Breitbart.com

Tags ››› Breitbart.com
  • After America, Breitbart Plans To Infect Politics Across Europe

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    After the 2016 election, Breitbart.com announced its plan to expand into France and Germany, and Italy is reportedly now a target as well. Breitbart’s current European bureau, Breitbart London, appears to be in charge of the website’s Europe content and has a close relationship with the nativist UK Independence Party (UKIP). That, coupled with its anti-immigrant content, suggests that the site will try to spread its nativism across Europe by continuing to stoke racist sentiment and allying with anti-immigrant political parties.

  • Right-Wing Media's Latest Conspiracy: CNN Wants Trump Assassinated

    CNN Has Been Reporting On The 'Designated Survivor' For Years

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Right-wing media outlets have concocted the conspiracy theory that a CNN report on the protocol of a “designated presidential survivor” -- in which one cabinet member does not attend the presidential inauguration in the event that a tragedy killed the president and others in the line of succession -- is evidence that CNN figures hope President-elect Donald Trump is assassinated on Inauguration Day in order to keep the Obama administration in power. CNN has reported on the designated survivor during both President Obama’s and President Bush’s presidencies.

  • Trump Punishes CNN After It Challenged Him, Rewards Breitbart For Sucking Up

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    During Donald Trump’s press conference, the president-elect criticized CNN for reporting on alleged contacts between his campaign and the Russian government, and then CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask a question. Trump refused Acosta’s repeated requests. Soon after, Trump solicited a question from Matthew Boyle of the embarrassingly pro-Trump Breitbart News, who served up a softball.

    On Tuesday, CNN reported that "classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." The documents also reportedly included "allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government." Buzzfeed followed CNN's article by publishing pages of raw memos related to the allegations.

    At his press conference, responding to a question from CBS’ Major Garrett, Trump elaborated on a tweet he sent out on Wednesday morning in which he wrote, "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

    Trump said BuzzFeed would “suffer the consequences” for publishing the memos and that CNN went “out of their way to build it up.”

    CNN reporter Jim Acosta then attempted to ask Trump a question, noting, “Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question?” Trump refused and waved him away. Acosta persisted, and Trump refused and said CNN is “terrible,” told Acosta to be quiet, and said, “You are fake news,” before moving on to another reporter.

    A few minutes later, Trump turned to Matt Boyle of Breitbart.com, who proceeded to ask Trump about “all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election” and “what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?”

    It would hardly be possible to ask a more sycophantic and fawning question, but coming from Breitbart, it’s not surprising.

    Breitbart has become the all-but-official voice of Trump over the past two years. The site has tied itself into absurd knots to defend him and attack his opponents in both the Republican and Democratic parties, while also mangling and inventing stories to serve his campaign’s narrative.

    Stephen Bannon, Trump’s incoming chief White House strategist, has been the chairman of Breitbart and has overseen its transformation from a more traditional conservative outlet to what he described as a “platform” for the so-called “alt-right,” whose noxious brand of white nationalist nativist politics now dominates the conservative movement.

    Breitbart’s dedication to Trump and its vilification of his perceived enemies were reflected in its writeup of the contentious exchange between Trump and Acosta, headlined “Trump to CNN: You Are Fake News.” Breitbart.com also posted the following headlines on its front page:

    In turn, Trump has often used the millions of followers he has on social media to direct web traffic toward Breitbart stories promoting him and his conspiracy theories.

    Later on CNN, Acosta reported that Republican National Committee communications director and incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer told him that if he were to persist in asking Trump questions in the same manner, he would be “thrown out of this press conference.”  (After his combative exchange with Acosta, Trump later fielded a question from CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond.)

    The lesson from Trump is that he won’t accept the sort of adversarial journalism CNN has engaged in here, which is necessary and vital for a modern, functioning democracy. But if you suck up like Breitbart did (and has done), you will be perfectly fine.

  • With Finance Hire, Breitbart Tries To Wash Off The Stench Of The “Alt-Right”

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    In a transparent play to give the website a veneer of credibility, Breitbart.com has hired Wall Street Journal reporter John Carney to head up its new finance and economics section.

    Carney will “manage a roster of news contributors that includes former CNBC personality Larry Kudlow” for the Breitbart vertical when it launches following Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green reported.

    Breitbart is currently defined by its bigoted content and popularity among the white nationalist and misogynist “alt-right.” Progressive activists have successfully urged the platform’s blue-chip advertisers to abandon it.

    Breitbart is ascendant in the political sphere; the candidate the site championed is on his way to the White House, accompanied by the outlet’s chairman, Stephen Bannon. But Breitbart’s position in the cultural sphere is waning due to scrutiny of its work. Its leadership wants to change the site’s narrative -- because, as Andrew Breitbart himself often warned, “politics is downstream from culture.”

    Over the past few years, Breitbart’s reach has expanded in two ways. The site has launched verticals that cover national security, technology, and sports (frequently with a heavy reliance on aggregation and wire service copy) in an effort to convince the members of its hard-right American audience to get their news about those subjects within the same ecosystem where they read about politics.

    And it has sought to expand its audiences in particular geographic areas by launching sections focused on California, Texas, the United Kingdom, Israel, and soon, Germany and France.

    The launch of the new financial and economic vertical sounds like a little bit of both.

    Breitbart has covered finance and economics in the past, but not with any real dedication or rigor; the website wants its audience to stay with it for that news, rather than going elsewhere.

    But Breitbart also seems to be seeking a new audience with the move: Wall Street professionals who are high value for advertisers but currently don’t get much from the website other than an association with the “alt-right.”

    That’s where Carney comes in.

    According to Green, Carney “writes about finance with a populist bent that often mirrors Breitbart’s outlook on politics.” He certainly seems on board with the Breitbart mission, telling Green that the section will promote “the economics of making America great again.”

    But he is also a professional journalist, with the Journal, Business Insider, and CNBC on his resume along with clips from other major publications. That makes him a dramatic departure from the editors the website has previously chosen to launch its new sections, a motley melange of conservative political operatives, conspiracy theorists, and fringe writers, often with a prior relationship with the website.

    Wall Street leaders who have worked with Carney in the past will likely continue to take his calls. Other mainstream journalists may be more willing to entertain offers from Breitbart now that they know Carney is helming part of the site.

    If that strategy holds, Breitbart may be able to generate enough independent reporting and scoops to attract that Wall Street audience. And with that audience comes more traffic and more advertising.

    While Carney suggests that the section will “hold [Trump] accountable,” Kudlow’s presence on the staff gives the game away. The longtime right-wing media personality lavished praise on Trump’s economic plans -- which he helped author -- during the presidential campaign. Trump has reportedly considered naming him to head the Council of Economic Advisors.

    Together, Carney and Kudlow will put a veneer of credibility over the same old Trump sycophancy.

  • Breitbart Has A Literally Unbelievable Response To Its False German Church Story

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    As Breitbart.com prepares to export its brand of anti-establishment xenophobia to Germany, the website has come under fire for a false report suggesting that a “mob” of 1,000 Muslims tried to burn down a German church. Breitbart London’s editor-in-chief has now responded to critics with a 2,300-word rant that does not meet the laugh test.

    Breitbart, which is planning to expand to Germany ahead of national elections this fall, has frequently attacked Muslim communities in European nations and highlighted friction between those communities and white Europeans. The site aggregates instances of crimes allegedly committed by refugees in Germany and suggests German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her refugee policy are to blame -- a strategy that mirrors the political efforts of her far-right opposition, Alternative for Germany.

    Breitbart experienced a setback in this approach when a false story the website published on January 3 drew condemnation from local police and politicians as well as debunks from local, national, and international media outlets.

    Yesterday, Breitbart’s Raheem Kassam responded. According to him, the critics “have railed against Breitbart London’s reporting of an 1,000-strong crowd, many of whom were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’, and firing fireworks at one of the oldest churches in Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.”

    But that's not what the outlet originally reported. According to the January 3 story, “a mob of more than 1,000 men chanted ‘Allahu Akhbar’, launched fireworks at police, and set fire to a historic church.”

    I can’t believe I need to write this, but there’s a difference between those three discrete facts all occurring -- 1,000 people being present, some of them chanting “Allahu Akbar,” and one of them at some point firing a firework that hit the church -- and 1,000 people who are all chanting “Allahu Akbar” collectively setting fire to said church.

    Breitbart reported the latter. That report was false.

    Kassam triumphantly claimed that media outlets that disputed Breitbart’s story “confirmed almost every substantive fact about the Breitbart London report on the issue: there were 1,000, mostly male, mostly non-native German people gathered in the Leeds Square; there were repeated chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’; the ‘Free Syrian Army’ flag was flown; and there was a fire at the St. Reinold’s Church caused by the fireworks.”

    Again, I can’t believe I actually need to write this, but the relationship that Breitbart claimed existed between those facts is also relevant in terms of whether its story is accurate.  

    The rest of Kassam’s piece is a painstaking, tiresome effort to prove that each of those individual facts is true, while ignoring that Breitbart’s report distorted and misrepresented their connection. It is also filled with whining:

    Whining about a reporter who wouldn’t help Breitbart with the story in the first place:

    One witness of the event — Peter Bandermann from the Breitbart-critical Ruhr Nachricthen (RN) website — refused to assist Breitbart London in the reporting of the event, despite reporting it at length himself.

