The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals unsealed documents revealing Rep. Scott Perry's (R-PA) interactions and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Politico reports.
Per Politico, Perry's conversations with former Department of Justice (DOJ) official Jeffrey Clark — who was indicted alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others in the ongoing Georgia election case — "are perhaps the most revealing."
During one conversation, the news outlet reports, "Perry told Clark that Trump was upset with Clark for using the Justice Department to defend [ex-Vice President Mike] Pence against a lawsuit brought by another House member, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)."
The Texas lawmaker "was seeking a court ruling declaring that Pence had the power to unilaterally reject Biden's electoral votes, but DOJ’s civil division — then under Clark’s leadership — stepped in to defend Pence against the suit, which failed," the report notes.
The Pennsylvania GOP leader texted Clark on December 30, 2020, "POTUS seems very happy with your response. I read it just as you dictated," to which the former DOJ official replied, "I'm praying. This makes me quite nervous. And wonder if I'm worthy or ready."
Perry said, "You are the man. I have confirmed it. God does what he does for a reason."
Politico listed the "extraordinary web of communications between Perry, who is now the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, and key figures in Trump's orbit," including:
- A Dec. 12, 2020, text exchange with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel discussing efforts to challenge Joe Biden’s victory in the election.
- A series of exchanges between Perry and a former DOJ colleague, Robert Gasaway, between Dec. 30, 2020, and Jan. 5, 2021, in which Perry embraced a plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence “admit testimony” prior to the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021. Perry agreed to “sell the idea” with a call to Trump, Pence and Trump adviser John Eastman, but Perry later alerted Gasaway that Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, “will not allow access.”
- A description of numerous exchanges between Perry and top Trump administration officials, including Clark, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Eric Herschmann and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a former House colleague of Perry.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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In a fantastic appearance on Wednesday afternoon, Elon Musk told advertisers who had left his X (formerly Twitter) social media site, “Go fuck yourself.” It was not the only F-bomb Musk dropped in a heated rant that included blaming advertisers for the failure of what once was Twitter and accusing them of trying to “blackmail” him by refusing to advertise.
According to the BBC, advertising made up 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue before Musk took over. Immediately following his purchase of the company, Twitter was flooded with an explosion of racism. Within three months, ad revenue dropped by 50%. In his speech, which was given before attendees at The New York Times' DealBook Summit and who sometimes seemed shocked into silence, Musk both admitted that the departure of advertisers would kill the company, and vowed that he would not bail it out with his own money.
It’s been only 13 months since Musk spent $44 billion on Twitter. At the end of October, the employee equity plan set the company’s value at $19 billion. That was before Musk endorsed an antisemitic post based on the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and sent the remaining advertisers fleeing in droves.
If the company should fail in the coming weeks, it will be one of the largest, most astounding, and most self-inflicted business failures in history.
Musk’s conversation with Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin extended for more than an hour, during which time Musk apologized for supporting the antisemitic post, saying it was the "dumbest" thing he has shared online.
However, that’s highly debatable.
Was it dumber than Musk threatening to sue researchers who documented a rise in hate speech on Twitter? Was it dumber than when he sued Media Matters for America for demonstrating how ads can fall next to racist or antisemitic posts? Was it dumber than when he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League after they found his site overrun with accounts pushing “virulent antisemitism”?
Was it dumber than when Musk welcomed back infamous neo-Nazis, including the man who created the Nazi site “The Daily Stormer” and was an organizer of 2017’s torch-wielding Nazi march in Charlottesville? Dumber than when he welcomed a neo-Nazi group that was suspended for repeatedly pushing the same “great replacement” conspiracy that Musk endorsed in his post? Was it dumber than when he falsely accused a Jewish man of being a neo-Nazi involved in a street brawl?
Was it dumber than when he drove away NPR by labeling them as government-controlled media and then threatened to give away their account so someone else could masquerade as NPR? Dumber than the whole blue checkmark scheme?
Was it dumber than when he accused Black people in South Africa of openly plotting “white genocide”? Dumber than when he reposted a “white lives matter” tweet from a notorious white supremacist? Dumber than when he said the Biden administration was destroying democracy? Or when he defended slavery? Or when he spent Pride Month handing out “likes” to transphobic tweets? Or when he said the media was racist against white and Asian people, and defended a man who called for segregation? Dumber than when he went to the southern border in a cowboy hat and video game T-shirt to spend a day endorsing false claims about an immigrant invasion?
Elon Musk apologized for one post. But advertisers didn’t leave the site formerly known as Twitter because of one post. They left because Musk gutted the site’s moderation teams, welcomed those who spread hate and lies, repeatedly demonstrated that he was always ready to believe a racist conspiracy theory, and showed he would make a threat at the drop of a hat.
Following Musk’s swear-laden appearance, Linda Yaccarino—the world’s most sidelined CEO—reposted a recording of Musk’s full DealBook interview (including the “go fuck yourself” line) and added: “And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work -- Thank You.”
Sure. That’ll work.
