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Diversity & Discrimination

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  • Right Side Broadcasting and Nicholas Fuentes, host who participated in white supremacist rally, part ways

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right Side Broadcasting Network and host Nicholas Fuentes, who has gained infamy for participating in the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, have parted ways in a "mutual decision." Fuentes hailed the rally as a “victory” that showcased “white identity” and brought attention to the “cultural genocide … against white America.”

    Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN) is an online outlet that found success during the 2016 campaign by providing live streams of Donald Trump’s rallies. Following Trump’s victory, as Politico Magazine noted, the Alabama-based company attempted to “transform itself from a small live-stream operation into a major and diverse digital media outlet” with the goal of becoming a “24/7 news outlet of the common man.”

    But RSBN has run into a series of problems due to "steep revenue declines" and toxic comments made by its staff. It has also struggled to find viewership for its original streaming programs. In recent months, RSBN has cut programs hosted by right-wing troll Mike Cernovich, YouTube prankster Joey Saladino (also known as “Joey Salads”), and conservative blogger Wayne Dupree. The Washington Post reported in July that its “staff of 12 is down to four” and that founder Joe Seales “said he has been propping up Right Side Broadcasting with money from his own pocket.”

    Nicholas Fuentes is a college student who had hosted the pro-Trump program America First for RSBN. In April, he falsely claimed that Muslims and immigrants are not protected under the First Amendment and called for the people who run CNN to be “arrested and deported or hanged” (the network later apologized).

    Fuentes -- who says he is “25 percent Mexican” -- posted online the day of the rally that “a tidal wave of white identity is coming.” He also tweeted that “Charlottesville was a victory if only for bringing attention to the cultural genocide being committed nationwide against white America.” He told The Boston Globe that the “blood”  of anti-racism activist Heather Heyer, killed by a neo-Nazi protester in Charlottesville, “is on the hands of the alt-left,” and he also “denied being a white nationalist or a racist, and said he rejects Nazism.”

    Network CEO Joe Seales told Media Matters in an email that “we are no longer running his show as of right after Charlottesville.” He added that the parting was “honestly a mutual decision based on both of our interests- we brought the issue up of Charlottesville being a huge distraction and not falling in line with some of our core beliefs- and ultimately all of us decided was best we ended the show. We believe Nick is very talented and wish him well.” RSBN last aired his show on August 11, according to its YouTube page

    Fuentes tweeted over the weekend that he is "officially leaving America First on @RSBNetwork to pursue my own independent venture." He added: "Much love to RSB family - they took a chance on me & went above & beyond to support my show. I wish the Seales family the best! God bless!" 

    Fuentes also recently stated that he would leave Boston University, where he's been a student, because he "didn’t feel safe" and instead would attend Auburn University. The Alabama school, however, reportedly said that Fuentes has not been admitted or even applied.

  • Fringe media lash out at “cuck” Pope Francis for message welcoming refugees

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Far-right media figures and outlets attacked Pope Francis after he released a message urging nation-states to give aid and protection to migrants and refugees.

    On August 21, Francis released a message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in which he called on governments to offer “broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.” According to Francis, countries should seek to integrate migrants and refugees by “granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.” He also argued that people’s dignity “obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security.”

    Far-right figures lashed out at the pope in response. Paul Joseph Watson of the conspiracy theory outlet Infowars called Francis “an evil fraud” who “is helping destroy western civilization.”

    Infowars’ Jerome Corsi called Francis a “Hard-Left socialist Pope” who “ignores Spain terrorism.”

    Far-right vlogger Stefan Molyneux claimed Francis “cares more about Social Justice issues than he does defending Christianity.”

    Fake news purveyors also attacked Francis. Conservative Daily Post said Francis has a “Marxist” agenda and called him a “reckless and foolish man.” Eagle Rising claimed Francis is a “globalist” who “preaches that more rapes and murders in Western nations are a price we must pay to fulfill our obligation to receive more immigrants." TruthFeed wrote in its headline that Francis “Thinks RAPE and TERROR are Just Part of the ‘Refugee Experience.’” And in response to the pope’s message, Conservative Fighters topped its piece with the word “SERIOUSLY?”

    Additionally, forums that have previously helped far-right trolls and fake news purveyors spread misinformation also went after Francis: Some users on Reddit’s “r/The_Donald” called Francis a “cuck Pope” who is a “fucking hypocrite piece of shit,” and users on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” forum (known as “/pol/”) claimed Francis is “the communist pope” and “the antipope.”

