Local Media Repeatedly Failed to Report That Virginia Republican Senate Nominee Is a Neo-Confederate
On June 12, neo-Confederate Corey Stewart was elected to be the Republican nominee to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). Stewart is an ardent defender of Confederate symbols and a staunch opponent of immigrants’ rights, and he has been affiliated with white supremacists. Unfortunately for Virginians, local TV news in the state largely failed to mention Stewart’s extremism while reporting on his victory. While some Virginia newspapers did a better job in giving the context of Stewart’s background to audiences, others largely failed to mention his bigotry.
Stewart, who is currently a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, was the Virginia state co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has been described as a “mini-Trump,” and heavily courted the “alt-right” and figures who have self-identified with the movement. Shortly after he was fired from his position with the campaign in October 2016 for taking part in a protest against the Republican National Committee, Stewart gave an interview to Mike Cernovich, a far-right troll who has a history of promoting conspiracy theories. During the interview, Cernovich said that “he calls establishment Republicans ‘cucks’ because ‘they like to see Trump get screwed over by the media, that's what they get off on.’” Stewart replied, “Yeah, I would agree.” The term “cuck,” short for “cuckold,” is widely used within “alt-right” and pro-Trump circles.
In January 2017, Stewart spoke out in support of Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist congressional candidate who holds and espouses deeply racist views, calling him one of his “personal heros.” According to CNN, Stewart later paid almost $800 to the "pro-White" Nehlen as a “fundraising commission.” And in February 2017, Stewart attended an event put on by “Unity & Security for America,” a group run by Jason Kessler, the white nationalist who would months later organize the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. According to The Washington Post, Stewart himself claimed that white nationalists were “unfairly singled out” for their role in the rally. Stewart has since disavowed both men, but as The New York Times reports, Nehlen at least already had a history of making anti-Muslim slurs when Stewart initially praised him.
Stewart is also a stalwart defender of Confederate symbols and has helped spearhead the movement against immigration and immigrants’ rights in Virginia. During his 2017 campaign for Virginia governor, he displayed a Confederate flag while recording a Facebook live segment, declaring, “Folks, this is a symbol of heritage. It is not a symbol of racism. It is not a symbol of slavery.” Stewart later claimed that “ISIS has won” after a Confederate monument was taken down in New Orleans, LA. During his time as a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Stewart has supported aggressively anti-immigrant policies. He helped passlegislation to bar undocumented immigrants from receiving county services and often fearmongers about immigrants in Virginia, warning residents about the “scourge of illegal aliens who are preying on law-abiding United States citizens here in Fairfax County,” incorrectly stating that the city of Fairfax has “declared itself a ‘sanctuary city.’”
Local TV news dropped the ball on acknowledging Stewart’s extremism
Eight major TV news stations in two of Virginia’s largest media markets largely failed to inform viewers that the Republican nominee for Senate is an anti-immigrant, neo-Confederate extremist with ties to white supremacists. Media Matters reviewed local TV coverage of Stewart’s win during nighttime (11 p.m.; 10 p.m. for Fox affiliates) and evening (6 p.m. or 7 p.m.) news programing from 9 p.m. on June 12 (when Stewart was declared the winner) through June 14. Of the four stations carrying local news in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News media market, not one mentioned Stewart’s extremist past. Coverage in the Roanoke-Lynchburg media market wasn’t much better; two stations mentioned Stewart’s position on immigration and his advocacy for Confederate monuments, but none highlighted his relationships with white nationalists.
In the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News media market, WVEC (ABC 13), WTKR (CBS 3), WAVY (NBC 10)and WVBT (Fox 43) all failed to mention Stewart’s advocacy for Confederate symbols, his extremism on immigration, and his previous association with white supremacists.
In the Roanoke-Lynchburg, WDBJ (CBS 7) and WFXR (Fox 27) both mentioned Stewart’s defense of Confederate monuments and referenced his stance on immigration, though neither highlighted his extremism on the topic; instead they noted, respectively, his interest in “cracking down on illegal immigration” and his “focus” on “illegal immigration.” Neither station acknowledged his history of associating with white nationalists.
WSET (ABC 13, a station owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group) and WSLS (NBC 10) failed to mention any aspect of Stewart’s extremist past.