There’s no doubt that X is the place to be if you believe the 53 million people who died in World War II didn’t adequately explore the debate between fascism and democracy. Several people who share that belief have already volunteered to hand over their cash to the world’s richest man. But it’s not going to be enough.
Musk already admitted that his site is doomed without advertisers. Then he drove a final stake through the idea of any of those advertisers returning. Then he vowed not to keep X alive with more of his own cash.
All that’s left is the construction of a post-mortem mythology in which Musk complains that he tried to save free speech with $44 billion and his valuable time but that the horrible wokeism (or cancel culture, or whatever boogeyman the right wing invents next) just wouldn’t let him.
Anyway, get ready for the funeral.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
Even though former House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from his position nearly two months ago, his feud with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who orchestrated the ouster, appears to be intensifying.
In a Wednesday interview with Politicoabout the influence of Florida's Republican members of the House of Representatives, McCarthy posited that there was a "cross section" of Floridians in Congress.
"You have [Rep. Matt] Gaetz, who belongs in jail, and you have serious members," McCarthy said.
McCarthy didn't specify what crime he thought Gaetz committed, though the remark may have been a reference to the Department of Justice's investigation into Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking of a minor (the DOJ ultimately declined to charge Gaetz with any crimes). Gaetz, for his part, dismissed McCarthy's remark. He also referenced the former speaker's alleged shoving of one of the eight Republicans who voted for his ouster in a capitol hallway earlier this month.
"Tough words from a guy who sucker punches people in the back," Gaetz said. "The only assault I committed was against Kevin’s fragile ego."
Gaetz has been a frequent target of McCarthy's rage. In an interview with CNN's Manu Raju, the former speaker suggested the House would benefit "tremendously" if the Florida Republican was no longer in Congress.
"People have to earn the right to be here," McCarthy told Raju. He adding that he doubted the GOP caucus "would ever heal if there's no consequences" for stripping him of his speakership and prompting a chaotic transition to Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-LA) election to the position.
"People have to earn the right to be here," McCarthy told Raju. He adding that he doubted the GOP caucus "would ever heal if there's no consequences" for stripping him of his speakership and prompting a chaotic transition to Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-Louisiana) election to the position.
In response to McCarthy's comment to Raju, Gaetz offered "thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief."
In October, Kevin McCarthy became the first sitting speaker of the House to be removed from his position via a motion to vacate put forth by members of his own party. Members of the GOP's far-right faction were upset with McCarthy's efforts to work with House Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
- GOP 'Moderates' Kneel As House Picks Election-Denying Extremist Speaker ›
- Who Will Replace Kevin McCarthy? Just Keep Your Expectations Low ›
- New Bombshell: Campaign Funds Paid For Gaetz Party With Escorts And Cocaine ›
- For These GOP Radicals, Kevin McCarthy Was Just A Bump In The Road ›
- 'Not Surprised': As Gaetz Sinks In Scandal, Trump And His Allies Remain Silent ›
- Is Trump Scheming To Oust McCarthy And McConnell? ›
In an infamous article from 1922, The New York Times introduced the United States to a rising German politician by insisting that "Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so violent or genuine as it sounded." It would be nice to think that in the intervening century the nation’s largest media outlets have learned a lesson. And they have. They’ve learned to lean into it.
As Daily Kos’ Laura Clawson reported on Tuesday, a new study shows that the media is willing to cut Donald Trump infinite slack when it comes to using dehumanizing and threatening language toward everyone he sees as an opponent. Which is … everyone. Democrats. Republicans. Former members of his staff. Judges. The whole legal system. Steve Jobs’ widow.
But no one seems as eager to indulge Trump as America’s leading news outlets. It’s not just that they’re willing to look the other way when he attacks others; they are also eternally willing to bend over and take another one for team “objective journalism.” Except what they’re promoting isn’t anything like fairness, and what they’re protecting certainly isn’t some platonic ideal of truth.
The nation’s major media outlets are begging Trump to hurt them again. Hurt them good. Oh, and to destroy the nation while he’s at it.
Overnight, Trump attacked MSNBC. The reason for this isn’t particularly clear and doesn’t particularly matter. However, in this attack, Trump makes an overt threat against the network, its leader, and the whole concept of the First Amendment.
In response to Trump’s attack, NBC News has issued this heartfelt reply: silence. But then, why wouldn’t they? They also didn’t comment back in September, when Trump threatened NBC’s parent company and insisted they should be investigated for “Country Threatening Treason.”
Silence in response to Trump’s threats is what major media outlets do.
Trump already declared the free press “the enemy of the people.” He already put journalists in cages so that his supporters could jeer them as Trump pointed them out for mockery. He didn’t do these things in the early days of his 2016 campaign. He did them while occupying the White House. Trump stood behind the bully pulpit and regularly informed the American public that the media was their enemy.
