Matthew Boyle

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  • WI GOP Operatives Conspired To Use Talk Radio To Push Nonexistent Voter Fraud Claims To Help Ally Of Gov. Scott Walker

    One Day After GOP Operatives Discussed Voter Fraud Myths, Daily Caller Referenced Talk Radio Claims Of “Full Blown Voter Fraud”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Documents released by The Guardian uncovered emails which purportedly show that GOP operatives in Wisconsin wanted to use “talk radio” to push the idea of voter fraud in a close state supreme court race of an ally of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A day after the email, an article appeared in The Daily Caller which referenced a local talk radio host claiming voter fraud in the election.

    On September 14, The Guardian published leaked documents pertaining to the “‘John Doe investigation’ into suspected campaign finance violations by [Scott] Walker’s campaign and it’s network.” These previously unreleased emails now show that Wisconsin GOP operatives wanted to use talk radio outlets to push politically motivated claims of “voter fraud” in order to force a recall if Walker's ally lost a 2011 election.

    A series of emails released included one from a “Scott Jensen,” who may have been the Scott Jensen who previously served as Wisconsin Assembly Speaker and previous ALEC State Chair for Wisconsin and went on to become a lobbyist for groups implicated in the investigation. In these emails, GOP operative Steve Baas stated “I obviously think we should” start “messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number.” Jensen responded telling him that “Anything fishy should be highlighted. Stories should be solicited by talk radio hosts”:

    Page 8

    Interestingly, the day after Jensen and Baas discussed using radio outlets to push voter fraud to challenge the legitimacy of Prosser’s election results, then-Daily Caller reporter Matt Boyle penned an article titled “Election Fraud Allegations Fly In Close Wisconsin Supreme Court Race.”

    In his piece, Boyle cites “Madison and Milwaukee conservative radio host Vicki McKenna,” writing McKenna told the Daily Caller “she spent almost her entire two-hour show taking audience calls, in which listeners detailed what may be considered full-blown voter fraud.”

    Referencing the leaked emails, election law expert Rick Hasen, who has made a career debunking baseless claims of voter fraud, explained "It shows that all this talk of fraud is all about manipulating Republican public opinion to believe that if Democrats won a close Supreme Court race, and the recall went to a recount ,that the election was stolen by Democratic voter fraud. This cynical “messaging” is sadly validating of what many of us have said."

  • Prosecutors Investigating Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon For Being Registered To Vote In FL County He Didn’t Live In

    While Breitbart News Pushed Voter Fraud Myths

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    NBC News reports that Florida prosecutors are now investigating Donald Trump’s campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon after a report from The Guardian alleged that he is registered to vote in Florida, “at an empty house where he does not live.” Bannon was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, which has peddled myths about voter fraud for years.

  • 186 Times Donald Trump Shared Breitbart News Articles On Social Media

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump has used his Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote Breitbart News articles at least 186 times -- often sharing stories that fawned over him and his presidential campaign. Trump recently hired Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, to be the CEO of his campaign.

    Prior to Bannon’s hiring by the campaign, Breitbart News and Trump had long engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart became embarrassingly pro-Trump during the Republican presidential primary, leading to objections by several now-former staffers. (Former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro accused Bannon of turning the site into “Trump’s personal Pravda.”)

    Breitbart’s obsequious Trump coverage was so over-the-top that several staffers reportedly alleged the candidate had paid the site in exchange for friendly treatment, which Bannon denied.

    Regardless of any pay-for-play allegations, the relationship was definitely a two-way street. Trump helped boost the site, granting numerous “exclusive” interviews with Breitbart reporters and making several appearances on Bannon’s Breitbart News Daily radio program.

    Trump also promoted Breitbart articles at least 186 times on social media in recent years, where he enjoys a massive following. He has 11 million followers on Twitter and over 10 million “likes” on Facebook, so a single Trump link would most likely lead to thousands (at least) of people visiting the site.

    Trump began to promote Breitbart News in January of 2012, linking to several articles attacking the Obama administration with the site’s signature mix of bigotry and conspiracy theories. As of this month, he continues to link to the site’s coverage of his campaign.

    He used Breitbart News to bolster his birther conspiracy theory:

    Setting himself up as a political mind, Trump highlighted a series of Breitbart News articles highlighting attacks he made in 2013 against Republican operative Karl Rove.

