Judicial Watch

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  • Conservative Media Smear Merrick Garland: Benghazi Edition

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conservatives are now trying to smear Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland with a myth about the 2012 terror attacks on the United States' diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    In a March 31 article, the Daily Caller claimed that Garland "falsely blamed the YouRube [sic] video 'Innocence of Muslims' for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens during the Benghazi attacks, court transcripts show." Right-wing media outlets have consistently claimed that the Obama administration deliberately lied by linking that anti-Islam video to the attacks.

    In fact, the leader of the 2012 attack has confirmed that the video -- which had been spurring sometimes-violent protests throughout the Middle East at the time of the attack -- did inspire the perpetrators to assault the United States' Benghazi diplomatic compound, ultimately leading to the death of four Americans.

    The Caller article, citing a press release from discredited conservative group Judicial Watch, claimed Garland repeated a Benghazi falsehood during a January 10, 2013, hearing over Judicial Watch's attempt to force the Obama administration to release images of Osama bin Laden's body. (The court ultimately rejected Judicial Watch's challenge.)

    While discussing national security concerns over the release of sensitive images during oral arguments, Garland said, "And we do know of examples where in this country we would think that the release of certain things would not have lead to this, and yet there were, not very long ago a video was released that did lead to death of an American ambassador, of other people, of riots in other cities."

    Garland was right. Although conservative media have endlessly claimed that the Obama administration sought to deceive about the nature of the Benghazi attacks by citing the influence of the "Innocence of Muslims" video, the claim is baseless. Numerous news reports at the time of the attack -- reporting on the best intelligence available -- said the video played a role. The New York Times reported in December 2013, "There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers," citing witness accounts of those attackers mentioning the video during the assault.

    And as the Times reported in 2014, the alleged ringleader of the attack "told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him."

  • The Hill Uncritically Repeats Judicial Watch's Clinton Email Smear

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    UPDATE: Following the publication of this post, The Hill added the following editor's note to the article: "This story was corrected on March 23 to reflect that the 'commitments to action' included non-monetary assistance. A previous version contained incorrect information."

    The article previously read:

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

    It now reads (emphasis added):

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that it says show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation. 

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to organizations who had made a commitment to help the Clinton Global Initiative. Those "commitments to action" can include donations and non-monetary assistance, according to the Foundation's website.

    Original post:

    The Hill uncritically reported the latest smear from the conservative organization Judicial Watch, suggesting inappropriate behavior involving Hillary Clinton's emails and the Clinton Global Initiative.

    On March 22, The Hill reported that Judicial Watch released documents which showed "Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) project donors in 2009." The Hill claimed that "Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009":

    A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.

    Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.

    [...]

    Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009.

    "This is an exceptional gathering of people who have made exceptional commitments to bettering our world," she said on September 25, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y.

    In reality, Clinton did not discuss donors in her speech, and the emails in question show that the "commitments" The Hill describes as donors are in fact organizations promising a commitment to action to address issues and CGI initiatives around the globe. On the CGI website, "Commitments to Action" are described as, "a plan for addressing a significant global challenge. Commitments can be small or large and financial or nonmonetary in nature."

    The Hill's uncritical reporting on Judicial Watch's claims are not the first time the group's anti-Clinton smears have been parroted by the media. In September 2015, The New York Times also fell for Judicial Watch's chicanery, only to be forced several days later to correct the false report. 

    Judicial Watch has also peddled in conspiracy theories claiming the Department of Justice was organizing rallies against George Zimmerman, that ISIS set up a terrorist camp "just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," and it was also a leading voice in the false outrage over President Obama's "czars."

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • NY Post Pushes Dubious Claim That Clinton Aides Improperly Circumvented Email Classification System

    Writer Has A Long History Of Islamophobia, While Only Named Source Has Done Work For Anti-Clinton Group

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Hillary Clinton Answers Every Question About Emails, Benghazi

    The New York Post published a discredited conservative writer's thinly-sourced report that former State Department aides to Hillary Clinton illegally "cut and pasted" classified materials and sent them to Clinton's personal email. The report seems to be based solely on the claims of a former State Department official who has worked with the anti-Clinton organization Judicial Watch.

    In his January 24 report, Paul Sperry, a visiting media fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institution, reported that "former State Department security officials" say that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is "investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton's inner circle 'cut and pasted' material from the government's classified network so that it could be sent to her private e-mail address." Sperry gave no indication how the unnamed former officials would have access to information about FBI investigations.

