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Media Matters / Andrea Austria

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Look what you made them do: Right-wing media figures are begging their colleagues to stop with Taylor Swift conspiracy theories

Fellow right-wing personalities are telling conspiracy theorists to “go outside,” begging them to “be normal,” and scolding them that “not everything you don’t like is a conspiracy.”

Some right-wing media figures are urging their fellow conservatives to back off from spreading conspiracy theories about Taylor Swift. 

A sizable portion of right-wing media has recently become obsessed with the conspiracy theory that Swift and her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce is a “psy-op” to influence NFL fans and the singer’s supporters to vote for President Joe Biden later this year. Others in right-wing media are now recognizing the absurdity of these claims and questioning why their colleagues are spreading them instead of focusing on issues that are important to voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

  • Right-wing media have relentlessly attacked Swift for being a Biden supporter despite the fact that she has not publicly endorsed him

    • As the race against Donald Trump heats up, Biden’s reelection campaign is eyeing a Taylor Swift endorsement. According to The New York Times, Swift “can move millions of supporters with an Instagram post or a mid-concert aside” and the Biden campaign is strategizing to get her endorsement (as she gave in 2020). [The New York Times, 1/29/24]
    • Swift has not endorsed Biden this year, yet some right-wing media personalities have pushed the conspiracy theory that she is a “psy-op” planted to gain votes for the president. Turning Point USA influencer Benny Johnson speculated that the fame of both Swift and Kelce has been “concocted” and that the Super Bowl will be “rigged for the Chiefs” in order to make them famous enough to sway the election. Failed GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Trump ally Laura Loomer, among others, have also supported this conspiracy theory. [Media Matters, 2/1/24]
    • Swift has been a right-wing target of sexist attacks and conspiracy theories for most of 2023.This is far from the first time that right-wing media have set their sights on Swift. The musician has been a target since 2018, when she endorsed Democrats Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives. Right-wing backlash against Swift resumed in 2023 amid her massively successful worldwide Eras tour, including misogynistic attacks and criticisms for her support of the LGBTQ community and her relationship with Kelce, who appeared in a Pfizer ad promoting the COVID-19 vaccine. [USA Today, 10/8/18; Media Matters, 12/23/23, 12/7/23, 9/27/23]
  • Some right-wing media figures are now pushing back on their colleagues, declaring that conspiracy theories about Swift and Kelce are a waste of time and an election mistake

    • Newsmax host Eric Bolling argued that “there's no proof that Taylor Swift and her media blitz is part of some government conspiracy.” However, Bolling did still find time to insult the pop star and her supporters, calling her a “useful idiot in political warfare” and her fans “lemmings who vote not based on issues, but on who their idol likes.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 1/31/24]
    • Daily Wire host Michael Knowles argued that going to war against Swift is not a good idea for conservatives. “I know that she’s a lib,” Knowles said. “I just don’t think it’s smart for conservatives to make an enemy of her and an enemy of her fans. Her fans are, broadly speaking, pretty normal people. And we should be normal too.” [The Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 1/31/24]
    • The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh inquired: “How is obsessively attacking her [Swift] a smart or effective counter strategy?” He added, “So you get a bunch of Fox News boomers all upset about Taylor Swift, and then what? And then what? What's step two?” [The Daily Wire, The Matt Walsh Show, 1/31/24]
    • Turning Point USA contributor Alex Clark said that the MAGA meltdown over Swift will be remembered as “one of the biggest election mistakes.” Speaking to Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, she argued, “I think looking back, this will be one of the biggest election mistakes conservatives will have made in hindsight is this entire ridiculous Twitter drama.” [Salem Media Group, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/31/24]
    • Ben Shapiro called the theory “indicative of a deeper rot inside the Republican Party.” Shapiro later asked whether the right’s fearmongering over Swift is “super worthwhile” and said, “Guys, not everything you don’t like is a conspiracy.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 1/30/24]
    • National Review urged the Swift psyop “freaks” to “go outside.” The article argued that right-wing Swift conspiracy theorists should “take a good look at what they’ve become, and follow the advice that is given to children when they start to get too squirrely: For goodness sake, go outside.” [National Review, 1/31/24]
    • The Federalist echoed the same sentiment, urging conspiracy theorists to “Stop Trying To Make ‘Taylor Swift Is A Psyop’ Happen.” The article concluded: “So let me just yet again implore you not to ascribe this much cultural, let alone political, power to a figure that hasn’t earned it or deserves it. She’s a pretty girl who writes catchy, if unremarkable, songs. Let that be enough.” [The Federalist, 2/1/24]
    • Another article for RedState called the conspiracy theories “quite a doozy” and “silly.” The article noted, “Over the past few days, some right-wing influencers began floating a new conspiracy theory involving the couple, and it’s quite a doozy. However, this odd obsession of some on the right has now gotten to the point where it has become, in a word, silly.” [RedState, 1/31/24]
    • Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis suggested that conservatives “stop complaining” about Swift and Kelce and instead “start actually making a difference on something that matters.” She posted on X: “This isn’t ‘a lot of people.’ It’s a few unserious ‘influencers’ who are mad that Kelce and Swift have more actual influence than they do. My suggestion: stop complaining about them and start actually making a difference on something that matters, like registering Republicans to vote.” [Twitter/X, 1/30/24]