Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
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Fox News is providing a platform for conservatives to spread misinformation about refugees and stoke anti-Muslim fears following a series of apparent terror attacks around the country. Fox’s open-door policy for fearmongers is in keeping with the network’s disconcerting history as a source of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment after terror attacks at home and abroad.
Authorities have arrested a suspect in the September 17 bomb explosions in Manhattan and Seaside Park, N.J.; a suspect was shot in a stabbing spree the same day in Saint Cloud, MN. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We have every reason to believe this was an act of terrorism,” referring to the two New York area bombings, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Minnesota mall attack.
President Obama advised that “the press try to refrain from getting out ahead of the investigation” and warned against the dissemination of “false reports or incomplete information” -- a warning Fox News ignored as it hosted a series of guests who peddled anti-Muslim talking points and xenophobic rhetoric.
During a segment that led off with Fox host Ainsley Earhardt asking, “Is the Somali refugee crisis now a terror crisis?” Fox contributor Pete Hegseth warned of the “incubation” of radical Islam in “radical mosques” in Minnesota, claiming that “the problem is that a lot of those communities have not assimilated the way we would want them to.” Hegseth then proclaimed that there “is a terrorist recruitment problem in Minnesota.” Hegseth regularly fearmongers on Fox’s airwaves about terror and the “concerns about integration” of Muslims.
Jim Hanson, executive vice president of the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy, argued for heightened policing of Muslim communities because the New York attacker was “conducting jihad” and “saying Allahu Akbar.” Hanson also baselessly speculated that the Chelsea neighborhood of New York was targeted because it “is a prominently gay area” and claimed that “there’s a decent chance that this might have been another attempt to attack the gay community.” Hanson has regularly appeared on Fox to spread fears about Islam and terror.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared on Fox & Friends to fearmonger about refugees and immigration, claiming that President Obama’s policy of “letting people in by the thousands and tens of thousands” will lead to terror attacks “happen[ing] perhaps more and more all over the country.”
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a senior adviser to Trump and a Fox regular, exploited the attacks to call for surveilling the Muslim community, adding that it “is absolute nonsense” to say that going “into these communities” for that purpose is Islamophobic. Flynn suggested that heightened surveillance of Muslim communities doesn’t occur because of “political correctness” and that “political correctness kills. It will cause death.” Fox has a record of responding to terror attacks by pushing profiling and mosque surveillance, which have been found to be ineffective and, according to the ACLU, lead to stigma, interference with religious worship, fear, free speech violation, and damaged relationships with law enforcement.
Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich claimed that the government is letting refugees come “into the country unvetted from terrorism hotspots all over the world,” even though the United States has a rigorous and stringent vetting process for refugees and immigrants.
Fox News consistently turns to fearmongering, anti-Muslim narratives after terror attacks, adopting racially charged rhetoric and recycling distorted lies about Muslims and refugees. Fox hosts and guests exploited the European refugee crisis and used the Paris terrorist attacks to stoke fears about admitting refugees into America; conservatives used Fox to advocate for profiling Muslim Americans following the San Bernardino, CA, shooting; and right-wing pundits twisted the Brussels attack to whip up anti-Muslim fears.
Self-Described “Racist” Trump Donor: “Jews Have To Leave America”
The campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump accepted donations from Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, white nationalists who both manage virulently racist publications.
Polignano is the managing editor and webmaster for Counter-Currents, a website and publishing company that publishes white nationalist and pro-Hitler material. Polignano describes himself as a “racist” (“a badge of honor”) and has written that “Jews have to leave America” because they are a “major cause” of America’s problems; claimed there’s been “more than a century of lies about the Civil War and Reconstruction, and more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II”; claimed blacks are inferior to whites; and cited David Duke as an inspiration for his work.
Brimelow is the editor of VDare.com, a white nationalist and anti-immigrant website. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that he is “one of the leading voices in the anti-immigrant movement” and his site “publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right.”
Members of the “alt-right” and white nationalist movement have been heavily supporting Trump’s campaign. Trump and his campaign have engaged in a courtship with white nationalists that includes appearing on white nationalist programs, refusing to denounce them, and retweeting their accounts. Trump running mate Mike Pence recently refused to call former Klan leader David Duke “deplorable” -- a move that brought praise from white nationalists.
