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Cristina López G.

Author ››› Cristina López G.
  • Gab's new "groups" feature makes it easier to categorize racists

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Gab, a social media platform created to cater to those who find Twitter’s terms of service oppressive, recently announced the launch of a new “groups” feature. A cursory look at the groups created so far helps confirm that the platform deserves its reputation as a “haven for white nationalists” since it is helping extremists get organized and share hateful rhetoric.

    Alongside harmless groups on Gab related to gardening and “doggos,” anyone can find the following enclaves of extremism:

    • A group for the fans of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi party, known for his blatant racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.

    • A group for the admirer’s of the literary work of James Mason, an American neo-Nazi. Mason, an admirer of criminal cult leader Charles Manson, started a newsletter by the name of Siege, with which he wanted to spread “Manson’s views as a continuation of [Adolf] Hitler’s philosophy.”

    • A group for the listeners of Radical Agenda, a “live-streamed call-in show” hosted by Christopher Cantwell, also known as “the crying Nazi.” The group is a repository of anti-Semitic content and calls to “downvote” certain YouTube content, a ploy members of the “alt-right” use to game YouTube algorithms and “boost hate videos and bury information they don’t like.” Incidentally, the banner picture for the group currently depicts a scene from the NBC Left Field episode “A mother turns to hate,” which featured white supremacist Jacob Goodwin and his mother, who appear in the picture. Goodwin is currently imprisoned for attacking a counter protester in the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA.

    • The group “Manosphere” for misogynists and other varieties of men’s rights activists. The group especially welcomes those who “loathe feminists.”

    • This anti-Muslim group with a very obvious mission:

    • This group for Nazis and fascists to gather in:

    These group and their content are perfectly normal for Gab where posts on any given day include homophobic statements and defenses of white supremacy. But they contradict the platform’s often-repeated claims -- which it makes via tweets that are routinely deleted -- that it’s “not alt-right” or white supremacist:

  • White supremacists praise John Kelly's disparaging of undocumented immigrants

    The hosts of the white supremacist show Fash the Nation also claimed that appointing Kris Kobach as Secretary of Homeland Security "sounds like a good plan"

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Following White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's disparaging comments against undocumented immigrants, the white supremacist hosts of the podcast Fash the Nation praised his remarks, and added that Kelly referred to people who give their kids "made up bullshit names."

    During an interview with NPR, Kelly claimed that undocumented immigrants are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously, that’s a big thing. ... They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills." On the latest episode of the racist podcast Fash the Nation -- produced by white nationalist podcast hub The Right Stuff -- the hosts (who go by the names Jazzhands McFeels and Marcus Halberstram) agreed with Kelly's remarks and claimed that counterarguments pointing to Kelly's Irish immigrant heritage should be discounted, as "the Irish are European. We're not talking about Europeans. We're talking about third-world primitives who basically are still practicing human sacrifice in many ways."     

    From the May 12 edition of The Right Stuff's Fash the Nation:

    MARCUS HALBERSTRAM (HOST): Reading ahead a little bit, I see this article: "John Kelly says undocumented immigrants don't have skills to assimilate into U.S. society." Now this is obviously true and should be [a] completely uncontroversial statement but -- I'm surprised I didn't hear about this, some screeching about this on like Raw Story or whatever.  

    JAZZHANDS MCFEELS (HOST): Oh, well, this has been at least all of Friday and possibly part of Thursday. This and the White House staffer saying that, "well, McCain is dying anyway," have been like -- have been the premier stories on cable news. MSNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, everything has been wall to wall John Kelly. And of course, they're doing the usual bit of "well, John Kelly's Irish immigrant ancestors weren't welcome here either" and all that, the usual nonsense. And of course, The Washington Post tried to roll out this story. Of course, the headline was "John Kelly disparages rural people in America, Trump's base." That's not who he was talking about, at all. But of course, they run with that to make it seem like, you know -- low info voters will buy into that and think that Kelly's turning his back on white ruralites but that's just not the case, he's talking about --

    HALBERSTRAM: Dude, if anyone ever busts out the "mah Irish" argument, you just respond by saying, "yeah and if the Irish still -- didn't speak the correct language and wore garish, outlandish clothing, and gave made up bullshit names to their children, and bastardized the language completely when they did learn it, everybody would still hate them.”

