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Cristina López G.

Author ››› Cristina López G.
  • Talia Lavin could teach Laura Ingraham a lot about journalism

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Ordinarily, it would not be considered newsworthy that a private university hired a journalist with extensive experience covering the far-right to teach an undergraduate journalism course based on her expertise. But because said journalist is right-wing outrage target Talia Lavin, Fox News aired multiple segments about New York University hiring Lavin (who formerly worked at Media Matters). In one segment, Fox host Laura Ingraham even referred to Lavin as a “journo-terrorist.”

    Lavin is no stranger to right-wing outrage. About a year ago, she made a mistake while working as a fact-checker for The New Yorker, misidentifying the tattoo on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer and veteran as white supremacist imagery when in fact it was a symbol from his platoon while deployed in Afghanistan. Lavin corrected the error within minutes, apologized, and deleted the tweet she had written about it “so as not to spread misinformation.” Despite the quick correction and apology, ICE’s official Twitter account posted a clarification about the tattoo in question and a press statement that called out Lavin by name. After that, the entire right-wing media ecosystem followed suit.

    They found Lavin an irresistible target for far-right audiences: a Jewish, progressive female journalist who had publicly made a mistake. She resigned from her job after making the error, but that didn’t stop right-wing media from giving the events wall-to-wall coverage. What ensued was anti-Semitic and misogynistic harassment targeting Lavin online for weeks, with her pictures posted to anonymous message boards and her Twitter mentions flooded with violent threats and insults. Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos even bragged about harassing her with a coded neo-Nazi symbol.

    All of which explains why right-wing media jumped at a new opportunity to feed the many anti-Semitic, misogynistic trolls in their audience, using Lavin’s upcoming teaching position at New York University’s journalism school. Fox News aired multiple segments with the news of Lavin’s hiring, with Ingraham focusing on it during prime time. The hypocrisy of Ingraham’s outrage over Lavin was underscored by an earlier segment in which Ingraham painted conservatives as martyrs of liberal attacks against free speech on college campuses.

    With its history of airing blunders, inaccuracies, sycophantic propaganda, and downright stupidity, Fox News is hardly the best messenger to promote journalistic integrity and best practices in reporting. And unlike Lavin, Fox repeatedly refuses to apologize. The network’s record of catering to the far-right and fostering extremism shows the hollowness of its concern about who is teaching a journalism course on covering the far-right. And as someone who has actually worked closely with Lavin in covering extremism, I can confidently attest that the mistake she made -- which right-wing media continue to hypocritically weaponize against her -- hardly tarnishes her journalistic talent, her wide-reaching knowledge of the far-right and its insidious mechanisms, or her relentlessness in the face of the harassment that right-wing media continue to incite. In short, many at Fox News, including Ingraham, should take Lavin's class.

  • To attempt to make sense of QAnon, Politico turned to Pizzagate conspiracy theorists

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In what seemed like an attempt to demonstrate the rise of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement within the right-wing establishment, Politico tweeted out a video about QAnon “true believers” filmed at the most recent Conservative Political Action Conference. Unfortunately, the outlet missed an opportunity to truly explain the oversized impact that weaponized misinformation can have over entire political movements by relying on two notorious far-right conspiracy theorists for their expertise.

    The 8chan-originated conspiracy theory that developed around anonymous posts signed by “Q,” an anonymous poster claiming to hold a high security clearance, holds that there is a behind-the-scenes scenario in which President Donald Trump is kneecapping a ring of powerful pedophiles connected to “the deep state.” The theory -- and the movement of followers it has inspired -- deserves media coverage and expert analysis to explain its influence on right-wing politics. But Politico interviewed far-right conspiracy theorists Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich to make sense of QAnon, taking their opinions at face value, ignoring their own involvement in uncritically amplifying the conspiracy theory during its early stages, and downplaying their involvement in promoting the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory by noting just that they have been criticized for pushing the theory, rather than stating what they did to promote it.

    Similar to QAnon, “Pizzagate” is a conspiracy theory that smeared powerful Democratic figures -- in Pizzagate’s case by accusing them of hiding a child trafficking network behind a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. It turned dangerous (as QAnon could) after a man claiming he wanted to “self-investigate” opened fire with a rifle inside the restaurant. Before that, Cernovich had told his audience that “Pizzagate is real” and Posobiec had livestreamed from the D.C. restaurant, speculating that “they have a big secret to hide.”

