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QAnon's Rep. Greene Endorsed 9/11 And School Shooting Conspiracy Theories Too

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

In a newly uncovered exchange, Marjorie Taylor Greene in 2018 agreed with a Facebook commenter who claimed that 9/11 "was done by our own gov[ernment]" and that "none of the school shootings were real or done by the ones who were supposedly arrested for them," including the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Media Matters reported earlier this week that Greene agreed in 2018 that the Parkland shooting was actually a false flag planned event. She also wrote in a separate post that she had supposedly been "told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that 'we need another school shooting' in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control."

Greene's remarks have led to condemnation, including from Parkland survivors and Fred Guttenberg, who is the father of shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg. (The Republican House leadership does not appear to have commented on her remarks.)

Greene, who was previously a right-wing commentator, won election in 2020 as a Republican in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. She has frequently pushed conspiracy theories and toxic rhetoric. Greene has supported the QAnon conspiracy theory and attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On June 2, 2018, Greene posted a link to a piece on the conspiracy theory website The Gateway Pundit about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server and wrote, in part, that "the people in power stop the truth and control and stall investigations, then provide cover for the real enemies of our nation. Why? Because they are ALL in it together, the swamp, is one gigantic cesspool of both Democrats and Republicans, and many in all of the intel agencies."

In the comments section, someone responded: "True they are fused by the bonds of mutual criminal treason." Someone later replied by claiming that "911 was done by our own Gov"; that the Parkland school shooting was actually "a deep state warning to the pocket puppets in the house and senate" and "fake" ; that "none of the School shootings were real or done by the ones who were supposedly arrested for them, They are just the image of the shooting"; and that Sandy Hook was a "STAGGED [sic] SHOOTING," among other conspiracy theories.

The second commenter also said there are messages in the Georgia Guidestones and claimed that certain people "are all about killing off 6.8 Billion of the 7.3 billion people on Earth." The Georgia Guidestones is a granite monument in Elberton, Georgia, that has attracted the attention of conspiracy theorists who believe it is a tribute to the "New World Order," a group of elites who supposedly control the world.

Greene liked the post pushing those various conspiracy theories. She also wrote in the thread: "That is all true. By the way, I've seen the Georgia guide stones."

Here is Greene's interaction on Facebook:

Marjorie Taylor Greene Facebook thread and like on comment

https://www.facebook.com/MarjorieTaylorGreene/posts/1918009011822533?comment_id=1918044201819014&reply_comment_id=1918305981792836

Last year, Media Matters reported that she falsely claimed in a 2018 video that there's no evidence a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. After receiving heavy criticism, Greene claimed that she was supposedly "being attacked for my opposition to open borders and globalist neocon nation building wars" and said: "Some people claimed a missile hit the Pentagon. I now know that is not correct. The problem is our government lies to us so much to protect the Deep State, it's hard sometimes to know what is real and what is not."

Republicans have embraced Greene. The National Republican Congressional Committee included Greene in its 2020 Young Guns recruitment and fundraising program. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has welcomed her into the Republican caucus and defended her during a November 12 news conference. McCarthy's Twitter header image is a picture of him alongside the Republican freshman class, with Greene a few spots away from McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy's Twitter header picture features him alongside Republicans including Marjorie Taylor Greene

https://twitter.com/GOPLeader

Rep. Greene Claimed Parkland School Shooting Was ‘False Flag’ Planned Event

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

In a previously unreported interaction, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) agreed with a 2018 Facebook comment that the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was actually a "false flag" planned event.

In a separate Facebook post in 2018, Greene also claimed: "I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that 'we need another school shooting' in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control."

Greene was a right-wing commentator before successfully running for Congress in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. She has pushed the QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy theories; falsely claimed that there's no evidence a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11; labeled the 2018 pipe bomb packages to members of Congress and others a hoax; accused the Obama administration of killing former Democratic staffer Seth Rich; and pushed anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic rhetoric, among other things.

