- Allan Smith/Business Insider
But there is one self-described journalist who the president’s son isn’t reluctant to praise: Mike Cernovich.
“Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story. In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he’d win the Pulitzer, but not today!” Trump tweeted.
Trump Jr. was impressed by Cernovich’s report on Medium that former national security adviser Susan Rice allegedly requested the names of Trump associates whose communications were incidentally collected. Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake reported similar findings on Monday.
Cernovich has long maintained admirers in the Trump orbit – President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser praised the commentator’s book, “Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions, Improve Your Health and Fitness, Make More Money, and Live Life on Your Terms.”
And Trump Jr. wasn’t the only Trump confidante to promote Cernovich this week.
On Monday, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway directed her followers to visit Cernovich’s Medium page, where he shared the transcript of his interview on “60 Minutes” about fake news.
hi kellyanne! nice to see you support this guy! pic.twitter.com/rYBtzjBC7V
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) April 3, 2017
The promotion immediately alarmed critics.
“It’s sickening to me that the White House would try to legitimize this pusher of fake news,” Vic Berger, a prominent political satirist who has sparred with Cernovich online, told Business Insider. “He has zero credibility. He spends all of his time trying to discredit others with smear campaigns to push whatever narrative it is at the moment. I think Conway and Trump Jr attempting to elevate Cernovich says a lot about Trump’s White House and how they will resort to conspiracy theorists of it helps to distract from things that hurt them.”
Berger has been on a mission to draw attention to Cernovich’s controversial statements since becoming the target of the right-wing host’s conspiracy theories in November. After the Super Deluxe producer mocked Cernovich in a video, Cernovich accused Berger of being involved in a “potential pedophile group.”
This kind of exchange was par-for-the-course.
The self-described “New Right” commenter rose to prominence in far-right circles online as a provocateur unafraid to engage with enemies, promote conspiracy theories, and spout controversial opinions about gender and identity politics issues.
He played a critical role in stoking rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health issues during the election, and propagated the ridiculous conspiracy theory that Washington, DC, restaurant Comet Ping Pong was the site of a child sex ring.
Cernovich has frequently expressed his opinion about the ways men and women should behave.
“Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love black women, slut shame them,” he wrote on Twitter in 2016.
This is the guy the White House is promoting today, in case for a second you thought this wasn’t all a dumpster fire. pic.twitter.com/iiVdxPWLBf
— Kyle Foley (@KFoleyFL) April 4, 2017
He’s since deleted tweets where he declared that date rape “does not exist,” and saidhe does not care about rape, though he has written blog postsdefending his assertion. As the New Yorker noted in October, his early blog posts carried headlines like “Misogyny Gets You Laid.”
Cernovich often sees journalism as part-reporting, part-trolling and counter-trolling.
“It’s karma,” he told Business Insider when asked about conservative backlash to his opinions in January. “I troll, I’m trolled.”
“That’s the thing,” he continued. “That’s why when people in the media get trolled, and I’m like, ‘Well, when you write about people you can f—— ruin a person’s life. You got to own that. So if people want to f— with you, it’s only fair.’ I definitely deserve to be trolled.”
For his part, Cernovich has frequently expressed that he does deserve a Pulitzer for his trolling and hypotheses, though he claims he would not want it anyway.
Agreed, although I would turn down the Pulitzer rather than legitimize the fake news award. https://t.co/XdVm8h1VVr
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 13, 2017
Many have said I deserve a Pulitzer for my election coverage, but it’s a hoax award so I would not allow myself to be nominated. But thanks!
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 6, 2016
I decline the Pulitzer for my work on Hillary’s health. I will not accept a scam award from a scam organization.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 11, 2016
Cernovich did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.