Matt Palumbo, Right-Wing Propagandist
Palumbo's day job is working for Dan Bongino and writing books that get love from the Media Research Center -- but he has been moonlighting penning propaganda for shady Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui published by right-wing websites like Newsmax.
By Terry Krepel
But it turns out that Palumbo has another side gig: shilling for Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui (a.k.a. Miles Guo and Ho Wan Kwok), the moneybags keeping far-right activist Steve Bannon afloat who was recently indicted for fraud.
As exposed by fellow right-winger Lawrence Sellin, Palumbo is among a group of writers Guo and/or his affiliates paid earlier this year to write nice things about him; Guo interests then paid to have those articles published at right-wing websites such as Newsmax and Gateway Pundit. Walker Bragman and OptOut Media have reported how these writers were given prompts and drafts they could turn into pieces for paid publication. Mother Jones has also examined Guo and his propagandists.
The posts at Gateway Pundit are listed as being sponsored by something called "NewNoah," which Sellin suggests is a consulting firm controlled by Guo. A couple of these articles recently popped up on Newsmax, under gray-box "SPONSOR" posts on the front page, both of which are listed as being sponsored by "Token Team," which we can presume is another Guo-controlled company.
Palumbo huffed in defense of Guo in one paid article:
On March 15th, Miles Guo was arrested by the DOJ just before he was scheduled to testify in the trial of Pras Michel. Is The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) making every effort to prevent that testimony - because they know it’ll pull back the curtain and further expose the CCP’s infiltration of the U.S. government?
In case it's not clear, the bio on these propaganda articles reads: "Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros (2021), Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York (2020), Debunk This! Shattering Liberal Lies (2019), and Spygate (2018)."
Palumbo also has quite the body of pro-Guo propaganda, though he's reluctant to admit it (he blocked ConWebWatch when we asked him about it on Twitter). The earliest example of his we could find at Newsmax was a March 30 piece that blamed the arrest of Guo on the CCP and played whataboutism over it:
All eyes have been on New Federal State of China Founder and anti-CCP dissident Miles Guo following his arrest on March 15, 2023. The arrest represented the culmination of years of targeting of Guo by the CCP. Guo was previously forced to flee from China to America for his personal safety after exposing the CCP’s 13579 plan to unleash a bioweapon, and the CCP has been fighting ever since to have Guo sent back to China.
For backup of his claims, Palumbo linked to two propaganda articles by him that were posted at Gateway Pundit, one of which called calling Guo's arrest the "Collusion of the Century" and the other playing Bankman-Fried whataboutism and complaining that Guo "could remain behind bars for entirely politically motivated reasons."
Guo propaganda articles at Gateway Pundit are credited as being paid for by "NewNoah," while the propaganda articles at Newsmax are listed as being paid for by "Token Team," which just so happens to be the name of a company that had partnered with Newsmax a few years earlier to accept cryptocurrency as payment for ads.
Other Palumbo propaganda pieces published at Newsmax include:
(Note: Newsmax has since deleted many of the Guo propaganda articles, so the links may not work. Perhaps the Guo checks cleared and Newsmax no longer wanted to seen as a willing provider of paid propaganda.)
One of these propaganda pieces didn't age very well, however. Palumbo wrote in a May 9 piece:
On Friday April 5th, during a campaign stop, Republican Congressman George Santos visited the Darlington Mansion in New Jersey, which serves as the headquarters of the New Federal State of China, a social movement founded by Guo Wengui (also known as Miles Guo).
Unfortunately for everyone involved, this article came out the same day it was revealed that serial liar Santos would face 13 federal criminal charges involving fraud and perjury. Oops!
Getting caught shilling for a shady foreign billionaire, and a recently arrested one to boot, is not a good look for a guy with a new book to plug. We wonder if any of Palumbo's interviewers will raise this shady connection with him as he promotes his new book. Perhaps he can shed light on why he's doing this.
Another paid writer, Kelly John Walker, ranted in another article published at Newsmax:
The "fox hunt" for prominent Chinese dissident, Mr. Miles Guo reads like a Cold War-era spy novel. Indeed, the U.S. is in a high-stakes cold war against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with the tendrils of their malign influence pervading our legal system like a cancer. That infiltration raises the question as to whether or not some defendants are being denied due process or have instead become victims of the CCP’s “lawfare” strategy.
Walker is a right-wing podcaster who was arrested and convicted last year for threatening to zip-tie an elementary school principal because a friend's child missed a school field trip because had to quarantine due to COVID exposure.
That's the caliber of people who are moonlighting by spreading Guo propaganda. As Sellin has noted, neither Palumbo nor Walker promote their Guo work to their own readership even as it's being spread in pro-Guo circles.
What is "Token Team"?
The name listed as serving as a "sponsor" for the Newsmax articles is "Token Team," which we have assumed is a shady, mysterious Guo front company -- but it appears it may be more than that. A November 2018 Newsmax press release declared:
Newsmax TV, the fastest-growing cable news channel in the nation, announced today it is joining with blockchain ad-tech innovator The Token Team, LLC, for accepting advertising payments.