Greene has frequently used social media to spread misinformation, toxic rhetoric, and conspiracy theories. Twitter recently suspended Greene's Twitter account for 12 hours after she spread lies about the U.S. Senate elections in Georgia.

On February 14, 2018, a gunman took the lives of 17 people in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy spurred survivors to become activists and call for new gun laws.

The shooting also resulted in conspiracy theories, including the claim that it was a "false flag" event -- an incident that is either faked or planned by someone other than the actual perpetrator -- to take away people's guns. Those toxic claims were especially spread through right-wing and social media.

Greene, now a member of Congress, was one of those people who spread such claims on Facebook. In 2018, she posted a story about disgraced Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson receiving a retirement pension.

In the comments section, someone wrote: "It's called a pay off to keep his mouth shut since it was a false flag planned shooting." Greene replied: "Exactly."

Marjorie Taylor Greene agrees with comment that Parkland shooting was a false flag planned shooting

https://www.facebook.com/MarjorieTaylorGreene/posts/1909637102659724?comment_id=1909640639326037&reply_comment_id=1909641332659301

Another commenter wrote: "Kick back for going along with the evil plan. You know it's not for doing a good job." Greene replied: "My thoughts exactly!! Paid to do what he did and keep his mouth shut!"

Marjorie Taylor Greene on Parkland shooting:

https://www.facebook.com/MarjorieTaylorGreene/posts/1909637102659724?comment_id=1909640562659378&reply_comment_id=190964119599264

At the end of 2018, Greene also wrote a Facebook post claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants more school shootings to enact gun laws. She wrote: "Most Americans are asleep and pay no attention to the real civil war that is happening right now in our country. There are only a small percentage of people who are wide awake. This is no longer about political parties, but truly about nationalism versus globalism and freedom versus socialism and elitism versus the people and at it's core good versus evil." As evidence, she later claimed:

Adding to this deluge of lies, the Democrats in the House also have a priority of passing strict gun control. It is number one on their agenda starting in January. They want to ban "assault weapons" aka semi-automatic guns, and use mental illness as a reason people cannot own guns. If PTSD is on the mental illness list then that will wipe out millions of veterans in our country as gun owners. That cannot happen!!! Also, they are going to try to pass strict gun control on the state level as well. This war on our second amendment is going to continue and must be fought. I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that "we need another school shooting" in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control.

In March 2019, before she was elected to Congress, Greene heckled Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg.

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck previously reported in August 2020 that Greene wrote for the now-defunct website American Truth Seekers. That website also "questioned if the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a 'massive false flag.'"

Texas Outfit Linked To Assault Over ‘Voter Fraud’ Promotes Conspiracies And Violence

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

A former police captain was arrested and charged with assaulting an air conditioner repairman whom he falsely suspected of carrying 750,000 fraudulent ballots in his truck. The organization allegedly paying the former cop to prove supposed election fraud is led by a QAnon conspiracy theorist, and its Facebook page is filled with conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office stated on December 15 that it had arrested and charged former Houston Police Capt. Mark Anthony Aguirre "with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison." The office stated:

According to Aguirre, he had been conducting surveillance on the victim for four days under a theory the victim was the mastermind of a giant fraud, and there were 750,000 fraudulent ballots in a truck he was driving. Instead, the victim turned out to be an innocent and ordinary air conditioner repairman.
Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of the truck to get the technician to stop and get out, according to the document. When the technician got out of the truck, Aguirre, pointed a handgun at the technician, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the man's back – an image captured on the body-worn camera of a police officer.
Aguirre directed police to a parking lot nearby where another suspect, who has not been identified, took the truck. There were no ballots in the truck. It was filled with air conditioning parts and tools.

According to the district attorney's office, Aguirre was working for the Liberty Center for God and Country and "never told police that he had been paid a total of $266,400 … with $211,400 of that amount being deposited into his account the day after the incident."

Right-wing commentator and Republican donor Steven Hotze is the CEO of The Liberty Center for God and Country. The Texas Tribune reported that "Jared Woodfill, a spokesperson and attorney for Hotze, confirmed that the Liberty Center hired a company led by Aguirre to investigate voter fraud ahead of the 2020 election."

