Tag Archives: smear

Facebook refuses to remove Trump ads that smear Biden

Facebook refuses to remove Trump ads that smear BidenFacebook is allowing the Trump campaign to post false information about former Vice President Joe Biden, a policy change that came after CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a White House meeting with the president.



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Watchdog reveals mysterious attempt to smear ex-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

Watchdog reveals mysterious attempt to smear ex-U.S. ambassador to UkraineThe State Department’s inspector general briefed congressional aides Wednesday about an apparent attempt to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who is seen by House Democrats as a key witness in their impeachment inquiry. Steve Linick, the inspector general, revealed that a packet of documents containing misinformation about the former ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year from an unknown source. Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was also a target of debunked conspiracy theories laid out in the documents, lawmakers and aides said.



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Trump Pushes Baseless Smear That Ilhan Omar ‘Partied’ on 9/11

Trump Pushes Baseless Smear That Ilhan Omar ‘Partied’ on 9/11REUTERSPresident Donald Trump on Wednesday used his Twitter account to boost a baseless smear claiming that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) danced at an event last week on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a claim that’s based on footage that wasn’t actually taken from that day.Trump’s tweet circulated a video from conservative personality Terrence Williams, in which Williams declared that Omar “partied on the anniversary of 9/11.” In his video, Williams comments on footage of the Muslim congresswoman dancing and fumes that she’s disrespecting the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks.But the footage of Omar dancing actually came from a Sept. 13 event hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and wasn’t taken on the 11th, as Williams and Trump wrongly claimed. Trump, however, used Williams’ video to declare that Omar would help Republicans win Minnesota. “Ilhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota,” the president tweeted. “The new face of the Democrat Party!” Williams’ original tweet was deleted from Twitter at some point on Wednesday. Twitter confirmed to The Daily Beast that the video post was not removed by the social media site’s administrators but was instead deleted by Williams or someone with access to his Twitter account.Williams did not respond to a request for comment.Omar blasted Trump’s smear on Wednesday, tweeting that he has put her life in danger.“The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk,” she wrote. “What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?”Trump has frequently targeted Omar with smears, inspiring death threats against the Somali-American lawmaker. In July, Trump suggested that Omar had married her own brother to commit immigration fraud—a baseless claim that’s become increasingly popular on the right, despite being based entirely on a single, anonymous message-board post. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Lou Dobbs Deploys Anti-Semitic ‘Tentacles’ Trope to Smear George Soros

Lou Dobbs Deploys Anti-Semitic ‘Tentacles’ Trope to Smear George SorosFox Business NetworkDuring a Wednesday night interview with right-wing provocateur Michelle Malkin, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs smeared liberal Jewish financier George Soros with an anti-Semitic trope, claiming Soros’ “tentacles reach out into various non-government organizations and nonprofits.” Dobbs brought on Malkin, who recently told Fox News that Soros is funding the “illegal alien lawyers lobby,” to hawk her latest anti-immigrant book, and it didn’t take long for her to portray Soros as a “globalist” bent on destroying America’s sovereignty.“And George Soros himself… explicitly says the idea of sovereignty, something that so many of us who are children of legal immigrants, for example, respect as a fundamental precept for the survival of a country, sovereignty to George Soros is quote-unquote an obstacle,” she said. “And he has created an entire infrastructure of tax-exempt nonprofits to do his bidding.”Dobbs then took Malkin’s comments a step further.“It is extraordinary and I think most people, I’ll include myself, cannot conceive of why a man would fund efforts that would work against sovereignty,” Dobbs said. “Work against our laws—there are laws against illegal immigration—and to see his tentacles reach out into various non-government organizations and nonprofits that are working with everything from the Koch Brothers to the Southern Poverty Law Center, as you document through this book.”“It is stunning to see how pervasive and how successful he has been with his strategy,” he added.Last year, the Anti-Defamation League commented on the anti-Semitism behind many of the Soros-related conspiracies the right has spread for years, many of which have recently made their way into the mainstream. “Even if no anti-Semitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming anti-Semitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide anti-Semites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice,” the organization noted.Nazi propaganda, meanwhile, used images of a Jewish octopus spanning the globe and wrapping around political institutions during the 1930s. Neo-Nazi groups have continued to promulgate this trope in recent years, specifically referring to Jewish “tentacles.”A frequent guest of Dobbs’, Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell, was banned from Fox airwaves last year after he claimed migrant caravans from Central America were funded by the “Soros-occupied State Department,” parroting the anti-Semitic smear of a “Zionist-controlled government.” Two days after Farrell made his comments, an anti-Semite killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shooter believed that Soros and other Jews were trying to replace whites through immigration.This also isn’t the first time the “tentacle” trope has been used by a Fox host. Back in 2015, then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Soros the “shadow puppet master” who “has his tentacles into political organizations.”Meanwhile, Dobbs—who serves as an informal adviser to the president—was seen entering the White House on Wednesday afternoon.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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How the Ilhan Omar Marriage Smear Went From Fever Swamp to Trump

