Fox News May Face Consequences for The Big Lie

Recent rulings against Fox News over its coverage of Dominion Voting Systems mean that the news site could face Dominion’s $1.6 billion lawsuit in December.

Image by Sang Hyun Cho from Pixabay

In a rare example of good news, Fox News is increasingly looking like they will be forced to explain their coverage of dominion voting systems and the election conspiracy theories they espoused on their network. In a ruling for the Delaware Superior Court, Judge Eric M. Davis ruled that the infamous right-wing network may have acted with “actual malice” in its reporting and that the defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems against the network could proceed.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Actual malice, as cited by the judge, is a direct reference to a legal precedent set by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), a case in which the Court unanimously ruled that the New York Times was not guilty of libel. The Court reasoned that the petitioner, L.B. Sullivan, failed to show any intent to harm his reputation or any “reckless disregard” for whether or not what was written about him was true.

This standard established that unless public officials could show that the media outlets they were suing knew what they were printing was false or acted as though it didn’t matter, they couldn’t receive any damages. This standard is considered exceptionally high and rarely goes in the petitioner’s favor. However, Dominion’s suit might be the exception.

In the ruling for the Superior Court, Judge Davis cited news reports that Fox News staffers, particularly Rupert Murdoch himself, knew that many of the conspiracies that Fox broadcast on its platform were false. Namely, thanks to those reports suggesting that Murdoch denounced the idea that the election was stolen. Judge Davis further pointed to other Murdoch-owned press outlets debunking the 2020 election conspiracy theory, suggesting that Murdoch not only agreed with them but that he knew that Fox was lying.

In his ruling, Judge Davis explained that:

“These allegations support a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion…Thus, Dominion has successfully brought home actual malice to the individuals at Fox Corporation who it claims to be responsible for the broadcasts.”

Judge Eric M. Davis in the case of U.S. Dominion INC v. Fox Corporation (2022)

With the case proceeding, it is increasingly likely that Fox will try to settle. Though it is not guaranteed. If Fox chooses to face the suit directly, they will face discovery, putting the right-wing network in an awkward and compromising position. If said discovery falls in support of Dominion, then Fox could be on the hook for a massive price of $1.6 billion if an alternative set of damages are not established.

While it is unlikely that a court would allow for such a massive cash prize for Dominion, any failure in this case outside of a pre-discovery settlement would prove disastrous for Fox’s reputation and its parent company, News Corps. Nor would it be unprecedented for right-wing news organizations to suffer due to their election coverage.

Newsmax, the infamous right-wing news organization, has faced similar issues as Fox, with the same judge rejecting the network’s attempt to throw out Dominion’s defamation suit against them. Putting the network in the exact same place as Fox. Former Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani are all facing similar suits by Dominion and have also lost their motions to dismiss.

While it is unclear what will happen, the fact that a judge has suggested that actual malice has been present in not just one instance of right-wing media but in multiple cases sets a dangerous path forward for the right at large. It also incentivizes Dominion to pursue damages to the fullest extent possible. Unless Fox and its ilk can turn the case around soon, they are in for one hell of a ride. And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where it will end.

Gun Violence is Inherently Political

No matter how much Republicans want to depoliticize shootings, the reality won’t change. Gun violence is a public issue and must be treated as such.

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

With the recent shooting in Uvalde and the criticism of the police response, the nation once again faces a reckoning over the nation’s gun laws. The pain and loss that comes with the death of 21 people inevitably provoke demands for action, but with those calls for change comes another response, with gun enthusiasts emphatically condemning the ‘politicization’ of shootings. To those who hold this position, shootings must remain apolitical out of respect for the dead, which is a massive mistake.

While it is understandable why people would want to avoid bringing politics into a tragedy such as a mass shooting, said shootings are already political and will remain so for the given future. Attempts to respect the dead, even when well-intentioned, will not change the public nature of those shootings.

Shootings, as consistent as they are in the United States, are a public problem. They destroy the lives of American citizens, subject the survivors to abject horrors for the rest of their lives and destroy the faith the people have in their public institutions and their own safety. Such a threat to the well-being of the American people will always be a matter of political concern.

The idea that this wouldn’t be political or a matter of public concern is not only naive but restricts the American people’s ability to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.

