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Diversity & Discrimination

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  • Alex Jones and his co-hosts have a misogynistic obsession with lesbians

    Alex Jones: “All they want is for us to submit to them”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Anyone watching Infowars long enough would notice host Alex Jones’ remarkable obsession with a very specific subset of the global population: lesbians. Jones’ unhinged tirades about innumerable topics have rightfully made him a target for online mockery and the protagonist of numerous internet memes. But there’s something more sinister than funny in the way that Jones and some of his guest co-hosts depict, mock, and dissociate from lesbians to Infowars’ hundreds of thousands of viewers.

    Jones’ guest co-hosts -- including Gavin McInnes, founder of the chauvinistic fraternal organization Proud Boys, Infowars contributor Owen Shroyer, and anti-feminist troll Milo Yiannopoulos -- mimic his hateful rhetoric. That treatment ranges from sexist, sophomoric mocking of lesbians for their supposed appearance to the dangerous perpetuation of the absurd idea that lesbians are depressed because they need a man or have turned to women after having a “bad experience with men in their life.”

    Jones shows no qualms about trivializing traumatic issues like child abuse when he asserts that women become lesbians because “daddy beat her up.” He has also used violent imagery to describe romantic and sexual relationships between women, including saying, “If they can’t find a man to smack them around, well, they found them a girl going to do it real good, knock them upside their head.” Jones has even openly suggested he could be personally violent against lesbians too:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): We could take on 500 of you in physical combat, but see, that isn’t what matters -- they’ve got the media and they’ve got our good will and they’re gonna program us. All they want is for us to submit to them.

    Beneath his rhetoric lie toxic elements of misogyny and male supremacy. Jones claims that lesbians “want all the women for themselves,” which both implies that men are entitled to women and that women are not autonomous beings with the capacity to make their own decisions about which individuals they choose as partners. He also claims lesbians “want to be the guy smacking the hot chick around,” reinforcing erroneous assumptions that lesbian relationships follow heterosexual gender roles while trivializing violence against women by saying “some women like it.”  

    Jones’ rhetoric could have the effect of poisoning his audiences’ perceptions of the queer female community, by directly pushing for the further marginalization of a minority that continues to fight for equality under the law.

    Video by John Kerr.​

  • NRA President-elect Oliver North smears Parkland survivors as criminals

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Incoming National Rifle Association President Oliver North, a former Fox News contributor and a national security aide in the Reagan administration, claimed that survivors of the February school shooting in Parkland, FL, are engaged in “intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking” in their advocacy for stronger gun laws.

    North, who was chosen president of the NRA by the group’s board of directors earlier this week, made the comments in an interview with The Washington Times.

    North commented on activism by survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, saying they were involved in harassment, intimidation, and illegal activities. He did not provide any evidence for his claim. From the Times:

    He said the young survivor-activists who have emerged as representatives for gun restrictions — and as fierce opponents of the NRA — are getting swept up by a broader propaganda machine.

    “What they did very successfully with a frontal assault, and now intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking, is they confused the American people,” he said. “Our job is to get the straight story out about what happened there, and to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen again because the proper things are being done with the advocacy of the NRA.”

    Unlike the Parkland activists, North does know something about criminal activity. While serving in the Reagan administration, he was a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the U.S. secretly selling arms to Iran, and was convicted of three felonies for his role in it. North’s convictions were later vacated, although in 1994, a judge revoked his permit to carry a concealed gun in public, citing North’s “conviction for crimes involving moral turpitude.”

    North also said that the NRA was receiving threats and that a “cyberwar” was being carried out against the organization, and he compared the NRA to victims of the Jim Crow era:

    Mr. North said the NRA is now the victim of “civil terrorism” after vandals splashed fake blood on the Virginia home of a top NRA official and other opponents aimed personal “threats” at NRA leaders and members.

    “They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America,” he said.

    “You go back to the terrible days of Jim Crow and those kinds of things — even there you didn’t have this kind of thing,” he said. “We didn’t have the cyberwar kind of thing that we’ve got today.”

  • NY Times writer Bari Weiss’ “intellectual dark web” isn’t dark or intellectual -- it's just plain bigoted

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    In a May 8 column that lionized the members of the so-called “intellectual dark web,” New York Times opinion columnist Bari Weiss misled her audience by portraying commentators known for inflammatory rhetoric about oppressed minorities as intellectuals exiled into the “dark web,” a name for the hard-to-reach areas of the internet. The cast of characters she profiled is far from being exiled to the dark web. In fact, they profit from broadcasting bigoted ideas on platforms that reach massive audiences.