Polignano has donated a total of $214.12 this election cycle to Trump’s presidential campaign, according to Trump’s Federal Election Commission filing. Polignano’s ties to the white nationalist Counter-Currents are readily apparent -- Trump’s FEC report listed Polignano’s employer as “Counter-Currents Publishing” and his occupation as “managing editor” and “webmaster.”
Polignano wrote on his personal Facebook page in May that he’s “visiting Trump Tower again on Monday to purchase more Make America Great Again hats” and offered to buy the hats for his “European comrades” who could not legally purchase them because “the hats qualify as a campaign contribution”:
The Trump campaign transferred $4.80 Brimelow had donated to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee -- the joint fundraising group between the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign -- to its campaign coffers in July.
Joint fundraising committees agree to split the proceeds of donations; in other words, the $4.80 the Trump campaign received is only a portion of what Brimelow donated overall. (It’s not immediately clear how much Brimelow donated, as the joint RNC-Trump committee’s quarterly deadline filing is next month.)
Brimelow is listed as being a "journalist" with News Corp. in the required FEC disclosure information. Brimelow previously worked for the News Corp.-owned financial site MarketWatch. Brimelow did not respond to email requests for comment about his donation or clarification about why he listed News Corp. as his employer.
The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September from white nationalist leader William Daniel Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. Johnson was also selected as a convention delegate by the Trump campaign but resigned following media exposure.
The Washington Post reported in March 2015 that Counter-Currents “exists to advance the books of noted neo-Nazis and the creation of an all-white nationalist state.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, wrote that Counter-Currents is a “pseudo-intellectual white nationalist website and publishing house that caters to ‘academic racists.’”
Polignano wrote in his 2010 book Taking Our Own Side that “high testosterone production also means that Black men are more prone to aggressive behavior” and “Compared to Whites, Blacks also have lower IQs and levels of empathy, weaker senses of personal efficacy and responsibility, greater propensities to sociopathy and psychosis, fewer behavioral inhibitions, greater impulsiveness, higher sexual activity and lower parental investment, etc.”
In 2003, Polignano first proposed creating “a White People’s Party,” which “would have a single goal: to protect and advance the interests of Whites in today’s multicultural, anti-White America. … The White People’s Party would not accept the membership or support of Jews and non-Whites. We would not work for their interests, and we could not expect them to sincerely work for ours.”
He wrote that he is happy to be called a racist and does “not regard this as a smear, but as a badge of honor” (emphasis in original):
“You’ll be smeared as racists.”
Of course we will. We are racists. But we do not regard this as a smear, but as a badge of honor. Race is real. Different races are genetically capable of different ways of life, just as different breeds of dog are genetically capable of different ways of life. American civilization cannot be maintained by replacing Whites with non-Whites anymore than poodles can replace sheepdogs and chihuahuas can replace sled dogs. Racism is an objective and enlightened viewpoint, and we will not apologize for it.
Polignano claimed that “Jews have to leave America” because “they are a major cause” of America’s problems:
Any organization that does not explicitly exclude Jews will end up being dominated and subverted by them. No sense letting them put their noses under the tent.
That is why Jews have to leave America. They dominate the leading institutions of our culture: the political parties, the news and entertainment media, the arts, the education system, banking and finance. And they subvert these institutions to pursue Jewish interests at the expense of White interests. They are not the sole cause of America’s problems, but they are a major cause, and there is no way to save this country without first taking them on.
Polignano wants to “end non-White immigration completely, deport all illegal non-White immigrants, and then repatriate all non-White immigrants who have arrived since 1965, as well as their descendants.” He also wants to “make sterilization, birth control, and abortion available to non-Whites free of charge” and “ensure the freedom of Whites to own guns while restricting the freedom of non-Whites.”
He also wrote that there’s been “more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II” and that his proposed “White People’s Party” would accept the support of Nazis and Klansmen:
The party I propose would not be affiliated with any other pro-White group, including National Socialist and Klan groups. We would neither endorse nor condemn such groups, and we would gladly accept their support, as we would gladly accept the support of all pro-White individuals and organizations.
