Between his bonkers interview with Time magazine and his unshakable faith in Twitter dot com, Donald Trump’s plate is already filled with plenty of crazy. Now Donald Trump Jr., one of the president’s only children (biologically or otherwise) to not adopt the title of federal employee, is here to indirectly stir up the hornet’s next that is the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory. In a Monday morning tweet, Trump Jr. avoided that particular topic altogether — though he did shower one of its loudest proponents, would-be journalist Mike Cernovich, with praise.
“Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story,” Trump Jr. exclaimed. “In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he’d win the Pulitzer, but not today!”
As CNN’s Don Lemon noted on Monday, the so-called “Susan Rice story” is actually a series of reports circulating around conservative blogs and news sites, which stem from portions of a Bloomberg report. Said story suggests former President Barack Obama himself ordered Rice, then his National Security Advisor, to surveil Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. All of this has since been debunked or contextualized within legal parameters.
So why is Trump Jr. declaring Cernovich a worthy recipient of the Pulitzer Prize? Because the right-wing tweeter published a blog post on Sunday in which he claimed Rice herself “requested” the “unmasking” of several incoming Trump administration officials. Again, as Lemon and countless others have already pointed out, both Trump’s original wiretapping claims and the ongoing Rice story are either totally bogus, or rife with ineffectual reporting. But this hasn’t stopped Trump Jr. from indirectly embracing one of #PizzaGate’s biggest supporters (although even Alex Jones gave up his support for the fake conspiracy).
Cernovich, it should be noted, was recently featured in a 60 Minutes segment on fake news where he defended reporting that Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Below is the rather jaw-dropping exchange he had with Scott Pelley, courtesy of a full transcript Cernovich himself posted to Medium.
Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –
Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.
Mike Cernovich: How do you know?
Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.
Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –
Mike Cernovich: How do you know?
Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.
Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?
Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.
Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign? Why would you trust the Hillary Clinton flats?
Scott Pelley: Why would you trust this doctor nobody every heard of?
Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust the doctors that go on CNN? Right because nobody’s every heard of him. And that’s the issue, one of legitimacy and social constructs and social statuses. Dr Ted Noel, board certified physician, he reached an analysis based on logic and reason that could be attacked using logic and reason.
Scott Pelley: Based on logic and reason, but not based on seeing Hilary Clinton ever in his life?
Mike Cernovich: She doesn’t want to do an independent medical examination, which he should’ve done.
Scott Pelley: The point is, you didn’t talk to anybody who ever examined Hillary Clinton.
Mike Cernovich: Have you?
Scott Pelley: No. No.
Mike Cernovich: Have you?
Scott Pelley: I- this story’s not about me.
Mike Cernovich: Well, you haven’t though. So let’s be, let’s be honest with one another, which is that you are reporting that the Hillary Clinton campaign-
Scott Pelley: I didn’t report that she had Parkinson’s disease.
Mike Cernovich: You just told me she’s healthy though. Based on what was told to you by the campaign. See? That’s what I’m saying about the double standards which is I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton’s going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her on her word. The media says we’re not going to take Donald Trump on his word. And that’ why we are on these different universes.
Scott Pelley: Why should anyone take you on your word?
Mike Cernovich: Oh, you should always double-check. You should always fact check. And if people don’t agree with me, people express that disagreement, and I’m completely, completely open to criticism.
Scott Pelley: How did you check the story on Parkinson’s disease?
Mike Cernovich: Dr. Ted Noel. He’s a great analyst.
Scott Pelley: So he, he gave you that analysis. And then that would be the starting point for a journalist to begin checking on other sources and trying to find verification.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. I talked to other doctors about it too. And they said it was a sound analysis. And that she should undergo an independent medical examination. And that people should examine her medical records, which nobody ever did.
Scott Pelley: Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease, position confirms. You don’t think that’s misleading?
Mike Cernovich: No.
Scott Pelley: You believe it’s true today?
Mike Cernovich: Oh, absolutely.
Scott Pelley: How did you find that story?
Mike Cernovich: I got it through, um, the doctor. He at the time had wanted to remain anonymous, and now he has a very big presence on YouTube and other places. And he even said, “I don’t want to take a lot of heat for this.” And I said, “In understand, I understand.” I believe in anonymous speech. But I checked him out. I confirmed that he existed, that he was who he claimed to was. I read his analysis. Other doctors read his analysis. And some agreed with him. Some didn’t agree.
This is a a man who deserves journalism’s highest prize, according to the son of the president of the United States. This is world we’re all living in now.