Good day Austin.
I am taking a break from my week off in New York to examine the important question of whether Alex Jones and Infowars will have a correspondent in the White House press corps who will be credentialed to attend Sean Spicer’s daily briefings and President Trump’s press conferences.
On Wednesday, Jones posted this video, which suggested that he had been offered White House press credentials.
Buckle Up: Alex Jones Says That Infowars Will Be In White House Briefings, Media Matters for America, the liberal media watchdog group that monitors Jones, reported yesterday.
Alex Jones Says Infowars Has Been Invited To Trump’s White House Press Briefings
Jones, A Conspiracy Theorist And Trump Ally, Is A Sandy Hook And 9/11 Truther
ALEX JONES: He keeps saying CNN is fake, and I’m not going to any of your fake news. What’s CNN doing in the front row, when [White House press secretary Sean] Spicer keeps going to them? And then the reporter yesterday goes, “Oh, maybe Trump wasn’t even elected. That’s why you say there’s fraud.” So they’re like little kids up there. These aren’t real journalists. Meanwhile, it’s just crazy, you should see Breitbart and Drudge, and also just reporters that are known to tell the truth from mainstream, whatever, promoted and put up at the front of those briefings, to bring up real questions, not just a battle where they’re just attacking with fricking lies.
Here’s the deal, I know I get White House credentials, we’ve already been offered them, we’re going to get them, but I’ve just got to spend the money to send somebody there. I want to make sure it’s even worth it. I don’t want to just sit there up there like “I’m in the media, look our people are there.” People don’t understand this paradigm, we’re devolving in a good way, power from the federal government back to the people, back from the centralized MSM [mainstream media] to the people, just like Trump said in his speech.
But there is investigative journalism, or people to interview in DC. Might be good to put a few reporters there, it’s just all a money issue. That’s why it’s important for people who are watching us to know, you are our sponsors. You’re the reason we’re able to do this. You’re the reason we’re able to have the crew and do what we do and change the world.
Or, as Katherine Krueger of Fusion put it:
Alex Jones, a thoroughly debunked, snake oil-selling, “gay frogs“-ranting conspiracy theorist, claimed on Wednesday that his site InfoWars had been offered White House press credentials.
And who is Fusion?
Fusion is owned by the Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications
From Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post:
Univision is privately held. Its chairman is billionaire investor Haim Saban.
The TV news division is best known for anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas. In a high-profile incident during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had Ramos removed from a news conference last year after his persistent questions about immigration.
But no, reported the Hill, Jones had not been promised a White House credential.
The White House press office is denying it offered credentials to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s website Infowars, after Jones claimed in a video that he had been offered access.
“He is not credentialed for the White House. The White House Press Office has not offered him credentials,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told BuzzFeed on Thursday morning.
The Hill cited BuzzFeed.
You may recall BuzzFeed as the news organization that President-elect Trump at his press conference called “a failing pile of garbagee.”
From Louis Nelson at Politico:
BuzzFeed, the media outlet which published a 35-page unverified intelligence report alleging that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign conspired with Russia and that the Kremlin possesses salacious compromising information about him, is a “failing pile of garbage,” the president-elect said Wednesday.
Speaking at his first press conference since July of last year, Trump devoted significant time to complaining about the report published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday and another by CNN, which reported that a two-page synopsis of that larger unverified dossier had been presented to the president-elect during a briefing last week.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump complained about the reports on Twitter and asked his followers “are we living in Nazi Germany?” At his press conference, the president-elect explained what he meant.
“I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that, and I say that, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do,” Trump said. “I think it’s a disgrace. That information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public. As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they’re going to suffer the consequences.”
Trump appeared ready to launch into a more detailed attack on CNN as well, but was seemingly sidetracked as he sought to further debunk the 35-page report published by BuzzFeed. The president-elect’s criticism of the network for allegedly propagating “fake news” prompted CNN reporter Jim Acosta to stand up and demand to be called on to ask a question, telling Trump, “Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance? You’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?”
The president-elect rebuffed Acosta’s efforts though, saying “not you” as he called on a different reporter. When Acosta continued to protest, Trump chastised him: “Don’t be rude. Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question. I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
BuzzFeed sought to capitalize on Trump’s contempt.
From the BuzzFeed shop.
Our limited-edition “Failing Pile of Garbage” merchandise sale benefitting the Committee to Protect Journalists has ended. Interested in learning more or making a donation? Visit https://www.cpj.org/
But, don’t bother ordering. The entire Failing Pile of Garbage line of products is sold out.
Then yesterday, Jones posted a video saying the whole controversy was trumped-up and ridiculous – that he had not actually been offered White House credentials, but knew from folks well-placed in Trump circles that he could secure them if he wanted them, and that he had not decided yet whether he wanted them.