How the Ilhan Omar Marriage Smear Went From Fever Swamp to TrumpJoshua Roberts/GettyWhen Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) once married her own brother in an immigration fraud scheme, he demonstrated the remarkable degree to which even the most far-off corners of the right-wing internet can launch unproven, anonymous claims into the national political discourse.The president had been asked by a reporter from the pro-Trump One America News Network about whether his administration was investigating Omar “for possibly marrying her brother.” In response, Trump hinted that “somebody” in the government was looking into the matter.“There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother,” Trump said. “I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother.”The remarks were the first Trump had ever uttered on Omar’s marriage. And they represented a remarkable—if not depressing—capstone for the unproven rumor, which has gained steam in the fever swamps for three years as Omar became one of the country’s most outspoken and controversial lawmakers. The claim that Omar married her own brother as a way for him to gain a green card has been embraced by a number of conservative pundits with ties to the president, including commentator Dinesh D’Souza, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, and One America host Jack Posobiec. On Thursday, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson discussed it on his show.Omar, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, has denied that her ex-husband is her brother. And for good reason. What many of the smear’s promoters never reveal to their audience is both the evidence Omar has provided to disprove their conspiracies and the fact that the completely unproven idea that she married her brother is based entirely on a single, anonymous, unsourced allegation initially made on an obscure internet forum. In August 2016, as Omar was poised to defeat a longtime incumbent from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party primary for a state legislature seat in Minnesota, an anonymous post appeared on a Somali diaspora forum called Somali Spot. A user named “AbdiJohnson,” who identified himself in his bio on the site as a Trump supporter, posted a thread called “ILHAN OMAR MARRIAGE FRAUD EXPOSURE.” In the thread, which has since been deleted from Somali Spot but remains online elsewhere, AbdiJohnson claimed that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, from whom Omar was then separated, was secretly her brother. Omar had married Elmi, the anonymous poster claimed, in an attempt to make it easier for him to enter the United States.“What’s even more shocking is that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is actually her brother,” wrote the user, whose account on Somali Spot has since gone inactive. AbdiJohnson never provided any evidence for his claim, and searches of Somali Spot posts show that the user was notorious on the site as a troll known for making up claims to rile up the site’s other members. The post was later deleted.That didn’t stop the claim from getting picked up days later by Minnesota lawyer Scott Johnson, whose conservative Power Line blog became briefly famous in the 2000 election for discrediting forged documents on George W. Bush’s National Guard service. In a post based on AbdiJohnson’s claims, Johnson speculated that Omar, by then the winner of the state legislature primary, had married her own brother in an immigration scheme. “Let me note here that Omar’s marriage to her brother, if it occurred in fact, is illegal under Minnesota law,” Johnson wrote. Johnson has continued to write stories suggesting Elmi is Omar’s brother, writing his latest post about Omar on Thursday. Johnson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the original claim that Omar married her brother was based on the deleted Somali Spot post. Asked to cite the most compelling evidence that Elmi is Omar’s brother, Johnson said only “social-media evidence and [the] sham nature of marriage.” “She has acted from the beginning like she is hiding something,” Johnson wrote in an email. After the 2016 Power Line post was published, the claim that Omar had committed immigration fraud and married her brother—which was still based entirely on an anonymous forum post—began to circulate more widely in Minnesota politics. The story was kept alive by Alpha News, a conservative Minnesota politics site with ties to a Republican donor. Alpha News reporter Preya Samsundar launched a lengthy but inconclusive investigation into various social-media posts, which she claimed “suggests” Omar married her brother. It’s not clear that the social-media accounts scrutinized by Samsundar and her allies, however, even belong to the right Elmi.Samsundar was hardly a neutral observer or reporter in the matter. She is now a communications staffer for the Minnesota Republican Party and didn’t respond to a request for comment. Like other promoters of the smear, Samsundar had seized on social-media posts in which someone with Elmi’s name refers to Omar as his “sister.” But according to Somali language experts and language learning websites, “brother” and “sister” can be terms of endearment in Somali that don’t necessarily constitute a familial relationship.    “It is good manners in Somali culture to use the term ‘brother/sister’ even for cousins and strangers,” anthropologist Bernhard Helander wrote in 1991. Among the biographical details known about Elmi is that he went to high school in Minnesota and has been described by Omar as a British citizen. Elmi could not be reached for comment for this piece. But while he did marry Omar in 2009, there has been absolutely no evidence produced to show he is her brother. Omar’s efforts to disprove the claims have been stymied by the fact that—like earlier right-wing conspiracy theories alleging that Hillary Clinton eats children in a Washington pizzeria or murdered Democratic staffer Seth Rich—her critics never appear satisfied with her explanations. In 2018, Omar showed a reporter from the Star Tribune pictures of immigration documents from when her family entered the United States that list her siblings’ names. The list did not include anyone by Elmi’s name.