    MCFEELS: Yeah.

    HALBERSTRAM: End of story.

    MCFEELS: Yeah. and the Irish are European. So, we're not talking about Europeans. We're talking about third-world primitives who basically are still practicing human sacrifice in many ways, heads on spikes on the border and stuff like that.

    HALBERSTRAM: People who never achieved any sort of civilization. It's the most like -- if society weren't all so like Jew-deized, this is just common sense, like people who can't form the basis of civilization on their own, it's like yeah, sure, they can come here, perform some sort of function and perhaps even flourish in the system that we have built, but you can't have too many of these people here because then their civilizational inability starts to manifest itself.

    MCFEELS: Yeah and with the way that the judicial system has been set up and the legal system, and the laws and legislation, you can't have any of them here because you get one in here and then that's like the anchor to get like all the rest of them with chain migration and everything else. And it's just a terrible thing, and of course, the other thing is and the argument we've made many times and others have made this argument as well, is that not only are these people not compatible with modern society, is that they're about to be made obsolete by automation. So the last thing, and this is looking far down the road but, 20 years from now when a lot of this stuff, farming and everything else becoming automated ... These people are gonna be -- what is their purpose here?

    HALBERSTRAM: One more scheme to get a little cheap labor and then you end up with this seething underclass of like, alien peoples. Gee, why does this sound so familiar?

    MCFEELs: Yeah, obsolete farm equipment is not what we need. Now, this is the quote from John Kelly. Now, he sounds "cucky" at first but you'll see what he really means here. … [reads quote of John Kelly] ... I mean, you can't really argue with that, and actually, a high number of them are criminals. Even if they're not in MS13, they're stealing identities, they're doing all manners of things before they even get to the United States. And by virtue of the fact that they're not sending their best, we're getting the worst people. So the ones that Mexico wants to keep are the ones that work hard and that pay their taxes and that don't commit crimes, so most of those people, whatever number there are of them, are staying in Mexico. The worst ones are coming here.

    [...]

    HALBERSTRAM: Yeah, I'm not on Twitter right now, otherwise I'd track that dude [Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post] down and have juxtaposed like, a normal looking guy in a plaid shirt and a trucker hat versus some like squat Indian, like, this is what we're talking about bro, and you know it as well as I do.

    During the show, the white supremacist hosts floated making Secretary of State of Kansas Kris Kobach Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Kobach, an anti-immigration activist who is also a Breitbart columnist, has a history of criminalizing immigrants and has ties to white supremacy.

  • Infowars’ attempt to hijack and exploit the wild conspiracy theory that is QAnon is backfiring

    Alex Jones fed a growing monster. Now the monster is trying to eat him.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Alex Jones’ attempt to hijack and exploit the crackpot pro-President Donald Trump conspiracy theory known as #QAnon or #TheStorm in order to capture its audience has backfired, as its followers turned on Jones, his QAnon correspondent Jerome Corsi, and his media enterprise Infowars.

    The QAnon conspiracy theory holds that Trump’s cryptic October 2017 comment about the “calm before the storm” was a hint at a master plan he is setting in motion to kneecap members of the “deep state” and dismantle pedophilia rings supposedly tied to powerful celebrities and politicians. The name refers to an anonymous poster who goes by “Q,” who is credited with setting “The Storm” in motion and who claims to be, as New York magazine put it, a “high-level government insider with Q clearance.” “Q” began posting on online message board 8chan “intel drops” that the pro-Trump crowd claim are clues informing the public of Trump’s plan, shared this way in order to circumvent what they believe is mainstream media’s anti-Trump agenda.

    The posts quickly captured the imagination of the pro-Trump internet, including celebrity Trump supporter Roseanne Barr. It spread more from there.

