04/7/17

Another Dan Rather Scandal

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Ever since his forced resignation in disgrace, Dan Rather has continued on a downward spiral. His career, such as it is, has been kept alive by appearances on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, where he takes potshots at his former employer and President Donald Trump. It is a sad spectacle.

Rather has now suffered another major embarrassment. The former anchorman of the CBS Evening News has been accused by a website devoted to exposing military corruption of falsely claiming to have been a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The editor-in-chief of the website www.MilitaryCorruption.com, retired U.S. Army Major Glenn MacDonald, says he stumbled across a published photo of Rather in a dress blue Marine Corps uniform in his book Rather Outspoken and decided to investigate the claim. The photo caption, “as a young Marine,” clearly indicates Rather had been a member in good standing of the Marine Corps.

But the truth, MacDonald says, is that Rather left the Marines before completing boot camp and the photo was obtained under questionable circumstances.

It has been known for years that Rather was discharged before he finished basic training. Those facts were established by investigator B.J. Burkett in his book Stolen Valor.

MilitaryCorruption.com took the story one important step further.

“In our exclusive story, we interviewed a senior retired Marine noncommissioned officer who was in around the same time as Rather claimed to have been in the Marines,” MacDonald said. “He told us the photo in question probably was the result of a policy the Corps had then of putting a blue blouse (from dress uniform) and ‘white cover’ (the saucer cap) on each ‘boot’ several weeks into their training to make sure the Marines had head shots of members of each training cycle to use for the Marine yearbook each successful Jarhead received at completion of USMC boot camp.”

That is the photo that Rather somehow obtained to use in his book so he could claim to be a “young Marine.”

“Dan Rather has written several biographical books over the past 40 years, but this was the first time the Texan climbed out on a limb and portrayed himself in print as a onetime member of the Corps,” reported MilitaryCorruption.com “It was a risky move, as Dan knows he didn’t graduate from boot camp.”

MacDonald said the photo used by Rather in his book was Marine Corps property, not his to use for self-promotion. So how did Rather get his hands on his photo, especially when he failed to graduate back in 1954?

We left questions about this with Rather’s new website, www.newsandgutsmedia.com, but have not received a response.

MacDonald tells AIM that the story has to be set straight for the sake of all of those who did serve. “I remembered all the Marines I had known over the years, some of them now dead, who would spin in their graves to know such a self-righteous phony was trying to trick Americans into thinking he was once part of their beloved Corps,” he said.

MilitaryCorruption.com reports that Rather had been verbally referring to himself as having been a Marine, or in the Marines, and “he must have figured at this stage of his career that he could get away with publishing the photo and deliberately deceiving the public.”

Ironically, Rather was forced out of his job at CBS after having been exposed by bloggers for using fake documents to misrepresent the military service of then President George W. Bush.

In the case of the Dan Rather-as-Marine story, notes WorldNetDaily, Rather has published fake news about himself.

Strangely, Rather was played by actor Robert Redford in the movie, “Truth” about the CBS phony documents scandal. Rather still insists he got the story right.

Almost as bizarre as Rather, Redford played reporter Bob Woodward in a movie about the Nixon Watergate scandal and wrote a recent column for The Washington Post, “45 years after Watergate, the truth is again in danger.”

In the column, which blasted President Trump’s treatment of the press, Redford said, “Sound and accurate journalism defends our democracy. It’s one of the most effective weapons we have to restrain the power-hungry.”

The column appeared before Trump’s claim about being wiretapped by the Obama administration was confirmed in revelations about the Watergate-style surveillance of Trump officials implicating former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

04/2/17

First They Came for Judge Napolitano

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

An admitted CIA mouthpiece writing for The Washington Post receives classified information and publishes it. He remains in good standing at the paper. Yet the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News offers his informed opinion that the British helped conduct surveillance on President Trump and is suspended for several days from on-air appearances.

This action by Fox News reflects disrespect for someone who has worked for the channel since 1998. It sends a message that the intelligence community, here and abroad, cannot be investigated.

Since the British NSA, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had issued a denial of what Napolitano had said, the feeling of most of the media (and the management of Fox News Channel) was apparently that this was the Gospel and must not be challenged.

The scalp of Judge Napolitano will forever be nailed to the wall of Fox News, setting an example of what happens when the establishment narrative about Russia and Trump is undermined. Napolitano was made into an example of what happens when the intelligence agencies are embarrassed.

We understand that journalists use intelligence officials as anonymous sources and therefore accommodate them. But when a commentator like Napolitano breaks the mold with information that embarrasses the intelligence community, he must be supported, not punished with a suspension. Otherwise, the notion of a free and independent press is a joke.

Meanwhile, an anchor for Fox News, gay activist Shepard Smith, makes a mockery of conservative values on a regular basis and continues to enjoy the blessings of the channel’s owners. This is what happens when a conservative channel takes its conservative base for granted and moves to the left in order to appear more acceptable to the rest of the media. Smith was actually designated to declare on the air that Napolitano’s report was incorrect. No details were offered on what investigations were done, if any, to question the sources behind his claims. One source came forward to validate what the judge had said.

