The Daily Caller

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  • Right-Wing “Porn Star” Attack On Former Miss Universe Falls Apart

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Conservative media figures are responding to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado’s statements that Donald Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and publicly humiliated her for gaining weight by accusing her of being a “porn star.” It is unclear why Trump’s behavior would be mitigated by Machado later performing in adult films, but those claims nonetheless appear to be false.

    During the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pointed to Trump’s record of mistreating women, specifically highlighting his attacks Machado. Trump, who owned the Miss Universe pageant from 1996 to 2015, doubled down the morning after the debate on the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, saying Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” Trump supporters have sought to explain away Trump’s actions by seeking to undermine Machado’s character.

    In a September 27 article headlined, “Porn Star Campaigns For Hillary Clinton,” the Daily Caller falsely reported that “Snippets of an adult film starring Machado are available on multiple free porn websites.” While the headline remains the same, that language has been removed from the article, which now states that she “is in a sextape” that was released in 2005.

    The article features the correction, “The star of Apprentass 4 was Angel Dark, not Alicia Machado.” While the correction is nonspecific, it appears that the Caller based the entire premise of their claim that Machado is a “porn star” on the incorrect belief that she was featured in that film. According to The Daily Beast, which reported on conservatives’ smear effort against Machado, “there does not appear to be any evidence suggesting the existence of professionally made pornography starring Machado.”

    While the article no longer cites an example of her appearing in an adult film, it still baselessly claims that Machado made an “appearance in porn” and has a “background in pornography.”

    The apparently unsubstantiated claim that Machado appeared in adult films rocketed through Trump’s supporters in the right-wing media. Rush Limbaugh opened his September 28 radio show by describing Machado as the “porn star Miss Piggy.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity claimed on his radio show “that she may have starred in an adult film, and available apparently on multiple free porn websites according to the Daily Caller.” He also said that Machado is “in all these porn videos” during an interview with Eric Trump. And CNN’s Jeffrey Lord repeatedly described Machado as a “porn star” in an American Spectator article headlined “Hillary’s Bad Judgement: Exploits Porn Star Surrogate.”

    This effort to shame Machado into silence would be despicable even if it were true. But it appears that the entire smear campaign is also completely false.

  • Right-Wing Media Criticize Lester Holt For Interrupting Trump, Even Though Trump Interrupted Clinton 51 Times

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media figures criticized presidential debate moderator Lester Holt for interrupting Republican nominee Donald Trump more than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Yet Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times -- three times as often as Clinton interrupted Trump -- and repeatedly went over his allotted time and made numerous factually inaccurate statements.

  • 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."

  • Right-Wing Media Revive Local Anti-Choice Attack On New Mexico Abortion Providers

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has used documents taken from the anti-choice group the New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) to allege wrongdoing by the University of New Mexico (UNM). After a push from NMAFL to revive the allegations, conservative media outlets have recently begun circulating the panel’s misinformed anti-choice attack against UNM and New Mexico abortion providers.

  • The Conservatives Who Said That Trump’s New Campaign Chief Betrayed Breitbart's Memory By Backing Donald Trump

    ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    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.”

  • How To Faceplant While Reporting On The Clinton Tax Returns

    Seeking Scandal, Conservative Outlet Mixes Up Clinton Foundations -- Will Others Follow Suit?

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    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 Monitor, Film Attendees Inside All-Gender Restroom At Democratic Convention

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    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.

  • Right-Wing Media Fearmonger Over Washington State’s New LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    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.

  • Conservative Media Keep Relying On Shoddy Research From This Anti-Immigrant Group To Push Xenophobic Agenda

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    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.

  • Daily Caller Back To Publishing Roger Stone After Pulling His Plagiarized Piece

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    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.

  • Here Are The Corporations And Right-Wing Funders Backing The Education Reform Movement

    A Guide To The Funders Behind A Tangled Network Of Advocacy, Research, Media, And Profiteering That’s Taking Over Public Education

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    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. 

  • UPDATED: Roger Stone Heavily Plagiarized An Anti-Cruz Piece For The Daily Caller

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    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.

    Example 1:

    Stone wrote:

    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.

    Sundance wrote:

    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.

    Example 2:

    Stone wrote:

    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.

    Sundance wrote:

    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:

    Example 3:

    Stone wrote:

    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.

    Sundance wrote:

    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. 

    Example 4:

    Stone wrote:

    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.

    Sundance wrote:

    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.

    Example 5:

    Stone wrote:

    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. 

    Sundance wrote:

    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)

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2146

    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). 

  • A Guide To The Myths & Facts On Obama’s Executive Actions On Immigration

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    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.