I’m always astounded by corporate fake news and how deceptive they are.
I don’t even know if I want a Washington bureau. I don’t even know if I want to send people up there.
I’m not sure I have the money. And then do I want to sit up there with the press corps asking their stupid questions?
And then I pointed out that not once but twice while I was in DC (for the inauguration) people that worked for President Trump, or let’s just say were involved in his election, say, we love (Infowars editor-at-large) Paul Watson, he’s a rock star, he ought to be up here with the national press corps.
Are you going to be moving up to D.C.? Are you going to be opening up a bureau because you ought to be part of this? So I took this as, yeah we can get press credentials.
In fact I said in the piece Breitbart ought to be there, Drudge ought to have a correspondent. It was more of war-gaming, and pointing out that wherever I go, members of the press who aren’t globalists, like Ann Coulter, run over – and that was in Cleveland, a separate event – and say, `Hey, Paul Watson’s a rock star. We love him. Hey he’s great.’
So what I was talking about was that. But they took the fact that I don’t read off a teleprompter, the fact that I, as a gestalt, talk about larger issues – `He said he has been given press credentials, but he hasn’t been given them.’ What I said was, we can get them if we want them. Guaranteed.
But the point is we have already arrived. Arguing whether we have credentials or not is a joke.
Infowars in the aggregate, globally, is bigger than Fox News by every major metric. Do you understand that? And we’re only growing.
I don’t have the money, I don’t have the personnel I don’t have organizational skills, but when it comes to reaching raw people on all these platforms, every thing we do is a hit.
Being involved in mainstream media doesn’t validate you. It discredits you. They‘re acting like I want to be part of the MSM. They act like we’re desperately trying to get involved in their system when I’m trying to overthrow it.
Just spell my name right
On yesterday’s show, Jones also engaged in a conversation with a caller, Blake from Texas, on the matter.
Blake from Texas: I disagree with something you said yesterday. You said you didn’t want a presence in the White House. It’s your operation and you feel like you can be more of an impact on the outside. I think it’s just such a tremendous opportunity to be able to ask the president any kind of question. To be able to control the news cycle. I think it’s a great opportunity.
Alex Jones: I think you’re taking out of context what I said.
We have to have the money. We have people running around here saying, `Send me to Washington, send me Washington.’ Well, do it on your own money. Go. Go now. I have to run an operation, I have to have real money. I have to plan things out. I have to make sure who I send doesn’t screw around all day.
I can’t get basic operations I want to launch from older plans done, so I have to finish those. The world’s full of ideas, not a lot of action. So I do agree we need to be there and ask real questions. It’s important. And I did criticize the fact that they’re going to ABC and to CNN first and where’s Breitbart? Breitbart’s important. So Bannon is in the White House, who cares. There were tons of people in the media who were at he Clinton and Obama White Houses and back and forth so yes, I’m going to get around to trying to figure out who we want to try to send up there to do that and to be in those press conferences.
I told Paul Watson, he’s the best choice, that’s who was recommended to us (by folks close to Trump) – `Hey we like Paul Watson.’ I’ve got to go through that process of doing that, getting to those events. I just don’t want to make it all about chasing the tail like old-fashioned media. We can sit there ad talk about the issues. We can tweet Trump and Facebook Trump and have him respond days later.
They’re listening. They’re watching. I’m not going to get into any details but the president routinely listens to the show. OK. So you want to talk to trump you want to ask him a question.just go ahead.
Blake said being at the Trump press conference would enable Infowars to ask the president “about the Communist Chines.”
Alex Jones: Absolutely. The communist Chinese taking over our media. They’ve got major movies coming out where China takes over America. Is this something that’s a national security issue because no other country on earth would put up with something like this being done inside their nation.
`Our media being taken over by China is the real fake news issue, and they’re calling for censoring real independent media in this country, they’re calling for shutting down our free press. They’re calling for making a move on the First Amendment Mr. President, what are you going to do about it?’
Blake from Texas: ABC News, NBC News will not ask the president – you know he was talking about investigating the voter fraud, well, what has been made public, what Sean Spicer has indicated, that they were going to be looking at illegal immigrant voting and people being bused in. Things like that. But are they also going to be looking at the rigged machines, would they consider consulting Bev Harris people like that?
Alex Jones: Absolutely, I’ve already sent a report to Trump. And we also have public reports, and the public reports are the best because we can lay it all down and shake it all out, and then we the people who Trump’s listening to get the intel to him.
The president spends hours every day going over independent Americana media.
Bless you Blake. Great point. I don’t think we disagree.
I checked in with the White House Correspondents’ Association yesterday to see who is responsible for issuing White House credentials.