    Speculation and attempts to “decode” what “Q” means by connecting the cryptic posts to current events have become a YouTube genre all their own, with videos on the topic garnering hundreds of thousands of views. There are 4chan and 8chan boards devoted to conversations around the cryptic “crumbs” that “Q” leaves (a compilation of all posts signed by “Q” can be found here) and a subreddit with thousands of subscribers dedicated to the defense of what they call the “Q Movement.” The “movement” has also transcended online boards by showing up in the streets of Washington, D.C., in April in an effort to show real-life support for “Q” and on a billboard in Oklahoma in May.

    Alex Jones, being the “unwavering professional conspiracy theorist” that he is, hopped on the QAnon train. He decided to go all in, assigning Infowars Washington correspondent and notorious nutjob Jerome Corsi to the QAnon beat and claiming later that “the White House [had] directly asked” for coverage of QAnon.

    Corsi got to work immediately, writing unhinged analyses of “Q’”s messages and uploading to his YouTube channel hours of livestreams dedicated to the beat. His channel’s popularity (as measured by views) skyrocketed, undoubtedly helped by his guest appearances on other YouTube channels popular with the QAnon crowd. As his star grew, so did his ability to make an income from the QAnon audience. His videos, which earn money by displaying ads, always linked to his Paypal account, and through YouTube’s Super Chat feature during livestreams, viewers could pay for their messages to stand out in the live chat. Corsi’s ability to profit seemed threatened when, on March 1, YouTube terminated his account for violating terms of service, but the platform later reinstated Corsi’s account -- providing no explanation -- after he appealed and made a move to “white nationalist havenGab. Throughout the entire saga, Corsi never failed to plug his widely advertised book on the “deep state” threatening the Trump administration:

    However, after Trump’s decision to intervene militarily in Syria triggered a profanity-laced meltdown from Alex Jones, the Trump-loyalist QAnon crowd started souring on Infowars for having “flipped sides.” For his part, Corsi started criticizing “Q” on social media, claiming “the identity of #QAnon was changed”:

    Increasingly, QAnon devotees began attacking Corsi by enumerating what they saw as “red flags” and calling him out as a “blatant profiteer.” A damning post on the main subreddit for The Storm threw Corsi under the bus, and another one “exposed” Jones and Corsi for waging an “info war” against QAnon and for exploiting “the movement” by joining it opportunistically, comparing them to a Trojan horse:

    Jones decided to confront the attacks head-on on May 11. He claimed “Q” had been compromised and said  he had talked by phone with “folks who were out playing golf with people that have been involved in QAnon” and say “that’s been taken over.” He also said he had personally “talked to QAnon” and that it’s “no longer QAnon.” Corsi appeared to say that while “the White House for a long time did support QAnon,” the identity was “now completely hijacked,” and bemoaned his attackers as trolls.

    “Q,” who followers for some reason assume is male, responded to Jones and Corsi in the usual cryptical fashion, perhaps effectively ending Jones’ ability to profit from the batshit conspiracy theory.

    The cryptic nature of the message board posts are acting as a catchall to explain away the news cycle and the failures of the Trump administration as the fault of  the “deep state.” Along the way, they are providing an avenue for YouTube profits to countless homemade pundits. Not even pro-Trump Alex Jones can stand in the way.

  • Alex Jones and his co-hosts have a misogynistic obsession with lesbians

    Alex Jones: “All they want is for us to submit to them”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Anyone watching Infowars long enough would notice host Alex Jones’ remarkable obsession with a very specific subset of the global population: lesbians. Jones’ unhinged tirades about innumerable topics have rightfully made him a target for online mockery and the protagonist of numerous internet memes. But there’s something more sinister than funny in the way that Jones and some of his guest co-hosts depict, mock, and dissociate from lesbians to Infowars’ hundreds of thousands of viewers.

    Jones’ guest co-hosts -- including Gavin McInnes, founder of the chauvinistic fraternal organization Proud Boys, Infowars contributor Owen Shroyer, and anti-feminist troll Milo Yiannopoulos -- mimic his hateful rhetoric. That treatment ranges from sexist, sophomoric mocking of lesbians for their supposed appearance to the dangerous perpetuation of the absurd idea that lesbians are depressed because they need a man or have turned to women after having a “bad experience with men in their life.”