Of course, there are also the individuals who want to restrict what is and isn’t political, so they can keep power out of the hands of the public and prevent changes in the nation’s gun laws. Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald are perfect examples of this.

Moreover, those who advocate for the idea that shootings must remain apolitical or that we must wait before we discuss gun control are almost always unwilling to consider how long we are supposed to wait before we say the obvious: America has a gun problem. Sandy Hook was ten years ago, and yet, it would not surprise me if there would still be people objecting to a discussion of gun laws surrounding Sandy Hook on the same grounds that they did ten years ago.

These obstructionist figures fail to provide solutions, and through their appeals to respect for the dead, they ensure that more innocent people will be killed. Whether or not Republicans like it, shootings are a matter of public concern and the sooner the American people come to terms with that, the sooner we can protect our citizenry from this horrific bloodshed.

Elon Musk Accused of Sexual Misconduct; Now What?

Dublin, Wednesday 31th October 2013: Pictured at the The Web Summit 2013, RDS. Photo by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

Elon Musk is again in the news for conduct he allegedly engaged in with one of his employees in 2016. The alleged incident, published by Insider involved Musk running his hands along her legs without her permission, exposing himself, and offering to buy her a horse if she’d perform sexual acts with him. And while Musk has denied the claims, the allegations reveal yet another stain on the already checkered reputation of Tesla’s CEO. But more than that, it is another example of men in power abusing what power they have.

The allegations first reported by Insider have provoked various responses, with some drawing special attention to the report that Musk paid the woman into silence, offering her $250,000 to keep things quiet. Keith Olberman drew some attention to the issue, mocking the Tesla CEO for offering to buy a horse in exchange for sexual favors, with Olbermann tweeting a horse emoji to add an insult to injury.

Others, however, have risen to Musk’s defense, arguing that the timing of the allegations suggests a political agenda plays a role in recent reporting. Musk was previously planning to buy Twitter and take it private, much to the chagrin of some at Twitter and in politics. One user argued that the accusations were an attempt by the establishment to attack the CEO, presumably because of his opposition to Twitter’s current policies.

Elon himself repeated the argument, pointing to his planned Twitter acquisition as the reason for the allegations.

Despite the debate over the story’s origins, it is important to note that Elon does not have any evidence proving that the story is an attack on his political movement. Nor has he provided any. Instead, he has challenged the alleged victim to describe any “scars or tattoos” on his body to prove he exposed himself to her.

Such a challenge is unlikely to change the opinion of those already convinced of Elon’s guilt. Nor do they make Elon appear as composed and reasonable as necessary at such a volatile time.

What’s important to remember is that Elon has everything to lose and nothing to gain by ignoring these allegations, anonymous or otherwise. Before the allegations, Musk was fighting Twitter’s board as he tried to negotiate his acquisition before putting the issue on hold. Supporters of Musk pointed to his stated support of so-called free speech as a reason to support him in his struggle.

But with the allegations against him, Musk now faces the risk of his carefully crafted narrative and framing falling apart. Instead of being seen as a free-speech warrior fighting against tech oligarchs, Musk risks being seen as a rich predator with an overactive Twitter account. Such a shift in framing would inevitably undermine his credibility and reputation, effectively preventing his projects from going forward and could sink his planned acquisition of Twitter, or so one would think.

While it may seem as though Musk would be destroyed by such an allegation, American society has shown that it is not only capable of turning a blind eye to such misconduct but does so regularly. Comedian Louis CK was caught masturbating in front of women without their consent, and despite attempting to hide from the allegations, CK later confessed that he was guilty of exposing himself.

Despite that, CK has not only revamped his career but has won more awards. If anything, Musk’s reputation would take a hit, but he would not face any serious consequences. Of course, Musk’s likelihood of facing any legal consequences is almost nonexistent, as his influence on the public is extensive.

It is much more likely that supporters of Musk will disregard the allegation irrespective of the evidence provided and that this controversy will be forgotten by most of the American people. And judging by the news cycle thus far, I suspect it already has been.

How Alden Global Capital Destroys the News {Republished}

Photo by Hatice Yardım on Unsplash

Democracy is not self-maintaining, and freedom isn’t free. For years, Americans have been bombarded with these phrases, but very few fully comprehend the value of those words or the more subtle meanings behind them. Local news is on the decline within this day and age, and with it, an informed public. While there is no singular cause for said fall, one name stands out as a key accomplice in the death of local news: Alden Global Capital.