It is hard enough to persuade people that the White race is in danger and that Whites must rally to protect themselves. It would be harder still to combat more than a century of lies about the Civil War and Reconstruction, and more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II. Fortunately, it is not necessary.
But we’ll still be smeared as Nazis and Klansmen. Our enemies will call us every name in the book. But, unlike conservative and libertarian cowards, we’ll make no special effort to avoid or refute such smears. Such efforts are pointless, because our enemies will not be concerned with justice or accuracy. Besides, those who hesitate to defend ideas merely because they are shared by unfashionable individuals clearly lack courage and conviction.
Our standard response to all attempts to discredit us in the public mind by linking us to Nazis, the KKK, and other demonized groups would be: “To the extent that Nazis and Klansmen support our pro-White agenda, that is to their credit.” We will never apologize for pursuing what is right and good.
Polignano wrote in the preface of his book that one of the high points of his life “was when David Duke invited me to speak at the International European American Unity and Leadership Conference held in New Orleans on Memorial Day weekend, 2004.” Polignano also thanked Duke and other white nationalists for having “helped make these essays and this book possible.”
The Polignano-managed Counter-Currents publishes content that celebrates Hitler and Nazis. It distributes the work of the late William Pierce; The New York Times wrote that Pierce “built an organization of young supporters for George Wallace for president into the nation's largest neo-Nazi group.” Counter-Currents distributes the work of Savitri Devi, who "devoted her life to Nazism" and Holocaust denialism.
Counter-Currents Editor-in-Chief Greg Johnson is a neo-Nazi. In an essay headlined “The Burden of Hitler, 2014,” he lionized Hitler for having fought “for our race as a whole”:
It is contemptible, because it is essentially an attempt to curry favor with our enemies and pander to ignoramuses and fools by throwing a loyal white man under the bus. And make no mistake: Adolf Hitler, whatever his faults, was a loyal white man who fought and died not just for Germany, but for our race as a whole.
Jews are promoting conditions that are leading to the genocide of the white race. They are not doing this out of “self-defense” against Hitler’s aggression, since they were doing it when Hitler was just a common soldier in the Great War. Indeed, the truth is that Hitler did whatever he did in self-defense against Jewish aggression — the same Jewish aggression that we are suffering today in a much intensified form.
The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Brimelow’s site VDare.com is “an immigrant-bashing hate site that regularly publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right.” SPLC added that Brimelow is “himself an immigrant (from England), a fact that he regularly brings up when he worriedly notes that his son, with his ‘blue eyes’ and ‘blond hair,’ could grow up in an America in which whites have lost their population majority. For Brimelow, immigration itself is not the problem — it's the influx of non-whites that is destroying America.” From the group’s profile of Brimelow:
A former editor at Forbes magazine and past columnist at the conservative National Review, Peter Brimelow is one of the leading voices in the anti-immigrant movement. Interestingly, he is himself an immigrant (from England), a fact that he regularly brings up when he worriedly notes that his son, with his "blue eyes" and "blond hair," could grow up in an America in which whites have lost their population majority. For Brimelow, immigration itself is not the problem — it's the influx of non-whites that is destroying America.
Brimelow's racial views about America first gained attention in 1995, when he published Alien Nation, a book that argued that America is historically white-dominated and should stay that way. The book was written in a genial style and was careful to treat black Americans as part of the polity. Although the book was well reviewed in some places, it included strong veins of racism and xenophobia. Brimelow described the role of race as "elemental, absolute, fundamental." He said that white Americans should demand that U.S. immigration quotas be changed to allow in mostly whites. He argued that spending tax dollars on anything related to multiculturalism was "subversive." He called foreign immigrants "weird aliens with dubious habits." At one point, he wrote that if one enters an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, just like walking into a New York City subway, "you find yourself in an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored." By 1997, Brimelow was warning that by 2008 the GOP would no longer be able to compete in presidential elections because the racial makeup of the electorate would be changed by non-white immigration.
Brimelow has repeatedly praised Trump throughout the presidential campaign. He applauded the Trump campaign for hiring Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon, stating that “Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and [has] done great stuff on immigration in particular.” After Trump attacked an American-born judge for his Mexican heritage, Brimelow wrote: “Diversity is not strength, and it above all is not an impartial judiciary.”
