Showing posts with label Media Fake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Fake. Show all posts

August 12, 2018

Fox is No Fox More Like a Dingo! Fell For North Korean Propaganda and so Did DJT

 Praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for spending time “out with the people.
” Describing him as “quite the romantic.” Even lauding Kim’s uncharacteristically casual summer outfit.

That may sound like typical North Korean propaganda, but in this case, the fawning comments came from Fox News.
Yes, seriously.
Here’s what happened: On Wednesday, Kim traveled with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, to a fish-pickling plant. On New Year’s Day 2018, Kim announced he would be prioritizing improving his country’s struggling economy instead of its nuclear program. Visiting the fish-pickling plant was part of that effort — with the bonus of being a great publicity stunt complete with multiple photo ops.
But what really caught people’s attention was Kim’s clothing. 
Photos showed Kim wearing a breezy short-sleeve white shirt, light gray slacks, and some sort of floppy Panama/cowboy/beach hat hybrid. (Note: We asked our friends over at Racked to help us figure out what kind of hat it was. As of publication time, they are still stumped.)
That’s a whole different outfit for Kim, who usually sports austere dark-colored suits in the style popularized by former Chinese strongman Mao Zedong. (One possible explanation for the wardrobe change is that North Korea is in the middle of a dramatic heat wave, so perhaps Kim was merely trying to beat the heat.)
The hosts of Fox & Friends, the conservative news channel’s morning show that President Donald Trump watches regularly, also noticed Kim’s more relaxed outfit and fun summer outing to the fish-pickling plant.
So on Thursday, instead of explaining the context of the trip — that it’s quintessential North Korean propaganda — the show’s hosts proceeded to applaud Kim. 
 “The last couple of times have you seen him, it’s been out with the people,” said Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts. “Turns out Kim Jong Un is quite the romantic,” quipped Jillian Mele, another co-anchor, referencing the fact that Kim brought his wife along on the factory tour. (However, the segment beforehand did call Kim a “dictator” and North Korea a “rogue regime.”) Needless to say — but I’ll say it anyway — that’s not a great look for Fox News. 
Even if they meant their comments sarcastically, failing to provide any context and merely portraying Kim as a kooky character at best and a fun-loving man of the people at worst only serves to humanize the bloody, murderous dictator.
Since Kim took over the country from his father in 2011, he’s ruled as a brutal dictator who starves and imprisons his own citizens. 
He oversees prison camps that detain 80,000 to 130,000 people in conditions one organization said are “as terrible [as] Nazi camps.” He had his uncle and half-brother murdered, perhaps because he worried they were plotting to overthrow him. And until recently, he had no problem spending time and money on building up a nuclear arsenal instead of betting the lives of his citizens who live on about $1,700 a year.
For Fox News hosts to laugh and celebrate him simply because he hung out at a factory in hipper clothes shows how just good North Korea propaganda really is — or, perhaps, just how bad Fox News can be.

April 11, 2018

Sinclair TV Host is Fired After Tweeting to Violently Do Harm to David Hogg

Jamie Allman, who hosted a nightly show at a Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate in St. Louis, had tweeted that he was "getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg's ass," sparking widespread outrage and an advertiser boycott.
When you say Sinclair TV Networks you can substitute Sinclair for Fox. They serve the news as they want it to be not as it happens but there is a limit when one of their people is talking about violence act about someone they don't like or agree with. These talking head went too far but losing his job is what he should get but also an arrest warrant should also go as a prescription for his foot in mouth disease.๐ŸฆŠ
A conservative commentator in St. Louis has resigned and his show with a Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate was canceled amid widespread outrage over a violent, vulgar tweet he sent about Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg.
Last month, Jamie Allman, who hosted a nightly news show called The Allman Report on KDNL, as well as a morning radio talk show, tweeted, "When we kick their ass they all like to claim we're drunk. I've been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg's ass tomorrow. Busy working. Preparing."

