Tag: maga
Truth Social

Trump Media Has Lost Over $300M So Far In 2024

Trump Media & Technology Group, which runs Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform, has filed its first quarter revenue numbers to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The good news for MAGA-loving stockholders is that the company, of which Trump owns a reported 64.9 percent of the outstanding shares, pulled in a cool $770,500. Now get your sad horn sound ready: It also reported a net loss of $327.6 million.

In a statement, the company’s CEO, former House member and Republican attack dog Devin Nunes, said the losses were due to costs in finalizing a merger with shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp. Nunes, best known for suing parody Twitter accounts, said Trump Media would now be exploring and pursuing “a wide array of initiatives and innovations to build out the Truth Social platform including potential mergers and acquisitions activities.”

Since going public in March, Truth Media’s inflated valuation led to the stock’s value plunging shortly after an initial rise. The first quarter filing comes just one month after the company’s stock plummeted for a second time after the company announced it was considering adding more than 15 percent more stock to the publicly available shares, devaluing current stockholders’ shares.

The stock ended the trading day only five percent down after the quarterly report was released, NBC reports. However, this seems to go along with what experts have characterized as Trump Media’s “meme stock trajectory.”

Meme stocks show dramatic gains and losses due to their stock value being directly connected to internet popularity on various social media platforms. The inherent issue with these stocks is that they are usually untethered from any material evaluation of the company being traded.

This frequently leads to pump-and-dump activity on stocks like Trump Media, with buyers inflating the value over short periods of time by creating social media buzz and then quickly dumping the stock for a profit.

When Truth Social first launched in early 2022, the site quickly went down with technical issues, potential copyright issues, and executives jumping ship. Even though the net losses this year amount to almost one-third of a billion dollars, the company “believes it has sufficient working capital to fund operations for the foreseeable future.”

Or until Trump dumps his shares for some quick cash.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

FBI Publicly Rebuts MAGA Fantasy Of Biden Plot 'To Assassinate Trump'

Similarly to his MAGA colleague — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — on Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) claimed that President Joe Biden wanted to have former President Donald Trump killed during the FBI's raid on the Mar-a-Lago estate.

Referencing the statement, "Law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary ...." Gosar claimed via X/Twitter: "Biden ordered the hit on Trump at Mar-a-Lago."

About an hour prior to the Arizona congressman's claim, Rep. Greene baselessly claimed that "Biden and the FBI planned to assassinate" the former president.

ABC News Justice Department reporter Alex Mallon reported via X/Twitter, "FBI issues rare statement directly responding to this attack from Trump and his allies. Says 'standard protocol' was followed - 'No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter."

ABC News contributor Sarah Isgur noted: "Anytime the fbi takes an adversarial action like executing a search warrant, there is a deadly force policy. If there is danger to you or public and there’s no alternatives, you are authorized to use deadly force. This is standard policy."

She added, "And of course they gave the Secret Service and local law enforcement a heads up. Authorized to use deadly force is not the same as 'planning to shoot people.' But every briefing has to include a deadly force policy that is acknowledged by every agent before they go in."

Adam Kinzinger replied: "Gosar is a clown."

Lawyer Bradley P. Moss said: "Per Trump, Biden has complete immunity"

A former CIA attorney under the account @secretsandlaws wrote: "As a general rule, I don't judge any lawyer for zealously representing a criminal defendant, but blatant distortions in legal filings like this were clearly designed to generate over-the-top responses from Trump's supporters, just like the one below. It's unethical and immoral."

Lawrence Hurley said: "Based on Trump's arguments in his election interference case, Biden could not be prosecuted if he had actually ordered this..."

Doug Thompson replied: "I try not to retweet nonsense but this is outrageous.Pre-authorization for use of deadly force is routine when issuing a search warrant. 'Go search for and seize evidence at the scene of a serious crime but go unarmed' would be absurd."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

MAGA And Fox Aiming To End Democracy If They Lose In November

MAGA And Fox Aiming To End Democracy If They Lose In November

With the presidential election less than half a year away, evidence is everywhere that the right is planning to end the American experiment in representative government if it fails to legitimately return Donald Trump to the White House.

