Ed Klein

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  • The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi Profiles "Propaganda As Fan Fiction" Junk Journalist Ed Klein

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi profiled discredited journalist Ed Klein, who attempts to paint Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a criminal in his new book, Guilty As Sin. Nuzzi explained that Klein “just makes shit up” and that he “produce[s] colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality,” but that his “tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors” in the 2016 election.

    Klein has a long history of promoting conspiracies about the Clintons, and his work has been labeled "bullshit," "smut," "junk journalism," and "fan fiction" by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. Klein’s work -- which consists of outrageous smears about the Clintons (including that Bill Clinton raped Hillary), demonstrably false allegations, and fake quotes -- has been largely ignored in recent years. Despite his poor record, Klein was recently hosted on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to discuss his new book, where previously even co-host Brian Kilmeade had himself called Klein’s work into question. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has reportedly known Klein for decades, has met with the discredited reporter during the presidential campaign, and according to Nuzzi was “interviewed extensively” for Klein’s book.

    In an October 6 article, Nuzzi described Klein’s “journalistic practices”: taking “real people, their titles and roles unchanged,” but “invent[ing] from whole cloth” the substance of their lives to “produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality.” From the article:

    To use Edward Klein’s own journalistic practices when writing about his work is to produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality—the characters are real people, their titles and roles unchanged, but the content of their personalities, their conversations, and their thoughts invented from whole cloth. Klein’s work is propaganda as fan fiction, published and promoted as the serious nonfiction work of a reporter and editor once employed by Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine—all of which is true, except at some point in the last quarter century, Klein lost his goddamn mind.


    He began his career at the New York Daily News, from there became an editor at Newsweek, then left for The New York Times, became the editor of The New York Times Magazine—which won two Pulitzers under his stewardship, from 1977 to 1987—and then, in the mid-1990s, started writing books.

    He’s written 11 books advertised as nonfiction, four of them about the Clintons, whom, he told me in a May interview, he began researching around 2003.

    In case it’s not overwhelmingly clear already, he does not like the couple very much. But Klein’s political opinions are not the problem with his books or even their defining characteristic—that would be that he just makes shit up, and it’s not even good. Yet in the highly emotional and volatile climate of the 2016 presidential election, Klein’s tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors—especially Donald Trump, whom Klein has spent a lot of time with over the years and interviewed extensively for Guilty as Sin.


    From the way Klein talks, you’d think he wrote All the President’s Men, not a gossipy trilogy about the muumuu-loving Democratic nominee sexually harassing her female underling and escaping the law yet again. [The Daily Beast, 10/6/16]

  • Media Still Can’t Trust Anti-Clinton Author Ed Klein

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Discredited reporter Ed Klein is set to release a new book, Guilty as Sin, on October 4, in which he claims to have uncovered “the real story” of the FBI investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as well as of President Bill Clinton’s continuous affairs with interns.

    Klein’s has a long history of promoting false conspiracy theories about the Clintons, including the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill raped Hillary. Klein’s previous books have been roundly criticized by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. His supposed reporting has been labeled "bullshit," "smut," "junk journalism," and "fan fiction."

    Conservative media outlets The Daily Caller and the New York Post published excerpts of Klein’s new book on October 2. The Post excerpt offered an alleged account of “the ex-president continu[ing] his cozy relationships with interns” and “mus[ing] about naked pool parties on the roof.” The Daily Caller excerpt recycled several debunked claims that Hillary Clinton openly dealt with Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative work from her seventh floor State Department office while she served as secretary of state. Klein also promoted his book on the right-wing blog Breitbart News, claiming that Clinton “is often totally out of control -- screaming and sometimes even physically attacking people, including her husband and campaign workers.”

    The discredited author’s claims made it onto Fox News when Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade cited Klein’s upcoming book to suggest Bill Clinton may be engaged in affairs with interns at the Clinton library in Little Rock, AR. From the October 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Here’s the thing -- it's just a double standard. She’s going after Donald Trump for talking about women, and she says that about Gennifer Flowers. However, I do think that she has every right to hire a private investigator. If you have the money to do that, if your husband is doing all of this --

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Who, Hillary?

    EARHARDT: That’s not illegal. If your husband is having affairs and you want to catch him --

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Here's the thing, if you want to find out because it's going to save your marriage for one thing, but if you want to hammer the women because politically it's damaging to the Clinton name --

    EARHARDT: That's never --

    KILMEADE: That is totally different

    EARHARDT: Right.

