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Diversity & Discrimination

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  • Candidate dropped by national GOP over racism hires consultant who advised businesses to avoid Black neighborhoods

    Sean Hannity is also trying to save Seth Grossman’s floundering campaign

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After national Republicans abandoned right-wing pundit Seth Grossman's congressional campaign over his promotion of white nationalist propaganda, the New Jersey Republican hired a political consultant who has repeatedly advised people to avoid opening businesses in Black neighborhoods.

    In July, the National Republican Congressional Committee dropped its support for Grossman shortly after Media Matters documented that he shared white nationalist propaganda, including an opinion piece claiming that Black people “are a threat to all who cross their paths.” Grossman, who is running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo, has pushed numerous other bigoted comments in his career as a commentator.  

    According to his latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, Grossman paid Atlantic Media & Research $5,000 for “strategic consulting” on September 17. Atlantic Media & Research is a North Carolina-based company run by Republican consultant Rick Shaftan.

    Reporters have documented that Shaftan has a history of making racist remarks.

    The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill reported on July 29 that Shaftan “tweeted that three majority-black U.S. cities were ‘shitholes’ and repeatedly warned against opening businesses in black neighborhoods.” From her piece:

    Shaftan, who runs communications for [Virginia Republican Senate candidate Corey] Stewart, has for years publicly disparaged black people on Twitter.

    “Crazed black people looting a liquor store is the ultimate racist stereotype. #Ferguson,” he tweeted in 2014 after the unrest following a white police officer’s killing of a black teenager. “After #Ferguson, only a fool would start, finance or insure a business in a black neighborhood,” he tweeted again. After violence in Baltimore following the death of a black man at the hands of police, Shaftan tweeted “The message out of Ferguson and Baltimore is a simple one: DON'T OPEN A BUSINESS IN A BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD!”

    Responding to the news of a robbery in 2011, Shaftan wrote in a now-deleted tweet: “Another reason why white people (and Asians and Latinos) don't want to live with black people. #TheTruthHurts #Reality”

    Weill noted that Shaftan also twice “called the NAACP ‘the Black KKK, only more violent and dangerous.’”

    CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie reported on August 1 that Shaftan “used the term ‘house negro’ to criticize the GOP establishment and disparaged prominent Civil Rights figures John Lewis and Rosa Parks.”

    They additionally wrote that Shaftan referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, "the first Sikh to hold the office, as ‘Turban Man,’ a term for which two local radio hosts were suspended” in July

    Grossman isn't the only Republican candidate working with Shaftan in recent months.

    According to FEC records, Arizona Republican and congressional candidate Wendy Rogers has paid tens of thousands of dollars to Shaftan’s company for polling. The payments have continued even after media reports have come out about Shaftan’s racism.

    Shaftan has also done work for neo-Confederate and Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart, who has numerous ties to white nationalists.

    Though national Republicans have “written off” Grossman’s race, Fox News host Sean Hannity is still holding out hope for retaining the seat.

    During his October 16 Fox News show, while running through “10 more of the House races that will decide the fate of the country,” Hannity said that Grossman is “in an extremely tough race against Democrat Jeff Van Drew. Yes, New Jersey matters.” Grossman picked up Hannity’s comment and promoted it on his campaign website and in a fundraising email.

  • #WontBeErased: Transgender activists and allies rally against Trump administration's attempt to erase trans people

    Protesters explain why media must include trans voices in their coverage

    Blog ››› ››› MILES LE & AUDREY BOWLER

    Transgender activists and their allies gathered in front of the White House on Monday to protest the Trump administration's latest attack on transgender rights.

    The New York Times recently uncovered a memo drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services that would severely constrain the legal definition of sex and gender. The proposal suggested key government agencies define gender as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” meaning that gender would be defined as determined by genitalia at birth or through genetic testing.

    This definition, if implemented, would have enormous repercussions for transgender and gender nonconforming people in the United States. It would basically eliminate federal recognition for those 1.4 million people who identify as a gender other than the one listed on their birth certificate.