Although Allman tweeted the crude remark on March 26 and later deleted it before making his account private, screenshots recently spread across Twitter, sparking a backlash online and prompting several companies to pull advertisements from his show.
On Monday night, Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the St. Louis ABC station, confirmed that Allman had resigned and that his program had been terminated.
"Yes, his show is canceled and he is off the air immediately," Ronn Torossian, a PR representative for Sinclair, told BuzzFeed News.
Allman is the latest example of the growing feud between conservative personalities and teen activists that has spread across cable news and social media platforms since Valentine's Day school massacre in Parkland, Florida, launched a national, student-led movement for gun control.
His tweet came just two days before Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham mocked Hoggfor not getting into college, igniting a similar media firestorm and advertiser boycott.
Ingraham later apologized after dozens of advertisers ditched her and she subsequently took a week-long break from her show. She returned to the air Monday night and spent much of her show attacking "the bullies on the left aiming to silence conservatives."
She did not directly address the controversy over her remarks about Hogg, and did not repeat her tweeted apology.
Though Allman had criticized Hogg before, his violent tweet caught the attention of Missouri Democratic state Rep. Stacey Newman, who called on advertisers to boycott Allman's show. The Riverfront Times, which first drew attention to the tweet, reported that Allman had previously accused the teenage gun control activist of not being a "grown-up" when it came to handling criticism.
As his tweet gained national attention, several companies, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, announced that they would pull their ads from his show.
Allman has not yet publicly addressed the backlash to his tweet. As of Monday night, it was not clear whether he would continue to host his radio show. Jeff Allen, the program director for FM NewsTalk 97.1, did not respond to request for comment.
Sinclair, a sprawling, conservative media conglomerate, owns and operates about 200 TV stations across the US — the largest in the country — and is trying to take over more markets.
The company recently came under fire for forcing its news anchors to read promos about "one-sided news stories plaguing our country."
Sinclair's ongoing attempt to purchase the Tribune Media Company has also come under intense scrutiny because the deal would, critics argue, enable the broadcaster to influence dozens more local news stations with conservative-leaning coverage. The deal still requires the approval of federal regulators.
Brianna Sacks
Brianna Sacks

A conservative commentator for a St. Louis television station owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group has resigned after backlash over a tweet in which he threatened to violently assault 17-year-old Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg.
Jamie Allman, who hosted a nightly show on Sinclair’s ABC-affiliate station KDNL, tweeted on March 26 that he was “preparing” to assault Hogg with “a hot poker,” the Washington Post reports. Allman also hosts a conservative talk radio show.
“We have accepted Mr. Allman’s resignation, and his show has been canceled,” Ronn Torossian, a PR representative acting as Sinclair’s spokesperson, told the Post.
The since-deleted tweet rapidly drew criticism, prompting several advertisers to withdraw their support for the show, The Allman Report.

It is adamfoxie's 10th๐ŸฆŠAnniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage. 4.9 Million Reads

August 2, 2017

Trump Supporter and Fox News Created Fake Story About Death of DNC Staffer-) Lawsuit