It was clear just a few months after Trump’s seditious plot to subvert the 2020 presidential election concluded with a violent mob of his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol that the right-wing propaganda apparatus was laying the groundwork to try again in 2024. Fox News and the rest of the MAGA media, which spent the weeks after the 2020 election fabricating and amplifying a host of election fraud lies and conspiracy theories to undermine the results, had begun working to institutionalize Trump’s lie that the 2020 election had been stolen from him and to construct an alternative path to the presidency in which compliant party officials would secure a Republican victory by any means necessary.

Fox had become a loaded gun aimed at American democracy. Three years later, the bullet is in the chamber.

The disinformation ecosystem which revolves around Fox is telegraphing a plan to reject the results of the 2024 election if Trump loses. The former president’s propagandists will once again use baseless allegations of widespread fraud as a pretext to seek to overturn the vote — and GOP leaders are publicly signaling their willingness to comply.

Ultimately, this preordained coup scheme may not matter. As in 2020, Joe Biden might win by too large a margin in too many states for the plot to succeed. Or, as in 2016, Trump might win outright.

But in the event that Biden triumphs in a close election, the MAGA faithful have developed and road-tested a plan to steal it.

Fox stars aided Trump’s 2020 subversion plot. They were lying. And they’ll do it again.

It is sometimes unclear whether Fox’s falsehoods are deliberate lies. But filings in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit, which the network settled in April 2023 for $787.5 million, demonstrate beyond dispute that Fox’s coverage of the 2020 election results was rooted in malicious fabrication.

Fox’s top executives and biggest stars knew for a fact that Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election, even as the network’s coverage sought to undermine the legitimacy of the vote. The network, filings show, was intentionally peddling conspiracy theories in support of Trump’s stolen-election deception in order to compete with its far-right rivals.

These lies mattered. Communications revealed by the suit show that top Fox executives were aware the network was “uniquely positioned to state the message that the election was not stolen” but did not out of fears of losing viewers. They further show that when then-Fox Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch asked his employees for evidence Fox had “fed the story that the election was stolen and that January 6 [was] an important chance to have the results overturned,” he received a list of 50 examples in response.

But the only lesson Fox’s executives apparently learned from fueling an attempted coup is that they need better lawyering to keep their damning internal emails and text messages off the front pages and avoid paying a record settlement.

Fox retained and even promoted some of its most unhinged election deniers, while punishing or even firing employees who fought the false narratives. In the years that followed, the network restocked its prime-time lineup with Trump loyalists who parrot whatever the former president says, put Trump allies and even a family member on the payroll, and replaced “news side” veterans with GOP operatives.

It’s no wonder that former employees keep loudly warning that Fox is a dangerous cesspool that produces Trumpian propaganda. The cogs who remain on the job, meanwhile, know without a doubt that they are part of a machine that manufactures lies. The pressure the network faces to hold on to its audience — including by promoting voter fraud conspiracy theories and other right-wing extremism — is stronger than ever. And so if Trump demands that Fox’s propagandists again focus on building him a pretext to overturn an election, they will do it.

The emerging right-wing scheme to overturn the 2024 election

Trumpists in the media and elsewhere have spent the years since Trump’s defeat laying the groundwork to rerun his subversion plot, systematically removing the guardrails that helped stymie the scheme in 2020, and helping him back to the Republican nomination. The result is a turnkey operation prepared to generate false election fraud claims and convert them into a rationale for Republican political leaders to reverse the results of the election and reinstall Trump in the White House.

