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Cristina López G.

Author ››› Cristina López G.
  • Charlie Kirk echoes 4chan conspiracy theory about Taylor Swift's endorsement of Democrats

    4chan Nazis and Charlie Kirk suggest Swift could not have formed political opinions on her own

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters 

    On Sunday night, pop singer Taylor Swift broke her usual silence regarding politics by endorsing Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and slamming his opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), while also standing up for equal pay and LGBTQ rights and against systemic racism.

    I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

    A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

    Since the 2016 presidential election, Swift has been a hot topic on 4chan, the anonymous message board known for its far-right extremism. Users there had interpreted her silence around the election and her country music roots as revealing an alignment with white supremacist values and a rejection of social justice, earning her the nickname “Aryan goddess.”

    But then Swift endorsed Bredesen and fellow Tennessee Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper on Instagram, and the number of posts about her in the “politically incorrect” board of 4chan skyrocketed. Users reacted with sexist and dehumanizing slurs and suggestions that she was no longer “/our girl/.” [Trolls on 4chan habitually call those who they believe to represent their values “/our guy/” or “/our girl/” -- currently, those figures include Tucker Carlson and actress Roseanne Barr.]

    And one take was consistent among the trolls: the sexist and demeaning assumption that a woman cannot form her own political opinions.

    Turning Point USA Executive Director Charlie Kirk, who had a Twitter meltdown about Swift’s endorsement and repeatedly accused her of having “no idea” of what she was talking about, took it upon himself to go on the October 8 edition of Fox & Friends and amplify the sexist conspiracy theory that trolls had posted on 4chan.

    Kirk also took his disappointment and the asinine conspiracy theory that Swift could not have written her own campaign endorsement to Fox Business’ Varney & Co., where he claimed that she had been “co-opted by activists on the left that want to use her brand, her visibility, and popularity to advance their agenda.”

    Both Kirk and TPUSA’s communications director, Candace Owens, had previously expressed disdain for celebrity opinions, but that changed after Kanye West praised Owens. At that point, Kirk made public appearances with West, Owens did media hits with him, and Kirk offered unending sycophancy for the rapper, all of which shows they actually care a lot about what celebrities think -- as long as they support President Donald Trump.

  • Backlash to professor’s anti-Kavanaugh tweet illustrates the content pipeline from 4chan to Tucker Carlson’s show

    A tweet that angered 4chan users and right-wing Twitter is seemingly all the evidence Carlson needs to air a segment about the threat of “white genocide”

    Blog ››› ››› TALIA LAVIN & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow/Media Matters

    C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at the Georgetown School for Foreign Service, found herself in the midst of a right-wing media uproar Monday over a facetious tweet about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The right-wing outrage over the literal interpretations of her tweet perfectly illustrated how a 4chan targeted harassment campaign traveled through the pipeline to become content for Fox News prime-time programming, where host Tucker Carlson framed the tweet as an example of “white genocide,” a common white supremacist trope.  

    On September 29, Fair responded to a news article about Graham by writing on Twitter, “Look at thus (sic) chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist's arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”

    The tweet was noticed by users of notorious anonymous message board 4chan -- a site hospitable to white supremacists and planners of targeted harassment campaigns -- and a user declared an intent to “expose this bitch [Fair] and get her ass fired.” The anonymous poster included a link to Fair’s personal website and blog. The user also doxxed Fair, posting her and her family’s phone numbers found via a web search.

    The 4chan thread time stamp indicates it was posted a little before 10 a.m. on October 1. Shortly after, at 11:31 a.m., Fox News tweeted out a story by FoxNews.com reporter Caleb Parke about Fair’s September 29 tweet.
     

    A few hours later, the hostile backlash to Fair’s tweet had migrated from 4chan to Twitter, where users recommended calling Georgetown’s campus police and reporting Fair for threatening to castrate white men.

     

    Right-wing outlets The Daily Caller and TownHall also jumped on the story (The Daily Caller inexplicably wrote up Fair’s tweet in two different stories, published within 30 minutes of each other). Finally, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson picked up the story on his prime-time show, using the tweet to warn his audience about the white supremacist conspiracy theory of white “genocide.” This is also not the first time Carlson has used a 4chan narrative to fearmonger on his show about the persecution of white people. Carlson often echoes white supremacist talking points on his show, earning accolades online among racists.
     

    In another outrage thread about Fair’s tweet, on the anonymous message board 8chan (which is similar to 4chan, but with laxer standards), a user reacted to Carlson’s segment by suggesting its focus should have been more anti-Semitic. The user said Carlson should focus on three sets of parentheses surrounding Fair’s name on Twitter.

    The three parentheses, or “echo,” are a white supremacist hate symbol used to identify Jewish people and organizations that anti-Semites deem Jewish-controlled. In response, some Jews and allies have reappropriated the symbol.

    This isn’t the first time the outspoken professor has been targeted by right-wing media and far-right trolls.

    On September 20, FoxNews.com reporter Parke wrote an article describing Fair as an “anti-Trump Georgetown professor” and characterizing a tweet she had written as a “profanity-laced Twitter rant.”

    And last year, white supremacists on 4chan responded in outrage when Fair confronted “alt-right” figurehead Richard Spencer and posted her personal phone number and email address on the message board, declaring an intent to “wreck her shit.”

    Fair appeared to be undaunted by the criticism -- and the harassment -- engendered by her controversial tweets. On Monday afternoon, she wrote, “Fox serves only one purpose: mobilize mobs of deplorables to harass people who are woke and sane enough to call the Fuckery the Fuckery.” 

