannymania” Will Lead To “The Collapse Of Civilization” And “Destruction Of The Family.” Jones claimed that the push for transgender protections is actually “the collapse of civilization, it’s the destruction of the family, it has nothing to do with somebody’s sexual preference. It is about messing with everyone and making everyone adopt this particular lifestyle.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 11/4/15]

    Jones: Elites Want To “Take Heterosexuals’ Kids -- They’re Hunting Us -- And Give Them To The Gay Couples.” Jones warned during a June 2013 program that global elites are going to “take heterosexuals’ kids -- they’re hunting us -- and give them to the gay couples. That’s what goes on.” Jones later warned that gangs of gay men are going to go door to door and “rape you.” [YouTube, 6/26/13

    Jones: President Obama Married "A Man" (Michelle Obama) Because He's "Obsessed With Transgender" Rights. Jones has claimed that President Obama is obsessed with transgender rights so he entered into a “completely fake” “arranged marriage” with Michelle Obama. He purported to explain of the Obamas’ marriage: “I think it’s all an arranged marriage, it’s all completely fake and it’s this big sick joke because he’s obsessed with transgender, just like some weird cult or something. I think Michelle Obama is a man. I really do. I really do. I believe it.” [Right Wing Watch, 5/17/16]

    Jones: Vaccines Are Part Of Government Program To Kill Or Maim The Population

    Jones: Vaccines Are Part Of A Global “Covert Sterilization” Program. [YouTube, 9/1/10

    Jones: Vaccines Are Part Of A “Soft Kill” Program To See How Many Children They Can Kill Or Maim. Jones said in an October 2016 YouTube that vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to kill and maim children:

    ALEX JONES: They’re testing to see how many children they can give neurological disorders and see if the nurses and doctors and public don’t notice. They’re testing soft kill on the public to see if they can manage massive numbers of dead and dying and maimed children. [YouTube, 10/29/16]

    Jones: Global Elites Are Pushing Vaccines So “Half Of Us Have Got Cancer, The Other Half Have Got Autism. This Is The Culling Of The Population.” [YouTube, 10/29/16]

    Jones: If You Take Vaccines, “You Will Become Disabled Or You Will Die.” [YouTube, 10/29/16]

    Jones Pushes Conspiracy Theories About A "Weather Weapon," Chemtrails, FEMA Camps, Obama And Hillary Clinton Being Demons, And Others

    Jones: Government Has A “Weather Weapon” That “Can Create And Steer” Natural Disasters. Jones has claimed that the government possesses a weather machine that can create floods and tornadoes. He said in 2013 that "of course there's weather weapon stuff going on -- we had floods in Texas like 15 years ago, killed 30-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force." He added that while there are some “natural tornadoes,” the government "can create and steer groups of tornadoes." [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 5/21/13, via Media Matters]

    Jones: The Emanuel Brothers Are The Leaders Of “The Jewish Mafia” And “They’re Going To Scam You.” Jones said of Jewish brothers Ari, Ezekiel, and Rahm Emanuel:

    ALEX JONES: Oh but its okay because the Emanuels [Ari, Ezekiel, Rahm] are liberals. This is a guy who famously in the Clinton administration whenever they were talking about Democrats that weren’t doing what they were told, that would take a knife at the table and start stabbing it, breaking the table, breaking the knife screaming death, murder, [unintelligible noise]. Just start, in front of everyone -- and then when he [unintelligible] on the sidelines during the Clinton administration, with Obama, in the first administration is what I meant to get to. He would then tell Obama to shut up in cabinet meetings, I’m in command. And Obama would do what he said.

    ‘Cause let me tell you, the Emanuels are mafia. And you know I was thinking, they’re always trying to claim that if I talk about world government and corruption I’m anti-Semitic, there’s mafias of all different stripes and groups but since you want to talk about it, the Emanuels are Jewish mafia. So there you go. But, I mean it’s not that Jews are bad, it’s just they are the head of the Jewish mafia in the United States. They run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you.

    And then they got weirdos that they’re allied with like George Soros who’s a literal Nazi collaborator, and then you’ve got Madeleine Albright who’s a Nazi collaborator, her dad was, rounding up Jews, I mean it’s like, if being against Jews that are weirdo Nazi collaborators and gangsters makes me anti-Semitic then fine. I’m not against Jews, but at a certain point, when you people call you out, I’ve been called out in hundreds of newspapers in the last month, as being anti-Semitic, because I talk about a global, corporate, combine.