The decline of local news is not just some old tradition in decline. Since 2004, 2,000 American newspapers have gone out of business, making local news a struggling industry despite its incredible importance to the modern media environment. With media trust at an all-time low, local news is of the utmost importance to maintaining an informed and well-rounded American public. According to a study conducted by the Knight Foundation in 2019, 45 percent of Americans trust local news organizations “a great deal” compared to just 31 percent of Americans who say the same about national news outlets. 79 percent of Americans say that local news does a better job of reporting news they can use in their personal lives. The trust of the media, it seems, is tied to local, new companies.

Into this tragic reality comes Alden Global Capital. For those unfamiliar with this infamous New York Hedge Fund, AGC is one of the most ruthless investment companies in all of the news. They own 97 different newspapers as of 2018 and are notorious for squeezing companies dry of their journalistic value. All while leaving an already struggling industry in the dirt.

A Ruthless Strategy

In the Bay Area of California, this parasitical relationship was on full display. Through massive cuts and a lack of investment, AGC turned the robust regional news environment into a shell of its former self. What was once a strong but struggling community of sixteen regional papers and a thousand employees was soon turned into a ghost town of a hundred and fifty employees.

The Boston Herald, one of the oldest newspapers, went into bankruptcy in 2017 but was soon facing the ruthless ownership of Alden’s subsidiary, Digital First. The paper that was known for its exposés was soon being gutted like many papers before it. By 2018, the paper had gone from 225 employees fell to 110.

They’ve also bought the largest share of Tribune Publishing, which owned The Chicago Tribune and WGN America. They began to do what they’ve done to many companies before that, firing reporters as much as they could. Heidi Stevens, a former columnist with the Tribune, was soon scrapped despite her popularity. Others like the fierce and unrelenting Dahleen Glanton were also given the boot not long after Alden made its move.

Other newsrooms have tried to fight back. The Denver Post, which has been subject to some of these same cuts that have made Alden so infamous, has revolted through its opinion section, calling on Alden to sell the paper so that it could find a more suitable owner. A Colorado civic organization soon offered 10 million dollars to the company, hoping to protect the Post from Alden’s grip before the city lost its century-old newspaper.

Transparency? What’s that?

While some at Alden and other pro-business organizations may argue that the hedge fund must make these cuts, that might not be true.

In 2018, a minority of shareholders in Alden sued the company in the hopes of forcing another of Alden’s companies, Media News Group INC, to open its books to shareholders. These shareholders allege that the company was secretly funneling money while supporting failed investments, effectively violating their obligations to their stakeholders.

If true, then it would stand to reason that Alden’s real goals have little to do with necessity and more to do with unadulterated greed.

As it stands right now, Alden is taking advantage of an already horrible situation for its own benefit while undermining the very media institutions that could restore public trust and sanity. And if that isn’t a crime, I don’t know what is.

Originally published at https://progressiveamerican.substack.com on July 22, 2021.

Justice Alito, Abortion and Eugenics

United States Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. by Carol M Highsmith is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

The Supreme Court is planning to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973). Politico first reported on the opinion by Justice Alito, provoking a firestorm of outrage online and among the political establishment. President Biden released a statement denouncing the case and Democrats in the Senate announced plans to codify Roe in statutory law. While it is unlikely that such efforts will change much, Alito’s legal framing and argument require a response. And while I plan to respond in full to the argument later this Saturday, it is especially important that one part of this argument is addressed immediately. Namely, the argument by Justice Alito that abortion activists seek to reduce African American births in a thinly-veiled accusation of eugenics.

In a rebuke of Roe v. Wade (1973), Alito attempts to call out what he sees as the racism of the pro-choice movement, writing:

“Other amicus briefs present arguments about the motives of proponents of liberal access to abortion. They note that some such supporters have been motivated by a desire to suppress the size of the African American population.”

Justice Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022)-Draft Opinion

Keen readers may have noticed the underlying casualness with which Justice Alito implies that pro-choice advocates support eugenics, but it is even worse than being merely casual and indirect. Instead of highlighting this position in a direct or even open manner, Alito subjects this accusation, a serious one at that, to a footnote.

I am not kidding.