    Jones shows no qualms about trivializing traumatic issues like child abuse when he asserts that women become lesbians because “daddy beat her up.” He has also used violent imagery to describe romantic and sexual relationships between women, including saying, “If they can’t find a man to smack them around, well, they found them a girl going to do it real good, knock them upside their head.” Jones has even openly suggested he could be personally violent against lesbians too:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): We could take on 500 of you in physical combat, but see, that isn’t what matters -- they’ve got the media and they’ve got our good will and they’re gonna program us. All they want is for us to submit to them.

    Beneath his rhetoric lie toxic elements of misogyny and male supremacy. Jones claims that lesbians “want all the women for themselves,” which both implies that men are entitled to women and that women are not autonomous beings with the capacity to make their own decisions about which individuals they choose as partners. He also claims lesbians “want to be the guy smacking the hot chick around,” reinforcing erroneous assumptions that lesbian relationships follow heterosexual gender roles while trivializing violence against women by saying “some women like it.”  

    Jones’ rhetoric could have the effect of poisoning his audiences’ perceptions of the queer female community, by directly pushing for the further marginalization of a minority that continues to fight for equality under the law.

    Video by John Kerr.​

  • Alex Jones' shows are now on cable -- and he wants to take it even further

    Jones praised "pro-Trump" Sinclair Broadcast Group: "They know what to do"

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Alex Jones boasted that the programming from his conspiracy theory operation Infowars now airs on “over 300" TV stations, including “over 70 cable systems or so and maybe over 15 TV stations,” and he praised the strategy of Sinclair Broadcast Group, claiming it “knows what to do” in pushing out pro-Trump propaganda on local stations.

    During the May 8 livestream of his show, Jones noted that his programming is carried by cable systems, which he said he has accomplished by making his content “free to air” and gifting the 15 minutes of advertising on each hour to the cable provider or local station, while he plugs his dietary supplements and apocalypse-preparedness merchandise during his regular programming. Jones bemoaned that his programming isn’t on Sinclair “at this point,” while calling Sinclair “the leader, nationwide, in local television.”

    The right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group is already the largest provider of local TV news in the country and is now further expanding thanks to the Federal Communications Commission under President Donald Trump. Sinclair requires its news stations to run fearmongering rhetoric and pro-Trump propaganda on a regular basis, exploiting the trust communities have in their local news. In March, Sinclair stations around the country started airing promotional segments in which local anchors had been asked to attack media outlets for their “irresponsible, one-sided stories.” The segments looked like a “hostage” video. Jones went on to praise Sinclair’s “pro-Trump stuff” model, claiming that “it sells”:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): I don’t know why I said in that promo over a hundred TV stations -- it’s over 300, over 70 cable systems, and that was as of about a week ago. We just signed a couple smaller deals, another 15 stations or so, few more radio stations came in. But I think we’re  gonna get a deal with 200 -- 200 more. And a lot of these are in big cities and are the main channels where they’re doing stuff like carrying my show but taped to air at night during family hour, and then they tell people, “And tune over to our sub-channel for 24 hours a day.” It’s very smart. Now again, in the late ‘70s they said that AM stations were gonna turn off. But then conservatives and libertarians and people like the great patriot who helped us get rid of the Fairness Doctrine had the ideas to, hey, launch political talk radio on there and get around the leftist control that dominated television. So the internet of the ‘80s and ‘90s, before we really had the modern internet, was AM radio, and it’s still there today and it’s still doing pretty good despite all the attacks because people decided to use it. Well, they say TV -- local cable, local broadcast TV -- doesn’t have the listeners it used to have or the viewers. That’s not true. You put specialty things on, local sports, local news, it has huge ratings. You put special political programming on that’s pro-America, that people are hungry for -- why do you think Sinclair has had all this pro-Trump stuff on? Cause it’s popular. It sells and it’s good. So, again, ladies and gentleman, Sinclair knows what it’s doing -- they’re the leader, nationwide, in local television and we’re not on Sinclair at this point. But I’m saying, they know what to do. So these TV stations, these cable systems are putting us on all over. It is explosive. This is very, very exciting.

