Donald Trump’s Greatest Hits

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Donald Trump has gotten popular, in part, by challenging the media. But he has praised journalists on occasion. His 2011 book, Time to Get Tough, said David Gregory was “doing a fine job filling some awfully big shoes over at Meet the Press.” It was a reference to legendary and highly respected host Tim Russert, who had passed away.

So-called “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd,” who replaced Gregory, is a favorite Trump target. “The thing I find most offensive about Chuck Todd is the fact that he pretends to be an objective journalist,” Trump writes, “when in reality the guy is a partisan hack.”

In many ways, as Trump said, David Gregory was doing a fine job. Some of the criticism of Gregory’s performance as “Meet the Press” host missed the mark, such as when he interviewed Edward Snowden collaborator Glenn Greenwald. As we noted at the time, some in the media were aghast that Gregory asked Greenwald a perfectly reasonable question on “Meet the Press:” “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”

Snowden, the NSA leaker, has been charged with espionage and still resides in Russia.

In his book, Trump takes on Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show” on the Comedy Central network who is quitting after years of service to President Obama and the liberal-left. Stewart’s strategy is spewing curse words and invective toward conservatives and Republicans.

Trump recognized Stewart as Obama’s tool before it was recently revealed that Stewart was secretly meeting with people in the Obama White House, including President Obama, in efforts “by the president and his communications team to tap into Mr. Stewart’s influence with younger voters,” as The New York Times put it.

“I actually enjoy the guy,” Trump’s book says of Stewart, “but when he did a segment mocking presidential candidate Herman Cain, and used a very racist and degrading tone that was insulting to the African American community, did he get booted off the air like Don Imus? No. Where was the Reverend Jesse Jackson? Where was the Reverend Al Sharpton? Where was Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd to provide hard-hitting journalistic ‘analysis?’  Nowhere. Stewart should have lost his job—at least temporarily. But he didn’t and he won’t because liberals in the media always get a free pass, no matter how bad their behavior.”

Cain himself had noted that Stewart had mocked him using the racially-charged “Amos & Andy” dialect. He concluded that Stewart has a problem with black conservatives.

In other comments in his book, Trump discussed the journalists “who are obsessed with protecting Obama,” noting that ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is among the “big Obama fans.”  He added that “it was incredible to see how overprotective reporters got toward Obama when I simply said what everyone in America was thinking: ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’”

While he praises Fox News and Roger Ailes, the executive behind the popular channel, Trump faults the “disappointing behavior by people in the press” which “occurs on both sides of the aisle,” and singles out Charles Krauthammer of Fox News for special criticism. Trump said Krauthammer had attacked him on the air as a joke candidate, and that he was not given any rebuttal time.

Discussing a speech he gave to Republicans, during which he had used “strong language,” Trump admits, “I’m not a big curser but it did take place” and the controversial remarks were reported by the media. But Trump counters: “Of course, Joe Biden dropped the f-word in front of the entire media on a stage with the president. But Biden gets a pass because he’s with Obama, and as we all know, Obama can do no wrong in the media’s eyes.”

Other quotable comments from his book include the observation that The New York Times is Obama’s “favorite newspaper,” and that “The press constantly maligns, ridicules, and mocks the Tea Party folks.”

During the current campaign, Trump has not shied away from putting reporters on the spot.

Asked a question by Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart, who distorted his position on illegal immigration, Trump fired back, “You know what, that’s a typical case. Wait. That’s a typical case of the press with misinterpretation. They take a half a sentence, then they take a quarter of a sentence, they put it all together. It’s a typical thing. And you’re with Telemundo, and Telemundo should be ashamed.”

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, he said, “Anderson, you are not a baby, okay. You are not a baby.”

Asked by NBC’s Katy Tur if he had a gun and used it, he responded, “It is none of your business, it is really none of your business. I have a license to have a gun.”

After The Wall Street Journal attacked Trump and his conservative supporters in the media, the businessman responded by saying the paper had a “dwindling” readership and “is worth about one-tenth of what it was purchased for…”

After Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard said he was “finished” with Trump, he responded, “Bill, your small and slightly failing magazine will be a giant success when you finally back Trump.”

Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz notes, “Look, Trump thrives on being attacked. He’s a great counterpuncher. He particularly relishes doing battle with the media. And this latest story hands him a big fat gift to do just that.”

That “latest story” was in The Daily Beast and concerned some allegations about alleged marital rape from Trump’s divorce proceedings. Trump’s ex-wife Ivana responded, “I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit.”

She added, “Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign.”