His “return” was instructive and quite uncomfortable. Host Bill Hemmer offered a lame joke that Napolitano “had a few quiet days” and “likely needed them.” Napolitano said he stood by his report that the British played a role in the surveillance, “and the sources stand by it.”

Meanwhile, over at The Washington Post, CIA mouthpiece David Ignatius is still on the payroll of Jeff Bezos, the Amazon billionaire owner of the paper with CIA and NSA connections. Little is said or reported about this curious arrangement.

The Post is an example of the corporate marriage between the media and intelligence establishments. It has become a weapon in the arsenal of the Democratic Party and the Obama officials still ensconced in the intelligence agencies.

As we should all know by now, Ignatius received an illegal leak of classified information about conversations involving Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and reported them in the paper. Both the leak and the publication of the information constitute potential felonies under the law.

Ignatius continues to write from the viewpoint of those who want to use anonymous sources to destroy the Trump presidency. His latest column is a blast at the courageous head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), for continuing to probe the issues of illegal leaks and illegal surveillance of the Trump team. Ignatius knows the trail leads to his desk and then to a high-ranking Obama official in the CIA, NSA or FBI.

His obvious conflict of interest is cause for concern among anyone with a remote sense of journalistic ethics.

But the Post, whose owner Jeff Bezos does business with the CIA and NSA, looks the other way.

Incredibly, Ignatius tried to turn the tables on Nunes, saying, “He needs to demonstrate that he’s the chairman of a bipartisan oversight panel trusted with the nation’s secrets, rather than a conduit for information from the Trump White House.”

For the record, nobody knows the identity of the source that provided evidence to Nunes of improper or illegal surveillance of the Trump team. It is completely absurd, however, for Ignatius to posture as someone concerned about the protection of “the nation’s secrets.”

Our column, “Investigate and Prosecute the Press,” remains as valid today as when we published it.

In a promotional advertisement trying to drum up subscriptions, the Post declares, “Democracy needs great journalism. Great journalism needs you.”

Bezos ought to be indicted for false advertising and consumer fraud. He ought to be invited to testify after Nunes is done with Ignatius.

Indeed, Ignatius ought to be hauled in front of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and grilled on his relationship with the anonymous sources who provided him with classified information.

Nunes just might have the guts to do this. But it’s clear that the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (NC), is in over his head, and is letting the ranking minority member, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), virtually run the hearings on the Senate side.

In their “Statement on Inquiry into Russian Intelligence Activities,” Burr and Warner didn’t indicate any effort would be undertaken to discover the source of the illegal leaks and whether surveillance of the Trump team had taken place.

No wonder the Post wants to destroy Nunes. He is standing in the way of the establishment reasserting the primacy of their narrative on the Russians and Trump. They got Napolitano’s scalp; now they want to get that of Nunes.

  • Call 202- 225-4121 and support Rep. Nunes, urging him to hold the media and the intelligence community accountable for illegal leaks of classified information.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/30/17

A Fake Bill to Promote Fake News

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

One of the more newsworthy aspects of the Democratic Party’s turnabout on Russia has been the introduction by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) of a bill to investigate Russian propaganda outlet RT (Russia Today) as a foreign agent. In fact, broadcaster Jerry Kenney had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice back in 2011 alleging that RT and Al Jazeera were both violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by not disclosing in their propaganda broadcasts that they are agents of foreign powers.

However, former President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, which supervises FARA, took no action.

Kenney told us, “Shaheen’s sudden concern about foreign influence operations rings a little hollow to me. Her bill seems more like a political prop to keep alive the fake news story of a Russia-Trump unholy alliance. It is a fake bill to perpetuate fake news.” He added, “As far as I know, the Department of Justice has all the tools it needs to enforce FARA. What it hasn’t had, at least under Obama, was the will to enforce it.”

Accuracy in Media has noted that RT hosts Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are not Trump supporters or conservatives, but in fact are progressives connected to the Democratic Party. Schultz used to work for MSNBC.

In a brief interview I had with Hartmann, he refused to say how much the Kremlin paid him for his show on RT, “The Big Picture.” He then grabbed my camera.

In a January 19 article, we noted that AIM has published literally dozens of stories over the years about RT’s service to the Moscow regime. We asked, “So why didn’t the Obama Justice Department act on TV producer Jerry Kenney’s complaint that RT should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and be labeled as foreign propaganda? That’s what the law requires.”

The answer is that RT didn’t become a problem for the liberals and the Democrats until they perceived that Moscow’s agents had deserted their cause, and that the Russian angle could be used for partisan political purposes against Republicans.

In that AIM article, I also noted that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed my well-documented 2012 complaint about RT’s open support for libertarian Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican presidential primary. We cited evidence that RT was funded by the Kremlin and prohibited under law from intervening in U.S. elections. The FEC dismissed the complaint, saying RT was a legitimate press entity and a U.S. corporation with First Amendment rights.