    Pam Vogel contributed research to this piece. Find out here if Sinclair controls a local news station near you.

  • NY Times writer Bari Weiss’ “intellectual dark web” isn’t dark or intellectual -- it's just plain bigoted

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    In a May 8 column that lionized the members of the so-called “intellectual dark web,” New York Times opinion columnist Bari Weiss misled her audience by portraying commentators known for inflammatory rhetoric about oppressed minorities as intellectuals exiled into the “dark web,” a name for the hard-to-reach areas of the internet. The cast of characters she profiled is far from being exiled to the dark web. In fact, they profit from broadcasting bigoted ideas on platforms that reach massive audiences.

    In her column, Weiss glorified Jordan Peterson, the “alt-right’s” favorite professor who has repeatedly appeared on Fox to push anti-trans myths, and praised former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro, without disclosing his history of bigotry. Instead, Weiss portrayed them both as martyrs for the criticism they get for voicing bigoted opinions. The term “intellectual dark web” is a useful branding ploy for bigoted commentators and far-right figures, as, according to Right Richter’s Will Sommer, “They’re appealing to this kind of forbidden nature of the knowledge they're discussing.” Weiss went on the May 8 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe to promote her piece, where the hosts did not push her to address any of the valid, thoughtful criticisms of her piece many journalists have shared on Twitter:

  • On TMZ Live, Kanye West and Candace Owens discuss free thought and call slavery “a choice”

    West called slavery “a choice,” while Owens minimized fatal police brutality, claimed neo-Nazis have “a right to ... not want a statue pulled down,” and called Christine Teigen “the most hateful person” on the internet

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Rapper Kanye West brought along Talking Points USA’s Candace Owens for an hour-long interview on a special edition of TMZ Live. Owens is a far-right commentator who’s frequently appeared on conspiracy theory site Infowars and has made a career out of berating Dreamers -- people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- and other immigrants, as well as dismissing the real dangers of white supremacy.

    During the interview, West told host Charles Latibeaudiere that because slavery lasted 400 years, at some point it had become a choice for those enslaved:

    KANYE WEST: But when you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it is all of y'all? It is like we are mentally in prison. I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks.

    TMZ’s Van Lathan called out West for his comments and said he had “morphed into something … that’s not real”:

    During the interview, Owens discussed white supremacy with Latibeaudiere and remained consistent to her past dismissals of neo-Nazis as a narrative created by the media. She claimed that the protesters at the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, had  “a right to show up and say they do not want a statue [of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee] pulled down”:

    Owens also pushed the debunked right-wing media myth of the “Ferguson Effect,” which claims that cops are scared to do their jobs following Black Lives Matters’ protests, and that that has caused an increase in criminal activity. She went on to dismiss fatal police brutality as one of “the tiny issues” impacting the black community.

    Toward the end of the hour, West accused former President Barack Obama of influencing an ongoing class war by being “so high-class that [he] stopped speaking to the middle and the lower class.” And Owens dismissed the hateful rhetoric among President Donald Trump’s supporters by claiming model Christine Teigen is “the most hateful person” she’s seen on the internet.

  • Infowars expands its anti-globalism crusade to Europe

    Infowars’ new European bureau has praised nativist identitarians and relies on the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim dispatches of a correspondent who used to spread the "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Infowars is expanding its empire of conspiracy theories and anti-immigrant fearmongering to Europe, launching a site that claims to give audiences “the full details of European news” that “European media outlets leave out … to keep its (sic) European audiences from knowing the truth.” A far-right conspiracy theorist is producing content for Jones' new site.

    In the midst of fearmongering rant about an immigrant “takeover” of Spain during the April 30 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Infowars host Alex Jones announced the launch of an Infowars European bureau, which seems to be a one-stop shop for the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim narratives Jones has branded with the “anti-globalism” euphemism.

    The site started posting content on April 3, and as of this writing, nine out of its 12 pieces push anti-immigrant and/or anti-Muslim narratives. 