Those journalists were in a cage for a rally that Trump held in 2018, far from any presidential election. That the link to that Iowa rally is from an Australian news outlet is not a coincidence, as the reporter from that outlet seems to be the only one who was shocked by the way journalists were being pointed out for threats and derision, or by how an undercover filmmaker approached the cage to whisper that he was too afraid to try and conduct interviews, or how they weren’t even allowed to go to the bathroom without being supervised by a member of Trump’s staff. By that point, American journalists following Trump seemed to have simply accepted this as their lot.
Just over a month ago, Trump threatened journalists with prison rape unless they gave up sources who were informing on Trump’s crimes. And those same journalists went back to work the next day, cutting Trump every possible break.
The biggest of those breaks is simply this: Acting as if because Trump espouses fascism, racism, misogyny, bigotry, and violence every day, it’s not news. This is the most ass-backward idea ever cooked up in a newsroom. The fact that Trump does it over, and over, and over is the news. Responsible, objective journalism isn’t ignoring Trump’s threats because he makes them regularly. The regularity of his vile statements makes them both worse and more newsworthy.
If the mass media treated the Son of Sam killings the way they do Donald Trump, they would have stopped reporting after the first victim. After all, it’s just more of the same thing, right?
Trump is out there attacking journalists every day. He’s out there spitting on the First Amendment every day. He’s doubling down on his attacks on democracy every day. And all major media seems to think about is how many more clicks, views, and ad dollars they will make if they can use silence and selective reporting to ease Trump over the line to the White House.
Every time Trump calls out journalists or a media outlet, the reaction seems to be the same. Rather than fighting back, or defending their reporting, outlets slink further into the placating corner. Or hire another former Trump official. They seemed genuinely more concerned about offending Nazis than fighting them.
News outlets appear willing to keep up the pretense of being objective, even when studies show that they are leaning on the accelerator for Trump. They’ll keep up that pretense even in the face of the absolute reality that, should their boost carry Trump back to the Oval Office, he will come for them. He will come for the “enemies of the people.” He will come for those guilty of “country threatening treason.” He will make the days when he only put reporters in cages and encouraged the crowd to scream at them seem like a fond memory.
Trump is dedicated to destroying democracy. He’s absolutely insistent on ending the free press. He is openly using Nazi propaganda and threatening to repeat the most despicable events in history. Even so, as Laura wrote on Tuesday:
There is no question, by the hard numbers, that the media is giving Donald Trump a pass. His dehumanizing rhetoric describing his political opponents as “vermin” that he will “root out” is a nonstory as far as the broadcast networks, cable news networks, and largest newspapers in the country are concerned.
Unless something changes, it will go on being a nonstory right up until the time Trump is telling them what stories are allowed.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
- Study: National TV And Cable Networks Mostly Ignore Trump's Gaffes ›
- If You Think Kristen Welker Flubbed Her Trump Interview, Think Again ›
- NBC Commentator and GOP Shill Hugh Hewitt Is Paid By Trump Campaign ›
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- The Loud Racist Messaging Behind Trump's Aborted Gun Purchase ›
Ryan Fournier, the co-founder of the North Carolina-based Students for Trump, has been charged with two counts of assault. According to a magistrate’s order filed in the Johnston County District Court, Fournier is accused of “grabbing [his girlfriend’s] right arm and striking her in the forehead with a firearm.” Fornier, who is 27, was reportedly released on the same day as his arrest, Nov. 21, posting a $2,500 bond. A hearing is scheduled for December 18.
One wonders if The Washington Post’s editorial board will add this to its hand-wringing about right-wing men not being able to attract female partners.
Fournier began Students for Trump in 2016 along with fellow Campbell University student John Lambert, but it quickly became apparent that the two were running a real shady operation. In 2018, The Daily Beastreported that the young MAGA group was ignoring requests from federal investigators to explain how their operation ran and was funded, leading many to believe the organization was violating federal election laws.
It turned out that Lambert was breaking more than just election laws—he was an epic fraud. In 2021, at the age of 25, Lambert was sentenced to 13 months in prison for being what the sentencing judge described as a “cold-blooded fraudster.” According to The Daily Beast, Fournier was involved in the fraudulent scheme but ratted out Lambert when the feds confronted him in 2018.
Fournier’s personal website refers to him as “Ryan Fournier. Commentator. Entrepreneur. Realist.” Apparently, it should also have something about being someone who allegedly uses firearms to assault women.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
Fox News falsely reported last Wednesday that a car accident at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara, New York, was an act of terrorism. Much of the network’s coverage was based on reporting from correspondent Alexis McAdams, who attributed her information — later debunked — to anonymous law enforcement sources. A close look at Fox’s treatment of this event shows how the network manufactured a terrorist event out of thin air, and then blamed it on Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, and their supporters.
Fox News personalities and guests made at least 97 claims alleging or speculating that the crash was an act of terrorism or an attack from when the incident happened at 11:30 a.m. ET, until about approximately 5:15 p.m. ET, when Gov. Hochul stated that the explosion was not related to terrorism. From when the network first began reporting the crash, around 1:15 p.m. ET, through Gov. Hochul's statement, Fox News aired 1 hour and 45 minutes of on-screen text that speculated that the car crash at the U.S.-Canada border was an act of terrorism or an attack. Several Fox guests and personalities backpedaled their statements over the course of the timeframe.
