From the October 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News and CNBC regular and "birther" conspiracy proponent Donald Trump reacted to a conservative group's unsubstantiated report that President Obama's campaign may be receiving illegal donations from foreign donors by calling him a "Foreign candidate getting foreign donations."
In fact, the report, from conservative group the Government Accountability Institute, did not assert that the Obama campaign is receiving unlawful contributions, and the group's founders have admitted that fraudulent and foreign donations are just a "concern."
From Trump's twitter feed:
From the October 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media are offering GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney advice for the upcoming presidential debate. They suggest Romney should push economic myths to attack Obama's record, "smack the president," and get under Obama's skin.
From the October 2 edition of Fox News' On The Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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After GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney disparaged 47 percent of Americans, Fox News spent several days attacking Obama with a series of misleading and false attacks.
Fox News is hyping non-controversial comments by President Obama to suggest that he is a closet extremist.
Echoing an attack by Mitt Romney, several Fox personalities attacked Obama for saying in 1998 that he supports government spending in order to "make sure that everybody's got a shot." These Fox personalities suggested that Obama's views were more troubling than Mitt Romney's disparagement of the 47 percent of Americans he says are "dependent upon government."
But as The Washington Post's Greg Sargent pointed out, Obama's comments are completely uncontroversial. Indeed, even Romney said yesterday that he believes in "government caring for those in need." Sargent explained:
Maybe someone can explain how we can pay for "government caring for those in need" without "taking from some to give to others." How do you pay for a safety net without redistribution? (Behind closed doors, of course, Romney is far harsher about "those in need.")
Here is the full 1998 Obama quote that Romney and Republicans are casting as pro "redistribution":
"The trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution. Because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot."
In other words, this is not meaningfully different from what Obama has said thousands of times.
But Fox nevertheless eagerly jumped on the Romney talking point that Obama is an extremist who supports redistribution.
Mitt Romney's campaign isn't the only conservative foundation taking a hit this election season, so is the GOP Noise Machine.
This campaign, this ousting of Obama, was supposed to the crowning achievement of the retooled conservative movement that's now powered unquestionably by right-wing media outlets. No longer primarily fueled by think tanks, or authors, or activists, or even politicians, it's driven by media entities. Republicans were going to ride the wave of Fox News' cable ratings dominance, tap into Rush Limbaugh's millions of listeners, enlist an army of far-right bloggers and they were going to rewrite the rules of campaigning in the New Media age.
In late June, Romney's campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar boasted to Breitbart.com how the alliance was going to change the face of politics; how "this combination has created a new political reality." He announced, "The rise of Breitbart, Drudge and others, combined with an aggressive Romney campaign is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the conservative movement."
But instead of being part of Romney's campaign solution, the GOP Noise Machine has become part of Romney's campaign problem.
And a very big part.
The trouble is that Romney apparently believes the misinformation the Noise Machine churns out on an hourly and daily basis. (i.e. Obama gutted welfare reform!) Or at least he pretends to believe it, and then he actively campaigns on the falsehoods.
As The Atlantic's Elspeth Reeve notes in her piece this week, "Conservative Bloggers Are Losing This Election":
There's a pattern emerging to Mitt Romney's worst gaffes: his biggest political missteps come whenever he repeats something the conservative opinion complex has already repeated endlessly. Instead of being the candidate that conservative bloggers feared as a moderate, he's been exactly the candidate they wanted. And he's losing.
At the outset of the campaign season, the assumption was that far-right bloggers and professional talkers would help echo and drive Romney's message, not that Romney would get his messaging from them; not that Romney would be dependent on them for campaign strategy. But incredibly, that's how the relationship has unfolded.
Some conservative media figures are praising Clint Eastwood's performance from the final night of the Republican National Convention, in which the actor spoke to an empty chair representing President Obama. Eastwood rambled on at length, engaging in an awkward, one-person back and forth with the imaginary president that was meant to critique Obama's policy record.
Politico reported that "the Romney family seemed less than thrilled when the camera panned to them" during Eastwood's "disjointed moment." The Washington Post said Eastwood's performance "looked bizarre on the television screen." The New York Times spoke to Romney aides, who anonymously described the performance as "strange, " "weird," and "theater of the absurd."
This morning, regular Fox News and CNBC guest and Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump tweeted that Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington "is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision."
Trump makes weekly guest appearances on Fox News' Fox & Friends and on CNBC's Squawk Box. He often uses those appearances to offer baseless conspiracy theories about President Obama. Indeed, CNBC.com has noted that Trump "has been at the forefront of the 'birther' movement -- those who question whether Obama was born in the U.S."
Shortly after Trump's appearance on CNBC this morning, the program hosted Huffington, who criticized the Republican National Convention for devoting insufficient attention to job creation.
