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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Fringe media supporting President Donald Trump have claimed that former President Barack Obama violated federal law and is acting as a “shadow president” because he has talked to former and current foreign leaders since the end of his presidency. The claims, which have at least partially been parroted on Fox News, are an extension of conservative media’s ongoing conspiracy theory that Obama runs a “shadow government.”

Since Trump’s inauguration, conservative outlets have baselessly claimed that Obama is running some kind of “shadow government,” a conspiracy theory which has since been invoked by a Republican congressmanand by one of Trump’s attorneys. The right-wing hysteria took on a new level of feverishness after Obama metwith a handful of former and current world leaders, some of whom he worked closely with as president.

Pro-Trump fake news purveyors were quick to attack Obama for his post-presidency activities. Several websites, including American TodayPatriots On The RightUS Postman, and USA Daily Time, claimed in June that Obama was “undermining President Trump” while “advertis[ing]” his “shadow government.” They suggested that Obama had “committed treason” and “violated” the Logan Act, a law barring private citizens from interfering with American foreign policy and for which no one has ever been prosecutedThe Federalist Tribune and The Washington Feed also asserted that Obama would get “a lengthy jail sentence” as a consequence of the law. Eventually, more fake news purveyors continued to push the false narrative, with Mad World NewsUSA NewsflashGOP The Daily DoseThe Angry PatriotGlobal Politics NowFreedom DailyUS AdvisorENH, and Before It’s News joining in.

Additionally, “alt-right”-affiliated Infowars and fake news purveyors Conservative FightersTruthFeed, and Red Rock Tribune hyped a Daily Caller piece suggesting Obama was a “shadow president.” “Alt-right”-affiliated The Gateway Pundit also called Obama a “shadow president” who “may be breaking the Logan Act.” There has also been some discussion regarding Obama and the Logan Act on the “alt-right”-affiliatedforum 4chan /pol/.

According to social media analytics website BuzzSumo, these claims being peddled by the pro-Trump fringe ecosystem, including American Today, Mad World News, USA Newsflash, GOP The Daily Dose, The Angry Patriot, Freedom Daily, Infowars, Conservative Fighters, TruthFeed, and The Gateway Pundit, have drawn numerous Facebook engagements that rise well over the thousands, according to social media analytics website BuzzSumo. There were at least 380 engagements with American Today’s article, 41,900 with Mad World News’ article, 122,500 with USA Newsflash’s article, 6,500 with GOP The Daily Dose’s article, 7,000 with The Angry Patriot’s article, 48,300 with Freedom Daily’s article, 58 with Infowars’ article, 10,200 with Conservative Fighters’ article, 8,700 with TruthFeed’s article, and 5,000 and 6,900 for The Gateway Pundit articles, respectively.

Some of the narrative has now gained cable news visibility by reaching Fox News, with host Lou Dobbs on July 6 attacking Obama for “shadowing” and trying to “undercut” Trump, and Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade on July 7 wondering why Obama was “shadowing” Trump and wondering whether Obama was trying to “swamp him.”

The spread of these baseless claims yet again illustrates how the pro-Trump “alt-right”/fake news ecosystem has been used to push liesconspiracy theories, and falsehoods.

Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters


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54 responses to “Obama ‘Shadow’ Presidency Is Latest Conspiracy Delusion”

  1. Bill Thompson says:

    Poor President Trump! Obama is to Trump as Mozart was to Salieri. And apparently having the same mental affect.

  2. 1standlastword says:

    Trump so desires to be loved as a great man that when the opportunity presents itself he squanders it because of his deeply flawed character. The cause is due to his narcissism which is totally satisfied with him being the greatest in his own ???? the way the boy Narcissis fell in love with his own reflection leading him to drown in his own vanity. ???? So sad and too bad for our beloved America because of him we’re all shamed

    • Marleneasims says:

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  3. Trump’s delusion is growing daily. Seeing Obama wherever he, FOX, and the Alt-Right look is a sure sign of an ongoing mental breakdown, while the current mental state of all these entities was already in the advanced stage and irreversible.