    KILMEADE: I want to find out the truth. I sense that she knew the truth and wanted to defame the woman and the accuser. That's what Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Gennifer Flowers would say.

    DOOCY: And that’s just several. That’s three out of close to two dozen.

    KILMEADE: Right, which, according to Ed Klein, our guest tomorrow, might be still happening in the Clinton library, if you are to believe that book.

    Klein’s previous work has been panned by both conservative and mainstream media figures alike. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York said his last book, Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary, was “denounced as a whole pack of lies,” and in 2014 even conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dismissed Klein’s unsourced quotes as “odd.” Over 30 mainstream reporters slammed Klein’s work as “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced” “junk journalism” with “numerous factual errors,” written by “an author devoid of credibility.”

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account. Trump had lunch with Klein in May, and Klein says he has known Trump for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him."

  • Right-Wing Media Insist Clinton’s Pneumonia Diagnosis Is A “Cover For Some More Serious Condition”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media are claiming the statement from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign that she was diagnosed with pneumonia is actually “a cover for some more serious condition,” and that Clinton falling ill at a 9/11 memorial event “had virtually nothing to do with her having pneumonia.” Actual medical experts in the media have explained that “Clinton's wobbly incident Sunday is a near-textbook case of what can happen with ‘walking pneumonia.’”

  • Trump’s Kitchen Cabinet, Continued: What The Media Needs To Know About The Nominee’s Top Advisers And Supporters

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump has allied himself with a cast of characters and hangers-on who, should he win the presidency, would likely have his ear. Below is an updated guide -- first published in May -- to the people the Republican presidential nominee has chosen to surround himself with.

    Stephen Bannon


    The Trump Connection

    Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon was named as the chief executive of the Trump campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has recently made a “noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Several anonymous Breitbart staffers alleged that “the company’s top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website” and claimed the candidate paid the site in exchange for favorable coverage. (Bannon denied the allegation.)

    After news surfaced that then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields had allegedly been manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager, Bannon sided with the campaign over his employee, leading to the defection of several staffers.

    Several former Bannon employees have spoken out about his hiring by the campaign. Former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro called Bannon a “legitimately sinister figure” who has led Breitbart News to embrace the “white supremacist alt-right.” Former Breitbart News spokesperson Kurt Bardella told Media Matters that Bannon is a “pathological liar” whose hiring signals a “dangerous" shift by the campaign.

    Kellyanne Conway


    The Trump Connection

    Kellyanne Conway served as a senior adviser and pollster for the Trump campaign, and was recently named campaign manager.

    What You Need To Know

    Conway has long been involved in conservative politics, mostly as a pollster working with conservative groups like the NRA, Family Research Council and Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.

    Conway once said that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers” and suggested the representation of same-sex parents in children’s programming was a “corrupting” influence.” She also once argued that “political correctness” could create a situation where there were “air traffic controllers who don’t speak great English” leading to “two planes crashing in the sky.”

    She also argued that “revulsion towards men” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement” and that “baby girls [are] being killed just because they’re girls” in America.

    David Bossie


    The Trump Connection

    Conservative activist David Bossie is taking a leave of absence from his job as president of activist group Citizens United to be the deputy campaign manager for Trump.

    What You Need To Know

    In 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush condemned Bossie and Citizens United for using what he called “filthy campaign tactics” against the Clintons during the 1992 presidential campaign. Following President Clinton’s election, Bossie used his role as Citizens United’s political director to operate “an information factory” that produced “a steady stream of tips, tidbits, documents, factoids, suspicions, and story ideas for the nation's press and for Republicans on Capitol Hill.”

    Following the 1994 congressional elections, Bossie became a top investigator for the House Government and Reform Committee. The committee was involved in investigating Whitewater, the supposed scandal in which the Clintons were accused of profiting from a real estate deal. Numerous Whitewater investigations failed to turn up evidence to charge the Clintons with anything. But Bossie resigned from that position in the wake of a firestorm regarding his role in releasing selectively edited transcripts and video of conversations with Clinton confidant Webster Hubbell, which omitted statements that downplayed alleged wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. Then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he was “embarrassed” by “the circus” that went on at the committee.

    Bossie returned to Citizens United, where he has been president since 2000. The group’s film Hillary: The Movie prompted the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, which resulted in the 5-4 decision that has led to nearly unlimited campaign spending in elections.

    More recently, Citizens United has been pushing for the release of Hillary Clinton’s communications from the State Department when she was secretary of state, and the organization is a party in several lawsuits demanding Clinton-related materials from the agency. In the course of making those requests, Citizens United has often insinuated -- without evidence -- that wrongdoing took place. Bossie’s deceptive work is frequently cited in major media outlets.

