According to far-right websites, the nation and world are in grave danger from two pop-music stars: Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
The Advocate is reading those sites so you don’t have to, and so these bizarre ideas are highlighted before building support for extreme political measures and opposition to any progressive moves.
The most bizarre rant of the past week had to be one from Alex Jones of Infowars, which far surpasses Breitbart and the others in pure craziness. Before Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl, Jones posted a video in which he claimed that Gaga would be performing a satanic ritual.
“They say she’s going to stand on top of the stadium, ruling over everyone with drones everywhere, surveilling everyone in a big swarm,” he said. “To just condition them to say ‘I am the goddess of Satan’ ruling over them with the rise of the robots in a ritual of lesser magic.”
“Organizers are deciding to defile America and break our will by having us bow down to this,” he continued.
Of course, Gaga’s show included drones but nothing of the satanic kind. Jones, a supporter of Donald Trump, did hedge his bets by saying maybe she wouldn’t stand on top of the stadium. But he probably thought “This Land Is Your Land” and “Born This Way” were satanic anthems anyway.
Oh, and Jones also asserted that Gaga is involved in child sex trafficking rings that operate out of pizza parlors — an operation that is supposedly run by Hillary Clinton. “Pizzagate” has been widely debunked, but this conspiracy theory did lead a man to fire shots at a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., in December. And later Jones posted a series of videos alleging that “elite” opposition to new Attorney General Jeff Sessions stems from the fact that he'll go after a “globalist pedophile ring.” Jones unfortunately mixes wild, unfounded allegations about Clinton adviser John Podesta and others with coverage of real cases of child sexual abuse, like the one at Penn State.
Then last Friday, Infowars contributor Paul Joseph Watson published a piece denouncing Katy Perry’s new song “Chained to the Rhythm,” saying one portion of the lyrics “openly encourages her fans to riot.” The lines in question: “We’re stumbling, we’re crumbling, and we’re about to riot / They woke up, they woke up the lions.”
The song is definitely a political statement, but it’s more than a stretch to say Perry is encouraging violent riots, just like it would be to think Madonna was actually going to bomb the White House. Watson did backtrack a bit, saying, “While it’s unlikely that Perry’s fans are likely to organize a mass riot any time soon, her new song highlights how popular culture is re-branding civil unrest as a trendy form of virtue signaling in order to cash in on the deep political divisions that plague America.” That’s a fairly tortured way of saying her activism is insincere because she wants to make money with her music. Oh, but Infowars would never say that about Ted Nugent, right?
When not warning of threats from music stars, the bat-crazy wing of the right wing has been reporting uncritically on Trump’s assertion that terrorist attacks go unreported, wishing he would hate LGBT people just a little more (and no, we’re not duped into thinking he likes us), defending his now-halted travel ban, continuing to denounce investment manager and philanthropist George Soros — as they think his donations to liberal causes serve a nefarious purpose — and lambasting Nordstrom for its decision to no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s branded merchandise.
On February 6, Breitbart carried a story on Donald Trump’s statement to senior U.S. military commanders that terrorism “has gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”
What Breitbart didn’t report, though, and the mainstream media did was that when White House officials provided a list of 78 terror attacks they said were covered insufficiently or not at all, it turned out that every one of them had received extensive coverage, except for one that could not be independently verified, according to fact-checking site PolitiFact. That site rated the list “Pants on Fire.”
The list included the shooting last June at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead and dozens more injured — and was certainly the subject of many news articles. Trump had used the attack to claim he’d be a better president for LGBT people than Clinton, as he alleged he’d be tougher in fighting terrorists. But saying we don’t deserve death by terrorism is setting a pretty low bar for allyship.
And saying he won’t revoke President Obama's executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination by companies with federal contracts, again, doesn't make him an ally. Still, some on the right are calling for Trump to be more anti-LGBT.
Michael Brown, a columnist who’s carried on Townhall and other right-wing sites, was disappointed in Vice President Mike Pence’s statements on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, with Pence saying discrimination and prejudice have no place in his and Trump’s administration.
“Mr. Vice President, I know you are a committed Christian yourself, but may I ask if you are saying that it is prejudiced and discriminatory for someone to believe that it’s best for a child to have a mother and father (rather than two fathers or two mothers)?” Brown wrote in a column published Tuesday on Townhall. “That it is prejudiced and discriminatory to believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman (and therefore not the union of two men or two women)? That it is prejudiced and discriminatory to believe that a 15-year-old boy who believes he is a girl should not be allowed to play on the girls’ sports teams or share their locker rooms and shower stalls?”