  4. Lynda Groom says:

    Poor babies, Obama is gone and he still scares the crap out of them. Sad, truly sad.

    • FireBaron says:

      They can’t help it, Lynda. They need an excuse for their collective ineptitude.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      The fact that President Obama was praised and attracted large crowds during his visit to Germany a couple of months ago, and Trump’s popularity rating in that country is 8% is something that Trump and his acolytes cannot accept. Either there is a pro-Obama love-fest conspiracy, or the world has gone mad. How can anyone not love the orange orangutan? My apologies to the simians…

      • Indeed! Donald has got President Obama on the brain, day and night. This may send him over the edge if he’s not careful.

        • Dominick Vila says:

          The Donald went over the edge a long time ago. The funniest “accomplishment” cited by Tillerson was the cease fire in Syria. Considering that the Assad opposition had been decimated, and that the Syrian government and the Russians had transitioned to the classic police state “clean up”, the only military actions that were still taking place were U.S. air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria. The cease fire puts an end to the bombardment, while Russia remains in Syria helping Assad with the eradication what whatever little resistance still exists. We are being manipulated at a large scale, and people either don’t understand it or don’t care.

          • CPANY says:

            I think that the American people don’t care. I’m fed up with foreign wars that drain our resources.

  5. Independent1 says:

    You don’t suppose that these right-wing/alt-right websites are being fed these wild conspiracy theories directly from the White House do you? Like from Bannon and his WH cohorts? Certainly someone with a devious, wild imagination seems to be coordinating what these propaganda outlets broadcast – who better than Bannon himself? Bannon has to be doing something beyond just whispering in Trump’s ear to earn his $180,000/yr salary.

    • FireBaron says:

      Some of these guys come up with crap that would be rejected by any story writer for TV or Movies as way off base.

  6. Sunshine says:

    I’ll say this for it, if Bush had done the same to Obama there would have been a chorus of complaints about it. Bush had class about it, you didn’t see or hear from him except for a few non-partisan public service announcements. Even when Obama was dragging his name through the mud he never said a word about it. And Bush isn’t unique, that’s how most ex-Presidents handle it, because .. you know, they aren’t President anymore.

    • FireBaron says:

      There is a major difference here. Bush left office with approval ratings Teflon Donnie could only dream of. And outside of the House of Saud, Bush had no personal relationships with other foreign leaders except for Tony Blair. He vowed to retire to his ranch in Crawford and stay out of the public eye. Obama, on the other hand, actually developed personal relationships with most of the G20 Leadership.
      As for your understanding, or lack thereof, regarding former Presidents, I guess you never actually studied history. JQ Adams went on to have a career as a diplomat and Speaker of the House. John Tyler went back to the House after his term. Teddy Roosevelt continued his crusade against the trusts. Taft became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Hoover served as an advisor and personal ambassador for Democratic and Republican presidents. Truman and Eisenhower served as advisors to their successors. Nixon had a second career as an unofficial diplomat after his term. Carter has been working hand-in-hand with Habitat for Humanity. GHW Bush and Bill Clinton have worked together on many international projects.

    • Independent1 says:

      You succeeded in proving one thing with your post, like most right-wingers you’re totally clueless and no little to nothing about what you post. Bush and Cheney have retreated to their homes and stayed there because so many countries around the world have indicted them for crimes against humanity they fear being caught by agents from these countries. They clearly would take a great risk of capture if they left the U.S.

    • johninPCFL says:

      You forgot about Saint Ronnie the Reagan. He travelled the world taking money for giving speeches that Nancy wrote for him.

  7. Dapper Dan says:

    Paranoid much Mr. Trump ? You apparently don’t have enough to do as President like doing the job you campaigned so hard for. In addition to your obnoxious tweets and hovering in front of the tv watching Fox you think President Obama is running a shadow government. Someone has to keep our nation from collapsing ????

  8. Ross Calloway says:

    Since Media Matters and, by extension, Alex Kaplan admit that “Obama met with a handful of former and current world leaders, some of whom he worked closely with as president,” there is nothing here to dispute. Obama is the same community organizer he has always been. He is still trying to knock America down. Only this time as a private citizen.