    Whining about German journalists acting more like Russian propaganda outlets:

    The effect of journalists refusing, on ideological grounds, to ensure stories are reported across the international press is both a sign of a partisan media, but also protects criminals, police ineffectiveness, and failing state policies. This tactic, usually reserved for state-sponsored news outlets like Russia Today or TeleSUR, are becoming more commonplace in the West, especially in Germany.

    Whining about the German police:

    The police clearly failed in their attempts to stop this happening again, and are now lashing out against news organisations like Breitbart News for drawing attention to the matter.

    Whining that critical news outlets called out the Breitbart piece for pointing the finger at Muslims (we are the real racists, apparently):

    Despite this, outlets such as Mediaite, TeleSur, Sputnik, HuffPo, Media Matters, Deutsche Welle, the Washington Post and others decided to use words like “Muslim”, “migrant”, “Islam”, “Arab”, and “immigration” in their headlines or reporting on our story. Why? To stoke fears and division — and perhaps even to suggest that this behaviour would be somehow representative of all of the members of the aforementioned communities and backgrounds. That, to us, is the real “fake news” and “racism” and I am grateful that my journalists do not engage in that kind of scare-mongering.

    Whining about German politicians:

    Like the Rotherham rape scandal, the Hillsborough disaster, and even Cologne last year, police and politicians often collude in order to mask a true version of events that are inconvenient at best, or institutionally damning at worst.

    Kassam’s posture makes clear that in Germany, Breitbart intends to use the same us-against-them assault on the media and political establishment that it deployed in the United States. Given the results of the past year, German reporters should be extremely wary of what the website has in store for their country.

  • As Axios Launches, Co-Founder Mike Allen Joins Breitbart Radio To Lavish Praise On Breitbart.com

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Former Politico reporter Mike Allen repeatedly praised Breitbart.com, the self-described “platform” for the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, in an interview discussing the launch of his new media venture, Axios.

    Allen appeared on the January 7 broadcast of Breitbart.com’s radio show, describing it as  “an honor” to join Breitbart.com reporters Matthew Boyle and Charlie Spiering.

    Allen promoted Axios -- which launched January 9 with a series of newsletters that it says will cover “media trends, tech, business and politics” -- during the interview and also said that at Axios “we admire so much what’s been built at Breitbart” because “you do things that other people aren’t, and both journalistically and as a business, that’s a great place to be right now.”

    Citing Breitbart.com’s election coverage, Allen characterized the outlet as “ahead of the curve” and concluded the interview by saying, “We admire your coverage -- we admire what Andrew Breitbart and his successors have built.”

    At no point during the interview did Allen address Breitbart.com’s noxious coverage, which has included headlines calling Bill Kristol a “renegade jew,” claiming that “birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” and giving “permission” for people to use the word “faggot.”

    As ThinkProgress noted, “The interview provides a stark example of how Breitbart  -- an outlet that recently featured a ‘black crime’ vertical, published a piece last year equating feminism with cancer, and is currently under fire for running a fake news story about a Muslim mob setting fire to a church in Germany  --  is becoming normalized in Donald Trump’s America.”

    During the interview, Allen also praised Trump transition team tactics that make it harder for media outlets to report on cabinet nominations.

    Praising plans by Trump and Senate Republicans to schedule multiple hearings per day this week for nominations to the heads of cabinet level agencies, Allen said of the move, “That’s what we call ducks in a row”: 

    MIKE ALLEN:  I think a big storyline is that the Trump administration, the machinery that they are building, I think it is much more organized and much more aggressive than people realize. I think we have a little hint of that with the confirmations that we have teed up -- I think three on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, another on Thursday. That’s what we call ducks in a row.

    As Politico noted, “the net result” of this tactic “will likely be too many events for comprehensive news coverage.”

  • Lindy West Leaves Twitter: “Get Back To Me When Your Website Isn’t A Roiling Rat-King Of Nazis” 

    Writer Denounces Platform’s Refusal To Protect Users From “Alt-Right” Harassment

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Writer Lindy West, who spent years cultivating a reputation for engaging with (and frequently demolishing) social media trolls, has announced she’s leaving Twitter because of the “global repercussions” of the platform’s “refusal to stop” harassment campaigns launched by the white supremacist, misogynist “alt-right” movement.

    In a January 3 opinion piece at The Guardian, West explained that she had deactivated her Twitter account after “half a decade of troubleshooting” to curb personal harassment and threats from anonymous users trolling her on the social media platform. West, who regularly engaged with her tormentors on Twitter and even confronted a user who harassed her while posing as her dead father, concluded that Twitter was “unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators.”

    West explained that her decision to leave Twitter didn’t stem from simply reaching a breaking point when it came to trolls, but rather that it represented her disgust with Twitter’s “refusal” to “intervene and start protecting its users” from coordinated harassment campaigns led by members of the so-called “alt-right.” As West pointed out, “Twitter executives did nothing” for years in which the “alt-right” was “beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities.” This harassment included the deeply racist and misogynist campaign against black actress Leslie Jones last summer, led by “alt-right” Breitbart.com editor and serial harasser Milo Yiannopoulos, and the similarly misogynist Gamergate “hate-storm” in 2014.

    Recent “alt-right” manipulation of Twitter represents a dangerous escalation of the sort of Twitter harassment, abuse, and disinformation West has fought for years. A combination of trolls (e.g., anonymous users goaded and led by the ideologically hateful “alt-right”), robots (bot and spam accounts created specifically, often by the trolls, to amplify the abuse or disinformation), and dictators (or at least leaders with authoritarian tendencies) are using the platform to rile users with fake news stories and general misinformation, confirming and encouraging harmful views that justify the abuse of others. It’s created an ecosystem that’s “feeding into the worst instincts of humanity,” and Twitter’s inaction has amounted to a stamp of approval that West said she can longer accept.

    From West’s January 3 op-ed (emphasis added):

    I hate to disappoint anyone, but the breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves (if I have learned anything from the dark side of Twitter, it is how to feel nothing when a frog calls you a cunt) – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them. The white supremacist, anti-feminist, isolationist, transphobic “alt-right” movement has been beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities for years now – how much hate speech will bystanders ignore? When will Twitter intervene and start protecting its users? – and discovered, to its leering delight, that the limit did not exist. No one cared. Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as “racism is bad” and “sexual assault is bad” and “lying is bad” and “authoritarianism is bad”, and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency. Twitter executives did nothing.

    On 29 December, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “What’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” One user responded: “Comprehensive plan for getting rid of the Nazis.”

    “We’ve been working on our policies and controls,” Dorsey replied. “What’s the next most critical thing?” Oh, what’s our second-highest priority after Nazis? I’d say No 2 is also Nazis. And No 3. In fact, you can just go ahead and slide “Nazis” into the top 100 spots. Get back to me when your website isn’t a roiling rat-king of Nazis. Nazis are bad, you see?

    Trump uses his Twitter account to set hate mobs on private citizens, attempt to silence journalists who write unfavourably about him, lie to the American people and bulldoze complex diplomatic relationships with other world powers. I quit Twitter because it feels unconscionable to be a part of it – to generate revenue for it, participate in its profoundly broken culture and lend my name to its legitimacy.

  • The 15 Most Ridiculous Things That Media Figures Said About Environmental Issues In 2016

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER & ANDREW SEIFTER

    Donald Trump and the presidential election dominated news coverage in 2016. But talking heads still found plenty of time to make jaw-dropping comments about climate change, energy, and the environment. This year’s list of ridiculous claims includes a dangerous conspiracy theory about Hurricane Matthew, over-the-top worship of fracking and coal, and absurd victim-blaming around the Flint water crisis. Here is our list of the 15 most ridiculous things that media figures said about climate, energy, and environmental issues in 2016.

    1. Rush Limbaugh And Matt Drudge Peddled A Reckless Conspiracy Theory Downplaying The Threat From Hurricane Matthew. Shortly before Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the U.S., Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge concocted a conspiracy theory that the federal government was overstating the hurricane’s severity in order to manufacture concern about climate change. On The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh accused the National Hurricane Center of "playing games" with hurricane forecasting and added, “It's in the interest of the left to have destructive hurricanes because then they can blame it on climate change, which they can desperately continue trying to sell.”

    Limbaugh doubled down on this theory the next day, telling his audience, “There’s politics in the forecasting of hurricanes because there are votes.”

    Drudge, the curator of the widely read Drudge Report website, promoted the conspiracy as well, suggesting that federal officials were exaggerating the danger posed by Hurricane Matthew “to make [an] exaggerated point on climate.”

    [Twitter, 10/6/16]

    [Twitter, 10/6/16]

    Drudge also used his website to persuade Southeast residents not to take the storm seriously, with a banner “STORM FIZZLE? MATTHEW LOOKS RAGGED!” and additional headlines “IT’S A 4?” and “RESIDENTS NOT TAKING SERIOUSLY...”.

    Climate scientist Michael Mann explained that people "could die because of the misinformation that folks like Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge are putting out there," and two actual hurricane experts provided a point-by-point rebuttal of Drudge’s claims. But that did nothing to dissuade Drudge, who refused to give up on the conspiracy theory.

