Michael Berry

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  • “Insanity”: Media Appalled After Trump Campaign Hires Breitbart Executive And Political Commentator

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Media figures across the political spectrum expressed shock after reports that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hired Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon and political commentator Kellyanne Conway to head his campaign. Media said the hire makes the relationship between Trump and Breitbart “official” and labeled the move “insanity.”

  • Mic Highlights The “Sinister Extremists” Ted Cruz Helped Mainstream

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Mic reporter Tom McKay explained that, while Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) “presidential ambitions died” in May, his “large, well-funded and well-connected conservative network” made up of “sinister extremists,” conservative talk radio hosts, and “far-right think tank” leaders will survive long after his presidential bid.

    Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid gained early support from talk radio hosts like Steve Deace and Michael Berry, each who have long records of espousing extremist, bigoted rhetoric. Deace has accused Democrats of leading a “war on whites” and warned of an army of jihadists coming to take over America to argue for a higher white birth rate. Berry has a record of racially charged rhetoric, including describing black people as “jungle animals,” referring to protesting University of Missouri football players as “thugs,” and mocking victims of Chicago gun violence. As Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone explained, “Powerful media hosts like Deace used their ties with the [Cruz] campaign ‘to advance their own cache and appeal to their audiences and reinforce their own relevancy.’”

    The May 26 Mic article highlighted these figures and explained that the rise of Cruz’s network “will likely linger long after the initial rush has faded.” The article also pointed out that “Cruz was part of a ‘cumulative effect’ driving other candidates, including Trump, to the right,” which has allowed Trump’s campaign to have “‘really inspired proper right wing extremists … to climb out from under the political rocks in which they have been hiding.’”  

    From the May 26 Mic piece:                

    Unlike other Republican contenders this year, Cruz busied himself building a large, well-funded, and well-connected conservative network. Some of these boosters and advisers will go on to play a role in the Trump campaign, while others may become future standard-bearers of the ideological conservative movement.

    Cruz "put a lot of emphasis in sort of delegating the organizing to the media figures and to the leaders within those spaces," said Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of progressive media watchdog Media Matters. "People like [radio hosts] Steve Deace in Iowa and Michael Berry in Texas, Glenn Beck, these are people that one, he's pumped a fairly large amount of money into advertising his programming ... they're serving as a validator for him and they're doing their very best to convert their audiences."


    Michael Berry is one of the most important figures in talk radio in Houston, Texas, where he uses his platform to spread racially charged opinions on young black kids who have run-ins with the police ("jungle animals"), Islamic culture ("forced genital mutilation") and Black Lives Matter (a "pro-thug narrative"). One of the regularly occurring segments of his show is appearances from a blackface performer using the stage name Shirley Q. Liquor, whose act has been repeatedly protested as racist.


    "The more candidates tout him as important (as Cruz does regularly), the more his language becomes commonplace and becomes part of what is considered acceptable on the right," wrote Media Matters Associate Research Director Sal Colleluori in an email to Mic. "This is of extreme value to Cruz specifically, but even Trump. The more we mainstream anti-immigrant and anti-African-American language, the more their base of support is used to hearing — and sympathizing with — these extreme notions."


    Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated radio host originally based out of Iowa, boasts an audience of tens of thousands of listeners. They tune in to hear the self-declared alpha male rant about the "manginas" in charge of today's GOP, suggest that a "whole generation of women [is] on the lookout for some alpha males" and cast Republican leadership's mission as "pass Obama's agenda, lie to conservatives, defraud voters and total capitulation."


    Deace's influence in Iowa helped Cruz obtain a crucial victory in the state — which plays a crucial role in shaping media perceptions of viability due to its early primary dates — by helping mobilize a small but vocal vanguard of far-right activists in conjunction with other organizers like U.S. Rep. Steve King and evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats. According to the Des Moines Register, Deace was a key leader of a team of 12,000 volunteers who made 25,000 calls and 2,000 home visits daily in the days leading to the vote. He has simultaneously used his prominence to land key appearances on national media, where he tones down the rhetoric to make him and Cruz seem more reasonable.


    According to Matthew Feldman, a professor of fascist ideology at Teesside University, Cruz was part of a "cumulative effect" driving other candidates, including Trump, to the right.

