Conservative media have paved the way for a government shutdown by championing Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and uncritically hyping deceptively-edited smear videos by the Center for Medical Progress -- even though state and federal investigations continue to find no wrongdoing by the health provider.
Several right-wing pundits are invoking the Civil Rights movement as they rally to the defense of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a federal court order resulted in her being arrested and held in contempt.
In response to a judge's decision to jail Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for contempt of court because she refused to obey a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson suggested in an op-ed that a civil war might soon break out in America.
Since the historic June 26 Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land, Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, has refused to issue marriage licenses to either same or opposite-sex couples. The lengthy legal battle over her refusal culminated on September 3, when U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning ordered Davis detained for contempt of court after she continued to refuse to issue the licenses as required by a federal court order. In response to Jude Bunning's decision, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, who once previously said that countries with marriage equality are "bent on suicide," wrote an opinion piece for the IJReview that asked "How much longer until we have another civil war?"
While maintaining that "no one should want it and no one, myself included, does want it," Erickson listed what he said were potential reasons why a civil war could break out: Davis' jailing, Hillary Clinton's email practices, Internal Revenue Service audits, Supreme Court rulings, and "the President of the United States tell[ing] supporters that Republicans are the enemy and they should take guns to knife fights."
From Erickson's September 4, 2015 op-ed in the IJReview (emphasis added):
When Kim Davis, the Rowan County, KY, clerk was hauled off to jail for refusing to give marriage licenses, a White House spokesman said no official is above the law. Hillary Clinton cheered on Twitter. The left went wild. "Where is your god now?" one person tweeted.
Hillary Clinton using a private email server is no big deal to the left. Every changing story is met with acceptance. The Democrats' immigration plans have included trying to pull a fast one on a judge in Texas and the left applauded. The IRS can leak confidential donor lists of conservative groups and harass the same groups. Political opponents get awfully convenient "random" audits. Again and again, the left gets to ignore the laws it wishes to ignore while the right must comply.
On top of that, five Justices of the United States Supreme Court, who are some of the least representative of Americans, can invalidate the laws of a majority of states on a whim without actual legal reasoning. Because people want to be happy, the laws can be overturned.
At that point, the citizens will clash beyond the ballot box. We see that beginning with random killings of police and random killings by police. It will only get worse. No one should want it and no one, myself included, does want it. But how much longer until we have another civil war?
Our nation's leaders have excelled at nothing so much as dividing and pitting American against American. When the President of the United States tells supporters that Republicans are the enemy and they should take guns to knife fights, we should not be surprised when they take him seriously. Besides, who will punish them? They perceive themselves to be on the winning team.
How much longer before the cold war of citizenry fed and flamed by Washington turns hot?
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson called for the destruction of the Republican party if they "will not fight" to defund Planned Parenthood, writing that if they fail to do so "we should destroy them all, level their organizations to the ground, and spread salt on their remains (metaphorically speaking, of course)."
Calls from conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood have grown louder since The Center for Medical Progress released nine videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood "selling aborted baby parts." Although the videos have been roundly called out by the media for "show[ing] nothing illegal" and containing selectively edited footage -- and multiple state and federal investigations have cleared the health care provider of any wrongdoing -- the videos nonetheless continue to prompt calls to defund the reproductive health organization.
In a September 3 post, Erickson, editor-in chief of RedState.com -- who previously encouraged individuals to show Republicans in Congress "violence in the polling booth" if they don't defund Planned Parenthood -- took the calls even further, demanding that the Republican party be "destroyed" should they fail to follow-through with the move. Erickson wrote that if Republicans "are not willing to defund Planned Parenthood, we should destroy them all, level their organizations to the ground, and spread salt on the remains," and went on to say that if the party "will not fight this evil, it will fight no evil and should itself die":
What we are learning now is that Republican leaders have no inclination to fight this evil. They have for years been protected by a Washington pro-life establishment that has worked damn hard to keep Bart Stupak listed as a pro-life warrior as he sold out the cause on Obamacare. The pro-life establishment in Washington puts their Republican affiliation ahead of children who are being ripped apart.
If Republicans and the Washington Pro-Life movement, when confronted by the evil documented on unedited tape, are not willing to defund Planned Parenthood, we should destroy them all, level their organizations to the ground, and spread salt on the remains (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Republicans in Washington have spent more time avoiding their constituents over the August recess than they have fighting for anything in the past several years. Now here is a perfect opportunity to stand up for smaller government, fight evil, and put the left on defense.
Already there are voices on the right saying no, but then they always say no. Already there are voices on the right saying they can't, but then they always say they can't. Already there are voices on the right saying the President will veto it, but the President will always veto it.
And the babies continue to die -- ripped from their mothers wombs and their organs harvested.
If the Republicans will not fight this evil, they should be destroyed.
Every Republican Presidential candidates should be on record on whether they think the GOP should hold the line against funding Planned Parenthood no matter what.
If Republicans in Washington will not stop this and defund Planned Parenthood, Republican voters should take any and all action to destroy the party at the ballot box. If this party will not fight this evil, it will fight no evil and should itself die.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Conservative media praised 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for forcibly removing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from his Iowa press conference, claiming that Ramos "thinks Mexicans can barge in and demand rights that aren't theirs," and "was treated exactly as he deserved."
Right-wing media slammed ESPN for suspending baseball analyst Curt Schilling over his tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis, calling Schilling's suspension "outrageous" and a "disgrace."
A RedState post claimed that Hillary Clinton proves "even a homely woman can sleep her way into power." RedState's editor-in-chief Erick Erickson recently disinvited Donald Trump from the RedState Gathering event for Trump's sexist attacks on Fox's Megyn Kelly.