    Citing no sources at all, Sperry claimed that the FBI is "zeroing in on" former Clinton State Department aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Jake Sullivan for their alleged involvement in improperly circumventing government classification systems.

    The bulk of Sperry's piece consists of speculation from retired State Department Diplomatic Security agent Ray Fournier, who reportedly "says it's clear from some of the classified e-mails made public that someone on Clinton's staff essentially 'cut and pasted' content from classified cables into the messages sent to her." Fournier theorizes that "Clinton's staff would have simply retyped classified information from the systems into the non-classified system or taken a screen shot of the classified document"; he concludes, "either way, it's totally illegal."

    Sperry gave no examples of the emails that Fournier claims are "clear" evidence of illegal behavior or how he would know their redacted contents. While Sperry referenced "former State Department security officials" as the source of his claim that the FBI is investigating this allegation, he neither named nor referenced any other in his piece. Notably, Fournier has a history of conservative activism --  he conducted a review of the Benghazi terror attack on behalf of Judicial Watch, a right-wing organization with a decades-long history of attacking the Clintons.

    In fact, Judicial Watch investigator Chris Farrell is the only other named source in the report -- Sperry quoted him claiming that Clinton's receipt of classified information outside secure channels "is a mortal sin" and that "a regular government employee would be crucified" if they engaged in such activity.

    Sperry also baselessly claimed that "Clinton instructed Sullivan to convert a classified document into an unclassified e-mail attachment by scanning it into an unsecured computer and sending it to her without any classified markings." In fact, national security experts say it is not illegal to separate unclassified material from classified documents and send it through unclassified channels, which is what Clinton has said she was asking Sullivan to do.

    Sperry -- a former Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily -- has a long history of producing baseless conspiracy theories.

    In 2005, he published a book alleging that "Islamic radicals have worked their way into our government through intimidation and exploitation of religious tolerance." The book specifically cited conservative Grover Norquist's "ties to militant Muslim activists," a long-time bugaboo for Islamophobes. In 2009, he published a follow-up claiming that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an educational non-profit, was attempting to infiltrate Congress and undermine democracy -- by seeking to place Muslim interns in congressional offices.

    Sperry recently contributed New York Post reports that claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is "a diehard communist" threat to American values, and that President Obama is building a secret racial database to allow "race cops and civil-rights lawyers" to control "virtually every aspect of society."

  • Ranking Member Of Benghazi Select Committee Pushes Back Against Baseless Allegation That DOD Emails Contradict Leon Panetta's Benghazi Testimony

    Press Release: "This Email Yet Another Example Of How Conservative Conspiracy Theorists Use Bits Of Information Out Of Context To Rehash Baseless Allegations"

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is pushing back against false claims that a recently unredacted Defense Department email is a "smoking gun" that supposedly "seems to contradict testimony from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who in 2013 told lawmakers there was no time for an immediate response" to the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

    Fox News recently seized on the unredacted Department of Defense email, claiming that the "email shows [the] Pentagon was ready to roll as Benghazi attack occurred." Fox News claimed that the email, first obtained by right-wing Judicial Watch, directly contradicts testimony from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in 2013.

    But the "smoking gun" email hyped by conservative media outlets doesn't contradict statements made by Panetta. During his 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Panetta explained that military assets were deployed that night.

    Rep. Elijah Cummings denounced the allegations in a December 9 press release that criticized right-wing media's attempt to rehash a "conservative conspiracy theory" by using "bits of information out of context to rehash baseless allegations that have been debunked time and again." The press release includes transcript of Secretary Panetta's 2013 testimony and also includes an unredacted version of the email released by Judicial Watch: 

    Today, the Select Committee on Benghazi Ranking Member released an email in unredacted form that debunks recent rehashed allegations from conservative news outlets about the Department of Defense's response on the night of the Benghazi attacks.

    Conservative commentators have called the redacted email a "smoking gun" and claimed that it "seems to contradict testimony from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who in 2013 told lawmakers there was no time for an immediate response," and that "[military assets] were awaiting sign off from the State Department and they never acted."

    However, the unredacted email confirms the previous testimony of Defense Department officials to Congress, supports the findings of previous Congressional Committees, and debunks these recent rehashed allegations.

    The email in question is released in full here.

    A Democratic Spokesman stated:

    "This email is yet another example of how conservative conspiracy theorists use bits of information out of context to rehash baseless allegations that have been debunked time and again."

