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  • As Inauguration Approaches, NRATV Says Dissent Against Trump Is An "Assault" On The Constitution

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Ostensibly a news organization, the National Rifle Association’s NRATV is actually a pro-Trump propaganda effort that routinely labels protected-speech reporting on the president-elect as a plot to destroy the United States, “anti-patriotic,” and an “assault against freedom and the Constitution.”

    In fact, the opposite is true. Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment, which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

    The protections afforded to the press by the First Amendment are, of course, not absolute. The publication of defamatory material can have legal repercussions. But the type of press activity NRATV describes as oppositional to the U.S. Constitution is actually accurate and sourced reporting on important matters of public interest.

    NRATV, a rebranding of NRA News, launched in October with the stated mission of providing “the most comprehensive video coverage of Second Amendment issues, events and culture anywhere in the world.” It brought on conservative radio's Grant Stinchfield to serve as a host, interjecting live hourly updates into a 24-hour video feed featuring archived material and other live programing. His initial updates, which signaled the NRA’s efforts to elect Trump as president, quickly took on an anti-democratic tone.

    During an October 26 broadcast, Stinchfield warned viewers about “the mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution” that “played out every night on the airwaves of America.”

    Just how was the “mainstream media” assaulting the Constitution? According to NRATV, it was by reporting on numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Trump instead of “important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment.” As Stinchfield -- citing a report by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on allegations against Trump -- explained, “Overwhelmingly biased attacks against Donald Trump” were being “cloaked as real news”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution has played out every night on the airwaves of America. The overwhelmingly biased attacks against Donald Trump are usually cloaked as real news, when in reality it’s a diversion from the important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment. Megyn Kelly performed this sleight-of-hand magic trick last night while she was interviewing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. She only wanted to talk about the sexual allegations leveled against Donald Trump, but the speaker fought back.

    Reporting on allegations of sexual assault against a presidential candidate -- often while quoting victims on the record and confirming that they spoke of the alleged incidents contemporaneously with others -- is not an assault on the U.S. Constitution, but rather an exercise of freedom of the press.  

    Following Donald Trump’s victory, NRATV has adopted an even more authoritarian tone. During a November 29 broadcast about the “dishonest and downright dirty” mainstream media, Stinchfield argued that it is “anti-patriotic” to report on Trump and his transition team if those reports raise critical questions. Claiming that “the media needs to get on board,” Stinchfield said, “They talk about being anti-patriotic; when you call into question every single thing that this president-elect does and his transition team does, it’s the media that is trying to destroy our republic. They are trying to tear it down piece by piece by sending you false information.”

    There is nothing “anti-patriotic” about the press or others raising questions about the actions of the president-elect or his transition team. And calling for the media “to get on board” with Trump is dangerous rhetoric that discounts the crucial role of dissent in democracy.

    NRATV has suggested that its programming can serve as a replacement for traditional media. Stinchfield has claimed that mainstream media outlets “stoop to levels so low it’s time the American people find new sources of information,” before saying, “We here at NRATV are clearly filling a much-needed void.”

    Based on NRATV's coverage of Trump’s candidacy and his first weeks as president-elect, its leadership apparently thinks a more appropriate way for media outlets to cover Trump and his administration is through blatant cheerleading -- like when Stinchfield guaranteed that “you will be safer” under President Trump -- and spreading misinformation about his adversaries. For months, NRATV (and the NRA itself, through massive amounts of advertising) openly campaigned on behalf of Trump.

    An example of NRATV’s desperate attempts to help Trump get elected is an Election Day segment in which Stinchfield presented an article clearly marked as “fiction” as real news in order to attack Hillary Clinton.

    During NRATV’s November 8 broadcast, Stinchfield said that “America’s 1st Freedom magazine published an eye-opening piece about what the country would look like in 2020 if Hillary Clinton is elected president today” that included the “projections” such as that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be appointed U.N. ambassador and that he would use his position to “limit our ability to purchase guns here in the United States.”

    According to Stinchfield, “That alone should be enough motivation to head to the polls right now. It is our last chance to stop Hillary Clinton.”

