Fox News Talked More About Migrant ‘Invasion’ Just Before Election Than In Past 3 Years Total

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And it appears they’re only ramping up that fearmongering rhetoric.

Ahead of his party’s shellacking in the 2018 midterm elections, Republican President Donald Trump spent weeks warning his supporters that a caravan of Central American migrants headed for the U.S border constituted an “invasion.”

Trump’s favorite television channel was his most important ally in that effort. Prime-time Fox News programs used the words “invasion” or “invaders” to describe migrants and asylum-seekers more times in the 30 days leading up to the Nov. 6 election than they did during all of 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined.

I used transcripts to analyze the use of the terms “invasion” or “invaders” to refer to immigrants or asylum seekers on Fox News prime-time programming from Jan. 1, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2018. The analysis shows that, although the network was pushing anti-immigrant rhetoric before Trump announced his candidacy, a noticeable uptick occurred in the months around the 2018 midterm election. Prime-time Fox News hosts and guests used the words to refer to migrants 33 times in the 30 days ahead of the election, up from 25 times in all of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Fox has kept up the attacks in the weeks after the Republicans lost the U.S. House: Prime-time hosts and guests used the terms 48 times between Election Day and the end of November. Most of the mentions came from Fox hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.

Calling migrants “invaders” is a long-honored right-wing media rhetorical tradition. In 2002, far-right pundit Michelle Malkin ― who regularly appears on Fox News, often to attack immigrants and refugees ― published an anti-immigrant book called Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. In 2015, Fox News used the term to spread anti-Muslim rhetoric in the context of the European refugee crisis. Ousted host and alleged serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly branded the humanitarian issue as a “Muslim invasion” in his Sept. 15 show that year. During an episode that aired about a month later, O’Reilly and his guest Monica Crowley focused on the “fighting age” or virility of those seeking asylum. Trump’s former top adviser, Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, was another fan of the idea; he often describes The Camp of the Saints, a racist 1970s French novel about a literal invasion of Europe by people from other continents, as a prophetic description about the present.

And Trump is far from the first Republican candidate to borrow from Fox News’ bigoted rhetoric for electoral gain. Fox News favorite Bobby Jindal attempted to run for president by regularly using the slogan “immigration without assimilation is invasion,” hammering on it throughout his short-lived candidacy.

But Trump and Fox News’ symbiotic relationship is unprecedented. In the first two years of Trump’s presidency, the network has continuously echoed the administration’s talking points and pushed its agenda to its 1.3 million daily viewers. From his end, Trump reportedly spends hours each day watching the network’s coverage.

The right-wing media noise machine has grown significantly since 2015, and the results of Trump and Fox’s symbiotic relationship clearly has the power of inspiring extremists. The right-wing echo chamber now includes anonymous message boards like 4chan and 8chan ― two video hosting platforms that amplified Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories by airing content from his site Infowars ― and social media networks like Gab, where extremists get further radicalized.

When I analyzed “politically incorrect” boards on anonymous forums 4chan and 8chan, I found that more than 2,200 posts referred to migrant caravans with the terms invasion or invaders. The trend showed an observable spike on Oct. 22, a day Trump tweeted repeatedly about the caravan.

The man behind the hate-fueled shooting on Oct. 27 in a Pittsburgh synagogue, for example, had posted six days before the shooting on the “haven for white nationalists” site Gab that he had “noticed a change” in the way people on the platforms referred to immigrants. “People saying ‘illegals’ … now say ’invaders,” he noted. “I like this,” he added. His last post before the shooting attacked HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that helps refugees resettle in the U.S., for bringing in “invaders.”

Alex Jones repeatedly pushed the invasion narrative throughout October. Jones, whose extremist posts got him kicked off of multiple social media platforms, has previously bragged on air about his access to Trump’s White House.

And yet, President Trump and his right-wing media figures refuse to connect the dots between their rhetoric and the extremism it inspires or take responsibility for mainstreaming and empowering extremists.

White supremacist podcasts praise Tucker Carlson, for elevating their discourse into the mainstream. Yet Carlton denies having any influence on them.

Right-wing media and Trump have benefited immensely from incendiary rhetoric. They just don’t want to own the consequences.  

Here Are The Most Interesting Parts Of The Latest Mueller Filings

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Three court filings, from the special counsel and New York prosecutors, reveal new details in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Three documents filed in court Friday revealed new details in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The documents pertained to the government’s cooperation agreement with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, as well as Mueller’s assessment of why former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with investigators.

The special counsel said in a memo to a federal judge that Manafort lied to investigators in the special counsel’s office about his contacts with administration officials, among other things.

Mueller’s filing on Cohen outlined how the attorney assisted the special counsel’s office by providing “information about his own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign” as well as details on the Trump Organization’s real estate plans in Russia. Cohen also admitted to making hush-money payments to two women at the direction of Trump.

In another filing Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York submitted a sentencing memo for Cohen recommending he served 42 months.