    2. Fox News Blamed The Flint Water Crisis On Climate Change Policies, "PC Stuff,” And Even Flint Residents Themselves. National media outlets largely ignored the water crisis in Flint, MI, as it unfolded over almost two years, but when the story did finally make national headlines, Fox News pundits were quick to pin the blame on anyone and anything other than the Republican governor of Michigan.

    On Fox & Friends, host Heather Nauert and guest Mark Aesch suggested that “misplaced priorities,” including climate change and “PC stuff,” allowed the water crisis to happen:

    And on The Kelly File, Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt placed blame on Flint residents themselves, saying that the "people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets" after noticing that their water was poisoned. Stirewalt also blamed Flint parents for giving their children contaminated water, declaring: "If you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street." In addition to being offensive, Stirewalt’s comments were premised on a falsehood; Flint residents did in fact repeatedly protest throughout the year to demand safe drinking water for their families.

    3. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Claimed Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt “Hasn’t Denied Global Warming.” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is a climate science denier who has refused to accept the clear consensus of the scientific community that human activities such as burning fossil fuels are primarily responsible for global warming. Yet according to CNN New Day anchor Alisyn Camerota, Pruitt simply “sees nuance” and “hasn’t denied global warming.” Camerota falsely claimed that Pruitt only disputes climate “predictions” and “forecasts,” when in fact he has also denied that global warming is human-caused, and even Camerota's premise that climate models are unreliable is incorrect. As Camerota wrongly absolved Pruitt of climate denial, CNN’s on-screen text read: “Climate Change Denier Scott Pruitt To Lead EPA.” Co-anchor Chris Cuomo also pushed back on Camerota, stating that Pruitt “says it’s ‘far from settled.’ That means he’s not accepting the science.”

    Camerota badly butchered climate science, but it's noteworthy she was even discussing the issue given CNN’s spotty track record. In April, a Media Matters analysis found that CNN aired almost five times as much oil industry advertising as climate change-related coverage in the one-week periods following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record and February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month on record. And in one segment later in the year where CNN did cover climate change, CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello speculated, “Are we just talking about this and people's eyes are glazing over?”

    4. MSNBC's Mike Barnicle: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson "Is A Huge Green Guy.” Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies. Exxon is currently under investigation in several states for possibly violating state laws by deceiving shareholders and the public about climate change, while Tillerson himself has misinformed about climate science and mocked renewable energy. Yet according to Mike Barnicle, a regular on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Rex Tillerson is a huge green guy.” And alas, no, we don't think he was comparing Tillerson to the Jolly Green Giant or the Incredible Hulk.

    5. Disregarding Everything Trump Has Said And Done On The Subject, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Claimed “I Just Know” Trump Believes In Climate Science. On Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough defended Trump after it was announced he had selected Pruitt, a climate science denier, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scarborough -- who along with co-host Mika Brzezinski has repeatedly carried water for Trump -- insisted, “I just know” that Trump “has to believe” in climate science.

    Scarborough’s comments followed a wave of TV coverage about how Trump had supposedly “reversed course” on climate change, which was based on a New York Times interview in which Trump said he has an “open mind” about the Paris climate agreement and that “there is some connectivity” between human activities and climate change. But few of these reports addressed any of the substantive reasons that such a reversal was highly unlikely, such as his transition team’s plan to abandon the Obama administration’s landmark climate policy, indications that he will dismantle NASA’s climate research program, and his appointment of fossil fuel industry allies as transition team advisers -- not to mention the full context of Trump’s remarks to the Times.

    6. Trump Adviser Stephen Moore: Being Against Fracking “Is Like Being Against A Cure For Cancer.” While discussing his new book Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy on C-SPAN2's Book TV, conservative economist and Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore stated that opposing fracking “is like being against a cure for cancer” because it is “one of the great seismic technological breakthroughs” that is “giving us huge amounts of energy at very low prices.” Never mind that many of the chemicals involved in fracking have actually been linked to cancer. 

    7. Stephen Moore: “We Have The Cleanest Coal In The World.” Moore’s preposterous praise for fossil fuels wasn’t just confined to fracking. On Fox Business’ Varney & Co., he declared that the U.S. has “the cleanest coal in the world.” That statement is quite difficult to square with the fact that “Coal combustion contributes to four of the top five leading causes of death in the U.S.—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases—according to Physicians for Social Responsibility,” as Climate Nexus has noted.

    Pro-coal propaganda also found a home on Fox Business’ sister network, Fox News, where The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld asserted that “coal is a moral substance. Where coal reaches, people live longer, happier lives.”

    8. Breitbart’s James Delingpole: Climate Change Is “The Greatest-Ever Conspiracy Against The Taxpayer.” In an article promoting a speech he gave to the World Taxpayers’ Associations in Berlin, Breitbart’s James Delingpole wrote: “Climate change is the biggest scam in the history of the world – a $1.5 trillion-a-year conspiracy against the taxpayer, every cent, penny and centime of which ends in the pockets of the wrong kind of people.” In the speech itself, Delingpole similarly claimed that “the global warming industry” is “a fraud; a sham; a conspiracy against the taxpayer.”

    Breitbart, which was until recent months run by Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, has frequently denied climate change and viciously attacked climate scientists. Delingpole, in particular, has described climate scientists as “talentless lowlifes” and referred to climate advocates as “eco Nazis,” “eco fascists,” and “scum-sucking slime balls.” Bannon has criticized Pope Francis for succumbing to “hysteria” about climate change; The Washington Post has written about how Bannon influenced Trump’s views on the issue during his time at Breitbart.

    9. Fox Report On Law Gas Prices: “Put The Tesla In The Garage And Break Out The Hummer.” Just 10 days after Trump was elected president, Fox News began giving him credit for low gas prices, the latest proof of the network’s blatant double standard when it comes to covering gas prices under Republican and Democratic presidents. But simply shilling for Trump was apparently not enough for Fox Business reporter Jeff Flock, who provided the slanted gas prices report on Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters. At the conclusion of the report, Flock also displayed a brazen lack of concern about climate change, declaring: “I would say put the Tesla in the garage and break out the Hummer.”

    10. Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel Instructed Viewers To “Trust” A Climate Science-Denying Fossil Fuel Front Group. In a video interview posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website, Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel instructed viewers who are “confused about the science surrounding climate change” to “trust” Rod Nichols, chairman of a climate science-denying fossil fuel front group known as the CO2 Coalition. During the interview, Nichols denied that human activities such as burning oil and coal are responsible for recent global warming, claiming that “climate change has been going on for hundreds of millions of years,” “there is not going to be any catastrophic climate change,” and “CO2 will be good for the world.” Kissel asked Nichols, “Why don't we hear more viewpoints like the ones that your coalition represents,” and concluded that the CO2 Coalition’s research papers are “terrific.”

    The Wall Street Journal has made a habit of “trusting” climate science deniers like Nichols -- or at least repeating their false claims about climate science. A recent Media Matters analysis of climate-related opinion pieces found that the Journal far outpaced other major newspapers in climate science misinformation, publishing 31 opinion pieces that featured climate denial or other scientifically inaccurate claims about climate change over a year-and-a-half period.

    11. Fox Host Clayton Morris: Rubio's Climate Science Denial At Presidential Debate Was An "Articulate Moment.” During a Fox News discussion of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s performance at a CNN presidential debate, Fox and Friends co-host Clayton Morris described Rubio’s claim that the climate is “always” changing -- a common talking point among climate science deniers -- as “a really articulate moment.” 

    While Morris’ endorsement of Rubio’s climate denial as “articulate” is particularly striking, a 2015 Media Matters analysis found that media frequently failed to fact-check GOP presidential candidates’ climate change denial.

    12. Fox Hosts Mocked Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Speech On Climate Change: "Focus On Something Else Other Than The Weather.” When actor Leonardo DiCaprio took home the Oscar for best actor for his role in The Revenant, the hosts of Fox News’ The Five and Fox and Friends mocked DiCaprio for devoting much of his acceptance speech to making the case for climate change action. On The Five, co-host Jesse Watters declared, “So the guy finally gets an Academy Award and he's talking about the weather. What's going on here?” Co-host Eric Bolling helpfully added, “Focus on something else other than the weather.”

    That wasn’t the only time in 2016 that DiCaprio was caught in Fox News’ crosshairs for having the nerve to talk about climate change. Later in the year, The Five aired footage from an event in which President Obama criticized congressional climate deniers and DiCaprio said, “The scientific consensus is in, and the argument is now over. If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts, or in science, or empirical truths, and therefore in my humble opinion should not be allowed to hold public office.” The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld then responded by likening criticism of climate science deniers to religious extremism, saying: “You have to wonder about a belief system that doesn't want any challenges, that doesn't want any of their theories to be questioned. This -- what he is talking about is radical Islam of science. He is actually turning science into a religion.”

    13. Fox’s Meghan McCain: "The Liberal Hysteria Over Climate Change Was So Overblown That Now People Have A Hard Time Even Believing It.” Rather than criticize conservatives or Republicans who frequently deny climate science, Fox News host Meghan Mccain blamed liberals for public confusion about climate change, declaring on Fox News' Outnumbered that “the liberal hysteria over climate change was so overblown that now people have a hard time even believing it and believing that it's something that's justified.” McCain, who also mocked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for campaigning on the issue with Al Gore, added, “I do think there are signs we should look at, but if Al Gore, if you take his word for it, there's a big flood that's going to come in and wipe us all away in five minutes.”