Mary Rich, the mother of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, speaks at a press conference on Aug. 1, 2016. A lawsuit alleges Fox News and a wealthy Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration's ties to the Russian government by concocting a story about Seth Rich's death.
Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post/Getty Images
The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the death of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The explosive claim is part of a lawsuit filed against Fox News by Rod Wheeler, a longtime paid commentator for the news network. The suit was obtained exclusively by NPR.
Wheeler alleges Fox News and the Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration's ties to the Russian government. His suit charges that a Fox News reporter created quotations out of thin air and attributed them to him to propel her story.
Fox's president of news, Jay Wallace, told NPR on Monday that there was no "concrete evidence" that Wheeler was misquoted by the reporter, Malia Zimmerman. The news executive did not address a question about the story's allegedly partisan origins. Fox News declined to allow Zimmerman to comment for this story.
The story, which first aired in May, was retracted by Fox News a week later. Fox News has, to date, taken no action in response to what it said was a failure to adhere to the network's standards. 
The lawsuit focuses particular attention on the role of the Trump supporter, Ed Butowsky, in weaving the story. He is a wealthy Dallas investor and unpaid Fox commentator on financial matters who has emerged as a reliable Republican surrogate in recent years. Butowsky offered to pay for Wheeler to investigate the death of the DNC aide, Seth Rich, on behalf of his grieving parents in Omaha, Neb.
On April 20, a month before the story ran, Butowsky and Wheeler — the investor and the investigator — met at the White House with then-press secretary Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering.
The first page of the lawsuit quotes a voicemail and text from Butowsky boasting that Trump himself had reviewed drafts of the Fox News story just before it went to air and was published.
Spicer now tells NPR that he took the meeting as a favor to Butowsky, a reliable Republican voice. Spicer says he was unaware of any contact involving the president. And Butowsky tells NPR that he was kidding about Trump's involvement.
"Rod Wheeler unfortunately was used as a pawn by Ed Butowsky, Fox News and the Trump administration to try and steer away the attention that was being given about the Russian hacking of the DNC emails," says Douglas Wigdor, Wheeler's lawyer.
The back story
On May 16, the Fox News Channel broke what it called a "bombshell" story about an unsolved homicide: the July 2016 shooting of 27-year-old Democratic Party staffer Seth Rich.
Unfounded conspiracy theories involving Rich abounded in the months after his death, in part because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cryptically suggested that Rich's death may have been related to the leaks of tens of thousands of emails from Democratic Party officials and their allies at the peak of the presidential campaign.
Fox News' story, which took flight online and ran in segments across major shows, breathed fresh life into the rumors. Fox reported that the leaks came from inside the party and not from hackers linked to Russia — despite the conclusions of the nation's most senior intelligence officials. The network suggested that Democrats might have been connected to Rich's death and that a cover-up had thwarted the official investigation.
The network cited an unnamed FBI official. And the report relied heavily on Wheeler, a former police detective, hired months earlier on behalf of the Riches by Butowsky.
These developments took place during growing public concern over a federal investigation into the Trump camp's possible collusion with the Russian government during the campaign. The allegations have since touched the president's son and son-in-law, his former campaign manager, his attorney general and his first national security adviser, who resigned as a result.
The question of Rich's death took on greater urgency for Butowsky after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in early May. Comey had been overseeing the Russia investigation. The story ran just a week later. 
