Breitbart News reacted to reports that two Virginia journalists were shot to death on-air by a disgruntled former co-worker by publishing an article with the headline, "RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES - ON LIVE TELEVISION!"
On August 26, two employees of Roanoke, Virginia CBS affiliate WDBJ were shot to death while reporting from Smith Mountain Lake, a public recreation area popular for boating and fishing. The gunman, who later shot himself but apparently survived, is reportedly a former employee of the affiliate.
Breitbart News reacted to the shooting with a race-baiting article authored by editor-at-large John Nolte. The piece was widely condemned by other members of the media, many of whom pointed out Breitbart News' lengthy history of racially charged reporting and commentary. The headline has since been changed.
*thinks to himself* i should definitely post my story about the scary BLACK murderer. pic.twitter.com/rvvRdqAmSe-- Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 26, 2015
at what point do we stop pretending breitbart is anything other than a white supremacist hate site? https://t.co/WfQEpUp6Ep-- Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) August 26, 2015
I'm too angry to be tweeting about these racist demagogues at Breitbart but I can't contain myself right now. pic.twitter.com/Jz3zTTr6HF-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
These are sick, hateful, twisted people who exploit our worst impulses, and they have real influence.-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2015
One of these things is something Breitbart dot com considers race-baiting. One is not. pic.twitter.com/lomZAdjbDm-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
Weird, none of these Breitbart headlines about Dylann Roof have the word "white" in them pic.twitter.com/d6kgaJUOcF-- Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 26, 2015
So, can all of us political folks stop pretending that Breitbart has any place in the mainstream discourse now? pic.twitter.com/fMimWU1agV-- Hunter Walker (@hunterw) August 26, 2015
Breitbart News compared Planned Parenthood to Nazis, writing that the organization's president, Cecile Richards, "is well on her way to personally matching Hitler's body count."
In the wake of the release of a series of deceptively-edited videos from anti-choice group The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) -- all of which have been consistently debunked and called-out by the media for showing no evidence that Planned Parenthood broke any laws in obtaining fetal tissue donations from consenting patients -- right-wing media were quick to compare the health care provider to Nazis.
Breitbart News again pushed the comparison in an August 24 article that featured the Planned Parenthood logo in the shape of a Nazi swastika and stated, "Planned Parenthood has since 1970 performed 7 million abortions, comfortably surpassing Hitler." Going on to attack Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, the article claimed that she has "earned her 'half Holocaust' status" by "presid[ing] over three million abortions" during her time there:
Planned Parenthood can attribute a good portion of their boffo baby-killing business to their president since 2006, Cecile Richards. Richards is well on her way to personally matching Hitler's body count. Breitbart has done the grim maths so you don't have to.
Using a conservative estimate of 300,000 abortions a year -- or 300 kiloscrapes, using the technical metric measure -- Cecile Richards has presided over three million abortions, or three megascrapes in her ten years as president of the organisation. This has earned her "half Holocaust" status. Full Holocaust seems eminently reachable given Planned Parenthood's growing hegemony in the abortion industry.
But under Richards the numbers have skyrocketed such that in just the last ten years, at least 3 million young lives were ended. If Cecile stays in her post another decade, she will reach "full Hitler," by matching the six million deaths of the Holocaust. In fact it'll probably be sooner than that, given the acceleration during her reign.
There are many comparisons to be made here. Some of the revelations coming out about Planned Parenthood remind us of the ghoulish experiments of Dr. Mengele and the odious Unit 731 in Japan, both of which performed terrible tests on living subjects in the name of furthering medical science.
A Black Lives Matter activist is now being forced to justify his race after national media fell for a false story fueled by Breitbart News, a conservative website with a history of reporting falsities.
An August 19 article on Breitbart News hyped "explosive new racial allegations" against Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, citing a June 29 post on Re-NewsIt!, a blog that appears to primarily conduct opposition research on black victims of crime, to assert that King misrepresented himself as black when he is actually white. Right-wing media seized on the story, and Breitbart News repeatedly claimed that King "has been lying to the public about his race" and "has two white parents" listed on his birth certificate.
In an article titled "Why White People Seek Black Privilege," Breitbart's Ben Shapiro asserted that King "demonstrates one undeniable fact: being black in American in 2015 is perceived as a status symbol and an advantage."
