“It is hard work to read widely and broadly, and on both sides of the political aisle,” conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt wrote in a July 2014 explanation of why he had decided to, in his words, “embarrass” a young Huffington Post journalist during an interview on his radio show by quizzing him about what books he had read about the war on terror.
While many journalists have done yeoman’s work catching up on the assortment of white nationalists, misogynists, and conspiracy theorists behind this new wave of fringe media outlets, they’ve been less effective in learning about the tactics those figures use to manipulate the press. That failing was evident over the weekend, as major news outlets reported on Friday night’s “alt-right” interruption of a performance of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
A well-deserved firestorm of denunciations from the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting and other critics forced Megyn Kelly to turn a report that was originally billed as a self-promotional head-to-head showdown with Alex Jones into a well-edited investigation of the dangers posed by an unstable megalomaniac with millions of loyal fans, including one in the Oval Office.
Breitbart became a conservative media juggernaut by riding the rising tide of the racist, misogynistic “alt-right” and Donald Trump’s bigoted presidential campaign. But amid a massive advertiser boycott and faltering website traffic, the site has been forced to backpedal — at least somewhat — from the reputation that was responsible for its popularity in the first place.
Amid a heated atmosphere of anti-media Republican rhetoric that has at times turned into violence against journalists, McClatchy is reporting that Republican plans for the 2018 elections will feature a “deliberate strategy to help GOP candidates win elections fueled by public hatred of reporters.”
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, whose climate skepticism has been widely criticized by journalists and progressives but defended by the paper, has now been cited from the White House briefing room in defense of the president’s decision to pull out of an international climate accord.
In his quest to provide cover to President Donald Trump’s weakened administration, and unrestrained by anyone in the Fox News bureaucracy, Hannity has become the most visible national champion of a vicious and elsewhere-retracted conspiracy theory suggesting that the late Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered because he was a source for WikiLeaks.
Press freedom advocates warned of the dangers of a soft authoritarian like Trump becoming president. And indeed, the first months of the Trump administration have featured a wave of these cases.
Ailes “changed television as we know it,” in the words of Bret Baier. He “founded one of the most important and successful media outlets in American history,” as Laura Ingraham put it. He “dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better,” according to Sean Hannity.
Thanks to the deregulatory efforts of President Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Committee, the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today that it will purchase dozens of televisions stations across the country, allowing the company to spread its conservative programming to new markets and consolidate the ownership of broadcast stations in fewer hands.
The Justice Department is currently engaged in a wide-ranging investigation of Fox News. The inquiry includes a review of the network’s “settlements made with women who alleged sexual harassment by former Fox News boss Roger Ailes,” as well as “possible misconduct by Fox News personnel” over a period of years, and has grown to include the United States Postal Inspection Service, which has jurisdiction over some financial crimes, according to CNN.
NBC News has responded to Trump’s election by hiring and elevating conservative commentators who have accommodated him. CNN’s news hours are politics as sport, built around endless, fruitless debates between fawning professional Trump fans hired by the network to defend literally anything he does, and everyone else. Fox News is almost entirely on the Trump Train, with a lineup dominated by the president’s most fervent supporters, their cheering carefully calibrated to bring in praise from and access to the most powerful man in the country.
Tucker Carlson’s takeover of Fox News’ 8 p.m. time slot has been greeted with cheers by his fans in the neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and misogynistic corners of the Internet. As the news began to break last week that Bill O’Reilly would not be returning to Fox, “alt-right” figures began expressing their hope that Carlson, who has garnered a large audience at the network since his show launched late last year, would get the coveted hour.
Hall, a conservative writer and activist, began writing for Breitbart in 2011. He became the right-wing website’s managing editor in 2013 as part of an effort to help ensure “a 24/7 editorial team focused on the site.” He is second only to Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow, according to a masthead provided last month to the congressional credentialing committee. But while Hall’s title suggests that he plays a key role at Breitbart, that is not his only job.
It seems like Trump is leading us into what Matthews might call a “stupid war.” And that comes after escalations in U.S. uses of military force in Iraq and Yemen, both at the cost of civilian loss of life. To be clear, the argument that Trump was some sort of non-interventionist dove — a dead letter since his ascendency to the presidency, especially in light of last night’s attack — made no sense at the time.
Those attacks represent a U-turn in the website’s coverage of the president’s family. Following Trump’s election and in the early days of his administration, Breitbart provided Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, with soft-focus celebrity coverage. The website chronicled their search for a home and synagogue in Washington, D.C., and lashed out at their critics.
Given this track record, what would it take for Fox News to fire Bill? The reason O’Reilly has been untouchable is simple: He makes Fox News a lot of money. His show anchors Fox’s prime-time programming, bringing in the most viewers in cable news for 17 years, according to the network.
Wild fantasies are Napolitano’s bread and butter. He regularly appears on Fox to fulminate over the alleged crimes of progressives. He has used his Fox platform to champion 9/11 trutherism, suggest that Osama bin Laden wasn’t really dead, and blame President Abraham Lincoln for having “set about on the most murderous war in American history” over slavery.
Ten years later, the denizens of the program’s curvy couch still frequently don’t know what they are talking about. But now, their conspiracy theories and bogus claims are repeated by the White House as if they were credible reports from distinguished journalists. Under the Trump administration, the hosts and guests of Fox & Friends are setting the national agenda, thanks to their biggest fan, the president of the United States.
Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters. Breitbart.com is coming for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and it’s using the GOP health care bill that President Donald Trump supports to attack him. Last night, the sycophantic pro-Trump site previously run by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon published audio of a House GOP conference call from last October in […]
The press. Government employees. Non-partisan government agencies helmed by Republicans. All of them are now being portrayed by the administration as unworthy of the public trust, because they put out information damaging to the president.
Jason Miller served as the Trump campaign’s senior communications adviser, then was tapped for the role of White House communications director before withdrawing for family reasons. He joins paid Trump advocates Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany at the network.
You don’t need to be a bitter partisan to come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is a liar. It’s perhaps the single most banal conclusion to draw from Trump’s behavior over his political life.
Based on the Benghazi precedent, it is very clear that if a similar set of facts had emerged during a Democratic presidency, Fox’s coverage would have been apocalyptic. Instead, the network’s commentators have sought to carry water for the president.
President Donald Trump shamelessly and publicly deceived the widow of a fallen U.S. serviceman about her husband’s death in order to diffuse widespread concerns about the raid that resulted in his death, and journalists are rewarding him by praising his actions as “presidential.”