  • Conservative media figures won't listen to multiple women about Brett Kavanaugh, but they did take an anonymous 4chan post at face value

    Right-wing media pushed 4chan-sourced claim that the latest Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick wasn’t real

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Right-wing media figures spread a hoax after an anonymous 4chan poster claimed without evidence to have duped lawyer Michael Avenatti about the existence of a third woman willing to come forward to report Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for sexual misconduct. The woman in question, Julie Swetnick, has now come forward with a sworn declaration.

    On Tuesday morning, an anonymous 4chan user claimed in a now-archived thread to have duped Avenatti by having someone impersonate a woman with knowledge of unreported instances of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct.

    It didn’t take long for influential right-wing media personalities to run with this baseless claim, in efforts to preemptively smear any source of new allegations against Kavanaugh. Conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson -- for whom no conspiracy theory is far-fetched enough if it discredits women with reports against Kavanaugh -- quickly helped advance the 4chan narrative, first retweeting a screenshot and then irresponsibly parroting it:

    Erickson was not alone in spreading misinformation anonymously posted in a message board known for generating hoaxes. He was joined on Twitter by FoxNews.com commentator Stephen Miller, the widely-followed right-wing Twitter account Instapundit.com, and One America News Network correspondent and “Pizzagate” pusher Jack Posobiec.

    Red State also jumped on the bandwagon, speculating in its report that the false narrative could be “one of the greatest events in 2018.” And on the September 26 edition of Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade also alluded to the fake narrative concocted by 4chan trolls, falsely claiming Avenatti had admitted to being fooled:

    Later on the show, Kilmeade clarified that Avenatti had denied having been duped.

    Avenatti has now made publicly available a sworn declaration signed by a woman named Julie Swetnick. As legal commentators have pointed out, Swetnick’s sworn declaration was made under penalty of perjury, adding further weight to her report. The entire incident also shows how low right-wing media figures will stoop to discredit and dismiss women coming forward with potential reports against Kavanaugh. Clearly, if a narrative could potentially smear survivors or discredit sexual misconduct allegations, taking 4chan posts at face value isn’t low enough for right-wing media.

  • Brett Kavanaugh’s character witness Mark Judge has extremely disturbing views about women (and Black and gay people)

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    According to Christine Blasey Ford, when she was 15, a “stumbling drunk” Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party while his classmate Mark Judge was in the room. Both Kavanaugh and Judge have denied the incident occurred, with Judge telling the conservative Weekly Standard, “It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way.” Judge is the author of a memoir in which he described himself as an alcoholic who was often drunk to the point of blacking out during high school. He went on to become a conservative commentator who has promoted disturbing views about women and offered racist and anti-gay commentary.

    Judge, a self-described alcoholic, wrote a memoir saying he often drank to the point of blacking out during high school

    Mother Jones: “The alleged witness in the Kavanaugh case wrote a memoir about his own schoolboy days as blackout drunk.” Mother Jones noted that the extreme drinking and substance abuse described by Judge in his memoir "might suggest his memory of those days may not be entirely reliable":

    In his 2005 book, God and Man at Georgetown Prep, which is now out of print, Judge apparently paints the school as overrun with gay priests who promote a form of liberalism that wrecks Catholic education. He also describes an institution where alcoholism was rampant, a theme he detailed in his 1997 addiction memoir, Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk.

    That book chronicles Judge’s time as a teenage alcoholic. Like many works of the genre, it devotes a lot of ink to the kinds of debauchery that leads to Alcoholics Anonymous and recovery. While there’s nothing in the book that resembles the incident reportedly described in the private letter given to the FBI, Judge says his own blackout drinking while he and Kavanaugh were Georgetown Prep students “reached the point where once I had the first beer, I found it impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated.”

    He describes, for instance, what happened after a night of heavy drinking with friends at a Georgetown bar. “The next thing I knew, I was lying on a bathroom floor. I was curled up in the fetal position with saliva running out of the side of my mouth,” Judge writes, explaining that he had inexplicably woken up inside a nearby Four Seasons Hotel. He writes that he called his mom for help getting home. “I must have come over here and passed out,” he tells her.

    The amount of drinking Judge describes himself undertaking might suggest his memory of those days may not be entirely reliable. [Mother Jones, 9/15/18]

    Judge wrote that he was “thankful that there was no social media to capture” he and his friends’ antics in high school. Relating a get-together he had with friends from high school, Judge wrote, “When my high school buddies and I got together and exchanged memories of that time, we found ourselves genuinely shocked at the stuff we got away with.” [Acculturated, accessed 9/17/18]

    Judge frequently uses his media platforms to offer degrading and abusive commentary about women

    Judge’s views on masculinity are based on domination. In a 2013 column for conservative website The Daily Caller, Judge criticized how then-President Barack Obama interacted with Michelle Obama by writing that President George W. Bush “gave his wife Laura a loving but firm pat on the backside in public. The man knew who was boss.”

    [Twitter, 9/16/18, The Daily Caller, 8/20/13]

    Judge wrote that while there “is never any excuse to rape someone,” nonetheless “what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality” and “women who dress like prostitutes are also sending out signals”:

    [Twitter, 9/16/18, Acculturated, accessed 9/17/18]

    Judge wrote that when men aren’t sure women are interested in sex, men should “allow” themselves to “feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion”:

    [Twitter, 9/16/18, Splice Today, accessed 9/17/18]

    Judge’s high school yearbook quote: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”

    [Twitter, 9/16/18]

    Judge: Women need to learn how to be more polite when rejecting romantic advances from men. Judge wrote that “younger women seem to have lost the ability to graciously turn down a man who politely and non-aggressively shows an interest in them” in a September 2014 column:

    Younger women seem to have lost the ability to graciously turn down a man who politely and non-aggressively shows an interest in them.