    One of the articles praises the construction of a small fence on the Italian/French border, a stunt put together by Defend Europe and Generation Identity activists, a white supremacist "identitarian" movement with ties to far-right YouTube commentators Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern. Defend Europe is perhaps best known for its anti-immigrant antics, like a failed attempt to disrupt humanitarian rescue missions looking for stranded refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. Southern, Pettibone, and Pettibone’s boyfriend, Martin Sellner, the “de facto spokesperson” for Generation Identity, were recently banned from entering the United Kingdom for presenting a “serious threat to the fundamental interests of society."

    All of the content on the Infowars Europe site appears to have been penned by “foreign correspondent” Dan Lyman, an American linked to a pro-Trump site that pushed the debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory back in 2016, claiming high-profile Democrats were running a “pedophile syndicate” in a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. Inspired by such claims, a shooter entered the pizzeria to self-investigate in December of that year.

    Lyman also pushed the conspiracy theory on Twitter:

    Lyman has also:

    • likened feminists to terrorists:

    • and accused Muslim men of being rapists:

    In 2017, Breitbart announced plans to expand its European content from the U.K. to Germany, France, and Italy. As Breitbart's traffic has recently collapsed following the ouster and excommunication of Steve Bannon, Infowars is evidently setting out to follow in Breitbart's footsteps.

  • Alleged Toronto attacker has confirmed links to misogynistic online communities

    While misogynistic online groups praised the attack and called for an uprising, right-wing conspiracy theorists and prominent far-right trolls blamed Islam and the alleged perpetrator’s ethnicity

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On April 23, Alek Minassian allegedly drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, killing 10 and injuring 15. In posts on Facebook that the social media company has confirmed as his, Minassian alluded to online message board 4chan’s women-hating “involuntary celibate” community (whose members call themselves “incels”). The "incel" community, part of the broader "men's rights" community, has cheered the attack, while right-wing conspiracy theorists and far-right trolls have blamed it on Islam.

    In his social media posts, Minassian also used the terms “Chads” and “Stacys,” which are often used by online “incel” communities to mean “attractive popular men who are sexually successful with women” and their female partners.

    In the same post, Minassian praised Elliot Rodger, who went on a killing rampage in Isla Vista, CA, in 2014 that Rodger described in a note as a “Day of Retribution” for his virginity, which he attributed to “the cruelness of women.” The incel community often celebrates and discusses Rodger, and in his post, Minassian wrote, “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

    The “incel” community celebrated Minassian online

    Sites linked to the “incel” community responded to Minassian’s attacks with violent memes, celebratory postings, and called for “More Trucks of Peace,” in apparent reference to the use of heavy vehicles to attack pedestrians. The most popular post had memes calling for a “Beta uprising” saying, “It’s now or never.” In the message thread, one poster complained about not having a “good enough weapon,” to which another member replied, “Get a car you cuck.”

    Far-right figures immediately connected the attack to Islam

    In the aftermath of the attack, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones scrambled to connect the attack to Islam during his live show. In a later video titled “Reporters Face Ten Years In Prison For Covering Islamic Truck Attack In Toronto,” Jones claimed that such truck attacks were “part of radical Islam” and said that the accent of the killer “sounds Islamic, sounds Middle Eastern.”

    Even after learning of the alleged killer’s ties to women-hating groups, Jones continued to link the attack to Islam during his April 24 broadcast, claiming that “he has an Islamic-sounding last name” and that “he’s a foreigner” and attributing the misogynistic aspects of the “incel” movement to Islam.

    Like Jones, prominent far-right internet trolls used the attack to smear Muslims and Islam on Twitter, mirroring conversations taking place on internet message boards Reddit and 4chan.

    Gavin McInnes, founder of the male chauvinist fraternal organization Proud Boys:

    Conspiracy theorist and online troll Laura Loomer:

    Infowars host Paul Joseph Watson:

    Leading anti-Muslim voice Pamela Geller:

    Troll account "Alba_Rising:"

    In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Canadian chapter of McInnes’ Proud Boys chimed in with anti-immigrant sentiments, stating, “The blood may be directly on the hands of the Trudeau regime for this latest terror attack.”