Since then, a story has surfaced about Trump criticizing an opposing attorney who wanted to breast-pump in front of him. Trump told CNN he may have said to her that it was “disgusting.” He added, “Bottom line. I beat her.” He said the judge had even awarded him legal fees.

For turning the tables on the media, Trump deserves the praise of those who are sick and tired of the liberal media setting the national agenda and demonizing conservatives.

I have a feeling that the Donald Trump hit parade will continue.


Stephanopoulos Fiasco is Par for the Course

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

What is surprising about the latest George Stephanopoulos controversy is that most of the media are treating it as something unusual rather than an acknowledgement of a problem that’s been plaguing the media for decades. We at Accuracy in Media are happy to see this issue receive the scrutiny it deserves. However, anyone convinced that Stephanopoulos’s ongoing political conflict of interest and failure to disclose it to his viewers is the exception, not the rule, hasn’t been paying attention to a long history of media corruption.

Stephanopoulos interviewed Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on April 26. But the ABC host, formerly a Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy, and unofficial hatchet-man, for President Bill Clinton, treated his broadcast as more of an interrogation than an interview in an effort to discredit Schweizer and defend, in turn, the Clintons. A real interview would have endeavored to understand Schweizer’s critique of the Clintons, not demand to see a “smoking gun” or “evidence” of a crime.

Stephanopoulos’s conflict of interest was blown wide open by an excellent outfit, The Washington Free Beacon, which started the ball rolling when it contacted ABC News about Stephanopoulos’s donations to the Clinton Foundation. ABC’s spokeswoman, Heather Riley, said that they would respond, but then turned first to a friendly ally—Politico—to spin the story favorably for the network and its golden boy.

“I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record,” said Stephanopoulos in his apology. “However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.”

ABC News initially incorrectly stated that he had given only $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation—an amount he later amended to $75,000 over three years.

But there’s more, much more.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles reported that Ms. Riley “worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000,” including serving “as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.”

But beyond that, Schweizer followed up on the week’s revelations, and found that Stephanopoulos’s ties with the Clinton Foundation were much closer than just cutting checks to the foundation. Schweizer called it “the sort of ‘hidden hand journalism’ that has contributed to America’s news media’s crisis of credibility in particular, and Americans’ distrust of the news media more broadly.”

He pointed out that Stephanopoulos “did not disclose that in 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).” Nor did he “disclose that in 2007, he was a featured attendee at the CGI annual meeting, a gathering also attended by several individuals I report on in Clinton Cash, including mega Clinton Foundation donors Lucas Lundin, Frank Giustra, Frank Holmes, and Carlos Slim—individuals whose involvement with the Clintons I assumed he had invited me on his program to discuss.” And on it goes.

Stephanopoulos inadvertently revealed in another setting what donations such as his are all about. “But everybody also knows when those donors give that money—and President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him—there’s a hope that it’s going to lead to something. And that’s what you have to be careful of,” Stephanopoulos said to Jon Stewart about Schweizer’s theory on April 28. “Even if you don’t get an action, what you get is access and you get the influence that comes with access and that’s got to shape the thinking of politicians. That’s what’s so pernicious about it.”

“Could Stephanopoulos, who is also ABC News’s chief anchor and political correspondent, be hoping for access to and exclusives from Bill and Hillary, giving him a competitive edge during the 2016 presidential campaign?” asks Lloyd Grove for The Daily Beast.

On the May 15 broadcast of Good Morning America Stephanopoulos “apologized” again—while patting himself on the back for supporting children, the environment, and efforts to stop the spread of AIDS. “Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when I covered the foundation, and I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake,” he said. “Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.”

The extra mile?

This is, basically, the same argument the Clintons and their Foundation have put forth to explain their conflicts of interest or “errors,” after having taken millions of dollars from companies and countries that had business with the U.S. government while Mrs. Clinton served as Secretary of State. Their failure to disclose many of these donations resulted in them refiling their tax returns for five years, once the obvious conflicts of interest came to light.

In reality the Clinton Foundation gives about 10% of what it collects to direct charitable grants, according to a study by The Federalist, as reported in National Review. “It looks like the Foundation—which once did a large amount of direct charitable work—now exists mainly to fund salaries, travel, and conferences,” writes David French. The study pointed out that “Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.” In other words, less than $10,000 of the money that Stephanopoulos paid as tribute to the Clintons went to the causes he claims to care about.

Stephanopoulos has removed himself from the ABC-sponsored Republican presidential primary debate next February. Yet he simultaneously claimed, “I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly.” His decision to not participate ignores the bigger picture.