MAGA propagandists are priming their audiences to disbelieve the election results and take action in response. They keep viewers in a state of terror with incendiary warnings that Biden is a jack-booted dictator who is deliberately trying to endanger their families, ensuring that some fraction would seek his removal by any means necessary. They valorize the January 6 insurrectionists as honorable patriots who did what they thought was right and were smeared by the media and punished by “deep state” malefactors. They flood the right-wing information ecosystem with lies and conspiracy theories about Democrats tainting past election results.

And they have already begun warning that the 2024 election will be rife with election fraud — and that only such cheating could explain a Trump defeat.

STEVE BANNON (HOST): There are no “issues" with the 2020 election — they stole it. Let me repeat that. They stole it. And they hate when we say this. They stole it. And they're on notice. They're not going to be able to steal it again. People are doing a ton of work on this, and that's still not enough, but it's going to get better. The hairy eyeball is going to be on them.

The only way they defeat Trump is to steal it. The only way they defeat Trump is they steal it. The only way they defeat Trump is they steal it. He is unstoppable.

We saw how this played out in 2020: Trump’s coup plan relied on blanketing right-wing media with stolen-election lies in order to provide cover for GOP partisans to reverse the outcome in states Biden won. Under pressure from the Fox-addled rank and file, Republican election officials would refuse to certify results in key areas, GOP state legislators would overturn the results, and GOP members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would hand Trump the election.

This scheme failed in part because too many Republican officials were unwilling to aid the effort. But since then, Trumpist propagandists like WarRoom host Steve Bannon and Fox’s lineup of right-wing stars have helped make election denial a core GOP value, and now, the guardrails are collapsing:

  • Republicans purged their ranks of the sorts of GOP officials who resisted Trump’s subversion effort at the local, state, and federal level.
  • Election lies seem to have become a benefit in GOP primaries and effectively a job requirement at the Republican National Committee, one enforced by the MAGA chorus.
  • Prominent election deniers are recruiting their followers to take positions within the election infrastructure.
  • In the House, Rep. Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) zealous efforts to overturn the election helped garner him the speakership, while in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is on his way out of the leadership after voting to certify the electoral votes and criticizing Trump’s role in the insurrection.
  • Pence is effectively a party outcast after rejecting Trump’s entreaties to overturn the 2020 election results, and the politicians seeking to replace him on the GOP ticket are pushing voter fraud lies and refusing to say they will accept the results of the 2024 election.

Donald Trump will once again stand as the Republican presidential nominee this fall, less than four years after he attempted a coup to remain in office. He still maintains, unbowed by time, notoriety, or criminal charges, that the 2020 election was stolen. At the same time, he has embraced the January 6 offenders, regularly describing them as “hostages,” promising to consider blanket pardons for their actions, and treating their attack on the Capitol as “not a moment of national shame but of celebration,” as NPR described it.

None of this seemed to give right-wing propagandists much pause as Trump romped to the nomination. The Murdochs may have begun the primary season with other plans, but Fox had spent years crafting a political environment in which any criticism of Trump was inherently illegitimate, and its stars ultimately rallied to his side. As Trump’s victory became inevitable, his vanquished rivals were reduced to complaining — accurately — that Fox and its ilk had taken Trump’s side, while the few right-wing commentators who had criticized Trump and endorsed his primary opponents bent the knee.

If he loses in 2024, Trump will reject the results and seek to overturn them, as he has throughout his political career. Indeed, he began laying the groundwork for such a strategy during the GOP primaries, warning that only Democratic “cheating” could explain such an outcome. And he has no apparent qualms over whether his deliberate radicalization of his supporters leads to right-wing political violence. Indeed, he is signaling that is exactly what he wants.

No one can say they didn’t know what was coming

Here’s part of an interview with Trump that Time magazine published on April 30, six months before Election Day:

Mr. President, in our last conversation you said you weren't worried about political violence in connection with the November election. You said, “I think we're going to win and there won't be violence.” What if you don't win, sir?

