Doug Mastriano has been campaigning for Pennsylvania governor by avoiding interviews with credible media outlets. The Republican nominee has instead chosen friendly media venues, including hosts that have espoused antisemitism, support for QAnon, and the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Mastriano is a right-wing commentator and Pennsylvania state senator. He is a QAnon supporter and 2020 election denier who has a history of promoting toxic narratives, including about abortion and Muslims. He has also relied on the support of extremists like antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; “prophet” and bizarre conspiracy theorist Julie Green; and Flight 93 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe.
News outlets have noted in recent months that Mastriano has avoided media outlets that the campaign doesn’t consider deferential enough. The New York Times wrote: “He grants interviews almost exclusively to friendly radio and TV shows and podcasts that share Mr. Mastriano’s far-right politics, and continues to heavily rely on Facebook to reach voters directly.” Even right-wing Washington Examiner columnist Salena Zito wrote that she was told by a Mastriano strategist that she can’t get an interview with the Republican “because I had not written anything nice about him.”
Mastriano’s disdain for talking with media personalities who aren’t deferential enough has extended to political debates. He said that he would do a debate with Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro if right-wing commentator and former Trump administration official Mercedes Schlapp was the moderator. Schlapp works for the Conservative Political Action Coalition, an organization that helps elect Republicans.
Mastriano has given interviews this year to antisemites, QAnon conspiracy theorists, pro-insurrectionists, and people who have advised Republicans. Here are some of the notable venues and figures:
Antisemite Andrew Torba
Gab is a haven for white nationalists, antisemites, and violent extremists. A June 1 report by the Stanford Internet Observatory analyzed content on Gab and concluded that “extreme anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic content is rife, with open praise of Nazism, encouragement of violence against minorities, and ‘Great Replacement’ narratives.” Gab CEO Andrew Torba is an antisemite who has frequently reposted attacks on Jewish people and said that he wants to exclude Jewish people from American political life.
Mastriano infamously appeared in a May 2 interview with Torba. During the interview, Mastriano told Torba: “Thank God for what you’ve done.” After the conclusion of the interview, Mastriano claimed the site “has a reach of like 4 million people, which is fantastic, and apparently about a million of them are in Pennsylvania, so we’ll have some good reach.”
Shortly before that interview, Mastriano paid Gab for “consulting” work. Following weeks of criticism for his ties to the site, Mastriano removed his Gab account but didn’t criticize Torba or Gab for their toxic rhetoric. Mastriano recently revealed in a campaign filing that he accepted a $500 donation from Torba during the height of the controversy.
Jack Posobiec, the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist who has spread antisemitism
Posobiec is a far-right commentator and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist. He also, as the Southern Poverty Law Center documented, has “collaborated with white nationalists, antigovernment extremists, members of the Proud Boys, and neo-Nazis,” and attacked Jewish people with antisemitic hate.
Mastriano appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room program with Posobiec as a guest host in July. The two appeared together at two campaign rallies on October 1.
The Fosdicks, QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists
Allen and Francine Fosdick host the online program Up Front In The Prophetic. They have repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and QAnon. They also have promoted conspiracy theories alleging that Jewish people, led by the Rothchilds, have been manipulating events such as wildfires through “space weather” and lasers; aim to subjugate the human race; and have evil “bloodlines.”
He also spoke at the Fosdicks’ conference in April 2022. The conference featured “a video claiming the world is experiencing a ‘great awakening’ that will expose ‘ritual child sacrifice’ and a ‘global satanic blood cult.’” Allen Fosdick presented Mastriano with a sword after he spoke.
QAnon conspiracy theorist “Mel K”
Jenna Ellis, Mastriano’s own campaign adviser
Ellis is a former lawyer to President Donald Trump who is now a radio host and Newsmax contributor. She was involved in the effort to deny the results of the 2020 election and keep Trump in office. She also has a history of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ remarks.
Team Trump members Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, and John Fredericks
Mastriano has frequently appeared as a guest on radio shows that are hosted by people who worked to elect Donald Trump for president.
He has regularly appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room program. Bannon is a grifter who has frequently found himself in legal trouble for his political schemes. He has also unsuccessfully worked to overturn the 2020 election.
The Pennsylvania Republican has repeatedly appeared on the radio show of election denier John Fredericks. The Virginia-based host states in his biography that he “served as Trump campaign chairman of Virginia in 2016 and 2020 and was elected Trump Delegation Chairman of Virginia in 2020.”
Right-wing pro-Trump outlets Newsmax and One America News
Newsmax has positioned itself as a pro-Trump network that is somehow even more deferential to the former president than Fox News. The network has frequently aired conspiracies about the 2020 election. Newsmax has repeatedly interviewed Mastriano.
One America News is a pro-Trump outlet that has spent recent years pushing conspiracy theories, anti-LGBTQ extremism, and election denialsm. Because of its support for the lie that the election was stolen, the network has frequently interviewed Mastriano on its various programs.
Emerald Robinson, the commentator who was too extreme for Newsmax
Robinson is a disgraced commentator who was so bad that Newsmax dropped her after she falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contain a satanic tracker. She frequently promotes the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen and now hosts a show for fellow election denier Mike Lindell.