  • Right-Wing Media Echo Conservative Group's Lie That New Email Contradicts Administration's Benghazi Testimony

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Right-wing media are repeating the false claim that a Defense Department email sent to Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff showing U.S. military forces were ready to "move to Benghazi" the night of the September 11, 2012 attacks contradicts former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's testimony about the attacks. In fact, the congressional testimony that conservatives claim the email contradicts shows that military forces were deployed that night.

  • Fox Falsely Claims Defense Dept. Email Contradicts Obama Administration's Benghazi Testimony

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News is claiming that a Defense Department email highlighting "forces that could move to Benghazi" that were "spinning up" on the night of the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities contradicts then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's testimony that "time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response." But during the same testimony, Panetta explained that forces had been deployed that night.

  • Memo To CNBC Debate Moderators: Don't Fall For These Right-Wing Media Myths About The Economic Cost of Immigration

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT & BRENDAN KARET

    As CNBC prepares to host the third Republican presidential debate on October 28 -- which will focus on the economy and is being billed as "Your Money, Your Vote" -- moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood should be prepared to contest and correct several right-wing myths about the economic costs of immigration that are all but certain to come up.

  • Meet Judicial Watch, A Driving Force Behind The Clinton Email Story That Keeps Duping The Press

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Tom Fitton

    Judicial Watch is a conservative activist group that has been one of the organizations driving the media narrative on Hillary Clinton's emails. They have a history of dishonest activism, promoting conspiracy theories, and pushing false or misleading narratives.

    The organization was formed in the 1990s by conspiracy theorist Larry Klayman, who used the technique of filing spurious lawsuits in an attempt to bring down the Clinton administration. It is now headed by Tom Fitton, who has continued Klayman's methods in an ongoing campaign to antagonize the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats.

    Judicial Watch, Part Of The Email Scandal Engine

    The organization has played a key role in the ongoing controversy over the email system Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. Records obtained from the State Department by Judicial Watch have served as fodder in the media and for the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    This week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the frontrunner for the soon-to-be vacant Speaker's office, boasted on Fox, "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought and made that happen."

    Judicial Watch has tried to stake its own claim to denting Clinton, with Fitton claiming in a press release, "Judicial Watch has had more success investigating the IRS, Benghazi, and Clinton email scandals than any House committee under Boehner's direction."

    Since it was reported in March that Clinton used a private email server, Judicial Watch has been mentioned dozens of times in reports on the story, including in major outlets like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and USA Today.

    But if history is any indication, media outlets risk credibility and accuracy by relying on Judicial Watch.

    NY TimesPolitico Recently Duped By Judicial Watch Clinton Document Release

    The media's reliance on Judicial Watch's work comes with a significant risk, as the conservative group often overreaches in its attacks on Democrats and progressives.

    For example, on September 24, Judicial Watch released records it had received from the State Department which it claimed "reveal former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a special government employee."

    The New York Times reported on Judicial Watch's findings, writing that the documents "show that Mrs. Clinton personally signed forms establishing a new title and position for the aide, Huma Abedin, in March 2012." PoliticoFox News, and other outlets also published stories based on the document.

    Those stories were wrong.

    As the Times reported a few days later, the document that Judicial Watch had given to the media had the signature redacted "in a box intended for the aide's supervisor," and the assumption was apparently made that Sec. Clinton had signed it. But later a copy of the document was given to the Times and it showed that it was signed by Cheryl Mills, who was then Clinton's chief of staff.

    In other words, the entire premise of the Judicial Watch release was false (the uncorrected headline remains on the Times website).

    Judicial Watch Promotes False Stories

    Judicial Watch has often started stories that are simply untrue and collapse almost immediately under scrutiny.

    For example, Judicial Watch alleged that the Obama administration had appointed 45 "czars" to serve under him, a claim which then became the basis for a viral email attacking the president. As explained by PolitiFact in 2014, Judicial Watch stretched the truth by listing senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as a czar, crediting the Obama administration for czars created under the Bush administration, and describing Ray Mabus as the "Oil Czar" when in reality he was Secretary of the Navy, a Senate-confirmed position.

    Judicial Watch accused then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of engaging in "boorish demands for military travel" that are "more about partying than anything else" and highlighted expenditures of "$101,429.14 ... for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol." After conservative outlets regurgitated the claims, FactCheck.org investigated and found that "costs are not as high as critics claim, and they're comparable to those of her Republican predecessor."