    Trump’s appearance at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference was one of his first major endeavors as a political figure. Trump used Breitbart News to amplify his appearance. First he linked to a Breitbart News article with the news that he was on the speaking schedule, followed that up with articles documenting his speech (as well as Breitbart News video of the speech), and then promoted articles documenting his response to criticism of his speech.

    Trump used Breitbart News articles to push his stance on immigration, and highlighted Breitbart News immigration stories and their write-ups of his speeches and comments on the topic. Trump also wrote an editorial at Breitbart News in which he complained that “a country that cannot protect its borders will not last.” He of course promoted his writing on Twitter.

    As Trump launched his presidential campaign, Breitbart News documented his every utterance, and he was sure to promote those stories. That included video clips of interviews, “exclusive” interviews with Breitbart News, or friendly write-ups of his campaign speeches.

    Trump’s favorite Breitbart News stories to promote are stories about polling. During the Republican primaries, Trump linked to Breitbart News stories month after month after month highlighting his dominance over the rest of the Republican presidential field. Similarly, Trump shared a Breitbart News write-up of the ratings when he guest hosted Saturday Night Live on NBC.

    He also used Breitbart News as a way to push back against media critiques. Trump posted a link to a Breitbart News attack on a New York Times news report about him with the note thanking Breitbart News for the coverage:

    Trump said CNN “should apologize” as he pushed a Breitbart News piece defending him after a negative fact check on the network, and most recently used a Breitbart News critique of CNN’s convention coverage to add fuel to his existing campaign against them.

    The Trump account on Facebook was also used to push Breitbart News critiques of CNN, branding them the “Clinton News Network” on multiple occasions.

    Trump also cited a Breitbart News story that bolstered his claim (rated “pants on fire” by PolitiFact) that Muslims were celebrating on roofs in New Jersey on September 11, 2001.

  • Breitbart News' Text Message Exchange With Trump Campaign Manager Reveals Breitbart's Problematic Relationship With Trump

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    A text message exchange presented by Breitbart News's Washington editor  in an effort to vindicate Donald Trump's campaign manager of having admitted that he assaulted a Breitbart reporter, actually reveals a problematic relationship between Trump's campaign and right-wing media outlet Bretbart News, which downplayed the event in the text messages as just a "misunderstanding."

    On March 9, Politico wrote that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields had been "forcibly grabbed" by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a campaign event as she attempted to ask the candidate a question. The incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris and Fields recounted the event in an article posted to Breitbart.com:

    Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken. 

    The Washington Post's Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.

    Following the incident, The Daily Beast reported that Lewandowski acknowledged to Boyle that he was responsible for the incident with Fields, but justified his actions by saying he had mistaken her for "an adversarial member of the mainstream media."

    Boyle responded claiming The Daily Beast's article was "entirely inaccurate and untrue." Boyle released screenshots of his correspondence with Lewandowski in attempt to vindicate his claim that he never acknowledged an altercation with Fields.

    The text conversation reveals a cozy relationship between Breitbart News and the Trump campaign with Boyle suggesting that the incident which happened to his colleague was just a "misunderstanding nothing bad" and emphasizing that he wanted to "make sure that this doesn't turn into a big story."

    Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov is also being accused of downplaying the event after he released a statement casting doubt that the incident ever took place:

    But in a statement issued late Tuesday night, Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov seemed reluctant to take the word of Fields and other witnesses, instead framing the incident as something that maybe happened, but maybe didn't:

    "It's obviously unacceptable that someone crossed a line and make physical contact with our reporter. What Michelle has told us directly is that someone "grabbed her arm" and while she did not see who it was, Ben Terris of the Washington Post told her that it was Corey Lewandowski. If that's the case,

    Michelle Fields has since reportedly filed charges against Lewandowski.

  • Ann Coulter Claims She Would Ban Overweight Immigrants From Entering The U.S.

    Blog ››› ››› LIBBY WATSON

    Commenting on her refusal to hug an undocumented immigrant during a recent interview, Ann Coulter doubled down, adding that she would "not admit overweight" immigrants into the country if she was "in charge of immigration."

    During a May 26 interview between Coulter and Jorge Ramos on Fusion's America with Jorge Ramos, undocumented immigrant and activist Gaby Pacheco asked Coulter if she could have a hug. When Coulter refused, claiming she was recovering from the flu, Pacheco persisted, saying the hug would be "a sign of my humanity and yours." 