All three court filings provide new insight into where the special counsel’s investigation currently stands. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits.

Mueller’s Memo On Manafort

  • Manafort told “multiple discernible lies,” Mueller’s team said. “These were not instances of mere memory lapses.”

  • Manafort allegedly told five main lies to the special counsel and the FBI.

Manafort's five alleged lies.
Manafort’s five alleged lies.
  • The alleged lies pertained to Manafort’s interactions with suspected Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik, his contacts with Trump administration officials and a transfer of funds to a firm working for Manafort.

  • Manafort allegedly texted with someone authorizing that person to talk to an administration official on his behalf. 

The evidence demonstrates that Manafort had contacts with Administration officials. For instance, in a text exchange from May 26, 2018, Manafort authorized a person to speak with an Administration official on Manafort’s behalf.Special counsel’s office
  • The memo also referenced “information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation.”

  • Portions of the memo are heavily redacted, specifically in the section on Kilimnik.

Portions about Manafort's interactions with Kilimnik are heavily redacted.
Portions about Manafort’s interactions with Kilimnik are heavily redacted.

The Southern District Of New York’s Memo On Cohen

  • Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction of Trump” to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to the memo.

  • His efforts included payments to allegedly silence Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

Prosecutors plainly state that Cohen acted at the direction of Trump.
Prosecutors plainly state that Cohen acted at the direction of Trump.
  • Cohen sought reimbursements, which were illegally disguised, for orchestrating the payments to McDougal and Daniels, who claimed they had affairs with Trump about a decade earlier. McDougal and Daniels are referenced in the memo as Woman-1 and Woman-2, respectively.

  • Prosecutors claimed the “principal purpose” of Cohen’s payments to McDougal was to “prevent [her] story from influencing the election.”

  • Prosecutors say Cohen saw himself as the “ultimate fixer” for Trump, adding that he arranged the payments to the women “to increase his power and influence.” 

This was not a blind act of loyalty, as Cohen has also suggested. His actions suggest that Cohen relished the status of ultimate fixer – a role that he embraced as recently as May 2018. Cohen was driven by a desire to further ingratiate himself with a potential future President ... and arranged for the payments in an attempt to increase his power and influence.U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York
  • The New York prosecutors rejected the idea that Cohen should receive leniency for helping investigators, noting that his crimes were motivated by “personal greed” and that he “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.”

  • Prosecutors said Cohen’s cooperation with investigators “does not make him a hero.”

New York prosecutors suggested a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Cohen.
New York prosecutors suggested a “substantial term of imprisonment” for Cohen.

Mueller’s Memo On Cohen

  • Cohen has provided the special counsel’s office with information about the Trump Organization’s so-called “Moscow Project,” including who was involved in the discussions and contacts with Russian government officials.

  • Cohen also said he discussed the “Moscow Project” with Trump, who is referred to as “Individual 1” throughout the memo, “well into” his presidential campaign.

Mueller noted that Cohen's alleged discussions of the Moscow Project with Trump were especially concerning considering Russia
Mueller noted that Cohen’s alleged discussions of the Moscow Project with Trump were especially concerning considering Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election.
  • A Russian national who claimed to be politically influential in Russia contacted Cohen in 2015, according to Mueller’s memo. That person offered the Trump campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.”

  • That same Russian national also repeatedly proposed to Cohen a meeting between Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Cohen, however, never followed through with the invitation.

The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a ‘phenomenal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well,’ referring to the Moscow Project, because there is ‘no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia].Special counsel Robert Mueller
  •  Mueller is investigating the Trump Organization’s real estate plans in Russia as part of the bigger investigation.

  • The special counsel is also looking into people who were connected to the White House in 2017 and 2018, which overlaps with Trump’s presidency.

The special counsel's investigation is looking into the Trump Organization's real estate plans in Russia, Mueller noted.
The special counsel’s investigation is looking into the Trump Organization’s real estate plans in Russia, Mueller noted.



Fox News' Tucker Carlson turns on Donald Trump: 'I don't think he's capable'

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Tucker Carlson isn’t one to shy away from going after the critics of President Donald Trump on his nightly Fox News show.

But in a new interview with conservative Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche, the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host called out Trump himself for his boastfulness and for failing to keep his promises to his voters.

His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare and he hasn’t done any of those things,” said Carlson, per The Washington Post. 

Carlson said he’d “come to believe” Trump’s role was “not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does.”

I don’t think he’s capable,” Carlson explained. “I don’t think he’s capable of sustained focus. I don’t think he understands the system. I don’t think the Congress is on his side. I don’t think his own agencies support him. He’s not going to do that.”

Carlson said it was “mostly” Trump’s fault that he hadn’t been able to deliver on his pledges, because “you really have to understand how” the legislative process works and “be very focused on getting it done.”

″(Trump) knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do so. It’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things. I’m not in charge of Trump,” he added.

Instead, Carlson suggested Trump’s role had been “to begin the conversation” on issues such as immigration — which the conservative TV host has frequently and fervently railed against.



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