Erick Erickson | Media Matters for America

Erick Erickson

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  • Roy Moore and the rot in conservative politics

    Some prominent conservatives would rather defend a reported pedophile than lose an election; that choice should haunt them

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    The Washington Post’s explosive investigation into Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with underage girls has provided a distressingly clear look at the moral rot that has infested conservative politics. Moore, who stands credibly accused of sexual misconduct by multiple on-the-record sources, nonetheless has powerful figures within the conservative movement defending him, attacking his accusers, or running interference on behalf of his supporters.

    Thus we find ourselves in the altogether absurd situation in which influential figures on the right would rather see a reported child molester elected to the U.S. Senate than risk losing a seat to the Democrats.

    Conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who frequently is provided space to opine in the op-ed pages of major newspapers, wrote a blog post this morning explaining why he can’t blame Moore’s supporters for sticking with (and voting for) the candidate even in the face of the “damning” evidence. Erickson understands that impulse, he writes, because he sympathizes with those voters’ perception that “the left” is “out to get them.”

    Per Erickson’s explanation, Alabama Republicans are under assault by liberal efforts to protect reproductive rights, enact gun control in the aftermath of mass shootings, and expand LGBTQ rights, so they can be forgiven for feeling that their only recourse is to send alleged sexual predator Roy Moore to the Senate to represent them. After all, Erickson rationalizes, the reported pedophile “is the only one standing with them.”

    As for Erickson himself, he writes that while he personally does not want Moore to serve in the Senate, he nonetheless still wants Moore to win election and then announce that he’ll immediately resign so that Alabama’s GOP governor can appoint some other Republican to the seat. It’s a cockamamie political fantasy that, if it came to fruition, would inevitably lead to suspicions of corruption, patronage, and backroom dealing. That’s precisely what happened when incumbent Republican Sen. Luther Strange was appointed by disgraced former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley earlier this year. Funnily enough, when Erickson endorsed Moore ahead of his runoff primary election against Strange, he railed against the “crooked” deal that resulted in Strange’s appointment.

    Steve Bannon and his Breitbart.com lackeys have blurped up a more straightforward defense of Moore. They’ve settled on a two-pronged approach that seeks both to minimize the heinousness of the Alabama Republican’s alleged behaviors and discredit the accusations as the product of an anti-Moore conspiracy.

    Bannon gave a speech last night in New Hampshire attacking The Washington Post for its reporting and casting the Moore story as part of a broader anti-Trump plot. “The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore,” Bannon said. “Now is that a coincidence?”

    It’s important to point out here that Bannon didn’t actually challenge the Post’s reporting -- in fact, he compared it explicitly to a different Post exclusive about Trump’s sexual misconduct that was backed up with video evidence. Bannon was just lazily implying that there’s some sort of nefarious conspiracy afoot and allowing conservative antipathy for the “liberal media” stand in for proof.

    Bannon farmed out the dirtier work of the pro-Moore defense to his employees. News of the Post’s scoop first surfaced when the Moore campaign fed the details of the story to Breitbart in an attempt to get ahead of the still-unpublished story. Breitbart.com obliged the Moore campaign and helped the candidate run damage control by framing its story around Moore’s denial of the pedophilia reports and attacking the Post as a partisan, bad-faith actor. Breitbart editor Joel Pollak then went on MSNBC to excuse Moore’s behavior and reframe some of his alleged sexual relationships with teenagers as “perfectly legitimate.”

    So I guess the question is what’s to be done now that we know there are prominent conservatives out there who would rather make excuses for a reported pedophile than see a Senate seat switch parties. I think the answer has to be: Don’t forget that this happened.

    The next time a newspaper considers another “Steve Bannon is a political force of nature” profile, its reporters and editors should remember that he and his publication ran interference on behalf of a Republican accused of molesting children. The next time an op-ed page editor considers handing column space to Erick Erickson so he can bemoan political divisiveness, they should recall that he also rationalizes conservative support for a candidate whose alleged sexual misconduct renders him unfit for office.

  • Sad, ineffectual white men unite behind their shared rage that a woman spoke her mind, again, because they are scared babies

    What if Helen Rosner’s tweets about being an ally to women somehow destroy their centuries of privilege?