Where was the outrage over that ruling?

The stated purpose of the Shaheen bill, the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act (S.625), is “to preserve the integrity of American elections by providing the Attorney General with investigative tools” to crack down on foreign agents who unlawfully influence our political process.

“We have good reason to believe that RT News is coordinating with the Russian government to spread misinformation and undermine our democratic process,” said Shaheen. “The American public has a right to know if this is the case.”

The American public who have been reading AIM already know. Plus, RT once aired its own video showing Vladimir Putin reviewing its broadcast operations in Moscow.

It’s no secret that RT is Moscow-financed and run.

Kenney commented, “Now that the Democrats have lost the White House, Shaheen is shocked to see that foreign influence operations are going on here. Where has she been for the last few years as Obama’s DOJ refused to investigate Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today, Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Communist China’s CCTV (China Central Television)?”

Kenney notes that these foreign propaganda operations are packaged as “news” and have been airing on 30 taxpayer-supported public educational TV stations via the MHz Network Worldview, a network offering “international news and entertainment” in English. “To my knowledge, these ‘news’ channels still have not registered or published disclosures as required by FARA, even though there is ample evidence in the public domain that they are actually foreign government propaganda operations,” he says.

If Shaheen is so concerned about foreign influence, he went on to say, “why didn’t she do something to stop the FCC’s recent rule change that fast tracks 100 percent foreign ownership of America’s radio and TV broadcasters? In all fairness to Senator Shaheen, the Republicans didn’t oppose it, either.”

Kenney said that if the politicians in Washington are really serious about foreign influence operations in the U.S., they could veto the new FCC rule by using the Congressional Review Act.

The Shaheen bill has only three co-sponsors, with one, Senator Todd Young of Indiana, a Republican. Young’s involvement as a Republican fellow-traveler makes it a piece of “bipartisan legislation.”

If Shaheen is serious about exposing RT’s ties to Russia, perhaps she could ask fellow progressive Thom Hartmann to provide testimony about RT, including the facts and figures about his Moscow funding that he won’t talk about publicly.

It would be easy enough for him to show up at a Senate hearing. His “Big Picture” program is filmed live and broadcast from the RT America studios in Washington, D.C.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/30/17

When Ted Koppel Was a Serious Thinker

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

As someone who goes back decades with Accuracy in Media, I remember the days when Ted Koppel, then with ABC News and host of “Nightline,” would cover serious matters and treat his conservative critics with respect. So Koppel’s attack on Sean Hannity of Fox News was a shocker. Something has happened to journalism, and the problem is not with Hannity, it’s with Koppel.

Koppel, now with CBS, attacked Hannity as being “bad for America” because of his opinionated Fox News channel program. But there was a time when Koppel was open to criticism. AIM founder Reed Irvine had many friendly confrontations with Koppel over various issues. When Reed died, Koppel said, “Reed Irvine was, at times, a harsh critic of the television news industry and me in particular, but throughout the many years that I knew him, he was never anything but courtly and personally gracious. Just as I would insist that all other enterprises in our society benefit from the presence of a critical and fearless press, so too the press benefits from being held to high and occasionally harsh standards. Reed Irvine fulfilled that function to the greater good of all.”

All of a sudden, however, Koppel has decided to go on the attack against conservatives. He is not alone. You can frequently find the rants of the disgraced former anchorman of the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather, on obscure left-wing websites like Reader Supported News. In one of his latest posts, Rather says of President Trump, “… the Russian shadow continues to darken.” This is funny, considering that one of AIM’s investigations of Rather concluded that he had become a vehicle for Russian Communist propaganda when he used the CBS Evening News to broadcast the charge that AIDS had been manufactured by the Pentagon. This was before his career ended in disgrace after being caught using fake documents to smear President George W. Bush.

Now a “special contributor” to the CBS “Sunday Morning” program, Koppel’s confrontation with Hannity was described by CBS as being about the “polarization of politics and the media in the Age of Trump.” The show’s website said that Koppel “charged Fox News host Sean Hannity with contributing to the increased antipathy toward opposing viewpoints that is prevalent in America.” Hannity’s “crime” is offering conservative news and opinion.

Conservative news and commentary are facts of life that should be studied and understood, not ridiculed as beyond the pale. Conservative blogs began the process of unraveling Rather’s smear of Bush, leading to the destruction of the CBS newsman’s career. Hannity offers news and opinion that fill a void and meet the demands of his audience.

As a long-time news analyst, I find it refreshing that at least some professors are taking the rise of conservative journalism seriously and treating it as a subject to be studied. In a “Call for Book Chapters on Conservative News,” professors Anthony M. Nadler and A.J. Bauer are calling on academics and others to contribute essays on the growth and influence of conservative news and opinion outlets.

“Conservative news has become a tremendously powerful platform in the United States, wielding a vast influence on the terms of political discourse,” they note.