Fox's report went sideways shortly after it was posted online and aired on Fox & Friends. It was denounced by the Rich family, D.C. police, Democratic Party officials and even, privately, by some journalists within the network. Within hours, Wheeler told other news outlets that Fox News had put words in his mouth.
Despite those concerns, Wheeler appeared on the shows of Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and Fox News star Sean Hannity, who devoted significant time to the story that night and in subsequent days. In speaking with Wheeler, Hannity said: "If this is true and Seth Rich gave WikiLeaks the DNC e-mails ... this blows the whole Russia collusion narrative completely out of the water."
A week later, on May 23, Fox retracted the story, saying the reporting process failed to live up to its standards. Hannity said he would take a break from talking about Rich's death out of respect for the family. And there it has largely stood — until now.
The fake news story
In the lawsuit, the private investigator sets out a different version of events. Wheeler, a paid Fox News contributor since 2005, alleges the story was orchestrated behind the scenes and from the outset by Butowsky, who hired him on behalf of the Rich family.
The following account reflects the verbatim quotes provided from the texts, emails, voicemails and recorded conversations cited in Wheeler's lawsuit, except as otherwise noted.
According to the lawsuit, Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer meets at the White House with Wheeler and Butowsky to review the Rich story a month before Fox News ran the piece.
On May 14, about 36 hours before Fox News' story appears, Butowsky leaves a voicemail for Wheeler, saying, "We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let's close this deal, whatever we've got to do."
Butowsky also texts Wheeler: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you."
Spicer now confirms meeting with the two but denies claims about the president.
"Ed's been a longtime supporter of the president and asked to meet to catch up," Spicer tells NPR on Monday night.
"I didn't know who Rod Wheeler was. Once we got into my office, [Butowsky] said, 'I'm sure you recognize Rod Wheeler from Fox News.' "
Spicer says Butowsky laid out what had been found about the case. "It had nothing to do with advancing the president's domestic agenda — and there was no agenda," Spicer says. "They were just informing me of the [Fox] story."
Spicer says he is not aware of any contact, direct or not, between Butowsky and Trump. And Butowsky now tells NPR he has never shared drafts of the story with Trump or his aides — that he was joking with a friend.
Instead, Butowsky repeatedly claims that the meeting was set up to address Wheeler's pleas for help landing a job for the Trump administration. Wheeler's attorney, Wigdor, says there is no evidence to support that claim.
In the suit, Wheeler alleges that Butowsky was using the White House references to pressure him.
Wheeler did play his own role in furthering the story. But he contends that he regretted it the same day it aired. His suit alleges Fox News defamed him by manufacturing two false quotations attributed to him and ruining his reputation by blaming him as the deceptive story fell apart. Wheeler, an African-American, is also suing the network for racial discrimination, saying he failed to advance as prominently as white counterparts. Fox News had no comment on that allegation.
Who is Ed Butowsky?
Butowsky is a silver-haired brash investor who became known for helping newly rich athletes figure out how to manage their money — and avoid getting fleeced. A native New Yorker and son of a former top enforcement officer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Butowsky attended the University of Texas in the early 1980s. He set up his own company, Chapwood Capital Investment Management in Addison, Texas, outside Dallas, after a long stint at Morgan Stanley.
Federal records compiled by the election finance database show Butowsky has given money to the campaigns of nine politicians: seven Republicans and two Democrats, including $1,000 to Barack Obama's campaign in January 2008. 