Last year Fox News relentlessly promoted his claims that President Obama was not born in the United States. Earlier this month on CNBC, Trump used an appearance to claim that Mitt Romney should only release his tax returns if Obama releases his college transcripts, echoing a right-wing conspiracy that those documents indicate that he attended college as a foreign student.
Right-wing media are acting as de facto political advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, offering the candidate an array of advice that includes replacing his staffers, finding "his inner pit bull," and talking more about his faith.
The temptation to try to create campaign news during the slow summer months is one that journalists ought to resist. If not, they could end up looking like CNBC did on Tuesday when the business news channel lost its bearings (again) and invited disgraced birther Donald Trump on to weave his tired conspiracies about the president's supposedly hidden past. Worse, CNBC.com then wrote up Trump's appearance while touting as news a comically awful right-wing fantasy published this week about Obama's years at Columbia University.
Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Trump was pushing what he claimed to be a brilliant campaign maneuver for the Romney campaign, which finds itself under pressure to release the candidate's tax records, as all presidential candidates have done in recent years. According to Trump, Romney should finally release years of his tax returns, but only if Obama released his college transcripts.
What Trump apparently doesn't understand, and what nobody on CNBC bothered to point out, is that as a rule presidential nominees do release extensive tax returns, and as a rule they do not release their college transcripts. (Romney hasn't.) Trumps brilliant dare to the Obama campaign doesn't make any sense because tax returns and college records have never been treated similarly by campaigns from either party.
CNBC's Trump troubles were compounded online with a report that soft-peddled Trump's birther past, while claiming serious new questions have been raised about Obama's time at Columbia.
In his regular Monday appearance on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump promoted "Dine with the Donald," a fundraising contest for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in which donors to Romney's campaign are entered for a chance to win a stay at the Trump Tower and a dinner with Trump and Romney. During the segment, Trump touted a previous event in which he "raised a lot of money for Ann Romney" while the three co-hosts allowed Trump to promote his upcoming fundraiser. From Fox & Friends:
TRUMP: The big dinner is going to be the Trump dinner. You know that, dine with Donald, you know that. Well, Mitt Romney and the whole group came up with a plan. They were looking for a big celebrity, and then somebody said, "we have the biggest celebrity. It's Trump."
They said, "you're right." And they're having a dinner, dine with Trump, and it's going to be like in a month, and I'm going to be involved in a dinner. And I hear it's selling like hot cakes. And Mitt Romney is going to join us for the dinner. And I think it's going to make a lot of money.
This promotion of this Romney fundraiser comes less than a week after Fox & Friends aired a Fox-produced, four-minute anti-Obama attack ad. This is also hardly the first time that Fox and its guests have promoted pro-GOP fundraisers.
Fox News' Fox Nation website is now highlighting Donald Trump's interview this afternoon with CNN's Wolf Blitzer using the headline, "Trump Knocks Wolf Blizter [sic] Into Next Week." During the interview, Trump offered up a variety of debunked claims intended to cast doubt on President Obama's place of birth, while Blitzer responded by noting the mountains of evidence definitively proving that Obama was born in Hawaii. At one point, Blitzer responded, "Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you."
The Fox Nation post links to a Politico blog post reporting that Trump "took a shot at CNN's low ratings" during the interview.
From Fox Nation:
Donald Trump went on CNN this afternoon to do what has become his specialty of late: make a complete fool of himself. His appearance was precipitated by every sensible person on both sides of the aisle wondering why, exactly, Mitt Romney voluntarily chooses to associate with Trump, given the real estate mogul's vocal obsession with birtherism and his many years as the cartoonish avatar of repellant avarice.
So there he was, in the Situation Room, getting manhandled by Wolf Blitzer on President Obama's place of birth -- an issue that never actually was an issue and was unmercifully put to rest by the president himself when he released his long-form birth certificate. The highlight of the interview? After Trump questioned the birth certificate's authenticity, the presence of Obama's mother at the hospital, and the birth announcements in the Honolulu papers, Blitzer responded with admirable restraint: "Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you."
The new fuel for Trump's birther fire is the Breitbart.com "exclusive" about Obama's publisher wrongly claiming 20 years ago that he was born in Kenya -- the same "exclusive" that the Breitbart people said had nothing to do with birtherism. During an interview with CNBC earlier today, Trump referred to the Breitbart story, claiming that Obama told his publisher that he was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia." He brought it up again in his CNN interview: "Obama hates the subject. When his publisher comes out with a statement from him made in the 1990s that he was born in Kenya and that he was raised in Indonesia, and all of the sudden it comes out, I think it's something that he doesn't like at all."
That's factually incorrect; the statement was not from Obama but was rather a "fact-checking error" by the literary agency, which told Political Wire: "There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii."
Regardless, it's become the new shiny object for the incurable birther remnant. Who could have predicted?