In December, he wrote a fundraising appeal praising Trump for running "on the patriotic immigration reform issue." Brimelow wrote that VDare has "defended Trump on Hispanic rapists (they are a problem), black-on-white crime (he's right), ending Muslim immigration (it's legal), ending birthright citizenship (it's legal too), etc. etc."
It’s been one year since news figures seized on the story of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim American child in Texas who was taken from his school in handcuffs for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to class. Last September, Fox News’ coverage of Mohamed’s arrest revealed a long-held tendency to selectively invoke the language of “school safety” to conveniently push conservative stances on immigration, national security, LGBT rights, and guns, while ignoring threats to the safety of the most vulnerable populations in our schools.
When Fox News talks about “school safety,” the ensuing conversation is exactly what you’d expect from a network with a median viewer age of 68 and a prime-time viewership that’s only 1.1 percent black. For Fox and its viewers, a predictable line exists between those individuals worthy of protection and those who represent perceived threats. Here’s what we’ve seen on Fox since Ahmed’s arrest made headlines last fall.
In September 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at his Irving, TX, middle school and brought to a local police station in handcuffs after he was reported for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to his classroom. In the weeks of national media coverage of the incident that followed, Fox News figures dismissed Mohamed’s traumatic experience and used the incident to justify profiling.
The network aired segments vilifying the child, claiming that progressives were hypocritical or willfully exploitative for suggesting Mohamed’s arrest was influenced by Islamophobia, and hyping so-called connections between Mohamed’s family members and terrorists. The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld summarized this convoluted position: “Try bringing a clock that looks like a bomb to the White House. Actually, no, don’t try it; you’ve seen what they do to people who jump fences. So why is this school’s safety a joke, but President Obama’s isn’t? Because for [Obama], and the media, the story fits the assumption of an America that hates Muslims. Yup, it’s our fault for reacting when a kid brings a wired-up box to a place filled with kids in a state where terror has occurred.”
According to a survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, classroom teachers are reporting more incidents of identity-based bullying and fear particularly among students from immigrant and Muslim families, a trend that appears to be connected to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric -- which Fox News has actively legitimized for years. A California study released just months after Mohamed’s arrest found that the majority of American Muslim students in the state reported experiencing physical and verbal bullying because of their faith in 2014. An in-depth report from The Guardian explained the trend:
Words are the most common weapon of school bullies, but in the past month, anti-Muslim sentiment in schools is increasingly manifesting in physical attacks, particularly against girls who wear the hijab. On 19 November, three boys allegedly beat up a sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab, calling her “Isis”. A 2014 study by Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) study found 29% of students who wore hijab experienced offensive touching or pulling of their scarves.
Fifty-five percent of Muslim students surveyed by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) last year reported that they were bullied at school in some form because of their Islamic faith. That’s twice the national percentage of bullying reported by all students, regardless of their religion. According to the CAIR survey, verbal harassment is the most common, with non-Muslims calling Muslim students terrorists or referencing bombs. But physical assaults also occur.
These incidents are taking a psychological toll on Muslim youth. “At a crucial time in their identity development, they’re suffering from chronic trauma,” says Dr Halim Naeem, a psychotherapist and president of The Institute of Muslim Mental Health. Dr Naeem says that in the past few months alone, he has seen increased cases of depression, anxiety, image issues, paranoia, and substance abuse among Muslim American youth. In the short term, the constant stress wreaks havoc on students’ immune systems and destroys their focus, disrupting learning ability.
In the wake of recent mass shootings, Fox News figures voices have repeatedly pushed arming educators or allowing more guns in schools as a way to improve student and teacher safety, and irresponsibly spread dangerous misinformation about school safety best practices. Immediately following the 2012 mass shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Fox News began calling for teachers to be armed -- even as school security experts, educators, and others argue that bringing guns into schools would make classrooms more dangerous and worsen learning environments for students. When a Texas school district moved to arm some of its teachers in 2014, the network devoted at least two segments to celebrating the decision and pushing the long-debunked myth (peddled by the NRA) that “a good guy with a gun” would prevent mass shootings. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade praised the initiative: “If you want to drop your kid off and know that they are going to be protected, you know at least in that school they are going to be protected.” Last year, Fox & Friends co-hosts again demonstrated a misguided understanding of school safety when they encouraged young children to physically confront gunmen, rather than first try to escape, and then hide -- and only confront the guman as a last resort -- as experts advise in the event of an active shooter situation.