Trump: Well, I do think we're gonna win. We're way ahead. I don't think they'll be able to do the things that they did the last time, which were horrible. Absolutely horrible. So many, so many different things they did, which were in total violation of what was supposed to be happening. And you know that and everybody knows that. We can recite them, go down a list that would be an arm’s long. But I don't think we're going to have that. I think we're going to win. And if we don't win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election. I don't believe they'll be able to do the things that they did the last time. I don't think they'll be able to get away with it. And if that's the case, we're gonna win in record-setting fashion.

Polls suggest that the 2024 presidential election will be close. But according to Trump, he’s “way ahead” and on track to win “in record-setting fashion.” The only thing that can prevent that outcome, Trump claims, is “the things that they did the last time,” i.e. the Democratic election fraud conspiracy theories he’s been hocking since before the 2020 vote. And if that happens, Trump says, his supporters might respond to such a result with violence.

None of this is even remotely subtle.

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, some political commentators expressed doubts over whether Trump would really respond to defeat by refusing to accept the election results and taking action to try to remain in office.

But that is precisely what Trump did. Now he is saying quite clearly that he will do it again if given the chance. And his propagandists in the right-wing media will have had four years to lay the groundwork to ensure his plot’s success.

Five days after the Time interview dropped, Semafor founder Ben Smith published a Q-and-A with Joe Kahn, the executive editor of The New York Times. The interview began like this:

Ben Smith: Dan Pfeiffer, who used to work for Barack Obama, recently wrote of the Times: “They do not see their job as saving democracy or stopping an authoritarian from taking power.” Why don’t you see your job as: “We’ve got to stop Trump?” What about your job doesn’t let you think that way?

Joe Kahn: Good media is the Fourth Estate, it’s another pillar of democracy. One of the absolute necessities of democracy is having a free and fair and open election where people can compete for votes, and the role of the news media in that environment is not to skew your coverage towards one candidate or the other, but just to provide very good, hard-hitting, well-rounded coverage of both candidates, and informing voters. If you believe in democracy, I don’t see how we get past the essential role of quality media in informing people about their choice in a presidential election.

To say that the threats of democracy are so great that the media is going to abandon its central role as a source of impartial information to help people vote — that’s essentially saying that the news media should become a propaganda arm for a single candidate, because we prefer that candidate’s agenda. It is true that Biden’s agenda is more in sync with traditional establishment parties and candidates. And we’re reporting on that and making it very clear.

It’s also true that Trump could win this election in a popular vote. Given that Trump’s not in office, it will probably be fair. And there’s a very good chance, based on our polling and other independent polling, that he will win that election in a popular vote. So there are people out there in the world who may decide, based on their democratic rights, to elect Donald Trump as president. It is not the job of the news media to prevent that from happening. It’s the job of Biden and the people around Biden to prevent that from happening.

It’s our job to cover the full range of issues that people have. At the moment, democracy is one of them. But it’s not the top one — immigration happens to be the top [of polls], and the economy and inflation is the second. Should we stop covering those things because they’re favorable to Trump and minimize them? I don’t even know how it’s supposed to work in the view of Dan Pfeiffer or the White House. We become an instrument of the Biden campaign? We turn ourselves into Xinhua News Agency or Pravda and put out a stream of stuff that’s very, very favorable to them and only write negative stories about the other side? And that would accomplish — what?

That exchange generated a lot of smart responses. Critics pointed out that Smith’s question mischaracterized Pfeiffer’s critique; that Kahn’s response ignores the actual criticisms mounted by his paper’s critics, including Biden himself; that the Timesbusiness interests lead Kahn to endorse “a kind of performative neutrality in politics coverage”; and that, contra Kahn’s claims, the Times does not generally base its coverage decisions on polling and, if it did, the result should be a greater focus on the impact of Trump’s policy proposals on inflation and immigration than the paper actually provides.