The incident occurred on November 22, one of the busiest travel days of the year, at a border checkpoint between the United States and Canada. By 9:40 p.m. ET Wednesday evening, the FBI had concluded its investigation, determining that “no terrorism nexus was identified.” Local police have now taken over the investigation, and a cause of the crash has yet to be released. The Niagara police chief criticized media outlets for spreading misinformation about the crash, which he said had “created significant and unnecessary anxiety in the community.”
Right-wing media outlets including Fox News have consistently fearmongered about the purported threat of Muslims and Arabs looking to cross into the United States to carry out violence following an attack in Israel on October 7 by the armed wing of Hamas, the Palestinian organization that governs the occupied Gaza Strip. An estimated 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack; Israel responded with a bombardment and invasion of Gaza that has reportedly killed more than 14,000 Palestinians, an estimated 10,000 of whom are women and children. Incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States have skyrocketed over this period.
Fox quickly suggests Niagara crash was terrorism
Fox News was an early source to falsely claim the accident in Niagara was an act of terrorism, with the clear implication that it had been carried out by Islamists.
“High level police sources tell me this is an attempted terrorist attack,” Fox’s McAdams posted on X (formerly Twitter) at 1:53 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 22. “Sources say the car was full of explosives. Both men inside dead.” By 3:16 p.m. ET, The New York Times reported, “A preliminary investigation has found that the car did not contain explosives,” which users on X added to McAdams’ post as a community note.
Fox's claim spreads, and a Fox anchor suggests Hamas may be to blame
McAdams’ post spread fast. Fox News border reporter Bill Melugin shared McAdams’ post to his more than 350,000 followers and made his own post paraphrasing and citing his colleague. Melugin later deleted that post, but his repost of McAdams’ initial message is still viewable on his timeline.
Around the same time, Fox News anchor John Roberts read McAdams’ reporting on air, including information not contained in her post.
“Alexis McAdams is reporting that according to high-level police sources, the explosion was an attempted terrorist attack,” Roberts said. “A lot of explosives in the vehicle at the time, the two people who were in the car are deceased, one Border Patrol officer was injured. Driving from the U.S. apparently to Canada, and were trying to drive toward the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] building.”
Roberts also suggested that Hamas might be behind the attack, claiming the “unrest in the Middle East that has spilled out past Israel” means there “could be operatives in this country sympathetic to terrorists who want to send a message here in the United States.”
From there it was off to the races, as other Fox News on-air talent and guests began pushing the narrative that the incident was an act of terrorism. “When you are talking about radical Islamic terrorism and the attacks against the United States, this has happened before," said senior correspondent Eric Shawn.
During the 2 p.m. hour of America Reports, Roberts speculated whether the two people involved were "acting alone” or if the explosion was “part of a larger plot.”
“How long have these people been in the country — are they American, are they foreign-born, are they radicalized, are they just trying to make a statement here?” he continued. “I mean, there’s so many possibilities.”
McAdams joined the program as well, reporting that there may have been a “second car possibly involved” and that the original car was “full of explosives, according to those high-level sources.” She added that “there’s going to be big crowds of people coming here to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade," insinuating it could be a target, and also repeated that the explosion was “a planned terrorist attack, according to high-level police sources who were on the ground."
Former Homeland Security adviser suggests “jihadists” may be behind it
Later that hour, former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend suggested, like Shawn before her, that Hamas or another group of “jihadists” may be to blame.
“We don't know yet whether or not this is attributed — can be attributed to Hamas or another terrorist group, but I will tell you from our own experience we know that this sort of bomb, this kind of a vehicle bomb is sort of a classic technique of, you know, jihadists,” Townsend said. “So I don't think law enforcement yet understands who it was or what the intended target was, but the detonation of an explosive, a vehicle explosive this size, is regrettably — look, there could have been many more casualties — but as I say, very much a hallmark of jihadists.”
Roberts interviewed Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who used the opportunity to go on an anti-migrant tirade. “We have a number of people, by the tens of thousands, who have entered this country with bad intentions,” Ramaswamy said.
Fox reporter stands by the terrorism claim even as it falls apart, before finally retracting it
At 4 p.m. ET, McAdams joinedYour World with Neil Cavuto to double down on her initial reporting, only to then retract it — all over the course of a few minutes.
“We’ve been checking in with police sources who were very confident just in the past hour or so saying that they believe this was a terrorist attack there, at that border crossing,” McAdams said. But the story had already started to fall apart.“
The bomb techs, who have lots of experience, thought that this was an explosive — that the car, I was told, had explosives in it, several explosives were in that vehicle,” she continued. “Now they’re backing that up, saying it was the way that the car landed that caused such an explosion.