As the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, wrote back in 2014, educators have long expressed an overwhelming desire to keep firearms out of classrooms and to strengthen gun violence prevention measures. Research has shown that greater access to guns in general creates greater risk for accidents and misfires. Gun access corresponds with increased risk of homicide, and gun-related deaths in the home are now the second most likely cause of death for children and teens. There’s also little evidence the presence of armed security staff in schools makes them any safer. Advocates are pushing for better training and reformed responsibilities for these positions to emphasize restorative justice and de-escalation techniques, as well as student and community needs, in order to combat current racial disparities in schools’ use of armed security officers.
Fox News figures have been instrumental in pushing the right-wing myth that gender-inclusive bathrooms in schools allow adult men to prey on children. The network has routinely either fearmongered about schools’ efforts to make their bathrooms safe for all students to use or mocked inclusive bathroom policies altogether. More than two years after Media Matters first debunked the “bathroom predator” myth, Fox News continues to push dangerous rhetoric about nondiscrimination policies. In April, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt hyped the disingenuous claim that nondiscrimination laws could lead to “a grown adult man” with “bad intentions” sneaking into “the little girls’ bathroom.” In May, Sean Hannity mocked inclusive bathroom policies on his radio show, proposing “liberal bathroom areas” where “you can have all the transgendered back-and-forth that you want.” In June, Tucker Carlson called the Democratic National Convention’s gender-neutral bathrooms “disgusting.”
After speaking to officials at 23 school districts and four universities that allow transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, Media Matters failed to find any evidence of incidents of inappropriate bathroom behavior. Law enforcement experts and people who work with survivors of sexual assault have referred to this persistent myth as “beyond specious” and “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
In fact, school officials and educators’ groups continue to support efforts to boost nondiscriminatory bathroom policies and have pointed out the need for LGBT students to have these types of basic protections. Research shows LGBT students overwhelmingly report experiences of bullying in schools today, and efforts to distract from the needs of LGBT students with fearmongering and mockery certainly don’t help. In its guidelines for supporting transgender and gender diverse students, the American Psychological Association recommends that schools provide accessible facilities that match a student’s gender identity as one way to address the high rates of victimization and hostility transgender students report. In fact, opposition to nondiscrimination policies can further stigmatize and single out transgender students, leading to more reports of bullying and an increased risk of suicide. Advocates for survivors of sexual assault have also pointed out that perpetuating the “bathroom predator” myth can have dangerous consequences: Relying on stereotypical predator imagery to talk about sexual assault diverts attention and resources from finding solutions to keep women and girls safe.
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Republicans are attempting to scandalize Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s remarks that “to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of [Republican nominee Donald] Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” referring to people with bigoted views whom Trump has uplifted. But her remarks are backed by polls finding that significant numbers of Trump supporters hold such deplorable views. Further, there have been numerous instances of racism and sexism at Trump rallies; Trump has successfully courted the racist white nationalist/”alt-right” movement, and Trump’s own campaign manager once referred to his supporters as "downright nasty."
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Over the last few months, the so-called “alt-right” has become one of the most prominent factions of the conservative media. The movement’s leading outlet is Breitbart News, whose chairman, Stephen Bannon, has just become the CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In many ways the “alt-right” is a rebranding of classic white nationalism for the 21st century. As BuzzFeed described the movement: “In short, it’s white supremacy perfectly tailored for our times: 4chan-esque racist rhetoric combined with a tinge of Silicon Valley–flavored philosophizing, all riding on the coattails of the Trump boom.”
The “alt-right” opposes diversity and immigration, arguing that those policies are a form of “white genocide.” It embraces racism, sexism, anti-Muslim bigotry, and anti-Semitism and sees its goal as usurping the traditional conservative movement, which it views as feckless and weak, in favor of a brand of nationalism.