    Anti-Muslim and racist messaging quickly spread

    Fox News’ line of questioning suggested the attack had connections to ISIS. Immediately following a press conference in which authorities explained that the identity and motives of the attacker were still unknown, guest Howard Safir and host Maria Bartiromo discussed strategies to combat ISIS, suggesting to audiences a motive and connection that had not been confirmed by authorities.

    A Reddit thread connected the attack to Islam: “It's such a sad thing that civilized western nations are allowing this to happen. There's a reason why Islamic nations are in a constant state of tyranny or chaos”:

    A 4chan thread linked the tragedy to the QAnon conspiracy theory: A thread in the “politically incorrect” 4chan message board connected the attack to the Alex Jones-endorsed far-right conspiracy theory known as “The Storm” or QAnon. The conspiracy theory posits that President Donald Trump has a master plan to kneecap members of the “deep state” and that an intelligence officer with the highest clearance level is keeping people informed by posting anonymous messages and signing them as “Q.”

    4chan users called the attack “a government orchestrated false flag.”

    On YouTube, the channel ThePureVeritas claimed that the attacker was a “MUSLIM man.” The video is still up and has over 9,000 views.

    Hyperpartisan website Conservative Daily Post  also blamed Muslim immigrants for the attack:

    “While police have yet to reveal the motive behind the attack, the timing of the incident coupled with the cultural shift in Canada raises serious questions. … It also comes as Canada has become a hotbed for radical Islamic terrorism. Canada has not only allowed tens of thousands of Muslim migrants to assimilate to the nation, there has also been a dramatic uptick in crime against civilians. … [Trudeau’s] allowing Sharia Law to overtake Canada, and now innocent civilians aren’t even safe to walk down the street any longer.”

    Natalie Martinez and Alex Kaplan contributed research to this piece.

  • What to know about Scott Adams and Candace Owens, the right-wing commentators Kanye West promoted

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Rapper Kanye West promoted two pro-President Donald Trump figures in the span of a few days. On April 21, West praised Candace Owens, a far-right YouTuber who, among other things, has called for all Dreamers, people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to “be sent home.”

    And on April 23, West tweeted out in nine parts a Periscope session by Scott Adams, Dilbert comic strip creator and prominent Trump supporter, during which Adams praised West for “alter[ing] reality.”

    The far-right MAGA internet erupted in cheers, taking the tweets as evidence of West’s definitive “red pilling,” a term that far-right trolls co-opted from the movie The Matrix and that refers to “seeing things as they really are.” (The MAGA trolls popularized the term during the 2016 election cycle to refer to adopting the sort of contrarianism that denies the benefits of feminism and refuses to acknowledge the need for social justice.)

    It is unclear to what extent West aligns with these pro-Trump personalities. But it is undeniable that his endorsement elevated the profiles of these two figures who have espoused toxic positions.

    Candace Owens

    Owens built an online presence on Twitter and YouTube (where she used to go by “Red Pill Black”) through her commentary on race and politics. However, what launched her to prominence among MAGA trolls was a video she posted after the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, last summer in which she dismissed white supremacy as a narrative created by the media, minimizing the extremism displayed at the rally and the violent death of a woman who was protesting the white nationalists. It earned her an invitation on Infowars, Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory outlet, where she talked with Paul Joseph Watson and Jones about the myth of “black-on-black” crime and likened Black Lives Matter protesters to animals:

    Owens was then appointed urban engagement director for Turning Points USA, which actively fundraises off of fearmongering about “nuttiness on college campuses” on Fox News. She has called for all Dreamers to be sent home: 

    Owens has used her growing platform to push various debunked myths, such as the idea that undocumented immigrants are voting illegally or that immigrants “have been directly harming the black community” by taking their jobs, a talking point espoused by an anti-immigrant “hate group” for which Vox says “the receipts simply don’t exist.”

    Mirroring her dismissal of white supremacy, Owens has also been equally blasé about the statistical evidence that shows racial disparities in the way police uses force against Americans. She has claimed, “Police brutality is not an issue that is facing the black community whatsoever.” She has also argued that Trump “represents the very first opportunity for black Americans to jump off of this ideological slave ship that is the Democratic Party.” And despite “freaking out” about West tweeting that he “loves the way” she “thinks,” Owens once claimed in a video directed at celebrities that “we do not care, not in the slightest particle of an imaginary thing, what you think.” On her first Infowars appearance, Owens also praised West for being “awake,” “never subscrib[ing] to any type of politics,” and “slaying this idea of groupthink.”    

