Media Matters weekly newsletter, June 14

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This week in stupid

  • Fox’s Greg Gutfeld claimed President Joe Biden is pretending to be “mentally ill” to hide that he’s the head of a crime family.
  • Newsmax host Rob Finnerty: “Could TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome, be a real clinical problem people are having?”
  • Fox’s Sean Hannity suggested Hunter Biden is connected to a Chinese spy balloon.

This week in scary

  • War Room host Steve Bannon promised a second Trump administration will target journalists.
  • Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes told his followers to join Project 2025
  • Fox’s Greg Gutfeld said the only way anyone will believe the 2024 election is legitimate is if Donald Trump wins.

Excuse me?

  • Daily Wire host Michael Knowles attacked parents who use IVF: “You don't get to claim a right to a child.”
  • Newsmax’s Sebastian Gorka claimed Trump’s felony convictions make him more relatable to working-class Americans.
  • Former Daily Wire host Candace Owens claimed feminism is “a precursor to transgenderism.”
  • The Blaze’s Allie Beth Stuckey: “Most of our problems in society” are “caused by premarital and extramarital sex.”
Hunter Biden

Citation Andrea Austria / Media Matters

On Tuesday, a Delaware jury found President Joe Biden’s son Hunter guilty of federal gun crimes. The verdict comes amid a yearslong right-wing media effort to delegitimize the federal justice system as a weaponized arm of the Democratic Party.

Reasonable minds would think this conviction may cause conservative media to reconsider their assumptions — think again. MAGA propagandists responded by coalescing around a new twist in their conspiracy theory-addled fever dreams: The conviction is an “op” in which Hunter Biden is being deliberately sacrificed to protect the rigged system and that the trial is a “red herring” that is “meant to distract the American people” from “much larger crimes of the Biden crime family.”

  • Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk declared, “This is a fake trial trying to make the Justice system appear balanced. Don’t fall for it.”
  • America First Legal’s Stephen Miller: “The gun charges are a giant misdirection. An easy op for DOJ to sell to a pliant media that is all too willing to be duped. Don’t be gaslit. This is all about protecting Joe Biden and only Joe Biden.”
  • Real America’s Voice Jack Posobiec said, “They went after Hunter on his gun stuff to make you overlook all his Ukraine stuff.”
  • Newsmax host Rob Schmitt called Hunter Biden’s trial a “psyop.”

To put this in some perspective — Donald Trump, his former campaign chair, his former campaign manager, his former legal fixer, his longtime political adviser, his company’s chief financial officer, and several of his other associates have been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, crimes since he became president in 2017.

Right-wing propagandists responded to the legal woes of Trump world by concocting a baroque conspiracy theory positing that the federal law enforcement apparatus under both the Trump and Biden administrations was seeking to take down Trump through “witch hunt” investigations while protecting top Democrats. But the Hunter Biden verdict shows how bankrupt the right’s conspiracy theory is.

As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz puts it: “To a normal person, a federal criminal conviction of Joe Biden’s son demonstrates that there is not a massive conspiracy to use the law enforcement system to protect Joe Biden’s allies and attack his enemies. But the one thing MAGA propagandists refuse to be under any circumstances is normal. They want their excuse to throw their enemies in jail, and they’ll do whatever it takes to retain it.”


Citation Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Advisory board members for Project 2025 have attacked or outright called for the end of no-fault divorce, the option to dissolve a marriage without having to prove wrongdoing by a partner.

This is part of a larger trend of MAGA and far-right media figures pushing for the removal of no-fault divorce laws across the country. Several local Republican parties in Texas, Nebraska, and Louisiana have also called for the dissolution of no-fault divorce in some capacity.

Project 2025 is backed by a nearly-900 page policy book which outlines potential approaches to governance for the next Republican administration, including replacing federal employees with extremists and Trump loyalists and attacking LGBTQ rights, abortion, and contraception. Project 2025 is also supported by a coalition of over 100 conservative organizations, many of which have spent years promoting critiques of no-fault divorce as “destructive” for society — or even blaming it for enabling a “culture of death.”

We’ve been warning you about the dangers posed by Project 2025 in this newsletter and will continue to do so — this plot poses a significant threat to the health of our republic and the freedoms all Americans cherish.

Last month, we told you that far-right figures were telling their audience to drink raw milk during a bird flu outbreak among dairy cows. Now we can add the right-wing youth organization Turning Point USA to that list.

The group recently released a T-shirt for sale featuring an image of a cow and the words “got raw milk?” Additionally, Turning Point USA host Alex Clark has repeatedly promoted drinking raw milk, including claiming that “raw milk is nearly perfect for pregnancy.”

As we said last time, drinking raw milk has always been risky, but a recent H5N1 bird flu outbreak now makes it even more dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have both warned against consuming the product. So, don’t let right-wing personalities convince you to consume something that could be dangerous for your health.

In case you missed it

  • Fox News is priming its audience to question the results of the 2024 presidential election.
  • National corporate broadcast and cable news shows largely ignored the connection between climate change and the recent extreme heat event that swept across the U.S. Southwest in early June.
  • Following the June 7 release of the latest federal jobs report, many right-wing commentators denounced the job creation witnessed during the Biden administration as mostly going to “foreign-born workers.”
  • Anti-abortion media figures are baselessly accusing the Department of Justice of weaponizing the FACE Act against protesters convicted of harassment at abortion clinics.
  • New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has appeared on multiple right-wing podcasts where he has promoted conspiracy theories. Media Matters’ Reed McMaster has this fantastic piece detailing Rodgers’ descent into the fever swamps.
  • Ivan Raiklin, a former military officer who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election with his “Pence Card” plan, claimed that he was “brainstorming” with the head of a far-right sheriffs group about “getting a little bit of retribution.”
  • A Moms for Liberty chapter leader in North Carolina recently used a podcast affiliated with the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory to promote the right-wing “parental rights” group and her school board campaign.
  • Trump-backed House candidate Mark Burns is a self-described “friend” of Holocaust denier Stew Peters, who has portrayed Adolf Hitler as “a hero.”
  • Right-wing media touted the results of the Sunday European Union Parliament elections as good news for Republicans.
  • Over a quarter of Fox News’ coverage of the new Title IX rules included commentary that challenged the legitimacy of trans identity.
  • Fox News buried former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan denouncing Donald Trump as “unfit for office.”
  • Right-wing media have amplified conspiracy theories and bigotry from Ultimate Fighting Championship figures including UFC President Dana White and a number of high-profile fighters.
  • Newsmax host Greg Kelly claimed he “can’t find” the Confederate flag at Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake’s campaign event. He was looking at the wrong photo.