Some Virginia newspapers did better than TV news, but others missed the mark
The Richmond-Times Dispatch did an admirable job detailing Stewart’s bigotry, The Roanoke Times failed to mention certain aspects of Stewart’s extremism, and The Virginian Pilot almost entirely dropped the ball. Media Matters reviewed three major Virginia newspapers’ coverage of Stewart’s victory from June 12 until June 15.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch ran five stories mentioning Stewart’s win. Three of those articles mentioned Stewart’s defense of Confederate symbols, or else branded him “pro-Confederate.” Twonoted his focus on “illegal” immigration, and four discussed his connections with white supremacists and anti-Semites.
The Roanoke Times ran only one story, an article it re-ran from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, announcing Stewart’s victory, and while it mentioned his association with both Kessler and Nehlen, it failed to identify his support for Confederate symbols or his anti-immigration stances. The Times did, however, run an editorial that accused Stewart of playing “footsie with white nationalists,” and mentioned his backing of Confederate symbols.
The Virginian Pilot ran two articles, one partially re-published from The Washington Post, that mentioned Stewart’s victory. The Post article actually did mention Stewart’s support for Confederate monuments, his immigration stance, and his extreme associations, but this section of the article was taken out when it ran in the Pilot. The other article neglected to definitively acknowledge any aspect of Stewart’s extremism, instead noting that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has accused him of “cozying up to purveyors of dangerous white supremacy or anti-Semitic views."
Using iQ media, Media Matters analyzed Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News and Roanoke-Lynchburg, two of the largest local news markets in Virginia, for “Corey Stewart,” “Stewart,” or “Republican primary” from 9 p.m. on June 12 through June 14. Relevant segments were reviewed during the stations' nighttime news program (11 p.m.; 10 p.m. for WVBT and WFXR) and during the 6 p.m. (7 p.m. for WVBT, which doesn't air 6 p.m. news) block of their evening news coverage (WFXR does not air evening news coverage).
Using Nexis, Media Matters searched three widely circulated Virginia-based print newspapers, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian Pilot, and The Roanoke Times, from 9 p.m. June 12 to Jun
Fox News Basically Just Ignored Reports That Saudi and Emirati Princes Offered Trump Campaign Assistance
Fox News has almost entirely ignored a recent article published in The New York Times reporting that countries other than Russia may have offered to help the Trump campaign to victory in the 2016 election. According to the Times, a representative of the princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, offered Donald Trump Jr. assistance.
On May 19, The New York Times reported on an August 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media expert; Erik Prince, the founder of the private military company Blackwater who reportedly also worked with the UAE in an attempt to establish a communication back channel for Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin; and George Nader, who served as an emissary for the princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the Times, Nader informed Trump Jr. at the meeting that the princes were “eager to help his father win election as president.” In the months after this initial gathering, Nader became “a close ally” to Trump campaign advisers, and met frequently with both Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Michael Flynn, who later served as Trump’s first national security adviser. Special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating these interactions.
Despite the significance of the news, Fox has all but ignored the story. Between the publication of the article on May 19 and 11 a.m. on May 21, Fox News mentioned the story only twice, both times in short Sunday afternoon reports.
Fox’s failure to adequately cover the story is not surprising given the network’s history of ignoring news that could potentially be harmful to the president, especially stories related to the Russia investigation.
Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “Saudi,” “Emirates,” “Gulf,” “Nader,” “Prince,” and “Donald Trump Jr.” on Fox News between May 19 and 11 a.m. on May 21. All mentions relevant to the story were included.
In recent days, many on the right have pushed the claim that the FBI "infiltrated" President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign with a "mole." The claim relies upon the testimony of a co-founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm that hired a former British agent who compiled an intelligence dossier about Trump’s connections to various Russians. The claim also builds off of a recent squabble between the Department of Justice and the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), over the release of classified information. Here is what you need to know about the story’s origins:
On January 2, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the founders of the research firm Fusion GPS, claimed in an op-ed that the FBI had a source “inside the Trump camp” during the 2016 election.
On January 9, the transcript from Simpson’s August 2017 Senate testimony was released, revealing that he had told the Senate Judiciary Committee it was his “understanding” that the bureau had an “internal Trump campaign source.” Simpson also testified during the hearing that conversations he had with the author of the dossier about Trump’s Russia connections, Christopher Steele, led him to believe that the FBI had “a human source from inside the Trump organization.”
The same day, reporters tweeted that the Trump campaign insider Simpson referred to was George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and that the FBI's source was an Australian diplomat who informed U.S. officials that Papadopoulos had mentioned to him receiving Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton in May 2016.