The August 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends hyped the Re-NewsIt! "report" to claim that King "is not biracial, he is white," and guest host Anna Kooiman lamented that "it doesn't seem fair" that King was "deceiving people in order to raise [him]self to a higher level." Hosts on The Five used the report to declare it "sacrifices [the] credibility" of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On CNN, host Don Lemon reported that King is "facing some very tough questions today and tonight about his own race," adding that a source told CNN "that both King's parents are white." Lemon cited Breitbart News, asking, "Is this Rachel Dolezal 2.0?"
By August 20, the story started to unravel. As Gawker noted, MSNBC's Joy Reid provided a crucial piece of context reporting that the father listed on King's birth certificate is not his biological father. King later published an essay on DailyKos explaining his father was a black man with whom his mother had an affair.
The next day, CNN reversed course, backing off hyping "questions" surrounding King's race and instead reporting that "the source that bullied him into this story" intended "to discredit the [Black Lives Matter] movement."
Yet Breitbart News is still attacking King, arguing "if there was confusion about Shaun King's race, it's because he allowed it."
Conservative media hailed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's newly released immigration plan that would end the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, calling it "remarkable" and likening its political magnitude to the Magna Carta.
Conservative media figures are attacking Fox News and Megyn Kelly to defend Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, claiming the network and Kelly were "out to get" Trump in Fox News' first Republican primary debate.
BuzzFeed News reported that Breitbart.com may be accepting "financial backing" from GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in exchange for "fawning headlines," according to sources inside the conservative outlet.
Trump has received mixed reviews following the first GOP primary debate -- though declared one of the winners of the night, mainstream and conservative media alike have condemned his subsequent attacks on Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
Within the conservative media war over Trump, Breitbart.com has consistently taken his side, devoting numerous front page headlines to hyping Trump's excuses that his attacks on Kelly were justified and taken out of context. The outlet has long been giving Trump credit for sparking the debate over illegal immigration after he deemed Mexican immigrants "rapists" and criminals, while the GOP candidate has seemingly gleaned several of his talking points from Breitbart.com, such as the myth of 34 million undocumented immigrants and his notorious birther claims.
Now, four sources at Breitbart.com have reportedly "complained since at least last year that the company's top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website," according to an August 9 article by BuzzFeed News, calling their employer's fawning over Trump "despicable" and "embarrassing":
Inside the most pro-Trump news outlet on the right, some employees say the billionaire candidate has provided financial backing in exchange for fawning headlines -- a charge management strongly denies.
According to four sources with knowledge of the situation, editors and writers at the outlet have privately complained since at least last year that the company's top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website -- using it to hype his political prospects and attack his enemies. One current editor called the water-carrying "despicable" and "embarrassing," and said he was told by an executive last year that the company had a financial arrangement with Trump. A second Breitbart staffer said he had heard a similar description of the site's relationship with the billionaire but didn't know the details; and a third source at the company said he knew of several instances when managers had overruled editors at Trump's behest. Additionally, a conservative communications operative who works closely with Breitbart described conversations in which "multiple writers and editors" said Trump was paying for the ability to shape coverage, and added that one staffer claimed to have seen documentation of the "pay for play."
Breitbart.com's senior staff denied the charges, telling Buzzfeed, "We have no financial relationship with Donald Trump as an investor, advertiser or in any other capacity at this time -- nor have we ever. The insinuation that we do -- or did -- is a lie."
Breitbart.com's John Nolte attacked actress and comedian Amy Schumer's recent call for gun safety measures, claiming that the Trainwreck star doesn't actually care about a mass shooting that occurred during a screening of her film, but rather that she hoped to cynically use the shooting as "a great opportunity" to advance her career.
Two women were killed and nine other people were injured after a gunman opened fire during a screening of Trainwreck at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 23. The gunman, who had a history of domestic violence and bizarre behavior, committed suicide.
Following up on her pledge to engage on the issue of gun violence following the shooting, Schumer appeared alongside her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), at a press conference to promote new legislation to ensure that disqualifying records are submitted by states into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill includes other measures to address substance abuse and mental health issues.