We’ll just leave that there, prejudiced statements, mischaracterization of transgender people, and all. And there’s still the matter of that reported draft of a “religious freedom” executive order that would amount to a license to discriminate against LGBT people and many others. The administration has not confirmed or denied that the order is under consideration.
The far-right sites have been falling all over themselves defending Trump’s travel ban, which blocked entry to the U.S. for 90 days by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, while suspending entry by refugees from Syria indefinitely and other refugees for 120 days. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit kept the order on hold while lawsuits against it make their way through the courts.
And did that decision come in for some denunciation. "It is ugly to say, but is likely true, that the courts may have increased the threat of terror to our country,” wrote Joel B. Pollak on Breitbart. The Breitbart folks also did a super awkward, unchallenging interview with White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the court battle over the order, while Infowars excoriated the decision as a “globalist rebellion” and a “coup.”
Before the decision came down, World Net Daily carried a column condemning opposition to the travel ban as “hysterical overreaction.” Liberals, according the columnist, one David Kupelian, have “a consuming obsession with transforming the entire country, which they see as an exploitive racist superpower, into a neutered, multicultural, socialist welfare state.”
“In fact, the hate-America left sees their country as so guilty for preying upon and exploiting the world’s black- and brown-skinned populations that they think we are obligated — as a matter of essential justice — to bring as many immigrants as possible into America, preferably from ‘exploited’ non-Western, non-white, non-Christian populations — and then, as a matter of both charity and penance, to support them with taxpayer dollars,” Kupelian continued This despite much indicating that immigrants don’t drain taxpayer funds but add to them, among many other problems with Kupelian’s analysis, which also claims “the glorification of homosexuality and ‘transgenderism’” is contributing to America’s decline. Yep, this is where many Trump supporters get their information.
Far-right commentators continue to go after one of their favorite enemies, George Soros, who is known for giving billions of dollars to progressive causes. But a site called LifeZette thinks that means Soros is personally behind lawsuits filed against the Trump administration by the American Civil Liberties Union and others.
Well, not that the ACLU suing Trump is a bad thing, nor is Soros's philanthropy, but funders don't generally call the shots. LifeZette believes they do, however, and that Soros isn't trying to preserve civil liberties but is instead trying to undermine the U.S.
"It shouldn't surprise anyone that pressure groups funded by George Soros are litigating to keep U.S. ports-of-entry wide open to terrorists and other people who hate America," Matthew Vadum, senior vice president of the Capital Research Center, told LifeZette. "Soros has said he wants to bring America down. Flooding the country with Muslim aliens who won't assimilate is one way to do that." The Capital Research Center, by the way, is a think tank known for making some pretty wild (and debunked) claims, such as that Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of former Secretary of State John Kerry, is a funder of radical groups. And no, there is no evidence that Soros "wants to bring America down."
Meanwhile, the folks at Breitbart are upset that several Republican politicians have taken campaign donations from employees of Soros Fund Management. These include some of Trump's rivals for the 2016 presidential nomination — Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and more.
Of course, employees of the company Soros founded are free to donate to any candidate they wish to, just like all Americans, and the investment business isn't known as a bastion of liberalism — something that makes George Soros stand out — so it's not surprising that a lot of people who work in that business would support Republicans. But Breitbart makes no distinction between Soros and his company's employees, instead seeing the donations as evidence that his filthy, America-hating hands are manipulating mainstream Republicans as well as Democrats.
Another business story that had the far right in a snit last week was the news that Nordstrom department stores would cease carrying Ivanka Trump's products. Her branded women's wear had not been selling well in the past year, according to Nordstrom executives, who said their decision had nothing to do with politics or calls for boycotts from the left.
Her father, though, was quick to politicize the decision, saying Ivanka had been treated "so unfairly" by Nordstrom, and his adviser Kellyanne Conway unabashedly shilled for Ivanka's products during a Fox News interview.
And the far-right sources jumped aboard just as quickly. World Net Daily contributor Gina Loudon blamed the Nordstrom decision on "fear created by the hard left," then went on to characterize liberals, especially liberal women, as socially awkward nerds with "daddy issues." This was not a "pro-American" business decision, she continued. She apparently didn't see the irony in that Ivanka Trump's line, like most clothing these days, is manufactured mostly overseas.
And a Breitbart article predicted there will be a massive boycott of Nordstrom by Trump supporters. Maybe, but we're a little doubtful.
Check back next week so we can keep on informing you what Breitbart and its ilk have been up to.