Nadler is an Assistant Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Ursinus College and is the author of Making the News Popular: Mobilizing U.S. News Audiences (2016, University of Illinois Press). Bauer is a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow and Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University.

It may be the case that liberal academia is looking for an antidote to the success of conservative news and information. But the success of shows like Sean Hannity’s are something to be studied, not mocked as “bad for America.”

“Crucially,” notes Bauer, “reported trust in major news media in the U.S. differs greatly along partisan lines.” This reflects the fact that conservative Americans have rejected the liberal media, and have looked for and found alternatives.

In his preliminary draft for the full project proposal, Bauer writes, “While it is obvious that conservative news cultures have been powerful and among the forces shaping the circulation and norms of political discourse, critical media studies has largely let the story of conservative news slip past its view.”

In other words, the liberals in the media and academia did not see this coming. They didn’t understand the powerful forces of conservative media as a reaction to the liberal media monopoly that is now in the process of disintegrating.

Ted Koppel is in a position to understand and study this phenomenon. Instead, Koppel highlights a “polarized America.” He had a chance to understand the phenomenon of conservative news and opinion, but decided instead to attack it.

It’s “bad for America” when liberals in the media abandon the debate and try to smear their opponents. We didn’t expect this from Koppel.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/28/17

Trump Continues Obama Policies

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

The Heritage Foundation article, “We Don’t Have to Choose Between Putin and George Soros,” is a very effective rebuttal to claims in the media that conservatives who oppose the influence of billionaire George Soros in foreign affairs are therefore siding with another billionaire, Russian ruler Vladimir Putin. The author, Mike Gonzalez, looks into the global struggle playing out on the international stage between these two major figures, and how conservatives are smeared as members of the Putin camp by liberal media outlets like Politico.

Gonzalez focuses on the small country of Macedonia, where “Soros and the U.S. Embassy have thrown their support behind parties contending against the conservative party VMRO—imperfect as many political parties around the world no doubt are, but very much pro-U.S. and pro-NATO.” Gonzalez examines Soros’s far-left agenda of open borders, abortion on demand and homosexual/transgender rights, and comments, “If for lack of a conservative alternative, VMRO turns to Putin to counter this far-left agenda coming from outside the country, that is our fault—and Soros.”

It is “our fault,” he says, because the State Department continues to facilitate Soros operations to transform the culture and politics of foreign countries.

Of course, President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can change this, but they have been resistant to putting conservatives in place to change the course of U.S. foreign policy.

Gonzalez had previously examined how Soros money was corrupting the political process in Macedonia, with the assistance of the U.S. State Department. He noted that the Obama-appointed U.S. ambassador in the capital of Skopje, Jess Baily, has shown a political bias against the Macedonian conservative party, VMRO, and was promoting a left-wing coalition.

Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate had asked Baily to explain reports that his embassy had selected Soros’ Open Society Foundations as the main implementer of U.S. Agency for International Development projects in Macedonia. The State Department’s response “was thin on details regarding funding for Soros’ foundation and groups it controls,” Gonzalez reports.

Gonzalez has put his finger on a dialectical maneuver that plays into Putin’s hands. In response to official U.S. support for “liberal progressive policies around the world,” conservatives and moderates in foreign countries believe they have nowhere else to go except Putin, the former KGB officer now operating undercover as a religious conservative touting traditional values and national identity.

The U.S., not Putin, should be promoting Western values. But Obama’s State Department promoted a form of cultural imperialism that reflected the “fundamental transformation” of the United States. That is, multiculturalism, gay rights, abortion rights and even the rights of prostitutes!

Then there is Soros’ long-standing pro-drug legalization agenda, as we documented 12 years ago in our special report, “The Hidden Soros Agenda: Drugs, Money, the Media, and Political Power.” The leftist billionaire is accelerating his activities in Latin America on behalf of pro-drug interests.

In Costa Rica, for example, conservatives are alarmed by the push to legalize marijuana under the cover that the drug supposedly has “medical benefits.” One of them told me, “What we fear is that drug traffickers will shield themselves under regulations included in the medical marijuana bill if it passes, making it easier for them to send illegal substances to other countries, including the U.S.” He said the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica has been alerted to how Soros-backed organizations are putting pressure on the country’s Congress to pass a so-called medical marijuana bill. “We hoped for a change of mentality from the U.S. Embassy since President Trump was elected,” this source added, “but these officials are from the Obama administration and they stopped communicating with us after we mentioned Soros.”

In his column, “Vetting Trump’s Foreign Policy Team,” my colleague Roger Aronoff examined some of Trump’s high-profile picks and concluded that “…Trump needs to do a better job of filling key positions and vetting the people who are making and carrying out his policies. Otherwise, his administration could turn out to be a disaster.”

Looking at various selections in the foreign policy and national security fields, Aronoff asks, “Are these rookie mistakes or does Trump not care if his campaign promises regarding Israel, combating the Islamic jihadis, and ripping up the Iran deal go unfulfilled?”