During the Aug. 3 press conference, Amy Schumer said, "We're here today to say is enough is enough. To mass shootings in our schools, our college campuses, our military bases, and even in our movie theaters. These shootings have got to stop." She continued, "For me, the pain I share with so many other Americans on the issue of gun violence was made extremely personal to me on Thursday, July 23 when ... he sat down for my movie, Trainwreck, at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Two lives were tragically lost and others injured and I've thought about these victims each day since the tragedy."
A visibly emotional Schumer concluded her remarks by saying, "These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last."
On the Aug. 3 broadcast of the National Rifle Association's radio show Cam & Company, Breitbart News editor-at-large John Nolte attacked Schumer's motives, claiming that she did not care about the shooting but rather wished to use the tragedy to advance her career.
According to Nolte, Schumer sees the mass shooting as "a great opportunity, this occurred at my movie and now the focus is on me, and what can I do to enhance my career."
"If she had any moral courage and she actually cared about what happened she would come out and she would say, 'Listen putting a sign on a movie theater that says no one inside it is armed, that this is a gun-free zone, is stupid.' She has the power to do this. She could make jokes about how stupid these gun-free zones are," Nolte continued.
Instead, Schumer "is dressing up like she is a grown-up and she's just exploiting the situation because it's an opportunity for her to maybe increase her box office over the weekend," he said, calling her advocacy "cowardly."
Nolte continued to claim that Schumer was using the shooting to advance her career, saying, "She's not thinking, she's just trying to please the right people to enhance her career. And she also -- there is a lot Oscar talk around her movie and that probably has something to do with it, too. You go the Angelina Jolie route so everybody suddenly starts to take you seriously." Nolte said all he sees "is cynicism behind" Schumer's call for action.
Cam & Company host Cam Edwards said that he disagreed with Nolte's assessment and would not impugn Schumer with a cynical motive for her comments on gun violence. Nolte responded, "You're a nicer guy than I am, but I just see these unthinking Hollywood types and it just enrages me."
Conservative media figures are using the death of Cecil the Lion to push bogus stories of Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetal tissue.
Conservative media defended Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's recent claim -- that President Obama's negotiated agreement with Iran over its nuclear program will take Israelis "to the door of the oven" -- by praising the Holocaust comparison as "absolutely true" and "an accurate description."
This act is getting tired.
In recent years, conservative activists, under the guise of renegade journalism, have been churning out undercover "sting" videos supposedly capturing reprehensible behavior by their mostly liberal targets. Those targets have included low-level workers at ACORN, a fundraiser at National Public Radio, and now officials at Planned Parenthood, among others.
The activists release a series of videos in an effort to build a big takedown story, and the press usually plays along. Meanwhile, activists coordinate with right-wing media players and members of Congress to generate simultaneous outrage over the clips.
The problem for the activists, and the problem for journalists who excitedly treat the clips as news, is that the videos invariably turn out to be doctored, filled with deceptive edits, and missing context in an effort to manufacture scandal.
The whole cycle has become a media cliché, but it's one that conservative partisans cheer. And they're cheering again this month as the Center for Medical Progress releases edited clips to claim Planned Parenthood officials have been caught discussing how the organization "sells the body parts of aborted fetuses" and "haggling" over prices for "baby parts."
Both incendiary videos have been proven to omit crucial context undermining their central claims.
While some outlets have done a good job calling out the deceptive nature of the campaign against Planned Parenthood, too many veer into a he said, she said construction while writing up the allegations. (See the front page of yesterday's New York Times, for example.)
Commentary's John Podhoretz was impressed by the roll-out:
This Planned Parenthood video drip-drip-drip is the first time anyone has properly followed the Andrew Breitbart playbook since his death.-- John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 21, 2015
Podhoretz was likely referring to the ACORN sting videos that Andrew Breitbart's site helped roll out in 2009, as the conservative media waged war on a nonprofit group that helped poor people -- a war waged via dishonest undercover clips that captured James O'Keefe and his sidekick, Hannah Giles, famously getting advice from ACORN workers in various field offices on how prostitutes could skirt tax laws. The ACORN videos that the press went bonkers for were built around the fundamental lie that O'Keefe entered the ACORN offices dressed like a cartoonish pimp and workers still counseled him. They were also bolstered by deceptive editing.
