Donald Trump Jr. Liked Tweets Promoting A Conspiracy Theory About A Florida Shooting Survivor

Donald Trump Jr. liked two tweets on Tuesday that peddled a conspiracy theory about a 17-year-old survivor of the Parkland school shooting, suggesting that he was “coached” to propagate an anti-Trump narrative by his father who is a retired FBI agent.

Both tweets attacked David Hogg, one of the students who documented the horror felt by his peers during the Parkland school shooting, and who has since been outspoken in his call for lawmakers and politicians to take action against guns.

Hogg had referred to President Trump’s tweet blaming the FBI for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as “disgusting” and told CNN that his father was a retired FBI agent.

“The FBI are some of the hardest-working individuals I’ve ever seen in my life,” Hogg said.

In an interview with NBC, Hogg also urged Trump to take gun reform action, saying, “You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us. How dare you? Children are dying, and their blood is on your hands because of that. Please take action. Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Take action. Work with Congress. Your party controls both the House and Senate. Take action, get some bills passed, and for God’s sake, let’s save some lives.”

Trump Jr. liked a tweet from conservative TV show host Graham Ledger that linked to a story by far-right, pro-Trump website, Gateway Pundit, suggesting that Hogg’s father had “coached” his son in propagating “anti-Trump rhetoric and anti-gun legislation.”

Trump Jr. also liked a tweet linking to a story by True Pundit — a far-right website that has published several false stories — which referred to Hogg as “the kid who has been running his mouth about how Donald Trump and the GOP are teaming to help murder high school kids by upholding the Second Amendment.”

The piece blamed “the Deep State media” for giving Hogg a platform and appeared to express doubt that he was a survivor of the shooting.

Hogg told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that Trump Jr.’s peddling of conspiracy theories was “immature, rude, and inhuman.”

“I just think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to pedal conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died and it just makes me sick,” Hogg told BuzzFeed News via text. “It’s immature, rude, and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won’t,” he said.

One of his classmates also pointed out on Twitter that the idea of Hogg being a professional actor was, well, laughable.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Trump Jr. and the White House for comment.

[Buzzfeed]

A Dangerous Troll Is Now Reporting From The White House

The internet’s most hapless political blogger now has his own White House correspondent — a regular contributor with little reporting experience but ample ties to “alt-right” harassment — sitting in the White House press briefing room.

At the January 19 “Deploraball” event before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Gateway Pundit founder and “dumbest man on the internet” Jim Hoft announced that his outlet would have a White House correspondent with the Trump administration, and that Lucian Wintrich would fill the position. On February 13, Hoft posted a “reader alert” that Hoft and Wintrich will be attending the day’s White House press briefing. Hoft confusingly wrote, “Please look for us and keep your fingers crossed that one of us is asked a question.”

Hours later, Hoft tweeted a photo of himself and Wintrich standing behind the lectern in the White House press briefing room, displaying a hand signal associated with the racist “Pepe” meme. The tweet itself also included the hashtag “Pepe” and a frog emoji, commonly understood to invoke the hate symbol.

Referencing this Pepe the Frog meme:

Hoft’s political blog has often served as the single source for completely unfounded reporting that nonetheless catches fire in the right-wing internet world, until it becomes what Kellyanne Conway might deem an “alternative fact.” The frequency with which he posts hoaxes and complete fabrications as fact suggests Hoft either has a reckless and total disregard for the truth or is so incompetent he cannot separate fact from fiction.

Most recently, Hoft’s total negligence for the truth led to an internet harassment campaign against Washington Post home-page editor Doris Truong, who he wrongly reported was captured taking secret photos of Rex Tillerson’s notes at his confirmation hearing for secretary of state on January 11. Truong was not at the hearing; she is, however, an Asian-American woman (like the person photographed at the hearing), and that was seemingly enough for Hoft to run with. Truong had already been subjected to extensive racist trolling by the time Hoft quietly corrected his post. This is Hoft’s pattern: decide what a random photo or document means without obtaining any supporting evidence, post it as factual news, watch the “alternative fact” spread, quietly change the post or claim yet another mistake, then repeat.

The Gateway Pundit’s new White House correspondent is now attending press briefings, and it’s unclear how “brand strategist and digital creative” Lucian Wintrich, who frequently refers to the new president endearingly as “daddy,” will approach this responsibility. If his past actions and social media persona are any indication, Wintrich will follow the Gateway Pundit formula for irresponsible and dangerous reporting, and perhaps even more explicitly incite harassment from his new White House platform.

Wintrich Is Not A Reporter

Wintrich is a “gay conservative mouthpiece” primarily known as the artist behind a “Twinks4Trump” photography exhibit that debuted at the GOP convention last summer. He explained that he aims to be “the first rational voice that the American people have had in White House press in ages.” He recently wrote on social media, “I don’t consider myself a journalist, I consider myself the future of journalism.”

Indeed, Wintrich does not appear to have much experience as a political reporter prior to joining The Gateway Pundit; a Nexis search of his name for the last five years reveals only a handful of articles in which he is quoted, and no bylined pieces. He has authored one opinion piece, describing his pro-Trump art, posted on The Hill last fall. Wintrich has now written about a dozen posts for The Gateway Pundit in the past few weeks; he was previously the subject of several posts on the blog, as well as on Breitbart.com, before beginning this correspondent position.

Wintrich is also the founder and “creative director” of Rabble Media, which bills itself as “a new type of media brand providing its audience with original reporting, underserved stories, interesting perspectives, thought-provoking proposals and occasionally, breaking news.” Wintrich says he launched Rabble in late summer; the site appears to have stopped posting articles at the end of September.