    We’ve all seen it—at bars, in clubs, at parties. A dude screws up the nerve to take that long walk across the room and ask a woman for her number or out for a date. For classy and polite ladies, the reply is a simple no-thank-you. Something like: “Thank you, I appreciate the interest, but I’m seeing someone right now.” Or: “I’m flattered, but I have some other things I’m focusing on now.” Yet for too many women, raised like the boorish catcallers, without the verbal social skills that allow for pleasant interaction, graciousness is just too much to ask for.

    The results can be brutal to observe. Women giggle derisively, or hide behind a more punitive friend who dishes get-the-hell-out-of-here abuse at the man, or the girls-night-out group-laugh right in the guy’s face. [Acculturated, 9/9/14]

    Splinter: Judge uploaded “sexualized videos of young women” on YouTube. A Splinter investigation into Judge’s social media postings, many of which have been deleted, cited “internet sleuths” who “found a YouTube channel that appeared to belong to Judge onto which he uploaded bizarre videos that intercut innocuous visuals of books and cityscapes with sexualized videos of young women”:

    Though Judge quickly deleted his social media profiles as attention focused on him in the wake of the allegations, much of it was documented by internet sleuths. They found a YouTube channel that appeared to belong to Judge onto which he uploaded bizarre videos that intercut innocuous visuals of books and cityscapes with sexualized videos of young women. Twitter user TheDiscomfiture screenshotted many of the videos (some of them have been re-uploaded here). A deleted Flickr account users also linked to Judge featured similar images. Other photos that allegedly originated on Judge’s deleted Facebook page featured young girls in bikinis at a resort. [Splinter, 9/17/18]

    Judge writes sexual fiction about high school age girls. In August 2018, Judge published a work of “fiction” about high school students from Maryland preparatory schools participating in “beach week.” On social media, Judge wrote that the piece was “based on a true story.” The story, written in first person, contains observations about characters from local all-girls preparatory schools, including descriptions like “beautiful tight ass,” “great tits,” and, “I saw love in all the girls from [Trinity] & [St. Anne’s] with large breasts and/or great asses.” [Raw Story, 9/16/18, Liberty Island, 8/15/18]

    Judge: “The rage of the Jezebels is indicative of a serious cultural problem that is potentially fatal for the United States.” Judge wrote a negative review of The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things in which he repeatedly characterized feminists as irrationally angry:

    When you say feminists are angry, they respond that you are a “Frat Bro” or a right-winger, and the conversation stops. And a deeper analysis of feminist apoplexy is important because the rage of the Jezebels is indicative of a serious cultural problem that is potentially fatal for the United States, which has become a very, very angry country.

    ...

    Thus the malevolence towards “dead white males” and the liberal obsession with feelings and personal grievance. The bogus “war on women” is really nothing but liberal women acting out against bad fathers. The frightening thing about this rage is that it is insatiable even as it demands resolution through politics.

    ...

    Or the infamous 1979 town hall debate between Norman Mailer and Germain Greer and other feminists. Here were feminists faced with Norman Mailer, a Cro-Magnon brawler who had stabbed his own wife, and they (mostly) debated with humor and intelligence, delving deeply into complex psychological and cultural ideas. As the writer James Reich recently put it, in the town hall “the conflicts or navigations of the sexes are articulated with élan, wit, and through both good- and bad-natured mauling.”

    More than thirty years later, and judging by The Book of Jezebel, feminists are so angry that debate with them is no longer possible. To them the only solution to their rage is through politics. There is a steady undercurrent of animus towards conservatives and Republicans in The Book of Jezebel, which is to be expected. But what is revealing is the intensity of the antipathy and its obsessive-compulsive quality (there’s also the heavy juvenile snark which is Jezebel’s calling card).

    ...

    The writers at Jezebel are angry women. Their pain is beyond the reach of politics to solve. To be fair, there are many funny entries in The Book of Jezebel, like the one for Hipster: “Identifier claimed by no one but freely subjected on any person more Navajo-printed, leather-jacketed, asymmetrically-hairstyled, unshowered, ironically racist, Pitchfork-reading, warehouse-dwelling, amateur-mandolin-playing, or neon than you.” But the jokes can’t mask the rage. This is why that even as America has progressed and the treatment of women has vastly improved, the anger of the feminists has grown more acute. Nothing short of a matriarchal utopia will suffice. It’s easier than admitting what really ails you. [The Daily Caller, 10/21/13]

    Judge praised Hugh Hefner and his magazine Playboy for their “ridicule of feminism”:

    Say what you will about Hefner, and yes he’s always been kind of cheesy, but the man had a philosophy. Unlike today’s publishers, who go out of their way to avoid offending advertisers and the public, or journalists, who push their agenda then hide behind claims of “objectivity.” Hefner had balls. In 1955 Esquire magazine rejected “The Crooked Man,” a story by science fiction writer Charles Beaumont. It told the story of a man who lived in a homosexual society and was persecuted for being straight. Hefner published it. Hefner is also a known jazz fan, and the early Playboy ridiculed rock and roll as “noise.” It also made fun of beatniks and hippies. And, of course there was Playboy’s ridicule of feminism. Here’s Playboy’s call-out accompanying a 1970 article about the feminist movement: “militant man-haters do their level worst to distort the distinctions between make (sic) and female and the discredit the legitimate grievances of American women.” Such a piece might appear today in the American Spectator.

    ...