“It’s really strange, right, to try to prove a negative,” Omar told the paper. “If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t. If someone was asking… are there court documents that are false… there is no truth to that.”The conspiracies around Omar’s marriage have been further fueled by the lack of documents her family has because of their status as refugees from war-torn Somalia, Omar’s reluctance to discuss the smear, and her own complicated marriage history—which critics have used to sow confusion about her marriage. In 2002, Omar was married in a religious ceremony to a man named Ahmed Hirsi, but the marriage was never legally ratified. In 2008, Omar separated from Hirsi after having two children with him.A year later, in 2009, Omar legally married Elmi. They separated and religiously divorced two years later, in 2011, but did not legally divorce.In 2012, Omar was reunited with Hirsi and had another child with him, but did not legally marry him. In 2014 and 2015, Omar and Hirsi filed joint tax returns together, even though she was still married to Elmi. Though the political significance of this history is confusing, it has shadowed Omar’s pursuit of elected office. As she ran for a Minnesota House position in 2016, the discrepancies between her marriage dates surfaced, and Omar’s campaign paid an accounting firm $ 1,500 to resolve the joint tax issues. Omar divorced Elmi in 2017 and married Hirsi in 2018. This June, Omar was fined $ 500 for improperly using the $ 1,500 in campaign money to resolve the tax issues, providing more fodder for critics looking to allege that there’s something suspicious taking place. As Omar’s profile grew after her election to the U.S. House in 2018—and after she drew national attention for her criticisms of the Israeli government—higher-profile figures on the pro-Trump internet began to focus on her marriage story. David Steinberg, a writer at conservative blog PJMedia, picked up the investigation and wrote a series of posts suggesting Elmi was Omar’s brother, spreading the idea to a national audience. Even after the story went outside Minnesota, though, all of the claims continued to rest on anonymous sources. A Steinberg story scrutinizing Elmi’s high-school record has been much praised on the right, for example. But his claim that Elmi and Omar have the same father rests entirely on unnamed people. In February, anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, incompetent conservative operative Jacob Wohl, and Ali Alexander, who would become notorious this June for claiming that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) isn’t an “American Black,” traveled to Minneapolis to “investigate” whether Omar had married her brother. In between demanding that Omar sign an affidavit swearing she had never married a relative, they portrayed Minneapolis as a dangerous city and asked their fans to pay for their security. Wohl was later caught faking some death threats using a fake Twitter account.  The trio, teaming up with conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman, presented their supposed evidence at the Conservative Political Action Conference in a farcical event. Unable to set up in the conference itself, they were forced to hold their big reveal in the hotel lobby, presenting “confidential” documents that were mainly already reported social-media posts. Like other implausible claims on the right-wing internet, the Omar rumor has begun to spin off into confusing, lengthy investigations incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t already read dozens of blog posts. Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft, who was invited to the White House last week for Trump’s social-media summit, has attempted to prove Omar entered the country illegally by publishing alleged “facial-recognition” tests that consist of green lines and boxes drawn between former various Somali politicians and Omar’s family. Meanwhile, The Daily Caller and other conservative websites have become fixated on proving that Omar, who said in her divorce filing that she didn’t know how to contact Elmi, actually could have contacted her then-husband—an issue that wouldn’t prove in any way that he’s her brother. It’s not clear how Trump first became aware of the claims about Omar’s marriage, but the complicated smear has been embraced this summer by a number of right-wing commentators with ties to Trump. In late June, D’Souza, whom Trump pardoned for his campaign-finance crimes, alleged that Omar had married her brother in an immigration-fraud scheme and asked “why hasn’t she been indicted yet?” On Monday, Limbaugh, whom Trump regularly praises on Twitter, told his audience that Omar had married her brother in an immigration-fraud scheme.“We’re talking about freshman representative Ilhan Omar, who married her brother illegally to arrive in the United States,” Limbaugh said. “But we’re not supposed to mention that because, see, she’s a minority and a woman and they have it so tough anyway.”Posobiec, a former promoter of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory who has been retweeted by the president, posted an Alpha News video early Wednesday—before Trump’s remarks—that showed a series of unnamed narrators claiming that Omar married her brother. As with “birther” claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, promoters of the Omar smear are using it to strike at the heart of Omar’s status as an American citizen, even though it’s about “her brother” entering the country under false pretenses. Under this impossible theory, they claim it means that Omar abused her own citizenship to get her brother admitted to the country, and will, therefore, somehow have her citizenship revoked. Trump was a natural ally for this cause, having previously served as the leading birther conspiracy theorist. But instead of trying to lay the foundation for deporting Omar on a seemingly concocted immigration crime, the president has chosen to expedite matters by suggesting she be deported for being too critical of America. Shortly after engaging on the marriage conspiracies on Wednesday, Trump basked in a chant at his rally, in which the crowd called for him to “Send her back!” to Somalia. On Thursday, he said he didn’t approve of the chant. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hits back at Newt Gingrich's 'dishonest' smear