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Writer Helen Rosner posted a list of suggestions for how men can support the women in their lives, “beyond just literally ceasing to sexually harass us,” on Twitter and Medium yesterday. Her suggestions included such theoretically uncontroversial arguments as: Trans women are women, supporting reproductive rights is good, and men ought to “cultivate genuine, intimate, nonsexual friendships with women.” For these sins -- for writing that men who want to be allies of women ought to adapt principles of basic human decency and learn about others’ experiences -- Rosner has drawn rebuke from a ragtag group of the internet’s finest aggrieved white men and their allies, who are now revealing their constant low-level rage and fear of somehow losing the privilege they’ve enjoyed throughout history.

    To be sure, there are some valid and constructive criticisms of Rosner’s work -- it focuses mostly on strict gender categories of women and men, likely because the cultural conversation we’re having now about sexual violence is so inextricably rooted in misogyny. But this is not the criticism popping up in Rosner’s mentions. Instead, after making the humble argument that men who are asking specifically how they can do better can do the basic work of listening, learning, being kind, and asking more from their male friends, Rosner has been admonished by representatives of several uniquely grotesque anti-feminist subcultural groups. The sources of the criticism range  from traditional right-wing bloggers to anonymous #MAGA and men’s rights trolls to straight-up white supremacists like David Duke.

    That’s because the deeper, more enduring story stretches well beyond Rosner, her words, or even her specific, unfortunately typical, and hopefully fleeting online criticism. It reveals a disturbing pattern in which misogyny serves as a brutal, unifying force that spurs communities from across the spectrum of the right-wing internet to slam individuals they feel represent their enemies in a cultural war, in an attempt to silence them.

    In different circumstances, the David Dukes and the Erick Ericksons across the right-wing internet might performatively disavow one another. But here on the online battlefield, their true motivation -- preservation of so-called traditional culture (read: specifically the white, heteropatriarchal nuclear family)  -- is far too compelling to do anything but quite literally unite the right.

    In traditional corners of the right-wing blogosphere, exemplified by pundits like Erick Erickson and blogs like RedState.com or TownHall.com, the reactionary defense of white heteropatriarchy looks like this: references to “family” values and religious freedom, flippant anti-gay and anti-trans statements, illogical economic arguments in favor of policies that happen to hurt the working poor, and generalized fearmongering about college campuses and immigration.

    In the increasingly violent men’s rights movement, the strategy transforms into much more overt “antifeminist” views and the promotion of toxic hypermasculinity. And in the openly white nationalist online spaces -- where there is a significant and telling overlap with the men’s rights community -- the focus lies in fighting the decline of a superior “Western” culture, defending and promoting subservient, white womanhood, and securing a “future for white children.”

    Online trolls seem to borrow indiscriminately from any and all of these related schools of thought, and then throw some truly incomprehensible messages and sometimes harassment into the mix for good measure.

    Members of all these communities seemed to show up online to tell Rosner why her arguments were bad. Here are some other reactions she garnered on Twitter from this repulsive band of brothers and the women who support them in their warped crusade in the name of sweet, sweet heteropatriarchy. And these are just the verified users’ responses; click through Rosner’s mentions for more such commentary.

    The motivation to preserve a total monopoly on centuries-old power that’s not even being truly threatened is essentially a watered-down, unspoken (except for when it is actually spoken) version of the white supremacist 14 words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” To say that anything less extreme may be at play -- or that their rage is much more simply focused on a specific Medium post or Twitter thread or person (coincidentally, a woman) who dares to voice an opinion -- is to help trolls erase their real motives.

    This war against difference and acceptance -- with the enemy labeled on any given day as feminists, libs, snowflakes, the radical left, paid protestors, PC bullies -- will continue to dictate internet rage so long as it remains a convenient unifying force for the right.

    Hatred is timeless, and left unchecked it will drown out everything else from public conversation.

