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Monday, February 18, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.

After the 2016 presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump is coalescing a network of supportive right-wing media outlets, including an online publication owned by his son-in-law, a supermarket tabloid, and a new 24-hour news outlet that has been described as “Trump TV.” Since the primaries, these right-wing media outlets have helped push Trump’s agenda and have attacked his political opponents.

The New York Observer 

CONNECTION: OWNED BY JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP’S SON-IN-LAW

The Observer is a news site owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Under Kushner’s leadership the Observer has been an unabashed pro-Trump megaphone. The paper was one of only three national papers to endorse him during the primary election. The outlet’s close relationship with Trump forced their national political reporter, Ross Barkan, to resign because he felt “a line had been crossed” with both the endorsement and their editor-in-chief’s secret involvement with the campaign.

Since Trump’s victory, the Observer has moved toward becoming a propaganda outlet for the incoming administration. On December 2, the Observer published an op-ed from University of Texas-Austin adjunct professor Austin Bay calling for the FBI to conduct a “detailed investigation” into the “political thuggery” of anti-Trump protests after the election.

The Observer also recently argued for the release of Julian Assange. Assange’s organization, WikiLeaks, released — with the probable assistance of the Russian government — wave after wave of mundane emails stolen from Democratic politicians and operatives, which were endlessly spun by right-wing media into increasingly bizarre, and dangerous misinformation.

Right Side Broadcasting Network

CONNECTION: HELPED TRUMP WITH PRE- AND POST-DEBATE SPIN; CEO SAID “TRUMP BUILT RSBN”

Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN) is a relatively new “news” network that announced on December 6 that it would “become a 24-hour network very soon” and it would be “in the White House” and “at the press briefings” during the Trump presidency. According to Foreign Policy magazine, there are several steps a news outlet must go through to get White House press credentials, but the president can evade those by simply inviting the outlet to attend and allowing them to ask friendly questions, as President George W. Bush allowed a conservative reporter to do during his administration.

RSBN developed such a close relationship with Trump during the primary and general elections that The Washington Post’s Callum Borchers has described them as “the unofficial version of Trump TV” since last summer. Borchers reported that the Trump campaign had “teamed up with Right Side to produce pre- and post-debate analysis shows that streamed on Trump’s Facebook Page.” Right Side Broadcasting CEO Joe Seales hosted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit in which he told pro-Trump redditors that “Trump built RSBN” and they should “continue to discredit” mainstream media and instead tune into “media outlets like us and the other conservative sources like Breitbart.

The National Enquirer

CONNECTION: OWNED BY DAVID PECKER, TRUMP’S LONG-TIME FRIEND

The National Enquirer is owned by David Pecker, Trump’s close friend, and was, along with his son-in-law’s paper and Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, the only other national outlet to endorse Trump. New Yorkmagazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported that while Trump’s “scandal-filled personal life would be yuge! for the supermarket tabloid,” he has been “exclusively celebrated in the Enquirer’s pages.” Trump himself has even written op-eds exclusively for the Enquirer, where he explained “I am the only one who can make America great again!”

The National Enquirer also undertook a strange and savage campaign against Trump’s electoral opponents. With thin sourcing, often only from noted liar/Trump supporter Roger Stone, the Enquirer alleged that Jeb Bush celebrated his father’s presidential win with a cocaine binge, that Hillary and Chelsea Clinton “covered up Bill’s cocaine rehab,” and that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had affairs with multiple women. Their most outrageous pro-Trump lie was that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Enquirer made this claim based on one blurry photograph, but that did not stop Trump from touring cable news shows to hype the absurd smear.

Breitbart News

CONNECTION: OPERATED BY TRUMP’S CHIEF STRATEGIST, STEVE BANNON, WHO DESCRIBED THE SITE AS THE “PLATFORM FOR THE ALT-RIGHT,” WHICH INCLUDES WHITE SUPREMACY

Breitbart.com was founded by Andrew Breitbart along with Trump’s current chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who in 2014 described Breitbart as the “platform for the alt-right,” a term commonly used to describe people who embrace white nationalism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism. Breitbart News is infamous for headlines like “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” “Young Muslims In The West Are A Ticking Time Bomb,” and “After The Pulse Club Massacre, It’s Time For Gays To Come Home To The Republican Party.” Breitbart even undertook campaigns of online harassment directed at Facebook’s trending news team for their perceived “bias;” these campaigns were directed by Milo Yiannopoulos, who was permanently banned from Twitter for leading a harassment campaign against Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.