”Finally, McAdams was forced to retract her initial claims. “We started seeing those conflicting reports, but that’s what happens with breaking news,” McAdams said. “They get new information, they give it to us, and we bring it back to the viewers.”
“So as of now, they’ve walked back that it was a possible terrorist attack,” she concluded.
Even after the report was retracted, Fox used the crash to attack Palestinians and migrants
Still, McAdams’ walkback didn’t prevent Fox from continuing to weaponize the incident against Palestinians and migrants.
On The Ingraham Angle, guest host Jason Chaffetz acknowledged the explosion might not have been an act of terrorism, but used it to argue for a nativist immigration policy anyway.
“Today's explosion at the border, regardless of the motive behind it, is a chilling reminder that we are all on high alert and living in a post-9/11 mindset, which means that our borders need to be secure,” Chaffetz said, adding, that the Biden administration doesn’t “have the political will to actually shut down the border."
Later that evening, Fox’s Kayleigh McEnany insinuated that it was only natural to assume the explosion was tied to Hamas or connected with Palestinian solidarity demonstrations.
“The crash was so fierce and in such a sensitive location that everyone's mind of course went to the same place — terror,” McEnany said on Jesse Watters Primetime. “With war in the Middle East, violent domestic protests, radicals calling for days of jihad, the FBI director telling us to be vigilant — we are all on edge.”
Fox's false reporting spread beyond Fox
McAdams’ misinformation reached far beyond the confines of Fox News.
On The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, host Clay Travis interviewed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about the incident, also citing McAdam’s reporting. “Alexis McAdams, who is at Fox News, says: 'High-level police sources tell me this is an attempted terror attack,'” Travis told his listeners.
“This should not be surprising to any of us,” Christie concluded.
On X, a paid X Premium account called The Insider Paper posted Fox News’ supposed confirmation that the car crash was an “attempted terrorist attack,” which was reposted by right-wing media figures including Richard Grenell and Colin Rugg, racking up thousands of reposts and millions of views.
Right-wing sites American Greatness, The Gateway Pundit, The Daily Caller, and PJ Media also amplified McAdams’ false report, only to be forced to update their stories after she retracted her initial claims.
There was no terrorist attack at the U.S.-Canadian border on Wednesday, November 22. But Fox News’ manufactured panic was very real, and risks exacerbating the threats that Muslims and Arabs in the United States already face.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “U.S,” “America,” “Canada,” “New York,” “Ontario,” “Niagara,” “Buffalo,” “border,” “rainbow,” “bridge,” “cross,” “checkpoint,” “FBI,” “CPB,” or “Villani” (including misspellings) within close proximity if any of the terms “car,” “vehicle,” “sedan,” “luxury,” “Bentley,” “crash,” “blast,” or “flame” of any variations of any of the terms “explosion,” “fire,” or “terror” from 11:30 a.m. ET November 22, 2023, when a luxury vehicle fatally crashed into a checkpoint at the U.S.-Canada border, through approximately 5:15 p.m. ET November 22, 2023, when New York Gov. Kathy Hochul held a press conference indicating that the crash was not a terror attack.
We included claims, which we defined as instances when an uninterrupted block of speech from a single speaker speculated that the car crash at the U.S.-Canada border was an act of terrorism. For host monologues, correspondent reports, and headlines, we considered a single claim to be the speech between played clips or read quotes. We did not consider the speech within the clip or quote unless a speaker in the segment positively affirmed said speech either directly before or after the clip was played or the quote was read.
We also manually scanned all video on Fox News Channel from 1:15 p.m. ET November 22, 2023, when the network first reported on the crash, through approximately 5:15 p.m. ET November 22, 2023, and timed all visual chyrons that speculated that the car crash at the U.S.-Canada border was an act of terrorism.
We rounded all times to the nearest minute.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
With 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner facing four criminal indictments and a variety of civil lawsuits, right-wing media outlets and MAGA conspiracy theorists have been claiming that President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden is the real legal story. But legal experts have responded that there is no evidence showing the type of criminal conspiracy within the Biden family that Trump's supporters are alleging.
House Republicans have subpoenaed Hunter Biden to testify during a closed-door deposition on December 13 — and he was quick to respond that yes, he'll be there.
In an op-ed published on November 29, MSNBC's Hayes Brown argues that if Biden's testimony makes anyone look bad, it will most likely be House Republicans.
"Rather than fight the subpoena," Brown observes, "Hunter Biden appears eager, maybe too eager, to appear before the GOP-led panel. In a letter from his lawyer on Tuesday, Biden not only agreed to testify, but to do so in an open committee session. And in his response, Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., made clear how caught off guard he was — and how unprepared he is to back up his tough talk in public."
Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer, told Comer, "Your fishing expedition has become Captain Ahab chasing the great white whale."
"Demanding a public hearing is a dramatic and potential fraught play from Lowell, who has been spearheading an aggressive counteroffensive strategy for his client," Brown notes. "Could such a hearing be embarrassing for Hunter Biden? Yes, definitely. It's a chance for Republicans to bring up the very public scandals he's been linked to and the personal demons that have haunted (him)…. And yet, despite those risks, Lowell in his letter is clearly ready to call Comer's bluff."
