The Daily Caller would "gladly run" future opinion pieces from contributor Jack Hunter despite revelations this week of his past neo-Confederate and pro-secessionist views, a spokesperson said.
Asked if Hunter -- who has written more than 50 opinion pieces for the website in the past -- would be welcomed to write for the site again in the future, Daily Caller spokeswoman Nicole Roeberg stated via email: "He is welcome to submit an opinion piece, just like anyone else. Each piece would be judged on its own merit. If it adheres to our standards, we would gladly run it."
She also stressed: "Any submission which violates Daily Caller standards won't be accepted. Though Hunter has written many good pieces for us in the past, comments like those being talked about this week would not have met our editorial standards and would have been rejected."
The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported this week that Hunter, a "close aide" to Sen. Rand Paul who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist. Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which 'advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'"
The Free Beacon also quoted from Hunter's South Carolina radio commentaries, delivered under the pseudonym "The Southern Avenger," in which he expressed admiration for Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, indignation that white Americans are treated to a "racial double standard," and opposition to Spanish-speaking immigrants. Hunter reportedly "told the Free Beacon that he no longer holds many of these views," including his pro-Lincoln assassin views, but "declined to say that he no longer supports secession."
In an interview, Roeberg pointed out that Hunter had written just one piece for the Daily Caller since last August and that none of the previous articles were related to his controversial views. "He was an opinion writer, we have hundreds and hundreds of opinion writers, [and] he was never paid," she said. "All of his pieces were opinion pieces and we don't pay our opinion writers."
She later added: "None of his pieces that he ever wrote for us had anything to do with any of those views, they were all kind of just standard political issues that weren't super controversial. We never would have approved anything like that."
Roeberg said she did not know if Daily Caller editors knew about Hunter's past controversial views, adding that the news outlet had no other comment on the new revelations.
Hunter's Daily Caller archive includes more than 50 pieces written between August 2011 and May 2013, including numerous editions of a slickly-produced, Daily Caller-branded video commentary series, "The Deal with Jack Hunter."
His most recent Daily Caller piece, from May 6, was headlined, "Rand Paul shatters left-right paradigm, can help grow GOP." In his written and video commentaries, Hunter also promoted the candidacy of Sen. Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), whose 2012 presidential campaign he worked for as an "official campaign blogger."
In a February 2012 Daily Caller video, Hunter argued "that by firing Pat Buchanan, MSNBC, Media Matters and the Color of Change have undermined free speech." The Daily Caller noted that Hunter is "known by his radio moniker the 'Southern Avenger,'" and identified him as "a frequent guest on Fox Business" and the co-author of books by Sen. Paul and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).
The latest revelations about Hunter's neo-Confederate past brought a rebuke from one of Daily Caller's most well-known columnists, Matt Lewis, who wrote a piece on July 9 describing Hunter's comments as a "damaging staffer admission" and his past views as "very bad baggage." Lewis wrote that Hunter's presence on Paul's staff reflects poorly on the senator's "credibility and honesty -- to Paul's fundamental character."
Lewis did not mention Hunter's previous Daily Caller work and did not respond to a request for an interview.
As conservatives begin to come to grips with the passage of the health care law (and their failure to defeat it), they are -- predictably -- reacting poorly. Following weeks and months of failed rhetoric portraying passage of the law as "the end of America as you know it," some conservatives are still in denial, while others are stoking fears about what's coming.
What's coming? IRS "thugs coming with their guns" to force you into socialized medicine.
If it's not clear by now, it should be: Right-wing reaction to health care reform has the potential to become violent.
Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney took to Fox News this morning and claimed that the IRS is going to "hire 17,000 new agents and spend $10 billion so that they will check that you have the insurance that you're supposed to have." Varney's number of agents is based (shock) on a Republican estimate of the bill and the CBO actually projected that the costs to the IRS would be between $5 billion and $10 billion over the next 10 years.