On January 18, however, a lawyer for Simpson sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asserting that Simpson “stands by his testimony.” The lawyer stated that Simpson was not withdrawing his claim that Steele had “believed the FBI had another source within the Trump organization/campaign.”
On May 8, The Washington Post reported that the DOJ was refusing to hand over information requested by Nunes because it could “endanger a top-secret intelligence source.” The source, according to the Post, had developed information that was “provided to the Mueller investigation.”
Two days later, The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel published an op-ed in which she speculated that the FBI may have secretly had a source “who used his or her non-FBI credentials” to interact with the Trump campaign.
- Strassel wrote in the Journal that the DOJ and the FBI “outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation," which could mean that the FBI had a spy linked to the Trump campaign.
- Strassel wrote that “When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency,” asserting that the FBI could have secretly planted a source who interacted with the Trump campaign.
- According to Strassel, any such move on the FBI’s part would “amount to spying.”
- Strassel also concluded that "Now we find [the FBI] may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le CarrÃ© style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign."
Strassel doubled down on her assertion during a May 11 appearance on Fox News, claiming, “The FBI was using human intelligence to spy on a presidential campaign.”
Right-Wing Media Is Pushing the Spy Theory
Radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed he knows “who the spy is” and that this person was “like an operative employed by the FBI to basically entrap somebody who worked with the Trump campaign in a peripheral way.” He also said that Papadopoulos “was entrapped by three people, including the person who is reputed to be the spy."
Fox’s Sean Hannity argued that there was a spy embedded in the campaign and called the Strassel op-ed a “stunning new development” that raises “serious concerns and questions about the possibility [of] the F.B.I. planting a mole inside the Trump campaign.”
The hosts of Fox & Friends devoted multiple segments to Strassel’s op-ed and also highlighted Limbaugh’s theory that the FBI planted a “spy” to “entrap” Trump associates. Fox’s Pete Hegseth argued that Limbaugh is “on to something,” and co-host Steve Doocy asked, “Was the FBI out to frame candidate Donald Trump?”
Trump sycophant and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs tweeted: “#ExposeTheMole- FBI & DOJ planted an spy in @realDonaldTrump’s 2016 campaign & didn’t tell congressional investigators.”
During an appearance on Hannity’s radio show, Fox’s Sara Carter claimed, “It appears [the FBI] had somebody that was reporting back on information inside the Trump campaign, which would mean that they had a mole connected to people in the Trump campaign or within the Trump campaign.” Carter repeated the report on Hannity’s prime-time Fox News show, claiming, “Yes, I believe [the FBI] did have an informant, somebody that was reporting back to them.”
The Daily Caller pushed the narrative in an article about Rep. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) appearance on Fox News: “Ron DeSantis Says He May Know Who Was Spying On The Trump Campaign: ‘There Needs To Be Follow Up’.”
Pro-Trump site The Gateway Pundit ran multiple articles by founder Jim Hoft that pushed the claim, including one in which Hoft claimed to know the “probable” identity of the “spy,” and another that argued there were multiple “deep state” sources.
Far-right fringe blog Zero Hedge posted Strassel’s op-ed with the headline, “WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign,” even though Strassel never claimed the “mole” was actually inside the campaign.
Jarrett’s willingness to shill for the president appears boundless, and his sycophancy has checked all the boxes to earn a coveted spot in a Trump tweet:
- Jarrett has repeatedly claimed that even if the president or his team colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, they wouldn’t have broken any laws. During an appearance on Hannity, the Fox analyst went so far as to argue that, because “the Constitution gives us the freedom to freely associate with anybody, including Russians,” “Vladimir Putin, former KGB, could have sat in on that [Donald Trump Jr.] meeting and it wouldn't be a crime.” In another appearance, he said, "It was always a myth that collusion in a political campaign is a crime." Jarrett also claimed, “Even conspiring to subvert the government doesn't rise to the level of treason.”
- He has defended the idea that the president might fire special counsel Robert Mueller and called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “un-recuse” himself and fire the entire special counsel team.
- He frequently slanders special counsel Mueller, whom he once accused of sticking “up his middle finger at the justice system.” He aims similar jabs at others who find themselves in the president’s bad graces, such as Sessions and FBI Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein, whom Jarrett described as part of a Justice Department “cartel,” calling it “the equivalent of the mob.”