What strikes me most about Kahn’s answer is his apparent lack of urgency. A former president left office after using the lie that the election he lost had been rigged to try to reverse the outcome, culminating in a violent assault by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol. He has all but promised to try again, and after transforming his party into a personality cult which treats the insurrectionists as heroes and his election lie as unvarnished truth, he very well could succeed.

That is the central reality of the 2024 presidential election, one that should be foregrounded to the readers and viewers on news outlets at every opportunity but often fades from the discourse. The former president’s media allies are foreshadowing their eagerness to take every possible opportunity to participate in his scheme. And the leader of the nation’s most powerful mainstream press organ gives no indication that he has considered those implications in any but the shallowest way. We are all in a lot of trouble.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Oklahoma Official Wants Chaplains In Schools -- But Only 'Christian' Nationalists

Oklahoma Official Wants Chaplains In Schools -- But Only 'Christian' Nationalists

Visitors to Oklahoma’s State Schools Superintendent’s personal social media page will notice a post vowing to “ban Critical Race Theory, protect women’s sports, and fight for school choice,” a post linking to a Politico profile of him that reads, “Meet the state GOP official at the forefront of injecting religion into public schools,” a photo of him closely embracing a co-founder of the anti-government extremist group Moms for Liberty, and a video in which he declares, “Oklahoma is MAGA country.”

This is Ryan Walters, a far-right Republican Christian nationalist who is making a national name for himself.

“God has a place in public schools,” is how Politico described Walters’ focus.

Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center published an extensive profile of Walters, alleging “hateful rhetoric toward the LGBTQ+ community, calls to whitewash curriculum, efforts to ban books, and attempts to force Christian nationalist ideology into public school classrooms.”

“Walters is superintendent of public instruction, and public schools are supposed to serve students of all faiths, backgrounds and identities,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, told SPLC.

Walters is supporting new legislation in Oklahoma that follows in Texas’ footsteps: allowing untrained, unlicensed, uncertified, and unregulated religious chaplains and ministers to be hired as official school counselors.

“We heard a lot of talk about a lot of those support staffs, people such as counselors, having shortages,” Rep. Kevin West, a Republican, said, KFORreports. “I felt like this would be a good way to open that door to possibly get some help.”

Walters praised West, writing: “Allowing schools to have volunteer religious chaplains is a big help in giving students the support they need to be successful. Thank you to @KevinWestOKRep for being the House author for this bill. This passed the House yesterday and moves on to the Senate where @NathanDahm is leading the charge for this bill.”

As several Oklahoma news outlets report, there’s a wrinkle lawmakers may not have anticipated.

“With the Oklahoma House’s passage of Senate Bill 36, which permits the participation of uncertified chaplains in public schools, The Satanic Temple (TST) has announced its plans to have its Ministers in public schools in the Sooner State. If the bill advances through the Senate, this legislation will take effect on November 1, 2024. State Superintendent Ryan Walters, a vocal advocate for religious freedom in schools, has endorsed the legislation. The House approved SB 36 by a 54-37 vote on Wednesday,” a press release from The Satanic Temple reads. “The Satanic Temple, a federally recognized religious organization, has expressed its dedication to religious pluralism and community service.”

Walters responded on social media to The Satanic Temple’s announcement.

“Satanists are not welcome in Oklahoma schools, but they are welcome to go to hell,” he wrote.

Former Lincoln Project executive director Fred Wellman served up an equally colorful response.

“Hahahaha!!! You are an idiot,” Wellman wrote. “How did you not see this coming? Satanists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Pastafarians…come one come all! After all you’re not trying to establish Christianity as the state religion are you? We had a whole ass revolution about that. There are history books about it…oh…right. Not your thing. What a fool.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) served up a warning.

“The state of Oklahoma cannot discriminate against people or groups based on their religious beliefs,” the non-profit group wrote. “Walters’ hateful message shows, one again, that he only believes in religious freedom for Christians and that he is unfit to serve in public office.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.