    Hefner also felt that a well employed young bachelor was good for the American economy because of his disposable income. People forget because these days Hefner resembles a viagra-chomping Crypt Keeper, but in the early days Playboy advocated not the destruction of marriage, but rather letting a man have a period of exploration between college and marriage. Hefner had married his first wife Mildred right out of college; the marriage didn’t last, leading Hefner to not unreasonably conclude that having a period of bachelorhood between school and starting a family might be good for men, women, and the economy. Of course, that period for Hefner has now lasted about 107 years. But the Playboy founder’s original feeling was sound: men should have a time to be men and be able to buy stuff and date a lot of girls before taking the gas pipe and getting married. [The Daily Caller, 9/30/13]

    Judge wondered “why are modern women angry” and blamed a “culture of self-affirmation and abundance” for women “feeling unsatisfied.” From a 2016 op-ed at Acculturated:

    By contrast, many modern women seem quick to express anger about their lives. Living in a world of unlimited choices and constant affirmation, they nonetheless seem resentful. Even celebrities aren’t immune: Pop star Madonna is richer than many small countries and is absolutely free to do, say, and wear (or not wear) anything she wants to. Yet when fans have the audacity to be upset that she’s an hour late for a show, as she was recently, she launches into a tirade. American women live in the freest, most open-minded country on earth, yet seem bitter and disappointed.

    ...

    As today’s generation of self-styled feminist women suggests, limitless freedom has not brought the happiness they assumed it would, and as they confront life’s realities, anger is replacing hope. [Acculturated, 6/27/16]

    Judge has published racist writings about Black people, including a piece in which he claimed that Black teenagers in the Washington D.C. area have “absolutely no impulse control”

    Judge wrote a widely derided racist column about his assumption that a Black person stole his bike. [New York magazine, 4/9/12, Gawker, 4/9/12, The Daily Caller, 4/9/12]

    Judge complained about “swarms” of “cacophonously loud” Black teenagers causing problems in the upscale D.C. neighborhood Georgetown on Halloween. Writing for The Daily Caller, Judge shared observations from visiting Georgetown on Halloween 2011, arguing that “we just don’t have the guts to speak honestly about the issue of unsupervised black teenagers from broken homes and the havoc they can cause”:

    At 9:42 on Halloween night, I sent myself an email. It read: “Halloween shooting.” I had just walked a few blocks from Wisconsin and M Streets in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone got shot, most likely a black teenager. It was so obvious what was going to happen that I wanted to just email myself a note. There was simply no way, after what I had just seen, that someone was not going to get killed; I think I wanted to predict it just out of sheer frustration. We all know what the problem is. But we just don’t have the guts to speak honestly about the issue of unsupervised black teenagers from broken homes and the havoc they can cause — to themselves and others.

    Just before 11:00 p.m., 90 minutes after my email, a black teenager was shot on 28th and M Streets in Georgetown. He is in critical condition.

    There were swarms of loud — and I mean cacophonously loud — teenagers drifting through downtown Georgetown. I was standing at Wisconsin and M Streets when a mass of about 50 of them poured across the street, ignoring the orders of a police officer who told them to stay behind the barriers set up for pedestrian safety. The kids were absolutely charged with energy; it was the kind of crackling atmosphere that happens before a fight. They spilled into the parking lot of the Riggs Bank. I followed them. On the other side of the parking lot was another group of black kids, mostly males. They were intently telling one of their friends to “not get involved.” “Those guys have guns!” one of them shouted. It was 8:30. On a Monday night. The PC police will have me over the spit, of course, but liberalism has cost so many lives that I don’t care anymore. The fact is, there were not hordes of white teens and preteens roaming through Georgetown on Halloween.

    In all of that, no one would have the guts to tell the truth. It was not Asians or whites or Indians who were wilding in Georgetown. It was black teenagers. Illegitimacy and fatherlessness in black urban areas like Washington, D.C. has created an entire class of youth who have been weaned on gangster culture and have absolutely no impulse control. [The Daily Caller, 11/1/11]

    Judge wrote that Obama was “clearly unqualified” to be president but got the job because of affirmative action. In a 2013 Daily Caller column, Judge wrote, “Obama is a poster child for affirmative action. Rather than relying on his own wit or intelligence, he gamed the system, getting into schools and getting jobs — including the one he has now — that he is clearly unqualified for.” [The Daily Caller, 8/20/13]

    Judge published an anti-gay column at The Daily Caller

    Defending Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s homophobia, Judge compared marriage equality to incest and polygamy and said promiscuity by gay men “led to AIDS.” From a December 2013 opinion piece:

    Liberals keep telling us that all that matters is love, but then can’t answer the question of why a father couldn’t then marry his daughter, or why two brothers can’t marry each other. Or why six people can’t get married. They have officially moved to fantasyland, and are trying to drag the rest of us there also.

    ...

    We simply are not allowed to talk about certain things at the risk of our jobs and reputations. One is human anatomy, another is the problem of promiscuity in the gay community. I saw this firsthand when I worked at a record store in a predominantly gay part of Washington, D.C. in the 1980s. The store was right next to a gay bar, and the bizarre and dangerous behavior I would see spilling out from that bar to the street filled me with pity and sadness. There were transvestites, drug addicts, public sex, men I saw each week with a different partner. This kind of recklessness was documented in the film “Gay Sex in the 70s.” I didn’t think that any intellectually honest person would deny that this was a problem in the gay communities, and led to AIDS. It would be like denying that in late 19th century New York there was a crime, alcohol and hygiene problem amongst the immigrant Irish — my people. There was. Pretending there wasn’t didn’t make it so. [The Daily Caller, 12/26/13]

  • Trump ally Eric Bolling goes on The Alex Jones Show

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Eric Bolling joined conspiracy theorist Alex Jones as a guest on the September 12 edition of his Infowars show. Bolling is a former Fox News host who was fired for reportedly sending an “unsolicited photo of male genitalia” to co-workers.