    Paul Manafort


    The Trump Connection

    Republican strategist Paul Manafort was hired by Trump as a senior aide to his political campaign. Manafort was later promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist.

    What You Need To Know

    Manafort was partners with Roger Stone in the lobbying and consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. After a congressional investigation, Manafort admitted that the work he performed after receiving consulting fees was “influence peddling.”

    Manafort and his firms have worked with several unsavory clients including “a business group tied to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines; Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian president and ally of Vladimir Putin; and Lynden Pindling, the former Bahamian prime minister who was accused of ties to drug traffickers.”

    During the Republican primaries, Manafort accused Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” in order to win over convention delegates.

    Manafort’s consulting work on behalf of a Ukrainian political party has come under scrutiny as a result of his role in the Trump campaign.

    The Associated Press reported that Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.”

    The New York Times reported that “handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort” by the pro-Russian political party he consulted for in Ukraine.

    Roger Stone


    The Trump Connection

    Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone is a longtime Trump ally. Stone worked on his campaign until August of 2015, continues to serve as a prominent advocate for Trump’s candidacy, and regularly speaks with Trump, including recommending top aide Paul Manafort to the campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    In addition to his political dirty tricks, Stone has an extensive history of violent, racist, and sexist comments. He started an anti-Hillary Clinton group in 2008 with the acronym “C.U.N.T.,” and has called for her to be executed. He called cable news commentators a “stupid negro” and “Mandingo,” and he promotes conspiracy theories about the Clinton and Bush families murdering dozens of people. His next book is about how the Clintons purportedly murdered JFK Jr. “because he was in the way.”

    Stone’s racist and sexist tweets resulted in him being banned from appearing on CNN and MSNBC.

    While advocating for Trump, Stone has peddled several outlandish conspiracy theories. He accused the Clintons of murdering several more people, argued that the 2016 election will be “rigged” via the manipulation of voting machines, and alleged that a top Clinton campaign aide was connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stone also attacked the family of Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

    Alex Jones


    The Trump Connection

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones has been one of Trump’s loudest and most passionate supporters. And the feeling is apparently mutual. In addition to promoting Trump on his show incessantly, Jones hosted Trump for an interview, praised him as a “George Washington” figure, and encouraged listeners to donate to his campaign. (During the appearance, Trump praised Jones for his “amazing” reputation and promised, “I will not let you down.”) Trump confidant Roger Stone has also become a regular on Jones’ show, and the two worked together to organize protests on Trump’s behalf at the Republican convention. After Trump essentially clinched the nomination, Stone went on Jones’ show and told the host, “Trump himself told me that he has seen so many of your supporters and listeners at his rallies,” adding, “I’m certain that he is grateful for your support.”

    What You Need To Know

    Alex Jones is a self-described “founding father” of the “9/11 truth movement” who believes that the terrorist attacks were a “false flag.” Jones also has promoted conspiracy theories alleging that events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Aurora movie theater shooting were all government-orchestrated attacks.

    Jones publicly asked Trump to raise the conspiracy of the general election being “rigged,” which the candidate did days later. He praised Trump as being “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement and said it is “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later.”

    General Michael Flynn


    The Trump Connection

    Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is reportedly “a trusted Trump adviser and go-to man on intelligence and national security.”

    What You Need To Know

    Flynn was forced out of his position in 2014 after clashing with senior officials. He has complained that “‘political correctness’ has prevented the U.S. from confronting violent extremism, which he sees as a ‘cancerous idea that exists inside of the Islamic religion.’” Flynn accuses the U.S. government of concealing “the actions of terrorists like bin Laden and groups like ISIS, and the role of Iran in the rise of radical Islam.”

    Flynn has publicly supported Trump’s idea that the families of terrorist suspects should be killed, and he also backs Trump’s proposal for a ban on Muslim travel to the United States. Flynn has written that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

    In 2015, Flynn flew to Moscow and was filmed having a formal dinner with Vladimir Putin. The Daily Beast reported that “Pentagon brass were taken by surprise that he didn’t notify the department.”

    Flynn was paid by the state-funded Russian television network RT for his appearance at the network’s anniversary gala.

    Flynn spoke on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention, saying that “war is not about bathrooms” in reference to controversy over anti-transgender laws. He also retweeted an anti-Semitic pro-Trump message which read in part, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.” He later described the incident as “a mistake.”