In recent years, Butowsky has become outspoken about his political beliefs, becoming a familiar face on Fox News and its sister channel, the Fox Business Network. Butowsky has also appeared on Breitbart News' radio programs featuring then-Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon, who became Trump's campaign chief and is now the president's senior political strategist.
Butowsky emerged as a vocal backer of Trump's candidacy. He attended Trump's inauguration, posting pictures from the day on social media. In the Seth Rich case, Butowsky presented himself as a good Samaritan who came across a sliver of information about Seth Rich's death and shared it with the Riches.
"I thought, 'You know what? I'm going to help these people out,' " Butowsky said on the radio show of David Webb, a conservative Fox News contributor. "Somehow, these people need to know what happened to their little boy." He gave a similar account in an interview Monday with NPR.
Wheeler's lawsuit alleges that Butowsky's generosity is clearly politically motivated.
On Feb. 23, more than six months after Rich's death, Butowsky introduces himself to Wheeler with a flattering text, citing mutual friends from Fox News. "Behind the scenes, I do a lot of work, (unpaid) helping to uncover certain stories," Butowsky writes, as recounted in the suit.
"[M]y biggest work was revealing most of what we know today about Benghazi," the deadly attack in Libya that sparked a congressional investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Later that day, Butowsky speaks to Wheeler for about 20 minutes by phone, saying his primary aim is to help the Rich family.
The man behind the lawsuit: Rod Wheeler
Wheeler, a 57-year-old former Washington, D.C., homicide detective, was part of the Metropolitan Police Department from 1990 to 1995, when he was dismissed, according to the agency. His New York City-based attorney, Wigdor, says Wheeler was fired for insubordination after his urine tested positive for trace amounts of marijuana.
When he meets with Butowsky, Wheeler has been a paid contributor to Fox News for more than 11 years and has been actively but unsuccessfully seeking greater exposure on the network, according to the suit.
Five days later, the two men meet in person at a lunch in Washington. Butowsky introduces an unexpected third guest: Malia Zimmerman, a Fox News investigative reporter based in Los Angeles known for enterprise reporting from a conservative standpoint. 
According to the account in the suit, Butowsky cautions Wheeler before they set out to meet the Riches: "[M]ake sure to play down Fox News. Don't mention you know Malia."
And Butowsky lays out a different mission than aiding the Rich family. Butowsky says he became convinced that the FBI had a report concluding that Seth Rich's laptop showed he had had contacts with WikiLeaks after speaking to the legendary reporter Seymour Hersh, who was also investigating Rich's death. According to the transcripts in the lawsuit, Butowsky says Hersh had an FBI source who confirmed the report.
In an interview this week, Hersh sounds unconvinced.
"I hear gossip," Hersh tells NPR on Monday. "[Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it."
Rich's parents initially welcome Wheeler's help and Butowsky's largesse. On March 14, Butowsky pays Wheeler $5,000, through a limited partnership company called Googie LP. (NPR found that Butowsky is listed in Texas public records as its general partner.)
Wheeler does not make great headway. The FBI informs Butowsky, Wheeler and Zimmerman that the agency is not assisting the Washington, D.C., police on the investigation — undercutting claims about an FBI report.
A Metro D.C. police detective tells Wheeler that Rich's death was likely a robbery gone awry and that the FBI is not involved.
Preparing to publish
On May 9, Trump fires Comey.
On May 10, Butowsky and Zimmerman call Wheeler to say they have an FBI source confirming emails were sent from Seth Rich to WikiLeaks, though they do not share the source's identity, according to the investigator's suit. Wheeler will later say this is the only federal law enforcement source that Fox News — or he — has related to this story.
Wheeler says he doesn't know whether that source emerged from Butowsky's conversation with Seymour Hersh or whether it was a fabrication.
The next day, Zimmerman sends Wheeler a draft of her story, which is to run initially on the network's website. It includes no quotes from Wheeler.