    America’s 1st Freedom is an NRA publication. The article in question did not include any reporting supporting its suggestion that Bloomberg was likely to be picked by Clinton. In addition, the article included a “disclaimer” labeling the piece “a work of fiction.” (At the time of its publication, Media Matters highlighted other fantastical predictions contained within the article, including the prospect of Syrian refugees establishing an “Islamic State in the United States” culminating in a nuclear attack on U.S. soil.)

    While the America’s 1st Freedom article was comically overwrought, the NRA at least labeled it as “fiction.” But the NRATV broadcast presented it as some type of “eye-opening” analysis, and raised Bloomberg’s possible appointment as a legitimate reason to vote against Clinton.  

    Trump has made attacks on the press, including calls for curtailment of press freedoms, a hallmark of his campaign and transition period. And following his victory, NRATV has egged him on, telling the president-elect to “not stop holding the media accountable” and to not “stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media.”

    As Trump’s inauguration rapidly approaches, one thing is clear: If, as president, Trump attempts to tamp down on First Amendment protections for the press, he will have the organization that purports to defend another part of the Bill of Rights -- the Second Amendment -- firmly at his side.    

  • NRATV’s Dana Loesch Lashes Out After Calls For FedEx To End Its Business Relationship With The NRA

    Loesch: Use FedEx To Send Gun Safety Groups “A Bag Of Richards”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Conservative radio host and NRATV commentator Dana Loesch criticized members of the gun safety movement following the launch of a campaign asking shipping company FedEx to end its business relationship with the National Rifle Association.

    Gun safety group Guns Down is currently leading a campaign to ask FedEx to leave the NRA’s Business Alliance. As a member of the alliance, FedEx currently offers NRA members discounted shipping services.

    A petition issued by Guns Down calls for FedEx to “cease supporting a reckless organization that puts the public safety of Americans at risk in the name of corporate profits.” It says the NRA’s agenda includes accepting “millions of dollars from gun manufacturers every year to advance an extremist pro-gun agenda, including eliminating gun-free zones at schools and houses of worship, gutting criminal background checks for gun sales, and allowing open carrying of guns in all public places.” Media Matters joined other organizations in signing a letter Guns Down sent to FedEx asking the shipping company to drop the NRA.

    Loesch, who is an NRA employee, attacked the campaign during the December 21 broadcast of The Dana Show by insulting “those harpies from the Moms Demand Box Wine” (a reference to gun safety group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America). Loesch’s rant culminated in her suggesting that people use FedEx to send gummy penises to gun safety organizations.

    From the December 21 edition of The Dana Show:

    DANA LOESCH (HOST): The gun control lobby, they’re mad. Because FedEx offers NRA members a discount. A lot of people get discounts with FedEx, but NRA members get a discount with FedEx and it’s sort of just like how some of the gun control groups -- they can fundraise off Amazon. You know how you can do like a charity donation, or something with Amazon? They can do all of that. And so they’re ticked off because FedEx, which I’ve had all my stuff shipped with FedEx this Christmas, because they have an NRA discount. So the gun control lobby is freaking out over FedEx. If you’re online, give FedEx some love. Because they’ve got those harpies from the Moms Demand Box Wine and those pedophile moron members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. There were convicted members of that so try to bring that up. And then the folks over at Everytown, they’ve been slamming FedEx because NRA has a discount. But at the same time they’re telling everybody go shop at Amazon and use this to fundraise for Everytown. You don’t see me freaking out over that, do you? Of course, I have the courage of my convictions. They don’t. Oh, yeah, maybe we should FedEx them -- there’s some funny gummy things, bags of gummy things that you can FedEx people that I’m -- seriously.

    PRODUCER: Yeah, a whole bag of richards.

    LOESCH: A whole bag of richards. You can really send that, that’s great. Bag of richards, write that down, that’s another band name. Bag of richards, that is a great band name.