    Because Posobiec and Cernovich are grifters focused on sustaining their careers (which include publishing books and making films attacking the media), and they have recently made efforts to sanitize their public images and pivot away from the bigoted slurs, misogyny, conspiracy theories, and alliances with extremists that allowed them to grow their platforms during the rise of the MAGA internet. Politico’s decision to feature them talking about a conspiracy theory they played a role in creating -- without mentioning that connection to the audience -- helps them continue rebranding without any accountability.

    QAnon is misinformation being weaponized for political purposes, and it absolutely merits the attention and coverage of political media. But outlets can and must seek the expertise of real journalists and social media experts who understand the conspiratorial right without having been an unrepentant part of it. Don't just give a platform to two known grifters with long histories of weaponizing misinformation themselves.

  • White supremacist YouTube channel Red Ice TV loves Tucker Carlson

    Red Ice TV’s Henrik Palmgren: “Tucker Carlson does good work over at Fox News”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & JOHN KERR

    Perhaps because of his noticeable descent into white supremacy, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson gets a lot of love from white supremacists, including the founders of Red Ice TV, a YouTube channel that boasts over 300,000 subscribers despite containing explicitly racist content like discussions of the “JQ” (Jewish Question) and criticism of interracial relationships.

    Red Ice TV founders Lana Lokteff and her husband, Henrik Palmgren, have often mentioned Carlson during their shows, specifically to praise his staunch opposition to diversity. They also celebrated when Carlson tweeted out (and later deleted) a link to their site in an attempt to criticize people who call out racism.

    The Red Ice TV founders aren’t the only white supremacists who adore Carlson; others have labeled him their “favorite commentator,” credited him for being their “only voice to a large extent,” actively fantasized about a Carlson presidential run, and rallied behind him in the face of backlash. Clearly, the white nationalist dog whistles in Carlson’s rhetoric have not gone unnoticed by extremists.

  • White supremacists rally behind Tucker Carlson: "Heil Tucker"

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & ALEX KAPLAN

    Multiple white supremacist media figures, extremist outlets, men’s rights activists, and users of far-right anonymous message board 4chan rallied behind Fox News host Tucker Carlson after Media Matters unearthed audio of him making multiple sexist and racist remarks on a shock jock radio show between 2006 and 2011. According to his extremist fan base, Carlson was just saying “true things about women,” for which they declared, “Heil Tucker.”

  • Leaked chat messages show members of white supremacist group Identity Evropa are obsessed with Tucker Carlson

    Chats show extremists claim Carlson has “done more for” white supremacists than they “could ever hope to.”

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A trove of leaked chat messages reportedly from members of white supremacist group Identity Evropa shows the group’s appreciation for Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Members praised segments from Tucker Carlson Tonight and fantasized about the idea of him running for president someday.

    On March 6, the nonprofit media organization Unicorn Riot released chat logs from a Discord server reportedly used by members of Identity Evropa, a group attempting to sanitize white supremacy by rebranding its racist beliefs as pro-white “identitarianism.” The chat server’s name, “Nice Respectable People Group,” reflects Identity Evropa’s focus on “optics,” a strategy of intentionally rebranding away from obvious extremism to avoid the negative press that supposedly keeps their ideas from appealing to the mainstream.

    Media Matters reviewed hundreds of chat messages containing mentions of Carlson -- who extremists refer to with familiarity as “Tuck” or “Tucker” -- and can confirm that the white supremacists routinely turn on Fox News to watch him deliver messages aligned with their extremist cause. They see Carlson’s prime-time audience as an effective opportunity to rebrand themselves and get positive media coverage for their extremism.

    Users in the leaked chats shared a Media Matters video that shows how closely Carlson’s rhetoric aligns with that of white supremacists like American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor (a point extremists have made as well), with users asking, “Where’s the lie?” and calling the video a “red-pill compilation” (the phrase “red-pilling,” a reference to the movie The Matrix, is far-right shorthand for radicalizing).