On the evening of May 14, Butowsky leaves a voicemail for Wheeler raising the stakes by invoking the White House and saying, "Let's close this deal."
A bit later that night, at 9:10 p.m., Butowsky texts Wheeler, according to Wheeler's suit: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure."
As the night before the story is aired progresses, Butowsky is awake, online and anticipating what is to unfold in a few short hours.
Butowsky sends an email to Fox News producers and hosts coaching them on how to frame the Rich story, according to the lawsuit. Recipients included Fox & Friendshosts, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade.
"I'm actually the one who's been putting this together but as you know, I keep my name out of things because I have no credibility," Butowsky writes, as reflected in the Wheeler suit. "One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion" between "Trump and the Russians."
The night before the story ran and the day of the story itself, Butowsky coaches Wheeler on what to say on the air: "[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman's] work prove that the Russians didn't hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections." In another text, he writes: "If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest."
Fox goes with the story 
The story breaks earlier than expected.
On the evening of May 15, Fox News' sister local station in Washington, Fox 5 DC, runs a story online at once promoting and pre-empting the network's apparent scoop. "The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming," Wheeler tells the station. "They haven't been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both."

Asked whether his sources have told him about information linking Rich to the WikiLeaks email dump, Wheeler says, "Absolutely. Yeah. That's confirmed."
The next morning, the story goes national.
Fox News reports that evidence from Rich's laptop showed he had been in contact with WikiLeaks just days before the site posted those emails. Fox also reports that powerful forces were trying to quash the official investigation into his death.
On Fox & Friends, the hosts call the story a "bombshell."
Zimmerman's online story cites an unnamed "federal investigator who reviewed an FBI report" for its findings. It also cites Wheeler, incorporating two key quotations from Wheeler that do not appear on video. In each, the private investigator seemingly takes ownership of the accusations.
The first: "My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks."
The second: "My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that."
The Riches torch Wheeler, saying they have seen no proof for his contentions.
Wheeler alleges both quotations were fabricated and untrue.
According to the lawsuit, Zimmerman promises to have those lines removed — but they stay in the story. Zimmerman then tells him that her bosses at Fox News had instructed her to leave those quotes in.
That same day, the suit recounts, Zimmerman writes a letter to Seth Rich's father, Joel, distancing Fox News from responsibility for what the network reported: "Much of our information came from a private investigator, Rod Wheeler, who we understand was working on behalf of you."
Wheeler challenges Zimmerman over the letter in a three-way phone conversation that also included Butowsky. The Fox News reporter defends herself: "That's the email that Fox asked me to send him. They wrote it for me."
Wheeler replies: "That's not accurate, though, because much, much of the information did not come from me."
"Not about the emails. Not the part about, I mean, the connection to WikiLeaks," Zimmerman acknowledges. "But the rest of the quotes in the story did."
Butowsky weighs in: "One day you're going to win an award for having said those things you didn't say." Later, according to the recordings transcribed in the suit, Butowsky acknowledges Wheeler hadn't made any claims of personal knowledge about emails between Rich and WikiLeaks. "I know that's not true," Butowsky says. "If I'm under oath, I would say I never heard him say that."
Both try to keep Wheeler on board, however.
Zimmerman issues instructions for Wheeler's appearance on Sean Hannity's show later that evening. "Reread the story we sent you last night [that contained the invented quotes] and stick to the script," she texts Wheeler. 
Despite his misgivings, Wheeler plays along. On Hannity's show, Wheeler says he doesn't personally know about Rich's emails or computers but says that a "very credible" federal investigator says "he laid eyes on the case file." Wheeler offers energetic speculation though not much more: "When you look at that with the totality of everything else that I found in this case it's very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think well perhaps there were some e-mail communications between Seth and WikiLeaks."
The aftermath
On May 23, Fox News posts an unsigned statement retracting Zimmerman's online story.
The network does not apologize or explain what went wrong. "The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting," the statement reads. "Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed."
In early June, Wheeler meets with Dianne Brandi, general counsel for the network, and Jay Wallace, the network's president for news. He makes his case that fabricated quotes had knowingly been attributed to him. Neither ever publicly speak of the matter afterward, until now. "Since meeting with Rod Wheeler, we have also met with Malia Zimmerman to try to determine whether Rod was misquoted," Wallace says in a statement to NPR. "As of now, we don't have concrete evidence that he was."
A Fox News executive knowledgeable about the controversy, who would only speak if granted anonymity, tells NPR, "The story was published to the website without review by or permission from senior management." The executive notes that Wallace had placed the broadcast and digital newsgathering teams under the same leadership for the first time after a series of management changes following the forced departure of the network's founder, the late Roger Ailes, and many of his top deputies.
In late June, Wheeler warns Fox News and Butowsky that he may file suit. Three days later, Butowsky tweets: "Fox News story was pulled b/c Rod Wheeler said [he] didn't say a quote ... How much did DNC pay him?" And then Butowsky tweets: "This shows Rod Wheeler has a major battle with the truth."
The two men, thrust together on a common effort for months, have been torn apart by its aftermath. In the interview with NPR, Butowsky insists that he was acting out of a civic-minded spirit for the Riches and not with any partisan or political drive. Zimmerman remains on staff at Fox News, actively reporting on unrelated stories.
A spokeswoman for the FBI tells NPR this week that the agency has played no part in the investigation of the unsolved homicide. And a spokeswoman for Washington's Metropolitan Police Department says, "MPD stands behind its original assertion that Seth Rich was the victim of a botched armed robbery."