As we have pointed out, the incestuous relationships between the Democrats and media are almost endless. It’s not just ABC’s Sunday show, but the two other main broadcast networks that also feature highly partisan Democrats as hosts. NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd “served as a staffer on Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s 1992 presidential bid,” according to Politico. John Dickerson, the new host of CBS’s Face the Nation gave the following advice to President Barack Obama in 2013: “The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.”

Stephanopoulos says he should have announced his conflict of interest. If such announcements become commonplace, which they should, where exactly will that end? Should CBS News announce each and every time it broadcasts news about President Obama’s foreign policy or national security issues that the president of CBS News is actually the brother of White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes? Or should ABC News have regularly disclosed that its former ABC News President Ben Sherwood had a sister with the Obama White House? She still works with the Obama administration. And, NBC? That’s the network of Al Sharpton, Brian Williams, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. Need I say more?

Chris Harper, formerly of ABC News, has posted his views, along with those of other mostly liberal former ABC News people, as cited by Kevin Williamson of National Review: “During the 15 years we worked for ABC News,” wrote Harper, “we remember that we had to sign a yearly disclosure of gifts worth more than $25 and contributions. Perhaps these documents no longer exist in the muddled world of TV news.”

Added Harper: “Mr. Stephanopoulos has few defenders among his former colleagues. According to a Facebook page, ABCeniors, the rather liberal bunch of former network staffers discussed the problems with his contributions. ‘That shows either indifference or arrogance. Or a nice cocktail of both,’ wrote one former ABC hand. A former producer noted: ‘He knew what he was doing, and he didn’t want us to know. That’s deceit.’”

Geraldo Rivera recalled that he had been fired from ABC back in 1985 because of a $200 political donation. At least that was the reason given at the time. Rivera wondered why Stephanopoulos was being treated differently: “The point is ABC treated my undisclosed $200 donation harshly because the network wanted me out for that unrelated reason,” Rivera continued. “Now ABC is bending over backward to minimize and forgive George Stephanopoulos’s $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation because he is central to the network’s recent success.”

Former ABC News reporter Carole Simpson said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources that she “was dumbfounded.”

“But I wanted to just take him by the neck and say, George, what were you thinking?

“And clearly, he was not thinking. I thought it was outrageous, and I am sorry that, again, the public’s trust in the media is being challenged and frayed because of the actions of some of the top people in the business.”

She added that “there’s a coziness that George cannot escape the association. He was press secretary for President Clinton. That’s pretty close. And while he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really is not a journalist. Yet, ABC has made him the face of ABC News, the chief anchor. And I think they’re really caught in a quandary here.” She believes that ABC, despite their public support for Stephanopoulos, is “hopping mad” at him.

When the left has conflicts of interest involving money, the media allow the perpetrators—including themselves—to portray this as charity and supporting good causes. “[NBC’s Brian] Willams wrapped himself in the flag; Stephanopoulos cloaked himself in charity,” writes Grove. MSNBC identified 143 journalists making political donations between 2004 and the start of the 2008 campaign. “Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes,” according to NBC News.

But when conservatives are shown to have financial conflicts of interest, or even to have accepted legitimate campaign donations, they are generally portrayed as serving the interests of evil, greedy businessmen or lobbyists who are paying off politicians to allow them to pollute, destroy the environment, fatten up defense contractors and avoid paying taxes.

“As you know, the Democrats have said this is—this is an indication of your partisan interest. They say… you used to work for …President Bush as a speechwriter. You’re funded by the Koch brothers,” Stephanopoulos told Schweizer during the interview, casting the author as biased. Stephanopoulos, however, they want us to believe, is just an impartial journalist inquiring after the truth.

This is what happens when you have a corrupt media that don’t play fair, but instead put their thumb on the fairness scale to tilt it towards their partisan interests.


Black Mom Changes Leftist Narrative on Violence

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The reaction among responsible black and white law-abiding citizens to the black thugs rioting in Baltimore was captured by Toya Graham, the black mother who smacked her son around when she found him on the streets joining the attacks on police. Even liberals in the major media applauded her efforts.

“I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” she told CBS News, referring to her son and the black youth who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody.

CBS reported, “Graham, a single mom with six children, denounced the vandalism and violence against police officers. She said rioting in Baltimore is no way to go about getting justice for Freddie Gray and that she doesn’t want that life for her son.”

Graham then appeared on the CBS This Morning Show to discuss the incident and the struggle to raise her children.