    Since the news broke, the trans community and their allies have rallied to protest the administration's continued attempts to roll back civil rights protections for LGBTQ, and particularly transgender, Americans.

    Here's what activists had to say about protecting trans rights and the media's role in covering the transgender community, including the need for media to include trans voices in their coverage of LGBTQ issues and talk about the very real ways this will hurt people:

  • Meet The Press sanitizes Proud Boys’ involvement in Miami protests

    Host Chuck Todd discusses “angry people left and right” ahead of midterms, doesn’t mention that one party has a violent extremist group on its side 

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    On October 17, protesters organized by the Republican Party of Miami-Dade, FL, gathered outside the campaign headquarters of Democratic congressional candidate Donna Shalala ahead of scheduled appearances by Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). The chair of the local Republican party was recorded aggressively knocking on the door of the venue as members of the violent extremist group Proud Boys yelled expletives at Pelosi.

    As The Miami Herald reported:

    [Miami-Dade Republican Party chair Nelson] Diaz, who is Cuban-American, was videotaped during the protest repeatedly banging on a locked door used moments earlier by Pelosi to enter Shalala’s campaign offices. He stood by as a member of the so-called Proud Boys, a national organization characterized as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, heckled and hurled expletives at Pelosi as she walked inside.

    “You don’t belong here you f**king communist,” the Proud Boy, Enrique Tarrio, is heard yelling. “Open up, it’s the Proud Boys in here.”

    Diaz later told the Herald that he apologized for his own behavior. He also denied knowing about the group prior to the protest and said he did not invite them.

    In a panel discussion on the October 21 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press, host Chuck Todd addressed “anger on the left and right” ahead of the midterms, and showed part of the video of the protesters and Proud Boys members heckling Pelosi and later banging on the door as it closed. He then noted vaguely, “Dade County Republican Party chairman actually apologized for the treatment of that.”

    Based on this sanitizing statement, viewers might believe that the local GOP chair was admonishing a protest that got out of hand -- not that he himself was knocking angrily on the door alongside members of the Proud Boys. In fact, Todd didn’t mention the group “Proud Boys” at all in the discussion, let alone give any hint of its well-documented white supremacist ties or violent history, including when its members violently beat protesters on the streets of New York City days earlier as they yelled anti-LGBTQ slurs.

    Below is the full panel segment with some selected transcript.

    CHUCK TODD (HOST): We’ve had a couple of mob scenes where leaders of the Democrats and of the Republicans were both publicly harassed. Here’s a scene with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi down in Miami earlier this week.  

    [CLIP]

    TODD: Dade County Republican Party chairman actually apologized for the treatment of that. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader -- TMZ posted this video from Friday night in a restaurant in Louisville where he is getting harassed. Take a listen.

    [CLIP]

    TODD: You know, [panelist] Peggy Noonan, each party -- and I’ve watched them and it really disgusts me -- they try to weaponize these incidents on the other side, saying “look at what an angry mob” you know saying on the left or, “These angry people on the right.” We have angry people left and right. This isn’t made-up. It’s ugly. It’s bad. And I think leaders of both parties need to accept that.

    To bolster its “both sides” framing, Meet the Press’ evidence of “anger on the left” comprised a clip of protesters interrupting Sen. Mitch McConnell’s dinner at a Kentucky restaurant. And later in the segment, panelist David Brody revived a nonsensical right-wing media smear suggesting former Attorney General Eric Holder wants people to literally kick conservatives.

  • Media keep talking about "identity politics." But what does it even mean anymore?

    More than 40 years after the term was coined, “identity politics” has been reduced to buzzword status.

    Blog ››› ››› PARKER MOLLOY


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    For nearly two years, Democrats have been desperate to understand the secret to President Donald Trump’s success. This week, Fox Business hosts Lou Dobbs and Trish Regan might have just figured it out.

    From the October 15 edition of Trish Regan Primetime (emphasis added):

    TRISH REGAN (HOST): You look at the Democrats right now, and they’re really clinging to this idea of identity politics. In your view, what are they missing?