    Related:

    TELL FEDEX: STOP SUPPORTING THE NRA

    Previously:

    On The Kelly File, Dana Loesch Claims Banning The AR-15 "Is A War On Women"

    Dana Loesch's New Gun Book Botches Quotes From The Founding Fathers

  • Move Over, Jim Crow; NRATV Calls Minimum Wage "Most Discriminatory Regulation Ever Enacted"

    NRATV Host: “Imagine You Have Little Mental Capacity, You Can’t Do Anything But Sweep The Floor. To A Business You Are Not Worth Eight, 10, Or Certainly Not $15 An Hour”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The National Rifle Association’s NRATV defended President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of fast food CEO Andy Puzder for labor secretary by claiming that “minimum wage is the most discriminatory regulation ever enacted.”

    Puzder, who heads Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has attacked calls for a higher minimum wage and claimed low-wage employees would turn down promotions because they "don't want to lose the free stuff from the government.”

    The December 15 broadcast of NRATV took things even further with host Grant Stinchfield defending Trump’s selection by calling for the total elimination of the minimum wage in the name of “freedom,” arguing that imposing a minimum wage amounted to discrimination against “low-level workers.” Stinchfield claimed, “Now imagine you have little mental capacity, you can’t do anything but sweep the floor. To a business you are not worth eight, ten, or certainly not $15 an hour”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (NRATV HOST): As the media continues to freak out over the election of Donald Trump, it continues to spew negative stories about him none of which are based in fact. As The Wall Street Journal points out, we are being told that we can’t trust any of Trump’s cabinet picks. Mainstream reporters tell us they are all a threat to our nation. Take the pick of Andy Puzder for labor secretary. They say he’s unacceptable to the left because he is against the minimum wage hike. But the left fails to realize the minimum wage is the most discriminatory regulation ever enacted. You see, we at NRATV are all about freedom. That includes freedom to make decisions and deals for yourself. Now imagine you have little mental capacity, you can’t do anything but sweep the floor. To a business you are not worth eight, 10, or certainly not $15 an hour. Now that might sound harsh, but the minimum wage is harsher. With it, the government just barred you from working. Even if someone wants to pay you five dollars an hour, they can’t. Meaning the minimum wage leaves millions of low-level workers on the sidelines. Do away with the minimum wage and you put millions of Americans back to work tomorrow. Now that’s freedom. It’s also something the left refuses to acknowledge, just as it can’t acknowledge gun ownership equals freedom too.

    Previously:

    What You Need To Know About Rumored Trump Labor Secretary Andy Puzder

    Myths & Facts: The Minimum Wage

    Host Of NRA's New Pro-Trump Show: "Blame Minorities" For Gun Violence

  • Trump Ally And News Source Alex Jones Regularly Pushes CIA Conspiracy Theories

    Jones Previously Said The CIA Was Involved In 9/11 And The Oklahoma City And Boston Marathon Bombings

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been repeatedly warning President-elect Donald Trump that “rogue elements” within the CIA are trying to “assassinate” him before he takes office. Trump, who has been publicly feuding with the CIA in recent weeks, reportedly speaks to Jones on the phone and watches his videos. He has previously echoed Jones' other conspiracy theories and rhetoric.

    Jones is a toxic promoter of conspiracy theories, including that the United States government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon, among others. He was also a leading promoter of the false “pizzagate” conspiracy theories that led a Jones listener to fire a gun inside a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

    Trump has mainstreamed Jones: He appeared on Jones’ program in December 2015 and said he has an “amazing” reputation. Trump also called Jones after the election to thank his audience for supporting his candidacy and promised to appear on his program soon.

    Trump reportedly watches Jones’ program and he has repeatedly echoed Jones’ ideas and rhetoric, prompting Jones to remark that it’s “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later.” Top Trump adviser Roger Stone is also a contributor and frequent guest to Jones’ program. He told Jones that Trump appreciates his work and “knows that you are the centerpiece of the resistance.”

    The CIA recently “concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency,” according to The Washington Post. Trump has responded to the report by dismissing and attacking the CIA. The Post subsequently reported that Trump’s attacks “will probably deepen an existing rift between Trump and the agencies and raised questions about how the government’s 16 spying agencies will function in his administration on matters such as counterterrorism and cyberwarfare.”