    Rudy Giuliani


    The Trump Connection

    Trump told Fox News that former New York City mayor and failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani might be his choice to head up a commission to review his proposal for a temporary Muslim ban.

    What You Need To Know

    Giuliani has a long history of anti-Muslim comments and statements. He argued in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea that one way to fight terrorism is to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods,” said sexual assault in Germany proved that “these [Syrian] refugees are inherently a problem,” and praised Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for holding anti-Muslim hearings in Congress.

    Speaking before Trump at a campaign rally, Giuliani said, “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” omitting the September 11, 2001, attacks. PolitiFact rated this claim “false.”

    Ed Klein


    The Trump Connection

    Disgraced journalist Ed Klein said he has known Trump for 35 years and claimed, “I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family.” Klein recently had lunch with Trump as he campaigned in Indiana. Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account.

    What You Need To Know

    Journalists have described Klein’s columns and books attacking the Clintons and Obamas as “fan fiction” and “smut.” He has launched numerous unfounded smears, including the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary (he later walked back the allegation). Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped Klein’s Blood Feud because it “did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers.” Klein has repeatedly distorted quotes in his work, and even conservative figures have expressed skepticism about the veracity of his reporting.

    Jeffrey Lord


    The Trump Connection

    Lord, a contributor to the conservative American Spectator, has been a big booster of Trump’s candidacy. CNN hired Lord to present a pro-Trump point of view. According to Lord, Trump helped land him the gig. ThePatriot-News reported last year, “Lord said Trump complained to CNN execs that the network only featured commentators who didn't get him, so CNN asked The Donald who in the world of conservative media he would suggest, and he said Jeffrey Lord.”

    What You Need To Know

    Lord infamously tried to prove that a black man who was beaten to death was not technically lynched, a position that was even condemned by his colleagues at the Spectator. During his CNN appearances, Lord has defended Trump’s attack on Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, excused Trump’s failure to disavow the KKK, and described the Klan as a “leftist terrorist organization.”

    Lord blamed the pro-choice movement for gun violence and attacked the family of deceased Army Captain Humayun Khan for speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He also echoed the Trump campaign by promoting the conspiracy theory that the election “could be stolen.”

    Ben Carson


    The Trump Connection

    Carson endorsed Trump after he dropped his presidential bid and was then tasked with being Trump’s liaison between his campaign and Speaker Paul Ryan. Carson also apparently had some role in Trump’s vice presidential selection team.

    What You Need To Know

    Carson has caused controversy with a series of bizarre and offensive comments as an author, a Fox News contributor, and during his short-lived presidential campaign. During a Fox News appearance, Carson infamously compared marriage equality supporters to those who would advocate bestiality and pedophilia, and argued in his 2012 book that marriage equality could destroy America “like the fall of the Roman Empire.” Carson also claimed that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain, said being gay was a “choice,”described Obamacare as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and argued that Jewish people could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns.

    Speaking on stage at the Republican National Convention, Carson compared Hillary Clinton to “Lucifer.”

    Michael Savage


    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Michael Savage was an early backer of Trump in the conservative media who has describedhimself as “the architect of Trump’s messaging." Trump has appeared on his program multiple times -- in one appearance, Savage offered himself up to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a suggestion that Trump described as “common sense.”

    What You Need To Know

    Savage has a long history of outrageous and violent rhetoric. In 2008, he warned, “I fear that Obama will stir up a race war … in order to seize absolute power.”

    Savage also claimed that President Obama “wants to infect the nation with Ebola” and is gearing up the government to “fight a war against white people.” Savage accused Obama of engaging in “genocide” against the white race.

    Savage has described PTSD and depression sufferers as “weak” and “narcissistic” “losers.” Referencing military veterans suffering from PTSD, Savage said, “no wonder ISIS can defeat our military.”

    Additionally, Savage has called for a “revolution” in response to multiculturalism, said “I’d hang every lawyer who went down toto Guantanamo” Bay, accused President Obama of being the “new Mao,” theorized that Democrats would declare martial law, and said “the radical left and the radical Muslims are natural blood brothers.”

    Savage and Trump swapped notes on the conspiracy theory that Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered.

    Ann Coulter

    The Trump Connection

    Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has repeatedly promoted Trump’s candidacy. Trump called Coulter’s anti-immigrant book, Adios, America! “a great read.” In return, Coulter said she believes that Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was inspired by her.