    In a May 28th post on Breitbart, Matt Boyle detailed what he deemed to be "missing" context from coverage of the event. Buried at the end of the piece was a comment from Coulter weighing in on her snub of Pacheco, elaborating on how she wouldn't "admit people like Pacheco to the United States" if she were in charge of immigration. Coulter explained that "When I'm in charge of immigration (after our 10 year moratorium), I will not admit overweight girls." 

    Boyle concurred with Coulter, adding: "She's got a point: Shouldn't the United States be picking the most desirable immigrants to bring into the United States, truly the best and brightest?" 

    Coulter's latest insult came after a week of despicable commentary from the conservative pundit. In the same interview with Ramos, Coulter said Americans should fear immigrants more than ISIS, lamenting that "If you don't want to be killed by ISIS, don't go to Syria. If you don't want to be killed by a Mexican, there's nothing I can tell you." In an interview with Sean Hannity on May 27, Coulter also claimed that the US is "bringing in people from backward, primitive cultures." 

  • Another Error On Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch From Breitbart.com

    Last Time They Didn't Know Who Lynch Was, This Time They Don't Know What "Deferred" Means

    Blog ››› ››› MEAGAN HATCHER-MAYS

    Breitbart.com is incorrectly claiming that Loretta Lynch "undercut the legal argument" supporting President Obama's executive action on immigration, when in reality she did no such thing.

    On January 28, Lynch appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearing to become the next attorney general of the United States. Lynch is widely considered by people on both sides of the aisle to be a well-qualified pick for the post, but she still faced tough questions from Senate Republicans who, as The New York Times put it, wanted "assurances she would break from some of the practices" of current Attorney General Eric Holder.

    One line of questioning in particular centered around Lynch's thoughts on the legality of Obama's recent executive action on immigration that will defer deportation proceedings for some undocumented immigrants. Legal experts agree that the president's action, which will provide temporary administrative relief for certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who pass a background check, is "clearly within his discretionary power." Immigrants whose deportations are deferred under this form of prosecutorial discretion are then eligible to apply for work authorization permits and driver's licenses (depending on the state) -- a benefit that was not introduced by Obama, but rather is permitted under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Real ID Act of 2005, respectively.

    Breitbart.com, a site that once spectacularly confused nominee Lynch with a completely different Loretta Lynch in its rush to smear her qualifications, made yet another error in reporting on the confirmation hearing. A January 28 post on Breitbart claimed that Lynch "[p]erhaps by accident" had "undercut the legal justification the president has given for his executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens during her confirmation hearing." Aside from incorrectly defining the president's immigration actions as "amnesty" -- a mistake that other conservative media figures like Fox News' Megyn Kelly have avoided -- Breitbart homed in on an exchange between Lynch and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who asked about limitations on using prosecutorial discretion to prioritize deportations. Breitbart quoted Lynch's response:

    I think that if a prosecutor were to come to the view that they had to prioritize one crime over another, you would always still want to retain the ability -- even if it was an area that was not an immediate priority -- if for example it became one. Because if a particular neighborhood was being victimized, or again to use your issue of speeding, there were deaths resulting from that. You would want to have the ability to, if you could, take resources and focus on that issue. It might not be the first priority but you would want to have the ability to go back and deal with that issue.

    Breitbart went on to argue that, in her response, "Lynch effectively admits that what Obama has done with executive amnesty -- providing legal documentation and work permits for millions of illegal aliens, thereby legalizing their status in the United States -- far exceeds any reasonable definition of prosecutorial discretion. She also said that prosecutors should keep the door open to prosecuting an illegal action that isn't currently a priority if it becomes one eventually. So even if illegal immigration isn't a priority right now for whatever reason, prosecutors need to be able to go after that crime later."

    What she said does not "undercut" the policy at all. By definition, the executive actions (which are reversible themselves) that grant temporary administrative relief by deferred action "keep the door open" and allow law enforcement "to go after that crime later," as Lynch stated. The hint is in the name of the actions, which Breitbart did not cite: the "case-by-case" Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.

    Given the fact that it would be impossible for law enforcement to deport every person currently living in the United States without the appropriate documentation, it is essential to prioritize some removals over others. Lynch's comments do not undermine the administration's position, which she said was "reasonable" -- they simply explain how prosecutorial discretion, such as DAPA and DACA, works in practice.

  • How Conservative Media Helped To Kill Boehner's Border Bill

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Kristol

    House Republicans pulled a bill which would increase funding for security at the southern border after conservative media and their allies voiced opposition to it.