    LOU DOBBS: Well, group and identity politics are really the blueprint for the Democratic Party. It's no longer, as it once was, about the American worker. It's no longer about middle America or middle class Americans. For 20 years, they watched the middle class in this country shrink. It took none other than President Donald J. Trump to step up and say he is for the American worker, the American working family, for the middle class, and put America first. And with that he has driven, it seems to me, a stake into the heart of group and identity politics. Because remember, Trish, and I know you do, this is a president -- from the moment he began campaigning -- says he will be the president of all Americans. ... This is a president of possibility and an insistence upon dreaming, dreaming -- all America is dreaming. And, by the way, those dreams are being realized in 21 months this man has been in office.

    REGAN: It’s amazing because in some ways, Lou, I think he's beating them at their own game. I mean, they used to be about middle class, working Americans, and then all of a sudden, as we saw in 2016 and the aftermath right up until today, things became about, say, the transgender population, which is 0.01 percent of the population. Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. However, they forgot, they forgot all these people out there going to work every day trying to make a living, trying to put food on the table, and consequently, Donald Trump stole their thunder.

    Ah yes, identity politics! Like its rhetorical cousin “political correctness,” identity politics has become one of those catch-all terms that means whatever the person saying it wants it to mean at that particular moment. For the past several years, it’s been deployed derisively to dismiss concerns specific to any group outside of the ruling class. Marriage equality? Identity politics. Black Lives Matter? Definitely identity politics. Protecting the right to an abortion? Massive identity politics. And, well, you get the idea.

    In the above discussion between Dobbs and Regan, Regan cited the Democratic Party’s focus on issues specific to trans people as part of its downfall. After all, if just 0.01 percent of the country is transgender and Democrats are really going all-in on policies and campaign promises that would solely benefit that community, that does seem like a foolish use of resources. Unfortunately for Regan, neither point is really true. Regan was off by a factor of 60 in her trans statistic -- the Williams Institute estimates that 1.4 million adults, or 0.6 percent of the population, identify as trans.

    But to her second point: Yes, Democrats did include a few nods to the trans community in their 2016 party platform, such as supporting the passage of an LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimination bill and highlighting violence against trans people. But was that to the exclusion of anyone or anything else? No, not really. On the flip side, the Republican platform leaned into these issues hard, strongly opposing a recently implemented marriage equality ruling; pledging to stop using Title IX “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people,” as they allege President Barack Obama had done with his “dear colleague” memo to schools saying bullying against trans students isn’t OK; championing the passage of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would shield people from local and state statutes banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation so long as the person discriminating cites a strongly held religious belief; and support for discriminatory anti-trans policies in public space, such as North Carolina’s controversial, anti-trans HB 2 legislation.

    Objectively speaking, on issues of LGBTQ rights, the Republican Party simply is more invested in identity politics. It shows in how the party has governed, too. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2017 -- overwhelmingly by Republicans. Democrats are left with the option to either push back against the anti-LGBTQ attacks (and be accused by media figures of playing identity politics) or simply roll over and let a socially conservative agenda pass without opposition. The reason the “Democrats must drop their obsession with identity politics” narrative has more or less become conventional wisdom in the aftermath of 2016 elections is that media -- both mainstream and partisan -- ignore the identity politics of the right.

    Conservative identity politics are all around us, but we've been conditioned not to notice.

    In a study titled “One Tribe to Bind Them All: How Our Social Group Attachments Strengthen Partisanship,” published earlier this year in the Advances in Political Psychology journal, researchers Lilliana Mason and Julie Wronski observed the ways in which our various identities shape -- and have always shaped -- our political beliefs and motivations, even if not consciously.