- Jarrett frequently attempts to undermine the credibility of Mueller's investigation and its process, including by claiming that Mueller has conflicts of interest and thus should resign his post.
- He has argued that former President Barack Obama should be subpoenaed.
In addition to his pro-Trump shilling, Jarrett has frequently spewed misinformation and made cruel, belittling comments on air:
- Jarrett criticized New York Mets player Daniel Murphy for taking two days of paternity leave when his son was born. Jarrett said that Murphy "is rich. He could have like 20 nannies taking care of his tired wife, and he's got to take off two days? It's absurd. It's preposterous."
- Jarrett said that he didn’t “mean to be sexist” but still suggested that a female judge could be biased against a male defendant who cheated on his girlfriend.
- Jarrett suggested that family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were pressing for tougher gun control regulations because Obama was "engineering them for political purposes" and "outright manipulating them into taking a stand on a vital constitutional right."
On March 28, Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a link to a Daily Wire article pointing out that Parkland survivor David Hogg was rejected by several colleges and accused him of whining about it. Ingraham’s attack on the teenage mass-shooting survivor is far from a shocking development given her and her Fox News colleagues' repeated slandering of the shooting victims.
In the month and a half since the shooting in Parkland, FL, Ingraham herself has said the Parkland students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy; told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” but rather “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe”; and complained that anti-abortion protesters didn’t get the same attention. Two of Fox’s other primetime hosts, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both dismissed the students as pawns being manipulated by gun control advocates. Carlson went a step further, calling the students “self-righteous kids” who “weren’t helping at all” and comparing them to Mao's Red Guards. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who is also a Fox News contributor, dismissed the students as just “children, not founts of wisdom,” and Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth responded to the student-organized March For Our Lives by angrily commenting, “Spare me if I don't want to hear the sanctimoniousness of a 17-year-old.” Fox’s sustained and hostile attacks on students in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting fit right into the network’s years-long pattern of insulting and belittling students and children.
Fox’s attacks on students and children go back years
In 2017, two Fox employees attacked 8-year-olds in the course of five months. In May, after a young boy followed Vice President Mike Pence to ask for an apology for bumping into him, Tammy Bruce called the child a “snowflake” who “needed a safe space” and said he “pretty much stalked the vice president afterward.” Months later, Rachel Campos-Duffy smeared a football team of 8-year-olds as “shameful” for kneeling during the national anthem at a football game.
Fox figures have consistently insulted college students and mocked them for attempting to make changes to their colleges and universities. A 2012 Fox panel dismissed students as “immature and irrational” after they attempted to persuade their school to divest from fossil fuels. In 2015, Fox contributor Judith Miller insulted student protesters, asking, “You want a safe space? Stay in your playpen,” and Fox anchor Martha MacCallum dismissed students’ push for safe spaces in response to racial injustice, suggesting that “if they want to see the violation of a safe space,” then they should “visit ground zero.” In 2016, then-Fox contributor George Will labeled students “snowflakes, these fragile little creatures who melt at the first sign of the heat of controversy.” Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle laughed at students’ activism on offensive terminology and mockingly asked if an injured horse should “get a lawyer because the horse is offended” by being called “lame.” In September 2017, a Fox contributor derided college students who sought mental health care and compared them to teenage soldiers in WWII. Just two months ago, Fox & Friends ran a selectively edited hit piece against college students created by the conservative activist group Campus Reform. The show further edited the video and showed students' responses without giving sufficient context to the nature of the questions posed to them, making the students look ill-informed.
Fox personalities have targeted some of the most vulnerable students with vicious, racist, and anti-LGBT attacks
In 2015, Fox personalities repeatedly besmirched 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas student arrested after bringing a homemade clock mistaken for a bomb to school. Then-Fox reporter Anna Kooiman claimed that Mohamed “might not be as innocent as he seems,” backing up her claim by noting that teen was once caught “blowing bubbles in the bathroom” at school. Fox contributor Mark Fuhrman, famous for committing perjury and spewing racial epithets during the OJ Simpson trial, assured viewers that he didn’t “feel sorry for Ahmed,” adding that the child seemed “passive aggressive” to him. Another contributor, Mike Gallagher, repeatedly compared Mohamed’s homemade clock to a bomb and suggested that the student should have been more "forthcoming" when he was interrogated by the police. And Brian Kilmeade asked whether Mohamed might be “extort[ing]” his former school district by suing.