    McCain is the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who notoriously flip-flopped on climate change legislation in 2009, undercutting congressional efforts to address the issue.

    14. Fox’s Steve Doocy: Obama’s Monument Designation Was Done To “Appease Environmental Terrorists.” On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy declared that President Obama’s designation of the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean was “done to appease environmental terrorists.” Not so shockingly, Doocy and his co-hosts did not comment when their guest, Deadliest Catch’s Keith Colburn, acknowledged that "increased water temperatures" from climate change are impacting fisheries across the United States.

    15. Fox Hosts Flipped Out About Portland Public Schools Decision To Stop Teaching Climate Denial To Children. In May, the Portland Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution “aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools.” But while climate science denial may no longer be taught in Portland public schools, it still has a place on Fox News, as the hosts of Outnumbered demonstrated in their flippant response to the resolution.

    Co-host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery said the Portland schools decision is “so anti-scientific,” adding, “There are still scientists, believe it or not, out there who say, ‘No, we still have to look at the data.’ And it's impossible to predict how the climate is going to change over hundreds or thousands of years.” Co-host Jesse Waters remarked, “So getting out of the ice age, how did the Earth warm up after the ice age? There were no humans there with cars and factories.” He also stated, “It gets hot, it gets cold, this spring has been freezing. It's not getting warmer, it seems like it's getting colder. Am I wrong?”

    But Fox News pundits aren’t just defenders of teaching climate science denial; they’re also partially to blame for it, according to researchers at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Last year, the SMU researchers released a study that found some children's textbooks that depict the reality of human-caused climate change with uncertainty are influenced by a climate science knowledge gap that finds its roots partly in conservative media misinformation. In particular, the SMU researchers pointed to previous research that showed Fox has disproportionately interviewed climate science deniers and that its viewers are more likely to be climate science deniers themselves.

  • Misinformer Of The Year: The Ecosystem Of Fake News And The "Alt-Right"

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    An anti-intellectual alliance of misogynists and white nationalists is using cult tactics to harass and abuse Americans. They systematically attempt to discredit reputable sources. They replace logic with paranoia. They horrifically harass perceived political opponents. And this campaign, which has dangerous historical precedents, has been empowered by a fake news ecosystem and a tech industry that profits off the phenomenon.

    I. Fake News

    While reporting real news requires a newsroom and some sort of process that can be critiqued and examined, “fake news” is built to obfuscate and hide sources. Its creators are varied, from a random American making $10,000 a month from his fabricated Facebook posts to a group of teenagers in Macedonia running more than a hundred pro-Trump websites. The business model is simple: identify the news that people want to read, and give it to them, regardless of the truth and with no effort whatsoever put into actual reporting.

    There is no question that fake news got lots of attention in 2016, in part because the president-elect himself -- and several people close to him -- pushed fabricated information. That’s deeply concerning, because data shows that not only do Americans believe lies they see on Facebook, but also that Americans across party lines say fake news is a real problem.

    No one is more responsible for the rise of fake news than Facebook. It was Facebook’s platform that allowed fake news to spread far and wide. In fairness, the basic nature of the social media giant ensures that users will share lies to some extent. But the structures that Facebook built also made it easy to game. All content looks the same on Facebook, and the name of the source shows up in a small and almost unreadable font. The pages look nearly identical, regardless of their purpose or who is operating them. Of course, these factors have been in place since Facebook’s inception, but in 2016, other factors changed as well.

    In its own way, fake news is more sophisticated than real news. Sure, real news actually examines complexities that exist in the real world while fake news just makes stuff up. But fake news can be targeted to appeal to exactly what people want to see. On Facebook in particular, content can be fine-tuned to target exactly what people are likely to click on. Many private companies do this: It is called advertising. Whereas real news outlets generally post a piece once and people either read it or not, fake news can be tweaked again and again until it finally breaks through and becomes viral. And fake news outlets sometimes do have the data to go viral: Breitbart.com and Trump political benefactor the Mercer family has a company, Cambridge Analytica, that conveniently owns a lot of data on private citizens. And sitting on the board of Cambridge Analytica is Trump’s chief adviser, and the former CEO of Breitbart, Stephen Bannon.

    Facebook’s algorithm has always been extremely prone to confirmation bias, but changes in recent years seem to have allowed fake news to rise much more easily (as the algorithm is proprietary, no one outside Facebook can know for certain). In the past, at the very least, there were human editors who could manually prevent outright lies from making it onto the site’s list of trending topics. But when Facebook fired them after conservatives complained this summer, fake news really took off.

    As John Herrman explained in The New York Times:

    This year, political content has become more popular all across the platform: on homegrown Facebook pages, through media companies with a growing Facebook presence and through the sharing habits of users in general. But truly Facebook-native political pages have begun to create and refine a new approach to political news: cherry-picking and reconstituting the most effective tactics and tropes from activism, advocacy and journalism into a potent new mixture. This strange new class of media organization slots seamlessly into the news feed and is especially notable in what it asks, or doesn’t ask, of its readers. The point is not to get them to click on more stories or to engage further with a brand. The point is to get them to share the post that’s right in front of them. Everything else is secondary.

    While web publishers have struggled to figure out how to take advantage of Facebook’s audience, these pages have thrived. Unburdened of any allegiance to old forms of news media and the practice, or performance, of any sort of ideological balance, native Facebook page publishers have a freedom that more traditional publishers don’t: to engage with Facebook purely on its terms. These are professional Facebook users straining to build media companies, in other words, not the other way around.

    Google is also responsible for this burgeoning fake news empire. Google’s third-party advertising platform, AdSense, is driving mass profitability on many of these websites. When pressure started to rise about fake news, Google said it would be taking action to remove these actors from its advertising network, eliminating their ability to generate revenue. Our review showed that the company still has much work to do.

    II. The “Alt-Right”

    While some fake news is created simply for profit (think of the Macedonian teens who just see their sites as an easy way to make money), the misogynist and white nationalist “alt-right” embraces it for a more dangerous purpose: to encourage fake news readers into harassing individuals and discouraging people from taking part in public life. The fake news ecosystem is broader than just lies; many of these lies are purposeful.

    The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory proved this link. A fake news story emerged from the depths of the internet claiming that a D.C. pizzeria with ties to certain political figures was running an underground child sex-trafficking ring. It was patently untrue. And yet mainstream reports on the story, even great in-depth reporting from truly credible sources, treated the fake news as separate from the harassment that pizzerias across the country endured from believers of the bogus claims as they spread to include other restaurants.

    Harassment is a deeply entrenched aspect of the “alt-right” community. It came to prominence with Gamergate, and then there was a wretched, bigoted campaign against black actress Leslie Jones. “Alt-right” figure Milo Yiannopoulos has now taken his harassment tactics with him on a college tour. Another example is the recent smear campaign against satirist Vic Berger by “alt-right” figure Mike Cernovich. Cernovich is no stranger to such tactics, having bragged previously about his ability to game Google to get other outlets to pick up on his smears, spreading the lies to more false headlines and more viewers. Comedian and producer Tim Heidecker has also spoken out about abuse he has received, including death-threats, as a result of "alt-right" criticism.

    The New York Times’ John Herrman took special note of commenters on pro-Trump Facebook pages:

    Nearly every page operator I spoke to was astonished by the tone their commenters took, comparing them to things like torch-wielding mobs and sharks in a feeding frenzy. No doubt because of the [Make America Great] page’s name, some Trump supporters even mistake [operator Adam] Nicoloff’s page for an official organ of the campaign. Nicoloff says that he receives dozens of messages a day from Trump supporters, expecting or hoping to reach the man himself. Many, he says, are simply asking for money.

    It is not clear to what extent this vitriol on Facebook overlaps with the “alt-right” proper (to whatever extent there even is an “alt-right” proper). But Facebook crowd-sourced virulence is at least overtly reminiscent of what is seen from the “alt-right.”

    A particular hub for the “alt-right” is Reddit’s “r/The_Donald” subreddit. As Bryan Menegus explained for Gizmodo:

    Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit was founded a year ago as the premier online meeting place for Trump supporters. It has since sought to—in CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman’s words—“dominate the conversation” on the site. Its members spread coded hate speech, openly antagonize other Redditors, and break the site’s most basic rules with impunity while moderators feel the brunt of the abuse, and Reddit leadership fail to adequately address the problem.

    This is abuse, and it is abuse for a particular political purpose. Whether it is under the guise of news or commentary, the fabricated stories bouncing around r/The_Donald, often cloaked in shockingly venomous rhetoric, do not adhere to and cannot be judged by traditional journalistic standards. This type of fake news needs to be understood in tandem with its context and purpose. Some of it is just for profit. But other pieces are intended to serve as weaponized propaganda meant to inspire harassment or even worse.

    The “alt-right” movement has been equated to white supremacy and neo-Nazis. That is broadly accurate, but the reality is a bit more complicated. More often than not, the gateway drug for this movement is sexism -- "extreme misogyny evolving from male bonding gone haywire,” as Aja Romano put it for Vox. White nationalism and neo-Nazism often come later.