    "In most people's lifetimes there hasn't been a frontrunning candidate who has pushed so many far-right buttons as Trump, or for that matter, Ted Cruz," Feldman wrote. "But it is only Trump's campaign that has really inspired proper right wing extremists, who have found the broken taboos around race, political violence and conspiracy theory a real boon for their brand of revolutionary politics. It is the first time in more than a generation they have been able to climb out from under the political rocks in which they have been hiding."

  • 8 Ways Right-Wing Media Exploited The Brussels Terror Attacks


    Right-wing media quickly exploited the terrorist attacks in Brussels by stoking fears about the U.S. refugee vetting process, calling for the profiling of Muslims, stoking anti-immigrant sentiments, hyping anti-Muslim fears, blaming political correctness for the victims of terrorism, crediting Donald Trump with being "right" when he said Brussels was turning into a "hell hole," calling for torture and waterboarding, and criticizing President Obama.

  • Ted Cruz Celebrates Super Tuesday With Bigoted Radio Host Michael Berry

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Texas radio host Michael Berry posted a picture of himself and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) backstage following Cruz's Republican primary victories in Texas and Oklahoma.

    Houston's KPRC reported that Cruz watched the election results from Berry's "Redneck Country Club" which was identified as his "campaign headquarters." Berry's relationship with Cruz goes back more than twenty years and Berry even introduced Cruz on stage in Iowa the night before the caucuses.

    As a radio host, Berry has become known for his racially charged rhetoric, including describing black people as "jungle animals," regularly hosting a comedian in blackface whose stage name is "Shirley Q. Liquor," claiming that "black people don't believe that black lives matter."

  • Cruz Campaign Will Host Super Tuesday Watch Party At Venue Of Radio Host With Long History Of Bigoted Rhetoric

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    The Houston area "Redneck County Club" will host the Super Tuesday watch party tonight of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The venue was founded by the Texas radio host Michael Berry, whose history of bigoted rhetoric and programming has not prevented the senator from welcoming his longtime friendship and support.

    Houston's KPRC reported that the Cruz campaign will be watching the results from Stafford, TX, and identified Berry's bar and music venue as the "campaign headquarters." An online invitation to the Stafford watch party from the Cruz campaign confirmed the site of "Ted Cruz Election Night Watch Party" is the Red Neck Country Club.

    Cruz's decision to use Berry's club as his election watch party venue comes as no surprise as Cruz and Berry have been friends for "over twenty years." Berry's radio show -- The Michael Berry Show -- is often packed with racially inflammatory language. The host has referred to black people as "jungle animals" and often mocks black victims of Chicago's gun violence. He regularly rejects civil rights advocacy and once said in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, "the dirty little secret is black people don't believe that black lives matter." The host also often hosts a blackface comedian, whose stage name is "Shirley Q. Liquor," to portray racist stereotypes of African-American women.

    Berry also uses social media to share images that often portray black people as criminals and promote white people as more law abiding.

    The country music-themed club where Cruz will reportedly watch the Super Tuesday results advertises itself as both a live music venue and a restaurant where "good people" can be around other "like-minded people." One of the attractions of the bar is a full-size replica of the General Lee car, which boasts a Confederate battle flag spanning the roof. Berry's affinity for the confederate flag goes beyond nostalgia for the Dukes of Hazard. During the debate over the flag's place in front of South Carolina's state capital following the murder of nine black worshipers at a historical black church in Charleston, SC, Berry said the flag simply represented the "heritage of the state." The host criticized those calling for the removal of the flag, asking if the shooter in South Carolina had been Muslim would society "outlaw the Koran? Outlaw the mosque? Would we outlaw the prayer rug?"

  • Trump Isn't The Only GOP Candidate Backed By Bigots


    While media cover ongoing controversy surrounding GOP front-runner Donald Trump's refusal to clearly disavow the Ku Klux Klan, the bigoted history of some of Republican hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz's prominent endorsers is receiving less scrutiny. Cruz is endorsed by both Tony Perkins, who has past ties to former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and Gun Owners of America (GOA), an extremist group that gave money to a white supremacist organization. He is also often touted by conservative radio host Michael Berry, who has compared black teens to "jungle animals" among other racially charged comments.

  • Cruz Surrogate Michael Berry Continues To Mock Victims Of Chicago Gun Violence


    Nationally syndicated radio host Michael Berry has continued his weekly segments mocking victims of Chicago's gun violence, with his latest piece berating the Chicago community for "black-on-black" crime and railing against the Black Lives Matter movement. Berry has continued these segments while he has become more involved with longtime friend Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.