    The leaked chats clearly show the admiration that some of the Discord server users have for Carlson. They include users praising the Fox host, claiming that he’s the sole reason they tune in to cable, and calling him “a lone voice of reason in the media.” Borrowing language from anonymous message board 4chan, white supremacists call Carlson “our guy” (users of 4chan have anointed white supremacist Rep. Steve King (R-IA) with the same title -- and they call far-right actress Roseanne Barr “our girl”).

    The chats show many users praising Carlson for his subtlety in delivering extremist talking points as a strategic way of remaining on the airwaves, explicitly crediting Carlson with “normalizing 80% of [Identity Evropa’s] talking points,” and pointing out that figures like Carlson and Nazi sympathizer Ann Coulter “know exactly what they’re doing” to “nudge people further to the right.” It is clear is that Carlson’s fearmongering about changing demographics comes across to these extremists as an explicitly white supremacist talking point.

    Members of Identity Evropa praise the Fox host for “doing divine work” that has “done more for” white supremacists than they “could ever hope to” do, while crediting Carlson’s rhetoric with moving the Overton Window, a measure of what’s considered acceptable public discourse, closer to extremism. In fact, they suggest staying within the limits of Carlson’s rhetoric to be effective with mainstream conservatives, calling it “the edge of the acceptable” and claiming that “acceptable … moves toward us daily.”

    The messages also show that white supremacists consider Carlson to be an effective mouthpiece for their messages and pet narratives. They view him as an essential part of the informational “food chain” that funnels their interests to President Donald Trump, who they believe is “being exposed” to their issues through Carlson’s show. And they’re not wrong about that. Last year, a segment on Carlson’s show pushing a white nationalist narrative about South African farmers inspired a presidential tweet, exciting white supremacists around the globe. A leaked chat message shows that members of Identity Evropa actively organized an online campaign to boost Carlson’s South Africa segment using sock accounts -- online accounts with false identities -- and turn the segment into a tool for recruiting on social media.

    Because they deem Carlson’s show to be a valuable platform for the white supremacist movement, some chats show users rallying to get Carlson’s eyes on stories they consider important, or discussing getting their leader, Patrick Casey, on Tucker Carlson Tonight. But to these white supremacists, Carlson is more than a useful mouthpiece, and his show is more than a valuable platform. They look at him as a thought leader and an influential thinker. A user of Identity Evropa’s Discord server promoted Carlson’s Twitter account as one of numerous “serious accounts comprising of European and American Identitarian and reactionary thought leaders.” Another user suggested Carlson’s latest book Ship of Fools as a blueprint for the group’s actions.

    Additionally, Carlson’s Fox show provides his audience with a reason to build communities centered around extremism. The Identity Evropa chats show a user promoting a Carlson-themed Facebook group that was also promoted by The Daily Shoah or TDS, a fascist podcast whose hosts also admire Carlson.

    The leaked chats show that Identity Evropa’s conversations about Carlson are often centered around positively discussing segments of his Fox show -- such as pushing a segment in which Carlson elevated white nationalist outlet VDare as “laying the groundwork for a White Identity politics apologetics” -- and promoting links to his Twitter videos and YouTube clips, creating an incentive for Fox News to continue profiting from extremism.

    Identity Evropa’s conversations about Carlson also reflect a degree of sycophancy that includes wishful thinking about a joint Carlson-Coulter appearance at the group’s national conference and active fantasizing about having Carlson in a presidential ticket.

  • White supremacist behind Charlottesville Unite the Right rally blames fellow racists for failure of his extremist crusade

    Jason Kessler says he won’t be organizing a Unite the Right 3 rally because of “the alt-right’s obsession with Jews” and suggests Covington Catholic episode is “a perfect example of what white identity activism should be”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Jason Kessler, the white supremacist behind the 2017 and 2018 extremist Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, VA, and Washington, D.C., announced he won’t be organizing a third iteration of his racist event. Kessler’s first rally in 2017 resulted in the murder of counterprotester Heather Heyer and injuries to dozens of other counterprotesters, and the second one was sparsely attended. While making the announcement, Kessler blamed “the alt-right’s obsession with Jews” for bad publicity surrounding his events, claiming that his motivation to go ahead with the second rally in 2018 was “to not back down to a heckler's veto.”