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hits back at Newt Gingrich's 'dishonest' smearRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hits back at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called her “dishonest.”



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Tucker Carlson Defends Don Jr. for Retweeting Birther-Style Kamala Harris Smear

Tucker Carlson Defends Don Jr. for Retweeting Birther-Style Kamala Harris SmearFox News host Tucker Carlson has rallied to the defense of Donald Trump Jr. for retweeting a birther-style smear of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, arguing on Tuesday night that the presidential son was merely echoing the skepticism many black voters have of Harris.Following Harris’ much-lauded primary debate performance last week, alt-right commentator Ali Alexander claimed that the California senator had no business commenting on racial issues because she wasn’t an “American Black” but “half Indian and half Jamaican.” Don Jr. would soon retweet—and later delete—Alexander’s post, with a spokesman saying he had simply been surprised to learn of Harris’ heritage. According to Carlson, it was not Don Jr.’s retweet that should have sparked condemnation—but Harris’ debate performance. “Sen. Kamala Harris clearly thinks she can become president of the United States by calling other people racists,” he said before showing a clip of Harris’ standout debate moment, in which she took former Vice President Joe Biden to task for opposing school busing during the 1970s. “Oh, barf,” Carlson muttered after playing the clip.Insisting that the media wants to pit “black against white” and “Kamala Harris versus Joe Biden,” Carlson claimed that real life was “far more complicated than that.” Stating that Biden’s strongest voter constituency is black voters while Harris’ is young, white and affluent, the Fox News host asserted that “many black voters appear skeptical of Kamala Harris.” (Post-debate polls, however, show Harris gaining on Biden due to a massive shift in black support.)“One of them recently tweeted that Harris' life story doesn't bear much resemblance to that of most African Americans,” Carlson said, referencing Alexander’s tweet. “Her parents were from India and Jamaica. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted that observation, and for that, CNN denounced him as a terrifying racist.”After showing footage of critics blasting Trump Jr. over the tweet, the conservative media star then took aim at CNN's Don Lemon for seemingly questioning whether Harris should identify herself as African-American several months ago. “This tape has been floating around Washington, and Don Lemon apparently has been calling other anchors—even on other channels—and asking them not to replay it because he's embarrassed of it,” Carlson mockingly said. “But we think you have a right to see it and you can decide for yourself if Don Lemon is also an anti-black racist.”During a CNN segment earlier this year, Lemon said Harris could brush away any criticism of her racial identity by saying “I’m black but I’m not African American,” noting that Jamaica isn’t America.“Here's Don Lemon telling you that Kamala Harris is not an African American,” Carlson concluded. “He thinks it's important that you know that, and yet that's not racist because Don Lemon is a democratic voter. That's the logic of identity politics.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Fairfax: Sexual-Assault Claim a ‘Smear’ Meant to Block Path to Governor’s Mansion

Fairfax: Sexual-Assault Claim a ‘Smear’ Meant to Block Path to Governor’s MansionVirginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax on Monday called the sexual-assault allegation leveled against him Sunday night a “smear” and implied the claim was publicized by political enemies intent on blocking his ascent to the governorship. “Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out?” Fairfax told reporters at the state capitol when asked if he believed the claim, advanced by the liberal Collective PAC, that embattled governor Ralph Northam’s team disseminated the allegation. Fairfax is poised to assume the governorship should Northam cave to the mounting calls for his resignation, which began Friday after it was revealed that a photo depicting one man in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan uniform was featured on his 1984 medical-school-yearbook page. Northam initially apologized and conceded that he did appear in the photo on Friday evening.



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Conspiracy theorists try, fail, to smear Robert Mueller with sexual misconduct claim

Conspiracy theorists try, fail, to smear Robert Mueller with sexual misconduct claimTwo conservative activists revealed at an inauspicious press conference in Northern Virginia what they (but few others) deemed to be credible allegations of rape against special counsel Robert Mueller.



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The Bizarre And Failed Attempt To Smear Robert Mueller

The Bizarre And Failed Attempt To Smear Robert MuellerIt's hoaxes all the way down in what appears to be an effort to discredit



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