    Despite his alleged sexual misconduct and his history of bigotry and conspiracy theorizing, Bolling was given a show on Fox host Mark Levin’s CRTV, home of like-minded bigot and misogynist Gavin McInnes. Bolling, who is close to President Donald Trump, has made promotional appearances on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and other mainstream news shows.

    Infowars was recently removed from several digital platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for violating community guidelines. On the same episode that featured Bolling, Jones also hosted Roosh Valizadeh. Valizadeh, known online as Roosh, is a misogynist who wrote nine books that have been banned from Amazon and gained fame online as a “pickup artist” by pushing suggestions including that women should fund sex workers’ services for frustrated “incels” (involuntary celibates) to prevent them from killing people.

    Bolling’s appearance on Infowars was devoted to debating Jones about the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

    Bolling has a close relationship with Trump, something he has often reminded audiences of, boasting about the longevity of their relationship, publicizing the instances in which Trump has called his cell phone, and using the connection to promote his business ventures (his CRTV show and his book, which Trump tweeted about). He has periodically visited the White House, both in an official capacity as an advisor to Trump on the administration’s anti-opioid initiative and in a social capacity during French President Emmanuel Macron’s official visit. And he has also leveraged his “high level” access for scoops and on-site appearances for his CRTV show.

    Bolling currently uses the limited reach of his program to shill for Trump and provide a platform to the president’s hype people, but for years at Fox, he promoted extremist conspiracy theories including the claim that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

    More recently, Bolling endorsed far-right Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward, who lost her race. Ward has been an administrator of a racist Facebook group that promoted conspiracy theories, and she associated with “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist and date rape denialist Mike Cernovich during her campaign.

  • White supremacists are thrilled with Tucker Carlson’s war on diversity

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & MADELINE PELTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    During the September 7 edition of his Fox show, Tucker Carlson questioned whether diversity is a strength, suggesting that it weakens institutions “such as marriage or military units.”

    After widespread criticism of Carlson's racism, Carlson attempted a defense first via Twitter before then doubling down on his attacks on diversity during a September 10 segment, claiming the slogan “E Pluribus Unum” encompasses the idea that “differences mean less.”

    Sleeping Giants, “a campaign to make bigotry and sexism less profitable,” called for advertisers to “reconsider” their support for Carlson’s show in direct response to his war against diversity.

    Since Sleeping Giants released its open letter to advertisers, white supremacists have been running defense for Carlson’s argument. (Carlson claims to have nothing in common with such people despite repeating their talking points during prime time on his Fox News show.)

    Lana Lokteff, who has railed against interracial relationships and has hosted white supremacists on her explicitly racist YouTube channel, Red Ice TV, defended Carlson on Twitter:

    @Alba_Rising, a Twitter account that periodically posts extremist content, accused those criticizing Carlson of wanting “to destroy whites” and reacted to the Sleeping Giants letter by promoting its own letter from a nonexistent organization, encouraging advertisers of Carlson’s show to stand “strong against the threats” that it characterized as “antiwhite.”

    Neo-Nazi outlet The Daily Stormer slammed Carlson’s critics, adding that “racist” means a “white guy who thinks he has a right to exist,” and that critics should explain “why we are flooding our country with all of these third world hordes.” The article, penned by neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, ended with warm praise for “this gigantic man” who “showed up and put a wrench in the gears of the white genocide machine” above a photo of President Donald Trump.

    Faith Goldy -- formerly a host for The Rebel Media who was fired for appearing in a neo-Nazi podcast after attending the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA, and who has repeatedly pushed white supremacist slogans online -- defended Carlson’s racism as an opportunity to plug her mayoral ambitions.

    American Renaissance, white nationalist Jared Taylor’s racist think tank, republished a post from Mediaite to promote Carlson’s first segment attacking diversity.

    The Twitter account of white nationalist website VDare retweeted far-right white nationalist sympathizer Ann Coulter defending Carlson.

    The Twitter account associated with Jazzhands McFeels, co-host of the white supremacist podcast Fash the Nation, retweeted far-right YouTuber and serial misogynist Stefan Molyneux’s defense of Carlson.

    “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, a troll with past links to the “alt-right” who, as reported by Right Wing Watch, worked with “alt-right” figure Vox Day to publish his latest book, bemoaned the backlash against Carlson.

    White nationalist YouTuber Nick Fuentes, host of America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes, devoted his September 10 livestream to supporting Carlson, calling diversity “no good,” claiming Carlson was just asking questions, and accusing his critics of censorship. Fuentes complained, “Why are you not allowed to talk about the browning of America? Why are you not allowed to talk about white identity or white pride?” and asserted that the “problem with multiracial democracy” is that “you can never bring up the flaws with certain groups of people.”

  • Video: DeRay Mckesson calls out Fox News for painting Black communities as “violent people” to justify police violence

    In his new book, On The Other Side of Freedom, Mckesson wants to challenge audiences in thinking how to advance social and racial justice by “taking the truth with us everywhere we go,” while using hope as fuel

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    During a conversation with Media Matters, activist and author DeRay Mckesson touched upon the ways that local and national media coverage of police violence have improved in recent years, explaining that because of these changes, “now people generally have [the] language” to talk about these issues.