The reply: “Absolutely a White House decision. We have nothing to do with credentialing.”
I checked in with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, who said he was surprised that the White House was balking at credentialing Infowars, considering how all-in Jones has been for Trump.
“Is Alex Jones Trump’s kryptonite?” Carusone wondered.
If they deny him, he predicted, they will invite his wrath.
“They will see the real Alex Jones,” he said.
But I said I thought the White House would give Jones the access he wanted, and Carusone that remained a safer bet, though he said the White House might seek to accommodate Jones by offering temporary passes to the White House press space as need.
The thinking on why the White House would want Infowars there was outlined Monday by Media Matters’ Matt Gertz: Trump Wants To Flood White House Press Briefings With Sycophants And Propagandists
The White House press corps has and should remain welcoming to journalists of all political stripes. But White House press briefings will change dramatically if a vastly increased pool allows Spicer the opportunity to avoid damaging news revelations by directing questions to loyal outlets like Breitbart.com, Infowars, Right Side Broadcasting Network, One America News Network, Ingraham’s LifeZette, or the National Enquirer.
We saw how this could work in practice at Trump’s press conference last week. Trump had rarely publicly interacted with the press since his election, so there were a wide variety of pressing issues worthy of reporters’ attention. But the president-elect was able to soak up some of the precious question time by pivoting to softball questions from Breitbart and OANN.
Trump’s press conference behavior mirrored his general practice of using his platform to lift up outlets devoted to his success; for instance, over the past week, he has used his Twitter feed to promote LifeZette and OANN and to attack NBC News and CNN.
Overseas precedents demonstrate how this method, taken to the extreme, can be used to discredit the media and damage their ability to provide oversight. Alexey Kovalev, a Russian journalist who has covered Vladimir Putin’s annual press conferences, noted in the wake of Trump’s press conference last week that the Russian dictator has been able to defang the media by alternating questions between “people from publications that exist for no other reason than heaping fawning praise on him and attacking his enemies” and “token critic[s].”
As Gingrich’s November comments suggest, the floated plan to alter White House press briefings is based in a general denial of the media’s historical responsibility to inform the American public. We should expect Trump’s administration to do everything it can to do to hinder journalists’ efforts and reduce their credibility. He and his team treat the press as an enemy to be defeated and destroyed.
“You don’t have to think of The New York Times or CNN or any of these people as news organizations,” Gingrich explained last week. “They’re mostly propaganda organizations. And they’re going to be after Trump every single day of his presidency.”
Sean Hannity took this line of argument to its logical extreme in the wake of the election, stating that until the traditional press admit that they were “colluding” with the Clinton campaign (this is laughable), “they should not have the privilege, they should not have the responsibility of covering the president on behalf of you, the American people.”
Trump’s potential plans for the White House press briefings should be seen as a part of that strategy of delegitimizing journalists. It is a tangible step he can take to damage the press corps. The White House Correspondents Association has spoken out against the proposed move, but the group can’t stop the move if the administration really wants to go through with it.
Quotations from Chairman Smith
Meanwhile, Media Matters for America’s opposite number, of sorts, is the congressional Media Fairness Caucus, chaired by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio.
Here are Smith’s House floor speeches on media bias since Trump’s election.
This was from Tuesday. You can watch here
IF PRESIDENT TRUMP WERE A DEMOCRAT
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, just think what the media would be saying about President Trump if he were a Democrat: He has tremendous energy. He campaigned for 18 months, puts in 15-hour days, and has the stamina of a bull elephant like Teddy Roosevelt. He is courageous, even fearless. Given the amount of hate directed his way, no doubt he constantly receives death threats. But that doesn’t curtail his public appearances or seem to worry him in the least. He has conviction. He practices what he preaches. He doesn’t waffle or waver. And he is obviously not deterred by media criticism. He is a great father. Anytime his son or daughter calls, he picks up the phone. He includes them in his activities. Clearly, he has a strong relationship with his children. He is off to a fast start. His Cabinet consists of smart, experienced, and successful individuals. He already has taken steps to keep jobs in America, put unnecessary regulations on hold, and improve health care. Consumer confidence is at a 16-year high. No, the national liberal media won’t print that or air it or post it. Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.
From January 4.
THE MEDIA COULD PLAY A POSITIVE ROLE
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, the national liberal media continue to promote a divided America. This is largely a result of their chosen candidate not winning the Presidential election. Since 91 percent of the media’s coverage of President-elect Trump was negative, it is no surprise that they still see America in a negative light. But the media could play a much more constructive role. They could report the good news that Americans are more confident about the future than they have been in 20 years. They could report on President-elect Trump’s ability to attract individuals of competence and experience to his administration. They could report on his fresh approach and new ideas for, yes, making America great again. Let’s hope the media will put aside their bias and give the American people the facts, untainted by personal animosity. If they do, our country will be better for it.