    What You Need To Know

    Coulter has developed a reputation over the years for making hateful and disgusting public comments, often with a bigoted message that even conservatives have recoiled from. The conservative National Review dropped her column when, after 9/11, she said America should “invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

    Coulter’s book was apparently modeled on the rhetoric of white nationalists and other anti-immigrant extremists, and she credited white nationalist Peter Brimelow as an “intellectual influence” on her work.

    While defending Trump, Coulter called South Carolina-born Governor Nikki Haley an “immigrant” who “does not understand America’s history,” and made derogatory attacks on Jews while complaining about Trump’s rivals in a primary debate.

    She has also regularly offered bigoted anti-immigrant rhetoric, including suggesting that immigrants are more dangerous than ISIS and that “‘real’ Hispanics are on welfare.”

    Laura Ingraham


    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Laura Ingraham has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s candidacy and has praised his anti-immigrant rhetoric. She once compared Trump to Abraham Lincoln.

    What You Need To Know

    Ingraham has often used her show to demonize and attack immigrants. Ingraham said Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people,” called the children of undocumented immigrants “anchor fetuses,” andsuggested that deported immigrants attempting to re-enter the country should be “shot.”

    Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Ingraham demanded that Trump’s primary rivals “honor your pledge” and “support Donald Trump now.”

    Chris Christie

    Chris Christie

    The Trump Connection

    New Jersey governor Chris Christie endorsed Trump after he dropped out of the campaign and has served as a leading surrogate for the candidate

    What You Need To Know

    Christie has become infamous for his public arguments with voters and other figures. He told a critical voter he was “a real big shot shooting your mouth off,” called a reporter “a complete idiot,” and told a resident asking about stalled rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy to “sit down and shut up.”

    In addition to his demeanor, Christie’s administration was involved in the Bridgegate scandal, where his subordinates conspired to block traffic on the George Washington Bridge as payback for political slights against the governor.

    Larry Kudlow


    The Trump Connection

    Larry Kudlow was part of the Office of Management and Budget in Reagan’s first term, and is now a columnist and on-air personality for CNBC. Trump enlisted Kudlow (along with Stephen Moore) to work on changes to his economic plans.

    What You Need To Know

    Kudlow was a big supporter of George W. Bush’s economic policies and was infamous for missing the warning signs of the coming economic meltdown.

    Kudlow dismissed people concerned about the real estate bubble in the mid-2000s as “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes.” In December 2007, as the National Bureau of Economic Research marked the beginning of the Great Recession, Kudlow wrote, “there’s no recession coming.”

    Stephen Moore


    The Trump Connection

    Conservative economic columnist Stephen Moore was enlisted, along with Larry Kudlow, to tweak Trump’s economic policy in the general election.

    What You Need To Know

    Like Kudlow, Moore has a terrible track record when predicting the effect of both conservative and progressive policies on the economy. He also regularly makes false claims to attack policies like taxes, regulation, the minimum wage, and Obamacare.

    The editorial page director of the Kansas City Star declared she “won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore” after he used false employment numbers in a column attacking economist Paul Krugman.

    In a column promoting Trump's candidacy, Moore wrote, "It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way."

    Scottie Nell Hughes


    The Trump Connection

    Scottie Nell Hughes is a cable news pundit and CNN contributor who has often spoken in defense of Donald Trump. Glamour notes she “has been on the front line for Trump campaign since she introduced him at a September mega rally in Dallas.”

    What You Need To Know

    Hughes was previously the news director for the “Tea Party News Network.” She uses odd logic to launch defenses of Trump’s actions.

    When some called for riots at the Republican convention in defense of Trump, Hughes told CNN “it’s not riots as in a negative thing.” Hughes said that Trump’s statement that women should be punished for abortions had been “misconstrued,” and that the media paying attention to Trump’s sexist tweets is unfair.

    Hughes lamented that Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) uses Spanish in his speeches, saying, “I’m hoping I’m not going to have to kind of start brushing up back on my Dora the Explorer to understand some of the speeches given” during the Democratic convention.

    She also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination is “tearing down men.”

    Pat Caddell

    Pat Caddell

    The Trump Connection

    Caddell has reportedly been “speaking regularly” with campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon about “what Trump could do in the coming weeks to expand his appeal, in particular with Democrats and independents.”

    What You Need To Know

    Caddell worked for President Jimmy Carter, but, as the Washington Post notes, his "ties to the Democratic Party have frayed in recent decades as he has become a well-known face on Fox News and more closely associated with independent candidates.”  

    Caddell has been a frequent guest on Breitbart News’ radio show, Breitbart News Daily, where he has engaged in conspiracy theories about polls being skewed against Donald Trump, and described the Obama White House as “Nixon on steroids.”