    Mckesson also addressed the role Fox News has played in pushing the false narrative that police violence against Black people is justifiable and the baseless claim that Black communities are violent, suggesting that progressives need to challenge these narratives and “attack the underlying idea” behind these falsehoods. His new book, On The Other Side of Freedom, provides data to combat myths that help perpetuate police violence against Black communities, tackles issues of identity, explores the role of social media, and suggests using hope to fuel the fight towards racial justice. Watch our conversation with Mckesson:

    Video by John Kerr and Miles Le

  • With Trump’s South Africa tweet, Tucker Carlson has turned a white nationalist narrative into White House policy

    White nationalists reacted in elation as the white-grievance narrative they’ve been pushing grabbed the president’s attention. This is how it happened.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & TALIA LAVIN


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Inspired by Tucker Carlson’s coverage on Fox News, President Donald Trump has taken interest in the narrative of white oppression in South Africa that white supremacists have spent months using misleading statistics to build.

    During the August 22 edition of his show, Carlson devoted a segment to fearmongering about land reform in South Africa, presenting the South African issue -- in which the government is attempting to address the Apartheid-influenced concentration of land ownership by whites -- as the “definition of racism.”

    Trump continued his live-tweeting Fox News by promoting the segment on Carlson’s show and adding that he had directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into the issue:

    While Carlson presented his segment as an “exclusive investigation,” he was merely lifting a narrative that has been brewing in this country -- in the far-right corners of the internet -- for the better part of 2018. Pioneered by the Apartheid-minimizing organization AfriForum -- which has successfully leveraged its relationships with the international far-right to put its agenda on the map -- what’s presented as a crusade against land reform that the organization claims is linked to violence against white farmers has been embraced by white supremacists abroad and at home as evidence of white genocide.

    Carlson had already given a platform to AfriForum back in May, during a visit its leaders Kallie Kriel and Ernst Roets made to the U.S. During the trip, they also met with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the U.S. Agency for International Development, and conservative and libertarian think tanks. While hosting Roets, Carlson lectured, "This is not what Nelson Mandela wanted." As reported by Michael Bueckert at the time, AfriForum’s tour of America was “met with outrage and mockery” back in South Africa, with government authorities, academics, and journalists issuing condemnations of what they saw as an effort to “mobilise the international community against their own country.” The outrage in their country wasn’t baseless, as experts have pointed out that while some white South African farmers have been killed, AfriForum and its supporters base their narrative of white targeting on problematic statistical methodology and mischaracterizations of the current state of crime and violence in South Africa.

    Carlson wasn’t the only right-wing figure elevating the issue on August 22. Earlier in the day, Alex Jones, who sees in Tucker Carlson an ally in his fight against the globalists, devoted one of his unhinged tirades on his conspiracy theory outlet Infowars to what he framed as whites being “wiped out” in South Africa while claiming that Black South Africans think “the more barbarous the better.”

    Both Carlson and Jones’ comments are evidence that the narrative, which had been brewing for months, had reached boiling point. Days before, Drudge Report tweeted about the issue, while bigoted radio host Michael Savage lobbied for signatures in support of white South African farmers (Savage is now accusing Carlson of pushing his talking points without giving credit). The day before, Newsbusters -- the Media Research Center project that has promoted white nationalist propaganda in the past -- bemoaned the lack of American media coverage of South African land ownership issues.

    As early as January, in a now-archived thread, users of 8chan (an anonymous message board known for its popularity among “alt-right” supporters and connections to harassment campaigns and hoaxes) had portrayed events in South Africa as a “race war” while using racist slurs against Black South Africans.

    Lauren Southern, a prominent far-right troll who gained prominence on YouTube, seized on the narrative by going to South Africa in January to shoot a documentary aimed at raising the voices of those advancing the idea of white oppression connected to land ownership reforms. Following Southern, notoriously bigoted Rebel Media commentator Katie Hopkins announced her own project to expose the supposed “ethnic cleansing of white farmers.” As reported by Media Matters in March, both of their projects did more to amplify the interests of white supremacists in advancing a narrative of victimhood than actually show any plight of white South Africans. Southern’s documentary revealed her ties to white nationalist-affiliated Afrikaner activists like Simon Roche. Roche leads Suidlanders, a group that aims to protect the South African white minority against what it claims is an inevitable race war. He has links to American white supremacist Jared Taylor, whose conference he’s attended in the past, and has benefited from Southern encouraging donations to his group.

    As the site Angry White Men accurately described in February, Southern’s project was “agitprop dressed up as a documentary.” But it successfully inserted South Africa as a convenient talking point for far-right figures attempting to find a case study for their argument that white people are under siege, with no regard for historical context. By February 28, the #whitegenocide hashtag had been trending for two days on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate tracker, a tool that maps out trending topics among far-right Twitter users. Prominent far-right trolls, like former Gateway Pundit White House reporter Lucian Wintrich also helped popularize the narrative.

    By March, prominent American white nationalist figures, including Occidental Dissent’s Brad Griffin, The Right Stuff’s Mike Peinovich, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, and League of the South’s Michael Hill, were using their platforms to promote Suidlanders’ cause and crusade for white South Africans. On social media, extremists were resorting to hoaxes in their efforts to illustrate the South African narrative in the most gruesome light. In a now-deleted tweet, Proud Boy Kyle Chapman posted a horrifying picture claiming it depicted a child brutalized for being white in South Africa. The picture turned out to be a 4chan hoax unconnected to South African politics, but it got attention on Twitter.

    Reports on the rising interest in South African land politics and violence were met with criticism from far-right media figures, who unfairly accused researchers covering the issue of supporting brutal murders.