    Well why are you labeling the TPP Jewish, I mean it’s got Jews involved in it just like it’s got everybody else. It’s communist Chinese, global government, Japan, I mean all these groups -- but again, I’m gonna skip this break, it’s injected into it that you must be anti-Semetic. So, I was just sitting back and -- let me then, I guess I better do some exposes on the Jewish mafia. And a guy foaming at the mouth with knives at cabinet meetings, basically threatening the president. Totally crazed. Who’s got his fingers in everything, screwing us over. I mean, how do you come up with this stuff? Where does this come from? Why? It’s disgusting. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 10/25/16]

    Jones Released Film Claiming To Prove “The Existence Of A Secret Network Of FEMA Camps.” Jones released the 2010 film Police State 4: The Rise Of FEMA. Infowars’ description for the film states that “Jones conclusively proves the existence of a secret network of FEMA camps, now being expanded nationwide. The military industrial complex is transforming our once free nation into a giant prison camp. A cashless society control grid, constructed in the name of fighting terrorism, was actually built to enslave the American people. Body scanners, sound cannons, citizen spies, staged terror and cameras on every street corner — it’s only the beginning of the New World Order’s hellish plan.” In reality, no such FEMA camps exist. [Infowars, 3/19/10; Popular Mechanics, 12/26/14]

    Jones Claimed Las Vegas Cop Shooting Was “Absolutely Staged” By Government. In June 2014, Jerad and Amanda Miller ambushed and killed three people, including two police officers, in Las Vegas, NV. Jones claimed that the shooting was "absolutely staged" and said, "There is so much proof of this being staged yesterday, when I first read about it, and this morning, that my mind exploded with hundreds of data points, and quite frankly it's conclusive." Jones later suggested Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Obama administration were responsible for perpetrating the shooting. [Media Matters, 6/9/14]

    Jones: Government Spraying Chemicals Into The Air For “Genocide And Population Reduction.” Jones has repeatedly pushed claims about chemtrails, the conspiracy theory that government airplanes are spraying chemicals into the air for nefarious purposes. During a November 2011 segment on his program, Jones claimed that there’s a “total global government program that’s hiding in plain view” in which they spray chemicals into the air. Jones explained that they’re “spraying this every day” and “it’s hurting us.” He added that the “endgame” for the government is “genocide and population reduction.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 11/14/11

    Jones Said “Globalists” Caused Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster To Serve As A “Distraction” From Iraq. Jones wrote that "globalists" were involved in the deadly 2003 disaster, stating on his website:

    Three weeks ago, on my syndicated radio show, I said that there was a very good chance that the globalists would do something horrible concerning the latest Colombia mission. Understand, the psychological warfare technicians do not even need to publicly blame Iraq for the Columbia disaster. It will serve as a distraction in the global press during the final weeks of war preparation in the gulf. It Will Serve The Dual Purpose Of Unifying The Country Behind President Bush as he grandstands (See N YT --President Bush Had Tears In His Eyes On Saturday When He Spoke The Words That Became The Headline "The Columbia Is Lost" and Reuters -- Again, Bush Thrust Into Role As National Mourner), talking about how horrible the death of the astronauts has been.

    I pointed out many times on the air that they are using primitive psychological mechanisms built into our most primitive programming to unify and control us. Child kidnappings are actually down by two thirds since the late 1980's and early 1990, but the unified bureaus of propaganda (ABC, CNN, FOX etc.) have been playing it up as an incredible epidemic. We have seen an emerging pattern over the last few decades of playing up child kidnapping right before a war.

    If you are asking what this has to do with Columbia blowing up on reentry, let me explain it in simpler terms. What happens if you hit a beehive with a baseball bat? The bees will come out and attack anything in the vicinity. To give you a human example, in primitive societies when a large predator takes a member of the tribe, especially a young member, the tribe will go into a vicious seek-and-destroy hunting frenzy that we call "war" today. This is why they play up child kidnappings before a war.

    Similarly, the space program is at the core of American pride, and we see our astronauts as our greatest heroes -- great explorers. Their deaths cause insecurity, fear and anger. But don't worry, your gracious leader Lord Bush will feel the pain with you. Many weak-minded Americans will shift into mindless group-think and poll numbers for the war will rapidly rise. [Infowars, 2/1/03

    Jones Has Repeatedly Claimed That President Obama’s Birth Certificate Is Fraudulent. Jones has said that President Obama’s birth certificate is “fake. Of course it’s fake.” He has released numerous videos through his YouTube channel claiming that President Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent. The videos’ headlines include, “PROOF!!! Obama Birth Certificate Fraud,” “Obama's Birth Certificate Proven Fraudulent,” and “Obama Bombshell: New Birth Certificate a Forgery.” [YouTube, 7/18/12, 4/27/11, 7/19/12, 5/19/11

    Jones Claimed Sources Have Told Him Obama And Clinton Are Possessed By Demons. Jones claimed that he “was told by people around" Clinton that "she's demon-possessed," and “high up” people have told him “Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 10/10/16]

    Jones Suggested President Obama Killed Justice Antonin Scalia. Following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February, Jones said that “my gut tells me they killed him and all the intellectual evidence lays it out.” He suggested that Obama murdered Scalia so he could push gun control legislation. [Right Wing Watch, 2/14/16, 2/16/16]