With the ascension of Trump, the “alt-right’s” chosen candidate, as the nominee of the Republican Party, its mission is all but accomplished.
The following is a survey of the key concepts of the “alt-right,” the major figures and media outlets in the movement, and reaction to the "alt-right."
Reactions To The “Alt-Right”
A popular concept with the "alt-right" is the idea of “white genocide,” a conspiracy theory claiming that efforts to increase diversity (often via immigration) are actually attempts to decrease the white population. The Anti-Defamation League notes that the alt-right favors “propaganda on subjects such as immigration and ‘black crime’ as ‘evidence’ of this ostensible ethnic cleansing of whites.”
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter, a leading Trump supporter, has invoked this notion on her Twitter account, writing, “‘Diversity’ = nonwhite; ‘White supremacist’ = Not anti-white.” Coulter has also cited the work of the white nationalist site VDare.com and its editor, Peter Brimelow, in her anti-immigration book Adios America. The book has been praised and promoted by Trump.
In January, Trump retweeted a post from a Twitter account with the handle “WhiteGenocideTM” and a feed that CNN.com described as “largely a collection of retweets about violence allegedly committed by African-American suspects and anti-Arab posts.” It was one of several instances of the candidate reposting material from white supremacists.
The alt-right also launched a hashtag campaign on social media, #BoycottStarWarsVII, protesting the casting of African-American and female actors in the lead roles of the latest film in the George Lucas franchise. One Twitter user wrote, “#BoycottStarWarsVII because it is anti-white propaganda promoting #whitegenocide.” “The Force Awakens” went on to become the highest grossing domestic film of all time.
Mother Jones noted that The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit that supports investigative reporting, conducted a Twitter analysis and found that “While only 5 percent of key influencers using the supremacist hashtag #whitegenocide follow the National Review, and 10 percent follow the Daily Caller, 31 percent follow Breitbart.”
The alt-right has branded conservatives who deviate from their racist and sexist message as “cuckservatives,” a melding of the words conservative and cuckold (the husband of an unfaithful wife). The New Republic explained, “The term has emerged out of the white supremacist movement as a term of abuse for white conservatives deemed race traitors unwilling to forthrightly defend the interests of white America.”
National Review writer David French was attacked by alt-right supporters for having adopted an Ethiopian child. He notes that he was given a “‘Cucky’ award for adopting a black child.”
Breitbart News defended “cuckservative” as “a gloriously effective insult,” while conservative radio host Erick Erickson said, “The people who use the term ‘cuckservative’ are racists, not conservative, and not Christian.”
The New Yorker reported that the term “alt-right” was coined by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who “described the movement in December as ‘an ideology around identity, European identity.’” The Anti-Defamation League described Spencer as “a symbol of a new generation of intellectual white supremacists” who “runs a variety of ventures that promote racist ideology.”
Spencer has said, “There are races who, on average, are going to be superior.”
Spencer is also the president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist “think tank” that held an event at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., this March focused on Trump. He told the local CBS affiliate that Trump is “energizing” the white nationalist movement and argued, “He's fighting for us. He's saying we're going to be great again. We're going to win again. And there's this implicit identity to this. There's this implicit nationalism.”
Spencer founded the white nationalist websites Alternative Right and Radix Journal. One writer at Alternative Right wrote that “low-IQ Mexican immigration is the greatest threat to America,” and that “we should be heartened that white teenage girls aren’t passing themselves around in black neighborhoods.”
Spencer said Breitbart News “has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart” and described the site as a “gateway” to that movement’s “ideas and writers.” He described Bannon’s new role in the Trump campaign as “a good thing” for white nationalists.
Bannon told Mother Jones that Breitbart News is “the platform for the alt-right.”
Bannon took over as chairman of Breitbart News after the death of founder Andrew Breitbart. The site has taken a rabidly anti-immigrant tone, often hyping “reports about crime involving immigrants, with headlines that sound like they came from tabloids” and attacking Republicans who favor immigration reform. Vox notes that “Breitbart essentially functioned as an anti-immigration pressure group, signaling to Republican leaders that any deviation on immigration would earn them the wrath of the base.”