    Last year, Judicial Watch alleged that a company had been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "for requiring workers to speak English." But in reality, the EEOC said it sued the company for violating its employees' rights by subjecting them to a "sham performance improvement plan" that focused on their English language skills.

    Judicial Watch Creates And Promotes Conspiracy Theories

    Judicial Watch has concocted conspiracy theories that end up being amplified by conservative and mainstream media, as well as elected officials.

    Judicial Watch claimed that the Justice Department was helping to "organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman," the Florida man who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin. In reality, the unit of the DOJ was sent to Florida in order to defuse tensions in the community, and as the Orlando Sentinel reported, they "reached out to the city's spiritual and civic leaders to help cool heated emotions." 

    Judicial Watch claimed that the Islamic State (ISIS) had set up a terrorist camp in Mexico "just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," facilitating the smuggling of terrorists into the United States. Conservative media outlets picked up Judicial Watch's claim.

    Authorities in the United States and Mexico rejected the group's fearmongering.

    A spokesman for the National Security Council said there was "no indication that this claim has any validity to it," while an FBI spokesperson told PolitiFact, "there is no credible information to support" the allegation. The government of Mexico stated: "The government of Mexico dismisses and categorically denies each of the statements made today by the organization Judicial Watch on the alleged presence of ISIS's operating cells throughout the border region." Similarly, the Texas Department of Public Safety said they had "no credible information to corroborate or validate this story."

    PolitiFact rated the claim as "false." A similar claim by Judicial Watch in September of 2014 became the basis of a statement by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) that ISIS is "present in Ciudad Juarez" in Mexico. Government agencies denied that allegation as well, and PolitiFact rated it "mostly false."

    Judicial Watch's Obama Travel Obsession

    Throughout the Obama administration, there have been repeated news stories discussing the cost of travel arrangements for the Obama administration, particularly for first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters.

    These stories have often been based on reports generated by Judicial Watch, and their website boasts an archive of releases on the topic (despite the organization's existence during the Bush administration, the "First Family" Vacations archive is limited to travel from 2010-present).

    Many of these releases also exaggerate the truth. In 2010, Judicial Watch alleged that the Obamas went on a "private family safari" at taxpayer expense, but the safari was paid for with the Obama's own funds. They also claimed the trip "was as much an opportunity for the Obama family and friends to go on a safari as it was a trip intended to advance the administration's agenda in Africa" but the schedule was filled with official events:

    The six-day trip was dominated by official events and meetings with world leaders. Mrs. Obama met with the South African president's wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma; spoke to the Young African Women Leaders Forum; participated in community service events in Johannesburg; visited U.S. embassies and consulates; spoke at the University of Cape Town and met with students from poor communities; held a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu; met with Botswanan president Ian Khama; and gave interviews to several news outlets, including NBC, ABC, BET, and CNN.

    Judicial Watch was designed almost two decades ago to use the courts and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to trip up and raise implications about Democrats and other related elected officials. It does so through dishonest claims and inaccurate document releases. Despite their history, the media has continued to rely on them, only to sometimes be caught hyping inaccurate supposed scoops.

  • Right-Wing Media Hype Unsubstantiated Judicial Watch Report To Stoke Fear Of Islamic State Terrorist Camp Near U.S. Border

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Right-wing media are trumpeting a spurious Judicial Watch report claiming that an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist camp has been set up near the Texas border, allowing ISIS terrorists to be smuggled into the United States, despite the fact that U.S. federal law agencies say the claim is unsubstantiated.  

    An April 14 report from Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group, claimed that the terrorist group "ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas," and ISIS terrorists are being smuggled "through the porous border," which is being targeted due to "understaffed municipal and country police forces." 

    Right-wing media outlets quickly echoed the dubious claim, and Fox News host Sean Hannity highlighted the Judicial Watch report on the April 14 edition of his radio show. Hannity read from the report, calling it "a very dangerous story," and stoked fears that Islamic State terrorists are being smuggled into the U.S., saying "we have said so many times for so many years that we need to secure America's borders." Hannity concluded by asking, "what are you going to do about that President Obama, anything?" 

    But federal law agencies involved with border security have said the Judicial Watch report of Islamic State terrorists near the U.S.-Mexico border is "unverified."

    Right-wing media have a history of echoing dubious Judicial Watch reports to incite fear about terrorists crossing the U.S. border. Fox News parroted the group's September 2014 claim that a terrorist attack from the U.S.-Mexico border was "imminent," although the claim was roundly denounced by terrorism experts and rated "mostly false" by Politifact.

