Right-wing media defend neofascism as they celebrate Giorgia Meloni’s victory in Italy
On September 25, after a record-low turnout, Italy seems to have elected Giorgia Meloni as the country’s next prime minister. Meloni is the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, a far-right nationalist, populist party with roots in the postwar neofascism of the Italian Social Movement (MSI).
According to The Associated Press, Meloni praised Mussolini as a member of the MSI’s youth branch and now “proudly touts her roots as an MSI militant.” (She has since condemned Mussolini and Italian fascism as part of an effort to court votes during the campaign.) Meloni went on to co-found the Brothers of Italy in 2012, which has retained the MSI’s red, white, and green flame in its own logo.
Meloni’s bid for prime minister touched on many of the same obsessive hate campaigns with which the American right-wing media is engaged. Anti-LGBTQ on multiple fronts, Meloni has accused “LGBT lobbies” of being “out to harm women and the family by destroying ‘gender identity,’” opposed adoption by same-sex couples, and, as The New York Times explained it, said that “civil unions are good enough for gay couples.” She also accused George Soros of financing “global ‘mass immigration’ that threatens a Great Replacement of white, native-born Italians,” a white nationalist conspiracy theory often touted by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
American right-wing media figures are now praising Meloni’s victory and pushing for American conservatives to follow her lead. On War Room, host Steve Bannon celebrated Meloni’s victory along with CPAC chair Matt Schlapp, saying, “This is the rise of Christian nationalism. You watch.”
Carlson cheered Meloni, noting that “American families are facing the very same onslaught from the very same poisonous ideologies.” He added, “We know, and now it's been proven, that when politicians are brave enough to tell the truth about what's actually happening, they tend to be rewarded for it.”
In her defense of Meloni, Fox host Laura Ingraham argued that Meloni’s apparent win signals a global populist revolt against liberal “globalist” policies. For Ingraham, “She calls out the failures of the majority parties and refuses to submit to their woke crusade against national identity and national culture.”
On Twitter, other prominent right-wing media figures followed suit, often highlighting her Christian nationalist values that they wish Republicans would emulate:
- Fox News’ Twitter account focused on Meloni’s “Christian values” in this “DAWN OF A NEW DAY.”
- In response to Meloni’s victory speech, conservative commentator and Viktor Orbán apologist Rod Dreher asked, “Do we have a single American politician capable of saying these things, with such force and conviction?”
- Fox host Rachel Campos-Duffy tweeted, “Traditionalist wins in Italy. I predict more backlash in Europe & USA to globalism and the covid madness imposed on us.”
- The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles wrote, “In a world of Liz Cheneys, be a Giorgia Meloni.” He also wrote “Make Italy Great Again” in support of Meloni.
- National Review’s Dan McLaughlin argued of Meloni’s victory speech: “This clip certainly captures the emotional current of the populist Right today around the globe, & why it increasingly sees Big Business as part of the progressive assault on patriotism, family, faith, men, women, & basic reality itself.”
- BlazeTV podcaster Steven Crowder claimed that “Italians voted for freedom by electing Giorgia Meloni.”
Many also defended Meloni against the claims that her party is fascistic:
- BlazeTV podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey claimed mainstream media was inaccurately casting Meloni’s supposed “I support Italy and the family!” comments as comparable to Mussolini’s fascism, asking, “Is anyone persuaded by this nonsense anymore?”
- BlazeTV host Steve Deace defended Meloni, writing: “Fascism is literally the fusion of elites in public and private sector for control over the populace. Italy's new prime minister is opposed to that fusion. She may be a lot of things, but by definition she cannot be a fascist. However, that's actually what her opponents are.” He also tweeted in support of her anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islam speech, writing, “Italy’s new leader with a bolder message than 95% of Republicans.”
- Right-wing commentator Kyle Becker also pushed back against labeling Meloni neofascist, calling those who do “stone-faced liars,” and arguing that “We are talking about an Italy ravaged by EU's failed Covid policies, open borders & economy. National self-determination movements are not ‘fascism.’”
- 2,000 Mules director Dinesh D’Souza also tweeted multiple times in support of Meloni, generally arguing that she is not fascistic: “If it were truly #Mussolini all over again, the Left would be CELEBRATING the Italian results. Mussolini was a Marxist and a national socialist, as are many in the Western media. Georgia Meloni is anti-socialist and anti-illegal immigration, which was not an issue for Mussolini.”
- According to Matt Schlapp, “Media [are] calling her ‘far right’ because she sees the evil of abortion and globalist power and wants Italians to be proud of Italy.”
- Far-right troll Mike Cernovich tweeted repeatedly to celebrate Meloni’s victory, including writing, “Opposing her means you hate women and democracy. Literally you’re fascist and misogynistic!”
- Human Events’ Jack Posobiec also mocked feminist opposition to Meloni, tweeting, “Only a BIGOT would oppose Italy's first female prime minister - a MISOGINIST.”
- The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney wrote that the “media's fascism-police CANNOT stop calling pro-natalism ‘fascism’” and that “calling that viewpoint fascist is diluting the word to where it has no meaning--which seems like a bad thing to do if you care about fighting fascism.”
- On OAN, Claremont Institute senior fellow Jeremy Carl likened Meloni to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and said that she is “making the invisible ideology of the regime that a lot of us are living under, quite visible.” Carl added that MSI “made themselves cool and countercultural and she understood the importance of having that type of appeal.” Host Kara McKinney praised Meloni for allegedly showing that “liberal democracy” is “almost an occupying ideological force, similar to what we saw with communism. ... it just kind of goes around the back door to enforce a soft totalitarianism. ... Liberal democracy has an ideology like that that brings a lot of hurt and pain as we see in this nation, for example, with, say, the mutilation of children with trans hysteria.”
- Sinclair’s Sharyl Attkisson suggested that a CNN headline calling Meloni “Italy’s most far right prime minister since Mussolini” is a “poorly written” “opinion headline.” “poorly written.”