From December 7.
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, we need a new word for the dictionary, a new term for the merger of the liberal media and the Democratic Party. Obviously, the liberal media have no intention of treating President- elect Trump objectively or fairly. They want to continue to link arms with the Democrats. This is no surprise, given that 96 percent of national reporters’ contributions went to Hillary Clinton. As chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus, here is my proposal: let’s combine the two words–“media” and “Democrat”–and go with “mediacrat.” It is short; it gives the media first mention; and it sounds like a new species. Now, I realize the liberal media is not likely to use this word “mediacrat” very often, but there are two reasons for them to do so–first, to show they have a sense of humor, and, second, to show they have a sense of humility. I think most Americans would be happy if the liberal media didn’t display their bias every time they covered the President-elect. Maybe the mediacrats should try balanced reporting. It surely would help their credibility.
From December 6:
MEDIA SHOULD REPORT THE FACTS
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, Americans are frustrated because they know that many of the news stories they read are actually opinion pieces. If the facts do not fit the liberal world view, dissent is silenced, and the result is one-sided and often misleading. The Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans–59 percent–reject the idea that reporters should add their own opinions to their news stories. Americans believe that the media’s responsibility is to present the facts, not ignore them. The media has work to do to repair the self-inflicted damage to its credibility over the last few months. Distrust of the national media will continue until the media provides the American people with the facts instead of telling them what to think.
From Nov. 29:
MEDIA IGNORES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, a new report by the Wilson Center has found that illegal immigration across the southern border is on pace to break the previous record set in 2014. This record should not come as a surprise. The administration’s policies encourage illegal immigration. The number of apprehensions at the southern border in August reached its highest point for that month in the last 5 years. This record- setting pace of illegal immigration was largely ignored by the media. Neither the Big Three networks nor the national daily newspapers covered the report. The administration’s failure to enforce immigration laws has caused the new record surge. Americans are understandably concerned about illegal immigration. It is unfortunate that the media does not consider it newsworthy.
From November 15:
POLL: AMERICANS SEE LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, these last few months have demonstrated how far the national media will go to promote a liberal agenda. Polls continue to show Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. Instead of providing objective and fair coverage of the news, the media provided one-sided stories that further damaged their credibility. A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that, by a nearly 10-to-1 ratio, Americans believe that the major newspapers and TV stations favored the Democratic candidate for President over the Republican candidate. Americans of all political affiliations know that the national media strongly leans to the left. Unfortunately, it has leaned too far for too long and has fallen off the credibility cliff. We need to remind the media of their profound obligation to provide the American people with the facts, not tell them what to think.
From November 14:
DON’T BELIEVE THE MEDIA
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, the liberal media tried to destroy Donald Trump. Instead, they destroyed their own credibility. Their extreme bias is provable. The network media’s coverage of Mr. Trump was 91 percent negative, and 96 percent of campaign contributions from journalists went to Hillary Clinton. By a 10 to 1 ratio, the American people felt the media were trying to elect Mrs. Clinton. A Gallup Poll found that the people’s trust in the media has hit a record low. Has the media learned any lessons? Will they show any humility? Will they now try to be objective? Not likely, given the last few days’ headlines and commentaries. Until news reporters give the American people the facts rather than expressing their own opinions, there is no reason to believe what they say or write.the
From January 9:
FAKE NEWS INCLUDES CLIMATE CHANGE
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, a good example of fake news appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. It is a column headlined, “As Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die.” This may be a new high–or maybe a new low–for climate alarmists and their exaggerations. Two facts: first, most severe and persistent droughts occurred decades ago, not recently; and second, there is little connection between climate change and extreme weather, in general, according to numerous studies. Climate alarmists tend to ignore scientific evidence and encourage media hype, and, of course, the liberal media is all too willing to go along. Climate discussions should be based on good science, not politically correct science.
From January 5:
MEDIA SHOULDN’T DECIDE WHAT IS FAKE
(Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, you may have heard about this new phenomenon called fake news. Fake news usually consists of false and made-up stories. Actually, it is not new and it has been around as long as there have been media. What is new is that a few liberal media organizations are going to label news stories suspect if they feel the stories are not true. This should be of great concern to anyone who believes in free speech. It works this way: nearly half of all Americans get information from Facebook. Facebook has now decided to let liberal media like ABC News and the Associated Press determine whether news is fake or not. This represents the liberal mindset that the media know better than the American people what is good for them. A better idea is to trust the American people and let them determine what is real news and what is not. The American people will learn to discern the good from the bad if the media stops telling them what to think.
Where have you gone Mary Richards?