    In her column, Weiss glorified Jordan Peterson, the “alt-right’s” favorite professor who has repeatedly appeared on Fox to push anti-trans myths, and praised former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro, without disclosing his history of bigotry. Instead, Weiss portrayed them both as martyrs for the criticism they get for voicing bigoted opinions. The term “intellectual dark web” is a useful branding ploy for bigoted commentators and far-right figures, as, according to Right Richter’s Will Sommer, “They’re appealing to this kind of forbidden nature of the knowledge they're discussing.” Weiss went on the May 8 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe to promote her piece, where the hosts did not push her to address any of the valid, thoughtful criticisms of her piece many journalists have shared on Twitter:

  • A gun that looks like a cellphone isn't the only tone deaf thing on display at the NRA annual meeting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Dallas, TX, this year. The event kicked off on May 3 with an evening banquet and is now in full swing with a three-day exhibition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. In addition to exhibiting guns, ammunition, gun accessories, tactical gear, and other merchandise, the event features speeches, seminars, and workshops.

    The preeminent event at the annual meeting will be the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will begin at noon CST on May 4. (The Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA, is the NRA’s lobbying wing.) NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, chief lobbyist Chris Cox, and national spokesperson Dana Loesch are scheduled to speak at the forum. Elected officials speaking at the event include President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and several conservative media figures will round out the lineup. The following day will feature the event’s official “Annual Meeting of Members,” where the election results for the NRA's board of directors will be announced and other NRA business will be conducted.

    There are many notable facts about the event, but none highlight the disconnect between the NRA and public sentiment on firearms regulation and the role of guns in society more than a pistol featured in the exhibition hall that can be disguised to look like a cell phone:



    The pistol is manufactured by Ideal Conceal, whose website says, “Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment.” A demonstration video shows that the weapon can be pulled from a pocket, unfolded, and fired in just seconds.





    The display comes less than two months after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police in Sacramento, CA, after the cops mistook the cellphone he was holding for a gun. As Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the mass Parkland, FL, shooting, noted on Twitter, the existence of the firearm could be used as a pretext to justify police shootings of unarmed people:

    Here are some other highlights of the NRA’s annual meeting:

    Speeches, seminars, and other events

    • Trump’s will give a speech at the meeting for the fourth year in a row. The Kremlin reportedly sought to use the 2016 annual meeting as a venue to attempt to make “first contact” with Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • The meeting will have a “Women’s Leadership Forum” and the keynote speaker will be white nationalist favorite Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host. This isn’t the first time a Fox host has keynoted the event; Sean Hannity was the featured speaker in 2013.

    • The NRA announced that pro-Trump media figures Diamond and Silk will speak at the event’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. The announcement came just days after the duo appeared before Congress and made false statements under oath.

    • NRA board member Ted Nugent will be attending the meeting. Nugent has made several controversial statements this year including saying the Parkland shooting survivors are liars who “have no soul.” Nugent has been a regular figure at NRA annual meetings, where he’s talked about shooting former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called then-President Barack Obama “Osama Obama” and offered to “pilot” a boat to send him to Kenya.   

    • Discredited gun researcher John Lott will give a seminar on “false and misleading claims that will be made to advance gun control this year” ranging from “claims about Australia’s and the UK’s gun laws to … the true costs of expanded background checks to mass public shootings and gun-free zones.” His group, the Crime Prevention Research Center, will also have a booth.  

    • During the meeting’s “Youth Day,” the NRA will introduce children to firearms by using “nerf guns.” The NRA was previously criticized for pushing an ineffective program to teach kids gun safety and for rewriting children’s fairy tales to include pro-gun narratives.

    • The NRA has stated that no guns will be allowed in the arena during appearances by Trump and Pence at the behest of the Secret Service, undermining the NRA’s frequent claims that so-called “gun-free zones” imperil people’s lives, enable mass shootings, and draw terrorists.

    The exhibition hall

    • Smith & Wesson, the maker of the assault weapon used in the Parkland, FL, school shooting, will exhibit several products in the “Featured Product Center & Demo Area.” Smith & Wesson has donated more than $1 million to the NRA.

    • Aagil Arms, a sister company of TuffZone and the “official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies,” will have a booth on the exhibit floor that will feature a line called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper kits,” which reference an obscure racial slur.

    • Trump-supporting Liberty University, conservative Hillsdale College, and right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation -- entities with no direct connection to the gun industry  -- will all have booths at the meeting.

    • U.S. Border Patrol will also have a booth at the meeting, even though members of NRA leadership routinely demean and attack immigrants.  

    • There will likely be a lot of men. Eighty-five percent of attendees last year were men, according to information posted on the NRA annual meeting website for potential exhibitors.

    • According to The Texas Tribune, the NRA is “getting a free ride” for this event and will not pay the usual $410,000 rent for the space.