  • Fox News' Newest IRS Email Conspiracy Theory Goes Up In Flames

    Sonasoft Press Release Reveals IRS Never Had Contract For Email Archiving Software

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Fox News host Gretchen Carlson baselessly accused the IRS of knowingly canceling a contract with email archiving company Sonasoft in order to hide emails connected to the alleged targeting of tax exempt organizations. But Sonasoft itself debunked these allegations after it revealed that the IRS never had a contract for its email archiving software.

    On the June 27 edition of The Real Story, during a discussion on the IRS' lost emails with Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, Carlson referenced a story from Power Line blog speculating on the purportedly suspicious timing of the IRS' cancellation of the Sonasoft contract. Carlson alleged that the IRS canceled Sonasoft's contract because "they knew Sonasoft would then delete those emails."

    But I want to switch gears just for a minute with regard to this back up system, this Sonasoft company that the IRS cancelled their account with. Because I know that you believe that the timing seems somewhat suspicious, number one. But could there be a deeper meaning as to why that was cancelled at that particular time because, you know, other people are suspecting right now that quite deliberately they cancelled that account because they knew that Sonasoft would then delete those emails.

    Carlson didn't offer any concrete evidence to support her claims that the IRS cancelled its contract with Sonasoft to hide IRS emails. In fact, Sonasoft never had access to any IRS emails.

  • A New Benghazi Hoax: Misrepresenting An Out-Of-Context Email

    Blog ››› ››› ARI RABIN-HAVT & TODD GREGORY

    Image via Steve Rhodes

    As part of the latest hoax about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News is distorting a document recently unearthed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

    Fox and Judicial Watch are trying to keep alive the phony right-wing narrative that the Obama administration somehow covered up the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed.

    A December 12 FoxNews.com article about the Judicial Watch documents says, "Newly released documents show an official at the State Department urged a contractor providing security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi not to respond to media inquiries, in the wake of the September 2012 terrorist attack."

    Thus far, the only portion of the "documents" that Judicial Watch has released is an out-of-context, three-sentence quote from an email sent by State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer to Blue Mountain Group, a firm that helped provide security at the diplomatic post in Benghazi. The email is dated September 26, 2012 -- about two weeks after the attacks.

    In reality, the quote from the email shows that Blue Mountain Group first suggested declining to speak with the media, and Visintainer agreed that this was the correct course. Visintainer also said he spoke about the matter with public affairs personnel at the State Department.

    Here is the entirety of the quote cited by Judicial Watch and Fox News:

    "Thank you so much for informing us about the media inquiries. We notified our public affairs personnel that they too may receive some questions. We concur with you that at the moment the best way to deal with the inquiries is to either be silent or provide no comments."

    Yet, in a blog post misleadingly titled "State Dept. Ordered Benghazi Security Co. to Dodge Media," Judicial Watch called this email "scandalous."

    No matter. Fox News and others in the conservative media are more than happy to forward this latest exaggeration to continue to push their Benghazi hoax

    Image via Steve Rhodes

  • Limbaugh Accuses DOJ "Peacemakers" Of Organizing Anti-Zimmerman Protests

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Rush Limbaugh seized on a report that government officials attended rallies related to George Zimmerman to accuse the Department of Justice of "instigating race riots" when in fact, the officials acted as peacekeepers to "defuse community anger."

    On his radio show, Limbaugh read from a Judicial Watch post which claimed that a DOJ unit called the Community Relations Service (CRS) "deployed to Sanford, FL to organize and manage rallies against Zimmerman." The post highlighted documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests which detailed spending on activities such as providing "technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male."

    Limbaugh claimed the documents proved that the DOJ was "organizing anti-Zimmerman rallies," going on to say that "the United States government has been converted by Obama and [Eric] Holder into a community organizing agitator bunch." Limbaugh concluded that "this regime saw an opportunity to turn something into a profoundly racial case for the express purpose of ripping the country apart":

    But the documents do not show the CRS organizing rallies against Zimmerman, only providing support and technical assistance for them. In fact, as the Miami Herald reported, the unit worked to "defuse community anger hardening along the fault lines of race, color and national origin":

  • Right-Wing Sites Baselessly Accuse WH Of Leaking "Classified Information" To Filmmakers

    ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Conservative websites are claiming a new release of documents show that the "White House" gave "classified information" to filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal for their upcoming film about the Osama bin Laden raid. However, even the group that released those documents, Judicial Watch, does not claim that the "White House" gave Bigelow and Boal "classified information."