    Caddell also said reporters were supposedly making themselves “the enemies of the American people” for exhibiting bias against Trump. As the Post pointed out, Caddell’s commentary has regularly been promoted by Breitbart News.

    For years, Caddell’s commentary has often aligned far more with his conservative Fox News colleagues than anyone purporting to be a Democrat. (In one 2011 Fox Business appearance, he described the Democrats as being his “former” party.)

    In 2010, along with Doug Schoen, Caddell wrote an op-ed calling on President Obama not to seek a second term and argued, “The president has largely lost the consent of the governed.”

    This post has been updated for clarity.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To The Right-Wing Media Conspiracy Theorists That Have Influenced Trump’s Campaign

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump counts among his allies a stable of fringe right-wing conspiracy theorists who’ve made a name for themselves advancing conspiracy theories that include the myth that President Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim, Lyndon Johnson assassinated John F. Kennedy, and the CIA is paying Beyonce to create mayhem. Trump’s conspiracy theorist allies also regularly wish violence upon political and media figures who they disagree with.

    Warning: This post contains graphic language and sexual content.

  • NY Times Highlights How Trump’s “Whole Frame Of Reference” Is Right-Wing Media Conspiracy Theories

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin explained that because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “‘whole frame of reference’” for his campaign strategy has been conservative media outlets and discredited conspiracy theories, he’s “obliterated” the line separating elected officials and “conservative mischief makers.”

    Trump has long had a symbiotic relationship with conservative media. Fox News and other right-wing news outlets have built up his campaign and repeatedly defended his controversial policies and rhetoric while Trump has echoed their talking points and peddled their conspiracy theories -- most recently including the claim the Clintons were involved with the death of aide Vince Foster. Trump regularly surrounds himself with and lauds known conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, an infamous 9/11 truther, and Roger Stone, a notorious dirty trickster who alleges the Clintons are murderers.Trump has also courted and pushed the claims of discredited author and conspiracy theorist Ed Klein, whose conspiracies on the Clintons have been called “fan faction” and “smut.”

    In a May 25 piece, Martin noted that Trump has obliterated “the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides.”Martin also quoted Republican strategists explaining that Trump’s “whole frame of reference is daytime Fox News and [Alex Jones’] Infowars.” From the May 25 New York Times piece:

    Ever since talk radio, cable news and the Internet emerged in the 1990s as potent political forces on the right, Republicans have used those media to attack their opponents through a now-familiar two-step.

    Political operatives would secretly place damaging information with friendly outlets like The Drudge Report and Fox News and with radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh — and then they would work to get the same information absorbed into the mainstream media.

    Candidates themselves would avoid being seen slinging mud, if possible, so as to avoid coming across as undignified or desperate.

    Yet by personally broaching topics like Bill Clinton’s marital indiscretions and the conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a Clinton White House aide, Donald J. Trump is again defying the norms of presidential politics and fashioning his own outrageous style — one that has little use for a middleman, let alone usual ideas about dignity.

    “They’ve reverse-engineered the way it has always worked because they now have a candidate willing to say it himself,” said Danny Diaz, who was a top aide in Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, speaking with a measure of wonder about the spectacle of the party’s presumptive nominee discussing Mr. Clinton’s sexual escapades.

    With Mr. Trump as the Republican standard-bearer, the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides has been obliterated. Fusing what had been two separate but symbiotic forces, Mr. Trump has begun a real-life political science experiment: What happens when a major party’s nominee is more provocateur than politician?


    Roger J. Stone Jr., the political operative who is Mr. Trump’s longtime confidant and an unapologetic stirrer of strife, called Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney “losers” for their more restrained approaches.

    But that is precisely what has many Republicans, and some Democrats, nervous.

    “He’s never been involved in policy making or party building or the normal things a candidate would do,” said Jon Seaton, a Republican strategist. “His whole frame of reference is daytime Fox News and Infowars,” a website run by the conservative commentator Alex Jones.

    Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s former chief of staff, said Mr. Trump was making common cause with “the lunatic fringe,” citing his willingness to appear on the radio show of Mr. Jones, who has claimed that Michelle Obama is a man.

  • The Daily Beast: Trump’s Anti-Clinton Playbook Was Written By His Discredited, Conspiracy Theorist Friends

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi explained  that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign strategy against Hillary Clinton is based on “conspiracy scrapbook[s]” written by discredited, “fabulist” authors and Trump acquaintances like Roger Stone, Robert Morrow, and Ed Klein. 