    This framework also explains why the “alt-right” tilts at so many cultural windmills. Whether with boycotts against Star Wars this year, or boycotts against Star Wars last year, or boycotts against Ghostbusters or Hamilton or other notable events that women and people of color are involved in, the intent of the “alt-right” is not necessarily to be successful in the short run: The protests are intended as a statement of white patriarchy. Anyone talking about the boycott is surreptitiously sharing the message of white, male-centric cultural identity.

    Jason Wilson perfectly characterized the misogyny and bigotry of the "alt-right" when describing Yiannopoulos and his tactics:

    Yiannopoulos and the alt right certainly shared a couple of traits. First, there was a willingness to dispense with the American right’s trusty dog whistle and offer frank views on race (all the while disparaging those conservatives who were more attuned to euphemism and conciliation as ‘cucks’). Second, they shared a desire to restore white masculinity to its position as the central, reigning political identity.

    In Eugene, [OH], Yiannopoulos endorsed Trump’s call to end Muslim immigration on the grounds that fundamentalists ‘want to kill people like me’ – a preview of the full-throated Islamophobic appeal that he and others made to the LGBT community after the Pulse nightclub shooting the next month.

    But the meat of his address was a repetition of a claim he has made repeatedly in his writings and on social media: that white men, especially the working class, are being oppressed with an elitist doctrine of political correctness.

    Referring to lesbians as ‘horrendous, quivering masses of horror’ and feminism as ‘cancer’, Yiannopoulos generally castigated the ‘awful, awful, terrible, diseased and damaged people lecturing and hectoring the working class’ – those he sees as the enforcers of ‘the oppressive hegemony of social justice’. The only solution, he said, is a Trump administration.

    Members of the "alt-right" don't just preach this hatred. They mobilize it. Jesse Singal examined the many similarities the “alt-right”/fake news ecosystem shares with cults, and the role misogyny plays in attracting new members:

    But it’s the alt-right concept of so-called red-pilling where this subculture appears more similar to “traditional” cults and extremist groups. Adapted from The Matrix, “taking the red pill” or “getting red-pilled” simply means seeing the world as it really is. In the online subcultures that gave rise to the alt-right, its most famous meaning is in reference to feminism: After you take the red pill, the scales fall from your eyes and you can see that feminism is really just an attempt to emasculate and bully men, to allow social-justice warriors to run rampant over masculine (and traditional) values and ideals in favor of a shrill and judgmental far-left radicalism. Recently, the definition has expanded a bit — these days, in an alt-right context “getting red-pilled” probably means something more like “understanding that progressivism is a lie and part of a large-scale effort to hurt you and people like you.” But the basic point is the same: This is the moment at which you start to see things as they really are.

    This is exactly the sort of transformative experience offered by cults and extremist movements: After this, things won’t ever be the same for you. After this, you will have a role to play in an important battle that will determine the fate of the world. Your life will take on an enhanced meaning.

    At its core, the “alt-right” is just a bunch of men who feel powerless and resent women because of it. That’s why Gamergate is so crucial to understanding the movement; it truly was a galvanizing political event for a fringe movement that far too many mainstream people had overlooked because they were not the ones being harassed.

    III. Historical Precedent

    The “alt-right” weaponizes fake news stories that others drum up to harass and abuse opponents. Its members attack women, people of color, and the poor -- and their allies and advocates -- from “Gamergate” to Leslie Jones, to “Pizzagate” and now to Vic Berger (also see Megyn Kelly below). Radio host Alex Jones ties the conspiracy theories together and gives everything a common language. Reddit allows the herd to self-organize and quickly pivot from one harassment campaign to another. The Drudge Report tries to push these things into the mainstream. And tying the whole enterprise together is Breitbart, which was up until recently run by Bannon, now President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist. Breitbart is now even admitting that it will take on any Republicans who try to hurt Trump, again neatly echoing oppressive regimes of the past. Meanwhile, Trump is deliberately trying to undermine the reliability of truth itself, in a hope to push as many people as possible toward this ecosystem.

    It is possible that this abuse and harassment could escalate in the near future. While the digital tactics of pushing fake news and harassing people via social media are new, there is a precedent for this type of behavior: the “struggle sessions” in Mao’s China.

    Max Fisher explained how struggle sessions worked in The Washington Post:

    During Mao Zedong's totalitarian and often ruthless rule over China, from the early 1950s through 1976, one of the Communist Party's most unpleasant tactics for maintaining control was something called a "struggle session." On the surface, the idea was that everyone had to suss out "class enemies" and try to better their own commitment to the Communist revolution by attending regular "struggle session" meetings where they'd admit their own revolutionary failures and try to do better as individuals and communities. In practice, though, it was a form of self-reinforcing terror, a means of purging political enemies real and imagined, a tactic for working people into ideological fervor, sometimes in mass "sessions" with thousands of people.

    The systematic harassment campaign that the “alt-right” has waged through the guise of journalism is remarkably similar. Like the struggle sessions, the harassment is meant to create a sense of terror among political enemies while building a feeling of community among allies. It spreads extreme fear through communities across the country, deterring any theoretical political resistance. This abuse is meant to crush meaning in society. The more you discuss whether pizzerias have established a secret child sex ring, the more real it becomes. The more outlandish the accusation, the more effective it becomes. For both the struggle sessions and the “alt-right,” truth is no defense: You will be forced to submit. As long as members use the fake news to harass, then it is worthwhile. Engagement is not the means; engagement is the end.

    The next logical step would be something akin to book burning, which The Daily Beast says is “a peculiar form of censorship in that the act itself is intended to send a message. This is why book burning is a public spectacle. It is designed to express outrage and contains within it the notion that the ideas contained in the books or other works of art should be obliterated entirely.”

    Among American pundits, Walter Lippman alone understood the significance of what was happening when books were burned in the 1930s in Germany:

    The Nazis deliberately and systematically mean to turn the minds of the German people to war. These acts symbolize the moral and intellectual character of the Nazi regime. For these bonfires are not the work of schoolboys or mobs but of the present German Government acting through its Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.... For example ... they burn with conspicuous zeal ... Erich Maria Remarque's [anti-war book] All Quiet on the Western Front. The ominous symbolism of [this burning and] these bonfires is that there is a Government in Germany which means to teach its people that their salvation lies in violence.

    The only thing standing in the way of the “alt-right” is that it is not yet big enough to take on the entirety of American culture so directly. And yet it seems entirely possible that the movement could do something like that soon, especially if it grows emboldened by having allies in the White House. After an ISIS attack under President Trump, one can imagine the “alt-right” organizing some kind of book burning. Breitbart may even promote it.

    IV. Complicity Of Others

    The “alt-right” is the engine driving this harassment, and fake news is the tool. But it’s clear that failure of others in the media landscape helped the perverse movement get this far.

    For one, the tech industry is profiting from this activity every step of the way. Twitter’s failure to stop harassment is legendary. The Trump subreddit has grown completely out of hand. Facebook’s complicity in the spread of fake news is clear. The tech industry is so concerned with engagement that companies have been reluctant to act even when it is clear that some of that engagement is outright abuse and harassment.

    While mainstream media outlets seem to realize that fake news is a problem, they largely raise concerns only to the extent that fake news is a competitor or when the abuse is big enough that they can easily see it. There is surely fake news of every political stripe, and it should all be disincentivized. But there is no built-out ecosystem to weaponize it anywhere like there is with Breitbart, Alex Jones, Reddit, and the “alt-right.” That’s what mainstream media’s scolding about fake news and “both sides” gets wrong, time and again. In their reluctance to show the unique damage that fake news has on the right, mainstream media are continuing their biggest mistake of the Bush and Obama years: ignoring the growing radicalization of the right in America.

    And this ecosystem of fake news and the “alt-right” is entirely different from the previous right-wing media ecosystem. The previous model involved moving the audience from mainstream news to Fox News and then to the deeper trenches of talk radio and online email lists, where right-wing operators can often bilk their recipients financially. Now, things are different. Fox News’ brand of right-wing misinformation is pervasive, and over recent decades fewer people are watching mainstream news networks.

    The independence of the fake news/“alt-right” ecosystem has interesting consequences. First, members feel empowered to attack Fox News, framing it as part of the establishment media rather than an alternative to traditional sources. Aside from “Pizzagate,” the clearest example of this ecosystem is the harassment directed at Fox anchor Megyn Kelly. The first fake news story to trend on Facebook after the company fired its editors was about Kelly, falsely claiming that Fox fired her for being “‘a closet liberal who actually wants Hillary to win,’” according to CBS. Versions of this fake story featured language like “Megyn Kelly has gotten into a lot of hot water for her many attempts to smear Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.” Another fake news story called her a “traitor” for her behavior toward Trump. As Kelly has now recently explained, she also was the recipient of torrents of online abuse from Trump supporters. The harassment may not have begun with the fake news story, but their connection seems clear. And the attacks on Fox News are not limited to Kelly -- Alex Jones attacks the network regularly.

    Secondly, traditional figures like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are functionally irrelevant to the "alt-right." They may support Trump on a given day or they may not, but the “alt-right” operates independently of anything they say or do. Alex Jones or Breitbart issuing a call to action will move people, while Limbaugh and O’Reilly are now glorified book salesmen.

    And yet, right-wing media are still allied with and permissive of the “alt-right,” continuing to train their focus on mainstream media. Rather than concerning themselves with the issue of fake news, right-wing media use the term to attack mainstream outlets.