Hotze is a QAnon and coronavirus conspiracy theorist who has claimed that COVID-19 is "much ado about nothing" and speculated that the "deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated this whole viral problem with the virus." He is also an anti-LGBTQ bigot and a grifter. Additionally, Hotze helped lead an unsuccessful effort to throw out ballots cast in drive-thru voting in Harris County, Texas. (Since the election, Trump and his right-wing media allies have been on a desperate quest to overturn the election results by hyping false, evidence-free claims of voter fraud.)

In June, Hotze left a voice message for Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) saying that he should order the National Guard "to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That's the only way you restore order. Kill 'em. Thank you."

The Liberty Center for God and Country's Facebook page is a cesspool of conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric. (The organization's Facebook page often mirrors or reposts content from Hotze's Facebook page.) Facebook has had numerous problems over the years with such toxic content on its platform.





[facebook https://www.facebook.com/libertycgc/posts/141796694336410?__cft__[0]=AZVh6irxEnxy49ODLSA6ro_9D0tO3f0L31LlMyyKzHH5JcCS6j3gVNY05NJdX4jYFoTWFAqRBoElrNL3kq_uWMlQ5JQOBfjbb17rtS4Se8uh5EQnzIo_pMFUSsFqvE9uKWqSiu6Y3OPXj470_t0Fc2StjDVb31NsSHGtt2IULmrTYuJKqI5v_pF44y6ao4BJoLQ&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R expand=1]





Right-Wing Grifters Using ’Stolen Election’ To Scam Republican Suckers

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Democrats did not "steal" the presidential election, but that hasn't stopped right-wing personalities from grifting their followers by asking for money to supposedly help President Donald Trump stage a coup and overturn the results.

Media Matters has documented over the years how conservative media figures have frequently grifted and scammed their audiences. So it's no surprise that right-wingers have seized on Trump's lies about the "stolen" 2020 election to get money from readers.

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Sen. Collins Relying On Trump Advisers Gingrich And Rove

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has been trying to publicly distance herself from President Donald Trump while she runs a difficult reelection campaign. But on her email list, Collins and her campaign have frequently turned to Fox News contributors and Trump advisers Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove for fundraising help.

Collins is running for reelection in Maine, where Trump is badly trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in polling. She has received scrutiny over her support for major Trump policies, including her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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NBC Commentator and GOP Shill Hugh Hewitt Is Paid By Trump Campaign

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

NBC's Meet the Press hosted right-wing radio host and NBC News commentator Hugh Hewitt, who talked up President Donald Trump's reelection chances and touted his "sort of powerful energy on conservative media" for Republicans this week after being released from the hospital. In addition to the absurdity of hosting a dishonest shill like Hewitt, host Chuck Todd did not disclose that Hewitt has a financial tie to Trump's campaign: Last month, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee twice rented Hewitt's newsletter to raise money.

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Georgia GOP Nominee Greene Circulated Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Video

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Less than two years ago, right-wing commentator and Republican House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene shared an anti-refugee video and claimed that "this is what the UN wants all over the world." The Greene-promoted video features anti-Muslim propaganda, quotes an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier saying that "Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation" and, as one reporter wrote, "implies that Jews are at the heart of a project to destroy Europe as we know it."

The video, which originated on the far-right message board 8chan in 2015, has been celebrated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Greene is heavily favored to win her race in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. She has expressed support for the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory, which the FBI has labeled a potential domestic terror threat. Conspiracy theories researcher Mike Rothschild has written that "anti-Semitism has been part of the fabric of QAnon since the conspiracy theory first launched" in October 2017.

Greene has also pushed conspiracy theories about 9/11, the killing of Democratic staffer Seth Rich, the mail bombs sent around the time of the 2018 midterm elections, and Pizzagate.

Politico reported in June that Greene posted Facebook videos in which she expressed "racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views," including stating that "there is an Islamic invasion into our government offices right now" and that "you saw after midterm elections what we saw so many Muslims elected."