Throughout his 98-page argument as to why Roe should be overturned, Alito does not mention African Americans a single time beyond this thinly-veiled accusation of eugenics and genocide. Not once!

Screenshot of Justice Alito’s footnote (Alito, 2022, pp. 30).

While it is not new for pro-lifers to accuse pro-choice activists of supporting eugenics, and by extension genocide, hearing a Supreme Court justice casually make the accusation, even if he veils it behind someone else’s legal argumentation, is galling.

It is not a new concept in public affairs. Multiple figures have accused pro-choice activists of genocide due to the rate at which black women seek abortion compared to white women. Jesse Lee Peterson and his infamous Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, made similar arguments in a protest vigil, saying:

“Every day … over 1,500 black babies are murdered inside the black woman’s womb,” said Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND). “This is a race issue.”

Jesse Lee Peterson at protest vigil in Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, “Pastors Accuse Planned Parenthood for ‘Genocide’ on Blacks,” Fox News (Fox News, March 25, 2015), accessed May 5, 2022, https://www.foxnews.com/story/pastors-accuse-planned-parenthood-for-genocide-on-blacks.

A fellow Loras alumnus of mine has made similar arguments, as well.

The argument by Justice Alito and others is largely based on criticism of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, a birth control advocate, and a feminist from the 20th century. Though Sanger has been lauded for her support of women’s bodily autonomy, Sanger has also been criticized for her views on eugenics, and rightly so.

However, much of the use of Sanger’s history with eugenics and anachronistic fails to adequately address the motivations of the modern feminists and pro-choicers while simultaneously presupposing Sanger’s opinions are representative of the modern movement.

In just one example, Justice Alito points to an amicus brief submitted by supporters of the petitioners which argues, among other things, that the continued presence of planned parenthood centers in black communities amounts to the “hushed killer of Black life that has silenced millions of George Floyds…” This brief also points to the higher incidence of abortion among black Americans as evidence of supposed continued eugenics, writing:

“According to the Centers for Diesease Control’s most recent data, Black women accounted for 33.6 percent of all abortions in 2018, even though they account for 13 percent of women in the United States.”

Staver et al., “Brief for Amici Curia African American, Hispanic, Roman Catholic and Protestant Religious and Civil Organizations and Leaders Supporting Petitioners,” in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson (2022), pg. 18.

The amicus brief further supports this argument:

“The racial disparity in abortions is largely intentional. A study based on 2010 census data shows that eight out of ten planned parenthood clinics are within walking distance distance of predominately Black or Hispanic neigborhoods.”

Staver et al., “Brief for Amici Curia African American, Hispanic, Roman Catholic and Protestant Religious and Civil Organizations and Leaders Supporting Petitioners,” in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson (2022), pg. 19

This, of course, is nonsense. The prevalence of abortion facilities in minority communities, particularly black communities, is not surprising. Nor is it evidence of malice on the part of Planned Parenthood itself. Rather, it is more heavily correlated with the need for services and disparities in income and quality of maternal care.

As the Court itself is aware, black women are some of the main beneficiaries of pro-choice legislation and rulings like Roe. In a country that sees black women over 40 dying nearly 8 times the rate of white women in the same group, the idea that voluntary access to abortion is inherently malicious to black people is asinine. Black women are three times as likely in pregnancy compared to their white counterparts. That alone distinguishes abortion from the forced sterilizations that pro-life activists have attempted to connect it to, and they know it.

Justice Alito himself was perfectly aware of the benefits that black women have seen significant improvement as a result of Roe and abortion access. Despite attempting to claim that empirical issues surrounding abortion are “hard for anyone — and in particular, for a court — to assess,” Alito had that information right in front of him via an amicus brief submitted to the Court by 154 researchers. That briefing showed that abortion access reduced maternal mortality among black women by up to 48 percent.

Far from the massive attempt to enforce eugenics on the black community that the right wishes it to be, abortion access saves lives and it is disingenuous to compare modern-day abortion services to the crimes of the past. And Justice Alito knows better.

