Research ››› ››› SHARON KANN
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon is the executive chairman of conservative website Breitbart News, which has been embroiled in a civil war over the publication’s Trump support. Numerous conservative media figures have slammed Bannon -- who is taking a leave of absence to work for Trump -- and Breitbart News for destroying the legacy of the site’s founder Andrew Breitbart, who said in 2011 that Donald Trump is “not a conservative.”
Seeking Scandal, Conservative Outlet Mixes Up Clinton Foundations -- Will Others Follow Suit?
An embarrassing misreading of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s 2015 tax returns led The Daily Caller to publish an entire article based on the false premise that the couple had given almost all their charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.
The August 12 article, inaccurately headlined “96 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation,” claimed that while the Clintons’ tax returns indicate they gave more than $1 million to charity in 2015, “the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.” The article went on to claim that the donations went to the “Clinton Foundation," which has purportedly "been at the center of several controversies that have hobbled Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by eroding trust in the former secretary of state,” and highlighted several trumped-up scandals related to that organization.
Unfortunately for The Daily Caller, the Clintons’ tax returns indicate that they gave that money not to the well-known Clinton Foundation but to the Clinton Family Foundation, an entirely separate entity, which in fact distributes its funds to a variety of other charitable and nonprofit organizations.
As we noted when conservative outlets mixed up the two entities last year:
As Nonprofit Quarterly explained, the Clinton Family Foundation acts "a clearinghouse for the family's personal philanthropy." According to the Family Foundation's 2014 tax filing, Hillary and Bill Clinton are the only donors, and the Family Foundation distributes their money to various charities and nonprofits, including New York Public Radio, the American Nurses Foundation, the American Heart Association -- and the separate William J. Clinton Foundation.
The William J. Clinton Foundation -- which was recently renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation -- is the highly-respected international charity that has garnered significant media attention since Clinton announced her run for president. It is the foundation that helps AIDS/HIV sufferers around the world get better medicine, and battles global health crises, economic inequality, childhood obesity, and climate change.
While there would be nothing suspicious about the Clintons donating to Clinton Foundation given their obvious commitment to its good works, the fact remains that the $1 million donation in question wasn’t directed there.
UPDATE: The Daily Caller corrected its article, explaining that the $1 million donation was given to the Clinton Family Foundation, and not the Clinton Foundation as originally claimed:
(Correction: This article initially identified the Clinton non-profit that received the bulk of the Clintons’ charitable donations as the Clinton Foundation. The $1 million contribution actually went to the Clinton Family Foundation. The Clintons control the entity, but it is separate from the Clinton Foundation.)
Right-wing media monitored and filmed people using the designated all-gender restroom at the Democratic National Convention, looking for “obviously transgender” convention attendees in the bathroom. Conservative media have long peddled the bogus myth that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people will allow male sexual predators to sneak into women’s bathrooms by pretending to be transgender, leading to an increase in assault and misbehavior in restrooms.
The Daily Caller News Foundation attempted to smear the Clinton Foundation in a report built on totally false information disproved by the foundation’s website and easily accessible tax filings.
Conservative media are fearmongering over Washington state public schools’ new LGBT-inclusive education standards that aim to teach students “the importance of treating others with respect regarding gender identity.” Outlets are reporting that the state will soon begin to “teach transgenderism to kindergartners” and suggesting that Washington is promoting transgender “recruitment.” But education professionals and advocacy groups say students benefit from learning about gender identity at an early age.
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Fox News and numerous other conservative media outlets uncritically presented the misleading conclusions of a May 2016 report by the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claimed that immigrant-headed households consume more welfare than households headed by native-born people. Right-wing media have ignored criticism from experts pointing out the report’s methodological flaws and exaggerations in order to present immigrants as a fiscal burden.
Right-wing outlets including Breitbart, Newsmax, and The Daily Caller hyped the May 9 CIS report claiming that immigrant-headed households receive more welfare than households headed by native-borns. On May 12, Fox correspondent Eric Shawn presented the study’s claims uncritically during the “Truth Serum” segment of Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor. Host Bill O’Reilly introduced the segment by announcing the story was about “tax money going to support illegal aliens”:
Experts have already leveled criticism at the report. Immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh wrote that “The CIS headline result … lacks any kind of reasonable statistical controls” and that “CIS’ buried results undermine their own headline findings.” The American Immigration Council called the report “fundamentally flawed” and criticized its methodology as “creative accounting”:
The biggest shortcoming of both reports is that they count the public benefits utilized by U.S.-born children as costs incurred by the “immigrant-headed households” of which they are a part—at least until those children turn 18, that is, at which point they are counted as “natives.”