Fox often attacks children who have immigrated to the United States or whose parents are immigrants. Fox personalities have repeatedly used the derogatory term “anchor baby” to belittle the children of immigrants. Tucker Carlson once responded to the notion that it is the United States' legal obligation to educate children who come into the country by saying, "But what about the rights of the kids who were born here?” Fox Business Networks’ Brenda Buttner questioned whether parents should be concerned with "a surge of up to 60,000 illegal kids in their classrooms." Buttner exclaimed, "Forget the Ebola scare. Is it really the back to school scare?" In 2016, Fox’s Heather Nauert and Brian Kilmeade slammed several refugee students who sued a school district in Pennsylvania after alleging their educational needs weren’t being met. Kilmeade smeared the students as “ungrateful,” and Nauert mocked their request, commenting that “going to our schools for free” was “apparently… not good enough for them.”
Fox hosts have also used their shows to attack transgender students. In 2013, during a conversation about a California bill aimed at allowing transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams that correspond to their gender identities, Fox host Greg Gutfeld mocked the “gender-confused students” that would benefit from the bill. Two years later, in 2015, then-Fox host Megyn Kelly asserted that accepting transgender students causes “confusion” for other students.
Fox employees have also gone after other groups of students. In 2014, Fox News' "Medical A-Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow claimed that middle school girls can "certainly provoke" harassment by wearing leggings to school. In 2015, Megyn Kelly labeled a group of protesters in Missouri “angry black students.” That same year, the hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered lamented that overweight children are allowed to feel confident in their bodies. Fox’s Sandra Smith bemoaned that kids “feel good about themselves when they shouldn’t.”
As David Hogg demands accountability for Laura Ingraham’s bullying, it is clear that Ingraham’s behavior was not a mistake or an anomaly, but representative of her network at large.
NBC News announced November 29 that it had fired Today host Matt Lauer after “a detailed complaint” was filed about "inappropriate sexual behavior that took place during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.” The complaint also noted that Lauer’s “alleged behavior continued in the workplace after the games.”
Lauer has a well-documented history of disturbing and sexist behavior that should have served as a warning sign to management long before this recent investigation took place. Here are just a few examples:
According to the New York Times Magazine, Lauer was part of “the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes” at Today, which Curry said “undermined her from the start” and was partially responsible for pushing her out in 2013.
In 2012, former Today host Katie Couric told Andy Cohen that Lauer’s most “annoying” trait was that he “pinch[ed] me on the ass a lot.”
In 2006, according to video footage on TMZ, Lauer told Meredith Vieira to "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view," during a commercial break.
According to HuffPost, Lauer acted skeezy during a 2014 interview with skier Mikaela Shiffrin, then 18.
In a 2012 interview with actress Anne Hathaway, Lauer started off by discussing a wardrobe malfunction of hers, joking that he had “seen a lot of you lately.”
Lauer, then in his late 40s, told singer Kelly Clarkson she had a “hot new look.” When Clarkson, who was in her early 20s at the time, responded by asking “I have a hot new look?” Lauer replied, “Well, I'm back from vacation and you got my attention, I'll tell you that.”
During an interview with Pippa Middleton, Lauer focused on the “very flattering” dress she wore to her sister’s wedding and the way it fit her, saying, “I thought it was the best of British pomp and circumstance.”
During an interview with Lauer earlier this year, actor Corey Feldman discussed child molestation in Hollywood, including his own experience of abuse. In response, Lauer questioned Feldman’s culpability in the matter, asking why he didn’t come forward sooner: “Why are you sitting down talking to me? Why aren’t you sitting down with the police right now?” Feldman replied, “I’m the victim here. I’m the one who’s been abused. I’m the one who’s trying to come forward and do something about it.”
During a 2008 “roast” of Lauer, he joked about sleeping with his former co-hosts Katie Couric and Ann Curry, asking, “What’s with all the small-dick jokes? It was fun to look over and see Ann Curry laughing … like she doesn’t know how big my dick really is.”
In 2012, Lauer was part of a distasteful mockumentary on sexual harassment at Today, where he said he was the “real victim” after co-host Willie Geist jokingly touched him inappropriately.
In a 2014 sketch, Lauer pretended to flash his colleagues, urging his female colleagues to “drink it in, ladies.”