  • How a discredited anti-abortion group used the anti-choice media ecosystem to do its dirty work

    CMP seemingly tried to avoid an injunction by circulating video footage to anti-choice and right-wing media outlets, rather than publishing it

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN & JULIE TULBERT

    On May 25, the discredited anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) circulated an unlisted YouTube link to a new smear video against the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and Planned Parenthood. This footage was removed that evening because a district judge had “barred it from release.” Given this injunction, it seems notable that CMP didn’t publicly release or promote the video, and instead relied on anti-choice and right-wing media outlets to spread its claim.

  • This is how right-wing media reacted to ISIS terrorism under President Obama

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN, NINA MAST, BRENNAN SUEN & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    ISIS has claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Manchester, England, which killed more than 20 people. During Barack Obama’s presidency, right-wing media figures exploited terrorist attacks that ISIS claimed responsibility for to blame, criticize, and attack the president. Additionally, right-wing media figures castigated Obama for not leaving a foreign trip in the aftermath of an attack.

  • Fox Contributor: Gay Men In Bars Should Expect To Be Assaulted And Women Shouldn’t Breastfeed In Church

    Erick Erickson: “Spare Me The Tirade About" Matthew Shepard, “The Dude Wearing The Tutu Shoulders Some Of The Responsibility”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    In a blog post for The Resurgent, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson defended Sen. Mike Enzi’s (R-WY) claim that “a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars...asks for it” if he is assaulted, writing, “I’m really damn tired of all the people running around making other people extremely uncomfortable … yes, the dude wearing the tutu shoulders some of the responsibility” for being assaulted.

    After mocking the LGBTQ community in his April 27 post as “the BLT&GQ community,” Erickson argued gay men should “know better.” Erickson added, “spare me the tirade about Matthew Shepherd [sic],” referring to Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old man in Wyoming who was tortured and killed because of his sexuality:

    You know, I’m really damn tired of all the people running around making other people extremely uncomfortable then screaming about their rights and privileges when called out. If you want to go around making people uncomfortable, you’ve got the problem, not the rest of us.

    It all starts with Mike Enzi who has enraged the BLT&GQ community by declaring a simple fact. If a guy walks into a bar in Wyoming, he’s probably going to get punched. Enzi said the person would deserve it, which he apologized for, and the guy would not deserve it. But it is probably going to happen and yes, the dude wearing the tutu shoulders some of the responsibility. He should have known better.

    And spare me the tirade about Matthew Shepherd.

    I know liberals in their coastal bubbles of homogenized whiteness and skinny jeans think everyone else has to think like them — not does, but has to — but the reality is we don’t. We are a culturally heterogeneous nation with diverse cultural norms. If a guy walks into a bar in Wyoming wearing make up and a tutu, he’s probably going to be asked to leave, if not picked on or punched. If you don’t like that, don’t go to a bar in Wyoming wearing a tutu. It really is that simple. This is not a justification of violence, but let’s not kid ourselves that there won’t be an expectation of violence, however unjustified.

    Not satisfied with arguing gay men are responsible for being assaulted, Erickson subsequently shamed a mother for “making a church full of people uncomfortable” by breastfeeding. Erickson derided the woman as “rude and inconsiderate of others,” saying, “if you want to breastfeed in public, go to a different chuch [sic].” Erickson concluded, “stop your bitching that others have to go along with your ‘rights.’ Get over yourself”:

    Now the latest outrage is a mom who decided to openly breast feed in church. While I have no problem with a mother doing this, a lot of people do. It is why even freaking Obamacare demanded businesses have lactation rooms where women could breastfeed in private.

    But what does this mom do? Instead of realizing she was making a church full of people uncomfortable, she ran to the internet to shame the church. Lady, you are not a victim. You are just rude and inconsiderate of others. And now you’re going to lawyer up against a church? The rest of the congregants have a right not to be made uncomfortable by one self-centered mother.

    If you want to breastfeed in public, go to a different chuch.

    If you want to wear a tutu in a bar, go to San Francisco.

    But stop your bitching that others have to go along with your “rights.” Get over yourself.

  • Right-Wing Media Figures Want Trump To Shut Down The Government So They Can Blame Democrats

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Right-wing media figures are displeased after the likelihood of a government shutdown seemed to fade following a breakthrough after days of failed negotiations and speculation. Specifically, right-wing media figures cheered the idea of a shutdown because they wanted to make sure that “Democrats get blamed” and to exact revenge after, as they claimed, Democrats made previous shutdowns “as painful as possible.”