The problem with this kind of creative accounting is that all children are “costly” when they are young because they consume educational and health services without contributing any tax revenue. However, that situation reverses when they are working-age adults who, in a sense, “pay back” in taxes what they consumed as children. So it is disingenuous to count them as a “cost of immigration” one minute, and then as native-born taxpayers the next minute.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), CIS has ties to hate groups in the nativist lobby and “has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked, and it has frequently manipulated data to achieve the results it seeks.” CIS has repeatedly been criticized for publishing shoddy research work that includes the “misinterpretation and manipulation of data” and methodologies that are “deeply flawed.”
These criticisms of the new report received no mention on right-wing media reports on the study. Previous equally flawed CIS studies have been similarly promoted by conservative media, indicating a pattern: CIS publishes a study with anti-immigrant conclusions, and right-wing media ignore facts to report it uncritically, despite expert criticisms pointing to methodological flaws, nuances, or controls that undermine the study’s conclusion. This cycle joins other dishonest strategies from the immigrant smearing playbook that have been repeatedly employed by right-wing media.
The Daily Caller published another pro-Donald Trump piece by Roger Stone just weeks after it pulled a piece by Stone that contained heavy plagiarism.
Stone wrote an April 25 column which featured at least five paragraphs in which research and language were lifted from a conservative blog. Stone did not credit or attribute his writing to the blog. After Media Matters documented the plagiarism, the Daily Caller pulled the piece from its website without any explanation.
Stone responded to the plagiarism with a nonsensical post on his Facebook page. He called the criticism a “MSM HIT JOB” and posted a statement from a writer named Kelleigh Nelson admitting she “copied it off several sites” and sent it to Stone. Nelson concluded (ellipses in original), “Blaming Roger for plagiarism is idiotic....he got all the info from me...and I put it together to send to him. So blame me...facts are it's all true.”
Stone’s May 10 piece accuses Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of extorting and blackmailing Trump. Stone claimed that “Ryan is posturing to get Donald to agree to key terms relating to the congressional committees, congressional candidates and more importantly the RNC. Ryan will endorse Donald, but Donald has to agree that his campaign team will not be influencing these committees and will give the RNC, under Reince [Priebus], autonomy (obviously this means control of the money and spending).” Stone then suggests that Ryan is doing this in part to benefit Republican strategist Karl Rove’s business. Stone made similar claims during an appearance on The Alex Jones Show.
Stone is a longtime friend and ally of Trump who peddles research that is discredited and false. That the Daily Caller has no problems continuing its relationship with Stone is perhaps unsurprising given the publication’s notoriously low standards that have even embarrassed its own employees.
A Guide To The Funders Behind A Tangled Network Of Advocacy, Research, Media, And Profiteering That’s Taking Over Public Education
Media Matters outlines the many overlapping connections in an echo chamber of education privatization advocacy groups, think tanks, and media outlets that are increasingly funded by a handful of conservative billionaires and for-profit education companies -- often without proper disclosure.
UPDATE: Following the publication of this post, The Daily Caller removed Stone’s piece from its website. A link to the piece currently redirects to the site's mainpage. There is currently no explanation for the removal. Stone’s author page also no longer lists the April 25 piece. A screenshot of the article can be found here via Google cache.
ORIGINAL: Donald Trump ally Roger Stone wrote an anti-Ted Cruz piece for The Daily Caller that contains at least five paragraphs in which research and language were lifted from a conservative blog. Stone did not attribute or credit the blog, instead passing the research off as his own.
Stone is a longtime adviser and friend to Trump. He now heads a pro-Trump super PAC and has stirred controversy by promising to disclose the hotels and room numbers of Republican National Convention delegates who are purportedly trying to "steal" the nomination from Trump. Stone has a long history of dirty tricks and smears.