    In fact, right-wing media go out of their way to give space for the “alt-right” to operate. Fox News dramatically undercovered “Pizzagate” compared to other mainstream outlets. Fox News reporters (not just pundits) have dismissed the concept of “fake news” and defended the “alt-right” on air. When Facebook announced its plan to alleviate its fake news infestation, the most aghast were right-wing pundits.

    It is unclear where the phenomenon is going, but one clue may be Fox’s newest host. Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ Elf on the Shelf, is a huge favorite of “alt-right” trolls. If Carlson’s show is a success, Fox News in the future could drift more toward the “alt-right” model. (Worth noting is that Rupert Murdoch is reportedly a fan of Carlson's.) And the biggest glue tying together traditional right-wing media and the fake news ecosystem are the NRA and The Drudge Report, both of which were undoubtedly further empowered this election season.

    V. What’s To Come

    Many of the proposed solutions to fake news ring exceptionally hollow. Noting that the fake news ecosystem pushes lies will not stop the abuse; merely calling out the lies is like pointing out that rain originates in the clouds. The objective now is to protect people from the lies.

    It is long past the time for mainstream outlets to realize that the yoke of false balance empowers this ecosystem even more. The “alt-right” will turn any journalistic mistake into propaganda the very moment it occurs. A factual error will become an accidental truth. A correction will become censorship.

    There’s never been such a challenging time to be an informed citizen. Independent media are struggling financially, and mainstream media are obsessed with making everything about both sides, lest they lose a small portion of their audience. Right-wing media are telling all the traditional sorts of lies. Now a fake news ecosystem is feeding into the worst instincts of humanity while punishing anyone who dares stand up against them.

    And soon there will be a president who will validate those feelings.

  • Fox’s “War On Christmas” Prompts Jewish Family To Fear “Pizzagate”-Style Response

    Fox And Breitbart Focused Attention On Parents Who Expressed Concerns About Elementary School Christmas Play

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Pennsylvania news outlets are reporting that a Jewish family fled Lancaster County in fear after stories from Fox News and Breitbart.com suggested they could be partially to blame for the cancellation of an elementary school Christmas play. The family cited comments from Breitbart readers about doxing the family (“It would be nice if we had the addresses”) for their decision to flee, saying they feared another “pizza incident,” referencing a situation in which a man opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria after reading fake news stories.

    LancasterOnline.com reported in a December 22 article:

    A Hempfield elementary school is under fire for ending its longstanding production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and a Jewish family has fled the county in fear because it’s being blamed for the cancellation. The unfolding controversy at Centerville Elementary School played out this week in national conservative media outlets including FOX News and Breitbart News Network, which portray the school’s move as part of a “war on Christmas.” The school, however, has said it put an end to the play this year because it took 15 to 20 hours of classroom time to produce.

    [...]

    The fifth-grader’s parents, who spoke to LNP on the condition that they not be named, say they didn’t complain about the play or request that it be canceled, but just asked in September if their child could be excused from the play, and were told yes. Since the school announced the cancellation in November, however, they say the child has been harassed by classmates. Principal Tom Kramer, who is in his first year at the school, posted a letter on the school website on Dec. 15 confronting rumors “that one or two families influenced this decision” to cancel the play. “That’s just not true,” he wrote.

    [...]

    Since the Fox and Breitbart stories, a spokeswoman for the school district said, the school has received at least 200 emails and phone calls either supporting or objecting to the decision or asking for additional information. The Jewish student’s parents say some of the reactions to the stories frightened them. After seeing reader comments like “It would be nice if we had the addresses of those concerned citizens and, I bet, this info is known to people living in the area” on the Breitbart story, the parents pulled their child out of school and headed out of the area for a bit. “There’s no way we’re going to take a chance after the pizza incident,” they said, referencing the man who fired an assault rifle in a Washington D.C area pizzeria after reading a fake-news story that said Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of there.

    Both Fox & Friends Sunday and Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes covered the story, as did Breitbart, pushing local parents’ claims that the school canceled the play because of a Jewish student’s parents complaining about the line “God bless us, everyone.” Fox News has done hundreds of stories highlighting a so-called “War on Christmas” going back at least 12 years, covering its invented narrative to such a ludicrous extent that some Fox hosts have actually spent more time on the topic than on, say, veterans or actual wars. Fox has pushed the “War on Christmas” narrative so much, for so long, that according to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Fox may have changed Americans’ preferences for the holiday greetings they prefer to hear.

    The climate Fox has created with its “War on Christmas” has turned frightful, rather than delightful. Thanks to the attention it received from right-wing media outlets, the Pennsylvania family feared for its safety. The story had zero national news value, yet Fox pushed the narrative to continue its “War on Christmas” drivel. Fox and other conservative outlets should use this incident to reflect on the repercussions of their culture war next time they want to complain about Starbucks cups. But it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

    UPDATE: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a press release on December 22 stating that the organization spoke to the family who reportedly fled and they clarified that their departure was in fact a planned vacation. The headline for this piece has been clarified to reflect this new information.

  • Breitbart Admits Role As Trump Enforcer, Showing Why It Should Be Denied Congressional Press Credentials

    Breitbart Editor Says Republicans Should Fear The Website If They Cross Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a Politico article detailing how President-elect Donald Trump’s “horde of enforcers” -- Breitbart.com listed prominently among them -- are scaring Republican lawmakers away from criticizing him, a Breitbart editor said Republicans are right to fear the right-wing website, which was previously run by Trump senior counselor Stephen Bannon. This admission from Breitbart that the outlet plans to support Trump, rather than objectively cover his incoming administration, further demonstrates that the website is not editorially independent enough to warrant permanent Capitol Hill press credentials.

    Breitbart applied for permanent Capitol Hill press credentials in November. Media Matters has objected to the request, urging members of the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery in an open letter to reject the request based on Breitbart’s disqualifying inability to demonstrate editorial independence from the Trump team as required by the committee's rules. Breitbart fails this standard in several ways, as several former members of the committee have acknowledged. In a December 21 Politico report headlined “Trump posse browbeats Hill Republicans,” Breitbart further demonstrates why the site must be disqualified from obtaining a permanent press pass by admitting that it will go after Trump’s Republican critics.

    From the Politico article (emphasis added):

    In early December, Rep. Bill Flores made what seemed like an obvious observation to a roomful of conservatives at a conference in Washington. Some of Donald Trump’s proposals, the Texas Republican cautioned, “are not going to line up very well with our conservative policies," though he quickly added that there was plenty the incoming president and GOP Congress could accomplish together. Little did Flores realize the hell that would soon rain down from Trump's throng of enforcers.

    Breitbart seized on Flores' remarks a few days later, calling them proof that House Republicans planned to “isolate and block President Donald Trump’s populist campaign promises.”

    [...]

    It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.

    It's a novel form of party message discipline that stems from Trump but doesn't necessarily require the president-elect to speak or tweet himself. Plenty of others are willing to do it for him. Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They're afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters. "Nobody wants to go first," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who received nasty phone calls, letters and tweets after he penned an August op-ed in The New York Times, calling on Trump to release his tax returns. "People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks."

    An editor at Breitbart, formerly run by senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon, said that fear is well-founded.

    “If any politician in either party veers from what the voters clearly voted for in a landslide election … we stand at the ready to call them out on it and hold them accountable,” the person said.

  • Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos Doubles Down On Harassing Transgender University Of Wisconsin Student

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos continued to attack a transgender student from the University of Wisconsin during his December 15 talk at Minnesota State University.

    On December 13, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW), where he used the opportunity to openly mock and harass a transgender student that was recently enrolled at the school. As detailed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yiannopoulos “named and showed a picture of the student to his audience.” Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, “The way you know he's failed is I can still bang him."

    The student, who was in the audience but reportedly unrecognized, later described the experience of being “frozen in total terror” that Yiannopoulos would cause someone in the audience to “incite the mob of the room against me.” The Breitbart livestream of Yiannopoulos’ talk included a “trigger cam” that targeted individual audience members with the crosshairs of a telescopic gun sight. The personal attacks on the student prompted UMW chancellor to send a campuswide email in which he strongly condemned “the belittling of others and their appearance, and the encouragement of hate and harassment.”

    In a December 15 appearance at Minnesota State University, Yiannopoulos reiterated his attacks on the trans student, claiming to be a “second wave feminist icon”:

    I’ve become a feminist icon. Do you want to know why? So at my previous date at UW Wisconsin, I happen to put on the screen, the image, a picture of a nice young man who think he’s a lady and used the law -- because of course progressives always when they don’t get what they want or want to get in somewhere that they don’t belong, invoke the great patriarchal force known as the government -- to try to get into the women’s locker rooms. This young man was desperate for a bit of tit and minge.

    So he tried, via the government, to get himself into the women’s locker rooms at UW Milwaukee. Now he created a terrible fuss, an awful fuss, when I put his name up there and so did the president of that university. But it turns out, he’s going to quit the university. So I have become a sort of second wave feminist icon, protecting women from men in their locker rooms. Well, you’re welcome, feminism.

    Now, this young person -- sometimes they think, sometimes they say I’m mean, sometimes they say it’s too much. Sometimes they say you’re too vindictive, it’s too cruel. But the point of doing this, is that, you know, they invoke the government, they use the government to get a variety of things through that ordinary, normal people would not permit. And then this person, Justine or Adelaide, or whatever he calls himself this week --

    [audience laughter]

    It’s Christmas, I don’t care anymore!