    In a February 26 Periscope session, Kessler said his decision to not organize the event a third time came down to him thinking that it is not “helpful to have a pro-white movement which is really just about anti-Jew activism.”

    Kessler also said his intentions for arranging the first Unite the Right rally “were noble,” but he hinted at the real reasons for his backpedaling on organizing public events as he bemoaned, “Every time I lowered myself to the alt-right’s level and started using that kind of sensationalistic rhetoric, I got slapped for it and I was made to look like a fool.”

    According to Kessler, there’s nothing wrong “with trying to make sure that white people get a fair shake” but instead of holding public rallies, he said white supremacists should endorse what he called “the Covington strategy.” Kessler was referring to the professional public relations campaign launched by students of Covington Catholic High School and members of their families to turn them into the victims of a tense encounter with a Native American activist.

    The encounter and its fallout -- which Kessler called “a perfect example of what white identity activism should be” -- has now been embraced by neo-Nazis, who have turned it into a 4chan meme rallying for white supremacy with the slogan “Stand Your Ground.” In the same vein, Kessler praised the effectiveness of white supremacist memes like the “it’s OK to be white” catchphrase that originated from 4chan, suggesting the dog-whistle racism in meme format as the way forward for white identity causes. (White nationalists like Richard Spencer and white supremacist darling Tucker Carlson have also praised and elevated the “it’s OK to be white” campaign.)

    Far from distancing himself from the toxicity of his “white identity” movement, Kessler’s Periscope video was another example of the “optics” strategy used by similar groups like Identity Evropa. In this strategy, extremists use sanitized language that substitutes explicit racism for pro-white “identitarianism,” thus allowing them to operate in the mainstream while opposing social justice initiatives and promoting white supremacist grievances. After all, Kessler clearly continues to believe in the premise that inspired his first rally: “My original purpose was to advocate for white people because I felt like we were being unfairly discriminated [against]. There’s one set of rules for white people and one for everybody else.”

  • The comparison of Sunrise Movement to Project Veritas is ridiculous

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Editing a longer video to feature newsworthy bits is a far cry from engaging in James O'Keefe-style deception. 

    Sunrise Movement posted a video on February 22 showing a tense discussion between young climate activists and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The group's Bay Area chapter streamed the exchange live on Facebook; a shorter version was subsequently posted on Twitter to fit the platform's 140-second video limit; and the group also shared the link to the full Facebook video later that night. Despite the longer versions posted elsewhere, the Twitter video prompted ill-considered accusations that it had been deceptively edited to paint Feinstein in a bad light, with people baselessly comparing the incident to the malicious work of O'Keefe's Project Veritas.

    The activists, including middle and high school students, visited Feinstein to petition her to support the Green New Deal, a nonbinding resolution to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. within 10 years. Sunrise Movement shared footage on Twitter that showed Feinstein dismissing them and equating the pressure from young activists on climate action to “my way or the highway,” telling them she doesn’t “respond to that.”

    After the initial video went viral, several commentators pointed to the longer version of the encounter as evidence that Sunrise Movement had maliciously misrepresented the exchange. People like “Never Trump” conservative Tom Nichols invoked Project Veritas, the notorious conservative group headed by O’Keefe.

    Nichols was far from the only person to invoke O'Keefe.

    O'Keefe has made deceptive editing of footage and doctored videos synonymous with his and his project’s name. He and his group have a well-documented record of peddling misinformation and staging stunts that backfire. Notably, Veritas’ modus operandi relies on deception, as its staffers routinely lie about who they are with the intent of filming targets in embarrassing situations, whereas Sunrise Movement activists identified themselves transparently. In one incident, O'Keefe attempted to lure a CNN reporter onto a boat filled with "sexually explicit props."

    In contrast to O'Keefe's antics, there is no question that Feinstein knew exactly whom she was discussing policy with. And the longer and shorter versions of the Feinstein are clearly similar in tone and content.

    One can have a reasonable discussion about what policies are best suited to addressing climate change. But that discussion cannot happen without a shared understanding of just how bad the situation already is. Likening these climate activists to one of the worst smear merchants around is not just profoundly unfair; it makes suitable action on the climate crisis even harder to achieve.