    Donald Trump’s “obsession” with disgraced conspiracy theories has been well documented, with Nuzzi spotlighting Trump’s acquaintances with Roger Stone, Robert Morrow, and Ed Klein. Stone is a plagiarist known for regularly spouting violent, racist, and sexist rhetoric, including calling Hillary Clinton a “cunt” and advocating her execution. Together, Stone and Robert Morrow dedicated a book they wrote to a Holocaust denier who blames Jews for the 9/11 attacks. And Morrow has written bizarre sexual fantasies about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and has wished death on Hillary. Additionally, Ed Klein, with whom Trump recently dined, writes discredited “fan fiction” about the Clintons which has been slammed by journalists from across the political spectrum as “smut”, “sewage”, and  “junk journalism.”

    In her May 13 article, Nuzzi explained that the discredited authors have “intentionally or not … written the foundational texts” for Trump’s case against Clinton, adding that these conspiracy theories have helped Trump change the narrative of the GOP primary:

    Political observers have generally fared poorly over the last year when making predictions about the election, but I’d bet my muumuu that Trump takes the insights he gleans from the curriculum produced by Stone, Morrow, and Klein to a cable chyron near you—and sometime before the July conventions. He’s already started. Last week, Trump criticized Clinton for being a “nasty, mean enabler” of her husband’s affairs—a page, literally, out of the doctrine.


    Stone, 64, is the white-haired, body-building, fashion-obsessed, sex-club-visiting former aide to Richard Nixon with a portrait of Nixon’s face tattooed between his shoulderblades.

    Stone was introduced to Trump in the 1970s by Roy Cohn, Senator Joe McCarthy’s legal counsel, who mentored Trump politically. Stone remained in Trump’s orbit over the decades, advising him informally, before joining his presidential campaign in 2015. He left in August amid staff infighting (he butted heads, in particular, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski), but he returned to the inner circle when Trump hired Paul Manafort, who’d been his partner at Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, a lobbying firm in D.C. that they started in the early 1980s.


    Morrow, 51, is a towering and disheveled presence who dresses like a math teacher who’s fallen on hard times.

    He lives in Austin, Texas and serves, much to the ire of the Travis County GOP, as the chairman of the Travis County GOP. He survives on an inheritance, and when he’s not rating anime porn on a scale of 1 to 10 on Twitter, he devotes his every waking moment to uncovering and perpetuating information—most of it highly questionable, to put it politely—about public officials.


    Unlike Stone and Morrow, Klein’s… eccentricities… aren’t apparent on the surface. He doesn’t have a Twitter account where he ranks anime “boobies” like Morrow and he’s never posed for a photoshoot dressed up as the Joker from Batman like Stone. Without reading any of his work, you might think Klein is your average veteran reporter. Just a nice 79-year-old guy with a friendly demeanor on the phone, probably somebody’s grandpa.


    Unless Klein wired his sources and his sources were Bill and Hillary Clinton, none of this is likely to be even kind of true. It’s possible Klein is a fabulist, or it’s possible he has terrible sources. It’s also possible that he’s a looney toon and the multiple sources he’s interviewed upwards of 70 times each are all in his head.

    Who’s to say? If I were Ed Klein I might say I know that last thing for a fact.


    I’ve written extensively about the possibility that Trump is a conspiracy theorist, and I maintain that’s likely. But likely, too, is the possibility that Trump is merely savvy.

    It was just as voters were taking to the polls in Indiana—which had been perceived, a few days before the primary, as a competitive state for Ted Cruz—that Trump went on Fox News to ask why nobody was paying attention to a National Enquirer story alleging Cruz’s dad had been with Lee Harvey Oswald just before the JFK assassination.

    And just like that, the narrative in the media changed from, Can Cruz Win Indiana? to Donald Trump Connects Cruz’s Dad to JFK Assassination.

    Who knows if Trump believed any of it, and who cares? It worked. Cruz dropped out of the race a few hours later, making Trump, effectively, the Republican nominee.

    For the general, Trump has more than just one tabloid story to knockout his opponent. He’s got an entire library’s worth of poorly-written ammo.

    And his three horsemen are more than willing to assist.

  • Donald Trump Lunches With Disgraced Writer Ed Klein, Author Of Clinton-Bashing “Fan Fiction”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Ed Klein

    Donald Trump had lunch with disgraced author Ed Klein, who has written several books and columns making lurid and absurd allegations about the Clintons, President Barack Obama and others. That work has been described as "fan fiction" and "smut," while even conservatives have expressed doubt about Klein's credibility.