Incredibly, as Aronoff notes, Trump himself “has signaled his unwillingness to fill many of his political appointee posts” with committed conservatives.

By continuing Obama’s policies and keeping Obama personnel in place, as Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation demonstrates, Trump is actually furthering the foreign policy goals of Putin. If this continues, it will constitute a form of collusion between the Trump and Obama administrations.

Perhaps that was the goal of the so-called “silent coup” all along—to keep in place the Soros policies financed by the Obama administration. If so, it appears that Trump has lost another big battle that will make his health care defeat seem like small potatoes.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/26/17

Free Judge Napolitano!

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed, described by Wikipedia as “a liberal American internet media company based in New York City,” is in the “donor spotlight” at the national news museum in Washington, D.C., known as the Newseum. The “honor” demonstrates how the media have changed and how low they have sunk.

A virtual property of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed has been a cog in the anti-Trump media machine.

The “donor spotlight” designation is strangely appropriate, since BuzzFeed disclosed the so-called “Trump Dossier” used by the intelligence community to smear President Trump. “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” the social media site acknowledged while spreading the dubious claims.

By contrast, the John Peter Zenger exhibit located in the Newseum highlights a printer whose publication used the weapon of truth. The Newseum tells us, “German immigrant John Peter Zenger became a free-press hero before there was a First Amendment. On Nov. 17, 1734, the newspaper publisher was jailed for printing truthful articles in his New-York Weekly Journal accusing British Colonial governor William Cosby of being corrupt.”

The “Trump Dossier” released by BuzzFeed was concocted by a former British intelligence agent, and turned over to James Comey’s FBI. Around that time, in July of 2016, notes columnist Lawrence Sellin, the FBI launched its investigation of the unproven connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Comey told Congress that the Bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” of 2016.

“What a coincidence,” writes Sellin, a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that “the FBI investigation was based on highly questionable evidence” for which former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele reportedly “paid intermediaries who in turn paid sources for the information he used in the report.” In other words, he says, they were third-hand rumors from unidentified individuals. Sellin adds, “Remarkably, along with Trump’s political opponents, the Obama-Comey FBI planned to pay Steele to continue his work.”

The British link is significant. While Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano has been suspended for suggesting that the British NSA, known as GCHQ, had access to the surveillance information used against Trump, the two organizations do in fact have a history of working closely together.

This is shaping up as an example of how the Deep State operates, writes Sellin. In this case, intelligence arrangements are made “that open the possibility for government officials to skirt inconvenient national laws in order to surveil citizens and then use the products of that surveillance for political purposes.”

For raising necessary questions about this arrangement, Napolitano was reportedly banned from Fox News. He is the modern-day John Peter Zenger. However, his March 16 column, “Did Obama Spy on Trump?” is still on his website and looks increasingly relevant every day that passes.

This has been a major black mark for Fox News. Still, Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity are trying to cover the deepening scandal involving Obama administration surveillance of Trump and his associates.

The role that has been played by Comcast and its properties in the anti-Trump campaign is a teachable moment that allows us to reflect on the meaning of the First Amendment and how modern media have left behind the legacy of John Peter Zenger.

In contrast to Zenger, who used the weapon of truth against public officials, BuzzFeed used lies that were apparently devised for partisan political purposes by a foreign operative.

Referring to Comcast and others, Trump adviser Peter Navarro said during the campaign, “Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

BuzzFeed has been forced to apologize to one of those named in the Trump Dossier, in preparation for a suit filed against them.

By contrast, Zenger was found not guilty of seditious libel after his attorney, Alexander Hamilton, said, “It is not the cause of one poor printer, but the cause of liberty.”

Rather than being given a distinction as a valued donor, perhaps an exhibit in the Newseum should highlight BuzzFeed as an example of the politically-correct corporate media that today makes a mockery of First Amendment values.

At the same time, the Newseum should consider embracing the cause of freeing Judge Napolitano.

There’s no money in doing so. It would just be the right thing to do. It would be a reaffirmation of First Amendment values.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/25/17

Media Lose Another Round to Trump

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

On the same day that the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal warned that President Donald Trump was going to go down in history as a “fake president,” in part because of his “false tweet” about the “wiretapping” of Trump Tower, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee disclosed evidence of the wiretapping, also known as surveillance.

The Journal editorial, “A President’s Credibility,” will probably not be followed up by an editorial on the Journal’s lack of credibility.

The anti-Trump editorial followed “conservative” Fox News undermining its own commentator, Judge Andrew Napolitano, whose sources said that the surveillance was conducted by the British to give U.S. intelligence officials plausible deniability. Napolitano was apparently suspended.

But thanks to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the committee, Trump has been vindicated, media credibility has suffered another blow, and the inquiry is taking a very interesting turn. It is now turning to the question of what President Barack Obama knew and when he knew it, and what role FBI Director James Comey has been playing in the cover-up.