    The bill, pushed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was tabled after he and House Republican leadership faced "a rebellion among their most conservative ranks," according to the New York Times, who also reported that the failure to pass the bill "ensures that no legislation to address what both Democrats and Republicans call an urgent humanitarian crisis will reach President Obama's desk before the August break." After the measure failed, Republicans met to discuss whether they would bring up another bill before Congress goes into recess or to scrap the legislation entirely. Roll Call reported that "chaos reigned" as it became unclear what Republican leaders would decide to do.

    Conservative media darling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was reportedly whipping votes in order to stop the bill the night before its introduction, according to a Washington Post report. Cruz appeared on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren that same night and attacked what he described as "President Obama's amnesty."

    Weekly Standard founder and ABC News contributor Bill Kristol wrote a July 31 blog post demanding that the House "kill the bill." He described the bill as "dubious legislation" and argued that passing it would "take the focus off what President Obama has done about immigration."

    Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt agreed with Kristol, writing that the House should "kill the fake border security bill and go home until the House leadership gets serious about passing a real border security bill."

    The Drudge Report highlighted opposition to the bill at the top of the site with the headline "Hill Phones Melt As Boehner Pushes Border."

    The Drudge headline linked to Breitbart.com, which has repeatedly opposed immigration reform efforts. The story by Matthew Boyle noted that "The American people have overloaded the Congressional phone lines yet again on Thursday, pressuring their members of Congress to vote against the House and Senate immigration bills."

    Fox News contributor Erick Erickson argued at his site, RedState, that the bill was flawed because it failed to repeal the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which conservatives incorrectly blame for generating the surge in child migrants from Central America.

    Erickson added, "The House GOP should be starting with closing DACA, not telling conservatives they first have to fund the President and then they'll get table scraps" and directed his readers to RedState's "action center" where they could call Congress and demand that "the House GOP must close DACA." 

    Daily Caller columnist Mickey Kaus promoted a campaign from the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which urged readers to call the U.S. Capitol switchboard in order to speak to their member of Congress and demand "No New Laws" on immigration. Kaus also linked to a list of members and their direct office phone numbers.

    Laura Ingraham, a talk radio host and Fox News/ABC News contributor, who has been an anti-immigration reform crusader for years, wrote on Twitter that Boehner had made a "supreme accomplishment" by pushing a bill that "manages to enrage both the political left and conservatives." She later celebrated its defeat.

  • The Daily Caller's Menendez Smear May Have Come From The Castro Regime

    Blog ››› ››› HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY

    Tucker Carlson, Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief

    The Daily Caller may have been duped by the Cuban government when they published a series of stories accusing Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) of allegedly patronizing prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, according to new allegations. The Daily Caller previously came under fire for not sufficiently scrutinizing the story before running with it on their front page.

    The Washington Post reported on July 7 that Menendez's lawyer sent a letter to the Justice Department asserting that Cuba's Directorate of Intelligence pushed the false claims in an unsuccessful effort to derail Menendez's reelection campaign. The senator is "one of Washington's most ardent critics of the Castro regime," according to the Post.

    A former U.S. official also told the Post that the CIA has "obtained credible evidence, including Internet protocol addresses, linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims." According to the intelligence information, the Cuban agents helped create a fake tipster named "Pete Williams," who told FBI agents and others that Menendez had solicited prostitutes while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. The Post noted, however, that there "was no indication that the information gathered by U.S. intelligence officials alleging Cuba's role in the Menendez case had been fully investigated or proved."

    The charges against Menendez were first touted by The Daily Caller in November 2012, which relied on the testimony of two alleged Dominican prostitutes who claimed Menendez had paid them. Matt Boyle, the reporter behind the first Daily Caller story, now writes for Breitbart News.

    Fox News aggressively hyped the uncorroborated allegations during at least 22 segments in the following months, according to a search of the Nexis database.

    The story began to disintegrate, however, when the Post reported that one of the women had recanted her story and claimed in an affidavit that she was paid to lie about the senator. The FBI has also reportedly found no evidence backing up the tipster's claims, or even linking his emails "back to a real person."

  • Conservatives Demand GOP Stay In The Right-Wing Media Bubble

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Paul RyanIn December 2012, BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins reported that in the wake of their devastating electoral defeat, Republicans were looking to "break their Fox addiction" by working with mainstream outlets, not just conservatives ones. "As operatives are increasingly realizing," Coppins wrote, "many of these outlets have limited reach beyond the fervent Republican base, and the talking points politicians declaim often resonate only in the conservative echo chamber."