Brown continues, "And as he noted, history is on his side in this case. The scramble for Republicans to find something impeachment-worthy to use against Biden has been an absolute circus…. But based on what we've seen so far, it seems more likely that any trap that gets sprung would be ACME-branded and backfire completely on the hapless coyote — er, I mean Comer — who set it."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
Everyone knows – or should know – that polls measuring the outcome of an election that will occur almost a year from today have scant predictive value – and yet over the past month, media outlets have persistently touted surveys showing Donald Trump edging Joe Biden as if the former guy has already defeated the current president. And indeed several polls did show Trump slightly ahead in a potentially disturbing trend that reinforced the dominant narrative about Biden’s weakness.
But within the past few days, four fresh polls published by reputable organizations have showed the opposite trend. Last week’s Morning Consult poll showed Trump up over Biden by three percent; this week, Morning Consult puts Biden ahead by one percent, a four-point shift in a matter of days. The Economist and YouGov released a poll last week that had Trump up by one percent; the same poll has Biden up by two percent this week, 44 to 42. A second YouGov poll that asked about voting for a third alternative also had Biden ahead by two points, 39 to 37. And a poll taken by The Canadian Press and Leger, one of the largest surveyors north of the border, likewise found Biden up 37-35 in a potential three-way race.
The details of those polls – all conducted since the temporary ceasefire and hostage release in the Gaza conflict -- matter less than the small but encouraging trend they represent. What they suggest is that if the president can extend the ceasefire as more hostages are released, while pressuring Israel to stop killing civilians, he can regain some of the crucial support that has diminished among Democratic base voters.
Nobody familiar with our “liberal media” will be shocked to learn that those four polls received little attention – although every blip that favors Trump gets headlines. No doubt they will continue in that vein, a habit that mainstream journalists seem unable to overcome. But that doesn’t mean you have to believe them, especially when the data starts to point another way.
After Hamas massacred 1,200 Israelis, gang-raped teens and kidnapped hundreds of innocents, 30 student groups at Harvard issued a statement reading, "We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."
The anger that followed went beyond this dismissal of Isis-type barbarity. It pursued Harvard president Claudine Gay after she issued a mealy-mouthed response.
There was bit of a turnaround when prestigious law firms and other employers started rescinding job offers to students involved in these groups. Some companies may have objected to what they saw as overt displays of antisemitism. They may have also been shocked by the TikTok-level display of ignorance of the conflict's complexities, which these alleged top students had put on full display.
The main subject here isn't the current Mideast tragedy, but let us note: Students have every right to say stupid things, and employers have every right not to hire students who say stupid things. As for college administrators frightened of the children, that's a problem for the colleges.
This is about the undeserved reverence shown to these colleges no better than others with lesser brand names. How many times have my new acquaintances used the H-word to elevate their ordinary views?
Without a doubt, brilliant minds have attended and taught at Harvard, Yale, and the rest. But so have many mediocrities whose rich parents hired consultants to turn their offspring into the perfect packages these institutions want. That meant tutors to ensure high scores alongside some angle, such as prowess in a sport or carefully selected do-gooding.
Many in the media play the Ivy worship game. Reporters commonly put "Harvard-educated" or "Yale-educated" in front of some expert's name. If the person being interviewed went to the University of Nebraska or, say, Colgate, the alma mater is left a mystery. Never mind if the interviewee's less-glamorous school exceled in the area of expertise they were writing about.
My late husband, a senior editor at Princeton Press, set me straight on the hot air that fills the balloons of Ivy puffery. (I went to New York University.) Himself a product of elite education from prep school on up, he talked of seeking out writers at small colleges in the Dakotas who were actually doing original things. He found the professors who had spent their entire lives climbing the grades, from kindergarten to Ph.D. with hardly a break, tended toward the immature.
The most interesting intellectuals had held regular, non-academic jobs at some point: They had worked on a road crew or run a shoe store or painted houses. He was grateful to have been shaken out of his assumptions by time spent in the Marines. (He laughed about having to hide his background as an "Ivy flower" while being schooled on Parris Island.)
If these latest displays of cowardice by administrators at Harvard, Columbia and Yale vacuum up some of the fairy dust the worshippers sprinkle around these schools, so much the better. And that goes double if they prompt some rich alumni to move their donations elsewhere. How about funding organizations that help kids from struggling backgrounds get a foothold in a secure life?
One of the reasons so many super rich graduates give multimillions to the richest colleges is the same reason so many parents want their children to get into them. It gives them an opportunity to hobnob with other rich people or those whom they consider socially desirable.
"Should Ivy League Schools Randomly Select Students?" was the subject of a recent essay about how the COVID shutdowns gave the well-to-do an extra leg-up in these admissions. The more interesting question would have been, "When Can Everyone Stop Worshipping the Ivy League?"