During the 2016 election, reporters and even former Breitbart employees repeatedly criticized the site for attempting a “rebranding of white supremacy … through Trump.” Former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro accused the site of embracing “a movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism,” and his former colleague Kurt Bardella similarly labeled Bannon a “dangerous” and “combative” “pathological liar.” Bardella resigned from Breitbart on March 11 when Trump’s then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a Trump event. Rather than defending their Fields, a Breitbart employee hurriedly worked to “make sure that [the incident] doesn’t turn into a big story.”

Infowars And The Alex Jones Show

CONNECTION: TOP TRUMP ADVISER ROGER STONE IS A FREQUENT JONES/INFOWARS COLLABORATOR AND TRUMP APPEARED ON JONES’ PROGRAM AND PRAISED HIM

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is the host of The Alex Jones Show and heads Infowars, which distributes right-wing content through its website and social platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Jones and his website have pushed false stories and fringe conspiracy theories, including that the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon, among others.

Jones and Infowars were a leading source of false stories and conspiracy theories about Clinton in 2016. They pushed false claims about Clinton’s health, the “pizzagate” conspiracy, and supposed pro-Clinton voting fraud, among many others. Several of these stories were subsequently highlighted by Trump on the campaign trail.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone serves as the president-elect’s messenger to Jones’ audience. Stone has been one of Jones’ most frequent guests, helped organize a pro-Trump event with Jones, and is also an Infowars guest host. Trump mainstreamed Jones’ program by appearing on it in December 2015 and telling him: “Your reputation’s amazing. I will not let you down.” Trump has repeatedly echoed Jones’ rhetoric and heand his campaign tweeted links to Infowars.com.

Trump suggested his relationship with Jones will continue: Jones said the president-elect called him after the election to thank his audience and promise he would return to the program. And Stone said Jones will be a “valuable asset” for “President Trump’s legislative program.”

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18 responses to “The Media Outlets Poised To Become Trump’s Personal Propaganda Machine”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    The sad truth is that Trump has been using the U.S. media like puppets, not because the media executives and most journalists don’t know they are being used, but because Trump has proven to be a gold mine when it comes to capturing the public’s attention.
    The best thing that those interested in objective journalism can do is tune in to foreign media outlets. Our media has prostituted itself to the point that it is no longer worth a minute of our time.

    • FireBaron says:

      Unfortunately, Dom old friend, the American Public has allowed Teflon Donnie and his cheerleader squad to tell them not only what to think but how to publicly express those thoughts. Why else did we see such outright bigotry at most of his rallies? Why else have we seen the public enjoy the denigration of the legitimate press? After all, these were the folks who were trying to show the populace their Emperor’s lack of clothing (i.e. an actual clue about what the job would entail and what he could bring to it), and they would have none of that!

  2. bojimbo26 says:

    Thought Donny Boy was getting his own tv station . And thinking of selling his own news/papers .

  3. charleo1 says:

    Back in 2003, during the invasion, the Iraqi gov. had an “official” press agent we nicknamed, “Bagdad Bob.” A person that had clearly been sent out by the Saddam regime to report how well the Iraqi forces were doing. And how badly the action was going for us, “cur dog,” Americans. As he liked to call us to us. According to Bob we were being turned back here, captured there, being slaughtered by the 1000s!. This as the tip of the U.S. spear, with every conceivable military advantage, sliced thru the Iraqi countryside like a hot knife thru warm butter. And I remember thinking, that for the Iraqi people, who’s country was now being overrun, Bob was their only link to reality. And he was telling them things were going great! Then the camera would pan out to the cheering crowds. All staged, I thought. They probably have to cheer, or be shot by the Republican Guard. After all, these were the same people that would soon be welcoming us as Liberators! Or so we had been told by the Bush Adm. thru our much superior, free press, I smugly thought to myself that day, How fortunate I am to know the truth.
    Of course later on, we would learn outside of their actually being no weapons of mass destruction. The fairy tale of us being welcomed as Liberators, turned out to be the second biggest lie the American People had been spoon fed thru our vaunted mainstream media. Who’s corporate bean counters had determined their company’s best interest being served in the ratings bonanza the war would produce. Rather than doing their jobs investigating, asking the hard questions, demanding answers, and informing the pubic of things like the pressure being put on the numerous intelligence agencies to justify the war. Or, knowing about Dick Cheney’s little operation in the basement of the WH might have been really helpful in avoiding one the biggest, and most costly military blunders in American history.
    But none of that happened. And it was, I think, the beginning of the end of trust by large swaths of the American public in the institution that was Morrow, Cronkite, Huntley-Brinkley, Bernstein and Woodward. Tonight I’ll watch the evening news more out of habit, than any expectation of being informed. Delivered as it is, dryly, without context, in short snippets with lots of U-Tube like visuals of snow, cars in ditches, a fluff piece about this, or that esoteric anomaly, quickly forgotten. Only interrupted by the ubiquitous seemingly never ending stream of drug commercials. And then the sign off. “And that’ll about do it.” Says the actor. Gone is the simple guarantee Walter always gave his viewers, “And that’s the way it is.” A small thing that meant so much to so many. And to the Country as well, as it turns out, Because in the integrity of the news press, and in Walter, we once believed.

