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Use ‘attractive people’ to sell the war: Why we should remember what one Fox employee said about Iraq

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- Commentary
Megyn Kelly

As media outrage around the atrocities in Syria heats up and as our desperate-for-a-political-win president seems to be mulling the prospect of armed intervention in that country, it’s important to remember the role Fox News and other conservative media outlets played in the run-up to the catastrophically costly, geopolitically disastrous invasion of Iraq.

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In a New York magazine profile of Fox News booker Laurie Luhn — who suffered 20 years of harassment and sexualized bullying at the hands of ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes — the former talent booker recalled her role in “selling” an invasion of Iraq to the American people.

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes,” wrote New York’s Gabriel Sherman, author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room. “She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda.”

“I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,” Luhn recalled. “My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.”

Pres. George W. Bush’s press secretary Scott McClellan admitted after his resignation that the administration engaged in a “propaganda campaign” to sell the war to the U.S. public. From the summer of 2002 onward, McClellan said, the Bush administration manipulated the Iraq issue in a way that “almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.”

“In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage,” he said.

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In the weeks ahead, after bombarding the public with images of gassed and murdered children and other civilians, the administration and its supporters may well attempt to gin up another push to war. President Donald Trump may see a foreign war as a means to shore up his record-breakingly low approval numbers and lasso back into the fold those Republicans — and Democrats — whose donor base is heavily made up of companies that stand to profit from a war.


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Trainer for anti-COVID lockdown group caught on camera telling supporters how to break the law

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A signature-gathering trainer for a Michigan group working to overturn Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's pandemic restrictions has been caught on camera advising the group's supporters on how to break the law.

The Detroit Free Press, which obtained a copy of the video, reports that trainer Erik Tisinger instructed supporters for Unlock Michigan in assorted nefarious practices for illegally collecting signatures.

Among other things, Tisinger told Unlock Michigan backers that it is "super easy" to give misleading answers under oath if they're compelled to testify by a court of law about their activities; that they could leave copies of their petitions with store clerks to collect signatures even though getting signatures without properly witnessing them would be illegal; and that they could trespass on private property to collect signatures even without business owners' permission.

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Trump’s latest COVID-19 lie is both ‘dangerously misleading and aggressively hypocritical’: analysis

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In an analysis for the Washington Post this Tuesday, Philip Bump says that President Trump's recent downplaying of the coronavirus' effects on young people is "both dangerously misleading and aggressively hypocritical."

“You know, in some states thousands of people, nobody young — below the age of 18, like nobody — they have a strong immune system. Who knows. You look — take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system, but it affects virtually nobody," Trump said at a rally in Ohio on Monday.

Bump points out that as Trump spoke, the death toll from the virus approached 200,000 -- a boundary that Trump repeatedly insisted this spring and summer that we probably wouldn’t near. While it's true that the virus affects primarily older people, the notion that “virtually nobody” who is younger has been affected simply isn't true.

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Mike Pence’s chief of staff belittles former staffer on MSNBC after she comes out against Trump

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Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, belittled a former staffer who has now come out against President Donald Trump for his failed response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an NBC News interview, Olivia Troye, who advised Pence on homeland security, counterterrorism and the coronavirus, explained that the main conversation in the White House over the coronavirus was about Trump's image, and not saving Americans.

"He's not actually looking out for you," Troye said. "He's not looking out for these people. He's not looking out for them. He just wants you in that audience so he can have the camera shot of, you know, his fanfare and the people around him. But the truth is, he's putting those lives at risk.”

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