    • Bill P says:

      As usual for right wing trolls claiming that President Obama was just a “community organizer”. You conveniently forgot that President Obama – Editor and President of the Harvard Law Review, taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, worked as an associate at the law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, was an Illinois State Senator from 1997- 2004, was elected as a US Senator from Illinois in 2004 and then elected as the US president in 2008 and re-elected in 2009. So claiming that President Obama was just a community organizer is just another attempt to denigrate him. I would take a community organizer over a “reality tv show” host every time.

    • Independent1 says:

      Trying to knock America down? Really?

      Is that why there have now been over 80 straight months of positive jobs growth with the almost the lowest unemployment rate since 2001?? (When another Dem was in office?) The longest positive jobs growth in American history BY FAR (ALMOST 3 YEARS LONGER)!!

      And is that why America today is the largest producer of oil and gas on the planet with more people percentage wise working in the energy sector in American than at any previous time in history?

      And is that why during the Obama Administration more problem illegal aliens who were committing crimes an costing America big dollars were rounded up and deported than at any previous time in History? Unlike today where the Trump administration is more often than not rounding up immigrants whose only crime is a speeding ticket or less and shipping them out of America. Illegals who were doing more good than bad for America!!

      And is that why there is larger percentage of high school graduates being able to afford college than at any previous time in history?? Because Obama took it on his own to cut the banks out of being middlemen in the student loan process??

      And is that why under Obama more crooks who were defrauding our government were rounded up tried and sent to prison than by any previous president? With more billions of fraud dollars recovered than at any previous time in our history?

      And is t hat why under Obama the auto industry was saved from being destroyed by Republicans such that today the auto industry companies are making greater profits than when another Dem President named Clinton was in office?? With close to 2 million Americans working in the industry who would possibly still be unemployed and standing in bread lines had the GOP allowed America to fall into its 2nd created great depression back in 2008/9??

      When are you going to take your head out of a dark place and realize Obama did more good for America than all the worthless GOP presidents in office since Teddy Roosevelt combined???

    • Independent1 says:

      And talk about losers – you are clearly a big-time loser!!

    • KDJ54 says:

      You’ve got it backwards, out traitor in chief has got us on the fast track to nowhere. Soon the US will be irrelevant and nothing more than a poor parody of a banana republic lead by the feckless GOP and the kleptomaniacal and narcissistic Trump family.

  9. rednekokie says:

    Let’s hope to hell he is — it is probably the only thing which will smooth over some of the idiotic tactics of the current resident of the White House.
    And, since when is free speech a crime?

  10. Carl Sdano says:

    And Hillary is probably part of Obama’s “shadow government”. She got a standing ovation when she went to a theater in New York. Poor Donald – just can’t get no love.

    • “I tell ya, I don’t get no respect. It was hard for me growing up. My doctor, Dr. Vinny Boombatz, suggested that I go back in time 70 years and demand my mother give me proper nourishment in order to prevent my current maladies.”

      • wolfdoctor says:

        Donald is so ugly, when his wife tried to give him a hickey she got fur in her mouth.

        Donald is so ugly, a cop asked his wife what she used as bait.

        Dr. Vinny Boombatz told Donald to run 5 miles a day to lose weight. Two weeks later, Donald called his doctor and said, “hey, I’m 70 miles from my house.”

        Dr. Vinny Boombatz told Donald to take 2 sleeping pills every time he wakes up.

  11. plc97477 says:

    Poor drumpf. He wants to measure up but his hands are just too small.

  12. 1Zoe55 says:

    I am praying that President Obama is indeed shadowing the idiot we now have AKA Donald “small hands” tRUMP. The entire family are a bunch of grifters, out to bleed America from every dollar they can. The entire tRUMP clan needs to be deported to Russia. They will soon find out how dangerous Putin really is, after they’ve finished construction on their overpriced and tacky-ass hotels.

  13. 788eddie says:

    If it were only true, it would give our country, and the leaders of the free world, something to hang our hopes on.