    After Tucker Carlson hosted AfriForum in May, bigoted Proud Boys founder and violence instigator Gavin McInnes devoted an episode of his CRTV show Get Off My Lawn to the supposed plight of white people in South Africa. He hosted Willem Petzer, a white South African who makes appearances on far-right media to frame anecdotal incidents of violence as oppression of whites. McInnes opened the show with a monologue in which he characterized former South African President Nelson Mandela as “a terrorist" and claimed that current South African land politics are not related to "Blacks trying to get their land back -- they never had that land" but instead are "ethnic cleansing" efforts against whites.

    It came as no surprise then that Carlson -- who has used his platform to champion white nationalist causes, has notably abstained from criticizing white supremacists, has neo-Nazis fawning all over him, and is referred to lovingly as “our guy” by some extremists on 4chan -- would seize upon the narrative and present it without appropriate context. What’s more worrisome is that the president of the United States, who oversees the most powerful foreign policy operation in the world, would prefer to get policy advice from Fox News.

    Actual experts on the issue debunked the narrative pushed by Carlson and Trump. The former U.S. ambassador to South Africa was among the many who condemned the racist undercurrents and factual inaccuracies of Trump’s statement:

    As Laura Seay -- a political scientist researching governance in central Africa -- explained, the claim of “white genocide” comes from “exaggerate[d] isolated stories.”

    Africa analyst Lauren P. Blanchard cited a Guardian report showing that research points to a current 20-year low in “murders of farmers in South Africa:”

    Michael Bueckert, who’s written extensively about the topic, also added context to Carlson’s segment and Trump’s tweet:

    Along with celebrating the role Carlson was playing in carrying white supremacist narratives all the way up to the White House, White supremacist Mike Peinovich called the moment “very big”:

    Infowars’ go-to white nationalist, Nick Fuentes, praised Trump’s acknowledgement:

    The “alt-right” group Identity Evropa framed the issue as “a warning to people of European heritage all around the world:”

    Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt showcased the reactions of other white nationalists celebrating Trump:

    Madeline Peltz provided research for this piece.

  • Mike Cernovich's far-right conspiracy theories, bigotry, and association with white supremacists

    An abundance of tweets, blog posts, and on-air appearances -- many of which he has now deleted -- reveal the conspiracy theories, rape denial, and “alt-right” shilling that brought Cernovich fame

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. , BRENDAN KARET & JOHN KERR


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Far-right grifter and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich is putting his star power behind Republican Kelli Ward by joining her on a bus tour before the Arizona primary on August 28. Ward, who is competing for the GOP nomination to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate, described Cernovich in her announcement of the bus tour as “a social media personality and the author of several books examining political and social trends,” forgivingly glossing over Cernovich’s record of peddling disgusting conspiracy theories, shilling for the “alt-right,” dismissing date rape, and endorsing misogyny.

    Questioned about the decision, Ward hilariously claimed to not know what Cernovich’s views are. Ward, along with her husband, is an administrator of a Facebook group that traffics in some of the same conspiracy theories that Cernovich pushes. Ward has also been an ally of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Cernovich has done frequent work with Jones’ Infowars in recent years.

    Despite running with Cernovich’s crowd for years, Ward can try to get away with claiming to not know who he is perhaps because of his attempts to scrub a lot of his caustic record from his online portfolio. However, an abundance of deleted tweets, blog posts, and videos reveal him for the unhinged conspiracy theorist, rape denier, and “alt-right” shill that he became famous for being.

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory

    Cernovich has pushed conspiracy theories about pedophilia, Satanism, “spirit cooking,” and more

    Cernovich pushed forged documents and propaganda

    Cernovich spread a conspiracy theory about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich

    Cernovich falsely claimed a Roy Moore accuser forged his signature in a yearbook

    Cernovich pushed conspiracy theories about mass shootings

    Cernovich has made journalists a target of many attacks

    Cernovich has repeatedly pushed bigotry, and shilled for white supremacists and the “alt-right”

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed rape denial and misogyny

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory

    During the 2016 presidential election, some supporters of President Donald Trump baselessly claimed Democrats and powerful celebrities were tied to a pedophilia ring hiding in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. As a consequence, a man went to the restaurant to “self-investigate” and opened fire inside.

    Cernovich said, “Pizzagate is real. There are pedophiles at the highest level of media, Hollywood, and in government.”

    Cernovich has attempted to scrub his wide-ranging “Pizzagate” record to obscure his role in propagating it. But since-deleted tweets show evidence of his responsibility.

    In one video, Cernovich said, “If you want to have the real power, they force you to rape children and they record it. And that does two things. One is you are now blackmailed forever. ... And then two is only someone depraved enough to rape a child is going to be allowed in the shadow government.”

    Cernovich has pushed conspiracy theories about pedophilia, Satanism, “spirit cooking,” and more

    In a video that can still be found on far-right misogynist Stefan Molyneux’s YouTube channel, Cernovich claimed John Podesta, chairman of the campaign of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, was involved in “spirit cooking” rituals, during which he claimed participants mixed “semen with breast milk” to drink.

    Besides pushing the baseless claims on his website, Cernovich also suggested that then-candidate Donald Trump should have addressed the conspiracy theory during one of his rallies and accused the Clinton family of “100 percent” being connected to pedophile rings. On another occasion, he also suggested a visit to Haiti was evidence that the Clintons were trafficking children.

    Cernovich also accused former President Barack Obama of giving children to human traffickers.

    Cernovich also claimed to have heard that Obama’s children are not actually his children.

    In another video, Cernovich said, “We have to purge the satanists from the FBI,” noting that he thought former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe was a satanist, while he was unsure about former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

    As reported by The New Yorker, Cernovich was “among the first” to falsely claim that Hillary Clinton “had a grave neurological condition.”

