“They hate blacks, Jews, Hispanics,” Fox News Radio reporter Jon Decker allegedly said a couple of weeks ago about radical alt-right blog The Gateway Pundit. Like many other members of the media, he’s clearly not too thrilled that this racist, far-right conspiracy blog has been allowed to attend official White House press briefings.
Normally I wouldn’t give this crap the time of day. I could build an entire career on nothing more than debunking the drivel they publish on a daily basis. Media Matters put together a list of a few completely ridiculous stories they’ve done:
- Used a photograph from the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship parade to claim there was a “MASSIVE LINE” for a town hall Trump was holding in Maine.
- Falsely claimed that CNN altered the image of the Umpqua Community College shooter to make him look white.
- Said that “tests show Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.”
- Backed up Trump’s claim that “millions” voted illegally.
- Used a heavily Photoshopped image to claim President Obama grabbed Melania Trump’s butt.
- Numerous instances where they fell for hoaxes, fake stories, or used satire as a “credible source” for a story.
- Claimed that Obama had an official Confederate flag pin made based on another Photoshopped image.
- Said the picture of Obama in the Situation Room during the Osama bin Laden raid was fake.
They’re also one of the sites that pushed the conspiracy concerning Obama’s trip to Hawaii being the reason why a judge ruled against Trump’s travel ban. This led to three Independent Journal Review staffers being suspended after the conservative website was forced to redact their story about this on grounds that it’s a ridiculous conspiracy theory based on absolutely zero evidence. In fact, IJR’s initial publication of the baseless “story” led to their congressional reporter resigning over concerns that their own credibility would be put into question working for a site using unhinged conspiracy theorists like The Gateway Pundit and InfoWars as sources.
Naturally, the conservative media, along with fringe sites like The Gateway Pundit, were quick to seize on Rep. Devin Nunes’ comments on Wednesday where the chairman of the House Select Committee inexplicably decided to unilaterally visit the White House to brief Trump on information he claims to have found “concerning.”
Shockingly, the former Trump transition team member just happened to “find evidence” that nobody else had seen yet that provided the perfect talking point for the administration to spin in a desperate attempt to vindicate Trump’s soundly debunked wiretapping conspiracy.
Well, on Thursday morning, in a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Trump retweeted an article from The Gateway Pundit in a clear sign that he still thinks Obama ordered a wiretapping of Trump Tower:
EXACTLY AS I SAID – House Intel Chair: We Cannot Rule Out Sr. Obama Officials Were Involved in Trump Surveillance https://t.co/ernZeDQIfy
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) March 23, 2017
When I saw that tweet, I decided to see what they said. Being that I almost never visit this site (for obvious reasons), I was curious what sort of outrageous spin they’d put on this non-story.
First, they wrote this:
House Intelligence chair, Devin Nunes confirmed that President-elect Trump and his transition team were surveilled between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
Actually, no, that’s not what Nunes said — though it’s clearly what he was trying to imply. What Nunes based his Wednesday idiocy around was a somewhat routine situation that occurs when phone or email communications are “incidentally collected” by U.S. intelligence officials during surveillance of foreign suspects. If a foreigner who is under surveillance happens to contact an American, anything said by that U.S. citizen is considered “incidentally collected.”
Ironically, the real story here should be if Trump or someone on his transition team had their information “incidentally collected,” that means foreign agents under surveillance by U.S. intelligence officials were contacting them. I’m not sure if your “defense” for a ridiculous conspiracy should be that your communications were “incidentally collected” because foreigners under U.S. surveillance were contacting you or your associates.
The next thing they wrote was even more ridiculous:
Information was “incidentally collected” about people involved in Trump transition; surveillance not related to Russia probe. This was highly unethical behavior for a sitting president.
Once again, Nunes did not say this happened.
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Nunes struggled to defend his comments. He did, however, admit that there’s still “no evidence” that Trump was wiretapped and said that he has no reason to think that anything illegal took place. Though he did try to push the spin that “incidentally collected” information could still be considered surveillance.
As I said, Nunes’ goal wasn’t to prove anything, but to put this idea out there that “incidentally collecting” information is still a form or surveillance. If that’s the case, then the real story is why would Trump or people associated with his transition team be in contact with people under U.S. surveillance?
And then they finish this “article” with an edited transcript exchange between Nunes and a reporter where he was asked if he can rule out Obama or officials within his administration being involved:
REPORTER: Can we rule out senior OBAMA Admin officials were involved in [WIRETAPPING Trump Team]?
NUNES: No we can not.
What the reporter actually asked was whether or not he could rule out if Obama or his administration had any part in ordering the surveillance that could have possibly led to this still-yet-to-be-proven “incidentally collected” information. As I pointed out during Nunes’ interview with Tapper, he admitted there’s no evidence that any “wiretapping” of Trump’s campaign or transition team took place. The reporter didn’t ask anything about “wiretapping Trump’s team.” That’s what they want to imply because they couldn’t care less about facts — just pushing misinformation.
Clearly, Nunes wasn’t going to absolve President Obama or his administration because that would have defeated the whole point of this stunt. It’s obvious he was trying to help Trump by tossing out this “incidentally collected” bullshit because he knew most people would have no idea what that actually means and the administration could use it to claim Trump’s conspiracy is justified. After a week of everyone from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, FBI Director James Comey, and even British intelligence saying this wiretapping conspiracy being pushed by Trump is pure fiction, he needed something to help him keep pushing this nonsense.
That’s exactly what Nunes gave him on Wednesday.
It should open everyone’s eyes to realize that Donald Trump views ridiculous alt-right fringe blogs like The Gateway Pundit as “credible sources of information.” A blog that pushes conspiracies, frequently falls for Photoshopped images, and doesn’t have a shred of journalistic credibility is considered “real news” by Trump and many of his supporters.
Then again, I guess for a man who has no credibility himself, Donald Trump can relate.