At Monday’s hearing, Comey said, “With respect to the President’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

The evidence cited by Nunes suggests that Comey lied. Who is he protecting? It looks like Obama and/or his top aides.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had asked Comey: “Did you brief President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?” Comey replied, “I’m not gonna get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I had with the President. So I can’t answer that.”

This is critical because Flynn’s name was improperly “unmasked” and was then illegally leaked to David Ignatius of The Washington Post, resulting in Flynn’s forced resignation as national security advisor.

When Gowdy asked Comey if he could assure the American people that the illegal leak of classified information in the Flynn case was going to be investigated, the FBI director replied, “I can’t but I hope—I hope people watching know how seriously we take leaks of classified information. But I don’t want to confirm it by saying that we’re investigating it. And I’m sorry I have to draw the line, I just think that’s the right way to be.”

Here was an obvious case of illegal conduct, but the director would not confirm an investigation. Yet he confirmed an investigation of Trump and his associates, without any evidence of wrongdoing, and won’t discuss what he told President Obama about the investigation.

“I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked,” Nunes said in his statement on the surveillance. He added, “To be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.” Nunes then outlined some of the key issues regarding the surveillance:

  • Who was aware of it?
  • Why it was not disclosed to Congress?
  • Who requested and authorized the additional unmasking?
  • Did anyone direct the intelligence community to focus on Trump associates? and
  • Were any laws, regulations or procedures violated?

The Journal’s editorial attacking Trump’s credibility has backfired. We now know, according to Nunes and the whistleblower who came forward with this information to his committee, that a massive cover-up has been underway involving the intelligence community, including the FBI. Unraveling the cover-up may lead into the oval office—not Trump’s, but Obama’s.

The Journal editorial said Trump’s claim about wiretapping or surveillance had been “repudiated by his own FBI director.” Now that FBI director has been repudiated.

The Journal also condemned the Trump White House for accepting “an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally,” a reference to Napolitano’s report about British involvement in the surveillance.

What is “unchecked” is the “public denial” from the British Government Communications Headquarters. Why should the British be believed, when there have been decades of collaboration between the GCHQ and the NSA?

The Journal suggested that Trump was clinging to the claim of surveillance “like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.” Leaving aside the defamatory nature of this innuendo, it would appear that the bottle is not only full but that there is more to come.

At this stage in the investigation, responsible media should encourage more whistleblowers to come forward, so that former Obama White House officials, including possibly Obama himself, can be put under oath and grilled about their knowledge of the surveillance.

As for Comey, he joins the Journal’s editorial page writers on the list of people who have completely lost their credibility and can’t be trusted. He should resign and be replaced.

Regarding Fox News, the network should reinstate Judge Napolitano and establish a special unit to investigate the FBI and the intelligence community. Sean Hannity shouldn’t be the only Fox News personality trying to get to the bottom of this Watergate-type scandal.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/23/17

Vetting Trump’s Foreign Policy Team

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump fared much better in the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday than the left-wing, establishment media would have you believe. The American Spectator’s George Neumayr captured the essence of the findings: “…the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?”

But for weeks now, CNN and MSNBC have been calling Trump a liar, saying that there is no evidence to support his tweets, and demanding that he back down and apologize for his accusations against former President Barack Obama.

But Trump is also taking hits from people who have generally supported him, but who feel he is failing to live up to his promises. One such example is a recent column by Ann Coulter, who criticizes Trump for supporting the Ryan-Trump American Health Care Act as the replacement for Obamacare, and for his slow start on getting control of the illegal alien issue and border security. Coulter says that “This is starting to look like every other Republican administration.” Yes, his administration is just two months old, so maybe it’s too early to judge on those issues.

Another issue that is raising concern is how Trump is doing on foreign policy and national security matters. Does President Trump need additional assistance in vetting his nominees to administration posts? An examination of his national security appointees raises the question of whether his team knows what questions to ask, and if they are properly vetting his staff.

The political activities of former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Flynn, who also served a short time as national security advisor to Trump, demonstrate the administration’s inadequate scrutiny. Flynn resigned for “withholding the full story of his communications with Russia’s ambassador,” reported The New York Times. But that wasn’t the end of the conflicts of interest. After leaving office, Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of Turkish interests; he had earned $530,000 for that work. If Trump’s team wasn’t aware of this, they should have been, just by paying attention to the public record, including a column that came out on Election Day that read like a paid advertorial for the Turkish government.

Although Flynn’s contract ended in November, the Times reported that a transition lawyer and a White House lawyer told Flynn that it was “up to him” whether to disclose his activities.

Trump’s pick for Defense Secretary, retired Marine General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, initially selected as undersecretary of defense for policy Anne Patterson, who inspired Egyptian protests due to her support for the Muslim Brotherhood. “She [Patterson] came under fire for cultivating too close a relationship with the regime and for discouraging protests against it—and White House officials are voicing concerns about those decisions now,” reports Politico. Criticism of Patterson, and an uncertain confirmation process, led Mattis to withdraw this nomination.