May 2, 2017

Trump and Many Years of Using Fake Names


All political candidates use some spin to advance their cause. It is now so common that voters come to expect it. As a businessman, Donald Trump long practiced an extreme version of self-promotion he called “truthful hyperbole” to get what he wanted. Now, as he is the presumptive GOP nominee for president, this past is coming back to haunt him.
The Washington Post set off a controversy last week when it published a story alleging that Trump posed as a public relations man named John Miller to energize the tabloid scandal raging over his affair with the model/actress Marla Maples and his divorce from his first wife Ivana. Trump last week denied that he’d made the call. The report provoked a new round of questions about Trump's character. What could possibly motivate a grown man running a business empire to do such a thing? And what does this say about Trump's temperament?
In fact, Trump's use of fake names is far more extensive than most people realize. For more than a decade – 1980 to 1991 -- Trump used phony names to promote himself. I know from my work as Trump’s biographer that even prior to the John Miller episode, Trump had posed as John Baron (or Barron). A close look at when and how Trump used these ruses--and how he's using a new form of verbal trickery today--provides insight into billionaire developer who could be America's next president.
Who gave Trump the idea to use fake names
Trump's father, Fred, had used a fake name – Mr. Green – to conduct business that he wanted to keep secret. He was well-known as a developer in the outer boroughs of New York, and he wanted to inquire about properties without tipping his hand. In theory, owners who knew that wealthy Fred Trump was interested would bargain more aggressively. Mr. Green” was well known by his children. When Donald began using John Baron alias, the joke inside the family was that on the day became the subject of a subpoena, poor Baron would fall ill and die.
He used Baron, and later, Miller, to avoid trouble, float ideas, and even spread gossip about himself. In all these cases he sought to protect and polish the Trump image, or brag in ways that would be unseemly, even for a man who is synonymous with self promotion.
Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 Donald Trump with Fred Trump (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
When Trump began using a fake name
The first known case I could find was in 1980, when Trump used “Baron” to fend off reporters who called about the destruction of important art work that was supposed to be preserved as he tore down the Bonwit Teller department store to make way for his Trump Tower. In 1984, Baron appeared again as the spinmeister who put the best face on a Trump setback in Atlantic City. And he was the one who spoke about the rumor that Trump was buying the famous 21 Club.  
In 1985, it was Baron who suggested that other owners in the upstart United States Football league help pay the salary for the quarterback Doug Flutie who had signed with Trump’s team, the New Jersey Generals. During a legal dispute in 1990 Trump admitted, under oath, that he had used the name, saying, “I believe on occasion I used that name.”
In the case of the Bonwit Teller artwork, Trump used John Baron, supposedly a vice president in his company, to tell The New York Times in 1990 that “the merit of these stones was not great enoughto justify the effort to save them.” Art expert Robert Miller disagreed, saying the art deco friezes were as valuable as the sculptures on the nearby Rockefeller Building and their loss was “just tragic.”
Given the civic concern about the decision to jackhammer the art to smithereens, Trump’s desire be shielded by John Baron suggests he knew he had crossed a line. But Trump does not apologize, and he does not back down. At least in his own name.
Similarly, John Baron’s suggestion that Trump’s fellow team owners in the USFL help pay for his quarterback Doug Flutie tells us something about his willingness to speak clearly, and directly, for himself. At the time the matter was raised, the USFL was struggling against the more established National Football League. Trump was pushing the owners to bring a lawsuit against their rivals. Many of them resisted. Trump would have looked weak going to them, hat in hand, seeking help paying a contract he had negotiated? But it couldn’t hurt having someone else float the idea.
Donald Trump and Marla Maples Sighting - December 10, 1991 Donald Trump and Marla Maples in 1991 Photography by Ron Galella, Ltd. WireImage
John Baron became expendable in 1990, when Trump testified in the case of some workers who said he owed them $1 million because, as undocumented immigrants, they had been underpaid by one of his contractors. Years earlier, “John Baron” had said the workers might be counter-sued by Trump.
When asked under oath who Baron might be, Trump confessed that it was an alias he had used.
And then 'John Miller' suddenly appears
After admitting under oath that Baron was a fake, Trump apparently offered a new spokesman, John Miller, to Sue Carswell of People magazine in 1991. Unlike Baron, who was concerned with business matters, Miller served to spread gossip about Trump’s romantic exploits. Miller made sure that Carswell understood that Trump was practically being hounded by celebrated women – Kim Basinger and Madonna were mentioned - and that in addition to his relationship with Marla Maples he had “three other girlfriends.”