    Scott Adams

    Scott Adams, known for creating the Dilbert comic strip, is a prolific Periscope user (with 100 broadcasts so far) who rose to prominence among MAGA trolls because of his prediction that Trump could win the 2016 election. Adams reacted to the news about West’s tweet by doing a Periscope session full of his usual pseudo-intellectual arguments, claiming that history never repeats itself and that West “ripped a hole in reality” with his tweet about Owens:

    While many pro-Trump commentators lavish praise on the president, Adams’s commentary stands apart. Salon’s Amanda Marcotte rounded up some of the things Adams has said about Trump:

    • "If you understand persuasion, Trump is pitch-perfect most of the time. "

    • "The Master Persuader will warp reality until he gets what he wants...."

    • "A lot of the things that the media were reporting as sort of random insults and bluster and just Trump being Trump, looked to me like a lot of deep technique that I recognized from the fields of hypnosis and persuasion."

    • "Trump has the best persuasion skills I have ever seen."

    • "You see apple pie and flags and eagles coming out of his ass when he talks."

    In January, after rapper Jay-Z criticized Trump for reportedly questioning why America should take in immigrants from "shithole countries," Adams wrote a pro-Trump rap verse and called on his followers to record videos of them rapping the lyrics.

    In his foray into MAGA politics, the comic illustrator has made waves by issuing tone-deaf commentary on feminism. He once compared women to children on a blog post he deleted after getting backlash -- but not before claiming that readers offended by his misogynistic rant lacked reading comprehension and were too emotional to understand it:

    That's the reason the original blog was pulled down. All writing is designed for specific readers. This piece was designed for regular readers of The Scott Adams blog. That group has an unusually high reading comprehension level.

    In this case, the content of the piece inspires so much emotion in some readers that they literally can't understand it. The same would be true if the topic were about gun ownership or a dozen other topics. As emotion increases, reading comprehension decreases. This would be true of anyone, but regular readers of the Dilbert blog are pretty far along the bell curve toward rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion.

    Adams has also argued that rape and other sexual offenses can be attributed to men’s “natural instincts”:

    Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn't blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society's tools for keeping things under control.

    The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn't ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, "Here's your square hole"?

    BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick summarized some of Adams' misogyny:

    Adams is also an outspoken men's rights activist. "The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone," he wrote in another blog post.

    When asked about his blog post, he wrote on the site Feministe that women were compromised by their emotions and couldn't understand what he was trying to say.

    Adams has written extensively about the "the global gender war.” In a 2015 blog post, Adams wrote that we live in a matriarchal society we believe is actually a patriarchy, said sex is “strictly controlled by women” and argued that lack of sex drives teen boys to violence. He’s also written about how he believes the 2016 Democratic National Convention lowered men’s testosterone levels.

    Adams has tweeted that the real effect of the #MeToo movement was that managers would hire fewer women because of perceived legal risk. He’s claimed that he could persuade his readers to have an orgasm with his blog post.

    His blog is also very popular in both pickup artist and men’s rights communities. In a post from 2016 on the “humiliation of men,” he writes, “Many of you can’t talk about this topic without being accused of sexism, losing your jobs, and being cast out of your social groups. But I can talk about it because I endorse Hillary Clinton for president. I did that for my personal safety, because I live in California, but still, I’m on the progressive side now. That gives me some extra freedom of speech.”

    Adams has also claimed that police shootings and racist incidents were former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s “doings to win the election.”

    Adams has catered to conspiratorial far-right groups by appearing multiple times on Infowars, where he excused Trump calling El Salvador and Haiti, among others, “shithole countries” by blaming the aides who leaked the comments and the journalist who wrote them up. Adams has also declared himself a believer of the conspiracy theory that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich's death was linked to the email hacking of the committee.