Personnel is policy, and Trump ultimately holds the reins of power in the administration—if he does not abdicate that responsibility. Calling on 46 U.S. attorneys to tender their resignation was a good first step, and in keeping with past presidents.

But President Trump has signaled his unwillingness to fill many of his political appointee posts. “A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint, because they’re unnecessary to have,” Trump told Fox News. He continued, “You know, we have so many people in government, even me. I look at some of the jobs and it’s people over people over people. I say, ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”

That’s clearly true, but unfortunately, when key personnel spots go unfulfilled, the administration is ceding power to the bureaucracy, which may, in turn, empower those still loyal to Obama and intent on crippling the Trump presidency. “If you don’t have a philosophy, if you don’t have a view, the risk is extraordinarily high that the bureaucracies at the State Department, the CIA, the Defense Department will co-opt the new secretary, the new head of the agency,” argued former UN ambassador John Bolton, speaking as a guest on the Breitbart News Daily show. “The bureaucracy’s policies will become their policy, and then if the White House doesn’t resist, they’ll become the administration’s policy.”

Lee Smith of The Weekly Standard wrote a much talked about piece last week for The Tablet titled, “Will Obama’s Foreign Policy Wizards Save Trump?” “What’s really bizarre is that the Trump team keeps blaming damaging leaks to the press on Obama holdovers—when the Trump team is hiring Obama holdovers,” writes Smith. “They may have caught Anne Patterson before she got past the velvet rope, but Obama people staff key positions elsewhere, on Israel, Iran, ISIS, and Syria issues. Which makes sense, since the policies they are tasked with carrying out are so far exactly the same as they were under Obama.”

By leaving in place Obama political appointees President Trump risks that these people will work to undermine his stated agenda. For example, Michael Ratney, former U.S. consul to Jerusalem, who Conservative Review describes as “one of John Kerry’s closest confidantes,” now heads “the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio at the State Department.”

Smith describes another Obama holdover, “Yael Lempert, a National Security Council staffer from the Obama administration that the Trump team decided to keep on.” Smith quotes a former Clinton official who said that Lempert “is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively and diminish the breadth and depth of our alliance. Most Democrats in town know better than to let her manage Middle East affairs. It looks like the Trump administration has no idea who she is or how hostile she is to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Are these rookie mistakes or does Trump not care if his campaign promises regarding Israel, combating the Islamic jihadis, and ripping up the Iran deal go unfulfilled? On the plus side, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is doing great things to re-define America’s role in that institution, after eight years of Susan Rice and Samantha Power occupying America’s seat at the UN.

Trump’s new national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has stated that he believes that radical Islamic terrorism is a perversion of Islam—not an outgrowth of the principles contained within that religion. The New York Times reports that McMaster “told his staff” that “‘radical Islamic terrorism’ was not helpful because terrorists are ‘un-Islamic.’” That newspaper heralded this as McMaster rejecting “a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.” Trump himself doesn’t hesitate to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Shouldn’t they be on the same page?

What this demonstrates, in fact, is McMaster’s blindness toward the roots of Islamic terror. As long as he remains the national security advisor to Trump, his rhetoric should be considered sanctioned by the administration.

Even more disturbing are rumblings that Trump may renege on his promise to “rip [the Iran deal] up.” In an opinion column for CNN, “Why Trump won’t tear up Iran nuclear deal,” David Andelman argues that “you don’t hear that ‘rip it up’ language any longer. And you won’t.” Reuters reports that the Trump administration is using the same messaging to the Board of Governors as used under Obama: “Iran must strictly and fully adhere to all commitments and technical measures for their duration.” Lee Smith pointed out that “former National Iranian American Council (NIAC) staffer Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, Obama’s NSC director for Iran, is now on the policy-planning staff in Trump’s State Department.” NIAC is effectively the Iran Lobby in the U.S.

If Iran is supposed to honor their commitments in the unsigned deal, will Trump also uphold the misguided U.S. political commitments as well? Trump’s pick to head the CIA, former Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), has called this agreement “nothing more than a press release and just about as enforceable.”

It is the media’s responsibility to hold Trump accountable for keeping his promises to the American people, instead of working to undermine his policies. But Trump needs to do a better job of filling key positions and vetting the people who are making and carrying out his policies. Otherwise, his administration could turn out to be a disaster.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

03/23/17

Impeach Trump? I Don’t Think So

By: Lloyd Marcus

The Left continues to relentlessly promote their lie that Trump stole the election by scheming with the Russians. Their goal is to get enough people believing Trump’s presidency is illegitimate that they can impeach him.

Folks, these people on the Left and GOP establishment still do not understand what they are dealing with. I can only imagine the fallout of reversing the will of the American people by impeaching their president. I realize I sound like a broken record repeating myself, but Trump is a phenomenon like nothing we have seen before.

A year ago, I traveled state to state campaigning for Ted Cruz. My team and I stood on street corners waving Cruz signs. Numerous obnoxious people drove by us screaming, “T-R-U-M-P-P-P!!!” Never have I seen such passion for a candidate.