The site has also pushed a white nationalist viewpoint in articles on race and religion. It described the shooting of a white reporter and her white cameraman as a “race murder” and published an article titled “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture.”
Bannon wrote a column on the site accusing the “left” of engaging in a “plot to take down America” by focusing on police shootings of African-Americans. Breitbart also attacked Pope Francis for supporting refugee migration by invoking Camp of the Saints, a book described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a novel that “depicts an invasion of France and the white Western world by a fleet of starving, dark-skinned refugees, characterized as horrific and uncivilized ‘monsters’ who will stop at nothing to greedily and violently seize what rightfully belongs to the white man.” SPLC notes that the novel is “a popular book in Alt-Right circles.”
Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has made his mark as a stridently anti-feminist provocateur. He declared his birthday to be “World Patriarchy Day” and encouraged his followers to “cat-call at least five women” and to tell a woman, “This isn’t going to suck itself.” He attended a protest against sexual assault and held a sign that said, “'Rape culture' and Harry Potter. Both fantasy.”
In a Breitbart piece on the "alt-right” he praised the movement for its “youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore.” He dismissed the movement’s racial undertones, writing, “the alt-right's young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish 'Shlomo Shekelburg' to 'Remove Kebab,' an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide.”
Discussing Islam, Yiannopoulos said, “There is a structural problem with this religion that is preventing its followers from assimilating properly into Western culture. There is something profoundly antithetical to our values about this particular religion.”
In July, Twitter permanently suspended Yiannopoulos’ account after he led a harassment campaign against actress Leslie Jones, who is African-American. As BuzzFeed reported, many of the tweets “decried Jones for being black and a woman.”
American Renaissance is a white nationalist online magazine, published by Jared Taylor. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Taylor “believes black people are genetically predisposed to lower IQs” than white peoples and that black peoples “are sexually promiscuous because of hyperactive sex drives.” Taylor has appeared on talk shows to attack the legacy of civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr.
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center describes Taylor as “the guy who is providing the intellectual heft, in effect, to modern-day Klansmen.”
Taylor described himself as a Trump supporter and told ABC News, “Sending home all illegals -- the huge majority of whom are nonwhites -- and putting even a temporary halt on Muslim immigration are in the interests of whites, whether Trump thinks in those terms or not.” Taylor also recorded a pro-Trump robocall for a white nationalist super PAC.
American Renaissance also hosts conferences that have featured speakers including Richard Spencer and that are attended by white supremacists like former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.
VDare.com is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “an anti-immigration hate website” with a white nationalist ideology. SPLC adds that the site “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.” The site was founded by Peter Brimelow, who argued that his contributors are “not white supremacists” but “aim to defend the interests of American whites.” He also is the president of the VDare Foundation, “a nonprofit that warns against the polluting of America by non-whites, Catholics, and Spanish-speaking immigrants.”
SPLC has pointed out that “Brimelow spent much of 2009 pounding the white nationalists message that the Republican Party would do better to spend its time attracting white voters rather than by reaching out to minorities.”
Jared Taylor has contributed to VDare.com, where he wrote, “Our rulers and elites welcome replacement by aliens, they vilify our ancestors and their own, they sacrifice our interests to those of favored minorities, and they treat the entire history of the West as if it were a global plague of rapine and exploitation. This is a disease that is killing us, and we must fight it head on.”
VDare.com was featured at the Republican National Convention when a tweet from the outlet was put on screen in the arena during the roll call vote for Trump’s presidential nomination.
The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, headed by Andrew Anglin, describes itself as “the world’s most visited alt-right web site.” The website regularly defends Adolf Hitler, attacks “kikes,” and has a section documenting the purported “Jewish Problem.”
Anglin attacked a GQ reporter for a piece he deemed unfair to Melania Trump, telling his followers to “go ahead and send [the reporter] a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery.” She then received a barrage of anti-Semitic messages and death threats, which she described as “the most obscene, anti-Semitic stuff I have frankly ever seen directed at me in my life.”