  • Extremist Radio Hosts Rally For Ted Cruz On The Eve Of The Iowa Caucuses

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    In one of the last rallies before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) allowed right-wing radio hosts, Glenn Beck, Michael Berry,and Steve Deace, to introduce him, despite their records of espousing extreme rhetoric.

    Cruz's rally featured seven speakers including anti-gay activists like CEO of The Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats and Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson as well as Iowa's Rep. Steve King (R). However, it was the presence of radio hosts Glenn Beck, Michael Berry, and Steve Deace which best illustrated the divisive nature of Cruz's platform.

    Beck, once of Fox News fame and now a television and radio host on The Blaze, previously caused controversy due to his claim that President Obama is a "racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." The host has been criticized in the past for his use of Nazi imagery, his history of violent rhetoric and for making outlandish claims like blaming President Obama for the November terrorist attack in Paris. Beck announced his endorsement of Cruz in January, making Cruz the first candidate he has officially endorsed in his broadcast career.

    Iowa based radio host Steve Deace began supporting Cruz early in this election cycle and endorsed Cruz in August, saying he has a "commitment to our principals." Since his endorsement Deace has written at least 24 articles trumpeting Cruz, advised the candidate before debates, and appeared in a lengthy campaign ad for Cruz.

    Deace's brand of extremism centers around a plethora of anti-gay ideas. Deace coined the phrase "rainbow jihad" to describe advocates for LGBT rights -- a phrase which Cruz paraphrased claiming "the jihad ... going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Deace's extreme views have led him to write about a hypothetical conversation with Jesus in which he claims to show Obama is not a Christian and an article which suggested divorce could make children gay. Deace has recently pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama may not leave the White House when his term is up in January 2017.

    Rounding out Cruz's radio host speakers was Michael Berry, a supporter of Cruz's senate bid and "friend for over ten years." Much of Berry's show revolves around stoking the flames of racial tension. The host often undermines the intentions behind the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming "black lives matter, just not to black people" and that white people don't kill people the way black people do. Comedian Chuck Knipp, a frequent guest of Berry's, performs in blackface as "Shirley Q. Liquor" to mock racial stereotypes of black people.

    Most egregious is Berry's weekly segment dedicated to mocking victims of gun violence in Chicago. Every Monday the host reads the "butcher bill," reciting the names of those shot while mocking their names and the circumstances in which they were wounded or killed. Berry has claimed that the segment is sponsored by Black Lives Matter.

  • What Conservative Media Get Wrong About The Link Between Gun Safety And Terrorism Prevention


    Conservative media are attacking President Obama for saying in his Oval Office address on terror that Congress should limit the availability of assault weapons and the ability of people on terror watch lists to legally purchase firearms, claiming his "entirely out of place" reference to gun legislation was an attempt to "shift the conversation" and "attack the Second Amendment." In fact, the discussion of guns was pertinent to terrorism in the United States because 95 percent of U.S. terrorism fatalities since 9/11 have been the result of gunfire and Al Qaeda has urged its followers to exploit America's weak gun laws to carry out attacks.

  • TX Radio Host Michael Berry: "Guns Don't Kill People, Muslims Do"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the December 7 edition of iHeartRadio's The Michael Berry Show:

    BERRY: After spending the last several days talking about gun control, we knew Obama was going to tie ISIS to it. And he didn't disappoint saying, quote, "To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun." Well, guess what? Boston bombers, Nadal Hasan -- a U.S. army major -- and these two, were not on a no-fly list. So what is the point of your no-fly list? Which, by the way, is unconstitutional.

    Then he goes on, "What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security. We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernadino." That is not a powerful assault weapon! Can we stop with that already? He goes on, "I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures, but the fact is that our intelligence and our law enforcement agencies -- no matter how effective they are -- cannot identify every would-be mass shooter. Whether that individual is motivated by ISIL," stop saying ISIL, it's ISIS, "or some other hateful ideology, what we can do and must do is make it harder for them to kill." Neither, none of these folks have been on no-fly lists. And by the way, they were living in the state with the strongest gun control in the country. The tightest, the strictist. So how well did that work?

    Guns don't kill people, Muslims do.


    Berry On Proposed New Mosque In New York: "I Hope Somebody Blows it Up"

    Berry Aired Skit That Mocked Muslims And Joked About "Forced Genital Mutilation"