    Meanwhile, Alex Jones has been repeatedly warning Trump that people within the CIA are “planning to assassinate” or “overthrow” Trump and that the agency is “thinking about bringing in outside mercenaries or other agencies” in order to do that.

    Author Jon Ronson reported that Jones told him he and Trump speak on the phone and he also communicates with the president-elect through YouTube videos. Jones reportedly said: “I put a video out … a message to Trump. And then two days later he lays out the case. It’s like sending up the Bat Signal.”

    Following the Post’s CIA story, Jones issued an “emergency alert” video on December 11 warning Trump that the CIA is trying “to assassinate” the president-elect. From his December 11 video:

    ALEX JONES: Why I’m really concerned is that this could be used inside government to trigger emergency systems under COG (continuity of government) that if a major leader like the president is actually a foreign agent they can then reportedly be taken out. And so to have the bold move of implying that a president-elect is being manipulated and controlled by the Russians is a very, very serious telltale sign that they could be thinking about bringing in outside mercenaries or other agencies to actually try to assassinate the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, before he even gets into office. Because remember: They are incredibly desperate right now.

    Jones added later in his video that “criminal corporate elements inside the CIA and other agencies” are “moving right now to try to basically overthrow Trump.”

    On December 11, he issued another "alert" in which he accused the CIA of subverting Trump and the election. Jones said he “contacted the proper parties. I have run this intel up a lot of important, informed flagpoles, and they all concurred that there is a plan, which we now see is quite evident, to try to steal the election from the American people and Donald J. Trump.” He added that “rogue elements of the CIA are planning to assassinate Trump if they can. They’re definitely looking at it right now.”

    Jones also appeared live in an “emergency” Facebook video on December 12 under the caption “CIA Now Stealing Election Trump Must Go On Offense!” In a “message to the president,” Jones told Trump, “I know you see some of my reports, but you’ve got to go on the offense” against perceived anti-Trump forces because “they’re going to politically kill you, and your name first, then they’re going to kill you.” He then suggested that members of the CIA are “enemies” and encouraged him to “go all the way” against them. 

    Jones’ YouTube channel has published numerous other videos accusing the CIA of trying to kill or "overturn" Trump's election. Headlines include “It's Official: CIA, Dems, MSM Planning To Overturn Trump Election!”;National Emergency: CIA Attempting To Overthrow Election”; “Entire MSM Promote Assassination Of Trump, In Prep For CIA Takeover”; and “CIA/Dems Move Forward With Plan to Steal Election From Trump.”

    Jones has accused the CIA of being involved in some of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history. Jones said roughly a week after September 11 that the attacks were “a federal operation” and he had “smoking gun evidence” that Osama Bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government.

    He claimed that the CIA was part of a government cabal that bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Jones said, “Oklahoma City was a total false flag with NATO, the ATF, and the CIA and the FBI.”

    Jones claimed that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted of the Boston Marathon bombing, “was totally set up, ladies and gentlemen, to sell the police state.” Jones also claimed that Dzhokhar's deceased brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “worked for the CIA.” 

    The conspiracy theorist also recently claimed that Facebook’s new plan to fight fake news is a CIA plot and called on Trump to “unfund the CIA trying to run this.” 

  • Alex Jones Deletes Video In Which He Had Told His Audience To Personally "Investigate" "Pizzagate" Restaurant

    Deletion Came After Listener Seeking To "Self-Investigate" Comet Ping Ping Fired Shots Inside

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Alex Jones suggested last month on his radio show that “something’s being covered up” at the restaurant that’s been falsely accused in the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory and “it needs to be investigated.” Days later an Alex Jones listener attempted to "self-investigate” Comet Ping Pong and ended up firing his gun inside the restaurant. After the shooting -- and after media began reporting that the shooter is a fan of Jones -- Jones deleted the YouTube video.

    Jones is a radio host who has pushed the conspiracy theories that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon. Jones has also repeatedly accused the Clintons of murder. He has been elevated from the fringes to the mainstream by President-elect Donald Trump, who appeared on his show in December 2015 and praised his “amazing” reputation. Trump adviser Roger Stone is also a regular Jones guest and contributor.