Our team traveled through the heartland in an SUV. We saw “TRUMP” painted on the side of barns and rooftops; “Trump/Pence” billboards; countless hand painted “Trump” signs and a gazillion official blue and white “Trump” yard signs. Clearly, something unique was happening.

Then there were the remarkable unprecedented crowds at Trump rallies. I shared how I was given VIP passes for a Trump rally in Daytona Beach Florida. I was told the rally was at 3pm and the doors opened at 9am. I thought, “Why would the doors open at 9 for a 3 o’clock rally?” I arrived at 2pm and was blown away. I had to park 5 blocks away from the convention center. Streets were blocked off with people in orange vests waving cars away. Despite my VIP pass, I could not get in. There were thousands outside the filled to capacity convention center. I thought what on earth is going on? I also could not miss the broad mix of people there excited about Trump. By the way, Trump is still drawing remarkable crowds.

Another first I noticed was supermarket tabloids trashing a democrat with headlines like, “Crooked Hillary.” Trump’s TV show was on for 11 years. Millions knew he was about winning and getting things done.

Even in the conservative circles in which I functioned as an activist, all I heard was Trump is a rude crude clown who will be humiliated by Hillary. I believed they were wrong. While mainstream media and political experts viewed Trump as the not-ready-for-prime-time candidate, the American people obvious saw something different.

Americans saw a straight-talking non-political-speak guy who understood their frustration with nonsensical liberal governing; ignoring our borders, ignoring our Constitution, the Obamacare fiasco, rewarding our enemies and purposely orchestrating the decline of our country.

When my guy, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race, I immediately jumped aboard the Trump Train. http://bit.ly/2nILInB Why? Because I knew Hillary in power would be a nightmare; continuing Obama’s putting America last; using government to bully Americans – forcing the far-left-radical agenda down our throats.

Little did I know then that Trump would prove to be God’s perfect choice for such a time as this. While I love Cruz, I do not believe Cruz or any pro-politician could successfully take on Washington, challenging the status quo the way Trump is doing.

The arrogant fake news media had a cow over Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer boldly confronting their lies, distortions and blatant hypocrisy. http://read.bi/2o0fXqo“Oh, how rude! This Trump Administration is so uncouth!”

Meanwhile, the American people are standing up and cheering. “It’s about time someone got into these jerks’ faces, calling them out!” As I said, mainstream media and political establishment simply do not know who and what they are dealing with.

To this day, I suspect some politically sophisticated conservatives are so embarrassed by Trump and protective of the political status quo that they secretly wish Hillary won and hope Trump is impeached. It amazes me that anti-Trump conservatives and Republicans do not realize the bullet in the heart of freedom America dodged by choosing Trump.

I spoke and sang at one of the national “March 4 Trump” rallies in Orlando. Trump-mania is as high as ever. Attendees were happy, excited, upbeat, enthusiastic and highly motivated in their support for our new president.

Clearly, we are engaged in an epic battle: The fake news media, Hollywood and Washington DC establishment verses Trump and We the People. I cannot imagine the American people tolerating the impeachment of Trump, their president.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Author: “Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America.”
Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist
[email protected]

03/18/17

A Watergate-style Threat to the Democratic Process

Accuracy in Media


A special report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.
(Editor’s Note: Public hearings on this controversy are scheduled for March 20 and 28 by the House Intelligence Committee.)

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders from both parties, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA), have issued a disingenuous statement that “no element of the United States government” surveilled “Trump Tower.” They dishonestly evade the fact that media reporting two days earlier had said that British intelligence operating at U.S. behest had likely been implicated in wiretapping Trump and Trump associates, all at the instigation of the U.S. government.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on March 16 that Fox News sources have reported through retired Judge Andrew Napolitano that then-President Obama had used two officials to arrange with the British NSA, called GCHQ or Government Communications Headquarters, to carry out the wiretapping of both Trump and Trump associates. (See this AIM guest column.) The British now dispute this claim.

This evasive use of British spying is done in order to leave no American “fingerprints” on the highly illegal operation, as the White House quoted Judge Napolitano. It is a long-standing practice under treaty-like intelligence agreements that British intelligence can use NSA facilities, and vice versa, for shell-game eavesdropping.

The trick is for the two agencies to swap places so that the NSA can deny they are wiretapping, and the GCHQ can deny that they are wiretapping. The Brits are trying to escape in between these moves of what a key expert has called the US-UK “wiretapping shell game.”

This is the first time that news sources have explicitly stated that Obama personally ordered the wiretapping of Trump himself, through Obama officials going to the British, though it has been implied in the past by the suspicious lack of any circumspect denials, even when The New York Times said on January 19 and 20 that “wiretapped communications” went to the Obama White House. No one in the article said “Obama White House—but not Obama personally.”

Consider how one important person—President Trump—got the clear media message that he was indeed the target of the spying: President Trump told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that he read this New York Times story of January 20 before he tweeted about Obama “wiretapping” him. White House spokesman Spicer quoted from this article.

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