If the names associated with Token Team sound familiar, they should. John Tabacco had a show on Newsmax TV for a while, "Table Talk," which Newsmax claimed was a "political reality show" purporting to take viewers "behind the scenes and to dinner tables of regular everyday Americans" (but only if they were conservative, apparently). He also filled other host roles on the channel, most notably when he was designated to read an on-air statement trying to stave off defamation claims by voting-tech companies Dominion and Smartmatic after the channel falsely accused them of taking part in voting fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Tabacco appears to be currently working as the VP of "digital asset strategy" for a "cannabis holding company" called MJ Holdings and is trying to launch a cryptocurrency aimed at conservatives.
Fossella is a politician whose career as a member of Congress infamously imploded in 2008 when an arrest for DUI led to the revelation that he was living with a woman and their child in Washington while also maintaining a wife and family back home in Staten Island. Fossella has since wormed his way back into politics, currently serving as Staten Island borough president.
The link between Newsmax, Token Team and crypto is interesting because one of the schemes Guo was arrested for involved a cryptocurrency scam.
Are Tabacco, Fossella and Token Team linked to Guo or his scam? Is Tabacco and Fossella's Token Team the "Token Team" buying this propaganda? We have no idea. But it's weird that the buyer of the pro-Guo paid articles would have the same name as Tabacco and Fossella's company and that they have a previous relationship with Newsmax.
Meanwhile, another connection between Tabacco and Guo exists. A show called "Wise Guys with John Tabacco" airs weekly on Newsmax, and the March 26 edition of his show featured Nicole Tsai, spokesperson for a Guo front group called the New Federal State of China. The interview was filled with softballs, and Tabacco challenged none of the talking points Tsai promoted, including her suggestion that federal agents set Guo's apartment on fire shortly after his arrest. Co-host Cara Castronuova, with a group called Citizens Against Political Persecution, fed the narrative too, hyping Guo's ties to Donald Trump and claiming he's a victim of "political persecution," conspiratorially adding: "I'm not going to throw out accusations, but I do think Biden and his son have ties to the CCP."
Neither Tabacco or any of the other interview panel participants -- who also included defense attorney Lou Gelormino -- disclosed any ties with Guo and his businesses and movements. And Guo interests clearly loved this segment because it has been reposted elsewhere with Chinese subtitles.
MRC loves Palumbo
Meanwhile, the Media Research Center has long been a promoter of Palumbo's work side it parrots favorite right-wing narratives:
As Palumbo ramped up his moonlighting propaganda for Guo -- which one would think is disqualifying -- the MRC continued to promote him. Curtis Houck gushed in an April 18 "editor's pick":
Writing in Tuesday’s print edition of the New York Post, our friend Matt Palumbo of the Bongino Report took a blowtorch to the liberal media-selected, so-called fact-checkers for their latest antics and lies in order to defend far-left Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his efforts to prosecute former President Trump.
Houck did not mention how Palumbo was destroying his credibility by writing paid propaganda. Nevertheless, a post three days later by Tom Olohan touted Bongino citing his employee in making the same argument.
A May 2 post by Olohan hyped Palumbo attacking a "George Soros lackey" for criticizing right-wing attacks on prosecutors for allegedly having links to Soros. A May 22 post by Vazquez cited Palumbo in promoting a right-wing Rasmussen poll claiming that a bare majority of Americans have an "unfavorable" view of Soros -- thus show how the millions of dollars spent by the likes of the MRC and Palumbo to spread anti-Soros hate are paying off.
Vazquez ran to Palumbo's defense in a June 15 post:
The George Soros-funded Southern Poverty Law Center threw a temper tantrum over Bongino Report Content Manager Matt Palumbo for his criticism of the group’s leftist financier.
Vazquez then tried to help Palumbo perpetuate the false anti-Semitic smear that Soros is a Nazi sympathizer:
The SPLC twisted the facts around an April interview of Palumbo with Daily Wire host Candace Owens. SPLC claimed: “[Owens] suggested that ‘because of his contempt for Americans,’ it was ‘plausible’ that George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, was actually ‘sympathetic to the Nazis.’” The leftist organization accused Palumbo of agreeing with the notion.
As with many other right-wingers who similarly irrationally hate Soros, it seems that Vazquez, Palumbo and Owens wish that the Nazis had executed just one more Jew.
And, needless to say, Vazquez made no mention of Palumbo's side gig writing pro-Guo propaganda -- propaganda he was continuing to write. A June 20 article at Gateway Pundit -- paid content listed as a "sponsored post" by "NewNoah," presumably a Guo front group -- complained that Guo was "unjustly denied" a hearing related to the fraud charges he faces, "adding yet more evidence that the system is rigged against him." He ended the article in full propaganda mode:
In the interest of judicial fairness, it is essential that Guo be granted bail. By bestowing upon him the freedom to combat the baseless accusations hurled his way, we ensure the preservation of bedrock principles like due process and the right to mount a defense. The mistreatment suffered by Guo serves as a chilling reminder of the potential for power abuse within our judicial system. The time has come to prioritize truth, fairness, and the safeguarding of individual liberties, by granting Guo the opportunity to champion his innocence.
Again, Palumbo's new (Bongino-published) book is dedicated to attacking fact-checkers as being too far "left." When you can't attack the facts, you attack the fact-checkers -- and why would anyone trust a paid propagandist to be honest about facts?