    Jones and his Infowars website have promoted the false conspiracy theory dubbed "pizzagate," which alleges that top Clinton associates such as campaign chairman John Podesta are trafficking children through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant.

    On his November 27 program, Jones spent roughly half an hour pushing pizzagate conspiracy theories and told his audience that they “have to go investigate it for yourself," claiming, "Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated.” From that program:

    ALEX JONES: Now I want to be clear. Not everybody in the WikiLeaks is involved in this. Clearly. You have to go investigate it for yourself. But I will warn you, this story that’s been the biggest thing on the internet for several weeks, pizzagate as it’s called, is a rabbit hole that is horrifying to go down.

    […]

    Let’s go ahead and go to the report, Pizzagate Is Real. The question is: How real is it? What is it? Something’s going on. Something’s being covered up. It needs to be investigated. To just call it fake news -- these are real WikiLeaks. This is real stuff going on. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 11/27/16

    Jones then aired a previously taped video titled “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” During that video, Infowars producer Jon Bowne stated that Clinton allies were “using a code to communicate child sex trafficking as casually as ordering a pizza.” The video then claimed that Comet Ping Pong “may be competing for the lucrative Washington, D.C., pedophile market right out in the open.”

    Jones also suggested that he himself would be “getting on a plane” to visit Comet Ping Pong. He stated: “I couldn’t sleep last night and you know, people may look into it. I may take off a week and just only research this and actually go to where these places are and stuff. In fact I’m looking at getting on a plane -- it’s just like Bohemian Grove and stuff, I can’t just say something and not see it for myself. They go to these pizza places, there’s like satanic art everywhere.” 

    Later in the program, Jones backtracked and said that he “can’t go out there and investigate it myself. We’ve had reporters on that have been there. They say it’s really creepy because -- I don’t have the self-control to be around these type of people. So you want us to cover pizzagate, we have covered it. We are covering it. And all I know is God help us, we’re in the hands of pure evil.”

    Days later an Alex Jones fan decided to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory at Comet Ping Pong. On December 4, Edgar Maddison Welch entered the pizzeria and, during his attempt to uncover the supposed sex ring, fired an assault rifle inside while scaring patrons and staff.

    Welch also told The New York Times that he listens to Jones, and he reportedly "liked" Infowars on Facebook. The FBI said that Welch shared a separate video headlined “Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture on YouTube” with a friend. “Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture” is the headline Infowars used for a December 1 article -- still online -- promoting a video from Infowars producer Jon Bowne that also pushes the pizzagate conspiracy theory.

    Jones has been scrubbing his pizzagate content from the internet following the shooting. The November 27 report that called for people to “investigate” pizzagate was originally uploaded to Jones' YouTube channel under the headline “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole - Warning! Soul Sucking Info.”

    He has since removed the video. According to the Internet Archive, the “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole” video was online as of December 6 but “removed by the user” by December 7. A tweet by Jones promoting the video is still online; it captures roughly 10 minutes of the video and links to the removed YouTube page. Non-Jones YouTube accounts have re-uploaded the “Down The #Pizzagate Rabbit Hole - Warning! Soul Sucking Info.” The video is roughly 30 minutes long. 

    Jones also removed the Jon Bowne video that Jones played during his November 27 program. On November 23, Jones’ YouTube channel posted the video with the headline “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” The video was removed “by the user” shortly after the shooting, according to the Internet Archive.

    Jones posted a December 15 video in which he lied about his prior promotions of the pizzagate conspiracy theory. He claimed that he actually said there’s “probably nothing going on there” and his lawyers reviewed his coverage and found that he’s been the “most restrained of all the coverage” in the alternative media.