Wintrich’s experience as a writer seems to have begun with his tongue-in-cheek approach to personal harassment in college. According to a VICE profile of Wintrich, “his writings were rejected by the student newspaper” at Bard College while he was a student there, so Wintrich subsequently started a rival blog, which posted an anonymously written column referring to a fellow student’s vagina as “cold and damp” and linking to her personal Facebook page. VICE noted that “Wintrich claims that a lawyer for the school told him that his blog was perceived as a sexual threat, though he doesn’t recall why. ‘I think there was a joke about a vagina or something. It was infantile. I totally forget it.’”

Wintrich Seems To Thrive At The Misogynist “Alt-Right” Harassment Nexus

Here’s what else we know about Wintrich: He is close with figures of the racist and misogynist so-called “alt-right” who are known for launching online harassment campaigns that frequently target women. Wintrich’s art exhibit featured “contributors” like Breitbart.com editor and transphobic serial harasser Milo Yiannopoulos, “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, misogynist and racist conservative troll Gavin McInnes, and deluded “citizen journalist” vigilante James O’Keefe, among others, when he brought it to New York City in October. “We’re bringing back the Rat Pack,” Wintrich captioned a photo of Shkreli, himself, and Yiannopoulos. This group also regularly tweets about and directly at each other, praising and participating in one another’s misguided projects.

Wintrich himself has also encouraged harassment of individuals on Twitter, posting Gizmodo writer William Turton’s personal information after Turton wrote a post criticizing pro-Trump Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s business partner. Wintrich has since deleted his tweet about Turton, which listed Turton’s personal address, phone number, and email. It read, “I think that [Turton] would love a call about what you think of his villainization of Trump supporters and attacks against Thiel.” Wintrich has also repeatedly tweeted photos of Mic.com writer Jack Smith, attempting to connect Smith to the dangerous #Pizzagate conspiracy theory and tweeting, “Someone needs to investigate.” According to Wintrich, Smith’s reporting on Wintrich’s art show may have led an LGBT veterans group to reject a potential donation Wintrich planned to make from the show’s proceeds.

Wintrich’s Social Media Is Riddled With “Jokes” About Women’s Equality, The Transgender Community, And Sexual Assault

Wintrich’s Twitter account has included disparaging comments about women and hate rhetoric aimed at transgender individuals, as well as jokes about sexual assault:

 

(h/t Media Matters)

 

 

 

 

White House Grants Press Credentials to a Pro-Trump Blog

The Gateway Pundit, a provocative conservative blog, gained notice last year for its fervent pro-Trump coverage and its penchant for promoting false rumors about voter fraud and Hillary Clinton’s health that rocketed around right-wing websites.

Now the site will report on politics from a prominent perch: the White House.

The Trump administration has granted press credentials to Lucian B. Wintrich, the Washington correspondent for Gateway Pundit, to attend White House press briefings and ask questions of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer.

Mr. Wintrich, an artist and writer who has collaborated with Milo Yiannopoulos, the polarizing editor at Breitbart News, attended President Trump’s news conference with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Monday. He was joined by the owner of Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, who posted on Twitter, “President Trump just spoke about tossing criminal migrants and I wanted to stand up and cheer!!”

In a telephone interview from the West Wing, Mr. Wintrich, 28, said he would “be reporting far more fairly than a lot of the very left-wing outlets that are currently occupying the briefing room.” He added, “We will be doing a little trolling of the media in general here.”

Asked what kind of trolling his fellow White House correspondents might want to prepare for, Mr. Wintrich paused. “I don’t want to give too much away,” he said. “We have some pretty solid stuff planned.”

Bloggers and pundits have been granted access to White House briefings in previous administrations, and Mr. Spicer in recent weeks has taken questions from conservative talk-radio hosts and reporters at local broadcast affiliates. But the inclusion of Gateway Pundit has raised concerns that the Trump administration, which has called the news media “the opposition party,’’ is favoring outlets more sympathetic to its views.

On Monday, some journalists complained after Mr. Trump took questions at his news conference only from a local broadcast journalist and a reporter from The Daily Caller, a conservative news site. Neither reporter asked about one of the day’s top stories, the status of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Several inquiries to the White House were not returned on Monday.

Gateway Pundit has been cited by the Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, The Drudge Report, Sarah Palin and other popular conservative personalities and outlets. Last month, the site drew criticism for disseminating a false report that a Washington Post journalist had photographed the written notes of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson during a confirmation hearing. The journalist, who did not attend the hearing, was subsequently harassed with threatening voice mail messages and online attacks.

When asked about the false stories, Mr. Wintrich said: “That is the state of new media. When you are trying to get new information out there as quickly as possible, occasionally you’ll get something wrong and have to fix it. That’s how media works right now.” He said that Gateway Pundit had “broken dozens and dozens more factual stories” but did not offer an example when asked for one.

Mr. Wintrich described himself as a Trump supporter and Goldwater conservative who enjoys “simultaneously trolling both progressives and evangelical conservatives.” He said his aim was “to provide fair coverage from the conservative side.”

On Twitter on Monday, Mr. Wintrich posted a photograph of himself standing behind the White House press room lectern, a White House pass slung around his neck. The post from Mr. Hoft included the hashtag #pepe and an accompanying Pepe emoji, a reference to Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been repurposed as a symbol by white supremacy and anti-Semitic groups.

Mr. Wintrich said the inclusion of the Pepe icon was not meant as anti-Semitic. “My grandfather is Jewish, he fought against the Germans, escaped through the Polish underground,” Mr. Wintrich said.

(h/t New York Times)