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. pointed out that the videotapes were "severely edited by O'Keefe." According to a 2010 New York Daily News article about an investigation into O'Keefe's sting at a Brooklyn office, "a law enforcement source" said the conservative activists had "edited the tape to meet their agenda."
In 2011, O'Keefe released a set of sting videos to expose NPR's supposed liberal bias. It featured fundraiser Ron Schiller having lunch with two potential (albeit fake) Muslim donors and Schiller making disparaging comments about Republicans and Tea Party members. It was soon revealed that the tapes had been highly edited and done so in a way to make the Schiller comments seem more damning than originally believed. (In the short term, the videos worked -- NPR's CEO was forced to resign.)
The anti-choice group Live Action rolled out a series of undercover videos in 2013 claiming to catch Planned Parenthood conducting "illegal and inhuman practices." Like the others, the Live Action videos were dishonestly edited to improve the story activists wanted to tell.
Let's put it this way, when conservative activists release an undercover sting video that doesn't rely on dishonest editing to manufacture its point, it will be their first.
But the dismaying part is the formula works in the short term because too much of the media, drawn to the heat and the light of agitated conservative outrage, almost immediately types up the tapes as news despite the fact that for six years running, the established record shows that these types of tapes are regularly debunked. (Joining some other outlets that have called out the spin, a New York Times editorial this week cut through the ambiguities and declared the clips to be part of a larger, deeply dishonest smear campaign.)
Does the press honestly believe these tape releases aren't carefully choreographed by conservatives? Meaning, the press seems to treat as news that the tapes generate outrage within the conservative media and the Republican Party.
From the New York Times last week: "The video spread rapidly over social media and was discussed on talk radio."
But there are clear indications that the outrage was planned in advance, so why is the ire considered newsworthy?
In fact, we now know at least two key Republican congressmen who expressed outrage at Planned Parenthood last week were shown the first sting video weeks earlier -- and did nothing with the information. Apparently not wanting to step on the media roll-out, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) -- a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee -- and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) both sat on the information contained in the video and only sprang into action after it was released to the press.
After the right-wing's NPR video was proven to be misleading in 2011, some reporters conceded that activists releasing bogus clips have the advantage because the press doesn't want to slow down and ask questions about whether the clips are dishonest or not.
But how many times does the same script have to play out before journalists refuse to star as actors in orchestrated, far-right attack campaigns?
Conservative media appear to be drafting Donald Trump's talking points.
It's been one month since the real estate mogul officially entered the Republican primary, after years of using regular Fox News appearances to promote previously-elusive presidential ambitions and push absurd conspiracies. In that time, Trump has already managed to prominently trumpet at least four right-wing media myths to explain his positions on the economy, immigration, gun safety, and the presidency, launching the long-debunked claims back into the spotlight.
Trump exaggerated the nation's unemployment rate by nearly 800 percent during a Fox News appearance on July 15, telling Sean Hannity that unemployed, impoverished Americans are "very important," and declaring: "Somebody actually last week said we have a 40 percentunemployment, so I've been saying 19 - 21 percent, but somebody actually came out last week and said we have a 40 percent, and they might very well be right."
Just a couple weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly claimed that "the actual unemployment rate in the United States of America is not 5.5 percent ... It is 42.9 percent," citing a blog written by former Reagan official David Stockman.
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, notably, June's unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent.
Last week, Trump tripled the U.S.' undocumented immigrant population during a July 8 interview on CNN's The Lead, claiming, "We have 34 million [undocumented immigrants] in the country. I used to hear 11, now I hear it's 34 million." The real number of undocumented immigrants is nearly 20 million less -- experts confirm that the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. actually hovers around 11 million, according to a Washington Post analysis that compared Census, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Pew Research Center data.
Trump appears to have relied on a year-old, long-debunked report from conservative website Breitbart.com. In 2014, Breitbart.com misrepresented a contracting bid the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for card stock to print a maximum of 34 million green cards and work authorization cards over a five year period, spinning the listing to claim the Obama administration was preparing a massive "executive amnesty." Neither of these cards are specific to undocumented immigrants. And as The Hill explained at the time, not only is such a contracting bid "typical," these cards are for use by immigrants who have been legally granted permanent residency and "a single recipient could receive up to five work permits over the life of the contract." Because this is not, in fact, an estimate of the undocumented population, both the White House and USCIS called suggestions that it was a "precursor" to the president's executive action on immigration "crazy" and "too clever."