    Jones also said in the recent video that that he warned his staff that pizzagate was “probably a setup” and that unnamed adversaries are “probably going to shoot that place up or something” and then blame Jones. He then claimed that they were setting him up so they can ban “free speech” and have him “taken off the airwaves”

  • Fox News’ Fox & Friends Was The Only Cable News Morning Show To Ignore The Dylann Roof Verdict

    Blog ››› ››› CHRISTOPHER LEWIS

    While every other major cable news morning show acknowledged the guilty verdict of Charleston, SC, gunman Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners in a racially motivated shooting, Fox News’ Fox & Friends made no mention of it during the December 16 broadcast.

    On June 17, 2015, Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and murdered nine black parishioners, having been influenced by white supremacists and white nationalists. On December 15, Roof was found guilty on all 33 charges brought against him, including “hate crimes that resulted in death,” after only two hours of deliberation by the jury.

    While cable morning shows on CNN and MSNBC both reported on the verdict and discussed the implications for race relations, Fox & Friends failed to mention it, even in a brief headlines segment. Instead, the show found time to host a Fox News doctor to attack the Affordable Care Act, give a Fox News contributor who is under consideration for a position in the incoming administration an opportunity to pitch himself, and test out “As Seen on TV” products.

    The omission is not the first time Fox News has played down the issues surrounding the Charleston murders. When the shooting was first reported, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy claimed it was “extraordinary” that it was considered a hate crime, Fox guest Rudy Giuliani claimed that Roof potentially “hat[ed] Christian churches” -- a point that was echoed by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade on his radio show -- and one Fox guest blamed the shooting on “the left wing” and “their education system.”

  • Alex Jones Scrubs Pizzagate Content; Complaint Reveals New Tie Connecting Shooter To Jones

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is scrubbing online content pushing the false and dangerous conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trafficked children through a D.C. pizzeria. A man who recently entered the pizzeria with a rifle and fired shots reportedly shared a piece of Jones’ content before the shooting; the video he shared is still on the website.

    Jones is a radio host who has claimed that the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon. Jones has also repeatedly accused the Clintons of murder. He has been elevated from the fringes to the mainstream by President-elect Donald Trump, who appeared on his show and praised his “amazing” reputation. Trump adviser Roger Stone is also a regular Jones guest and contributor.

    Jones and his Infowars website have promoted the false conspiracy theory dubbed "pizzagate," which alleges that top Clinton associates such as campaign chair John Podesta are trafficking children through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant.

    The false claims took a dangerous turn when Edgar Maddison Welch fired an assault rifle inside the pizzeria because he was trying to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory. FBI special agent Justin Holgate stated in a criminal complaint that Welch said he sent a video on the night of December 1 with the message “Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture on YouTube” to a friend before the shooting:

    “Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture” is the headline Infowars used for a December 1 article -- still online -- promoting a video from Infowars producer Jon Bowne that pushes the pizzagate conspiracy theory. Jones tweeted the headline on December 1. The headline was also used on YouTube by a non-Infowars accounts to promote the Infowars video.  

    Welch also told The New York Times that he listens to Jones, and he reportedly liked Infowars on Facebook.

    Jones and Infowars appear to be scrubbing commentary about pizzagate. Jones’ YouTube channel posted a November 23 video headlined “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” The video has since “been removed by the user,” though it’s not clear when.

    The video has been re-uploaded or re-upped by other toxic conspiracy theorists (some of whom speculated about why Jones deleted it). During the video, Jon Bowne states that Clinton allies are “using a code to communicate child sex trafficking as casually as ordering a pizza.” The video then states that Comet Ping Pong “may be competing for the lucrative Washington, D.C., pedophile market right out in the open.” 

    Jones promoted the video on his Facebook account but has since deleted the post. Infowars also deleted a November 27 article by Bowne that promoted the video.

    While Jones has removed content related to pizzagate, his website still contains false articles promoting the conspiracy theory. For instance, Kit Daniels posted a November 5 piece headlined “Law Enforcement Begs World: Read Hillary Emails To Find Child Rape Evidence; Hillary Linked To Child Sex Ring, Emails Suggest.” The article suggested that John Podesta was potentially involved in “child molestation” and “child pornography” because his hacked email account contained “strange” references to “pizza”:

    Jones has been attempting to distance himself from his clear promotions of pizzagate. Yet Jones’ own content -- scrubbed or otherwise -- proves that he can’t run away from it.  