“The Political Cesspool” is a white nationalist radio program hosted by James Edwards that wishes “to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility.” The show was given press credentials by Trump’s campaign for a Tennessee campaign rally and was given “all-access” credentials to the Republican National Convention, where the show interviewed a Trump adviser and Republican congressmen. Edwards also interviewed Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., who agreed with Edwards’ contention that the media is “the enforcer of political correctness.”
The Right Stuff is an anti-Semitic blog with an affiliated podcast called The Daily Shoah. The site is run by Mike Enoch, who has said the core principle of the “alt-right” is “ethno-nationalism, meaning that nations should be as ethnically and racially homogeneous as possible.”
The site created a meme called the “parenthesis meme” in which Jewish names are surrounded by parentheses, often in order to target them for online abuse on social media: “(((name)))”
According to the Right Stuff’s editors, this was done because “all Jewish surnames echo throughout history.” They add: “The inner parenthesis represent the Jews' subversion of the home [and] destruction of the family through mass-media degeneracy. The next [parenthesis] represents the destruction of the nation through mass immigration, and the outer [parenthesis] represents international Jewry and world Zionism."
The Anti-Defamation League has added the symbol to its online database of hate symbols. According to CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “The echo symbol is the online equivalent of tagging a building with anti-Semitic graffiti or taunting someone verbally.”
Enoch said Breitbart “is the closest thing to sympathetic to our position that is out there in the mainstream.”
Mike Cernovich is an “alt-right” activist who operates the website Danger & Play.
The site publishes numerous articles, essays, and audio recordings that attack feminists, "SJWs," (social justice warriors) and disputes the validity of date rape claims. Some headlines from Danger & Play include "Matriarchy has Created a False Rape Culture" and "Feminists Don't Care About Rape."
On his Twitter accounts, Cernovich has dismissed the possibility of date rape, writing, “the hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape,” “the only rape culture is Muslim rape culture,” and asking “why should I care when women are raped?”
Cernovich has promoted the false rumor that Hillary Clinton is suffering from health problems and also promoted a long-debunked conspiracy theory that Clinton aide Huma Abedin is affiliated with Islamic radicals.
Traditional conservative outlets and figures have pushed back some on the “alt-right” movement.
Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat described the “alt-right” as “racist pro-Trump Twitter accounts and anti-P.C. provocateurs.” The Federalist wrote that it’s “a mix of old bigotries and new identity and victimhood politics adapted for the straight white male.” In National Review, David French wrote of the “alt-right”: “Many of them are unapologetically white-nationalists, hate interracial adoption and other ‘race-mixing’ practices, and think about the issue of immigration primarily, if not exclusively, in racial terms.”
A contributor to Spencer’s Alternative Right site, Jason Richwine, co-authored an immigration report at the conservative Heritage Foundation, which later disavowed him when writings he had made mocking the IQs of Latinos surfaced. Breitbart has recently highlighted Richwine’s work, and Bannon praised him on his radio show.
The alt-right has also found some support from mainstream conservative outlets. After conservative writer Ben Shapiro described the “alt-right” as a “national, populist movement that is shot through with white supremacism” and "anti-Semitism," Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway defended the movement by claiming it’s “much more” than that.
Similarly, last year Rush Limbaugh told a caller who spoke about the “alt-right” movement in Europe, “There is a thriving youthful conservative emergence happening in this country. They may be borrowing from what’s going on in Europe.”
The cumulative effect of the rising popularity of “alt-right” media on the right, along with Bannon’s position leading the Trump campaign, means that a movement that was recently on the fringe is becoming central to conservative politics.
The Washington Post reports that Trump’s decision to hire Bannon was the latest sign for white nationalists that “their worldview was gaining popularity and that the old Republican Party was coming to an end.” The paper added that Trump’s electoral “strategy now resembles the alt-right dream of maximizing the white vote — even as polling shows his standing with white voters falls short of Mitt Romney’s in 2012.”
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Following reports that Fox News contributor Bo Dietl’s contract has not been renewed, Media Matters takes a look back at Dietl’s history of rampant anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, sexist, and racist rhetoric.
Stephen Bannon, newly appointed CEO of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign, spent the last two months using his daily Breitbart News radio show to project an imaginary map of conspiracies that link the Muslim Brotherhood to Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Huma Abedin, and Obama White House officials.
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