The important teaching moment represented by this dramatic incident, a brief moment of sanity in the media, undercut the left-wing effort to somehow blame the police for the riots. As a result, the “progressives” had to go on the attack against the black mother.

Over at Think Progress, the blog of the pro-Obama Center for American Progress, Graham was attacked as a “misguided” mother who exercised bad judgment in holding her son accountable.  Writer Kira Lerner said the issue was alleged police violence, not rioting in the streets by black youth.

She quoted a woman with a group opposed to “police brutality” as saying that “While she doesn’t condone the looting that was highlighted by the media in Baltimore Monday night, she said she understands where the violent protesters are coming from.”

Meanwhile, over at Hot Air, a piece by Noah Rothman ran under the headline, “Don’t let urban unrest derail conservative criminal justice reform.” While the riots were underway, he insisted that “a consensus opinion” had emerged on both the left and the right in favor of getting soft on criminals and letting more of them out of prison.

In the wake of what has happened in Baltimore and Ferguson, the Republican primary electorate might be tempted to embrace a “tough on crime” candidate, but “That would be a mistake,” Rothman informed Hot Air readers.

What’s more, he lectured them, the war on drugs has “failed” and there is no alternative to letting “non-violent offenders” out of prison.

In fact, the war on drugs did not fail. David Evans, a special advisor to the Drug Free America Foundation, notes that marijuana use went down among young people by 25 percent from the advent of the Reagan administration’s “Just Say No” campaign to the inauguration of President Obama. “If we had had a reduction in any other health problem in the U.S. of 25 percent, we would consider it an outstanding success,” he said.

Being “tough on crime” is precisely what many observers, including that courageous Baltimore mom, have concluded needs to be done in the inner cities.

Going soft was precisely what the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, had done, accounting for the weak police response to the riots. Former police officer Michael Tremoglie points out that the Baltimore police knew that the mayor had said she wanted “protesters” protected and room furnished for them to “destroy,” and that “They knew that the DOJ [Department of Justice] was ‘monitoring’ what was occurring during the riots.”

Before he came to Hot Air, a site owned by Salem Communications, a Christian firm, Rothman had sung the praises of the pro-marijuana voices in the media such as MSNBC’s Touré. On another occasion, he had highlighted how comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Ice Cube had attacked commentator Nancy Grace’s anti-marijuana comments.

Hot Air, which claims to be the most heavily-trafficked conservative blog on the Internet, has emerged as a forum for pro-marijuana and soft-on-crime viewpoints, most of them articulated by Rothman, a former libertarian writer for Mediaite.

It is certainly true that the Rothman perspective on “criminal justice reform” has been embraced on the left.

As Accuracy in Media noted recently, in an article about a “criminal justice reform” conference held in Washington, D.C., there is a White House-directed effort to enlist conservatives to join with various progressive organizations to weaken laws against a series of violent and non-violent crimes.

Hillary Clinton joined the campaign on Wednesday, saying that “It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration.”

Some readers at Hot Air were astounded by the advice given by Rothman, who cited the Obama Justice Department as a reliable source of information on criminal justice issues, including alleged police violence.

One said, “Isn’t it great when we can come to Hot Air to read some halfwit ‘conservative’ columnist agree with Eric Holder about root causes?”

Another said, “I don’t think this is a very timely post. At least not whilst the animals are burning, looting, robbing, raping, killing each other and forming alliances with opposing gang bangers to destabilize the structure of society.”

Still another called attention to Heather MacDonald’s piece in the New York Post, “The Perilous New Push to Excuse Lawlessness,” as being “a hundred times better than Noah’s.” The writer said, “She’s an actual conservative who lived through the times when ‘law and order’ were questionable values, and conservatives had to fight hard to implement them.”

MacDonald had referred to “a wide-ranging movement [which] is already under way to transform the criminal justice system in order to avoid a disparate impact on blacks.” But since blacks commit a disproportionate amount of the crime, she said that fulfilling this promise “would require gutting murder statutes, and most other criminal laws,” and that the country’s two-decade-long crime drop would be in jeopardy.

Despite cities like Ferguson and Baltimore going up in flames and the rare story of a mother like Toya Graham making a plea for law-and-order, the liberal media are going to make sure that the movement for criminals’ rights that now operates under the goal of achieving “criminal justice reform” will get the lion’s share of the publicity.

Indeed, Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” just ran a favorable story about the “Coalition for Public Safety,” which is trying to make the ACLU sound like a reasonable organization conservatives can work with. Based on what was reported, it looks like some conservative groups are taking the bait.