    *This post has been updated for clarity. 

  • NRATV Host: Pointing Out Police Violence Disparities Faced By African Americans Is A “Negro Pity Party”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Colion Noir, a host for the National Rifle Association’s NRATV, attacked Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham for writing a column that argued that African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims considering gun ownership “must also carry the sobering knowledge that constitutional guarantees tend to fall short when the hand holding a gun is black or brown.”

    In a December 8 video clip released by NRATV, Noir reacted to Graham’s piece, stating that it was an example of “exploitation of racial tension” and terming Graham’s argument a “negro pity party.”

    Graham wrote about minority gun ownership and police violence in a December 4 column addressing news reports that minorities are buying more guns in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. Graham cautioned, “Here's what's also unfortunate: More people of color with guns will likely result in more people of color dead or in prison,” and continued:

    Minnesota's open carry law did not save Philando Castile. He informed the officer who stopped his car that he was carrying a licensed gun, but was still shot to death in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter in July. In 2014, Ohio's open-carry law did not spare the life of 12-year-old Tamir Rice , shot dead by a cop while playing with a toy gun. This past week, officials declined to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Keith Scott who may have had a gun in his possession but was not holding it when he was killed in Charlotte earlier this year. North Carolina is also an open-carry state.

    After Castile, who had a permit to carry a concealed gun, was shot and killed, the NRA was conspicuously silent, generating outrage from those who saw a double standard for how the NRA reacts to high-profile victims of gun violence. Following intense criticism, the NRA eventually released a perfunctory statement that did not even include Castile’s name. The NRA also had nothing to say about board member Ted Nugent, who promoted a fake news story that falsely identified Castile as a suspect in a robbery and wrote on social media that Castile did not have "enuf brainmatter (sic)" to avoid being shot. The police officer who shot Castile has since been charged with manslaughter.

    Noir’s full comments:

    COLION NOIR: The Boston Globe printed a piece this week called “More Guns, More Risk for People of Color.” Here’s a quote. “More people of color with guns will likely result in more people of color dead or in prison.” They actually printed this. And you see, the exploitation of racial tension is a big business in this country now-a-days. When you only give a platform to the far extremes, i.e. the covert, overt racists and those who believe everything is racist you only get deeper racial division. Telling me I’m a victim every chance you get doesn’t empower me, it facilitates feelings of inferiority, self-pity, hopelessness, an unhealthy dependency on a group of people who only see me as a human stepping stool to facilitate their need to bask in their own self-righteousness. This negro pity party is getting old. And if you really want to help black gun owners, how about you start changing the narrative and glorify the countless positive images of black gun owners and the non-black gun owners who embrace them and stop force feeding us inferiority. I’m not a stray dog, I don’t need you to save me so you can put a collar around my neck and then say you own me. Either power my self-sufficiency or leave me be, because I will not let you continue to make a victim out of me.

  • Fox Host Claims Obama Didn't Visit Victims Of Tragedies In 8 Years; She's Wrong

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle ignored recent history when she lauded President-elect Donald Trump for visiting victims of the Ohio State University attack and slammed President Obama, claiming the current president has never made these types of visits.

    Trump visited victims of the attack at OSU, which injured 11, as well as the officer who killed the attacker and spoke with the university president. During his visit, Trump called the victims “really brave people, amazing people” and called the meeting “an honor.”

    Fox News’ The Five reported on the meeting in a laudatory segment praising Trump, in which co-host Kimberly said “this is what leadership looks like” and added President Obama has never gone “directly to the source”:

    KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): [Trump] doesn’t sit there and talk about ideas, he actually goes out and meets the people, and sees the situation, asses it, talks to them, shakes the hand of the man who was able to save the people at the Ohio State University. This is what leadership looks like. The reason why it seems so shocking is because we didn’t see it in this past 8 years, going directly to the source and taking it to the people.

    JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): Wow, holy smokes you mean President Obama, President [George W.] Bush didn’t go to meet with victims of terror?