  • The founder of this extremist armed militia had a front-row seat to Trump’s rally

    Stewart Rhodes and his Oath Keepers embrace white supremacist talking points and have provided security to far-right extremists while endorsing the use of “lethal force” against left-wing protesters

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and members of his far-right armed militia were spotted in the front row at President Donald Trump’s February 11 rally in El Paso, TX. Rhodes has advocated for training armed militias to do Trump’s bidding, embraced white supremacist conspiracy theories, endorsed using “lethal force” against left-wing protesters, and called on armed Oath Keepers to stand guard outside of schools and to spot unauthorized crossings at the U.S. southern border.

    Rhodes founded Oath Keepers “in the direct aftermath of the election of the nation’s first black president,” Barack Obama, in reaction to the baseless claim that the federal government was hellbent on destroying liberties protected by the Constitution. The militia holds radical anti-government beliefs and is made up of “current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders” claiming to uphold the oath they made to “support and defend the Constitution.”

    In reality, the group and its founder openly espouse radical beliefs. Some of these include calling transgender rights “nuts,” dismissing the racist use of blackface as “nonsense,” and claiming Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is using identity politics focused on “anyone not white” to “weaponize them against their own nation.” In the Obama years, the group promoted conspiracy theories such as "mass, forced internment into concentration camps" and claimed that they were operation to "prevent dictatorship" in the United States. In 2015, Rhodes reportedly said that Sen. John McCain "should be hung by the neck until dead"; Rhodes also was one of the far-right figures pushing the Jade Helm conspiracy theory. Rhodes also reportedly claimed that the Obama administration was using Ferguson riots and the Ebola virus to "spark a race war."

    Rhodes has repeatedly pushed baseless claims of massive voter fraud by undocumented immigrants and directed his armed militia to combat it. In the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, he announced “Operation Sabot 2016,” and asked fellow Oath Keepers to “go out into public on election day, dressed to blend in with the public … with video, still camera, and notepad in hand, to look for and document suspected criminal vote fraud or intimidation activities.” While he asked that they not bring guns, the Oath Keepers are closely associated with open carry protests, including the open carrying of firearms during protests against police brutality in Ferguson, MO, in which armed members looked down from rooftops.

    After the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Rhodes called on Oath Keepers to “post up armed outside your local school” and some members obliged.

    On December 5, Rhodes went on Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet to push the white supremacist talking point that a caravan of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border was evidence of “globalists” (a term with anti-Semitic connotations) executing what he described as “the latest tactic or assault in an ongoing war on the West to flood us with Third World people and then overwhelm us and kill our countries.” He called for the Justice Department to indict “all these NGOs that are assisting these illegal aliens coming into the United States.” A similar white supremacist conspiracy theory that migrant caravans are the result of a Jewish plot to replace white people was embraced by the shooter who went into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, and killed 11 Jewish people in October.

    Two days after Infowars posted Rhodes’ appearance, his group issued a “call to action” on Twitter, asking members to head to the southern border “to conduct surveillance and to spot and report any suspected illegal infiltration of the U.S.”

    Rhodes has also talked about forming an armed militia to do whatever Trump wants. During one of his frequent guest appearances on Infowars, Rhodes announced the launch of “a new program called Spartan training groups.” Rhodes said that the program is for “the average American” to learn combat skills to be available if “called out by the president of the United States to serve as a militia of the United States to secure the schools, protect our borders, or whatever else he asks them to do.”

    He also talked about the group’s involvement in providing security for far-right rallies and advocated for armed militias to recruit retired police for their nationwide concealed carry privileges as a “final line of lethal force” against anti-fascist protesters in any jurisdiction. Rhodes alluded to working alongside other violent extremist groups such as Patriot Prayer -- the group responsible for a cache of firearms found on a Portland, OR, rooftop in preparation for a protest last summer -- and the self-identified gang Proud Boys.

    In another appearance on Infowars, Rhodes hinted at the Oath Keepers murdering anti-Trump protesters, saying that left-wing protesters were coming close to “forcing” militias like his to have “no choice” but to “kill them.”

