Kevin McCarthy

Right-Wing Media Figures Clash Over GOP Government Shutdown

As House Republicans fail to advance spending bills needed to fund the federal government and avert a government shutdown, right-wing media are at odds with one another over whether to cheer on the possibility of a shutdown or ridicule those Republicans leading the charge toward it.

The federal government will enter a partial shutdown by the end of this week unless Republicans can agree to funding extensions, which would mark the sixth consecutive shutdown brought on by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Republican-led House is lurching closer to a government shutdown

  • The federal government will shut down unless Republicans agree to continued funding by September 30. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is struggling to find 218 votes to support must-pass appropriations legislation before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. If legislation is not authorized in time, the federal government may face a shutdown. [The Washington Post, 9/12/23]
  • House Republicans have failed to advance multiple spending bills in recent days. The House has a series of yearlong spending bills to address, to fund the departments of Defense, State, Agriculture, and Homeland Security. CNN reported on September 25 that during the previous week, the GOP’s leadership team “failed twice to advance the defense bill” and that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy “put the House GOP’s stopgap bill on ice amid a right-wing rebellion.” [CNN, 9/25/23]

“Take a stand”: Many in conservative media support a shutdown

  • National Pulse Editor-in-Chief Raheem Kassam: “Govt shutdown > public lockdown.” [Twitter/X, 9/9/23]
  • Right-wing Grabien founder Tom Elliott: “My only concern w/ a govt shutdown is that it will be temporary.” [Twitter/X, 9/11/23]
  • Right-wing economist Stephen Moore: “Shutdown Might Mean Gov't Gets Serious About Fiscal Ineptitude.” In a syndicated column posted by Newsmax, Moore mocked concern over the damage of a government shutdown, comparing it to the public health orders early in the COVID-19 pandemic under the Trump administration. Even though he wrote, “I'm NOT in favor of a government shutdown,” he added, “But they aren't the end of the world,” and continued to downplay their impacts. He contradicted himself again by concluding: “But if it takes a short-term shutdown of some government agencies to force Congress and the White House to get serious about our fiscal ineptitude, then do it. It's for the children.” [Newsmax, 9/13/23]
  • OAN host Dan Ball expressed support for a government shutdown. In an interview with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Ball said, “If the Dems can shut us down over the flu, then you guys, the Freedom Caucus, should shut us down over overspending.” Ball also said that shutting down the government “for a few weeks or months” won’t “damage anybody, except some federal employees might not get paid for a bit.” [OAN, Real America with Dan Ball, 9/13/23]
  • Fox star Sean Hannity instructed Republicans to “take a stand” and shut down the government, then blame Democrats. After demanding that Republicans shut down the government, Hannity encouraged them to blame Democrats for their obstruction: “And whatever the Republicans pull off in the House, and they eventually agree to, which will itself be a compromise, the Senate needs to do their job, and then they need to be willing to let the government shut down and then blame –– put the blame where it belongs: on the people that are robbing our children and our grandchildren blind. It's time to take a stand, that's what you guys got elected for. You said you wanted to, you know, lead. This is a chance to lead.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 9/19/23]
  • Newsmax host Eric Bolling: “Stop writing the checks. ... The American people don’t really care.” In an interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bolling mocked Republicans for worrying about the political blowback of yet another federal government shutdown and added that Gaetz was right to oppose a funding deal, telling him to “stay strong.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 9/19/23]
  • Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon: “Forcing the regime to shut down their own illegitimate government is a win.” Bannon asked his guest, far-right commentator Jack Posobiec, for his thoughts about “the meltdown of the uniparty,” and Posobiec argued that government shutdowns are nothing to fear even as he explained that intelligence personnel had to rotate days off during a shutdown when he worked for the government in 2013. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 9/20/23]
  • Pro-Trump comics creator Scott Adams: “I back @RepMattGaetz on this. Avoiding a shutdown is a dumb goal. Fixing the budget approval process (as promised) is a winning system.” [Twitter/X, 9/24/23]
  • Ex-Fox Business host Lou Dobbs: “House RINOs are squealing at the prospect of actually shutting down this corrupt anti-citizen Federal government. End corruption—defund the Feds!” [Twitter/X, 9/24/23]

Other conservative media figures have disparaged Republicans for driving toward a shutdown

  • Fox contributor Karl Rove: Republicans get blamed for government shutdowns “generally because Republicans are responsible for the shutdown. They seem to eagerly want it.” Rove continued to criticize Republican lawmakers: “So yeah, there's a reason why they get blamed. And look, the American people demand that their government try and run itself in an appropriate fashion. And the fact that the biggest financial and business enterprise in the world, the U.S. government, cannot pass a budget in time and then ends up shutting itself down over things that are on the margin. … The Republicans are going to be shooting themselves in the foot in the run-up to the 2024 election if they continue to think that shutdowns are a great way to put themselves in front of the American people.” [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 9/17/23]
  • Fox News host Mark Levin on conservatives pushing for a shutdown: “You can’t be Pickett. … Even Pickett didn’t want to be in Pickett’s Charge.” On his radio show, Fox News host Mark Levin told conservatives, “if your goal is to bring down the government, let me tell you a little secret: They’re not going to be able to do it this way.” Levin acknowledged the reality that Senate Republicans will vote with Democrats to avoid some draconian spending cuts, then said: “And so, you know, you can't be Pickett. This can't be Pickett's Charge. Pickett's Charge, let's go get ‘em. Even Pickett didn't wanna be part of Pickett's Charge,” a reference to a disastrous Confederate attack during the Civil War. Levin added: “So if we have stupid people doing stupid things in the name of conservatism, that bothers me a lot. I'm never going to line up behind stupid.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 9/18/23; Library of Congress, accessed 9/19/23]
  • Fox News Radio host Guy Benson: There are “Republicans saying, and not without reason, a shutdown is not a good idea.” In an interview with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Benson said that Republicans are giving the appearance of unreasonably opposing everything, “but part of the job is like manning up and being adults and getting something done as opposed to being against everything, especially when you’re at least nominally in the majority in the chamber where this stuff has to originate.” [Fox News Radio, Guy Benson Show, 9/18/23]
  • Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro argued that “the Republican Party, they are the stupid party, there is no question, and that stupidity is extending over into this government shutdown talk.” On his radio program, Shapiro attacked the so-called “stupid party” Republicans for missing an opportunity to use spending negotiations as leverage against Democratic Party priorities. He concluded by offering the GOP strategic advice going forward: “Whenever chaos is projected to no apparent end — because the Democrats run the Senate and Joe Biden is the president, and so they have a bit of a say in what exactly ends up becoming law here — Republicans, how about this? Be concerted in the issues that you attack. Focus for a moment in time. Otherwise, Democrats are going to have something to run on, and that is not what you want.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 9/18/23]
  • Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade grilled Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) about his pro-shutdown stance: “Congressman, you just know if the government gets shut down, Republicans get the blame.” After a testy exchange between Kilmeade and Rosendale over the latter’s refusal to support a short-term proposal to avoid a government shutdown, Kilmeade replied: “Congressman, you just know if the government gets shut down, Republicans get the blame because they are not even providing even a CR [continuing resolution], a pathway to a CR. You're saying I'm not going to go for 30 days, so the government shuts down. That means your investigations stop, that means the border funding doesn't happen, and that's OK?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/19/23]
  • On Hannity, Fox contributor and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich singled out “all the people in the Freedom Caucus who are cheerfully screwing things up.” Gingrich argued that Freedom Caucus shenanigans might endanger GOP House seats in 2024. “Sometimes I think we have some members who can’t not only play chess or checkers, they can't play tic-tac-toe,” Gingrich said. “You have to start from success and work back.” Coincidentally, Gingrich engineered two government shutdowns during his time as House speaker, in part over a petty personal grudge. [Fox News, Hannity, 9/22/23; Media Matters, 8/31/10]
  • Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo to Rep. Gaetz: “Are you not right now indirectly working with Democrats? ... That's what your actions are doing.” Bartiromo pressed the far-right congressman over his strategy and noted, “That’s why some people feel this is a personal vendetta you have against” McCarthy. When Gaetz defended himself, Bartiromo replied, “You’re enabling” Democrats. [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 9/24/23]

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Hunter Biden

Devon Archer Testimony Explodes GOP's Hype-Driven Biden Probe

On August 3, Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer’s testimony from earlier in the week was made public. Even though Republicans and right-wing media had relentlessly hyped the testimony — insisting it would be the nail in the coffin that revealed President Joe Biden’s corrupt involvement in his son’s business practices — the testimony did no such thing.

Archer’s testimony didn't link Joe Biden’s access to Hunter’s deals

  • While Archer did testify that Hunter Biden sought to sell an “illusion of access” to his father, his testimony repeatedly showed that the access was not actually there. When repeatedly questioned on whether Hunter influenced Joe Biden on U.S. or foreign policy, Archer testified that Hunter was merely selling an “illusion of access” and there was no actual influence from Joe. Asked if Hunter ever “discussed policy,” “discussed business,” “influenced American politics for the purpose of his business,” “or asked the Vice President to do anything improper,” Archer answered that he did not.
  • Joe Biden was in frequent contact with his son, but Archer testified that the nature of these calls were largely mundane and irrelevant to their business. The communications between Joe and Hunter Biden, according to Archer, can be better characterized as a father “checking in” on his son regularly. Archer described the calls as “casual conversations” about “weather” or “fishing” but not about “cap tables or financials or anything like that.”
  • While Joe Biden did attend several dinners with Hunter Biden and his associates, Archer testified that the nature of these dinners remained casual and not related to business. Archer described one of these dinners as “just a regular dinner” that did not include discussions of business. In another portion of his testimony, Archer confirmed, in response to a query, that the dinner “was not about Hunter Biden’s businesses with his various associates” and was, as Archer said, “dinner conversation.”
  • The testimony also undermined right-wing media claims that Hunter Biden used Joe Biden’s influence to raise Chinese capital. Archer confirmed that “we didn’t raise capital from the Chinese” and, in response to a question about whether they needed to solicit “Chinese investments,” he said they “didn't have a fundraising capacity.” Archer also denied that Hunter ever spoke to him about “how important that relationship to China was to his family.”
  • Archer denied that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s support for the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was done to halt a corruption investigation into Burisma and his son. Right-wing media have spent years insisting that Joe fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin because of his corruption investigation into Burisma — a critical point in Donald Trump’s first 2019 impeachment. Archer testified that he was not aware of any Shokin investigation into Burisma and that the “firing of Shokin was bad for Burisma because he was under control.” Archer was further pressed on whether he “has any basis to believe that Vice President Biden’s call for Shokin’s removal was driven by anything other than the U.S. Government’s anticorruption policy in Ukraine,” to which Archer testified that he had no reason to believe otherwise.
  • Archer denied any knowledge that the founder of Burisma bribed Hunter and Joe Biden to protect the company from Shokin’s investigation. As The Washington Post’s analysis shows, Archer “was never aware of any such bribe offered to Hunter Biden or anyone else.” In the testimony, Archer indicated that he was not aware of “evidence that Joe Biden was bribed by Mykola Zlochevsky,” Burisma’s founder. Instead, Archer agreed that Ukrainian businessmen like Zlochevsky — “similar to D.C. operators” — liked to “give off the impression of access that they don’t necessarily actually deliver on.”

Other journalists found Archer’s testimony did not reveal what conservatives insisted it would

Washington Post analyst Philip Bump published a piece titled “Devon Archer said the opposite of what Republicans claimed.” Bump summarized arguments made by Republicans like Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) and noted that Archer’s testimony essentially revealed the opposite. As Bump wrote:

  • "All of this is tied together in the narrative that Comer and Jordan have been presenting: Burisma was being probed by prosecutor Viktor Shokin so they needed Hunter Biden to loop in his father, and his father obliged. The bribery claim asserts that Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma with whom Hunter Biden and Archer met, had paid millions to Biden and his father to help protect the company from Shokin.On Thursday, the Oversight Committee released a transcript of Archer’s testimony — testimony for which Comer wasn’t present. What Archer said not only doesn’t comport with the presentations made by Comer and Jordan on television (which were obviously wrong from the outset), his testimony undermines the idea that Burisma wanted Shokin fired, that Zlochevsky paid any bribe — and, crucially, that Joe Biden was involved in any of this." [The Washington Post, 8/3/23]

CNN published an article noting that Archer testified that Joe Biden discussed “‘nothing’ important with Hunter Biden business associates.” CNN further highlighted a lack of involvement from the elder Biden revealed in Archer’s testimony:

  • "Devon Archer also testified that he was not privy to any conversations between Hunter Biden and Joe Biden in which they discussed how Joe Biden would take official actions on behalf of his son, nor did he have any knowledge of an alleged bribery scheme involving the former vice president.…Archer said he was not aware of any $5 million payment to Hunter or his father from the Ukrainian official.Archer also told lawmakers that he was “not aware of any” wrongdoing by President Biden, the transcript shows." [CNN, 8/3/23]

NBC reported that Archer testified that he “has no knowledge of wrongdoing by Joe Biden.” NBC concluded that while communications with Joe took place, and that Hunter Biden sold an “illusion of access,” nothing Archer testified to pointed to any wrongdoing on Joe’s part:

  • "Archer also said that he did not disagree with the conclusion that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Bursma had no effect on U.S. foreign policy. And Archer testified that he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden as it related to his son’s business dealings.…The witness also said there were roughly 20 phone calls in which Hunter Biden would put his father on speakerphone in the presence of business associates, but he said that the brief conversations focused on pleasantries like the weather or fishing, not official business." [NBC, 8/3/23]

Right-wing media are still continuing to hammer their narrative that Devon Archer’s testimony links Joe Biden to Hunter’s business dealings

  • Despite what we’ve learned from the testimony, right-wing media are continuing their barrage of lies about the Archer testimony, relying on smoke, mirrors, and the convoluted nature of legal documents to distort the truth for their audience and insist that the testimony was the smoking gun that they promised it would be.
  • Legal analyst Jonathan Turley insisted that Joe Biden fired Shokin to help Burisma, despite Archer’s testimony claiming otherwise. Turley wrote, “They wanted the Bidens to take the heat off. Biden later insisted on the firing of the prosecutor.” [Twitter/X, 8/3/23]
  • In a piece for Townhall, Katie Pavlich insisted on a nefarious spin to Joe Biden’s communications with Hunter Biden. Pavlich wrote: “Despite Joe Biden's claims he never spoke with Hunter Biden's business partners, met with them or knew what kind of things they were doing, Archer reconfirmed the former vice president attended dinner with those exact people.” [Townhall, 8/3/23]
  • The Daily Caller also made a big deal about Joe Biden having dinner with his son and associates. The reporting omitted Archer’s repeated assertions that Joe never sold access to Hunter or his associates, and that the dinners were casual and not business-related. [The Daily Caller, 8/3/23]
  • The day before the transcript was released, The Federalist’s reporting scandalized Hunter Biden’s calls with Joe. The Federalist wrote: “In an attempt to build what Archer called ‘the Biden brand’ and sell access to the then-vice president, Hunter Biden put his dad on speakerphone two dozen times in the presence of his various financial partners.” [The Federalist, 8/2/23]
  • The Federalist’s reporting after the transcript’s release latched onto Hunter’s “illusion of access.” The article claimed that Joe “was instrumental in his son’s overseas business dealings to enrich the family” despite Archer’s testimony that Joe ultimately did not involve himself in Hunter’s business dealings. [The Federalist, 8/3/23]
  • On Twitter/X, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk mischaracterized the conclusions from the testimony. Kirk claimed, “Devon Archer's testimony before House Oversight exposes why Burisma and various other foreign oligarchs were willing to shell out $ millions to the Bidens: ACCESS + PROTECTION.” [Twitter/X, 8/3/23]
  • The day before the transcript was released, Fox host Mark Levin claimed that Archer’s testimony shows “Joe Biden should be impeached.” Levin went on to claim, “For weeks I’ve said Joe Biden is a co-conspirator in Hunter’s FARA criminal violations. We didn’t need Archer’s testimony to demonstrate it. It underscores what’s already known.” [Twitter/X, 8/2/23]

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Bret Baier

What Fox's Bret Baier Revealed About Himself In Texting With Carlson

On May 5, The Daily Beastreported on texts between Fox News anchor Bret Baier and the recently fired former face of the network, Tucker Carlson. The texts highlight Baier’s fixation on ratings above honest reporting and illustrate, yet again, that Fox News is a toxic brand for advertisers.

Baier is a supposed “straight news” anchor who is sometimes misleadingly held up as a more earnest, fact-based reporter as compared to his opinion-side counterparts despite his own history of shoddy, partisan hackery. In the texts, Carlson expressed concern over Fox News’ decision to call the 2020 presidential race in Arizona — an accurate call that was controversial only among right-wing election deniers — saying that they “could really fuck up a lot of what we’ve built” and Baier replied, “I totally agree.”

Carlson reached out to Baier to complain that he felt the network wasn’t taking viewer concerns about the call “seriously enough” and said they need to “reassure our core audience. They’re our whole business model.” Baier affirmed Carlson’s concerns and said that he was “pushing for answers” and that he thought “they will slow walk” calling Nevada’s race. Baier and Carlson strategized options for alleviating audience concerns as Baier agreed with Tucker’s claim that he needs “to do whatever I can to keep our numbers up and our viewers happy.” Baier also noted that he was “taking major incoming” regarding the decision.

As The Daily Beast reported, the texts illustrate that while Baier tends to represent the supposedly serious “straight news” side of Fox News, network figures will prioritize ratings over fact-checking no matter when their shows air:

The texts between Carlson and Baier stand in contrast to the respective reputations they cultivated at the network—with the former as the network’s leading right-wing firebrand seemingly at odds with the “hard news” side anchored by the latter.

And though Baier is often viewed as a consummate newsman, his texts here suggest a commitment to preserving a highly partisan, fact-averse audience over responsible newsgathering.

Fox News has long maintained that there is a difference between its “straight news” reporters like Baier and its “opinion side” hosts like Carlson, and the network has leaned on this excuse to maintain credibility with advertisers. Media Matters has long reported on the myth of Fox’s supposed straight news side, and the texts between Baier and Carlson only further illustrate that the entire network has a toxic fixation on prioritizing partisan, damaging lies over legitimate reporting.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Fox Highlights NY Times Editorial Bashing Biden’s Executive Orders

Fox Highlights NY Times Editorial Bashing Biden’s Executive Orders

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

In his first week in office, President Joe Biden has issued a series of executive orders, many of which are reversing orders signed by former President Donald Trump. In response, The New York Times editorial board issued a vague declaration that Biden needs to "ease up on the executive orders" and turn to legislating, while largely ignoring the context behind most of the actions.

This criticism from the paper of record has already had a ripple effect, with Fox News seizing on the editorial to continue pushing disingenuous criticisms of Biden.

TheNew York Times editorial, titled "Ease up on Executive Actions, Joe," offers its core, contradicting argument in the subheadline: "President Biden is right to not let his agenda be held hostage, but legislating through Congress is a better path." The analysis presented in the editorial appears to be little more than a nod to the conventional wisdom that passing legislation through Congress is preferable to issuing executive orders, but this argument makes little sense when actually looking at many of the actions presented in the editorial.

The Times' examples include ending Trump's Muslim travel ban, canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and stopping construction of the border wall -- all moves that simply undo Trump's own executive actions. The article also makes little mention of the more than 200 executive orders signed by Trump in four years -- most of which were cheered by Republicans -- or the obstruction and lack of willingness to compromise that Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly displayed.

Now, Fox News figures are seizing on the Times' editorial as vindication for their bad-faith complaints about Biden using executive orders, taking the opportunity to revel in the fact that "even The New York Times" is criticizing Biden.

Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy marveled, "Do you know who's upset with this? Do you know who's upset with Joe Biden doing so many? The New York Times!"

On America's Newsroom, co-anchor Bill Hemmer began the show by saying, "The New York Times says, 'Ease up on the executive orders.'" Co-anchor Dana Perino laughed and cited right-wing propagandist Ben Shapiro, who she said suggested in his podcast that Biden was ruling like a king.

The New York Times' tendency to default to the status quo and defend conventional norms poses a danger amid high-stakes crises presented by issues like climate change and the coronavirus. Legacy media frequently shape the media landscape, and these moves can inadvertently play into the hands of bad actors, leaving a damaging trail of misinformation in their wake.

Lou Dobbs

On TV Show, Lou Dobbs Floats Ouster Of Trump's Campaign Manager

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

After President Donald Trump's recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which featured a lower-than-expected crowd turnout after the campaign had hyped expected attendance for days, Fox host and Trump confidant Lou Dobbs is questioning the effectiveness of Trump's reelection campaign apparatus.

Trump's campaign rally, held indoors at the Bank of Oklahoma center in Tulsa on June 20, drew around 6,200 attendees in a venue that had a maximum capacity of over 19,000. The campaign -- including both Trump and Brad Parscale, his campaign manager -- had spent the week prior boasting about receiving a million ticket requests. The event also initially featured an outdoor overflow venue where Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to speak to excess supporters -- at one point, Trump predicted 40,000 people could attend in that space -- but the overflow plan was scrapped at the last minute when fewer than 25 people showed up.

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Obamagate, Barack Obama, Joe BIden

Trump's ‘Obamagate’ Retreads Debunked Conspiracy Theories

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Last weekend, President Donald Trump unleashed a series of Mother's Day tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of an unspecified crime, referring to it as "Obamagate." Trump later went as far as to suggest that Obama and the Democratic presidential front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, should be in prison.

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Hannity Demands Arrest Of Democrats, Intelligence Officials

Hannity Demands Arrest Of Democrats, Intelligence Officials

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

President Donald Trump triggered turmoil in the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week after he tweeted public complaints about the sentencing recommendations for his longtime associate Roger Stone, after which Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to step in and interfere in the case. The incident rattled the legal community as fears escalated that an emboldened Trump — with Barr’s help — is politicizing the Justice Department for personal gain, prompting more than 2,000 former Department of Justice officials to sign a letter calling for Barr’s resignation and the Federal Judges Association to call an unprecedented emergency meeting.

Additional reporting revealed that Stone’s case was not the first time Barr’s Justice Department has intervened in legal matters close to Trump; NBC News reported on February 11 that Barr also intervened in the criminal investigations into former acting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. On February 14, the Justice Department announced that McCabe would not be charged with lying to investigators, which Stone’s right-wing media defenders angrily insisted was an example of DOJ hypocrisy and further evidence of the “deep state” conspiracy theory against Trump. 

Fox News host Sean Hannity, along with a slew of his network cohorts, has spent years advancing that conspiracy theory while relentlessly calling on Barr and the Justice Department to investigate and arrest Trump’s political opponents. Some of these Fox News figures calling for new investigations were implicated in Trump’s Ukraine scandal, such as contributor John Solomon and the GOP legal duo Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova. Others include Fox regulars Gregg Jarrett, Sara Carter, Dan Bongino, and Tom Fitton. The details among these calls vary, but they all carry the same theme: “Investigate the investigators,” or anyone else who has dared look into Trump’s misconduct over the last several years.  

At the core of Hannity’s grievance is an overwhelming obsession with the idea that a bureaucratic “deep state” has been seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency since before the 2016 election. Every attempt to hold Trump accountable since then — the Mueller report, the Ukraine scandal that led to impeachment, and any other inconvenient fact about Trump that surfaces — has supposedly been evidence of the “deep state” trying to take down the president. 

Given Trump’s long history of taking cues from Fox News and widespread concerns about the attorney general’s recent politicization of the Justice Department, it’s worth documenting the list of people whom Fox News has been relentlessly calling on Barr to investigate, arrest, or convict as part of this “deep state” conspiracy theory: 

  • Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • Former FBI Director James Comey
  • Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe
  • Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates 
  • Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 
  • Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr 
  • Former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr
  • Former FBI agent Peter Strzok
  • Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page 
  • Former FBI lawyer James Baker
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
  • Former national security adviser Susan Rice
  • Former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan
  • Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch 
  • Former President Barack Obama

And here is more on the supposed reasons for investigating them, from Hannity himself. 

Fox News on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and officials in the “deep state”

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has long served as a boogeyman for right-wing circles to attack, but Trump’s 2016 election brought a newfound desire to “lock her up,” as evidenced in Trump supporters’ infamous rally chant. Specifically, Hannity now wants her arrested for the “phony dossier that was full of Russian lies” — commonly known as the Steele dossier — that her 2016 campaign obtained from opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Hannity claims this was the basis of the FISA warrant to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. (It wasn’t.) Nellie Ohr worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS; many on the right point to the fact that her husband, former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, is a high-ranking DOJ official as further evidence of the “deep state,” and Hannity has called for retaliatory investigations against both. 

Fox News’ grievances against Clinton also include complaints that the Uranium One and email server scandals — flimsy right-wing conspiracy theories that have already been investigated and resulted in Clinton’s exoneration — were looked into by sham investigations led by former FBI Director James Comey. Hannity has called for Barr to reopen these investigations, often claiming that it’s hypocritical that Clinton hasn’t been treated as badly as he feels Trump has.

Hannity’s obsession with the “deep state” has led to his fixation on seeing punishment for the FBI investigators and anyone involved in Mueller’s investigation or in the events leading up to it. Hannity’s show spent months hyping up the DOJ’s internal inspector general report that looked into the investigators of the Mueller probe, compiled by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in hopes that he would punish the people they’re hoping for. While the IG report did find some evidence of wrongdoing in the Mueller investigation, the conclusions were nowhere near the dramatic, nefarious conspiracy theory Hannity spent months weaving for his viewers. Refusing to falter, Hannity then turned his hopes to Barr, in his new role as attorney general, and federal prosecutor John Durham, who is currently leading a criminal inquiry into the origins of the Mueller investigation. 

Hannity’s accusations are muddled and flimsy, but the core idea is that former and current officials associated with the FBI colluded with Clinton’s campaign to help her win, and when that didn’t succeed, they launched a sham investigation (the Mueller investigation) into Trump to undermine his presidency. In Hannity’s view, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein knowingly lied to the FISA court by using Clinton’s “phony dossier that was full of Russian lies” to illegally target Carter Page without informing the court that it was unverified and came from Clinton. 

Fox figures have also accused Comey of leaking classified information, which has since been disproven. Hannity also claims Comey, McCabe, Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page used their positions to “persecute those they disagreed with politically, all trying to get Hillary Clinton elected.” Hannity also claims McCabe lied to the inspector general and committed perjury. 

According to Fox News personalities, former FBI lawyer James Baker, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and possibly former President Barack Obama himself also supposedly played a role in illegally leaking information toward the end of Obama’s presidency. 

Here is just a small sample of the times Fox News figures have called for Barr to investigate individuals associated with the FBI, the Clintons, and the Obama administration:

  • Last May, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski predicted on Lou Dobbs Tonight that “in March or April of next year, James Comey, Andy McCabe, Strzok and Page will be on trial for the crimes they committed.”
  • On a December 2017 edition of Fox News @ Night, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton suggested that the FBI had been “compromised” and “turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration.” 
  • A few months later, in February 2018, Fitton accused Obama of “presidential involvement in these sensitive criminal investigations,” referring to the investigation into Clinton’s emails and Mueller’s Russia investigation. Fitton added that he’s “always wondered why President Obama has skated really free from any serious inquiries about his involvement in the Russia investigations.” 
  • After the release of the Mueller report in March 2019, Hannity said that his “sources” were telling him “it’s all about to come cascading down” on those he claimed had “rigged the investigation into Hillary’s emails scandal” when there was “clear, compelling, incontrovertible evidence.” Hannity went on to call for the Trump administration to “fully expose every single one of these deep state actors,” saying, “James Comey, let’s start with him. Let’s start with Sally Yates. They need to be investigated. McCabe needs to be investigated.” He added, “Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, John Brennan, Clapper, Lynch — … they all must now be put under oath [and] investigated.”
  • On February 7, 2019, Hannity asked, “When is anybody going to be held accountable” for the Mueller investigation. His guest Gregg Jarrett predicted on Hannity that Barr would open investigations into Clinton and others after being sworn in as attorney general. 
  • One week later, a Hannity panel consisting of Jarrett, Carter, and guest David Schoen argued that at least a “dozen” individuals essentially “sought a coup d’etat to overthrow the President of the United States.” The panel named McCabe, Rosenstein, Brennan, Clapper, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, and others. 
  • In March 2019, Hannity called out the supposed “rigged investigation into Hillary” by Comey, Baker, and others. He asked “how is it possible with all that evidence” that Mueller isn’t investigating FBI officials, Obama officials, and the Clintons. DiGenova responded that “it is quite obvious that there were crimes committed by people associated with the Clinton campaign” and others that “have been ignored.” 
  • In August 2019, Hannity told Republican members of Congress that a “little birdie” told him that “apparently the FBI … didn’t treat [Clinton’s] campaign the way they treated Donald Trump.” Hannity also attacked the Steele dossier, Comey, and FBI officials. 
  • After it was reported that the DOJ would not be charging McCabe, Hannity said that if there aren’t successful investigations against the senior officials involved in investigating Russian interference, “we’re not going to have a constitutional republic anymore.” He added, “There is a five-alarm fire going on, … and it affects every single player that we have now talked about, and all of the crimes we’ve exposed, and all of the corruption we’ve exposed, and all the abuse of power we’ve exposed.” 
  • After Barr announced counter-investigations into the Mueller investigation in April 2019, Hannity declared that “to date, we have been right about everything that has transpired surrounding the deep state’s abuse of power” and warned that “if we don’t investigate investigators, lock up the bad actors, this country will be over as we know it.” Joe diGenova called Comey a “dirty cop” and said that Barr will “conclude” that “it all started in the White House. Barack Obama knew about this from day one.” Victoria Toensing predicted Obama, Biden, Yates, Rice, and Comey may be implicated.

Fox News has been calling on Bill Barr to carry out retaliatory investigations

For more than a year, various Fox News personalities have assured viewers that there is one man who is capable of taking down everyone who they feel has wronged Trump: Bill Barr. 

  • In a segment from December 2018 attacking the Clintons, Strzok, Page, and Obama, Toensing assured Dan Bongino, who was a guest host on Hannity, that “if we get Bill Barr in as the attorney general,” their concerns “will be addressed.” 
  • During Barr’s confirmation hearing in February 2019, Hannity presented a “road map of corruption” of all the crimes he wanted Barr to investigate regarding the Mueller report, saying that there is “no shortage of corrupt Trump-haters to investigate.” 
  • In April 2019, Barr announced counter-investigations into the Mueller report. Fox contributor Sara Carter predicted that an “avalanche” of information would be revealed by Barr’s investigations, and there are “a number of indictments that are on the way.” She claimed that the investigations will “lead all the way back to the White House. … And I’m talking about the Obama administration.”

In September, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs asked diGenova and Toensing, “How much are we going to be thanking Bill Barr ourselves?” DiGenova assured Dobbs that “Barr is a strong-willed individual” who “will not be afraid to bring cases that need to be brought.” DiGenova added that “the one thing he is going to do, I assure you,” is “to lower the hammer in a public way that’s going to be quite revealing to the American people.”

How Right-Wing Media Spread Debunked Rumor Of Iowa ‘Fraud’

How Right-Wing Media Spread Debunked Rumor Of Iowa ‘Fraud’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton and other key conservative media figures manufactured and spread a false smear about voter registrations, previewing how right-wing media plan to spread disinformation to sow doubt and confusion throughout the 2020 election cycle.

On February 2, Fitton tweeted that “eight Iowa counties have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to register.” Early the following morning, Iowa’s Republican secretary of state, Paul Pate, debunked the claim multiple times as “false,” responding to Twitter users who promoted the smear and issuing a formal statement. Independent journalist Judd Legum also explained that this claim is baseless and relies on a misinterpretation of data. Still, right-wing media acted in concert to feed the smear, spreading the false claim hours after it had been thoroughly debunked.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton

Fitton responded to Pate’s debunking by doubling down, claiming that Judicial Watch is “under attack for accurately highlighting dirty voting rolls in Iowa” and smearing the Republican secretary of state and journalists who reported on the claim. In addition to spreading the smear on Twitter, Fitton bought an advertisement on Facebook to promote it. Facebook took the advertisement down after a few hours, but not before it had received between 25,000 and 30,000 impressions.

Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk

Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk also played a key role in spreading the claim. On Sunday night, Kirk tweeted a paraphrase of Fitton’s report, gaining over 43,000 retweets and 62,000 likes. Pate debunked the claim early the following morning, but Kirk continued to spread the smear nearly 21 hours after Pate’s initial attempts to debunk it. 

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times also played an outsized role in spreading the disinformation after it had been thoroughly debunked. At 4 p.m. EST on Monday — hours after Pate had debunked the claim — The Epoch Times published an article on the report, which initially simply pushed the false claim but later added Pate’s debunk. The article began to swiftly pick up engagement, earning over 100,000 total interactions on Facebook by 8 p.m. By the following morning, the article had obtained nearly 175,000 interactions on Facebook, which had to add a disclaimer warning users that the post contained false information. On Tuesday morning, most of the posts pushing the article on its multiple Facebook pages were deleted

Fox News’ Sean Hannity 

Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity also promoted the smear online after it had been debunked, even though Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto hosted Pate to debunk the claim on his show. Hannity’s website wrote the report up in an article titled “REPORT: Eight Iowa Counties Have More Registered Voters than ELIGIBLE Voters, 18K+ Extra Names.” Hannity tweeted out a link to his write-up at 4:07 p.m. EST on Monday, earning over 4,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes. MoveOn’s Natalie Martinez (formerly of Media Matters) also reported that some local radio stations that syndicate Hannity’s radio show were reposting the article. Hannity also posted it on Facebook, which added a disclaimer to his post too, though the social media network did not take it down. 

Other right-wing media figures and outlets involved in promoting the smear on Monday include The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, right-wing commentator Janie Johnson, and One America News Network.

This ordeal offers a glimpse into how right-wing organizations like Judicial Watch use distorted interpretations of information to fearmonger about voter fraud — a myth long-championed by conservatives to distract from real voter suppression. Their goal appears to be to cast doubt on election results, paving the way for conspiracy theories that leave their audience’s faith in voting institutions shaken. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Right-Wing Media Smear Vindman’s Twin Brother As Leaker

Right-Wing Media Smear Vindman’s Twin Brother As Leaker

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On January 26, The New York Times reported on leaked portions of an unpublished manuscript from former national security adviser John Bolton, which the paper says revealed that President Donald Trump told Bolton he wanted to continue with a hold on Ukrainian military aid until the country opened investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

The same night, Breitbart News swiftly posted a conspiratorial smear against the brother of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council expert on Ukraine who testified in the House impeachment inquiry in October. Breitbart claimed “a source close to the Trump administration” told the outlet that Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, Alexander’s brother, “is in charge of reviewing all publications by current and former NSC officials,” which would include Bolton’s book manuscript. 

Right-wing media have attacked Alexander Vindman with detestable smears since October, when he testified to Congress that he “did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen” and that he “was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.” His testimony led to a swarm of right-wing media accusations that because he had immigrated from Ukraine as a small child, the Purple Heart winner may be more loyal toward Ukraine than the United States. 

Now, right-wing media outlets are turning their attention toward Yevgeny. While Breitbart‘s report is accurate that Yevgeny is a “senior ethics lawyer” for the NSC, there is no evidence that he saw the manuscript. In fact, Fox News’ John Roberts tweeted on January 27 that his sources say Yevgeny “is NOT part of the NSC team vetting John Bolton’s manuscript.”

Still, that didn’t stop right-wing media figures — including some from Roberts’ own network — from promoting the smear that the leak of Bolton’s book manuscript was a conspiracy stemming from the Vindmans. Conservative media outlets including The Washington TimesRedState, and Biz Pac Review reported the story, citing Breitbart. Prominent figures in conservative media tweeted about the conspiracy theory, including Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, Fox News host Mark Levin, and right-wing radio host Bill Mitchell.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), one of Trump’s strongest defenders in Congress, also promoted the smear:

The War Room podcast co-host Jason Miller also tweeted about the smear, writing, “No such thing as coincidences in politics.” Conservative giant Rush Limbaugh also promoted it as fact on his radio show, saying, “Yevgeny Vindman is the guy vetting Bolton’s book.” Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson tweeted the Breitbart article, sarcastically adding, “What a coincidence … if you believe in coincidences.” Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity claimed on his radio show that “we’re hearing that the brother of a key Schiff impeachment witness” was allegedly involved in the leak, though he also said he had not confirmed the report and was getting it from Breitbart

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs similarly offered a disclaimer that a source denied the allegations to Fox News, but he mentioned that only after sharing the smear, saying, “Both Bolton and [Robert] O’Brien led the National Security Council that employed the likes of the infamous, anonymous whistleblower, never-Trumper Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, and his brother, Yevgeny Vindman, the security council senior ethics lawyer. Yevgeny is also in charge of reviewing publications for former or current NSC employees to ensure [removal of] confidential information — say, that sort of thing, well you know, that happens at the National Security Council, the CIA, and other secretive agencies.” Frequent Dobbs guest Ed Rollins then promoted the smear, effectively rendering Dobbs’ brief disclaimer moot. 

This treatment of the Vindmans illustrates the harassment, lies, smears, and vitriol right-wing media will employ to attack any critic of Trump, particularly witnesses in the impeachment proceedings.

What The New Evidence Shows About Rudy’s Ukraine Scheme

What The New Evidence Shows About Rudy’s Ukraine Scheme

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On Tuesday, new evidence was released in the impeachment inquiry involving President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to open a sham investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The evidence includes a trove of documents from indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas which appear to show Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko sought to have former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed in exchange for information on Biden.

At the center of the scandal lies former The Hill columnist and current Fox News contributor John Solomon. It has been known that Solomon used his Hill columns as a conduit for Trump personal attorney Giuliani’s conspiracy theories, but the new evidence further reveals the extent to which Solomon was involved. Vox’s Andrew Prokop broke down the timeline and details surrounding Solomon’s involvement:

The newly released documents show that Lutsenko complained to Parnas about Yovanovitch in March 2019, claiming that he wanted her removed. Parnas spoke to Solomon by phone in mid-March, and within a few days, Solomon wrote his first column featuring an interview with Lutsenko, who said that Yovanovitch had presented him with a “do not prosecute” list of Ukrainian citizens. (Yovanovitch denied the existence of such a list under oath, and no evidence has ever emerged that this list existed.)

Days later, Lutsenko urged Parnas to make a decision about “Madam” — likely a reference to Yovanovitch — or else his information on “B,” seemingly referring to Biden, would be called into question. On March 26, Lutsenko informed Parnas that the matters surrounding Burisma and Biden were progressing, but he again complained about Yovanovitch, to which Parnas replied that “she’s not getting away.” On April 1, Solomon wrote his first piece for The Hill linking Biden to Ukraine, interviewing Lutsenko and featuring the information he had been digging up.

The newly released documents further reveal the extent to which Solomon utilized his position as a columnist at The Hill to launder disinformation from Giuliani, Lutsenko, and others to bolster anti-Biden conspiracy theories and slander Yovanovitch, all in order to accomplish Trump’s goal of a corrupt, sham investigation into his potential political rival in 2020.

In addition to writing for The Hill, Solomon frequently appeared on Sean Hannity’s prime-time Fox show Hannity to launder his “reporting” on Ukraine. When Solomon ultimately left The Hill in late 2019 — leaving behind lasting damage due to his Ukraine columns — he was welcomed by Fox News with open arms, earning a contract as a Fox News contributor as a result of his conspiracy theory-ridden columns.

Food Stamp Cuts — An Early Christmas Gift For Fox News

Food Stamp Cuts — An Early Christmas Gift For Fox News

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On December 4, the Trump administration announced that it had approved plans to remove nearly 700,000 people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that provides food stamps. Fox News, which has relentlessly attacked food stamp benefits for years, is cheering the move.

The proposed SNAP rule aims to tighten work requirements for able-bodied adults who don’t have children and receive food stamps. Under the current rule, states have the option to waive the three-month limit on food stamps for those not working or participating in work programs in areas with high unemployment rates, particularly during periods of economic downturn. The new rule aims to make it more difficult for states to grant waivers. 

During a public feedback period, over 140,000 comments on the proposed rule change were submitted, and the feedback was overwhelmingly negative. The rule change “really weakens SNAP’s ability to assist the unemployed during an economic downturn,” Stacy Dean, vice president of food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told The Washington Post. Share Our Strength’s Senior Vice President Lisa Davis said, “It is deeply disappointing that despite overwhelming opposition to this proposal, the White House has finalized a rule that stiffens work requirements for millions of SNAP participants, which will likely lead to hundreds of thousands of people losing their benefits.” 

The Trump administration has also proposed two additional rule changes: One could strip nearly 3 million people of their benefits, leaving almost 1 million children without free or reduced-price school meals. The second would adjust the SNAP eligibility formulas over five years, potentially affecting one in five families receiving food assistance. These two additional rule changes are likely to be approved before the 2020 presidential election. 

For Fox News, the rule changes amount to an early Christmas present. Fox has long led the crusade against SNAP benefits, from lamenting the lack of “stigma” surrounding food stamps to relentlessly pushing the “culture of dependency” myth. Fox personalities have smeared SNAP benefits as a “feel good” program, and the network branded President Barack Obama as the “food stamp president” in 2012. Fox News has a history of deceptively misrepresenting facts to smear food stamp recipients. In 2013, the network had a field day covering the “food stamp surfer,” Jason Greenslate, whom Fox called “a blissfully jobless California surfer,” as he proudly declared that he exploits SNAP to live lavishly. Greenslate obviously does not represent the vast majority of food stamp recipients, but that didn’t stop Fox News from airing an hour-long special titled The Great Food Stamp Binge, centered on Greenslate, which was predictably filled with inaccuracies and fear-mongering. Fox then shamelessly distributed the program footage to members of the House prior to a vote on a bill that would cut food stamp benefits by $40 billion.

Now, Fox News is celebrating the Trump administration’s rule changes and continuing to perpetuate stereotypes that represent food stamp recipients as entitled and lazy. 

On Fox & Friends, guest Star Parker said that the move to cut SNAP benefits is “fantastic news” because people who are “comfortable on the couch” now have to “participate.” Parker lauded the government for “encouraging them to say we see the potential in you, so we’re going to change a few rules to encourage you, to encourage your own life to get involved in what is happening and making America great again.” Guest co-host Emily Compagno agreed that the cuts are an “investment into the potential” of people who will lose benefits. 

Fox News @ Night aired footage from the 2013 “Great Food Stamp Binge” program, with Fox “news”-side anchor Shannon Bream reminding viewers that “under the Obama administration,” Greenslate “used to use his food stamps to eat sushi and lobster.” The Daily Caller’s Stephanie Hamill repeated the talking point that SNAP is “supposed to be a safety net, not a lifestyle,” pointing to Greenslate as an example.

Fox Business host Stuart Varney said, “If there are 7 million jobs going begging and you’ve got able-bodied people who are getting food stamps for heaven’s sake, why not push them out into the workforce?” Fox Business’ Ashley Webster repeated the argument that food stamps are “there to help people, not become a way of life,” adding that the “problem” is “when you just sit back and it all comes in.” 

On Fox Business, host Charles Payne and White House Budget Office acting Director Russ Vought defended the rule changes. Vought claimed that media headlines describing the rule changes as cruel are “absolutely wrong” and said it will incentivize people to “get out of a cycle of dependency.” Payne described the rule changes as “tough love so that you can get in the game.”

Roger Stone Guilty On All Counts; Far Right Urges Pardon

Roger Stone Guilty On All Counts; Far Right Urges Pardon


Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters


On November 15, Trump loyalist Roger Stone was convicted in federal court on seven counts, including charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering. Now, right-wing and far-right media figures are urging President Donald Trump to pardon Stone.

Stone was found guilty on charges related to his September 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference during the 2016 election, specifically regarding WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

In response to the verdict, right-wing and far-right media figures are now calling on Trump to pardon Stone. Stone himself has pleaded with Trump to pardon him through a message sent to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. (Jones, in turn, has responded to the verdict by threatening to out the jury in the Stone trial.) An online petition is currently circulating calling for the pardon. An online petition is currently circulating calling for the pardon. Though Stone has remained consistently loyal to Trump, some have noted that a pardon would result in Stone losing immunity, which could result in him being compelled to testify in a future legal proceeding involving Trump.

One America News Network’s Jack Posobiec tweeted: “What bunch of bullshiff this all is. And they want to put 70-year old Roger Stone behind bars for trash-talking Hillary Clinton? End the witch hunt @realDonaldTrump Roger deserves a pardon and everyone knows it.”

Conservative commentator and conspiracy theorist Mark Dice tweeted, “Pardon Roger Stone.”

Far-right commentator Cassandra Fairbanks tweeted that “Trump should nut up and pardon Roger Stone, Julian Assange and Gen. Flynn immediately,” adding, “It’s getting ridiculous.”

Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said that Trump should pardon Stone because Trump “is getting impeached anyway.”

Co-founder of Latinos for Trump Marco Gutierrez shared on Twitter the petition for Trump to pardon Stone.

White nationalist Faith Goldy tweeted, “PARDON ROGER STONE,” tagging Trump’s twitter account. Goldy added, “Media will have a field day regardless of what you do. Do the right thing!!”

Conservative writer Daniel Bostic tweeted that “Trump must pardon Roger Stone,” adding, “Anything less is unacceptable.”

According to HuffPost’s Andy Campbell, far-right gang the Proud Boys has been pushing for Trump to pardon Stone.

Conservative strategist Chris Barron tweeted, “Dear @realDonaldTrump: pardon Roger Stone.”

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton tweeted, “Roger Stone is another good candidate for a pardon.”

Townhall editor Matt Vespa tweeted, “Trump should pardon Roger Stone.”

On Telegram, far-right personalities Milo YiannopoulosLaura Loomer, and Jacob Wohl all shared the numbers for conservative giant Rush Limbaugh, the White House, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), urging followers to call for an “immediate presidential pardon.”

Yiannopoulos also told Vox reporter Jane Coaston that if Trump doesn’t pardon Stone, “I’ll lead the impeachment effort. He will not deserve to be re-elected.”

Conservative strategist Seth Weathers tweeted that Trump “needs to immediately pardon Roger Stone,” adding that Stone “shouldn’t have to spend one day in jail over this political persecution.”

Bill Mitchell was succinct in his rationale for why Stone should be pardoned:

Sebastian Gorka suggested that Trump should pardon Stone and appoint him as ambassador to Ukraine.

Buck Sexton suggested Stone should be pardoned: “There’s no real damage here.”

There was also this guy broadcasting in front of the White House:


As Dorian Wreaks Havoc, Fox News Dismisses Climate Science

As Dorian Wreaks Havoc, Fox News Dismisses Climate Science

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

As Hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas and makes its way along the United States coast, Fox News has been quick to cast doubt on the connections between the hurricane — and other recent natural disasters — and climate change.

As Dorian moves along the U.S. coast, it has left devastation in its wake, most notably in the Bahamas. In addition to being a powerful storm, Dorian is unusually slow-moving, ravaging the Bahamas in part because of its 1 mph speed.

The link between Hurricane Dorian’s catastrophic impact and climate change is clear — warmer water caused by climate change fuels hurricanes and increases their strength. The Union of Concerned Scientists explained the science of this relationship in three parts: Warmer water gives more fuel to hurricanes; rising seas worsen storm surges; and warmer air holds more water for rainfall. NPR conducted an interview with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration atmospheric scientist Jim Kossin, who explained how slow-moving hurricanes like Dorian are linked to climate change. Such storms will also likely increase in intensity in the future due to climate change. In short, scientists widely agree that “the science connecting climate change to hurricanes like Dorian is strong.”

Despite this clear consensus, Fox News has tried to shift blame away from human-made climate change and cast doubt on widely accepted science. Instead, Fox has insisted that hurricanes have always existed and therefore, climate change has nothing to do with them; has brought climate deniers on air; and has resorted to a favorite line of attack: berating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). This time, the network assailed her for linking climate change to Dorian.

The Fox & Friends co-hosts chided Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for linking Hurricane Dorian to climate change, arguing that “hurricanes have been happening since the beginning of the atmosphere.” They also asserted that Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are “telling everybody who is pumping oil for a living, who is transporting gas for a living, who is working in the natural gas or oil industry” that “you are the problem, you are the nicotine in today’s society.”

During coverage of Hurricane Dorian on September 3, Fox “news”-side anchor Martha MacCallum hosted climate denier Roy Spencer, who denied the proven links between climate change and hurricanes and claimed that climate change-driven “warming is very slow.”

Undercover Video Exposes Far-Right ‘Journalist’ Andy Ngo

Undercover Video Exposes Far-Right ‘Journalist’ Andy Ngo

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Far-right writer Andy Ngo has been presented as a credible authority on left-wing violence following an attack on him at a rally in late June. Now it’s been revealed that Ngo has secretly been working alongside a violent far-right group to cherry-pick and misrepresent left-wing activism in an attempt to downplay right-wing violence.

On August 26, the Portland Mercury reported that Ngo was present during conversations in which far-right protesters planned violent attacks against left-wing activists; even though he calls himself a journalist, Ngo never reported on these conversations.

This story is particularly relevant because of how the media has treated Ngo. On June 29, members of antifa attacked Ngo at a Portland, OR, rally held by the Proud Boys, a far-right violent gang. (Antifa comprises anti-fascist activists who “believe the best way to deal with the rise of white supremacy and hate groups in the Trump era is by confronting them on the street.”) The attack on Ngo predictably led to widespread condemnation of anti-fascists and left-wing violence from right-wing media outlets like Fox News and more mainstream media figures. Ngo emerged as an authority figure on attacks by anti-fascists.

Prior to the June attack, Ngo had just two appearances on Fox News in 2019, both on the network’s prime-time opinion shows Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle. But the June 29 events transformed him into a regular. Since then, he has appeared on Fox News at least 12 times, making appearances on “news”-side programs such as The Story with Martha MacCallumFox & Friends First, and Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream. He also appeared on the July 2 edition of CNN’s New Day to discuss his version of the attack and to condemn violence from the left. Many mainstream media outlets simply identified Ngo as an “independent journalist” or a “conservative journalist,” lending legitimacy to his narrative while ignoring his long record of credibility issues.

The August 26 report described an undercover activist dubbed “Ben,” who has been keeping his real identity a secret while posing as a right-wing protester with Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group with a history of violence. In the summer of 2018, some of its members were discovered with a cache of firearms on a rooftop in Portland.

In addition to reporting on Patriot Prayer’s violence, Ben discussed Ngo’s involvement with the group during demonstrations and his role in cherry-picking footage to avoid filming any violence from right-wing protesters. According to Ben, “Ngo doesn’t film Patriot Prayer protesters discussing strategies or motives. He only turns his camera on when members of antifa enter the scene.” He added, “There’s an understanding that Patriot Prayer protects him and he protects them.”

The Portland Mercury described a video Ben recorded shortly before Patriot Prayer members attacked left-wing activists at a local bar on May 1:

As the group waits, they discuss their weaponry. A few men try to guess which way the wind’s blowing to avoid getting “spray” in their eyes, presumably when they use it against members of antifa. Another man holds a thick wooden dowel, and practices swinging it like a baseball bat. A woman carries a red brick in her hand. Some don goggles, helmets, and tactical gloves.


Ben captures someone telling a person on speakerphone, “There’s going to be a huge fight,” and gives them directions to Cider Riot.

 Ngo doesn’t film any of the conversations, and smiles when the group cracks jokes.

 “He overheard everything,” Ben recalls, “and said nothing.”

Ngo has a history of distorting events that occur at rallies in Portland, a city that has become a hub of far-right violence in recent years. During an August 19 far-right rally, Ngo tweeted a slew of videos that were later debunked as misleading or blatantly untrue. His reporting often painted left-wing groups as violent organizations that pose a threat equal to that of right-wing and white supremacist groups, even though experts say that the two are nowhere near comparable.

Ngo heavily leaned into the narrative that anti-fascists are a violent left-wing group, even labeling the activists “domestic terrorists.” The narrative soon reached Republican politicians: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)called for an investigation into Ngo’s attack, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)condemned “the hate and violence perpetrated by Antifa.” Cruz has since introduced legislation in Congress that seeks to label antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, citing the attack on Ngo as the basis for the legislation, and President Donald Trump has voiced his support. (Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan have not been designated domestic terror groups.)

The revelation of his ties to violent far-right activists is a stark reminder that bad-faith actors — or right-wing grifters — often seek to manipulate the media to advance their own narrative; no matter how sympathetic such figures should appear, legitimate outlets should maintain a healthy degree of skepticism.