Greene has the support of leading Republicans and has been "invited to attend President Trump's acceptance speech Thursday evening at the White House."

Media Matters found that before running for Congress, Greene promoted a video that attacked Muslims and refugees and pushed anti-Semitic messages.

On December 9, 2018, Greene shared a link to a video along with the comment: "This is what the UN wants all over the world with the UN Global Migration Compact to be signed Dec 10-11 in Morocco. But I'm still banned on my fb pages from going live, for using the term 'illegal invaders', apparently that's hate speech!"

Her link was to a 19:32 minute video called With Open Gates: The Forced Collective Suicide of European Nations. As reporter Philip Kleinfeld wrote in Vice when it began circulating in 2015, the video "is designed to scare people about the supposed menace of refugees" by using "a mishmash of comically fake and out-of-context footage, bad subtitling and Islamophobic propaganda." He wrote of the racist start of the video:

The video begins with the narrator claiming the other side of the refugee crisis is "how it will change Europe". What follows is a montage of selectively chosen footage designed to present refugees and migrants as violent and dangerous. Some of it is genuine footage from the past 12 months, but a lot of it has absolutely nothing to do with the current crisis. It's just a collection of random footage of people that aren't white in circumstances that aren't stated.

Kleinfeld also noted that the video relies on anti-Semitism to make its points, including using a video clip that was "taken out of its original context and spliced into an anti-refugee film" to imply "that Jews are at the heart of a project to destroy Europe as we know it." He wrote:

AN ANTI-SEMITIC MESSAGE
The message of the video ratchets up the anti-refugee rhetoric to a whole new ideological level, making Britain First look comparatively PC. About nine minutes in, it quotes former BNP leader Nick Griffin saying that an "unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation".
It ends with a quote from Barbara Lerner Spectre, the founding director of the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, who says, "Europe is not going to be the monolithic societies they once were in the last century. Jews are going to be at the centre of that." She's talking about Jews playing a role in making Europe a more tolerant and diverse place. But taken out of its original context and spliced into an anti-refugee film, it implies that Jews are at the heart of a project to destroy Europe as we know it. This is an anti-Semitic trope claiming that immigration is part of a Zionist/Jewish plot to destroy the white race – something the far-right likes to call "white genocide".

Griffin, a racist and Holocaust denier, also states in that clip that the supposed alliance of "leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists" has a "deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands."

The Anti-Defamation League also criticized the video, writing in 2015 that it "uses selective footage of African and Muslim refugees and immigrants to depict them as creating mayhem and destruction throughout Europe." It added that With Open Gates also attempts to give "fuel to anti-Semites who blame Jews for non-white immigration to Europe":

"With Open Gates: The Forced Collective Suicide of European Nations," a virulently anti-refugee propaganda video widely circulated on the Internet has received over four million views on YouTube over the last two weeks. The video uses selective footage of African and Muslim refugees and immigrants to depict them as creating mayhem and destruction throughout Europe.
The video ends with a clip of the founder of a Jewish cultural institute in Sweden, who claims that Jews support efforts to promote multiculturalism in Europe. This segment of the video gives fuel to anti-Semites who blame Jews for non-white immigration to Europe. The statement that accompanied the posting of the video on YouTube blames "Zionist interest" for destroying Europe "from the inside."

The ADL also wrote that "the racist video originated on 8chan, a controversial Internet discussion forum whose 'Politically Incorrect' subforum is notorious for racist and anti-Semitic language," and that it was also extolled by the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer and the white supremacist websites Vanguard News Network and Stormfront. BuzzFeed News' Joseph Bernstein wrote in February 2017 that the video "received some 4 million views in late 2015 before being taken down by YouTube over a copyright claim." He added that it was "first circulated by white supremacist blogs and chans" and "gained social steam until it was picked up by Breitbart, at which point it exploded." And The New York Times wrote in November 2018 that With Open Gates "drew praise from prominent neo-Nazis and white nationalists, and was broadly condemned by anti-hate groups."