It’s Not about the Lingerie: Why the Madison Cawthorn’s Recent Scandal Matters

Madison Cawthorn by Gage Skidmore via Wiki Commons

The news cycle has not been kind to Madison Cawthorn (R-NC). Over the last several years, he has been put in an incredibly negative light, and his mythological narrative has been shattered by investigation after investigation. In August of 2020, Cawthorn was accused of sexual misconduct and assault, with one woman, Katrina Krulikas, accusing him of attempting to force her to sit on his lap and trying to kiss her when she was seventeen years old. She would not be the only one to accuse the representative of similar behavior. Recently, however, Cawthorn has come under scrutiny thanks to a new exclusive by Politico, which appears to show the young congressman at a party in lingerie and a bra.

Screenshot of Madison Cawthorn at a bar in lingerie, released by Politico’s Michael Kruse (Politico-distributed under CC BY 2.0 and cropped)

The exclusive inevitably provoked various reactions, with Cawthorn himself confirming the pictures in a tweet earlier this evening.

Others, however, have reacted in the worst way possible, ignoring the hypocrisy inherent in Cawthorn’s actions and instead focusing on a cheap shot that only serves to reinforce prejudiced ways of thinking about manhood. One example of this is Occupy Democrats Twitter account, which posted screenshots of the images and called for Cawthorn’s resignation despite wearing lingerie not being a reasonable basis for resignation.

It is especially disgusting to see an organization that claims to fight for principles of social and political change simultaneously use the image of femininity as a weapon against a political opponent instead of attacking the obvious hypocrisy of a transphobic legislator for his selective concern for gender norms.

Rep. Cawthorn is a self-appointed traditionalist who claims to represent conservative, Christian values and uses that smokescreen to attack trans and gay people despite being sworn to defend their constitutional rights as a congressman. He’s an accused sexual predator and is confirmed to have lied about the man who saved his life to make his story sound more dramatic and impressive. He’s allegedly lied about cocaine orgies and other such nonsense.

Attacking Cawthorn is easy, but it is neither necessary nor proper to attack him for wearing lingerie in and of itself. Instead, activists should point out that the same man in lingerie also denigrates trans people who want nothing more than to live their lives in peace.

What matters here is not the lingerie. It is that a man who has attempted to enforce gender conformity on people he doesn’t know has also broken that same conformity. Mocking supposed femininity in Cawthorn is not good politics. It is not protecting trans people. It is prejudiced, and it should be treated as such.

Judge Jackson Will Be On the Supreme Court

Judge Jackson with President Biden at the White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The fight for Judge Jackson’s nomination continues in all of its fiery and partisan vigor. Earlier this Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee locked itself in a tie over whether the Judge’s nomination should proceed, forcing Democrats to compel a general vote on the Senate floor. The fight shows the entrenched partisanship of the nomination process and reveals the underlying racism that still guides the Republican party. Despite that stiff opposition and Republicans breaking a three-decade-long tradition of avoiding such deadlocks, it appears that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a justice soon.

After Democrats decided to bring the vote to the floor of the Senate, several Republicans announced that they would vote for Judge Jackson’s nomination. Though not a moderate by any stretch of the imagination despite his opposition to the Trumpist wing, Mitt Romney has come out in support of Judge Jackson. Though that has prompted calls for his removal as a result.

Nor would Senator Romney be the only one supporting her nomination. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have also announced their support, practically securing Judge Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

While it is hard to gauge why Republicans like Murkowski and Collins, there are a few key reasons why the Republican opposition will fail. For one, polling shows that most Americans support Judge Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, with nearly a plurality of independents and Democrats supporting her. Even among Republicans, Jackson has some supporters, with nearly a quarter of Republican voters behind her nomination.

Graphic by Morning Consult, April 5th, 2022.

While that is part of it, the other part of the falling Republican opposition is their inability to utilize the usual thorns in the Democrats’ side, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Last week, Manchin announced his support for Judge Jackson, effectively putting direct pressure on Senator Sinema, though she has consistently supported Biden’s nominee.

Failing to get Manchin and Sinema to oppose Justice Jackson means that Democrats could use Vice-President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote without relying on Republican support. And that may be why some Republicans decided to support her to avoid a backlash against them.

Whatever the reason, the support of multiple Republicans and the rare display of unity from Democrats, combined with Judge Jackson’s respected reputation, means that Judge Jackson will soon be called Justice Jackson.

The New York Times Editorial Board Doesn’t Understand Free Speech

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The fight over free speech in America has hit yet another low. In what could only be described as another stain on their already checkered history of commentary, The New York Times Editorial Board published a piece proclaiming “America has a free speech problem.” Ironically, the Times fails to understand the role of free speech and conveniently downplays the severity of right-wing censorship.