    A year and a half later, the reaction to Coppins' latest piece shows one roadblock to GOP efforts to reach out to mainstream media and the voters who don't get their news from ideological sources: a jealous right-wing media that wants increased access to Republican leaders. 

    Coppins' April 28 BuzzFeed profile chronicled how Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is "doing something rather unprecedented for a Republican: He is spending unchoreographed time with poor people," purportedly in order to inform his policy-making in that arena. The BuzzFeed writer was given exclusive access to Ryan during one such trip to visit the impoverished. His article drew swift criticism from progressives who said that Coppins credulously accepted Ryan's rhetoric on the issue while downplaying the impact that the massive cuts to poverty-fighting programs in Ryan's budget would have on the poor if it were implemented.

    But right-wing outlets have a very different critique of the article: They think it made Ryan look bad, proving that he never should have cooperated with Coppins in the first place.

    Breitbart's Matthew Boyle writes that Ryan "comes across as a deeply awkward millionaire paralyzed by political correctness as he struggles to identify with a black church congregation," citing two anecdotes from the piece. He concludes that Ryan's aides should not have granted Coppins access in the first place. The idea that the Republican congressman from Wisconsin might actually have been awkward in that situation goes unmentioned, with the implication that if Boyle had been the one traveling with Ryan, he'd have reported a more flattering piece.

    Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt likewise writes that the Coppins profile did not "do much or even any good" for Ryan, and bemoans how Republican press aides "resist having their bosses sit down with their natural allies in the center-right press" instead of giving access to mainstream reporters. He provides a list of reporters at The Daily Caller, TownHall.com, the Weekly Standard, and The Washington Free Beacon, concluding, "Don't ask me why they were not invited along with Ryan but McKay was. Part of the ongoing epic fail of Beltway GOP communications strategy. Hopefully it will change before 2016 arrives."

    Boyle and Hewitt are criticizing Ryan for following a strategy that Republican operatives had identified as necessary to improve the party's national standing and win presidential elections.

    The Republican National Committee's analysis of the 2012 election found that if the GOP wanted to win national elections, it had to change the minds of voters who believe the party "does not care about people," particularly those living in poverty. Ryan's effort to speak out on poverty seems consistent with that report's advice.

    But as the operatives Coppins spoke with in 2012 pointed out, it's difficult to shift the poverty narrative if Republicans only talk about the issue with conservative reporters, as Hewitt and Boyle suggest.

    Of course conservative journalists will always want more access and scoops. But demanding them at the expense of mainstream outlets traps the GOP between their conservative media supporters and their desire to win elections.

  • Right-Wing Media Deflect From Gov. Christie Bridge Scandal To Attack Obama, Invoke Benghazi

    ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN & OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Right-wing media responded to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) admission that his administration caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge as political payback with praise for the embattled governor and used Christie's response to pivot to criticisms of President Obama including invoking the phony Benghazi scandal.

  • Conservative Media Defend King's "Hateful" Comments Attacking Immigrants

    Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

    Conservative media figures are coming to the defense of Republican Congressman Steve King following widespread condemnation of his comments accusing undocumented immigrants of being drug smugglers.

    During an interview with conservative outlet Newsmax, King attacked the undocumented youths known as DREAMers -- those who would have qualified under the DREAM Act proposal that repeatedly failed in Congress and who could meet the Senate immigration bill's DREAM Act provision -- saying that while he has sympathy for children who were brought into this country illegally by their parents, not all of them are valedictorians:

    KING: And there are kids that were brought into this country by their parents unknowing that they were breaking the law. And they will say to me and others who would defend the rule of law: We have to do something about the 11 million. And some of them are valedictorians.

    Well, my answer to that is - and then by the way their parents brought them here. And it wasn't their fault. It's true in some cases. But they're aren't all valedictorians. They weren't all brought in by their parents.

    For every one who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that -- they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

    In subsequent interviews with CNN and Radio Iowa, King stood by his remarks.

    Republican Party leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Raul Labrador (R-ID), have condemned King's comments as"wrong," "hateful," and "inexcusable."  Boehner stated: "What he said is wrong. There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language. Everyone needs to remember that."

    However, right-wing media figures have rallied to King's defense. On her radio show, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham cited cases of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes and brought up instances of gang activity in border states to argue in support of King's comments.

    She later stated: "So who's right? Steve King." She then criticized media outlets for supposedly "vilifying" King, adding, "How about actually do some real reporting on how this stuff is affecting young people and spreading across this country?"