    Washington Post national political correspondent Philip Rucker reported that Trump met with Klein along with Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and Daniel Scavino at a delicatessen in Indianapolis. Rucker wrote that Klein is "perhaps best known for his series of bombshell books spreading rumors and innuendo, much of it discredited." The Post reporter added that Klein "said he is following Trump around for a couple of days to gather material for a new book."

    Klein has been a fixture in conservative media for years. His work is notable for being extremely salacious, sloppy, and provably inaccurate. Journalists have described his work as "smut," "junk journalism," "fan fiction," and "devoid" of "basic journalistic standards."

    Klein says he has known Trump for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him." He adds, "I believe I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family."

    Among the claims Klein has previously made is the allegation that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped his wife. Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped one of his books because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." A conservative publisher, Regnery, later published that book and its follow-up.

    Klein is also known for using completely distorted quotes in his books and columns, while others sound as if they were completely made up. One reporter wrote that Klein’s reporting features "dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."

    The details in Klein’s work have been so unbelievable that even conservatives have called it into question. Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade was skeptical of one of Klein’s too good to be true quotes in his book Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas, and Rush Limbaugh even said, "some of the quotes strike me as odd, in the sense that I don't know people who speak this way."

    Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan described Klein’s book The Truth About Hillary as "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work."

    Klein writes regular columns that appear in right-wing publications like Townhall.com and Newsmax. Those columns continue Klein’s well-worn tactics. In one column, Klein speculates about Clinton’s health, writing, "Bill’s worst fear, according to my sources, is that Hillary will stumble or fall at a critical moment in the campaign and reveal that she’s not up to handling the job of commander in chief."

    Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account. Earlier in the year, Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign used an unverifiable Bill Clinton quote sourced to Klein in campaign mailers and fundraising appeals.

  • 8 Ways Right-Wing Media Exploited The Brussels Terror Attacks


    Right-wing media quickly exploited the terrorist attacks in Brussels by stoking fears about the U.S. refugee vetting process, calling for the profiling of Muslims, stoking anti-immigrant sentiments, hyping anti-Muslim fears, blaming political correctness for the victims of terrorism, crediting Donald Trump with being "right" when he said Brussels was turning into a "hell hole," calling for torture and waterboarding, and criticizing President Obama.

  • Ed Klein "Fan Fiction" Reappears In New Hampshire Primary As Marco Rubio Campaign Material

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    A quote sourced to disgraced writer Ed Klein's book Unlikeable has appeared on a campaign flyer for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Klein's work has been widely criticized for including distorted quotes and implausible situations and conveying an overall lack of credibility.

    In Unlikeable, Klein quotes an anonymous source -- a staple of his purported "reporting" -- who claims that while speaking about Rubio, former President Bill Clinton said, "We've got to destroy him before he gets off the ground."

    According to a photo circulated by CNN executive producer Katie Hinman, the quote appears on a flyer from Rubio's presidential campaign circulating in New Hampshire ahead of its presidential primary. The quote is being used to validate the campaign's contention that a matchup in the general election between Rubio and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be advantageous to Republicans.

    Rubio's campaign has gotten considerable mileage out of Klein's material. In an October 2015 fundraising email, Rubio's communications director referred to the quote as a "bombshell report in a new book about the Democrats' secret plan to take out Marco." The campaign even created a Photoshopped image of President Clinton watching Rubio on television alongside the quote.

    The fundraising page with the image also included video of Klein on Fox & Friends pushing the book. The website included text telling supporters to "donate $7 today and show Bill Clinton that he can't destroy Marco Rubio."

    Ed Klein's work has been thoroughly discredited. Over the years he has produced a series of books and reports (published primarily in right-wing outlets) about major politicians like President Obama and Secretary Clinton that have been debunked and criticized by reporters, including many conservatives. Klein's writing has been described as "smut," "junk journalism," "fan fiction," and "devoid" of "basic journalistic standards."

    The allegations made in his books are often outrageous and outlandish, including his claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary Clinton. A prior Klein book was reportedly dropped by publisher HarperCollins because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." It was later put out by the conservative publisher Regnery, which also published Unlikeable.

    When not using unverifiable claims from allegedly anonymous sources, Klein has also used completely distorted quotes in his work, or utilized quotes that sound, as one reporter described them, like "dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."

    Despite his journalistic failures and deception, Klein continues to be a fixture in some quarters of the conservative media, particularly the Fox News and New York Post outposts in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. As a result, he has unfortunately become a part of the presidential election.