 It is nearly impossible to hear this talking point among conservative activists and pundits alike. Nearly all enjoy of them massive platforms while preaching about their supposed silenced state. People like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and many others engage in this façade of martyrdom, seemingly unaware of their consistent growth online. This feeling of supposed laces almost every word of the Times piece.

 From the very beginning, the Times piece fails to understand freedom of speech. They write, “For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.” Forgive me, but I must have missed the part where the First Amendment requires citizens not to shun people they disagree with. In fact, I am quite certain the right to avoid a person is guaranteed under the principles of freedom of association. But I digress.

Writing onward, this piece further argues that the reason for this is because “the political left and the right are caught in a destructive loop of condemnation and recrimination around cancel culture.” They argue that the conflict between the left and right results in a confusing mesh of control over intellectual debate and public thought that makes Americans self-censor and fearful of speaking out.

They support this argument through a poll that shows that only 34 percent of Americans say that all Americans completely enjoy the right to free speech. Nowhere in their piece did the Times mention that their poll showed that 42 percent of Americans said that all Americans somewhat enjoyed free speech and that only 8 percent of Americans said that they didn’t have free speech at all. To put this another way, 76 percent of Americans said that all Americans either enjoyed free speech completely or somewhat. Even if I were to grant that focusing on the percentage who said they believed they had a complete right to free speech was an issue, presenting data without including the larger result of your polling is dishonest. Even their supposed evidence from the Knight Foundation shows that most Americans—63 percent— see Freedom of Speech as ‘extremely important.’ Add in the 28 percent who say it is ‘very important,’ and it becomes clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the right to free speech. If you only read the editorial board’s piece, you would believe that there was a “crisis of confidence around one of America’s most basic values.” What a narrative.

The data presented shows that most Americans are conflicted about what cancel culture is, what it means in online discourse, and how that plays out in interpersonal relationships. Pew Research shows that 56 percent of Americans consider calling out someone on social media for their statement is holding them to account for their behavior, but 56 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican say that it is an unjust punishment. The difference in opinion between Republicans and Democrats is even more pronounced.

This is not a rejection of free speech. It is the inevitable result of expanding the public forum to more people. Twitter sees hundreds of millions of people on its site, and Facebook sees even more people. For the first time, people around the world can comment directly on the issues that matter to them, and unlike what they would get in a bar or in a local newspaper, people can reach vast audiences that they never did before. It is one thing to worry about using vitriol in rhetoric online and in person, but it is completely inaccurate to suggest we are close to losing our ability to speak at all.

Tucker Carlson Ally Spews Anti-Semitic Propaganda

Douglas Macgregor via Wikimedia Commons

In perhaps one of the most horrid examples of saying the quiet part out loud, retired army Col. and Fox News analyst Douglas Macgregor has been caught spouting off what can only be described as anti-Semitic and xenophobic propaganda.

In a clip that Media Matters’ Matt Gertz shared, Macgregor can be seen talking about South Asian immigrants, claiming that they will “go back to India if an economic crisis occurs.” Following up on that claim, Macgregor asserts that the problem with the United States is that it has “rootless cosmopolitans,” an antisemitic term used in the Soviet Union to refer to Jewish people.

Macgregor’s usage of the term is not only offensive and racist but is part of a continuous pattern of discriminatory behavior that has permeated Fox News staff since its inception. Nor is it the first time that Macgregor has expressed prejudiced ideas.

Unearthed footage by CNN showed that Macgregor repeatedly claimed that Muslim immigrants to Europe would turn the continent into an Islamic State and referred to them as “Muslim invaders.” Macgregor has also made violent and downright dehumanizing comments about immigrants at the border, repeatedly suggesting that martial law should be enforced along the Mexican American border, saying that border security should be able to shoot migrants. He opposed the U.S. intervention in Kosovo because it would “put, essentially, a Muslim drug mafia in charge of that country.”

Needless to say, Macgregor’s prejudiced history is far too extensive to list in its entirety here.

It is worth noting that Tucker Carlson has endorsed Macgregor as their main foreign policy analyst, calling him “our first choice for foreign policy analysis.” Though that is not surprising, Carlson himself has been caught calling Iraqis “semi-literate, primitive monkeys.” It seems that racist minds do think alike.