  • PragerU YouTube video features bigoted conspiracy theorist Owen Benjamin

    Benjamin says racial and homophobic slurs are “hilarious” and got kicked off of Twitter after going on a weird rant about the genitals of a Parkland shooting survivor

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    PragerU, the online operation peppering the internet with viral far-right propaganda, featured bigoted Owen Benjamin in its latest video. Benjamin was kicked off of Twitter permanently in 2018 following a bizarre rant about Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg’s genitals.

    In his February 4 video, Benjamin attempted to dissuade PragerU’s audience from arguing with leftists by calling “raising kids without a gender identity” “a form of child abuse” and by baselessly claiming white people are being demonized “for the world’s problems.”

    Benjamin is a right-wing comedian whose brand of “criminally unfunny” comedy includes using the N-word and homophobic slurs and calling it “hilarious.” He’s also a conspiracy theorist who has claimed to hundreds of thousands of viewers on his YouTube channel that the moon landing never happened.

    PragerU has a history of using its massive, wide-reaching platform to push misinformation and extremism. It has blamed racial disparities on "black culture," and on Columbus Day, it featured a video that showed a racist depiction of indigenous people as cannibals wielding salt-and-pepper shakers. On Facebook, the PragerU Brasil page has posted a Russia Today article to its over 14,000 followers falsely claiming that the American Psychological Association had stated it was “bad to be a man.” PragerU’s founder, Dennis Prager, has waged a dangerous, yearslong campaign against basic facts about AIDS, once calling heterosexual AIDS an “entirely manufactured” myth.

    And yet, PragerU’s propaganda and misinformation are being inserted directly into schools, as the company provides “content directly to teachers and students” and is “developing relationships with educators ‘in college, high school, middle school and homeschools.’”

    (H/t to @eyesontheright and @jaredlholt.)

  • Sexist right-wing smear against Kamala Harris moves from the fever swamps to Fox

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox’s Tomi Lahren embraced and amplified a sexist smear against Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) by accusing her of “using an extramarital affair to boost her political career.” The misogynistic smear has been gaining traction among anonymous message board users and right-wing influencers on Twitter.

    Lahren devoted the January 29 edition of her show Final Thoughts on Fox Nation to alleging that all of Harris’ professional accomplishments by claiming they were due to a past relationship, and calling the Democrats who support the #MeToo movement hypocritical. Newt Gingrich had made a similar allusion just the day before on Fox & Friends.

    As when Lahren spread a 4chan smear about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), this misogynist smear about Harris was ripped from right-wing digital influencers and anonymous accounts in the fever swamps of the internet.

    The sexist narrative started gaining traction in Reddit’s “r/The_Donald” subreddit (a forum devoted to President Donald Trump) closely following Harris’ announcement of her intention to run for president. Reacting to Harris’ announcement, users of the subreddit upvoted misogynistic memes and awful smears of a sexual nature (screenshots may not be safe for work).

    In a January 26 San Francisco Chronicle column, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown addressed the press’s interest in his relationship with Harris. Brown stated that they had dated more than 20 years ago and that he had appointed her to political posts. Brown also wrote that Harris was the only one among “a host of other politicians” he had helped who “sent word” later that she would indict him if he “so much as jaywalked” while she was in office. Fox News spun Brown’s column in a sensationalistic article that amassed over 99,000 total interactions on Facebook; it then went viral on Reddit and inspired racist slur-laden posts on the anonymous message board 4chan.

    On the same day, popular right-wing Facebook pages also spread the narrative with click-bait headlines and misogynistic memes, and right-wing amplifiers picked up on the narrative.

    The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft accused Harris of launching “her political career in bedroom.” On his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh compared Harris to an adult entertainer. A host for conspiracy theory outlet Infowars went on a rant filled with demeaning accusations sexualizing Harris, saying she “basically sucked and ducked her way to the top.” (This show still livestreams on Facebook despite the platform’s supposed commitment to combating hateful speech from Infowars.)

    On Twitter, far-right users including  YouTube conspiracy theorist Mark Dice and actor James Woods joined the attack against Harris while pushing misogynistic hashtags. Woods, particularly, has been a major driving force in pushing the offensive #HorizontalHarris hashtag, which right-wing crank Dinesh D’Souza has also amplified.

    The barrage of crude memes attacking Harris is a clear reminder of the misogynistic double standard that applies to women who run for president. 

    Alex Kaplan contributed research to this piece.