Stone, “The Daily Caller's Men's Fashion Editor,” wrote an April 25 piece attacking "establishment globalist" Cruz for selling “the American worker down the river by voting for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Much of Stone’s piece previously appeared in a November 11 blog post authored by “sundance” for the blog The Conservative Tree House (the piece was reposted several times on that blog in subsequent months).
Stone is aware of The Conservative Tree House blog, having previously tweeted out links to the blog and citing it in an April 8 Daily Caller piece on conservative pundits allegedly supporting Cruz “for the money.” In that piece, Stone cited “a blogger identified simply as ‘sundance’” “in an article posted on TheConservativeTreeHouse.com.”
Here is a side-by-side visual of Stone’s piece and The Conservative Tree House post (click here to view a larger image). Five consecutive paragraphs in Stone's piece plagiarize content from a lengthy section of the piece at The Conservative Treehouse blog:
Here are five examples from the piece where Stone lifted language and research from The Conservative Tree House post without any attribution (the only link included in Stone's piece matches a link also used in The Conservative Treehouse post). The instances where the language is virtually identical are bolded.
House Bill #2146 became the Trojan horse for passing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal more than a year ago. HR2146 was originally introduced in the House to remedy problems with law enforcement and firefighter retirement funds.
This House Bill #2146 originating April 30th ’15, became the vehicle for passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
HR2146 was originally introduced in the House of Representatives as a bill to address issues with retirement funds of federal law enforcement officers and firefighters.
In April of 2015, Senator Ted Cruz and House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan supported TPA being added to HR2146. In fact, they penned an op-ed in the in the [sic] Wall Street Journal on April 22, 2015, which painted a picture of it as the savior of American labor and commerce.
In April of 2015 Senator Ted Cruz and House Ways and Means Chairman, Representative Paul Ryan, supported TPA being added to HR2146. Their support was most notable when they posted the following Op-Ed which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on April 22nd:
On June 4th 2015 the Senate passed the House bill with an amendment adding TPA (thanks to Ted Cruz) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA, needed for Elizabeth Warren coalition) by unanimous consent thereby avoiding a roll vote on record. This has allowed Cruz to pretend he didn’t support it, until now.
As planned, on June 4th 2015 The senate passed the house bill “with changes” notably an amendment “adding TPA” (thanks to Ted Cruz) and TAA (needed for Elizabeth Warren coalition) By unanimous consent thereby avoiding a roll vote on record.
On June 18, 2015, the House accepted the TPA change championed by Paul Ryan. It also removed TAA (the financial assistance package for training of union workers), which greatly upset Nancy Pelosi. But the White House was much more concerned with TPA and TPP, so Pelosi did what she was told and went along.
On June 18, 2015 the House accepted the TPA change (Paul Ryan spearhead) and removed TAA (the financial assistance package for training of union workers – this angered the Pelosi Dems). Nancy Pelosi had to be arm twisted by the White House to go along with HR2146 with TAA spending removed – she acquiesced.
Without TAA, HR2146 passed again in the House and bounced back to the Senate — where TAA was removed. OnJune 24 [sic], HR2146 (TPA without TAA) then passed the Senate.
Without TAA HR2146 passed again in the House, only this time with a much closer vote of 218-208, and went back to the Senate to resolve differences. (The difference was the removal of TAA)
On June 24th HR2146 (TPA without TAA) Then passed the Senate (Ted Cruz did not attempt to block or filibuster because this was the original plan all along).
On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court “is weighing the fate” of President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration which “could shield roughly 4 million people from deportation” and grant them legal right to work. Right-wing media have spent years misinforming about the legality, and economic impact of the executive actions. Here are the facts.
On Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how conservative media attacked female celebrities and athletes for speaking out about wage disparities in their industry and the need for a guarantee of equal pay for equal work. Right-wing media blamed wage inequality on women’s “self-esteem,” their willingness to sign and negotiate “bad” contracts, and so-called “fuzzy math” on the part of equal pay advocates; all while continuing to push the myth that the gender gap doesn’t exist.
White House Updated The Video To Include All Remarks And Explained Technical Glitch Led To The Audio Being Dropped
Conservative outlets quickly hatched a conspiracy theory that the White House "censored" French President Francois Hollande from using the phrase "Islamist terrorism" during a bilateral meeting with President Obama in Washington, D.C. The White House explained the issue was simply a technical glitch that was fixed immediately.
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."