Last night on Fox Business Network, America's Nightly Scoreboard host David Asman opened his show with an epic rant, repeatedly trashing the IRS and claiming that Americans "lost their freedom to choose their own health care options." Of the IRS, Asman stated:
[T]he IRS already has a history of forcing people to do what they don't want to do. But what's really scary about all this is that the IRS has a reputation of turning American justice on its head. In the world of IRS enforcement, you're often guilty until proven innocent. There have been many businesses that have had to fold up shop because of an IRS investigation, even if the owners of those businesses were later found to be innocent. And now IRS agents will have access to more of your personal files than ever. Does that make you feel good? Could that make any American feel good?
Asman wasn't done:
Frankly, it scares the hell out of Scoreboard. We don't trust the government with that kind of power and influence in our personal life. And we don't think that makes us anti-American, either. In fact, Scoreboard thinks that skepticism about growing government control is pro-American since America was founded on the principles of individual choice and distrust of government mandates that remove individual choice. This legislation is turning that philosophy upside down and putting IRS goons potentially in charge of matters that involve the most personal choices we make regarding life and death and this adds insult to injury.
Asman then immediately turned to a "man who spent his life fighting for the freedom to choose life," Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX):
ASMAN: Now the private option ... it's going to be illegal and not only will it be illegal because everybody will be forced to buy insurance, but you're going to have an IRS agent on your tail if you dare not to have insurance.What do you think of that?
PAUL: I think symbolically, the American people didn't have concern, they ought to just think about it: 16,500 armed bureaucrats coming to make this program work.
ASMAN: It's incredible.
PAUL: If it was a good program and everybody liked it you wouldn't need 16,500 thugs coming with their guns and putting you in jail if you didn't follow all the rules.
ASMAN: Exactly. I think you just said it. If it was a good program, you wouldn't need coercion. This is coercion. Using the power of the state as a coercive body rather than a representative of the American people's will. There's something deepy, deeply wrong with that.
Asman's portrayal of the legislative process as "coercion" rather than "representative of the American people's will," is of course absurd, if not childish.
But here's the deal:
Asman may not find "skepticism about growing government control" to be "anti-American" -- and he may indeed even see it as "pro-American" -- but referring to federal workers as "goons" and "thugs" is shameful.
And stoking fears that they are "coming with their guns and putting you in jail" if you don't comply is not only disingenuous, it's dangerous.
Noting that a Fox News text-message poll following the October 21 Republican presidential debate put Ron Paul in first place, Sean Hannity said, "Oh, this poll -- you've got all your supporters calling." Paul responded: "What, you mean your own poll isn't any good?" Hannity then said: "No, it's just a lot of fun." But Hannity has previously touted the results of the same type of text-message poll when those results were favorable for President Bush: In January, Hannity noted several times that "85 percent" of viewers who voted by text message said that Bush did an "excellent" job in his State of the Union address.
On Hannity & Colmes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz cited Republican focus group responses to an exchange over Iraq policy between Mike Huckabee and Rep. Ron Paul, and, echoing Huckabee's assertion about needing not "to lose our honor," declared: "Clearly, principle won out in this exchange." Luntz cited no evidence that the focus group participants favored Huckabee's comments because they thought that the comments -- in contrast with Paul's -- were based on "principle." In fact, Paul's position on the Iraq war has been consistent, though originally sharply at odds with public opinion.
The Associated Press uncritically reported that Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was excluded from the Iowa presidential forum because, according to one of the groups sponsoring the event, Paul "didn't meet the criteria the groups drew up," including "having an established exploratory committee and garnering at least 1 percent in a national poll." The AP did not mention that Paul established his presidential exploratory committee months before invitations for the forum were sent and was polling at 1 percent in at least one national poll at that time.
Several media figures mischaracterized a response that Rep. Ron Paul gave at the Republican debate, with some asserting that Paul had "blamed" the United States for the 9-11 terrorist attacks and others simply accepting Rudy Giuliani's misrepresentation of Paul's statement -- that the United States had "invited the attack." In fact, Paul did not blame the United States for the 9-11 attacks or say that the United States had "invited" them.