    Jones Claimed There’s "An Alien Force Not Of This World Attacking Humanity." [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/16/16]

    Jones: Beyoncé Is “Funded By The” CIA To Cause Mayhem. Jones reacted to Beyoncé’s music video Lemonade by claiming that it’s “high-level” “CIA propaganda because that’s their domestic job.” Jones claimed that Beyoncé has been “funded by” the government to “play us all off against each other” to create a police state. [Infowars, 4/25/16]

    Jones Lobs Sexist Attacks Against Women: “Whore,” “Tramp,” “Bitch”

    Jones On Female CNBC Anchor: "Whore," "Trash, Tramp, Filth, Scum." Jones defended friend Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) from media attacks by lashing out at CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, who challenged the senator during an interview. Jones called Evans a "whore" and "pimp" for "signing on to a system of murder, you little piece of trash, tramp, filth, scum woman!" [Media Matters, 2/4/15]

    Jones Attacked Female Reporters At Fox News As “Cutesy Infobabes.” Jones responded to criticism of friend Rand Paul from Fox News by attacking female reporters as “cutesy infobabes.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show4/10/15]

    Jones Said Chelsea Clinton Looks Like Mister Ed The Horse. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/23/15]

    Jones: Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Isn’t “Good-Looking,” “Looks Like Bin Laden.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 6/14/16]

    Jones To Hillary Clinton: “You Bitch.” During an August 2015 program, Jones repeatedly called Clinton “a witch” and then asked, “Hey Hillary, you got bodyguards. Are their guns bad too? Why can’t I have a gun to protect myself, you bitch?” [Right Wing Watch, 8/27/15]

    Jones: Women Shouldn’t Be In Combat Because Of Their “Menstrual Period” And Because They "Fight With Each Other.” Jones complained that the efforts to include women in the military are a form of “social engineering” designed to destabilize the military and the American family. He added, “can you imagine being in combat with a bunch of women? I mean, can you imagine that? I mean, do you know how much women fight with each other?” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 1/14/15

  • CNN Needs To Do Better Than This Trump Chyron

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    A CNN graphic that misleadingly claimed President-elect Donald Trump “deliver[ed] on [his] vow to save” jobs at Indiana-based manufacturer Carrier demonstrates the need for the network to continue using on-screen graphics as a way of fact-checking Trump during his transition and presidency.

    Carrier announced on November 29 that it had struck a deal with Trump and the State of Indiana to keep about 1,000 jobs it had planned to move to Mexico in the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, the state will provide Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies Corp. (UTC), $7 million in tax breaks over the next decade in exchange for keeping the jobs there. In addition to the $7 million in tax breaks, Trump reportedly promised UTC CEO Greg Hayes millions more in future corporate tax reductions.

    Discussing the announcement on the December 1 edition of CNN Newsroom, panelists noted multiple problems with Trump’s actions, including that the announcement could cause a “slippery slope” where “every company will expect to get huge tax incentives to stay in the United States,” a point economists and policy experts have also made. CNN commentator and New Yorker editor Ryan Lizza agreed, noting that “the precedent here can be very dangerous,” and adding, “You basically have this sort of extortion game that companies can now play because Trump has set himself up this way.” Echoing economist Jared Bernstein, Atlantic editor Ron Brownstein argued it is “unlikely that individual interventions in the decisions of individual companies is going to make a big dent in the long-term trajectory of a more automated and globalized manufacturing supply chain.”

    However, someone looking at only the TV screen would not know these potential stumbling blocks with the deal. Instead, they would see only a graphic saying, “Trump Delivers On Vow To Save Carrier Jobs,” essentially giving Trump the talking point he wanted. That graphic presents a stark contrast from what CNN’s own Kate Bolduan noted during a later segment of At This Hour in which she stated: “1,000 jobs remaining in Indiana that would have left, that is to be celebrated. … But it is a far cry from what Trump promised … on the campaign trail.”

    During the presidential campaign, CNN repeatedly used on-screen graphics to call out Trump’s lies and misleading rhetoric, such as "Trump: Never Said Japan Should Have Nukes (He Did)," "Trump’s Son: Father Apologized To Khans (He Hasn’t)," and "Trump Calls Obama Founder of ISIS (He’s Not)." CNN was not the only network to do this, with MSNBC also joining in to fact-check Trump’s claim he watched a “video of Iran receiving cash.” MSNBC’s graphic pointed out that the video was “nonexistent.”

    As ABC News legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams noted during the campaign, this practice of fact-checking Trump in real time helped solve “one of the big problems in cable news” where things sometimes are “just not true” and need to be called out as such.

    CNN’s failure to express the nuanced issues with the Carrier announcement highlights the need for CNN and other networks to have clearer on-screen graphics and continue their practice of on-screen fact-checking. These measures are crucial in preventing misleading talking points and falsehoods pushed by Trump from gaining traction.