Florida GOP Supports Bloodthirsty Bigot Loomer For Congress

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The Republican Party of Florida recently expressed its support for right-wing commentator and congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who has described herself as a "proud Islamophobe," has said that she didn't "care" about the anti-Muslim mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has stated that she's in favor of "more" migrant deaths.

Loomer won the Republican nomination in Florida's 21st Congressional District on August 18. The district is represented by Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel, who is heavily favored to win the race in November.

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The Right-Wing Outlets That Promoted Bannon’s Fraudulent ‘Border Wall’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Florida veteran Brian Kolfage, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, and two others "orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors" who supported their online crowdfunding campaign effort to construct a barrier on the U.S. southern border, according to an indictment federal prosecutors unsealed Thursday. The group had relied on credulous coverage and support from right-wing media outlets and personalities to drive more than $20 million in donations.

In December 2018, as President Donald Trump prepared to shut down the federal government in hopes of obtaining funds to build his long-sought border wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin suggested that the president's supporters instead crowdfund its construction. "Let the people who support the wall pay for it -- directly and voluntarily," Goodwin wrote.

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QAnon Republican Visited Capitol, Urged Muslim Members To Retake Oath With Bibles

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Republican congressional candidate and right-wing pundit Marjorie Taylor Greene is a bigot both on and offline.

In February 2019, she visited Capitol Hill -- her likely future place of employment -- and filmed herself unsuccessfully trying to interrogate Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). During the video, she falsely claimed that they're illegitimate members of Congress because they took their congressional oaths of office on the Quran and said she wanted to make them retake their oath on the Bible. She also said she wanted to tell them they "really should go back to the Middle East if they support Sharia." In addition to being bigoted, her remarks are also ignorant as their oaths were legitimate and neither representative is from the Middle East.

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Top Republican Consulting Firm Aiding QAnon Senate Candidate In Oregon

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Oregon Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins has been running a campaign promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. She's been helped by Axiom Strategies, a leading GOP political and media consulting firm that's headed by former Ted Cruz 2016 campaign manager Jeff Roe and employs former Trump acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

QAnon is a violence-linked conspiracy theory based on cryptic posts to online message boards from an anonymous user known as "Q" that have spread rampantly on social media and among fringe right-wing media. QAnon conspiracy theorists essentially believe that President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down the purported "deep state," a supposed cabal of high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings.

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Trump Campaign Official Went On QAnon Show To Recruit Volunteers

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

In a previously unreported appearance, Trump campaign official Erin Perrine went on a QAnon program to promote President Donald Trump's reelection campaign and recruit volunteers. Perrine encouraged the QAnon audience to "sign up and attend a Trump Victory Leadership Initiative training" and also said that they could "talk to their local GOP party, their state party."

QAnon is a violence-linked conspiracy theory based on cryptic posts to online message boards from an anonymous user known as "Q" that have spread rampantly on social media and among fringe right-wing media. QAnon conspiracy theorists essentially believe that Trump is secretly working to take down the purported "deep state," a supposed cabal of high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings.

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California GOP Backs QAnon Conspiracist For Congress

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

While California and the United States as a whole are breaking coronavirus case records, the California Republican Party has been backing the congressional bid of coronavirus conspiracy theorist and writer Mike Cargile.

Cargile, who is a QAnon conspiracy theorist, has claimed that the coronavirus is a "scamdemic" and "NOTHING compared to the diseases and plagues headed this way via the rats and the homeless"; and has praised the lie-filled Plandemic video as "EXACTLY why I'm in this race!"

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Anti-Vax Star Of ‘Plandemic’ Endorses Bogus Bleach Therapy

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Judy Mikovits, the discredited scientist who stars in the lie-filled conspiracy theory film Plandemic, recently appeared on the podcast of a church that has sold a chlorine dioxide product as a coronavirus cure and defended the organization's promotion of the bogus and dangerous treatment. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that "chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including COVID-19."

The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which is led by Mark Grenon, has touted supposed "protocols" and products related to Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), a bleach product that the church falsely claims can cure a variety of ailments, including the coronavirus.

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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."