In September, Lauer, who reportedly had notable influence over which stories appeared on Today, interviewed serial sexual predator Bill O’Reilly, giving him a platform to attack a woman who had reported him for harassment and deny knowledge about the multiple settlements he’d reached for misconduct.
During an interview with GM chief executive Mary Barra in 2014, Lauer asked her if she thought she could do a good job at being both a high-powered executive and a mother.
During a 2015 interview with musician Adele, Lauer questioned whether she was “concerned at all that now, with the explosion of this album, that you're going to have to get back on that career treadmill and have less time to dedicate” to her young son.
During a national security forum during the 2016 presidential campaign, Lauer “behaved toward the presidential candidates in a way that was consistent with much of the research about gender stereotypes and discrimination,” according to the Harvard Business Review. Specifically, Lauer “interrupted Clinton more often than Trump, asked her more challenging questions, and questioned her statements more often.”
During the same forum, Lauer failed to push back on candidate Trump’s assertion that is was “correct” to claim that rape should be “expected” when men and women both serve in the military.
While reporting on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Lauer referred to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen as one of Brazil’s “most recognizable exports.”
The headline has been updated for clarity.
A TMZ report initially identified the woman in the third bullet as Katie Couric. TMZ now reports it was Meredith Vieria. This piece has been updated accordingly.
On Wednesday, Sean Hannity announced that former White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka would be joining Fox News as a national security strategist. Experts have repeatedly questioned Gorka’s supposed national security expertise. He has apparent ties to a Nazi-allied Hungarian group and has a long history of using incendiary, conspiratorial, and racist rhetoric. Here is what you need to know about Fox News’ newest hire.
Fox News confirmed today that it has hired Sebastian Gorka.
After Fox host Sean Hannity announced Gorka’s hiring on his radio show Wednesday, Fox News confirmed that it has hired Gorka as “a national security strategist.”
Fox News has hired President Donald Trump's former aide Sebastian Gorka as a contributor.
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity announced the hiring on his radio show Wednesday, saying that Gorka will serve as a national security strategist for the network. Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan confirmed his hiring to The Associated Press Thursday. [The New York Times, 11/9/17]
Gorka’s status as a national security “expert” has been repeatedly questioned by those in the field.
Gorka’s doctoral adviser has said he “would not call him an expert in terrorism.”
"I would not call him an expert on terrorism," said Stephen Sloan, a retired professor of political science who spent much of his career at the University of Oklahoma. Though he said Gorka is "knowledgeable" about terrorism matters, "his level of expertise does not match the level where he stands in the White House."
Gorka, a British-accented tough-talker who until Friday served under now-fired White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, considers himself an expert on the topic.
But that opinion is not shared by a dozen international security experts and scholars interviewed by CNN, including a professor who advised Gorka on his PhD dissertation and considers him a friend. [CNN, 8/18/17]
Business Insider: National security experts have “dismissed” Gorka as “an outspoken conservative pundit.”
Gorka has ties to a “Nazi-allied” group and a history of dismissiveness towards right-ring terrorism
In conversations with Business Insider, several national-security experts questioned Gorka's credibility in their field, saying he is often dismissed as an outspoken conservative pundit who lacks the chops to serve in the highest levels of the White House advising on national-security policy. [Business Insider, 2/22/17]
The Forward: Gorka is reportedly a “sworn member” of a "Nazi-allied" Hungarian group.
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward. [The Forward, 3/16/17]
Gorka called a 2015 Department of Homeland Security report that warned about violence from “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” an “egregious politicization of national security.”
"It really is the most egregious politicization of national security," Breitbart’s Sebastian Gorka insisted during a Fox News appearance. “We're going to be looking for right-wing extremists when ISIS prepares to attack us? It's outrageous." [Media Matters, 2/3/17]
On Breitbart News Daily, Gorka bemoaned journalists for their “constant” concern with threats posed by white supremacists.
Wednesday, Gorka appeared on Breitbart News Daily, the radio show of his former employer. Gorka responded to criticism stemming from a previous media appearance on MSNBC where he said “[t]here’s no such thing as a lone wolf” attack. The concept, according to Gorka, was “invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid.”
On Wednesday, Gorka lashed out at “at [New York Times reporter] Maggie Haberman and her acolytes in the fake news media, who immediately have a conniption fit” and brought up McVeigh. He added that “white men” and “white supremacists” are not “the problem.”