  • Will Fox News Finally Take The Debt Ceiling Seriously?

    Fox Spent Years Urging Republicans To Default On The National Debt To Hurt President Obama

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Fox News personalities have urged them to use the threat of defaulting on the sovereign debt obligations of the United States government as a means of winning political concessions. With Republicans now in full control of Congress, will the talking heads at Fox finally come to terms with this monumental threat to the global economy and urge the GOP to raise the debt ceiling?

  • Conservative Media Figures Backing Trump's Supreme Court Nominee Are Whitewashing 293 Days Of GOP Obstruction

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conservative media figures celebrated President Donald Trump’s nomination of federal appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and suggested the Senate should confirm him. This view is hypocritical in light of the historic Senate GOP obstruction used to kill former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, who was a far less ideological choice than Gorsuch.

  • Here Are The Media Figures Who Praised Renowned Liar Sean Spicer

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has attracted widespread criticism for “a series of false statements” he made about the size of the crowds at the presidential inauguration. Prior to Spicer’s meltdown, however, some media figures were full of praise for the “competent, thorough” “straight shooter.”  Later, other media figures credited him for a supposed “reboot” in his first official press briefing as White House press secretary.

  • "My Shirts Aren't Going To Iron Themselves": Conservatives Launch Attacks On Women’s March

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Hundreds of thousands are protesting President Donald Trump’s administration and his hateful rhetoric during the campaign in the Women’s March on Washington and at numerous other marches across the United States and the world. Conservatives and other figures have attacked the demonstration with sexism and other demeaning comments.

    Erick Erickson: “Sorry For All The Ham And Cheese That Won’t Get Made Into Sandwiches” While “Those Women Are Marching.” Fox News contributor and conservative radio host Erick Erickson said, “I feel sorry for all the ham and cheese that won't get made into sandwiches while all those women are marching.”

    Piers Morgan: “Rabid Feminists” Creating “Global Emasculation Of My Gender.” Daily Mail columnist and former CNN host Piers Morgan wrote that he was “planning a 'Men's March' to protest at the creeping global emasculation of my gender by rabid feminists.” Morgan also labeled the demonstrations, “just an anti-democratic protest at Trump winning the presidency.”


    Michael Flynn Jr.: Women Marching For “Free Mani/Pedis.” Michael Flynn Jr., son of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, wrote that “Women already have equal rights, and YES equal pay in this country. What MORE do you want? Free mani/pedis?”

    Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson: Protesters Are “Utter Morons.” Paul Joseph Watson, who works for  conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars, argued that “morons” at the protest should “go and protest against honor killings” because “women in the west have never had it better.”

    Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft: “Overweight Homely Women March In DC.” Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit said, “Overweight homely women march in DC with ‘pussy grab’ pink hats #Ugh.” Gateway Pundit has recently reportedly received White House credentials from the Trump administration.

    Radio Host John Cardillo: “My Shirts Aren’t Going To Iron Themselves.” Conservative radio host John Cardillo wrote, “Wrap this up girls. My shirts aren't going to iron themselves.”

    David Clarke: March Was "An Absolute Freak Show." Frequent Fox News guest Sheriff David Clarke described the march as "an absolute freak show." He added, "P-T Barnum should have delayed the announcement to shut down."

    Conspiracy Theorist And Trump Backer Alex Jones: Women's March Participants Were "Unattractive, Troll-Like Women." Jones recounted his experience observing the Women's March in Washington D.C., stating, "They were outside my condo, we were about to leave, so I went down to do a Facebook mentions, and they would walk by, they were mainly white women. Mainly, let's just say it, because they have been disenfranchised, they don't feel beautiful, unattractive troll-like women."

    NRATV Co-Host: "At Least Trump Got More Fat Women Out For A Walk In One Day Then Michelle Obama Did In 8 Years." Chuck Holton, who hosts a web series for the National Rifle Association alongside Fox News contributor Oliver North, wrote on Twitter that participants in the march were "fat women":