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
Reprinted with permission from Creators.
In a November 27 legal filing submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court, attorneys representing former President Donald Trump made a unique argument in justifying that the US Constitution's insurrection clause doesn't apply to their client.
The clause, which is in Section Three of the 14th Amendment, states that "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof." Trump's legal team argued that as president, their client is exempt from that language.
"The framers excluded the office of President from Section Three purposefully. Section Three does not apply, because the presidency is not an office 'under the United States,' and President Trump did not take an oath 'to support the Constitution of the United States,'" the filing read.
The filing also argues that the events of January 6, 2021 did not constitute an insurrection, even though Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt Congress' official certification of the 2020 presidential election in an hours-long riot that left several dead and hundreds more injured.
"Wow in a legal proceeding trump is now arguing he didn’t violate the 14th Amendment by inciting the Jan 6 insurrection because he 'never took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States,'" Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) tweeted. "This treacherous criminal is head of the republican party."
Trump did in fact take such an oath. The presidential oath of office — which all presidents take on Inauguration Day — explicitly mentions the Constitution.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," the oath reads.
The matter before the Colorado Supreme Court concerns an attempt to remove the former president from the 2024 ballot on the grounds that he is ineligible under the insurrection clause due to Trump's involvement in the January 6 riot. While a judge ruled in Trump's favor, that decision has been appealed by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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Major news outlets devoted dramatically less coverage to former President Donald Trump describing his political enemies as “vermin” earlier this month than they provided then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 “basket of deplorables” remark in the week following those respective comments.
- The Big Three broadcast TV networks provided 18 times more coverage of Clinton’s 2016 “deplorables” comment than Trump’s “vermin” remark on their combined nationally syndicated morning news, evening news, and Sunday morning political talk shows.
- CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC mentioned Clinton’s “deplorables” comment nearly 9 times more than Trump’s “vermin” comment.
- Print reports that mentioned Clinton's statement outnumbered those that mentioned Trump’s 29-to-1 across the five highest-circulating U.S. newspapers.
Coverage decisions like these provide insight into which stories the editors, producers, and reporters at major news outlets are prioritizing and shape the political landscape during presidential election cycles.
Experts on authoritarianism warned that Trump’s rhetoric echoed that of fascist dictators like Adolf Hitler after he promised to “root out the communist, Marxist, fascist and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country” in a November 11 speech. The former president, who frequently describes his political opponents, including President Joe Biden’s administration, as “communists,” added that those forces want “to destroy America and to destroy the American dream” and that “the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within.”
By contrast, the right weaponized Clinton’s relatively mundane “basket of deplorables” comment. Clinton told attendees at a September 2016 fundraiser that while “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic,” a statement consistent with contemporaneous polling. But she went on to stress that attendees shouldn’t write off all of his backers because they also include “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” adding, “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
The right-wing grievance machine seized on Clinton’s comments, with Trump, his political allies, and his media propagandists whipping up a pseudo scandal by claiming that Clinton had attacked all Trump supporters and feigning offense (they’ve repeatedly attempted to run the same playbook and manufacture a “deplorable moment” for Biden). Unfortunately, major national news outlets responded by rewarding the right for its disingenuous act, showering Clinton’s “deplorables” remark with coverage.
By contrast, the same outlets largely ignored Trump’s description of his political enemies as “vermin,” continuing a pattern of relatively muted coverage of Trump’s abhorrent and incoherent commentary. When experts are sounding the alarm about the similarities between a likely U.S. presidential nominee’s rhetoric and that of genocidaires, it warrants much more significant attention from journalists at leading news outlets.
Broadcast news coverage of “deplorables” versus “vermin”
Media Matters reviewed the nationally syndicated broadcast news shows – ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and This Week; CBS’ This Morning, Mornings, Evening News, and Face the Nation; and NBC’s Today, Nightly News, and Meet the Press – in the first week after each remark.
We found that those programs aired 54 minutes of coverage of Clinton's “deplorables” comment but just 3 minutes regarding Trump's “vermin” remark.
ABC News aired 20 minutes of “deplorables” coverage across 13 segments and 3 teasers, but devoted only a single minute of coverage to the “vermin” comment, during an interview with the network’s chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Karl, about his new book.
CBS News provided 13 minutes of “deplorables” coverage across 11 segments and 3 teasers, compared to 1 passing mention of the “vermin” remark on Face the Nation that comprised less than 30 seconds.And NBC News spent 21 minutes of airtime on the “deplorables” comment across 11 segments, compared to 2 minutes on “vermin” — one a passing mention, the other an interview in which Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker read the comment to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and asked her, “Are you comfortable with this language coming from the GOP front-runner?” (McDaniel declined to comment.)
Cable news coverage of “deplorables” versus “vermin”
Media Matters reviewed mentions of “deplorable” or “deplorables” and of “vermin” on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, in the week following each comment.
We found 1,662 “deplorable” mentions compared to 191 mentions of “vermin” across the three cable networks.