    Mason and Wronski concluded that, currently, it’s actually Republicans who are more likely to respond to stimuli along identity-based lines. This is due, in part, to the fact that Republicans tend to be more demographically homogeneous -- that is, their two most consistent identities are that of being white and Christian -- whereas Democrats’ power, or lack thereof, relies on just a tenuous connection between varying racial, gender, sexual, and religious coalitions. They write:

    Interestingly, in the realm of “identity politics,” it is generally the Democratic Party that is associated with the use of social identities for political gain. In fact, what we find here is that, if anything, Republicans are more responsive to the alignment of their party-associated groups. Among Republicans, the most cross‐cutting identities are more detrimental to in‐party allegiance than they are among Democrats. Grossman and Hopkins (2016) suggest that Democrats are the party of group interests and Republicans the party of ideological purity. What we find is that Republican “purity” applies to in‐party social homogeneity. A Republican who does not fit the White, Christian mold is far less attached to the Republican Party than one who does fit the mold. This effect is stronger among Republicans than among Democrats, who include significantly more individuals whose racial and religious identities do not match those of the average Democrat. The concept of a “deal‐breaker” identity among Republicans is more feasible than it is among Democrats, as Republicans are generally associated with fewer linked social groups. In this sense, Republicans are more reliant than Democrats on their social identities for constructing strong partisan attachments.

    This could help to explain why media’s identity-based messaging -- such as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham warning her viewers that if they don’t vote Republican, they will be “replace[d] … with newly amnestied citizens and an ever increasing number of chain migrants,” or conservative sites like Breitbart spending years accusing Democrats of waging a “war on Christians” -- tends to resonate with white conservative Americans. It’s why reminding white voters that they may soon be a racial minority in the U.S. is a tried and true way to shift politically unaffiliated white voters to more conservative positions. In July, The Washington Post published the story of a white woman experiencing “demographic anxiety” while trying to fit in with non-English-speaking co-workers, explaining the idea that whites no longer comprising a majority in the country played a role in driving white voters to adopt anti-immigration viewpoints and align more closely with Republicans.

    This still doesn’t explain why a Republican suggesting that Democrats are a threat to the right to practice Christianity is not typically viewed through the lens of “identity politics,” but a Democrat arguing that Republicans are a threat to reproductive rights is. Perhaps this is the result of in-group bias, with U.S. newsrooms still disproportionately white and male. It seems as logical an explanation as any. Mason and Wronski refer to whiteness and Christianity as “the ‘correct’ alignment of social identities,” which is to say that people, including media figures, are conditioned to see this as the default.

    The outcry against "identity politics" is, itself, deeply rooted in identity politics.

    Sometimes, trying to avoid the “identity politics” smear means explicit exclusion of people … on the basis of identity. For instance, after Democrats nominated an especially diverse slate of candidates in local and state primaries this year, some even called that an example of identity politics, suggesting that there’s no reason anybody other than a straight, white, cisgender man should consider running for office lest it be considered an identity-based stunt. PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil wrote, “Democrats in various states took up the identity politics banner, pushing candidates who fit the minority mold. The August 14 primaries elevated transgender, Muslim, black, and socialist candidates, further cementing the Democratic Party's national radical identity politics brand.”

    At other times, avoiding the charge of playing “identity politics” means abandoning your ideological principles, as self-described liberal Mark Lilla wrote in The New York Times after the 2016 election. Democrats’ “obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored,” he wrote. Lilla’s advice was for Democrats to adopt “a post-identity liberalism” and refocus on the issues that affect the “vast majority,” rather than on things like LGBTQ rights or abortion. In other words, he thinks the answer is to focus on issues that also affect the “angry white male,” whom he describes without a hint of irony as a “maligned, and previously ignored, figure.”

    As I illustrated earlier in this piece, contra Lilla, there’s not really a way to sidestep identity-based battles with a truce of neutrality. The culture war, itself another description of identity politics in this current usage, will rage on regardless. The only question that remains is whether in the name of abandoning “identity politics,” people like Lilla think it’s worth letting the most marginalized groups in society see their rights stripped away bit by bit, all for a political gamble that may not even pay off.

    Telling a group -- whether it’s Democrats, Republicans, people of color, LGBTQ people, the religious, the non-religious -- to abandon identity politics doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s just a buzzword, and journalists owe it to the public to stop using it that way.

    But “identity politics” in its original use is totally different from the way it’s used today.

    Up until this point, I’ve been using the term as it is used most commonly by media covering politics. However, the original definition, which originated in “The Combahee River Collective Statement,” a 1977 missive on the path forward for Black feminism, means almost the exact opposite. Reading the statement, you wouldn’t get the sense that four decades later, people would be using the term to refer to the siloing of identities and exclusion. Here’s one salient passage:

    We have arrived at the necessity for developing an understanding of class relationships that takes into account the specific class position of Black women who are generally marginal in the labor force, while at this particular time some of us are temporarily viewed as doubly desirable tokens at white-collar and professional levels. We need to articulate the real class situation of persons who are not merely raceless, sexless workers, but for whom racial and sexual oppression are significant determinants in their working/economic lives.

    In short, the statement argues that to fight for the rights, treatment, and protection of all, we need to actually hear from all. People need to be able to advocate on their own behalf, but they also need to build coalitions with like-minded individuals. Pretending that differences don’t exist  and ignoring the role racism, sexism, homophobia, and general intolerance play in society doesn’t actually address any of those issues. They don’t simply go away on their own.

    “To be recognized as human, levelly human, is enough,” reads another pertinent line. The suggestion that identity politics means progress for some at the expense of others is a perversion of the term’s defining document.

    In a January Twitter thread responding to a David Brooks New York Times column about identity politics, Barbara Smith, one of the Combahee River Collective Statement authors, set the record straight, writing, “Once again Brooks gets identity politics totally wrong!” She continued:

    I can confirm that identity politics means nothing remotely like what Brooks and others like Mark Lilla say. There have been systems of institutionalized oppression in the U. S. like white supremacy, capitalism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia which predate the term identity politics by several centuries. The political theory and practice of identity politics has been most useful for building coalitions with people of various identities who are committed to working together to eradicate these systems and not for creating enemies lists.

    Whether it’s time to retire any particular political strategy is an issue that’s not for me to decide. What I can suggest, however, is that media start focusing on how the term “identity politics” -- in its modern use -- applies to Republican strategy just as much as Democratic efforts, if not more. Better yet, maybe we can just phase out usage of the term as rhetorical empty calories and instead be specific about what we mean.

  • Republicans have already empowered gangs and extremist groups

    From the Proud Boys to Turning Point USA, extremists are ascendant on the right, but legacy media are too often playing catch-up

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Let's be clear about the state of things. A well-connected sitting congressman endorsed a neo-Nazi for political office, and it wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened. To the contrary, GOP candidates across the country have links to white nationalists. The GOP president -- who is the undisputed center of the party -- is a former game show host whose administration has repeatedly defended violent extremists. And his son has even appeared on a white nationalist show. The debate is over. The extremists have taken over the party.

    And yet, legacy media outlets are too often caught completely unaware.

    On October 12, the Metropolitan Republican Club hosted Gavin McInnes, founder of the self-identified “gang” Proud Boys. During the event, McInnes re-enacted the violent 1960 murder of Japanese socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma. After McInnes' appearance, a number of Proud Boys were taped nearby brutally beating and kicking several individuals” and shouting homophobic slurs at protesters. Videos show "more than a dozen" Proud Boys, including at least three skinheads, punching and kicking protesters on the ground.

    In response, The New York Times has covered McInnes' exploits with kid gloves and reduced his extremism to mere provocation. Just look how thrilled white supremacist Ann Coulter was with the piece:

    The Times’ irresponsible description of McInnes as simply a "far-right provocateur" is already memorialized on Wikipedia, potentially the most widely read source of information by audiences that might never have heard of him before. As Jacob Weindling wrote, "You can quote Gavin McInnes directly while describing events that happened and get a harsher description of McInnes than the NYT wrote. ... I don't know how you can call the beginning of this article anything other than white nationalist propaganda."

    Weindling is correct. Just look at McInnes’ speech to the Manhattan Republican Club, in which he told Republicans that they need Proud Boys as “foot soldiers," because of what they have in common. Or look at what McInnes said on his podcast on October 14, when he defended the use of anti-LGBTQ slurs.

    And this characterization matters. While the Times is describing McInnes as a "provocateur," and NBC News is portraying the Proud Boys as a "nationalist movement," the reality is that we're in far more dangerous territory. As Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill noted, by making alliances with groups like the Proud Boys, “mainstream Republicans can sort of outsource the political and physical violence that they’d like to enact against opponents.”

    And McInnes is not an isolated figure: He and the Proud Boys are deeply entwined in right-wing media. McInnes was a contributor to Fox News for eight years, appearing on Sean Hannity’s show at least 24 times. In 2017, Hannity hosted another Proud Boy with ties to the violent white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally to discuss political violence. Fox host Mark Levin has given McInnes two shows on his online outlet CRTV, where McInnes has pushed extremist bigotry like promoting men’s rights activism, calling female journalists “colostomy bag for various strangers’ semen,” and glorifying violence and fighting. Fox host Tucker Carlson happily posed with Roger Stone and two Proud Boys in a Fox green room and “declined to disavow” the group when asked about it. McInnes shows up on right-wing radio and on right-wing YouTube. In an era in which the right-wing is doing everything it can to suppress opposition, it's no wonder that the Proud Boys are now part of the Republican machine.

    It's not just the Proud Boys, either.

    On the October 17 edition of Today, NBC gave a platform to Identity Evropa -- a white supremacist group actively seeking to rebrand its racism as identitarianism. The network referred to Identity Evropa as a “fringe group,” yet NBC still gave its leaders a softball interview on a show that consistently reaches the coveted demographic of adults ages 25-54; its affiliated channel MSNBC also aired segments featuring the group and other white supremacists.

    NBC’s Peter Alexander played into Identity Evropa's obsession with “optics” and rejection of “anti-social behavior” by remarking on how “clean cut” its representatives look. The segment allowed the white supremacist organization to expand its reach beyond YouTube and social media to recruit followers and promote its talking points, which include blatantly pushing white nationalism using the Republican Party as a vehicle. The group's leader was thrilled was the exposure.

    It's clear that the communications wing of the GOP has no problem with these groups.

    On October 16, Fox News host Laura Ingraham invited Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson on her show for a softball interview. Patriot Prayer is a far-right coalition whose membership overlaps with the Proud Boys and whose unity relies on their common “hatred for the left.” Gibson has personally encouraged his followers to instigate violence, promising that counterprotesters “are going to feel the pain.” Ingraham's interview conveniently ignored a report by The Oregonian that the group had "a cache of guns" including "long guns" on a rooftop in Portland, OR, before a summer protest. That's where we are: One of the president's favorite television hosts did a friendly interview with the type of person whose group sets up a cache of guns during a protest of that president.

    Fox also frequently hosts Turning Point USA’s most prominent members, Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, close allies of the president. Left unmentioned are the extremist views of TPUSA. The Miami New Times unearthed online chats from one TPUSA chapter that feature members warning each other about not using racial slurs too often, talking about "watching underage cartoon pornography and deporting Latina women," and sharing memes about "Syrian men raping a white Swedish woman at gunpoint." An attendee at a TPUSA conference was filmed praising Nazi Germany. And when TPUSA pushed out the person who wrote "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all. ... I hate blacks," the replacement was someone who said, "I love making racist jokes." Undeterred, Fox News hosts and top allies of the president happily attend TPUSA events, and TPUSA members openly raise money off of Fox segments that fearmonger about the liberalization of college campuses. It's quite the con.

    Or look at Fox host Tucker Carlson, an innovator in this space. Instead of mainstreaming an extremist group, Carlson is cutting out the middleman and mainstreaming men's rights and white supremacist propaganda himself.

    Make no mistake: People across America are seeing all of this and speaking up. But at some point, it'd be nice if the legacy media would notice too.

  • Rep. Duncan Hunter ad features conspiracy theorist who claimed immigrants are diseased and Muslims are trying to secretly conquer America

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) racist attack against Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar features a bigoted conspiracy theorist who has claimed that refugees and undocumented immigrants bring “diseases”; Muslim refugees entering the country represent a “stealth jihadi war of conquest and colonization of America”; and the Muslim Brotherhood has been “entrenched as a dangerous ‘Fifth Column’ throughout the US Government.”

    A federal grand jury recently indicted Hunter and his wife on “charges they used $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use and filed false campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission to mask their actions,” as the Los Angeles Times summarized. Hunter has remained in office and been running a racist campaign against Campa-Najjar, a Christian who is of Palestinian and Latino descent.

    Hunter recently released a bigoted ad calling Campa-Najjar a "security risk" and claiming that he’s trying to “infiltrate” Congress (Campa-Najjar passed multiple security clearances when he worked for the Obama administration). The ad includes video of Joseph R. John claiming on the conservative One America News Network (OANN) that the Democrat “is being supported by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood” and it is “a well-orchestrated plan.” The ad’s line of attack is a main theme pushed by Hunter’s campaign.

    The Washington Post’s Fact Checker section noted that “all the claims in the ad are false, misleading or devoid of evidence,” adding, “It’s worth mentioning that the OANN commentator quoted as saying ‘this is a well-orchestrated plan’ was not referring to Campa-Najjar’s candidacy but to the conspiracy theories that the Justice Department indicted Hunter for political reasons. A selective bit of editing, however, took this quote out of context.”

    Joseph John is a retired Navy Reserve captain and a right-wing pundit who writes online commentary pieces. He also co-founded the Combat Veterans For Congress PAC.

    He has a history of bigoted commentary, including about immigrants and Muslims. John has complained that American children have “to spend every day in public school rooms with refugees and Illegal Aliens” who have arrived from “unprincipled and undiscipled (sic) countries” and bring “communicable diseases” (that old trope is a myth). He's also written that allowing Muslim refugees into the country constitutes "the stealth jihadi war of conquest and colonization of America with a ‘peaceful’ invasion."

    He’s also a heavy promoter of the conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government. John has claimed that the Democratic Party placed "Muslim Brotherhood Terrorists into sensitive US Government security positions" and former President Barack Obama purposely tried to populate the country with "criminals and Radical Islamic Terrorists."

    Here are some of the worst remarks in his commentary pieces:

    John: The Democratic Party platform supports “the continued placement of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorists into sensitive US Government security positions.” [10/17/16]

    John: “Obama has been filling the Washington bureaucracy ... with thousands of members of Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood front groups."

    Obama has been filling the Washington bureaucracy, including DHS, the CIA, the FBI, DOD, the National Security Council, the White House, the State Department, every Department of Government, every US Intelligence Agency, and the US Armed Forces, with thousands of members of Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood front groups. Some of those front groups are the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Political Action Committee (MPAC), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); a number of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood & their front groups have become a “Fifth Column.” [10/27/16]​

    John: “The Muslim Brotherhood is better entrenched as a dangerous ‘Fifth Column’ throughout the US Government.”

    Even though the head of the FBI said the Muslim Brotherhood is undermining democracy of the United States and supporting terrorism, for 8 years Obama appointed members of the Muslim Brotherhood Front Groups to highly sensitive leadership positions in US Intelligence, Federal Law Enforcement, National Security, and most Government Agencies creating a very dangerous “Fifth Column” in the US Government designed to destabilize the US Constitutional government. The Muslim Brotherhood is better entrenched as a dangerous “Fifth Column” throughout the US Government, than the Communist Party’s once was as an entrenched “Fifth Column” in the 1940s and 1950s. In addition, Obama and Clinton supported and assisted the Muslim Brotherhood in overthrowing friendly governments to the US in Egypt and Libya, and they established a gun running operation through Qatar to Syria via Turkey, in order to support the MB in deposing Assad and in Syria. [3/14/17]

    John on allowing Muslim refugees into the country: “This is the stealth jihadi war of conquest and colonization of America with a ‘peaceful’ invasion.”

    Those 10,000 Muslim refugees that Obama is dumping on the American people are mostly single young males, of the age where they can bear arms and mount attacks on American citizens and US facilities.

    These 10,000 Muslim refugees will immediately start clamoring to bring in their wives, children parents, siblings and so forth. The total will amount to thousands of mostly hostile Muslims, over and above the first 10,000 refugees. This is the stealth jihadi war of conquest and colonization of America with a “peaceful” invasion, that Obama has been forcing on the Republic for nearly 7 years. [9/21/15]

    John: Obama “is intentionally trying to create a society populated by lawlessness criminals and Radical Islamic Terrorists.”

    Obama intentions (sic) can no longer be misunderstood, when the above actions are coupled with his refusal to secure the wide open southern border for nearly 7 years, he is intentionally trying to create a society populated by lawlessness criminals and Radical Islamic Terrorists, and create unrest throughout the country. By these last ditch actions before his term of office is over, and Obama’s actions are endangering the lives of millions of American citizens, further violating his oath of office where he twice swore to protect and defend the lives of all American citizens? [10/7/15]

    John: Americans "would not want their children or grandchildren to spend every day in public school rooms with refugees and Illegal Aliens” who have arrived from “unprincipled and undiscipled (sic) countries” and carry "communicable diseases."

    Certain countries are dangerous to even walk around in---I have been in many of them. They have corrupt governments, fail to educate their youth, refuse to take care of their sick and dying, fail to properly feed their citizens, have many bad ideas about governing, have population involved in criminal activities with little concern about right or wrong, have broken cultures, have young males who don't respect women & rape them, in some countries young boys are sexual slaves, in some cultures male adults are engage in sexual activities with barn yard animals, some local water system are full of communicable diseases, in some countries roadside ditches are used as community latrines, some countries have populations who support terrorism, some cultures have extremely poor sanitary & personal hygiene standards, some countries support and promote the drug culture, some countries do not inoculate their citizens to prevent diseases, some countries are full of rubbish on the streets and in the water, some countries have diseased flies and mosquitos repeatedly infecting the population, etc.

    When refugees and illegal aliens arrive in the US they are not quarantined, which is required by US Federal Immigration Law and US Public Health Regulations, as immigrants once were at Ricker’s Island. Illegal Aliens have been introducing communicable diseases, that were once eliminated, back into the public school systems. Diseases that were once under control are being exposed to public school children, like ring worm, mumps, Scalia, polio, hepatitis, malaria, scarlet fever, typhus, small pox, yellow fever, etc. Illegal immigrants, without vaccinations, have not only infected school children, they have been infecting many US Border Patrolmen.  

    Law abiding and tax paying Americans would not want their children or grandchildren to spend every day in public school rooms with refugees and Illegal Aliens, who arrived from the above listed types of unprincipled and undiscipled (sic) countries, who have not been quarantined to detect and treat communicable diseases? The Progressives, elected members of Congress, the Washington elite, and the well-known TV anchors from the left of center liberal media establishment, send their children to private schools; they don’t have to worry about having their children get infected with communicable diseases, nor to be held back in their education in very slow moving public schools classes because the illegal aliens and refugees can’t speak, write, nor understand English. [1/16/18]

    John: “Criminal Illegal Aliens” have been “populating over 300 Sanctuary Cities, who have been stealing autos, burglarizing home (sic), robbing businesses, holding up individuals, dealing drugs, trafficking in white slavery, and killing thousands of Americans.”

    President Elect Trump developed a relationship and trust with

    ...

    16 Thousands of family members/friends who have been devastated by the estimated 3 million protected “convicted” criminal Illegal Aliens populating over 300 Sanctuary Cities, who have been stealing autos, burglarizing home (sic), robbing businesses, holding up individuals, dealing drugs, trafficking in white slavery, and killing thousands of Americans for 8 years. [12/5/16]​

    In reality, as The Washington Post reported, “Undocumented immigrants are considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens, with immigrants legally in the United States even less likely to do so.

    John: The United States is being harmed by the “continued invasion of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens." [4/9/18]