In the current political climate -- well, in any political climate -- it's good to know who your adversaries are and what they're saying. For this reason, we're initiating a weekly roundup of the highlights and lowlights from Breitbart and other right-wing news and opinion websites.
Our inaugural entry (in more ways than one) takes note of these sites' coverage and commentary regarding the ban on entry to the U.S. from citizens of seven countries, the Women's Marches, and Donald Trump's swearing-in as president.
This big story over the weekend was chaos at U.S. airports as visitors and even green card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries were detained by customs and immigration officials, and denied entry in some cases. Protesters gathered at airports to support the travelers and denounce Trump's executive order placing a hold on their admission. The folks at Breitbart were quick to defend the ban, though, repeating Trump's claim that President Obama had put a six-month moratorium on Iraqi entrance to the U.S. in 2011.
Obama "did indeed ban immigration from Iraq, for much longer than Trump's order bans it from the seven listed nations, and none of the people melting down today uttered a peep of protest," John Hayward writes on Breitbart.
There are several things wrong with that statement. The Washington Post, in fact-checking Trump's claim, notes that the Obama administration began more stringently vetting visa applicants from Iraq in 2011 after two Iraqi refugees living in Kentucky were arrested on charges that before being granted asylum in the U.S., they had constructed improvised explosive devices used against U.S. troops in Iraq. The increased vetting caused some delays in processing visa applications for Iraqis, but it was not a ban, the Post reports.
"The Obama administration never said it was their policy to halt all applications," the Post reports. "Even so, the delays did not go unnoticed, so there was a lot of critical news reporting at the time about the angst of Iraqis waiting for approval. ... Obama's policy did not prevent all citizens of that country, including green-card holders, from traveling to the United States. Trump's policy is much more sweeping, though officials have appeared to pull back from barring permanent U.S. residents."
And while Breitbart was using this Obama administration action to justify Trump's order, it of course had to say Trump was far better than Obama. "Because he is a progressive globalist, Obama deliberately blinded us to security threats, in the name of political correctness and left-wing ideology," Hayward contends
Breitbart featured several other defenses of the Trump order, including a column by failed vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She denounces "hysteria" over the order and says calling it a ban amounted to "fake news," then concludes, "Trump's executive action is a step in the right direction towards welcoming safe, loving, law-abiding, hardworking, patriotic people into our nation that was built on the backs of safe, loving, law-abiding, hardworking, patriotic people willing to assimilate into America's exceptional melting pot."
The previous weekend was marked by Women's March on Washington and sister marches all over the world. In case you think sexism isn't alive and well, consider what the far-right sites had to say about the actions:
"Just another random protest march by the usual ragbag of leftist suspects, far too many of them blue hair, their whale-like physiques and terrifying camel-toes the size of the Grand Canyon."
This isn't from the comments section, folks. This sentence, grammatical problems and all, is from Breitbart contributor James Delingpole. And wait, there's more -- after sharing his tweet saying men would probably have to fetch their own beers the night after the march, he writes:
"Very few of these shrieking munters -- save the token celebrities -- will ever find themselves in a position where they are able to fetch a man's beer from his fridge because first they would have to find a man willing to share the same space with them."
According to Urban Dictionary, "munter" is British slang for an ugly woman. Dellingpole finishes:
"Still, when all is said and done I think we owe those women who took to the streets across the world in their various pod groups a massive favour. They have reminded us what a Hillary presidency would have looked like every single day for at least four years. And they have swept away any reservations we may have had about the absolute necessity of having voted for Donald Trump."
We'll just leave that there. Now, a few other commentaries on the Women's Marches:
"Commentators on MSNBC bragged about the crowd size of the women's marches but, as a fellow female, I couldn't help noticing the size of some of the marchers. There is a big difference between crowd numbers and crowd size." -- Townhall columnist Susan Stamper Brown
"Never have so many hotness-challenged crones so vehemently rejected being grabbed while simultaneously being at so little risk of it." -- Townhall columnist Kurt Schlicter
And conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's Infowars site, which is one that really brings the crazy, approvingly posted a video of a conservative activist called Big Joe confronting a participant in the Women's March in Los Angeles. "Planned Parenthood is a racist system," he says. "Margaret Sanger [Planned Parenthood's founder] thought very little of black people. She thought they were ignorant and shouldn't exist and shouldn't reproduce. ... You want to be against racists? You should be against Planned Parenthood." (Editor's note: The assertion that Sanger and her organization were/are racist is a bald-faced lie, but many on the right believe it.)
The marches came the day after Trump was sworn in as president. Many of us found his inaugural address divisive and dispiriting, but Breitbart contributor Joel B. Pollak didn't see it that way. "President Donald Trump's inaugural address on Friday was one of the more unique and memorable in recent decades, with clear themes of populism, nationalism, and unity," Pollak writes. He even asserts that Trump "subtly echoed the optimism of President John F. Kennedy" and reports that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who addressed the crowd before Trump, was "jeered when he made an earnest appeal for equality based on 'gender identity.'" There was some negative reaction to Schumer's speech, but plenty of positive too. See for yourself below.