    Cernovich has also tried to smear all of his protesters and critics as pedophiles. And while he has avoided to outright endorse it, he is one of the far-right figures who amplified the QAnon conspiracy theory on their social media platforms.

    Cernovich pushed forged documents and propaganda

    Cernovich promoted a forged document that accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of sexually harassing a former staffer, then quickly walked back the claim when the document was reported to police as a forgery.

    He also promoted forged documents about Emanuel Macron before he was elected president of France.

    Cernovich has also reportedly help spread pro-Assad propaganda. Cernovich declared that he was “not buying” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out chemical attacks against Syrians.

    Cernovich spread a conspiracy theory about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich

    Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016. On August 9, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought up Rich unprompted on a Dutch TV program, implying (but refusing to confirm) that Rich was his source for the DNC emails Wikileaks made public before the presidential election. Cernovich promoted the interview while questioning point-blank if Rich was Assange’s source.

    Following Cernovich’s tweet, Fox’s Sean Hannity picked up the baseless story.

    Cernovich falsely claimed a Roy Moore accuser forged his signature in a yearbook

    Cernovich falsely claimed that Beverly Young Nelson, who has reported that former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16, admitted that she forged Moore’s signature in her high school yearbook. Nelson actually said she added some notes next to the signature but that it was Moore’s signature. In fact, Cernovich cast doubt on all of the reports made against Moore.

    Cernovich pushed conspiracy theories about mass shootings

    In a since-deleted blog post, Cernovich claimed that “there was more than one shooter at Pulse in Orlando,” referring to the 2016 mass shotting at Pulse nightclub in Florida. Cernovich wrote, “As you follow the story, look for” certain “evidence.” He added, “If we don’t see all of this, then there was a second shooter.”

    He also attempted to blame a mass shooting in New Mexico on anti-fascist protesters and made similar comments following a series of bombings in Austin, TX.

    After a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, who were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in England, Cernovich attacked the pop star for liberal and “anti-American” statements that she made while reacting to a tray of donuts years prior.

    Cernovich has made journalists a target of many attacks

    Cernovich lashed out at a HuffPost journalist for reporting on a notorious anti-Muslim social media account. He also once planned a website to harass journalists and since then has set out to get some journalists fired by weaponizing fake outrage over past tweets taken out of context, unleashing his followers on harassment campaigns against targeted journalists on the way. He has said, “Most people in journalism are pedophiles.”

    After Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, Cernovich told Alex Jones that it was “a total set up.”

    He also implied on Twitter that Jacobs may have had the assault coming.

    Cernovich has repeatedly pushed bigotry, and shilled for white supremacists and the “alt-right”

    Before rebranding away from the term when it became unpopular, Cernovich was among the main online proponents of the “alt-right,” rallying against diversity and going on the record to represent the movement’s views while declaring himself to be “alt-right friendly.” He also used to promote some of its figures, including “Baked Alaska” (who is white supremacist and serial-self owner Tim Gionet), Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos (whose handle was @Nero before he got permanently banned from Twitter), and white supremacist Ricky Vaughn.

    One of his tweets supportive of the “alt-right” even gave credence to the idea of “white genocide,” a common white supremacist trope.

    In one video, Cernovich trivially used the n-word:

    He also complained about “thugs” attacking “me and my kind,” and he admitted that he was “happy” that a white supporter of Black Lives Matter was stabbed to death, saying he wouldn’t be stabbed because “I’m a … man.”

    During one of his broadcasts to his followers, Cernovich repeatedly used a homophobic slur.

    He has said, “Anywhere Muslims go, they’re blowing things up.” He also said that Muslims in America may want to “kill all women.” In another video, Cernovich warned transgender Americans that if refugees in Germany “find out about you, they’ll rape you and kill you.”

    Cernovich called the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “anti-America” and said that it is “extorting Jews.” He also replied “exactly” when Alex Jones said ADL has “always been the group that feeds on the Jews working with the Nazis.”

    Cernovich repeatedly pushed rape denial and misogyny

    Cernovich has tried to hide his misogynistic musings, which the self-declared former “total hottie” used to post on his site Danger and Play. That site was a blog “about how to pick up women” and featured posts like “Misogyny Gets You Laid.”

    One of his posts featured statements that minimized rape, including, “If you believe in rape culture, I understand a lot about you: you’re a gullible fool who believes feminists.” In a now-archived post, Cernovich denied the existence of date rape:

    Additionally, in a post offering advice on “how to choke a woman” he claimed, “Women only want to have consensual sex with men they know could rape them,” and confessed to having “choked women unconscious” on occasion. He also advocated for choking women “when standing around,” saying to do it when she “acts up.” He’s on the record offering similar advice:

    Cernovich once presented consent as a burden, saying, “If you as a man read a signal wrong, you’re a rapist.” In one video, Cernovich complained, “If your son, or you, … has sex with your girlfriend while she is sleeping … that’s technically rape.”

    He has also said that “there is probably 10 men enslaved to every one woman enslaved.”

    Similarly, in a now-deleted article titled “When In Doubt, Whip It Out,” Cernovich wrote about exposing himself to a date who refused his sexual advances, saying she “wasn’t freaked out” by him masturbating in the backseat of her car and suggesting his readers to not “settle for the make out. If possible, at least pull out your dick. If you can get her to touch it, even better.”

    A 2016 Mediaite report rounded up a sample of Cernovich’s misogynistic tweets, which included “Have you guys ever tried ‘raping’ a girl without using force? Try it. It’s basically impossible. Date rape does not exist,” as well as “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love black women, slut shame them.” Mediaite additionally noted Cernovich had tweeted and deleted: “A whore will let her friend ruin your life with a false rape case. So why should I care when women are raped?”