    GUILFOYLE: I did not say anything about President Bush, I said past eight years.

    But President Obama has met with numerous victims both of gun violence and natural disasters, during his eight years in office. Two days after the mass shooting in a Newtown, CT elementary school in December 2012, Obama attended an interfaith vigil and met with both the victims' families and the first responders. In July of 2012, the president flew to Aurora, CO to speak with “each family who had lost someone as well as survivors struggling to recover” after a mass shooting in a movie theater killed 12 and injured 58. More recently, the president visited the flood victims in Baton Rouge, LA, the victims’ families and first responders after the San Bernardino, CA attack, and the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL.

    Fox and right-wing media have a history of attacking Obama after a national tragedy claiming that the president hasn't visited quickly enough or claimed that his visit was politicizing the event.

  • New York Times: Alleged Pizzagate Gunman Listens To Trump Ally And Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times interviewed Edgar Welch, the alleged armed gunman who went to Washington, D.C’s Comet Ping-Pong pizzeria in a self-described attempt to investigate the false “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory repeatedly pushed by Donald Trump ally and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

    Jones has been described as “more responsible than any other person for the spread of ‘Pizzagate,’” and has bragged about his private conversations with Trump and their close ideological beliefs. In the Times interview, Welch admitted to being a listener to Alex Jones and claimed that “he touches on some issues that are viable,” but even the alleged gunman admitted that sometimes Jones “goes off the deep end.” 

    He said he did not believe in conspiracy theories, but then added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks needed to be re-examined. He has listened to Alex Jones, whose radio show traffics in conspiracy theories and who once said that Mrs. Clinton “has personally murdered and chopped up” children. “He’s a bit eccentric,” Mr. Welch said. “He touches on some issues that are viable but goes off the deep end on some things.”

  • Nightly News Shows Combat Fake News About Pizzeria With Real Reporting

    ABC, NBC, CBS Show “How A Fake News Story Can Lead To A Real Life-Threatening Situation"

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Nightly news programs on NBC, CBS, and ABC examined “how a fake news story can lead to real world consequences” in their reports on a shooting incident at Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, DC, pizzeria.

    Accused shooter Edgar Welch entered the pizzeria on December 4 with an AR-15 assault rifle, fired at least one round into the floor, and told authorities he was there to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory that dozens of prominent liberals are complicit in an international child sex trafficking ring, because emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta referenced “pizza.”

    While conservative media outlets have typically downplayed fake news stories calling them “silly” and “nonsense,” broadcast nightly news programs on NBC, CBS, and ABC reported how fake news can have dangerous consequences.

    NBC correspondent Tom Costello reported on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt that “the Pizzagate conspiracy began with the Clinton WikiLeaks and an email stolen from campaign chief John Podesta about a fundraiser involving the restaurant.” Costello noted that 4chan users “suggested without any proof whatsoever that the word ‘pizza’ was code for ‘child sex trafficking’ at the restaurant,” and from there the malicious rumor spread “to Reddit and YouTube, feeding fake online news stories, then jumping to Facebook and Twitter.” Even though “both DC police and federal agents say the story is false,” Costello added that “discredited rumors about sex trafficking” targeting Democrats are “even shared by President-Elect Trump’s choice for national security adviser, General Michael T. Flynn.”:

    On CBS’ Evening News with Scott Pelley, Chip Reid took apart the “fictitious online conspiracy theory” started by “right-wing sites that make up fake news” alleging Clinton and her associates were involved in a pedophile ring. Host Scott Pelley noted that the shooter gave up when he “found no evidence that underage children were being harbored in the restaurant,” as the lies on the internet baselessly alleged:

    ABC senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas highlighted the “egregious and deliberate lie” that is the Pizzagate conspiracy on ABC World News Tonight with Scott Pelley. Thomas reported that the suspect “aimed a rifle at an employee and fired a round into the floor” because he decided to “self-investigate” the “utterly false story about child abuse” at Comet Ping Pong. Thomas further reported that “employees have been besieged by death threats” since the right-wing lie gained traction online, “shows how a fake news story can lead to a real life-threatening situation”: