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Despite Rules, Fake Coronavirus Cures Still Pushed On Facebook

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Facebook has stated that it is committed to fighting coronavirus misinformation by removing content that promotes bogus preventatives and cures. But Media Matters has found ten businesses that are using the platform to peddle products that can supposedly, among other things, "protect" against the coronavirus, "prevent" it, or "kill" it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that "there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus." The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have been sending warning letters to companies that promote their products as being able to treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19.

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The Media Personalities Profiteering From Coronavirus Scams And Grifts

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

This guide will be continuously updated. If you spot a coronavirus-related health scam or grift, please feel free to email Media Matters.

Numerous media figures and outlets, especially in the right-wing media, have been profiteering off of the coronavirus pandemic by promoting health grifts and scams, including supposed coronavirus treatments, preventatives, and cures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that "there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus."

Various government agencies at the federal and state levels have sent warning letters to companies and individuals who have been hawking purported coronavirus cures.

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Supplement Firm Hustling ‘Coronavirus Defense’ Pills On Right-Wing Radio

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

"If you feel a symptom, then you have to hit it extra hard. … Double up. Triple up."

"This is the kind of best defense that we've got against corona."

"You can fight this from within. That's the only way."

Conservative talk radio listeners are hearing marketing for a supplement that can supposedly defend against the coronavirus and even extinguish its symptoms. The promotions are for Balance of Nature, a company with a history of deceptive marketing that's heavily advertising in markets including New York City through radio partnerships.

The Centers for Disease Control states that "there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus" and "the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus."

The FDA has issued warning letters to several companies with products "that, without approval or authorization by FDA, claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people." New York Attorney General Letitia James has also taken action against "individuals and companies selling and marketing certain products as treatments or cures for the coronavirus," including hosts Alex Jones and Wayne Allyn Root.

Balance of Nature produces a "natural whole-food produce supplement" which it claims "makes it easier to get the recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies." It is led by Douglas Howard, who, according to the company, received his doctor of chiropractic degree at Cleveland Chiropractic College and "has not practiced and is not currently practicing as a medical doctor."

Numerous radio hosts have done marketing such as commercials, endorsements, and interview segments for Balance of Nature. The promoters include Salem Radio Network hosts Larry Elder, Mike Gallagher, and Sebastian Gorka; and Joe Piscopo and Kevin McCullough. Balance of Nature also produces a radio infomercial which airs around the country, including in Chicago, New York City, and San Diego.

Balance of Nature has a history of engaging in problematic marketing, as the nonprofit Truth in Advertising has documented. In August 2019, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to the Utah-based company after an inspection and review of its operations "revealed serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) and applicable regulations." The infractions include product labeling which "establish that these products are drugs … because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease." The FDA wrote that the company made treatment claims regarding ailments such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cholesterol, and multiple sclerosis.

The company is now trying to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic with similar prevention and treatment rhetoric on radio. The supplement has been pitched to listeners as the "only" and "best" defense against the virus, and also as a treatment against it when the first signs of symptoms occur.

During a March 2 appearance on WNYM's The Joe Piscopo Show, which was first noted by Truth in Advertising, Howard portrayed his product as "the only way" to fight the coronavirus, stating: "Balance of Nature has that chemistry to build the immune system, awaken it, and make it be there. You can fight this from within. That's the only way." He also said that when you feel "a little tickle in your throat" or "a little sniffle," you should "double, triple, quadruple" the use of the product. From the appearance:

DOUGLAS HOWARD: Right now in all of this scare that everybody's having, you know, is — the biggest thing is the only defense you have — there is no drug, there is no chemical. The only defense you have is to build your own immune system. And that's what I do. People call me. I get calls, texts, and emails every day, personally, it said, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" I say, "Just exactly what I do every day. I'm building and keeping my immune system safe."
The thing is is you've got to look at it three ways. Number one, you have to, you have to stay active. Move as much as you can. Get outside of stuffy rooms, get fresh air, move around, be social. Get out of any negative — get out of negative fights and social activities you have.
And then you've got to give it the right chemistry. Give it the chemistry. And Balance of Nature has that chemistry to build the immune system, awaken it, and make it be there. You can fight this from within. That's the only way. One other thing, and I want to tell you this, too. Anybody. Joe, if you start to get a little tickle in your throat, you start to get a little sniffle. At the first sign of it, double, triple, quadruple — I'm dead serious. It's easier to put a spark out than it is to put out a fire. And this thing becomes a raging forest fire.

Later during the program, Howard said that any future immunization to the coronavirus will be too late for people and "your body will build its own immunity to it. … I take Balance of Nature."

HOWARD: Build your immune system. That's all you can do. There's not a drug, there's not a — there's nothing out there. By the time they come up with an immunization, if they can, or could, then it's already going to have happened. And your body will build its own immunity to it. That's what our body does — it's amazing, it's awesome. And it's the, it is the immunosuppressed and the people who already have severe illnesses, and the elderly, are the most at-risk. And they have to be ultra careful, I will agree. And everybody else, all of us, we need to be vigilant on our own immune system. I take Balance of Nature, I keep active, and I try to stay out of any difficulties in relationships.

Radio host and Balance of Nature pitchman Kevin McCullough has sold the supplement as a solution to the coronavirus, flu, bronchitis, and cancer.Kevin McCullough AM 970 promo imageKevin McCullough

Balance of Nature is a major advertiser on Kevin McCullough Radio, where Howard has a weekly segment. McCullough is a conservative commentator who frequently appears on Fox News. Kevin McCullough Radio airs on WMCA (AM 570) and WNYM (AM 970) in New York City (he also hosts a video version of his show called Radio Night Live).

McCullough has previously promoted Balance of Nature as a potential treatment for cancer and other medical problems. He stated in June 2017: "If you're struggling with some health areas, and Dr. Howard, I don't think there's any limit on what these things can really help, at least not in the overwhelming amount of response that you've had. I mean, if you've got — if you're struggling with cancer, if you've got hep-C, if you've got other types of deficiencies, get this stuff going. What can it hurt if it gives you that relief or begins to help you in that way that is really powerful?"

In May 2017, he promoted a segment with Howard and wrote: "Literally did more to cure my flu this year than any anti-viral or antibiotic Ive ever used." In September 2017, McCullough wrote: "Whether you struggle with skin irritations, diabetes, Hep C, cancers, lower abdominal, prostate issues, low energy, and literally tons of other areas, the power of whole fruit and vegetables and their tens of thousands phytonutrients to improve every cell in your body has been peer-reviewed, and medically observed. … They radically changed my life. I used to get sick every time the weather changed, but now taking fruits and veggies I haven't had even one bronchial, asthmatic, allergy, cold or flu."

McCullough and Howard are now turning their sights to the coronavirus and pitching Balance of Nature as a solution.

During McCullough's February 27 show, he and Howard discussed ways to protect against the coronavirus. After talking about aspects related to health, Howard concluded by telling listeners that "the key is, is, for example, I do take Balance of Nature. That's what I take." McCullough then went for the sale, stating: "To reiterate, and I want to be very clear, doc's not saying fruits and veggies will cure anything. He's not saying that it'll cure you from anything. What he's saying is it will help your immune system be the fighters that your body needs when it is attacked and this is the kind of best defense that we've got against corona and those other, even the flu, and other things right now." McCullough added that people should "order more than just the basic dosage so that you can boost that immune system and be ready in the event that you come into contact with something that you shouldn't be."

On March 5, Howard dismissed the hypothetical coronavirus vaccine, stating: "I'll be honest, I'm not going to run out and do this vaccination anyways because I've been working on this for weeks and months and years of my own immune system and it's not too late for everybody to start, and we briefed on this last time a little bit, but I'd like to hit a little bit more on what can you do to take away some of this hysteria."

Later while discussing ways to fight the coronavirus, Howard said: "If you feel a symptom, then you have to hit it extra hard. And so I'm talking to all of our, all of our — the people who have listened to me in the past that are taking Balance of Nature, for example, and living by this health triad, which is what I call this. If you're living by the health triad and you start to feel a symptom, then you hit it back hard. Double up. Triple up. There's nothing, you know, with Balance of Nature — there's no toxicity." McCullough followed up by asking, "You can't overdose on it, is what he's saying?" to which Howard replied: "No."

During a March 19 segment about the coronavirus featuring Balance of Nature, McCullough concluded by stating that he's "upped my dosage the last couple of weeks because I am the one person in the house that's been going out and having contact with the public, even at the grocery stores and stuff. So, I've got to tell you, it's working for me. I think it will work for you."

New York AG Orders Right-Winger To Desist From COVID-19 Cure Fraud

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The New York State Office of the Attorney General has told Newsmax TV host Wayne Allyn Root “to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims” after the right-wing host touted alkaline silver as an important product for people who are concerned about coronavirus. 

Root is the host of The Wayne Allyn Root Show on Newsmax TV, a cable news network that “reaches over 70 million cable/satellite homes and subscribers.” The network has positioned itself as an aggressively pro-Trump voice and recently began airing a program featuring former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former Republican National Committee deputy communications director Lyndsay Keith. Its CEO is Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend and adviser

As Media Matters first reported, Root used his March 11 program to downplay concerns about the coronavirus. He then addressed people who were concerned about the virus by directing them to watch an ad touting a suspect silver product. Root stated: “‘My Doctor Suggests’ message is next. You fear coronavirus, here’s a very important message now.” Newsmax then aired an ad for featuring Gordon Pedersen, who claims to have an “all-natural solution” that “destroys” things like “viruses.” (The advertisement also touted a promo code specific to Root.)

Pedersen is a quack doctor who has claimed that his alkaline structured silver can supposedly be used against 83 ailments. He has also claimed that his silver product will “protect” against the coronavirus and make it “leave your body. You just never get the sickness.”

Root also endorsed My Doctor Suggests and alkaline structured silver on Twitter by claiming that it “kills [the] virus” and stating that the product “just might save your life.” Those posts, which are still online, do not include any disclaimer that he has a financial relationship with the company. 

Lisa Landau, the chief of the health care bureau in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, sent a March 19 letter to Root via Newsmax Media explaining that the office “is extremely concerned by your statements during the March 11, 2020” edition of his show regarding coronavirus and My Doctor Suggests, writing, in part: 

As the program closed, you stated, “My Doctor Suggests’ message is next. You fear coronavirus, here’s a very important message now.” Then, an advertisement by My Doctor Suggests, LLC for alkaline structured silver aired, and viewers were offered a discount when using the promotional code “root.”

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses serious consequences to public health, and consumers are concerned as to how they can best protect themselves and their families. Your representations may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the above-named product in protecting against the current outbreak. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and the World Health Organization (“WHO”) have stated that there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat this disease. Therefore, any misrepresentation that the above-named product is effective at combatting and/or treating COVID-19 violates New York law.

Landau added that Root is “hereby advised to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims as they violate New York’s consumer protection statutes … which prohibit fraudulent and deceptive business practices and false advertising.” 

Media Matters has contacted Newsmax for comment and will update this post if they respond. 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently ended its relationship with Root as a columnist and cited his silver promotions as a factor. Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher, CEO, and editor Keith Moyer told Media Matters that “Mr. Root’s advertising, marketing and other media interests had begun to broadly diverge from the journalistic standards and intentions of the Review-Journal. That compelled us to end our relationship with him. We wish him well.” 

The New York Attorney General’s office previously sent a letter to Alex Jones after he claimed that his toothpaste could kill coronavirus. 

Newsmax also sent an email telling its older-leaning audience that “the worst thing” they could do regarding the coronavirus outbreak is to “get a vaccine when it becomes available” because vaccines are supposedly “a scam.” (Newsmax later distanced itself from that email.) It additionally sent marketing emails claiming that if you give it money for a book written nearly a decade ago, you can find “3 powerful secrets to never getting sick again,” including ways to ward off “coronavirus and cancer.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently called on Newsmax to stop pushing a false advertisement from gold company Monetary Gold which falsely claims that federal law allows banks to seize people’s accounts and “use those funds when necessary to keep itself, the bank, afloat.” (Townhall also sent that advertisement.) 

EDITOR’S NOTE: National Memo editor-in-chief Joe Conason appears regularly on Newsmax TV, as do many credible commentators.

CNN And Fox Commentators Serve As Trump Campaign Surrogates

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

President Donald Trump last week continued his feud with CNN by excluding the network from his annual lunch with network anchors. Nevertheless, two CNN personalities have recently been serving as surrogates for his campaign. 

The Trump campaign has been staging events, including rallies with the president, alongside the Democratic primaries. CNN commentator David Urban was a part of the campaign’s Iowa efforts while fellow CNN commentator Sean Duffy is now helping in New Hampshire. Urban previously served as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign while Duffy resigned from Congress last year. 

Trump and his campaign have tirelessly attacked CNN as “fake news” while also using the network as a revolving door for advisers. Former CNN commentators who are now part of the Trump campaign include national press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; senior adviser Corey Lewandowski (who also served Trump campaign manager in 2016); campaign surrogate Matthew Whitaker; Black Voices for Trump advisory board member Paris Dennard; and Pro-Life Voices for Trump advisory board member Ed MartinSteve Cortes, who recently parted ways with CNN, is now working for America First Action, a super PAC whose efforts have been endorsed by the Trump campaign.   

As the Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona reported, CNN has defended its employment of Urban while he works for the Trump campaign, saying Urban “is not paid by the campaign.” Still, both Urban and Duffy undoubtably financially benefit from their ties to the Trump campaign (and CNN) through their jobs at lobbying firms. Urban is the president of American Continental Group and lobbies the Trump administration. And Duffy is a senior counsel at BGR Group and also lobbies the Trump administration

Relatedly, Urban has repeatedly used his CNN position to push for the interests of his lobbying clients without any disclosure about his financial entanglements. Duffy can potentially do the same for his own clients; he recently registered to lobby for Gramercy Funds Management and Polaris Industries and his firm lobbies for dozens of other clients. 

Fox News commentators David Bossie, Thomas Homan, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders also campaigned for Trump in Iowa despite Fox’s purported policy against “talent” participating in campaign events. Bossie is campaigning for Trump in New Hampshire and received a shoutout from Trump at a rally last night. 

CBS Hires Priebus Without Disclosing Political, Corporate Ties

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Reince Priebus is a Republican operative who is best-known for his humiliating tenure as President Donald Trump’s first White House chief of staff. Priebus now holds senior roles at affiliated lobbying and legal firms; his law firm is connected to the Trump Organization and has collected over $280,000 in fees from GOP campaign groups such as the Republican National Committee.

Despite all that, CBS News announced on January 22 that the network has hired Priebus as a political analyst. He appeared on its coverage of the Senate impeachment trial, where he was the only political operative guest and his conflicts of interest went undisclosed. 

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, whose organization employs Reince’s firm for legal services, congratulated Reince on his hiring. 

Priebus worked in the Trump White House from January 2017 to July 2017, when he was ousted in embarrassing fashion. In October 2017, he returned to work at “Michael Best & Friedrich LLP as President and Chief Strategist and Chair of the Board of Advisors for Michael Best Strategies LLC, the firm’s government relations and public affairs group.” 

He is also a serial misinformer who was recently called out by his own future employer. Priebus appeared on CBS in November to talk about Trump’s impeachment and falsely claimed that Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his infamous phone call to speak with Attorney General William Barr, not Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani (in fact, as CBS noted, “Trump did mention Giuliani by name”). 

Priebus has continued his defense of Trump outside of the White House, stating recently on Fox News of the Senate impeachment trial: “Sometimes the best defense is the ‘so what’ defense, which is, if everything the Democrats said is true, it’s still not impeachable. If everything Lev Parnas has said is true, it’s still not impeachable”

In addition to his credibility problem, Priebus arrives at CBS News with numerous conflicts of interest. 

Priebus financially profits from the success of Republicans through his law firm. According to a search of available 2019 Federal Election Commission records, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP has received over $280,000 in legal fees combined from the Republican National Committee, the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Convention, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and the Republican Party of Wisconsin. (Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) also paid $247 to the Wisconsin-based firm for an “event space rental.”) 

Stefan Passantino, a former White House deputy counsel and current partner at the firm, also represents the Trump Organization regarding congressional inquiries into the president’s business. 

Additionally, Priebus could potentially appear on CBS and discuss issues relevant to companies he’s financially connected to through his law firm and its government affairs and public relations affiliate. Michael Best Strategies, which has an office in Washington, D.C., describes itself as “one of the nation’s fast-growing B2B consulting firms specializing in lobbying, government relations, public affairs, crisis management, shared value strategies, political partnership development, and community/stakeholder engagement strategies” and states that it works on issues related to “the healthcare, energy and environment, manufacturing, tax and finance, higher education and agriculture, food and beverage industries.” According to a search of federal government lobbying records, Michael Best Strategies has lobbied for companies that include NACCO Industries (the public holding company for the North American Coal Corp.), Plains All American Pipelineand the Primex Family of Companies. (Priebus himself has not registered to lobby for clients.) 

Public relations activity is not subject to federal disclosure rules, meaning that Priebus is likely connected to numerous other companies beyond what’s publicly available.

During his first appearance as a CBS News commentator, where he heavily defended Trump, Priebus was simply introduced by host Norah O’Donnell as a Trump’s first White House chief of staff and a CBS News analyst. His financial conflicts of interest were not mentioned. He was the only partisan commentator on the panel, which included CBS personalities Margaret Brennan, John Dickerson, and Leslie Stahl. 

Hiring former and current Trump officials has been a failure for non-Fox News outlets. CNN has famously cycled through Trump advisers Corey Lewandowski, Bryan Lanza, and Steve Cortes. And Sinclair Broadcast Group recently dropped “must-run” segments featuring former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Fox News Personalities Appeared At Numerous GOP Fundraisers In 2019

Shortly after Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro had finished speaking at a November 2018 campaign rally for President Donald Trump, the network issued a head-scratching statement: “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events. … This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.” 

Media Matters had spent years documenting Fox News personalities who have appeared at Republican campaign events and fundraisers before that statement. And in the months before that November 2018 rally, Hannity and Pirro both headlined Republican campaign events. 

The Fox News speaking circuit has been lucrative to both Republican groups and Fox News hosts. In 2010, for instance, Hannity keynoted a National Republican Congressional Committee dinner which “raised over $7 million.” Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Greg Gutfeld, Hannity, Pete Hegseth, Laura Ingraham, and Pirro have received over $500,000 combined in speaking fees from Republican groups while working at the network. And numerous Fox personalities have also enriched Trump by speaking at his properties. 

In 2019, however, Fox News personalities began to mysteriously disappear from the schedule of GOP events after Media Matters reported on them. As the year went on, there were at least 11 instances in which Fox personalities scheduled and then withdrew from GOP-aligned events. 

The Washington Post reported in early December that the network has struggled to prevent Fox personalities from campaigning for Republicans: 

Fox declined to address specific instances, but a spokeswoman said the network has addressed the issue with its contributors and hosts, as well as third-party agents who book events. She did not say how it was addressed or why it continues to arise more than a year after Hannity and Pirro’s appearances at Trump’s rally.

However, behind the scenes, the network appears to have to gone to considerable effort to stop its on-air personalities from promoting Republican events and causes. Network executives have intervened to cancel a long string of fundraising appearances that were to have featured Fox News figures, according to people at Fox, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe its internal operations.

Here’s a list of the events which Fox News figures withdrew from in 2019 (the dates are listed for when the appearance was originally scheduled):

  • February 16: A Brian Kilmeade event for the Williamson County Republican Party in Tennessee. 
  • April 3: A Shannon Bream event for the James Madison Institute in Florida. 
  • April 25: A Pete Hegseth event for the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee in Connecticut. 
  • September 18: A Jeanine Pirro event for the Trump fan club Trump Team 2020 Florida in Pensacola, Florida. 
  • September 19: A Pirro event for Trump Team 2020 Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. 
  • September 22: A Pirro event for Trump Team 2020 Florida in The Villages, Florida. 
  • September 24: A Pirro event for Trump Team 2020 Florida in Vero Beach, Florida. 
  • October 20: A Pirro event for the pro-Trump group Jexit.  
  • October 25: A Pirro event for the King County Republican Party in Washington state. 
  • November 7: Pirro event for the Valley Young Republicans in Fresno, California. 
  • February 21, 2020: A Lawrence Jones event for the Snohomish County Republican Party in Washington state. 

At the same time, numerous Fox personalities have continued to appear at GOP-aligned events. For instance: 

  • Host Mark Levin headlined two campaign rallies for Geary Higgins’ Virginia state Senate campaign. 
  • Host Jeanine Pirro made two appearances at Republican fundraisers in November. 
  • Legal analyst Gregg Jarrett appeared at a gathering for a pro-Trump fan club in December and also headlined a Republican fundraiser in April. 
  • Contributor Jason Chaffetz has headlined numerous GOP fundraisers, including one in December
  • Contributor Dan Bongino appeared in a Trump campaign video and received money to appear at Republican fundraisers. 
  • Fox Nation hosts Diamond and Silk regularly appear at Republican events. Fox has bizarrely defended itself by claiming that “Diamond & Silk license short weekly videos to Fox Nation – they are not Fox News contributors or employees. When they appear on FNC and FBN, they do so as guests.”
  • Fox Nation hosts Rachel Campos-Duffy and David Webb have both headlined Republican events.

Leading Fox personalities have demonstrated that they’re still intent on helping Republicans off the air. Levin said that he’ll continue to do campaign events if he wants to and “nobody on this planet is going to stop me. No corporation, no left-wing group… nobody.” Pirro’s two fundraising appearances in November were unannounced, potentially in reaction to prior pushback from the network. And Hannity, who has a history of skirting media standards without any apparent reprisals, told Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) he’d “do a town hall with” him if he ran for the Senate; Hannity already campaigned with him in 2018.

IMAGE: Jeanine Pirro of Fox News

‘Clinton Cash’ Author Schweizer, Billed As Nonpartisan, Will Keynote GOP Fundraiser

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Supposedly “nonpartisan” reporter Peter Schweizer, who has propelled negative stories about Democratic candidates into outlets such as The New York Times, is set to appear as a paid speaker for a Republican fundraiser.  

Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Republican megadonors Rebekah Mercer, who is GAI’s chairwoman, and Robert Mercer gave GAI $500,000 in 2018. The organization was co-founded by Stephen Bannon, who closely tied GAI to before he left both organizations to work for President Donald Trump in August 2016. Schweizer is currently a senior contributor for Breitbart.

Schweizer and GAI notoriously advanced shoddy research into the media regarding the Clintons during the 2016 campaign. They have again attempted to do that with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, with Schweizer earning a New York Times op-ed that inadequately described him as simply “an investigative journalist” and author. 

Schweizer is now further tying himself financially to the Republican Party and Trump. He is scheduled to keynote a February 21 fundraiser in Washington state for the Snohomish County Republican Party, which is, in part, dedicated to electing “Republican candidates to federal, state, county and municipal offices.” A flyer for the event identifies Schweizer as “the “President of the Government Accountability Institute and a best-selling author.” 

The party announced Schweizer’s appearance on November 26 and touted his books about the Clintons and Bidens. A few days later, the party sent $10,450 to All American Entertainment, which helps book Schweizer for appearances, as the “1st installment for keynote.” 

Prior speakers for Snohomish’s annual fundraiser have included former Turning Point USA official Candace OwensProject Veritas founder James O’Keefe, and Fox News’ Pete Hegseth. Fox News’ Lawrence Jones was originally scheduled to headline the Schweizer event but according to the party he had to cancel because of “a new Fox News employee Policy. Employees can no longer speak at political organizations.” (Fox News has inconsistently enforced that policy.)  

Schweizer has previously been portrayed as “nonpartisan.” claimed in 2018 that “Schweizer has garnered praise from conservatives and progressives alike for his reputation as a nonpartisan deep-dive investigative journalist.” (In reality, numerous reporters have criticized his shoddy work.) 

After the New York Times received criticism for publishing Schweizer in October, a Times spokesperson said that his “op-ed makes an argument that nonpartisan government watchdogs would make, arguing in favor of a law that would prohibit self-dealing by those with government connections.” Breitbart celebrated the Times’ “nonpartisan” description in a post. 

Schweizer previously worked for Republicans, including President George W. Bush and former Govs. Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal. He also headlined Republican fundraisers in 2012.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

YouTube Allows White Nationalist Group To Raise Funds On Site

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The white nationalist website VDare said it surpassed a $40,000 fundraising goal thanks, in part, to a livestreaming fundraiser yesterday on YouTube. Despite criticism, the technology company has declined to ban the organization from its platform. 

VDare is a leading white nationalist website that regularly attacks immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center has written that the site “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.” Numerous Republicans have promoted VDare content over the years. Now-White House senior adviser Stephen Miller shared a link to VDare in 2015, as the SPLC’s Michael Edison Hayden recently reported

The site also runs a YouTube channel which regularly features white nationalist propaganda. For example, VDare host Wilson Hewlett said the alleged El Paso shooter’s use of the word “invasion” to describe immigration was “apt,” praised an anti-Semitic trope as potentially being “onto something,” and argued there are “general differences in aptitude across racial lines.” 

Despite YouTube’s claim to have a policy that prohibits “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities” such as race, the platform has allowed the organization to continue to post videos (it briefly banned the channel in August then reversed itself). 

YouTube’s willingness to grant a platform to VDare allows the outlet to directly raise money on the video site for its work.

On December 3, VDare spent nearly two hours on YouTube promoting its year-end fundraising campaign, which Editor Peter Brimelow called “the most important part of our financial life.” The fundraiser also featured VDare contributors John Derbyshire and Faith Goldy. Derbyshire, who has described himself as “a mild and tolerant” “racist” and “homophobe,” was previously fired from the National Review after he penned a column advising white and Asian parents to warn their children about the supposed threats posed by black people. Goldy is a white nationalist who last year unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Toronto. 

The livestream naturally featured white nationalist content. Brimelow pushed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, stating that there’s a “demographic disaster” happening and people in “Europe and America are being displaced, are being outnumbered, swamped, by massive immigration.” And Derbyshire, apparently referencing a blog post by “The Z Man,” said: “He was writing just yesterday, I think it was, how you can’t help but notice that some of the whitest states like Maine and Minnesota have been getting some of the most troublesome groups coming in as refugees from Africa. That’s how we got Ilhan Omar. That’s how Lewiston, Maine, turned Somali. These people know what they’re doing.” 

During the livestream, VDare displayed a banner asking viewers to visit its site to donate money. VDare’s commentators also used YouTube’s “super chat” feature, which enables viewers to pay money to have their comments featured prominently. (VDare wrote at one point: “Your super chats will be read at the end of the stream! Thank you all!”) 

At the beginning of the livestream, Brimelow stated that site had already raised “about $16,000” and hoped to get to $20,000 by the end of the night to get a “matching grant.” By the end of the lifestream, VDare advancement officer Lydia Brimelow said “we were only $387 short of the super stretch. That amount—and more—came in within minutes of turning off the mics. By midnight we surpassed the super stretch matching by over $1,000, bringing our 24 hour total, including the fully matched pledges, to $42, 574!”  

In addition to white nationalist YouTube videos, the funding enables VDare to publish posts such as: “One Problem With These Hispanic Immigrants Is Their Disgusting Behavior,” “Indians Aren`t That Intelligent (On Average),” “Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Hispanic Immigrants Taking Over FBI’s Ten Most Wanted,” “America Does Not Need ANY Immigrants From Africa,” and “Roll Over, JIHAD—There’s Also HIJRA, Muslim Conquest By Immigration.”

State Department Hires Obscure Anti-Muslim, Homophobic Pundit As Senior Adviser

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

When he was a right-wing pundit, senior State Department adviser Frank Wuco claimed that Muslims “by-and-large” will “subjugate and humiliate non-Muslim members of their societies” and that their core faith purportedly instructs them that they can’t “coexist peacefully with other religions.” He also pushed conspiracy theories about the Obama administration and said that “societies and nations for millennia have suffered greatly” for LGBTQ acceptance. 

The Washington Post reported on November 27 that Wuco is now a senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. The publication added that during a 2016 radio appearance, Wuco had “suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.”

Wuco, a retired naval intelligence officer, previously worked as a conservative pundit and radio host before joining the Department of Homeland Security in January 2017. As a DHS senior adviser, he helped implement Trump’s orders to the agency, including his ban on travelers from some Muslim-majority countries.

Media Matters reported on Wuco in March 2017 and noted that he had a history of making anti-Muslim remarks, including stating on Fox News in 2014 that banning visas from “Muslim nations” is “one of these sort of great ideas that can never happen.” 

CNN’s KFile unit also examined Wuco’s history, finding that he pushed “claims that former President Barack Obama’s memoir was ghostwritten by former anti-Vietnam War radical Bill Ayers, that former CIA director John Brennan had converted to Islam and that Attorney General Eric Holder had been a member of the Black Panthers.” 

The following are some of Wuco’s anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ remarks as a right-wing pundit. (A summary of Wuco’s anti-Muslim remarks previously appeared in a January 2018 Media Matters post.)  

Wuco praised the surveillance of mosques as key to finding “out what’s going on” in the Muslim community. During a November 2015 Fox News appearance, Wuco said that a “mosque surveillance” program is key to finding “out what’s going on behind the walls” of “mosques and Islamic reading centers.”  He added that after the cancellation of a mosque surveillance program in New York City, he “can only hope that some of these programs continue with other agencies.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 11/14/15, via Media Matters]

Wuco: Muslims “by-and-large” will “subjugate and humiliate non-Muslim members of their societies” and enact Sharia law. Wuco warned on his now-defunct radio show website that “Muslim populations by-and-large will become enclave societies that, first, resist assimilation and then, will make every effort to establish independent rule for their enclaves under Shari’ah law.”

Every place we find friends, stalwarts, allies, we find the menace of jihad, which will necessarily result in violence to counter the position of a large Muslim population living under “other-than-Muslim” rule. Muslim enclaves in the UK and Canada, ahead of themselves on laboring to establish Shari’ah law for themselves, are only now beginning to experience what successive Philippine governments have faced for over a century. While perfectly happy to subjugate and humiliate non-Muslim members of their societies (just ask Christians in Egypt or Indonesia how easy life is), Muslim populations by-and-large will become enclave societies that, first, resist assimilation and then, will make every effort to establish independent rule for their enclaves under Shari’ah law, using violence to secure what they believe to be their divinely revealed right; the eventual subsuming of all that lies outside the dar al-Islam (house of Islam), until all is within it; until all is consumed by Islam in preparation for God’s final judgement of man. Those who have made the obligation to this commitment are shockingly large in number; they have just begun; and, they believe they are active participants in God’s final prescription for the salvation of all humanity. Not sure the lights inside the Beltway are on, on this one. [Need To Know, 2/27/10, via Internet Archive and Media Matters]

Wuco: “If you’re a Muslim, you believe” that “violence and warfare against unbelievers” is “prescribed by God.” Following the June 2016 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, Wuco told of shooter Omar Mateen: “There’s nothing radical about him at all. He is a Muslim who is following the strictures of Islam and its guidance and prescriptions for violence and warfare against unbelievers. … If you’re a Muslim, you believe it’s being prescribed by God and it’s being ordained by the wisdom of Muhammad.” [Politico2/7/17; YouTube, 6/13/16, via Media Matters]

Wuco: “Right-thinking” Muslims “engage in jihad” because of their religion. Wuco said of Islam during an interview on an internet radio program: “If you’re a right-thinking Muslim, the inspiration, the motivation, to engage in jihad doesn’t come from Al Qaeda, or doesn’t come from Inspire magazine. It comes from God himself.” [The Liberty NewsCast with Willie Lawson4/30/13, via Media Matters]

Wuco: “The assertiveness of Muslim communities in western nations is becoming so pronounced. … You don’t even need ISIS in Sweden.” While speaking on a radio program, Wuco warned that Muslims are infiltrating communities in Western nations: “The assertiveness of Muslim communities in Western nations is becoming so pronounced. … You don’t even need ISIS in Sweden, you’ve got every day run-of-the-mill Muslims in massive communities protesting and becoming violent with the Swedish government, saying that they’re going to take over the country. This isn’t even ISIS. These are just peace-loving Muslims who have been allowed to immigrate into these countries.” [The Dougherty Report1/18/16, via Media Matters]

Wuco in 2014: Halting visas from “Muslim nations” is one of “these sort of great ideas that can never happen.” During an August 2014 Fox News program, Wuco responded to comments from Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) about a ban on visas from the Middle East, saying that the proposed policy is “one of these sort of great ideas that can never happen. … You’re just not going to stop the visa application process into this country from Muslim nations in a blanket type of policy.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/28/14, via Media Matters]

Wuco frequently delivered presentations “as a fictional character he created named Fuad Wasul,” who had a “heavy Arabic accent.” HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias wrote in March 2017:

Wuco’s dim portrayal of Muslims has also veered into the bizarre.

During his work as a security consultant and radio host, Wuco often gave presentations as a fictional character he created named Fuad Wasul ― a “committed jihadist” escaped from an American military prison to help westerners understand what motivates Muslim fighters.

Wuco, who is from Florida, would role-play as Wasul, delivering the presentations with a “heavy Arabic accent,” according to a 2008 Florida news report.

“If you think you’re winning this war, if you think that you’re defeating jihad, you’re wrong, dead wrong,” Wasul (Wuco) once told a room full of civilian analysts working for military intelligence at MacDill Air Force Base. [HuffPost, 3/16/17]

Wuco said “the true nature of Islam … never intended to coexist, to complement, to mingle with other faiths.”

FRANK WUCO: I’m afraid that President Obama is horribly mistaken in his tendency to believe, take at face value everything he learned from his Muslim friends in Chicago, largely an incredible group of apologists and vehement anti-Israelis, anti-Jewish, segment of the population. Whatever he learned when he was in Indonesia, which may not have been much, because he was a fairly young fellow when he was there at the time.

But I believe it’s culminated in a critical misunderstanding of the true nature of Islam, which was never intended to coexist, to complement, to mingle with other faiths. It is clearly stated in the law, in the traditions, in the Quran, that Islam is here to abrogate all faiths that came before, was sent to abrogate and cleanse the corruption of the Jews and the Christians that are found in the previous scriptures. So Islam abrogates all prior scriptures. Islam abrogates all prior faiths. And the goal of jihad, the goal is to bring as much of the living world, of the material world into the Islamic system as possible before the final day of judgement. So, for us to assume that the reason that the jihadists do what they do is only because they’re emotionally angry with us is really an insult to the commitment to jihad, if i’m the jihadist. [Blog Talk Radio, The Willie Lawson Show8/10/10]

Wuco: It’s “Muslim propaganda” that Islam is “a religion that seeks cohabitation and tolerance and peace with non-Muslim faith groups and nationalities.”

ERSKINE: So, that’s why we’re having problems with a lot of the Christians being persecuted again in Egypt, and a lot of the situations that are going on right now in the Middle East. So this was nothing that we should have been cheering about as so many in the news service were doing.  

FRANK WUCO: Well, part of the reason is that so many have bought in hook, line, and sinker into the Muslim propaganda, particularly generated by the Muslim Brotherhood, that this is a — yeah, it’s a religion that seeks cohabitation and tolerance and peace with non-Muslim faith groups and nationalities and it just simply is not true. To say that Islam is willing to coexist peacefully with other religions and other sort of nationalities, if you can have such a thing in Islam, is really antithetical to what the Quran and what Sharia law teaches. [Erskine Overnight7/21/12

Wuco claimed that “societies and nations for millennia have suffered greatly” for LGBTQ acceptance. While speaking with Wuco on his program in May 2016, radio host Charles Butler linked then-President Barack Obama’s decision to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military — which Trump has attempted to rescind — to “paganism, hedonism, bestiality, Sodom and Gomorrah.” Wuco replied by claiming that the “patterns are clear. Societies and nations for millennia have suffered greatly … not from just from a biblical, spiritual standpoint, but just from a human engineering standpoint in their ability to sustain a order and a society with no cultural center and no moral center. So this is a pattern that will repeat itself.” [The Reality Check, 5/10/16, via Media Matters

Wuco on transgender people: “I wouldn’t want to spend five minutes inside their heads … [it’s a] horrible existence.” Wuco said on a radio program in May 2016: “How often do you hear or see or encounter somebody who suffers from this malady — and I have deep sympathy for people like this. I wouldn’t want to spend five minutes inside their heads, it’s got [unintelligible] horrible existence. How many of them made this transformation and all of a sudden they’re happy?”  [The Reality Check, 5/10/16, via Media Matters

While discussing transgender people, Wuco remarked that it would be “great” to pretend to be transgender to “go into the women’s shower” at the gym. Wuco stated of transgender people and bathrooms: “What a great thing this can be if transgender can just be, rename it just whimsical transgender and one day on a whimsy, you’re at the Y, or you’re at the gym, and you just, ‘I feel like, I feel like being a woman today, I’m going to go into the women’s shower.’” [The Reality Check, 2/1/16, via Media Matters

Wuco appeared on a radio show where the host twice used an anti-gay slur; he did not respond to the use of the slur. Wuco repeatedly appeared on Butler’s show. During one of Wuco’s appearances, Butler twice called two people whom he allegedly encountered at a hotel “faggots.” Wuco did not directly respond to the slurs. After Butler said that Wuco had to go, Wuco stated before signing off: “Charles, you take it easy, my man.” He appeared again on the show after Trump’s election in November, which was shortly before he got his senior job at DHS. [The Reality Check, 5/10/16, via Media Matters

CNN: Wuco “mocked the LGBT community.” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, Chris Massie, and Nathan McDermott reviewed “more than 40 hours” of Wuco’s conservative talk radio show and other media appearances and found that Wuco had “mocked the LGBT community,” “criticized gay-straight alliances in high schools,” and said “that gay people hijacked the word ‘gay’ from happy people and that he was going to reclaim the word.” [CNN, 12/14/17

Photo credit: Ceci Freed/ Media Matters

Despite Network Rule, Fox Host Levin Headlined Virginia GOP Rally

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Fox News host Mark Levin headlined a campaign rally for a critical state Senate race in Virginia this week despite the network’s purported prohibition against “talent participating in campaign events.”

In early November 2018, after Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro spoke at a campaign event for President Donald Trump, Fox News lied by claiming that the network “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.” In reality, network personalities — such as Levin — have played key roles in Republican campaign events.

Levin is a right-wing radio personality who has also hosted the weekend Fox News program Life, Liberty, and Levin since February 2018. He participated in a campaign rally on November 4 — the day before Election Day — for Geary Higgins’ Virginia state Senate campaign. Levin previously headlined a May 19 rally for Higgins. Higgins ended up losing the crucial race, which helped deliver control of the state Senate to Democrats.

On his Facebook page on Election Day, Higgins wrote: “We had a fantastic rally yesterday with many fellow patriots! Thanks to Mark Levin for his rousing speech and for coming out to support our incredible Republican ticket.” He also posted pictures of Levin at the rally.

We had a fantastic rally yesterday with many fellow patriots! Thanks to Mark Levin for his rousing speech and for coming out to support our incredible Republican ticket.

Posted by Geary Higgins for Senate on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Higgins’ campaign ran Facebook ads for both rallies.

Mark Levin FB ad campaign

On July 14, 2018, Levin also headlined a campaign event for Florida Republican Ron DeSantis’ successful gubernatorial campaign at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. He’s scheduled to give another speech in Florida, this time in December for the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

In the past year, Media Matters has documented how Fox News has inconsistently enforced its policy against “talent” participating in campaign events. For instance, at least seven GOP-aligned events featuring Pirro have recently been canceled for various reasons. Numerous Fox Nation hosts, however, have participated in campaign activities for Republican groups.

Fox News personality Lawrence Jones is also set to headline a GOP campaign event. Jones is a Fox Nation host who was recently elevated “to a regular substitute host and co-host role” with the network; Fox News host Sean Hannity has identified Jones as an “investigative reporter” and “correspondent” for the network. Jones is scheduled to keynote a February 2020 fundraising dinner for the Snohomish County Republican Party in Washington state. Fox News host Pete Hegseth spoke at the group’s 2017 fundraiser and received $5,547.60.

*This piece has been updated with additional information.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

White House Budget Office Hires Anti-Gay Zealot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters writer Ken Klukowski has joined the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. The right-wing pundit and lawyer has a history of pushing anti-LGBTQ commentary, including telling readers there’s a “homosexual agenda” moving forward in the courts and falsely claiming that research proves that same-sex parents are bad for children.

Klukowski has worked for a variety of right-wing organizations, including, the American Civil Rights Union, First Liberty Institute, Liberty University School of Law, and Family Research Council. As a lawyer, Klukowski has filed numerous briefs supporting right-wing causes. He joined the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a special counsel in late August. OMB, which is under the direction of Mick Mulvaney, “oversees the performance of federal agencies, and administers the federal budget.”

Klukowksi was previously the director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council. Family Research Council is an influential and extreme anti-LGBTQ group with high levels of access to the Trump-Pence administration. The organization has compared LGBTQ people to pedophiles and advocated for the discredited and harmful practice of conversion therapy. It also  states on its website: “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.”

Klukowski is also an ally of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), another of the most influential anti-LGBTQ groups in the country. Sarah Posner wrote in The Nation that “Klukowski has said that he attended ADF legal trainings, and he also authored a rosy profile of the organization for Breitbart in 2012, in which he lauded its ‘massive and growing impact in courtrooms across America.’” He joins numerous other ADF-allied lawyers who have held government positions; Media Matters has identifiedmore than 100 such allies who worked in Congress, federal agencies, state and federal courts, city and state governments, and local school boards in 2018.

As a commentator, Klukowski frequently warned against LGBTQ equality, claiming, for instance, that “the entire homosexual agenda is moving forward in federal court, where judges are disregarding the will of the American people.” He’s also attacked same-sex parenting, falsely claiming that research shows that having “two parents – one man and one woman” gives children the best chance to succeed.

Klukowski: “The entire homosexual agenda is moving forward in federal court, where judges are disregarding the will of the American people.” From a September 2010 op-ed in the Washington Examiner by Klukowski, h/t GLAAD:

The Perry and Log Cabin cases, taken with the recent Massachusetts federal decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (currently on appeal), paint a picture of astounding judicial activism.

The entire homosexual agenda is moving forward in federal court, where judges are disregarding the will of the American people, as expressed through the democratic process. Agenda-driven judges are doing this by declaring brand new constitutional rights not found anywhere in the words of the Constitution, mowing down every law that stands in their way.

Klukowski: “The fundamental institution of human civilization should be preserved as it has been known through the entirety of American history and Western civilization.” In an August 2010 op-ed he wrote for with Family Research Center’s Kenneth Blackwell, Klukowski warned Republicans against accepting same-sex marriage, writing:

The GOP platform could not be more explicit: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The fundamental institution of human civilization should be preserved as it has been known through the entirety of American history and Western civilization. Supporters of same-sex marriage had the full opportunity to make their case to the party. They made it, and they lost.

Klukowski falsely argued that same-sex parents won’t give “children the best chance to become happy and successful.” In a 2011 Daily Caller op-ed written with Blackwell, Klukowski claimed that research proves that same-sex parents are inferior to opposite-sex parents. In reality, Cornell University’s Public Policy Research Portal wrote that there’s “an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.”

The data contradicts [MSNBC host Chris Matthews’] televised encyclical.

Children thrive best in a household with a father and a mother. Not just two individuals who call themselves “parents” — and if both adults are of the same gender, it is biologically impossible for them to both be the natural parents — but a father and a mother.

Men and women are equal, but not interchangeable. The research — as exemplified by our colleague Dr. Pat Fagan in his new report — show that the economics are compelling: While there are exceptions to every social norm, men and women tend to bring different strengths to raising children. Firmness and gentleness. Physical security and emotional security. Challenges and comfort. Discipline and nurturing.

Many families do not have the benefit of both parents. Often the reasons behind this reality rightly tug on our heartstrings. And millions of single parents deserve lavish praise for their magnificent work at raising wonderful children, with inspiring personal success stories.

But the ideal remains. Two parents — one man and one woman — raising their children in a loving and supportive marriage gives children the best chance to become happy and successful.

Klukowski: “The social science is clear that children thrive best not just in the two-parent home but in a home with a biological father and biological mother.” Klukowski also repeated his false claim about same-sex parenting during a February 23, 2012, appearance on Fox Business’ Stossel (via Nexis):

JOHN STOSSEL (HOST): If the state approves marriages between heterosexuals people, why not gays?

KEN KLUKOWSKI: Well, the states are softening in that regard and every chance that the states have had to speak in that regard where the voters of the states 30 of them have adopted — have adopted constitutional amendments —

STOSSEL: It’s not the tyranny of the majority just because we have majority rule. Why can’t —

KLUKOWSKI: In this regard, the states are sovereign and the social science is clear that children thrive best not just in the two-parent home but in a home with a biological father and biological mother. People fall short of that all time but government has a vested interest in promoting the ideal even if we all fall short of it to one extent or another.

Klukowski criticized the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because “in the military you are often forced into quarters so close that they’re sometimes nothing short of intimate.” Klukowski wrote in his book Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

A fantastic example of a failure of leadership is President Obama calling on Congress to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law (DADT). Ever since the founding of the Republic, homosexuals have not been able to serve openly in the military. Setting aside religious beliefs, moral convictions, and natural law, this still makes sense, given that in the military you are often forced into quarters so close that they’re sometimes nothing short of intimate, with no privacy or personal space whatsoever in an extremely stressful, emotional, and adrenaline-filled environment. As a sop to the gay rights community, when Democrats had control of both Congress and the White House, President Bill Clinton softened this policy to say that it was still illegal for gays to serve in the military, but that no one could ask you about it so you were okay as long as you didn’t tell anyone or get caught doing anything.

The military is no place for social engineering. No doubt many homosexuals can be trusted not to make sexual advances, just as many heterosexuals can likewise be trusted in close quarters. But we don’t allow men and women to bunk together, or deploy them alone together in a forward position with no privacy, even though we trust them to remain professional and adhere to standards of conduct. Homosexuals should not get any special treatment denied to heterosexuals.

Klukowski: “The media is as much in the tank for gay marriage as it is for every other major part of President Barack Obama’s agenda.” From a July 2013 column criticizing PolitiFact’s reporting:

In case you just arrived from a different planet and didn’t yet know the media is as much in the tank for gay marriage as it is for every other major part of President Barack Obama’s agenda, you need only read Politifact’s recent post on Tony Perkins, where reporter Amy Sherman claims Perkins’s recent statements on how some wedding vendors are being forced to participate in same-sex marriages “under threat or even jail” are only “half true.”

In fact, Perkins’ claims are entirely true. For an organization that supposedly investigates facts (and incidentally is part of a solidly-liberal newspaper), to say Perkins’ claims are only half true is to post a story that is half fiction.

Fox Host Jeanine Pirro Headlining GOP, Trump Events

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro will headline two events in Florida for a group that’s dedicated to reelecting President Donald Trump. Fox News has falsely claimed in the past that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”

Pirro is the unabashedly pro-Trump host of the weekend Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine. She went on a brief hiatus earlier this year after launching a bigoted attack against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Trump Team 2020 Florida is a group that attempts  “to help like minded Conservatives through education, discussions, lectures, voter registration and implementing strategies that will lead us to Victory in 2020!” The group is headed by Annie Marie Delgado, who was a paid Florida staffer for Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Despite its name, the organization is not actually affiliated with Trump’s reelection campaign. In 2018, the Trump campaign even accused the club of “falsely representing to the public that it is an affiliate and/or authorized agent of the campaign.” The group responded by adding a disclaimer that it’s not part of the president’s official efforts.

Pirro is scheduled to speak at a September 18 event in Pensacola, FL, for Trump Team 2020 Florida’s Escambia County chapter. Ticket prices for that event from $60 to $500, with attendees receiving a signed copy of Pirro’s book. Republican Florida state Rep. Mike Hill will also appear at the event. Pirro is also scheduled to speak alongside Hill in The Villages, FL, on September 22 at an event for the group’s Sumter County chapter. Tickets for the second event range from $30 to $50, with attendees receiving a signed copy of her book. Pirro previously did an event for the group in October 2018 at Trump’s Jupiter, FL, hotel.

Pirro has made more than $230,000 in recent years doing Republican speeches. In November, after Pirro and fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared at a rally with Trump, the network claimed that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”

That policy was a sham both before and after Fox’s November statement. In addition to her pro-Trump Florida events, Pirro is also doing an October 25 fundraiser for the King County Republican Party in Bellevue, WA.

New Public TV Star Pat Buchanan Crusaded To Defund PBS

Pat Buchanan, a white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ bigot, will soon co-star in public television’s relaunch of The McLaughlin Group. Buchanan has spent decades calling for the defunding of public broadcasting. He even made it an issue in his 1992 presidential campaign by attacking PBS for having “glorified homosexuality” because it aired a documentary about gay Black men.

PBS member station Maryland Public Television (MPT) recently announced that it “will market, promote, and distribute the program nationally through an agreement with American Public Television, a leading syndicator of programming for U.S. public television stations. The McLaughlin Group will begin airing exclusively on public television stations nationwide and digital platforms in January 2020.” The program, which was briefly relaunched last year on Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s D.C. station, also featured Buchanan as a panelist in its prior iterations.

Media Matters criticized MPT for giving a platform to Buchanan given his toxic history. Buchanan, for instance, has complained that the United States is “committing suicide” because “Asian, African, and Latin American children” are replacing whites; said that undocumented immigrants are conducting a “third world invasion” of the country; defended Adolf Hitler as “an individual of great courage” who didn’t want to go to war; and argued that homosexuality should be “contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized.”

Baltimore Sun TV/media critic David Zurawik rebuked MPT for Buchanan’s inclusion, writing: “I cannot help thinking: Just what America needs right now, another platform for an incendiary voice from the right who predates Donald Trump on some of the president’s most controversial views. And he’s brought to you by public television.” Esquire writer Charles Pierce also criticized the station for bringing back Buchanan at a time when white supremacy is “literally getting people killed.”

A spokesperson for the station gave the following statement to Media Matters in response to questions about Buchanan’s history: “Public media provides a big tent for the expression of many points of view. The McLaughlin Group has been a long-time staple on public TV. It’s a program series viewers appreciate for its wide range of views and perspectives, as well as the lively debate on issues that takes place among its panelists.” McLaughlin Group host and conservative writer Tom Rogan, meanwhile, attacked Media Matters as “being insane as usual.”

Buchanan has been one of the most vocal critics of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the federal government-funded nonprofit which provides support for public broadcasting. Buchanan himself has frequently appeared on public broadcasting, including on the original McLaughlin Group, which aired on many PBS stations. (Like with the upcoming relaunch, PBS did not produce the original McLaughlin Group.)

When Buchanan unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992, he aired a bigoted campaign ad attacking public broadcasting because it aired a pro-gay documentary.

In 1989, Black documentarian and gay rights activist Marlon T. Riggs released the film Tongues Untied. The American Film Institute wrote this year that the film “broke new ground by mixing poetry, music, performance and Riggs’ autobiographical revelations. Giving voice to communities of black gay men as they confront racism, homophobia, and marginalization, the film was embraced by black gay audiences for its authentic representation of style and culture, as well its fierce response to oppression.”

Buchanan, however, demonized the film and its inclusion on public television. As The Associated Press noted at the time, he produced a campaign ad featuring “scenes of undressed gay black men from a Public Broadcasting System documentary ‘Tongues Untied’ that was partially subsidized by the National Endowment of the Arts.” A narrator stated: “In the last three years the Bush administration has invested our tax dollars in pornographic and blasphemous art too shocking to show. This so-called art has glorified homosexuality, exploited children and perverted the image of Jesus Christ.” Buchanan’s 1992 campaign specifically opposed federal funding for the arts. In an April 9, 1992, CNN interview (via Nexis) about the ad, campaign chair Bay Buchanan said of arts funding: “It shouldn’t be federal government level at all. … This is something that should be supported by the private sector and if it doesn’t hold up, it means the community doesn’t want it.”

PBS stated at the time of Buchanan’s ad: “It’s unfortunate that the ad presents images out of context. It’s ironic that the film addresses the issue of tolerance.”

Riggs responded to Buchanan in a March 6, 1992, New York Times op-ed, which began: “Patrick Buchanan’s most controversial campaign ad has given politics a new cast of characters to demonize, then scapegoat. The specter of Willie Horton has returned, but this time, at least in Mr. Buchanan’s distorted view, he is a leather-clad bare-chested, sadomasochistic homosexual dancing shamelessly in the street.” Riggs died in 1994 at the age of 37 from AIDS complications.

Buchanan also fought against public broadcasting while working in politics as an aide to President Richard Nixon. He wrote in his 2017 book Nixon’s White House Wars that “taxpayer TV was becoming an upholstered playpen for liberal broadcasters” and that he had unsuccessfully “urged Nixon to terminate all federal funding. After he left office, he told me he should have done so, leaving those who cherish what public broadcasting has on offer to pay for it themselves.”

He has repeated those calls to defund public television as a commentator. (Media Matters has campaigned against efforts to defund public broadcasting in the past.)

During a February 15, 2005, edition of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country (via Nexis), while discussing controversy over a PBS cartoon featuring lesbian parents, Buchanan said: “All government funding ought to be phased out. Then PBS, like us, Joe, ought to be allowed to do what it wants to do, put on the programs it wants, as long as we the taxpayers are not paying for it. And I think that’s the solution to PBS.” In an October 2010 syndicated column, Buchanan urged congressional Republicans to defund PBS and NPR (which have purportedly shown “consistently leftist bias”), saying that if they don’t, “the tea party folks should start recruiting candidates to run against GOP incumbents in 2012.”

Pat Buchanan, White Supremacist, To Co-Star On PBS’s Relaunched McLaughlin Group

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Pat Buchanan is a white supremacist who has complained that the United States is “committing suicide” because “Asian, African, and Latin American children” are replacing whites; said that undocumented immigrants are conducting a “third world invasion” of the country; defended Adolf Hitler as “an individual of great courage” who didn’t want to go to war; and argued that homosexuality should be “contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized.”

Maryland Public Television (MPT) will feature him in a public affairs program starting next month.

The public television station announced on August 12 that it will relaunch The McLaughlin Group in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area in September. MPT also plans to expand the program nationally in January 2020 “through an agreement with American Public Television.” The program was briefly relaunched last year on WJLA, Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s D.C. station. The weekly program will feature host Tom Rogan and panelists Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page, as well as guest panelists. Clift, Page, and Buchanan were panelists on the original McLaughlin Group, which was hosted by the late John McLaughlin.

Buchanan is a former aide to President Richard Nixon and a longtime media personality who worked for MSNBC and CNN. He also ran for president as a Republican and third party candidate.

In 2000, he won the Reform Party’s nomination. At the time, Donald Trump said of Buchanan: “He’s a Hitler lover. I guess he’s an anti-Semite. He doesn’t like the blacks. He doesn’t like the gays. It’s just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy.” In 2016, Buchanan said that “Trump has raised the very issues I raised in the early nineties.” Trump has flip-flopped on Buchanan, praising him for being “way ahead of your time!” and quoting him on immigration.

Media Matters asked MPT about Buchanan’s history of white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ comments. A spokesperson for the station responded with the following statement: “Public media provides a big tent for the expression of many points of view. The McLaughlin Group has been a long-time staple on public TV. It’s a program series viewers appreciate for its wide range of views and perspectives, as well as the lively debate on issues that takes place among its panelists.”

Buchanan is a white supremacist who has pushed virulently racist rhetoric.

  • Buchanan said that the United States is “committing suicide” by “not reproducing itself” while “Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate.”

  • Buchanan has repeatedly referred to undocumented immigrants as invaders. His 2006 book is titled State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. He said on Fox News: “You’ve got a wholesale invasion, the greatest invasion in human history, coming across your southern border, changing the composition and character of your country.”

  • Buchanan declined to disavow the idea that people of color have inferior genes compared to white people when pressed by a radio host. And as a Nixon aide, The Boston Globe reported, Buchanan “suggested in a memo to President Nixon that efforts to integrate the U.S. might only result in ‘perpetual friction’ because blacks and the poor may be genetically inferior to middle-class whites.”

  • Buchanan has repeatedly defended Adolf Hitler, including claiming that he was “an individual of great courage” and that he didn’t want war. He also complained that the Supreme Court had too many Jewish justices after Eleana Kagan was nominated to the court.

  • Buchanan defended Bob Jones University’s ban on interracial dating (the prohibition was removed in 2000).

  • Buchanan was asked if he had a problem with California becoming “majority Hispanic, majority Latino.”  He replied: “Yes, I do. Yes, I do. If their — because of the Mexican situation, Mexico has a claim on this country.” He also complained that immigration would turn the country into “a polyglot boarding house for the world, a tangle of minosquabbling rities.” He additionally warned against the country becoming “multiracial, multicultural, multiethnic,” explaining: “I prefer the kind — I grew up in a different country.”

  • Buchanan said that “in a way, both sides were right” during the Civil War.

  • Buchanan falsely claimed that “this has been a country built, basically, by white folks” and that only “white males” died at the battles at Gettysburg and Normandy.

  • Buchanan said that “America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known. … We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?”

Buchanan also hates LGBTQ people. He has claimed that gay people are “sodomites” and said they are “literally hell-bent on satanism and suicide.” He falsely claimed that homosexuality is a “disorder” that can be handled with therapy (attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity — also known as conversion therapy — is a discredited and harmful practice). And he said that in “a healthy society, [homosexuality] will be contained, segregated, controlled, and stigmatized.”

More on Pat Buchanan’s history, and what Maryland Public Television is bringing to television sets across the country, can be found here.

Update (8/15/19)McLaughlin Group host and conservative writer Tom Rogan responded to this post by tweeting: “Media Matters being insane as usual.”