Discussing his views on gun safety regulations in a July 7 interview with Ammoland.com, Trump revived conservative media's false claim that former President Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases. He asserted that "President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases."
Trump's misinformation originated from conservative media's attempt to blame Clinton for the 2013 mass shooting at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard facility, seizing on a March 1993 Army regulation they claimed banned the carrying of guns on military bases. In fact, the 1993 regulation came from a 1992 directive issued under former President George H.W. Bush -- which actually allows guns to be carried on military bases under a substantial number of circumstances. Military experts have said more permissive gun carrying rules are a bad idea.
Trump is even still pushing perhaps the most infamous conservative media myth of the Obama presidency -- birtherism. "I really don't know" where President Obama was born, Trump declared in a July 9 interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, an accusation that follows years of the candidate teaming up with Fox News to push the absurd conspiracy theories that Obama had not released a valid birth certificate and may have been hiding the fact that he was not born in America.
The pervasiveness of right-wing media talking points in Trump's positions is not surprising given that he's been a Fox News fixture for years. He reportedly met with Fox president Roger Ailes before announcing his presidential candidacy, and since then, the network has only increased his exposure. In Media Matters' most recent study of appearances by likely and declared Republican presidential candidates on the network, Trump topped the entire field in airtime. During the month of June, Trump appeared on Fox 10 times, racking up 1 hour and 48 minutes of airtime, 23 minutes more than his nearest competitor, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Since the beginning of May, Trump has the most airtime of any of the candidates.
Right-wing media outlets are hyping disclosures that health insurance premium rates could "skyrocket" for some plans in 2016 as proof of the Affordable Care Act's failure as a national policy, ignoring the fact that these reported rates are skewed and not final, and that previous "rate shock" predictions have fallen flat.
Conservative media's false claim that Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases is back in the news after being repeated by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Following the mass shooting at Washington, D.C.'s Navy Yard facility in 2013, conservative media sought to pin blame on President Clinton by seizing on a March 1993 Army regulation that they claimed banned the carrying of guns on military bases. In fact, the 1993 regulation came from a 1992 directive issued under George H.W. Bush that became "effective immediately" in February of that year. (The Bush directive actually allows guns to be carried on military bases under a substantial number of circumstances and military experts have said more permissive gun carrying rules are a bad idea.)
Although this falsehood led to the National Rifle Association's news show issuing a rare correction, it's been given new life after being repeated by Trump and subsequently trumpeted by the right-wing media echo chamber.
In a July 7 interview with Ammoland.com, Trump was asked (emphasis original), "Would you have a problem allowing our military bases to set their own polices with regard to personal weapons and do away with the 'Gun Free Zones' death trap?"
In his response, Trump said, "President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases" (emphasis and brackets original):
"[gun free zones] No, not optional. As Commander-in-Chief, I would mandate that soldiers remain armed and on alert at our military bases.
President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases. America's Armed Forces will be armed.
They will be able to defend themselves against terrorists. Our brave soldiers should not be at risk because of policy created by civilian leadership. Political correctness has no place in this debate."
Trump's false claim about Clinton was then repeated in conservative media. The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard reported,"Pistol-packing GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump ripped a policy implemented by former President Bill Clinton making military bases 'gun free zones,' declaring that as president bases would no longer be defenseless against terror attacks."
The NRA's magazine, America's 1st Freedom, praised Trump's vow that he would change military base policies in a July 14 post that excised Trump's false claim about Clinton.
This is not the first time that Trump has campaigned on falsehoods invented by conservative media. During a July CNN appearance, Trump falsely claimed that there are 34 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, a vastly overstated and false figure that had previously circulated in conservative media.
Right-wing media darling Scott Walker has announced he is running for president. Conservative pundits have lionized Walker as a "charismatic," "sexy," "genuine hero."
A debunked right-wing media talking point appears to have made its way to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who recently repeated the dubious claim that as many as 34 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. In fact, the real number is likely more than 20 million less -- the 34 million figure seems to originate from right-wing media misrepresenting a federal contracting bid.