Sarah Huckabee Sanders used a 20-year-old myth about Osama bin Laden's secret phone to condemn modern media
The White House apparently has a problem with the media of the present — and with the media of 20 years ago.
In a Wednesday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought up a 1998 government leak, which apparently revealed the U.S. government was monitoring Osama bin Laden's secret phone line. News outlets reported the leak, causing the former al Qaeda leader to shut down the line and end the government's valuable intelligence connection.
One problem: The tale was deemed a myth 13 years ago, NBC News' Dafna Linzer pointed out on Twitter. But that didn't stop Sanders from using the story for a roundabout scolding of the media — one that Esquire's Ryan Lizza said "came pretty close to blaming 9/11 on the press."
Even more confusing is why this story was brought up in the first place. Sanders was asked if President Trump condemned a Tuesday night incident in which Trump supporters verbally harassed CNN's Jim Acosta at a rally in Tampa, Florida. The president condemns all violence and has "been clear about that a number of times," Sanders said, and then she declared that the media "routinely reports on classified information ... that put(s) lives in danger." From there, she referenced the bin Laden story — again, in response to a question about Acosta covering a Trump rally in Florida.
Watch the whole confusing exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk
“We certainly support a free press [and] condemn violence against anybody, but we also ask that people act responsibly and report accurately and fairly,” the White House said when asked if it condemned the harassment of journalists at the president's rallies pic.twitter.com/AkNBGkxjtl
— POLITICO (@politico) August 1, 2018
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) invoked The Simpsons to make a point about politics.
Cruz was being interviewed by Ben Domenech, the founder of the conservative publication The Federalist, who began the exchange by referring to a Simpsons episode where patriarch Homer and his daughter Lisa talk about gun control. "Homer points out that guns are for things like protecting your family, hunting delicious animals, and making sure that the King of England never shows up to push you around," Domenech said.
With a laugh, Cruz replied, "All good things," before Domenech noted that Lisa told her father that the Second Amendment is just "a relic of the Revolutionary War era." "I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson," Cruz replied, while "Republicans are happily the part of Homer, and Bart, and Maggie, and Marge," referring to the rest of the Simpson clan.
Cruz's comparison may not portend a bright future for the Republican Party: In an episode called "Bart to the Future," President Lisa Simpson is tasked with cleaning up a "budget crunch from President Trump." Kelly O'Meara Morales
President Trump on Thursday morning went on a bizarre Twitter rant about the co-hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe. After noting he's "heard poorly rated" Morning Joe has been speaking "badly of me," Trump claimed that co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough not long ago tried to spend time with him at his Florida resort. He then leveled some viciously personal insults:
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
About half an hour earlier, White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino Jr. had also tweeted about the pair, calling Brzezinski "#DumbAsARockMika." Becca Stanek
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) June 29, 2017
Perhaps the biggest revelation to come out of FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was the newly minted term "intelligence porn." Comey concocted the phrase while discussing WikiLeaks, which he argued has become a "conduit for the Russian intelligence services" rather than a source of information for the public.
"WikiLeaks is just pushing out intelligence porn," Comey said, differentiating WikiLeaks' information dumps from a true journalistic effort. He hinted there may be "future proceedings." Watch Comey deploy the phrase below. Becca Stanek
Comey on WikiLeaks: “intelligence porn” … a conduit for Russia to damage the United States pic.twitter.com/IUgdyVMQpR
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 3, 2017
On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) took to the House floor to speak about the Securities and Exchange Commission. The scene was being streamed online by C-SPAN — until an uncharacteristically jovial jingle cut into the feed:
Here's the moment Russia Today took over the C-SPAN1 feed. Unclear what happened. RT aired for about ten minutes before C-SPAN1 came back. pic.twitter.com/mhWVgCoFxF
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 12, 2017
RT is Russia's state television network, and the symbolism of the official voice of the Kremlin interrupting the American cable channel dedicated to publicizing official government proceedings should likely send people reaching for their tin-foil hats. The clip was posted by Deadspin editor Timothy Burke, who said the interruption happened on C-SPAN's raw feed, and a Twitter user in Washington, D.C., corroborated Burke's clip. CNN producer Donie O'Sullivan, meanwhile, pointed out that C-SPAN's on-demand footage from the time in question shows no irregularities.
The network has yet to comment. Kimberly Alters
Update 4:26 p.m.: C-SPAN addressed the issue in a statement, which is included below.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2017
This GOP congressman asked a black journalist if she had the 'right' to call him 'racist' because she has 'more melanin'
Just days after he claimed in July that white people had contributed more to civilization than any other "subgroup," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asked black journalist April Ryan why she thought she had a "right" to call him "racist." He recounted the story during an interview Thursday with a local Iowa radio station: "She approached me at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame a day or two later, with her tape recorder — it was one of those things you call a media ambush — and so, she began to call me a racist," King said. "And I said, 'Use that word again, again, again, say it a million times. You're devaluating the effect of it. You've got no basis for it — because you have more melanin in your skin, does that give you the right to call me a racist?'"
King cited the backlash from his July challenge to an MSNBC panel — when he asked them to state a "subgroup" of people that had contributed more to society than "western civilization" — as one of the reasons for his "rejection" of words like "bigot" and "racist." Ryan was a member of that MSNBC panel, and King says his encounter with her occurred shortly after that.
In an interview with The Guardian published Thursday, Donald Trump's campaign chair in Ohio's Mahoning County denied racism existed before President Obama took office. "Growing up as a kid, there was no racism, believe me. We were just all kids going to school," said Kathy Miller, who was a teenager amid the civil rights movement in the 1960s. When asked if she'd noticed any segregation during her childhood, Miller insisted she'd "never experienced it."
Instead, Miller said, she first noticed the issue of racism when the country elevated its first African-American president. "I don't think there was any racism until Obama got elected," Miller said. "We never had problems like this ... Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that's a big change, and I think that's the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America."
Miller also said African-Americans must "take responsibility for how they live," and then told The Guardian's reporter to "get off [the] topic" of racism because "it's of no consequence." Head over to The Guardian to get a glimpse of how the white and black communities of Ohio's Mahoning County are responding to the election — and watch part of Miller's interview, below. Becca Stanek
Eric Trump is baffled that his father's Hispanic supporters reacted so negatively to the hard-line immigration speech the candidate gave in Arizona on Wednesday, vowing to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and create a deportation task force. Ahead of his speech, GOP nominee Donald Trump had met with members of his Hispanic Advisory Council and allegedly promised to offer a softened stance on deportation, as well as humane and realistic solutions.
While many of Trump's Hispanic supporters backed off supporting him because they said he did not deliver on his promises, son Eric thought his dad's speech was right in line with what he's been saying all along. In an interview with Fox & Friends on Friday, Eric said the defections from Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council were "actually pretty amazing considering the speech ... was actually very consistent, and has been very, very consistent with his plan."
Since Trump delivered his speech Wednesday night, four people have resigned from his council. Watch his son Eric's full comments, below. Becca Stanek