“It’s this constant, ‘Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.’ No, it isn’t, Maggie Haberman. Go to Sinjar. Go to the Middle East, and tell me what the real problem is today. Go to Manchester.” [Think Progress, 8/10/17]
Gorka defended the White House’s silence on a Minnesota mosque bombing, claiming that “hate crimes” can turn out to be “propagated by the left.”
Gorka was fired by the FBI for “his over-the-top Islamophobic rhetoric” and has a history of making incendiary and bigoted comments.
The White House will not officially comment on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque because it may be a hate crime faked by a liberal, according to Trump national security adviser Sebastian Gorka.
An as-of-yet unidentified individual threw a makeshift bomb through the window of a mosque in Minnesota Saturday, and Gorka was asked on MSNBC Monday if the White House will comment. Gorka said that the White House will “absolutely” comment once there is a finalized investigation into the incident.
“There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false,” Gorka said. “You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes by right wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to be prop propagated by the left. Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the White House will make its comments.” [Think Progress, 8/8/17]
The inflammatory pundit Sebastian Gorka worked for the FBI while he was a paid consultant to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, lecturing bureau employees on counterterrorism issues.
Until the FBI terminated Gorka for his over-the-top Islamophobic rhetoric. [The Daily Beast, 6/21/17]
Gorka wrote an article at Breitbart.com titled “Muslim Brotherhood Overruns National Cathedral in DC” after two Muslim civic groups hosted prayers there.
The Episcopal church leaders who agreed to the host Muslim prayers inside the Washington cathedral probably have no idea what happened a century ago in Asia Minor, or that there even was a Caliph in office at the beginning of the 20th century.
However, we can rest assured that the co-organizers do, for they include the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the All-Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS) Center.
Both CAIR and ISNA will be fully aware of the significance of November 14th, seeing as both organizations were declared by a federal court to be unindicted co-conspirators of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood terror group, in the largest terrorist financing trial in US history.
Those muslims who have a supremacist understanding of their religion, such as members of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood – which was recently declared an illegal terrorist organization in the country of its founding, Egypt – have a special regard for historic dates and anniversaries.
We know that the Episcopal church is in trouble with more conservative believers leaving in great numbers and the remaining adherents not exactly outdoing their Catholic cousins in terms of reproducing the next generation of believers. But I doubt they also understand the finer points of jihadist doctrine, one of which is that if a place of worship is used by Muslims for their prayers, that territory subsequently becomes part of Dar al Islam, sacred muslim (sic) land. Forever. [Breitbart, 11/14/14]
Gorka spoke at a conference about how “Islamists have been brought into the innermost circles of America’s national security institutions.”
Gorka spoke at a conference that supposedly “examine[d] in detail the United States’ increasing cooperation with Islamists at home and abroad.” Moreover, the conference description asserted that “Islamists have been brought into the innermost circles of America’s national security institutions.” [Media Matters, 6/13/16]
He argued that accepting Muslim refugees into the United States would be “national suicide.”
Dr. Gorka took up the issue of assimilation, suggesting that analysis should begin with accepting “the fact that we are a Christian nation, we are a Judeo-Christian nation.”
“We help people when we can help them,” he said. “But that is not a contract for national suicide. That doesn’t mean, as Hillary Clinton said in her private speech to the bankers, ‘We don’t need any borders, pull down the borders, the whole Western Hemisphere is one big happy party!’ It doesn’t mean that you quintuple the number of refugees. If she had won, what Nigel is talking about, Europe, is what America would have been like in five years’ time, if Hillary had become the President.” [Breitbart, 11/16/16]
The Intercept: Gorka endorsed racial profiling as “common sense.”
A former advisor to Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed racial profiling and warned that mainstream Muslim American organizations are waging a covert war of cultural subversion against the United States.
Sebastian Gorka teaches at Marine Corps University and advises law enforcement and national security officials on terrorism and irregular warfare. Last fall, he was paid $8,000 for policy consulting with the Trump campaign. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy group, touting his new book, Defeating Jihad: A Winnable War. [The Intercept, 6/30/16]
He told the BBC that Trump's attempt to ban transgender troops from the military stemmed from "the warmth of his consideration for this population."
PETER BOWES (HOST): Let me ask you about the issue of transgender troops who were encouraged to come out under the previous administration and now they are being told that they will not be able to serve in the military. Does that feel to you like a commander-in-chief who cares about the men and women who fight, often, and serve, certainly, for the good of all Americans?