  • How Fox promoted convicted criminal Joe Arpaio, who may be pardoned by Trump

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Over the past two decades, Fox News and Fox Business frequently praised and hosted Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, elevating him to national recognition. Now Arpaio, who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court in a racial profiling case, has said that he would accept a pardon from President Donald Trump -- and Trump is reportedly considering it. Trump praised Arpaio's birther "investigation" in 2012, was endorsed by Arpaio during the campaign, and has lauded the sheriff's anti-immigrant work.

    On July 31, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court after he defied “a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.” As The New York Times noted, the order originated from a lawsuit filed a decade ago “charging that the sheriff’s office regularly violated the rights of Latinos, stopping people based on racial profiling, detaining them based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally, and turning them over to the immigration authorities.”

    Arpaio has a long record of employing “humiliating and inhumane” treatment of prisoners; he became infamous in 1993, after he was elected sheriff, for opening an outdoor Tent City Jail where inmates were made to live outside in tents in triple-digit Arizona heat. Additionally, Arpaio fed prisoners rotten food, instituted all-female and juvenile chain gangs, and used webcams to broadcast scenes from a jail including a feed “that showed female inmates using a toilet.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating Arpaio for illegal racial profiling in 2008 and accused him of “unconstitutional policing” in December 2011.

    Yet, over the years, Fox News Network worked to enhance Arpaio’s stature, hosting him no less than 65 times on Fox News and Fox Business from March 1999 through early September 2016, according to a search of Nexis transcripts. In July 2000, Fox host Sean Hannity gushed over Arpaio’s use of webcams in jail, and, in an earlier episode, praised Arpaio’s treatment of inmates by terming it “deterrence.” In 2014, Neil Cavuto criticized the DOJ’s investigation into Arpaio, telling him, “You've been treated more as a criminal than the criminals you're rounding up.” In 2010, Eric Bolling encouraged Arpaio to run for governor of Arizona.

    Fox has also repeatedly ignored Arpaio’s failings as sheriff. Fox News and Fox Business almost completely ignored an Associated Press report from December 2011 that Arpaio mishandled hundreds of sex-crimes cases while also giving him a platform to attack the Obama administration and claim he was a victim of a witch hunt. A year before, in 2010, Fox had hyped a claim from Arpaio’s lawyer that his client’s office was “transparent” in its operation, even though a federal judge had sanctioned Arpaio’s office “for destroying evidence in a racial-profiling case.”

    During his presidential campaign, Trump proudly touted an endorsement from Arpaio at least four times during interviews on Fox, according to Nexis transcripts. He declared Arpaio “the king of the borders” and said, “When [Arpaio] endorses you, that means you have the best border plan.” In March 2016, Trump claimed on Hannity that Arpaio “doesn’t get enough credit for the incredible job he’s doing.” After Trump won the Arizona Republican primary, he thanked Arpaio on Twitter for his help. Trump evidently thought so highly of Arpaio’s racial discrimination and other illegal acts that he reportedly considered appointing Arpaio to head the Department of Homeland Security.

    And Trump’s public admiration for Arpaio extends back to before his campaign began, dating at least to Obama’s re-election. Trump and Arpaio were in lockstep on the racist birther conspiracy theory, which alleged that Obama was not born in America and was thus ineligible to be president. While Trump’s public attacks on Obama’s legitimacy as president began months before Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse” began scrutinizing Obama’s publicly released birth certificate, Trump repeatedly tweeted support of Arpaio’s “investigation” into Obama’s birth certificate in July 2012:

    It was Fox News that first reported that Trump was "seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio" in "a conversation with Fox News at his club in Bedminster, N.J." If indeed Arpaio is pardoned for his criminal conduct, the credit may just belong to the president's favorite news network.

  • “Fuck you, faggots”: The anti-LGBTQ bigotry of white supremacists and neo-Nazis

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    During the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, last week -- where three people were killed and dozens of others were injured -- white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups attacked LGBTQ people in addition to other minority and marginalized populations, including by chanting “Fuck you, faggots.” These groups and media outlets have a long history of engaging in anti-LGBTQ extremism, including suggesting that LGBTQ people be “cured” through “rational medical treatment” and calling for arresting and trying LGBTQ activists for “treason.”

  • Five times in one week cable news couldn't get a Republican to go on TV to talk about Trump

    ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    Several times over the past week, cable news hosts reported that Republicans had rejected invitations to appear on their shows to defend or discuss President Donald Trump and his reaction to the August 12 violence in Charlottesville, VA. The president failed to initially condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis responsible for the violence, and later in the week he insisted that there were “very fine people on both sides.”