Media Matters weekly newsletter, March 22

Welcome back to Media Matters’ weekly newsletter. This week:

  • After escalating antisemtic rhetoric, Candace Owens and The Daily Wire part ways.  
  • MAGA media tell their audience they must be willing to go to jail for Trump.
  • Fox News hosts panhandle for cash to bail Trump out.

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Days after Holocaust-denying antisemite Nick Fuentes praised her “full-fledged war against the Jews,” Candace Owens and The Daily Wire part ways. The Daily Wire’s co-founder, Jeremy Boreing, announced this morning that “Daily Wire and Candace Owens have ended their relationship.”

Since she was hired in 2020, Owens has frequently touted conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric at the increasingly extremist platform. Recently, though, her antisemitism has been ratcheting up.

  • She liked a post that asked a rabbi she is feuding with whether he is “drunk on Christian blood again.”
  • She claimed a Jewish “gang” in Hollywood is committing “horrific things.”
  • She said that “Jews are going to be blamed” if TikTok is banned.
  • She railed against “D.C. Jew[s]” and “rot” in the Jewish community.

Earlier this week, Owens boasted in an interview with The Breakfast Club that Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire’s co-founder, “doesn’t have the power” to fire her.

Trump Jan 6

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters | Trump photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

In recent days, MAGA media have been sending subtle (and not so subtle) messages to their supporters that they ought to be willing and prepared to go to jail on behalf of the Trump movement.

On March 19, former Trump adviser Peter Navarro reported to federal prison after he was convicted of willfully and knowingly defying a congressional subpoena. Navarro is not a victim, but that didn’t stop him — and his MAGA media allies — from painting him as such.

  • War Room host Steve Bannon praised Navarro, saying, “The composure he had, the courage he has, and that courage is contagious.”
  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said: “Peter’s leading the charge with his courage. And, you guys, it’s — courage is contagious. It’s spread everywhere now.”
  • Neo-Nazi collaborator and MAGA troll Jack Posobiec wrote, “You think they won’t do the same to you and your family? This is what they have wanted all along.” 
  • Vaccine conspiracy theorist and MAGA media regular Robert Malone said Navarro’s incarceration shows that “each of us are at risk until this spiritual war has been won.”

The MAGA movement demands complete capitulation and fealty from its adherents. Of course, many Trump supporters already know what it feels like to face jail time for the game show host president, as those involved in the January 6 insurrection can attest.

Jesse Watters: "Jefferson had a major beef with the media"

This week in stupid

  • Peter Navarro promoted his book in a strip mall parking lot before reporting to prison.
  • BlazeTV host Steve Deace: “The archbishop of Canterbury is basically a Muslim.”
  • On Fox News, Caitlyn Jenner defended a trans athlete ban.
  • Fox’s Jesse Watters claimed Trump will win Latino votes because he sells taco bowls.

This week in scary

  • Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk: “The American Democrat Party hates this country. They wanna see it collapse. They love it when America becomes less white.”
  • Fox’s Sean Hannity proposed rounding up homeless veterans and sending them to Guantanamo Bay.

Excuse me?

  • The Daily Wire Candace Owens insisted that a trans conspiracy theory about French first lady Brigitte Macron is “credible.”
  • Fox’s Jeanine Pirro blamed immigrants and local crime for Donald Trump’s inability to pay the bond in his fraud trial.
  • Charlie Kirk: “You might go out to dinner, go see a movie and come back to a bunch of illegals sitting in your living room, and it will then become their home.”
  • The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles: “Gay marriage has not been legal for 10 years. Gay marriage doesn’t exist.”
Fox News hosts panhandle for cash to bail Trump out of a $464 million civil fraud judgment

After Donald Trump was found liable last month in a civil fraud case in New York for conspiring to manipulate his net worth, many in right-wing media have falsely claimed that Trump’s legal troubles are a sordid matter of political persecution (even comparing him to the political opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin). Trump now needs $464 million to appeal the case, and some Fox News personalities are taking a creative route in trying to support their Dear Leader: pushing for others to lend Trump the money.

Fox hosts are making a direct appeal to Republican billionaires to bail Trump out.

  • Mark Levin tweeted: “Why are there no Republican multi-billionaires offering to lend President Trump the funds to file his appeal in the outrageous case in NY state?”
  • Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino said he’d asked multiple Wall Street Titans and Trump’s “friends aren’t stepping up.”
  • Fox Business host and former Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow asked Canadian businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary, “If he [Trump] can’t get to the Supreme Court, will you loan him the $460 million?”

Fox host Laura Ingraham arrived at another solution this week. During her Tuesday night show, she said, “A friend texted me today and said Trump should crowdfund this fine,” adding, “Like, if, I think it was like 1 million supporters each gave him $450, that would cover the fine.”

In case you missed it 

  • Media Matters prepared this fantastic guide to Project 2025, an authoritarian plan for the next Republican administration. 
  • Lara Trump is now co-chair of the RNC. Media Matters wrote this fantastic guide to the various conspiracy theories and bigotries she’s spread.
  • Fox News completely buried former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump — a historic event that unfolded during an interview on Fox News.
  • A record number of anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the country in 2023. New data from Media Matters finds that reporting on these bills consistently failed to include the first-person perspectives of trans or gender-nonconforming people.
  • Trump attorney Alina Habba used a QAnon show to push January 6 conspiracy theories.
  • Prominent right-wing media figures have spent months deploying antisemitic tropes and accusations to disparage liberal and anti-Zionist Jews who have questioned or opposed Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
  • Fox News is attacking the credibility of Lev Parnas, a source for the anti-Biden Ukrainian disinformation campaign, after he turned on the network.
  • Stephen Lee, an indicted chaplain in Trump’s Georgia case, has been promoting his legal defense fundraiser in a fringe right-wing media tour.
  • Rumble, an extreme right-wing video-sharing platform that was the official livestreaming partner of the 2024 presidential primary debates, has an “editor picks” section. An ongoing Media Matters review has found that this section has repeatedly featured conspiracy theory content since June 2023.
  • Mainstream media outlets are uncritically carrying the MAGA claim that the auto sector is suffering under the Biden administration. The auto industry, however, is now stronger than it’s been in nearly 20 years.