    Alas, former President Barack Obama is too honorable a man to take on such a task. We’ll just have to hang our hopes of the American people, who, having realized that they made a huge mistake, will look to rectify it at the polls.

    I still miss you, President Obama.

    – a registered Republican (a moderate)

    • kep says:

      Honorable???? LOL. Obama IS the most corrupt POS to have ever have inhabited OUR White House.

      • 788eddie says:

        Sorry, kep, but you’re far away from reality here. I am a registered Republican, and I’m willing to acknowledge that neither Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, nor either of his two daughters have been connected with any scandal whatsoever (unlike George W. Bush and his daughters, or Bill Clinton, Or Ronald Reagan).

        • kep says:

          Ahh. You’re a RINO. You might as well be a seditious lying liberal. Emperor Obama was a usurper that was allowed to carry on his antiAmerican policies. History will someday show what a traitorous POS he and his fabricated family were. Perhaps Americans should be supporting our President, unsteadbof trying to undermine everything he does? But that would be against liberal mandate of distroying America. Liberals are TERRORISTS that should be deported back to tgeir Mother Russia, or jailed as traitors to America.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            You and your tweaker pals got a new dealer?
            I saw your old one got busted, and didn’t see you for a while, so…
            Anyhoo! You’re back. Still waiting for the day, “History will someday…” detect one of your crackpot screeds.
            Get some food.

          • 788eddie says:

            No, kep, I’m a moderate Republican, one of the many that helped the Republicans win in the past, and who are now fleeing the corruption that the GOP has become. Like Joe Scarborough, I reject the right wing-nuts who have taken over (you sound like one of the rabid-right yourself, kep). My hope is, that after the current Republican leadership has finished blowing up the party, the grown-ups (i.e. the moderates) will once again be able to take over.

            And as for being deported back to Russia, you’d better look again; it’s your clueless leader who has already taken that step (Trump is the one who is making friends with “Mother Russia, not us) –

            BTW, the way you write, I can imagine that you’re foaming at the mouth while you write.

            Also BTW, I noticed that you weren’t able to answer my last comment, except to generate another senseless rant.

          • kep says:

            Joe Scarborough is a great example for you to use. LOL. He ranks right up there with Kathy Griffin as far as being unhinged, but then most of you liberal pukes are unhinged.

          • 788eddie says:

            Funny, kep. I’m impressed that, from your commentary YOU seem to be unhinged most of the time.

          • The lucky one says:

            Seem to be???

          • 788eddie says:

            Apologies – I understated.

  14. PrecipitousDrop says:

    “Shadow government”
    “Deep state”
    Trump supporters have to fabricate Boogeymen to shirk responsibility for their Miscreant-in-Chief.

    • Just A Citizen says:

      The “deep state” is not the same as the “shadow government”. The former has been studied and written about by authors of both liberal and conservative bent.

      It includes the same people you folks on the left are always howling about, you know, the Military Industrial Complex.

      • PrecipitousDrop says:

        Non sequitur.
        What’s your point regarding Trump?

        • Just A Citizen says:

          My comment was to the person who is confusing the issue in their response. Why don’t you ask them what that has to do with Trump.

      • Independent1 says:

        No matter how you cut it, and whether it’s been done before, the term “deep state” was still fabricated to be someones boogeymen.

        • Just A Citizen says:

          It is not fabricated, it is real. I have personally seen it at work.

          You should open your eyes and stop following the DNC crowd.

  15. Richard Prescott says:

    Hilarious, no one ever complained when other former Presidents talked with foreign leaders or diplomats.
    Most intelligent people know that these people understand that former means not active and does not mean creates new or amends existing.
    Of course the shadow is all what hangs over these fools minds as they know that the Trump presidency is a lie and based on a papier-mché foundation.

    • itsfun says:

      Right and there wasn’t a Benghazi or fast and furious and Obama didn’t know anything about Russia trying to influence the election. Lynch didn’t meet with Billy Clinton on a airplane. Holder wasn’t in contempt of Congress. President was elected by our nation and is completely a legal President.