    Adelaide, good lord, went to the press and said I had used violent words as though violent words were a thing. What the fuck is a violent word? If you can’t take a joke, how are you going to deal with having your dick cut off?

    While on tour, he has encouraged University of Delaware students to mock transgender people and at West Virginia University called women “cunts.” In July, Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for what the organization described as "participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals." The ban was widely understood as a reaction to the harassment campaign Yiannopoulos led against African-American actress Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos is known for openly mocking and harassing people. He is a champion of the "alt-right," a coalition of white supremacists and misogynists who have consistently used online platforms to organize harassment.

    Yiannopoulos’ brand of outright harassment against individual students has no place in the marketplace of ideas. Join Media Matters in asking colleges to stop letting Yiannopoulos harass their students. 

  • 19 Times Breitbart Cited A Discredited Hate Group To Spread Harmful Lies About Pediatric Medical Care

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Breitbart.com has cited an anti-LGBTQ hate group as evidence that medical care for transgender youth is dangerous, harmful, and/or tantamount to “child abuse” in 19 separate articles since March. The deceptively named hate group’s position on youth health care is refuted by all major medical associations.

    On March 19, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) released a position statement titled “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” ACPeds is a deceptively named extremist group with an estimated 200 to 500 members whose name is meant to be confused with the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). ACPeds has been designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for spreading malicious lies about LGBTQ people and deliberately misrepresenting legitimate research to attack LGBTQ equality. SPLC has detailed ACPeds’ history as a splinter fringe organization whose express purpose is to attack LGBTQ people:

    ACPeds was founded in 2002 by a small breakaway group of about 60 ultra-conservatives from the 60,000-plus member American Academy of Pediatrics, the foremost national professional organization regarding pediatrics in the country. Initially, the group was formed as a protest to AAP’s support of LGBT adoption rights. In the 14 years since its founding, ACPeds has continued to pump out demonizing pseudoscience and falsehoods about LGBT people, often parroting Paul Cameron, and calling homosexual relationships promiscuous, a danger to children, unstable, and claiming that LGBT people experience “shortened lifespans.”

    The March statement by ACPeds also claims that “conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” As ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford explained, this claim is “completely refuted by all available scientific evidence.” But presumably due in no small part to its credible-sounding name, ACPeds’ harmful lies about pediatric care were quickly parroted by conservative outlets. The talking point spread far enough that Snopes.com debunked it, writing, “It was an official-sounding but fringe group of politically motivated pediatricians who issued a statement on gender, not the respected American Academy of Pediatrics.”

    The extremist “alt-right” website has continued to cite ACPeds as a legitimate source of medical information, using the statement as “evidence” to oppose basic protections for LGBTQ youth. Since ACPeds released the baseless “child abuse” claim in March, Breitbart has parroted the lie as fact in 19 different articles. Here are the headlines:  

    1. Gay Group Promotes ‘Gender Ideology’ For Children
    2. Pope Francis: Gender Theory Part Of ‘Global War’ To Destroy Marriage 
    3. Physicians Decry Pseudo-Science Of Transgenderism, ‘Absurd’ To Say Anyone Is Born Into ‘Wrong Body’
    4. LGBT Groups Blast Pope Francis Over Gender Comments 
    5. Pastor: Iowa Is Claiming Authority Over Church’s Teaching Of Christian Sexuality 
    6. Criticism Of Transgender Agenda Will Get Virginia Students Expelled 
    7. Washington State Schools Push ‘Gender Fluid,’ Transgender Ideas On K-12 Kids 
    8. Open Letter To Leaders: Gender Ideology ‘Putting Our Children At Risk’ 
    9. Pro-Gay Group Warns ‘Significant Risks’ In Transgender Medical Treatments For Children
    10. Vermont Schoolkids Resist Official Pressure For Transgender Favoritism 
    11. Princeton Prof: Transgenderism Not Scientific, ‘Superstitious Belief’ 
    12. Pro-Family Leaders Condemn Administration’s Imposition Of ‘Abusive’ Transgender Policy 
    13. Andrea Lafferty: Donald Trump And Others ‘Don’t Understand The Full Impact’ Of ‘Gender Identity’ Ideology
    14. Pope Says No To Trans-Kids, Teach Young ‘To Accept Their Own Body As It Was Created’ 
    15. Planned Parenthood Ignores Doctors’ Warnings Of Transgender Dangers To Children
    16. How The Washington Post Gets The North Carolina Anti-Trans Law Wrong 
    17. North Carolina Passes Anti-Trans Bill, Corporate Bullies Circling 
    18. College Of Pediatricians Calls Transgender Ideology ‘Child Abuse’ 
    19. Pediatricians Call Gender Discordance Conditioning Child Abuse

    Two Breitbart authors -- who are bylined as “Dr. Susan Berry” and “Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.” -- wrote 13 of those 19 articles (seven and six, respectively). It’s unclear whether their titles are particularly relevant to the subject matter. According to his Breitbart biography, Williams “is a Permanent Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame University,” and his personal website biography says that he earned a doctorate in theology in Rome. Berry has no biographical information on Breitbart, including no information to indicate what sort of doctor she is. An archived version of her columnist page from 2014 indicates that she has a doctorate in psychology, while a 2013 article in Darien News reports that a clinical psychologist Susan Berry works “primarily with gifted children and adults.”

    1. Gay Group Promotes ‘Gender Ideology’ For Children

    Mainstream pediatricians and professionals are becoming very concerned about the mental health of children in America who are now being exposed to the Obama administration’s promotion of gender ideology in schools and workplaces. These professionals signed onto an open letter that asserts the ideology is “putting the nation’s children at risk.”

    The American College of Pediatricians states gender ideology is harmful to children and that, by promoting gender fluidity in its school bathroom directive, the Obama administration is complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 10/5/16

    2. Pope Francis: Gender Theory Part Of ‘Global War’ To Destroy Marriage 

    This past August, after the Pope once again decried the introduction of gender theory into schools, LGBT activists reacted strongly, accusing Francis of butting in where he doesn’t belong.

    Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT advocacy group, said that the Pope was ignorant about gender issues.

    “Nobody chooses a gender identity. They discover it,” he said. “Transgender people come to know themselves in a process is [sic] similar to the way that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people discover their sexual orientation.”

    DeBernardo added that “most reputable scientific experts say that allowing children to transition in youth is both a physically and psychologically healthy thing for them to do in most cases.”

    That same month, however, the American College of Pediatricians issued a position paper warning that gender ideology is harmful to children.

    Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder that must be dealt with, not pandered to, the physicians argued. [Thomas D. Williams, 10/2/16]

    3. Physicians Decry Pseudo-Science Of Transgenderism, ‘Absurd’ To Say Anyone Is Born Into ‘Wrong Body’

    The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has released a position paper denouncing popular approaches to transgender, declaring that the current protocol is founded upon “unscientific gender ideology,” which lacks any basis in real evidence.

    The physicians argue that the assumption that gender dysphoria (GD)—a psychological condition in which people experience a marked incongruence between their experienced gender and their biological sex—is innate contradicts all relevant data and is based on ideology rather than science.

    [...]

    “Conditioning children to believe the absurdity that they or anyone could be ‘born into the wrong body,’ and that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” the paper argues. [Thomas D. Williams, 8/7/16]

    4. LGBT Groups Blast Pope Francis Over Gender Comments 

    Last spring, the American College of Pediatricians issued a position paper warning against the physical and psychological dangers to children posed by advocates of transgenderism. Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder that must be dealt with, not pandered to, the physicians argued.

    The doctors declared that human sexuality is “an objective biological binary trait” rather than an infinite series of self-determined “genders.” The norm for human design, the doctors said, “is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species,” and therefore, “XY” and “XX” are “genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.” [Thomas D. Williams, 8/4/16

    5. Pastor: Iowa Is Claiming Authority Over Church’s Teaching Of Christian Sexuality 

    The American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children and that by promoting gender fluidity, government officials are complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 7/8/16]

    6. Criticism Of Transgender Agenda Will Get Virginia Students Expelled 

    The American College of Pediatricians has issued a report saying that transgenderism in children is dangerous. They have determined that testosterone shots and other transgender-related medical interventions are a form of child abuse.

    There are a mere 700,000 transsexuals in the United States, according to the pro-trans Williams Institute at the University of California – Los Angeles. Only, 90,000 people have moved to change their name based on sex changes, according to a study of 2010 federal data. This means this massive and fundamental change is being imposed on all kids for the benefit of a tiny sliver of the American populace. [Austin Ruse, 6/10/16

    7. Washington State Schools Push ‘Gender Fluid,’ Transgender Ideas On K-12 Kids 

    The push to establish the “gender identity” claim in the nation’s schools is strongly backed by President Barack Obama’s deputies.

    In response, more than 60 leaders concerned about the mental health of American children signed an open letter that says the Obama administration’s K-12 gender fluid policies are “putting the nation’s children at risk.”

    Among the letter’s signers are Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, and Lisa Bell, founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals.