    • KDJ54 says:

      Well put. I watched the movie “Idiocracy” and chuckled at the absurdity of it all, but now I’m not so sure it was so funny. I’ve read about the Germans as their country was crumbling all around them, holding steadfastly to the belief that Hitler had some miracle weapon that would save the day. Of course, why should they have believed differently, when Nazi propaganda had filled their heads with story after story concerning the infallibility of the Fuhrer and the Nazi cause. I pity my country, but at least with the National Enquirer carrying the torch for the prevaricator in chief, we’ll know the latest Trump propaganda, as well as whose having whose baby, and just when to expect the next alien invasion. I’m trying to laugh through my tears. Plus, with Alex Jones we can be assured that our Great Leader will do nothing wrong and that all future terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic downturns, are hoaxes perpetuated by a cabal of Democrats, the left in general, RINOS, atheists, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, LGBT people, Feminists, the Clintons, Obama, etc. Welcome to the post truth world, where the truth is what I believe, the facts be damned.

  4. Godzilla says:

    What’s the big deal. Liberals have ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, and a vast network called the liberal media. Framkly, people on the Right side of the isle are fed up with that, totally and will now have some media that actually tells the truth. The Liberal media is incapable of truth, including most of the crap posted here.

    Suck it up Snowflakes, your agenda has been rejected at all levels.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c90c6778cb918b904bf9d5e73ddd62280df248bcb1100dcbeaa17c2e8cc25e40.jpg

    • Bill P says:

      You need to proof read your comments. tour sentence of “Framkly, people on the Right side of the isle are fed up with that, totally and will now have some media that actually tells the truth” contains a number of errors. I will guess that you meant “Frankly” instead of “Framkly”, your use of the word “isle” is incorrect, you really mean “aisle”. An isle is a small island not a walkway between seats in a theater or other places. Aside from that your comment wreaks of right wing whining about the so-called liberal media. As for the liberal media lying try “infowars” where they deny that the shooting that took place in Sandy Hook Ct. Other right wing media like Breitbart that showed edited video of a Agriculture Dpt. employee supposedly being racist. Yeah these fake news sites are real beacons of honest reporting!

      • Dan S says:

        Probably should go easier on Godzilla. While I blocked him I understand he has a problem with proper grammar. This is likely because he was either home schooled or went to a Charter School approved by the right wing dingbats in his local community ????

        • Bill P says:

          Dan you are most likely right but I had nuns teach me grammar and writing. They drilled this into us and would smack us if we got it wrong

          • Dan S says:

            But dang at least you did learn to read and write. Now if we can just get a couple Nuns to smack some sense into someone like Godzilla ????

          • Bill P says:

            Dan the nuns I had could pound grammar and writing even into a dense skulled troll like Godzilla.

    • johninPCFL says:

      Enquiring minds want to know: did Donald do your mom? Is that why you’re such a suck-up?

    • I Am Helpy says:

      Yes we get that the chip on your shoulder – based on paranoid conspiracy theories – is visible from space.

    • You sure have a way attracting friends. Let me add that you’re doing a terrible job as Cheerleader-In-Chief, and that we’re going to have to take away your pom-poms.

  5. 788eddie says:

    I thought that referring to Fox as the National Enquirer of broadcast media was an insult.

    These people have absolutely no scruples!

  6. Trump’s media network bears an eerie resemblance to Putin’s autocratic web.

    “O SON OF DESIRE! Give ear unto this: Never shall mortal eye recognize the everlasting Beauty, nor the lifeless heart delight in aught but in the withered bloom. For like seeketh like, and taketh pleasure in the company of its kind.”

    King Trump’s Roundtable has lifeless hearts seated at it, all in a state of withered blooms.

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