On CNN, there were 553 mentions of “deplorable” compared to 70 for “vermin.”
On Fox News, there were 513 mentions of “deplorable” compared to only 9 of “vermin.”
And on MSNBC, there were 596 mentions of “deplorable” compared to only 112 of “vermin.”
Print news coverage of “deplorables” versus “vermin”
Media Matters reviewed print news coverage in the top 5 U.S. newspapers by circulation — the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post — in the first week following each remark. We counted both stories that mentioned the comments and those we determined were primarily about those remarks because discussion of them appeared in the story’s headline and/or lead.
We found that the papers ran a total of 29 news articles mentioning Clinton’s “deplorables” remark — 13 of which ran on the front page. Of those, 11 of the articles, including 3 of the front-page articles, mentioned the remark in its headline and/or lead. By contrast, the papers combined for just 1 print news article that mentioned Trump’s “vermin” comment, which ran in the interior of The Washington Post.
The Los Angeles Times ran 3 print news articles mentioning Clinton’s “deplorables” comment, 2 of which ran on its front page. Of the 3, 1 article mentioned the comment in its lead; it ran on the paper’s front page. The paper did not mention Trump’s “vermin” remark in a print news story.
The New York Times ran 7 print news articles mentioning Clinton’s “deplorables” remark, 4 of which ran on its front page. Of the 7, 2 mentioned the remark in its headline or lead. The paper did not mention Trump’s “vermin” remark in a print news story.
The Wall Street Journal ran 8 print news articles mentioning Clinton’s “deplorables” remark, 4 of which ran on its front page. Of the 8, 3 mentioned the remark in their headline or lead, and 1 of those ran on the Journal's front page. The paper did not mention Trump’s “vermin” remark in a print news story.
The Washington Post ran 9 print news articles mentioning Clinton’s “deplorables” remark, 3 of which ran on its front page. Of the 9, 5 mentioned the remark in its headline or lead, and 1 of those ran on the paper’s front page. The Post’s only report mentioning Trump’s “vermin” remark ran on A2 under the headline “Echoing Hitler, Mussolini, Trump calls political foes 'vermin.'”
USA Today ran 2 print news articles that mentioned the “deplorables” remark and none that mentioned the “vermin” comment.
Correction (11/28/23): This piece originally included an incorrect date in the graphs and in the methodology. Additionally one of the bullets in the introduction mischaracterized the print coverage.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original episodes of ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and This Week; CBS’ Mornings, Evening News, and Face the Nation; and NBC’s Today, Nightly News, and Meet the Press for either of the terms “Trump” or “former president” within close proximity of any of the terms “Mussolini,” “Hitler,” “vermin,” “root out,” “radical left,” “thug,” “communist,” “Marxist,” “fascist,” “threat,” or “destroy” from November 11, 2023, when Trump made the comments during a Veterans Day address in Claremont, New Hampshire, through November 17, 2023, one week after the initial comment.
We searched transcripts in the Kinetiq video database for all original episodes of ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and This Week; CBS’ This Morning, Evening News, and Face the Nation; and NBC’s Today, Nightly News, and Meet the Press for any of the terms “Hillary,” “Clinton,” or “former secretary of state” within close proximity of any of the terms “deplorable,” “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “Islamophobic,” or “Trump supporter” from September 9, 2016, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” at a campaign fundraising event, through September 15, 2016, one week after the initial comment.
We timed broadcast segments, which we defined as instances when Trump's 2023 Veterans Day speech in which he likened his political opponents to “vermin” was the stated topic of discussion, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” at a campaign fundraising event was the stated topic of discussion, or when we found significant discussion of either of those comments. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed either of the comments with one another.
We also timed broadcast mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned Trump's or Clinton's remarks without another speaker in the segment engaging with the comment, and broadcast teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about Trump's or Clinton's comments scheduled to air later in the broadcast.
We rounded all times to the nearest minute.
We also searched transcripts in the Kinetiq video database for all original programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC for the term “vermin” from November 11, 2023, through November 17, 2023, and either of the terms “deplorable” or “deplorables” from September 9, 2016, through September 15, 2016. We considered any instance of any of the terms a single mention.
Finally, we searched print articles in the Factiva and Nexis databases from the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post for either of the terms “Trump” or “former president” within roughly the same paragraph (approximately 200 words) as “Mussolini,” “Hitler,” “vermin,” “root out,” “radical left,” “thug,” “communist,” “Marxist,” “fascist,” “threat,” or “destroy” from November 11, 2023, through November 17, 2023.
We also searched print articles from the same newspapers for any of the terms “Hillary,” “Clinton,” or “former secretary of state” within roughly the same paragraph (approximately 200 words) as “deplorable,” “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “Islamophobic,” or “Trump supporter” from September 9, 2016, through September 15, 2016.
We considered a print article to be about either of the comments if they were mentioned in the headline or lead paragraphs. We included all news articles in the A section of the paper. We did not include editorials, op-eds, or letters to the editor.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.