In an interviewed recorded on tape by Sue Carswell, Miller explains that Trump broke things off with Maples – “he really didn’t want to make a commitment” -- in favor of the celebrity beauty Carla Bruni. Miller went on to say Trump was doing “tremendously well financially “and that many other famous women were pursuing him romantically.
Carswell produced an article titled, “Trump Says Goodbye Marla, Hello Carla.” That story was picked up by The New York Post.
Rain Forest Gala dinner Super model Carla Bruni, in 1992. Photography by Dave M. Benett Getty Images
Trump called "a lunatic"
Months later, after People magazine outed John Miller as Donald Trump, Britain’s Daily Mail asked Bruni whether she was dating Trump. She refuted the story and called Trump a “lunatic.” When contacted by the Mail, Trump backed down and suggested he had nothing to do with the stories. “These stories are sheer nonsense,” he said.
The stories were nonsense. But they did deliver a payoff for Trump. By using the John Miller ruse, he was able to plant in the press the idea that he was one of the world’s most sought-after men. This status would give him leverage in dealing with Maples and, as a man who wanted the world to see how successful he was, the sheen of sexy desirability.
Trump: "You know it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young, beautiful piece of ass" 
Never short of vanity, Trump has often spoken of his own supposed beauty. And he considers the attention he might get from attractive women to be protection from negative publicity. “You know it doesn’t really matter what (the media) write as long as you’ve got a young, beautiful piece of ass,” he told Esquire in 1991.
Trump was, at the time, enduring the shame of his Atlantic City casino bankruptcy. Trump Airways was failing. And he would soon have to sell the Plaza Hotel. Deprived of a plausible claim to brilliance in business, he turned toward the other symbol of status he valued the most – beautiful women. Trump wanted the world to know he was being swarmed by desirable women, and therefore he was a much desired man, he couldn’t resist decorating the tale with bold face names. And as any good gossip monger knows, it’s always better to have someone else say that you are handsome, appealing, and in demand, than to say it yourself. By having John Miller inform Sue Carswell, Trump created a degree of separation between himself and the claim which made it just a little more credible.
Unfortunately Bruni wasn’t willing to play along. Carswell also later said that Trump confessed to her that he was, in fact, John Miller.
Trump adopts a new form of verbal trickery
That episode was the last known time that “John Miller” spoke for Trump, but Trump only moved into a more slippery way of promoting himself and evading responsibility for what he says. He began using a rhetorical technique called paralipsis, which enables you to make inflammatory statements without taking responsibility for them. You can credit or blame others for the content.
So, in 2008, when radio host Howard Stern asked Trump if he had dated Bruni, Trump didn’t swat away the false rumor his fake publicist apparently started. Instead Trump said “no comment,” which encouraged Stern to keep on talking about her.
Stern asked, “Was she bad in bed?”
Trump replied, “I can’t comment on that. She’s gonna marry the president of France. I want to have good relationships with France. I don’t want to be criticizing first lady of France.”
With their performance, which lasted several minutes and was heard by millions, Trump and Stern managed to create the impression that Trump had firsthand knowledge of Bruni’s sexual behaviors even though he never actually confirmed he had dated her. Trump used similar trickery when he retweeted a deceptive message about race and crime and then denied responsibility for the lies in the text because “all it was was a retweet.” As he said at the time that he distributed false data on crime, “This was a retweet. And it comes from sources that are very credible, what can I tell you?”
Trump is playing three-card monte 
In essence, Trump often gives us a rhetorical version of the three-card monte game I once saw conducted on the sidewalk outside his eponymous tower on Fifth Avenue. Like the hidden queen in the game, the facts in the issues Trump discusses are obscured by his entertaining methods. And like the card sharp, Trump’s purpose is obvious. His verbal gymnastics are intended to burnish his image, excite his followers, or tear down his competitors and critics. And like the three card monte dealer, Trump is prepared to bolt should he get caught in the game.
Last week, when a Post reporter asked him about John Miller during a call, the phone line suddenly went dead. A quick call back brought word that Trump was not available.
Trump always works to gild his image and seems to get delight in getting over on reporters and the public. The important questions that should arise as we stand on the political sidewalk and watch Trump at work, though, have nothing to do with what he’s saying -- but his inclination to use such trickery and deceptiveness when dealing with the public.
Michael D’Antonio is author of Never Enough, Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success (2015). Among his many other books are Mortal Sins, Sex Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal and The State Boys Rebellion. 
May 18, 2016  Michael DAntonioFortune


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