    The pediatricians assert that standards or policies that promote gender fluidity amount to “child abuse[.]” [Susan Berry, 6/9/16

    8. Open Letter To Leaders: Gender Ideology ‘Putting Our Children At Risk’ 

    The American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children and that by promoting gender fluidity, the Obama administration is complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 6/6/16

    9. Pro-Gay Group Warns ‘Significant Risks’ In Transgender Medical Treatments For Children

    In a recent statement, the American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children. The College states that it “urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality…”

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 5/20/16

    10. Vermont Schoolkids Resist Official Pressure For Transgender Favoritism 

    Medical professionals caution against the claim that “transgenderism” exists among children. Recently the American College of Pediatricians ruled that it was essentially a form of child abuse to force immature children into transgenderism, partly because it forces the child into a life-changing avenue before they are an adult. [Warner Todd Huston, 5/18/16]

    11. Princeton Prof: Transgenderism Not Scientific, ‘Superstitious Belief’ 

    [Professor Robert P.] George’s concerns over the transgender movement echo the recent statement by the American College of Pediatricians, which argued forcefully against encouraging young people to question their own biological sexuality.

    [...]

    Though preceding the Obama edict by nearly two months, the Pediatricians’ statement reads like a direct response to the unprecedented measure.

    “Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to ‘gender clinics’ where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs,” the physicians warned.

    “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” they concluded. [Thomas D. Williams, 5/16/16]

    12. Pro-Family Leaders Condemn Administration’s Imposition Of ‘Abusive’ Transgender Policy 

    National pro-family leaders are condemning President Barack Obama’s imposition of transgender ideology on America’s schoolchildren – what the American College of Pediatricians says amounts to “child abuse.”

    “This attempt to bully our local schools into submission to the Obama Administration’s agenda is shameful and a gross abuse of the federal government’s power,” Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) said in a statement. “It has nothing to do with compassion for minority student populations and everything to do with political opportunism for the next election.” [Susan Berry, 5/13/16

    13. Andrea Lafferty: Donald Trump And Others ‘Don’t Understand The Full Impact’ Of ‘Gender Identity’ Ideology 

    As Web MD states, the condition known as “gender dysphoria” was once referred to as “gender identity disorder.” However, the website takes the now easily recognizable “politically correct” approach: “But the mismatch between body and internal sense of gender is not a mental illness. Instead, what need to be addressed are the stress, anxiety, and depression that go along with it.”

    The American College of Pediatricians, however, has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children. The college states:

    [...]

    “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” the College asserts. [Susan Berry, 4/25/16

    14. Pope Says No To Trans-Kids, Teach Young ‘To Accept Their Own Body As It Was Created’ 

    Using some of his most powerful language to date, Pope Francis has joined the American College of Pediatricians in denouncing the transgender ideology behind contemporary ideas of fluid sexual identity among children.

    [...]

    Treating gender confusion as a good and normal thing constitutes an attack on children that can only mean serious problems for them in the future. Or in the words of the pediatricians, it is “child abuse.” [Thomas D. Williams, 4/11/16]

    15. Planned Parenthood Ignores Doctors’ Warnings Of Transgender Dangers To Children 

    Just ten days after the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a stern statement warning of the dangers that gender ideology poses to children and adolescents, Planned Parenthood began a campaign on social media to “train the next generation of trans allies.”

    [...]

    Pulling no punches, the doctors stated that conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is “child abuse.” [Thomas D. Williams, 4/3/16]

    16. How The Washington Post Gets The North Carolina Anti-Trans Law Wrong 

    Major corporations, that long ago were taken over by the sexual left, continue to threaten the state. The NBA is threatening to pull the All-Star Game from the state. Disney, which is about to open a facility in China where the government forces some women to have abortions, is threatening to pull out of the state. American Airline, that has a hub in Charlotte, has denounced the law.

    McCrory released a statement this week outlining “myths vs. facts” about the new law.

    This past week, the American College of Pediatricians described the transgender ideology as a form of child abuse. [Austin Ruse, 3/27/16]

    17. North Carolina Passes Anti-Trans Bill, Corporate Bullies Circling 

    There is a great deal of confusion about transgenderism. Advocates argue that people are “assigned” a gender at birth, an “assignment” that may not comport with their eventual “gender identity” or “gender expression” which could include up more than 58 possibilities, according to Facebook, including something called “gender non-binary” where someone believes he is neither male or female.

    According to a statement released this week by the American College of Pediatricians, the transgender ideology is actually a form of child abuse. The statement cites studies that show children who are gender confused need psychological help and that nearly all of them straighten out by their mid-twenties.

    The College points out that giving a child hormone treatment to halt puberty is highly dangerous. [Austin Ruse, 3/25/16

    18. College Of Pediatricians Calls Transgender Ideology ‘Child Abuse’ 

    The American College of Pediatricians warns educators and legislators that “a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex” is dangerous for children.

    In a strongly worded statement issued today, the professional association of pediatricians says “a person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.” It describes such thinking as problem that exists in the mind and not the body and “it should be treated as such.”

    [...]

    The doctors argue that “Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Austin Ruse, 3/21/16

    19. Pediatricians Call Gender Discordance Conditioning Child Abuse 

    The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has issued a report urging legislators and educators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal “a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex.” They say endorsing “gender discordance” is “child abuse.”

    The report published by the ACP concludes that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Lana Shadwick, 3/19/16]

    Methodology:

    Media Matters used Google to search Breitbart.com for “American College of Pediatricians” between March 19 and December 15, 2016. Articles appearing under the “Breitbart London” section of the site were excluded from analysis. Articles that cited the American College of Pediatricians but did not mention transgender or gender nonconforming youth were excluded from the count. 

  • Media Matters President Angelo Carusone Warns European Media About Breitbart’s Toxic Effect On Politics

    Carusone: Breitbart’s Model “Consists Of Infecting A Political Movement"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Catalonian newspaper El Nacional spoke with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone about Breitbart.com and its model of “infecting” political movements to advance its racist, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, and anti-globalization political ideology. The report comes shortly after Breitbart announced it will launch operations in France and Germany ahead of their elections.

    Breitbart -- a right-wing website that publishes misinformation, conspiracy theories, and anti-Semitic, racist, transphobic, misogynistic and xenophobic content -- has become a platform in the U.S. for the white nationalist movement branded by its supporters as the "alt-right." Breitbart also greatly aided Donald Trump’s campaign, effectively functioning as Trump’s propaganda machine. Breitbart’s former executive chairman Stephen Bannon took a leave of absence to serve as CEO for the Trump campaign, and post-election he has been chosen to serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president-elect.

    Breitbart, which already has operations in London and Jerusalem, has now announced plans to expand to France and Germany ahead of those countries’ elections. Breitbart is looking to exploit the rise of xenophobic movements like that of Marine Le Pen in France by deploying their extremist ideology in the European media markets.

    Carusone explained to El Nacional that Breitbart’s model “consists of infecting” an opposition movement that already exists in a country -- “like Nigel Farage’s anti-European xenophobic party” in the United Kingdom -- and aligning itself with that movement to advance its agenda. Breitbart identifies a political movement that is susceptible to or that will be energized by anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, anti-globalization, or racist sentiments and “generat[es] animosity” to fuel those movements. Carusone also explained that Breitbart doesn’t “have enough income to sustain their operations” and that they must have other sources of funding that aren’t publicly known -- meaning that it is unclear who is ultimately bankrolling the spread of their extremism.

    Translated from El Nacional:

    Could Breitbart take root in Spain? “Its model, in reality, consists of infecting a political movement” of opposition that is already established, explained Angelo Carusone, president of the progressive think tank Media Matters to El Nacional. “That movement existed in the United Kingdom: the UKIP (like Nigel Farage’s anti-European xenophobic party).

    In France and Germany they already have somewhere to take cover: Marine Le Pen’s National Front(FN) and Frauke Petry’s Alternative for Germany (AfD).

    The first step is to identify an opposition party in the country where they want to establish themselves that aligns with them and to seek out the sentiments that fuel them: those against immigrants, feminism, globalization, other races …, explains Carusone. Breitbart “generates animosity” against these groups “publishing content more or less in line with the party” they are drawing close to. The party officials “talk about them on TV, on radio or in newspapers, giving Breitbart added legitimacy among the community in which they want to grow and within their chosen party. They are specialists in building this dynamic,” he concluded.

    [...]

    Their business model is unclear. Legally they are a corporation, not an NGO or a foundation. They don’t promote donations, even if their initial push came from one: the at least ten million dollars that American billionaire Robert Mercer gifted them.

    They have scarce advertising and there are a handful of companies that have decided to stop advertising on Breitbart: Kellogg (foods), Allstate (insurance), Warby Parker (glasses), Earthlink y Sofi (internet) and BMW. Others, like Nissan, have decided to stay, perhaps for fear that they will mount a boycott campaign as happened to Kellogg.

    [...]

    Breitbart doesn’t make its financial accounting public. It also avoids asking for or soliciting grants or credentials that would force them to make this information public. “They don’t even talk about these things. What seems clear to me is that they don’t have enough income to sustain their operations. They have to have other sources of funding,” suspects Carusone, for whom “all of that is not what most concerns them, in the sense that they are more interested in advancing their ideology and political agenda” than they are in business aspects.

    "They lie, misinform, intimidate, harass and try to suppress or eliminate the activities of those who oppose them. I wouldn’t say that they are a medium for information, but rather the organizational nexus of a community. They look like an informational website, but they are an organization tool. That’s where their political power comes from,” explained Carusone.