GORKA: Absolutely, that's why he made that decision --
BOWES: How can that be the case when although it's a small group of people, admittedly, how can that be the case when he has singled out transgender soldiers who have been serving for the last year openly and legally --
GORKA: Will you let me answer?
BOWES: Of course, but how can it be the case that he's speaking for the whole military if he is speaking out against one section of the military?
GORKA: The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up. They are not there to be socially engineered. We want people who are transgendered to live happy lives, but we want unit cohesion and we want combat effectiveness. There are leading studies from the medical establishment, for example, that state that the transgender community has a 40 percent suicide attempt rate. That is a tragedy. We need to help those people, we don't need to try and force them into the hierarchical military environment where they are under the utmost pressure to kill or be killed, and that is why the president is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.
BOWES: Probably doesn't feel like "warmth" from the transgender perspective.
GORKA: But we're not here to represent one part of America. We're here to represent all of America and protect Americans. [BBC Radio 4, Today, 7/28/17]
In the aftermath of the Orlando, FL, nightclub shooting, Gorka defended himself against condemnations of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
In the aftermath of the attack, Sebastian Gorka was interviewed on various right-wing news outlets. He claimed that the Orlando attack “in part was facilitated by the policies of this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, that have allowed political correctness into the threat assessment.” Gorka declared that the shooting was “not a hate crime” and that condemnations of anti-Muslim rhetoric are “making political hay out of the bodies of 49 people before their bodies have cooled.” [Media Matters, 6/13/16]
Gorka blamed President Barack Obama for veteran suicides.
Gorka frequently makes inflammatory statements and peddles misinformation
“Think about one thing. This is provocative, but I believe it. Why do we have 22 vets commit suicide every 24 hours in America?” Gorka asked. “Why do we have unprecedented levels of PTSD in this nation? Our grandfathers saw some bad stuff in World War II, especially in the Pacific, especially when they liberated the death camps. But when they came home in the 1950s, they didn’t eat the barrel of a 1911. Why? Because they knew they were on the side of the angels. Their President, their commander, told them, ‘This is a war against evil, and what you are going to see may be nasty, but it’s okay, guys, you’re on the side of Right.’ We don’t say that any more.” [Breitbart, 4/11/16]
Gorka argued that Hillary Clinton should be convicted of treason like the Rosenbergs: "Those people got the chair."
SEBASTIAN GORKA: If this had happened in the 1950s, there would be people up on treason charges right now. The Rosenbergs, OK? This is equivalent to what the Rosenbergs did and those people got the chair. Think about it. Giving away nuclear capability to our enemies, that's what we're talking about. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/26/17]
Gorka claimed that the phrase "lone wolf" was "made popular by the Obama administration to make Americans disconnect the dots."
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We have the most sophisticated weaponry of intelligence available to mankind. Is it possible that we could find every one of these lone wolves, before people die like today?
SEBASTIAN GORKA: We can do much better, we absolutely can, especially under the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Number one, we have to jettison this idea of a "lone wolf." "Lone wolf" was invented as a phrase, was made popular by the Obama administration to make Americans disconnect the dots. There has not been significant a jihadi attack since September 11 in the United States, where one person acted completely isolated from everybody else.
We should jettison the idea that there's an individual in their basement, who one day is an upstanding American citizen, and then a few weeks later, just because they went to a few websites, they become a jihadi. Never happened, the closest we got was that pathetic case of "Jihadi Jane" and that wasn't a serious case. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/31/17]
Gorka defended Trump’s claim that Obama “is the founder of ISIS.”
SANDRA SMITH (GUEST HOST): What do you think that Donald Trump meant when he said that President Obama is the founder of ISIS?
SEBASTIAN GORKA: Well, I’m not his spokesman. I’m not part of his campaign, so let him talk for himself, but if he means that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton facilitated the growth of ISIS into the most powerful jihadi insurgency the world has ever seen, he is absolutely right. Let's just look at the facts. In 2008, when this senator from Illinois became the president and afterwards appointed Hillary as his secretary of state, at that moment in time, ISIS didn't exist. Al Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of ISIS, was one regional franchise inside Iraq. When we withdrew our troops, when we started to cook the books on intelligence, as you hear from the CENTCOM analysts, then we facilitated the rise of ISIS with these false red lines in Syria that meant nothing. All the things were put in place by this administration to help this former Al Qaeda franchise become a transregional insurgency with more than 80,000 fighters today. That's fact. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 8/11/16]