Of course, none of this is surprising. Racism has a long and repeated history at Fox News. Bill O’Reilly is one example. In a 2010 interview, he told Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, then a professor at Columbia University, that he looked like a cocaine dealer.

He also referred to African Americans as “ill-educated” and said they have “tattoos on their foreheads.”

All of this is to say that Fox News, at its core, has a continuous and unending fight to maintain prejudice. A fight that they are seemingly addicted to despite all the moral failings of said prejudices. And that is by design. 74 percent of Fox News’ viewership in 2019 was white, according to Public Opinion Strategies. There is an audience for that prejudice, and it is central to Fox’s ability to turn a profit in the first place. So long as Fox operates under this framework, statements like the ones made by Macgregor and Carlson will go unchallenged, and their vile ideas will continue to spread. One can only hope somebody buys Fox out and fires these bigots, but I am not holding my breath.

Trans Rights Are Not Optional

Photo by Oriel Frankie Ashcroft on Pexels.com

Trans Americans are under attack. There is no downplaying that fact. For the last several years, the GOP, having failed to establish themselves with any substantial policies, have turned towards promoting bigoted moral panics. Critical Race Theory, Wokeskolds, and a litany of other labels have come out of this desperate electoral strategy, but the attack on trans people is one of the most dangerous campaigns that the GOP has propagated in recent years. Ignoring that fact is not acceptable and failure to oppose it renders the entirety of American society complicit in the death that will come from it.

Appeals to prejudice are nothing new to the Republican Party. Since the Goldwater Revolution, Republicans have had their ideology tied to the far-right and to the worst prejudices in American society. Since it embraced the Southern Strategy, racial grievance, and the rejection of government as an enforcer of justice, the GOP has been increasingly at odds with the needs of minorities.

But as time has gone on, their ability to demonize specific minorities has become politically untenable. One can’t scream about African Americans ad nauseum without suffering a massive backlash at the ballot box. Though that has not stopped certain figures from winning high positions in government when they do so.

But even with those victories for the GOP in mind, the political tenability of these figures is far from guaranteed. Instead, conservatives have to find new targets to demonize so they can rile up their base and they have found that target in trans people.

While a majority of Americans support trans people and their rights, one group of Americans is increasingly hostile: Conservative Republicans.

Graphic taken from PRRI 2019.

Republicans are perfectly aware that their base is opposed to trans rights and they pander to that base through the passage of bigoted and dangerous laws. Thanks to the Republicans controlling most of the legislatures in the United States, the amount of anti-trans legislation, including bathroom bills and attacks on trans-affirming care, is exploding. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have gone so far as to criminalize supporting trans children, requiring the state’s agencies to investigate trans-friendly parents as child abusers. Those who refuse to report said “abuse” are also subject to penalties.

Nor are Republicans above supporting violence to oppose the presence of trans people in America. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most successful fundraisers for the Republican Party, has publicly called for beating trans people and has invoked the myth that trans people are child predators. It’s worth noting that trans people are nearly four times as likely to be victims of sexual assault. They are not the perpetrators.

Despite the fear-mongering, multiple studies have demonstrated that treating trans people with respect and removing discriminatory behavior are significant factors in reducing trans suicide.

I could go on about the illogical nature of the Republican demonization of trans people, but logic was never the point of this campaign of hate. Their goal is to abuse, attack, and silence trans people until they can no longer express themselves freely. Whether that gets people killed is irrelevant to GOP leadership.

That attitude can’t be allowed to stand. There is a clear and present danger in the Republican Party’s path to power and opposing it should be of the utmost importance to every American, both in government and outside it. Trans people should not have to fear being arrested for leaving their state to be themselves and it is certainly none of Governor Abbott’s business whether or not a child is trans. And yet that is the reality that many trans people and their families now face.

If the federal government fails to pass protections overturning these laws, innocent people will pay the price all because Republicans won’t expand their political net. Nobody should have their existence depend upon the whims of Republican political consultants whose only concern is winning the next election regardless of who gets hurt. With the upcoming midterms, Democrats must pass as many protections as they can for trans people, as it is clear that state legislatures will not do so. If they don’t, the abuse of trans people will continue to stain our nation. That must not happen.