      • PrecipitousDrop says:

        I know you miss them more than ANYTHING, Tiger.
        But they’re all gone. They went bye-bye. Wave bye-bye! Can you wave bye-bye?
        Now, turn that frown upside down and show us what a Big Boy looks like.

  16. roguerunners says:

    Figured it out. The Trumpees wake up in the morning and have a tall cup of covfefe. 🙂

  17. itsfun says:

    The President Obama administration was the most corrupt administration ever.

    • Independent1 says:

      I guess that’s why even today, Obama is the most admired man in America for the 9th straight year; because his Administration was so corrupt. Is that right? And if the Obama Administration was so corrupt why have we not seen in the news all the people from his administration being indicted for crimes and sent to jail?? Like was the case with 132 indicted in Reagan’s administration???

      And why don’t you just list all the corrupt things Obama’s administration did (that you can prove outside of your right-wing propaganda network) that the vast majority of Americans have been overlooking. And explain to us why if the Obama Administration is so corrupt why is virtually every major world leader such good buddies with Obama other than those 3 who are friendly with Trump? ( And except also the rabble rouser leading Israel named BiBi)

      Do you seriously believe his administration was anything like the three of the last 5 GOP presidents who were as corrupt as it gets??

      Nixon who was so crooked even Congress didn’t trust him which is why presidents today can’t issue Executive Orders which require funding – Congress changed the rules because of Nixon. So crooked he was forced to resign.

      And where are the 132 members of Obama’s Administration that have been indicted for crimes, like with Reagan?? There were more gangsters working in Reagan’s administration than in all the other presidencies since 1900 combined.

      And when did Obama outright lie us into an unnecessary war that ended up costing us taxpayers 6 trillion and counting? And which cost bout 10,000 Americans their lives?? And since when has Obama been tried in the courts of numerous countries around the world and convicted of crimes against humanity? Such that Bush and Cheney are fearful of leaving America’s shores!!

      And being a Republican aren’t you just tickled pink that Donald Trump is the most hated man in the world??? That must really make you feel good, huh??

      Donald Trump Is The Most Hated Man in The World

    • Independent1 says:

      You’ve never answered this question which I’ve posed to you several times before so I’ll ask it again – how do you pathological lying, conspiracy spewing worthless right-wingers sleep at night knowing you spend much of your time during the day doing nothing but posting fabications of reality, fake conspiracy theories and outright blatant lies. How do you sleep? How do you look yourself in the eye in the mirror realizing you’re such a worthless piece of trash because of all the lives you ruin with your blatant attempts to brainwash people into believing your lies???

    • The lucky one says:

      You have no appreciation of US history to make such a statement. Please do some reading before you embarrass yourself further. You won’t have to go too far back and can start with Reagan, Nixon and the Bushes though Trump is on track to be #1 in corruption.

      • itsfun says:

        Do you mean no appreciation for Benghazi stand down, or fast and furious, or drawing red lines, or selling uranium to Russia, or whispering in the ear of Russian about how much more flexibility I will have after the election? Do you mean no appreciation of my AG having a secret private meeting with a ex-President to get promises. Do you mean appreciation for the cornhusker buyout for healthcare? The Obama administration will go down in history as the worst ever. He tried to sell out America, had no pride in being American (if he was).

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          Which one of the eight Benghazi did not debunk the “stand down” myth?
          What part of AG Eric Holder’s congressional hearings did not acknowledge that Fast & Furious was started by two ATF agents in Phoenix AZ — under the Bush administration?
          The State Department was not the only agency to authorize this sale of a US mine to the Canadian company, Uranium One. Others included DOD, NHS, NRC, EPA, CIA Department of Energy, and NSC.
          President Obama’s “whispered” statement regarding flexibility after the election is statement of fact and of law. At the time of the “whispering” he had no presidential authority at all.
          If AG Lynch’s meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton were “secret”, we wouldn’t be talking about it, would we?
          “Cornhusker buy out?” Sure. See you and raise you one Bridge to Nowhere.

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