The attack on Clinton comes in a RedState post from one of its front page contributors, who goes by "streiff," who wrote:
If Hillary Clinton possesses any unique selling propostion beyond proving even a homely woman can sleep her way into power, it is her tenure as Barack Obama's secretary of state. That seems to be a slender enough reed when polls show the electorate could give a flying rat's patootie about experience and favor a change agent above all.
The post is featured at the top of the RedState home page:
Erickson is currently both editor-in-chief of the site and a Fox News contributor.
Trump was disinvited from the RedState Gathering after he complained about Kelly's questions to him during the Fox News Republican presidential debate, telling CNN that "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever."
Erickson told reporters that he had disinvited Trump because, "No legitimate candidate suggests somehow a female asking questions is doing it because she's hormonal," adding, "When you make comments about a reporter like that -- look, I've made plenty of comments about reporters in the past, male and female, but I've never once suggested one of them was angry because it was her time of the month. That's just a party foul. No candidate should do something like that, I'm embarrassed to even talk about what he's implying."
Despite Erickson's own long history of sexist attacks -- he's said that males should be "dominant" over females, claimed women should be "at home" while men bring "home the bacon," and labeled Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy wife" -- much of the rest of the Republican presidential field was in attendance at the RedState Gathering this past weekend.
This drew the condemnation of groups like EMILY's List, which said the candidates were siding "with a man who believes women should not be in the workplace and calls women lawmakers names like 'Abortion Barbie," adding, "Donald Trump and Erick Erickson are just symptoms of a larger problem. At its core, the ideology that Republican Party policies are grounded in is a fundamental distrust of women."
Fox News voices have also taken note of Erickson's hypocrisy for feuding with Trump. Host Greta Van Susteren wrote, "You have to love the irony of Erick Erickson disinviting Trump when Erickson has said the worst things about women," while Neil Cavuto referenced Erickson's past statements during an on-air interview.
From the August 10 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
Numerous organizations are criticizing Republican presidential candidates who attended Fox News contributor Erick Erickson's RedState Gathering this weekend, after he disinvited Donald Trump over sexist remarks despite his history of sexist and bigoted comments.
Erickson hosted his annual RedState Gathering August 6-9, billing it as "a very grassroots event." In attendance was most of the Republican presidential field, including Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Gov. Scott Walker. Several current Republican members of Congress were also in attendance.
Erickson barred Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from the event for his sexist attack on Fox host Megyn Kelly, asserting "his comment about Megyn Kelly on CNN is a bridge too far for me."
But Kelly's fellow Fox host Greta Van Susteren took note of Erickson's hypocrisy, writing, "You have to love the irony of Erick Erickson disinviting Trump when Erickson has said the worst things about women."
Erickson has said that males should be "dominant" over females, claimed women should be "at home" while men bring "home the bacon," and labeled Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy wife."
And several organizations are now calling out the Republican presidential candidates that are continuing to court Erickson despite his long history of bigoted, sexist comments.
In a statement to Media Matters, MoveOn.org said, "Erick Erickson is an extremist, plain and simple. He's attacked working moms, the LGBTQ community, and others. His record of out-of-bounds remarks is a long one, and GOP presidential candidates' pandering to Erickson and his ilk show that they are out of touch with American voters and out of line with mainstream American values."
Planned Parenthood Action Fund noted, "GOP presidential hopefuls are currently gathering in Atlanta to stand side by side with extreme right-wing pundit Erick Erickson -- infamous for his hostility to women and incendiary remarks that include comparing pregnant women to 'female animals' and referring to a female Democratic candidate as 'Abortion Barbie'."
EMILY's List criticized the 2016 presidential field for siding "with a man who believes women should not be in the workplace and calls women lawmakers names like 'Abortion Barbie,'" adding, "Donald Trump and Erick Erickson are just symptoms of a larger problem. At its core, the ideology that Republican Party policies are grounded in is a fundamental distrust of women."
Numerous Republican presidential candidates are attending the 2015 RedState Gathering hosted by conservative pundit Erick Erickson. Erickson has said males should be "dominant" over females, claimed women should be "at home" while men bring "home the bacon," labeled Michelle Obama a "marxist harpy wife" and Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester," argued LGBT people are "on the road to hell," and wondered when Americans would raid legislators' houses and beat them to "a bloody pulp."
An Erick Erickson blog post called for forcing "a fight in Congress" to "shut down the government if that is what it takes" to defund Planned Parenthood.
Conservative Republicans in Congress are currently "threatening to shut down the government" by rejecting "any spending bill that does not cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood," following the release of four deceptively edited videos by conservative group Center For Medical Progress to attack the women's health organization.
In a July 31 blog post titled "Shut Down The Government. Now." Erickson encouraged individuals to show Republicans in Congress "violence in the polling booth" if they don't defund Planned Parenthood arguing, "shut down the government if that is what it takes. Shut it down now":
Your taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize an organization that extracts children, weeks from birth and capable of feeling pain and hearing, from their mothers' wombs. The organization inserts instruments into the soft part of the child's skull, rips it open, and extracts its brain. It then crushes the head and pulls it further out of the womb. From there it extracts the child's heart, liver, lungs, and other viable organs.
Friends, if Republicans in Congress will not stop giving tax payer dollars to the American Joseph Mengele, we should show the party violence in the polling booth.
The national media will not cover the savage butchery of Planned Parenthood. Forcing this fight in Congress will force coverage. They will spin it against us, but every congressman who speaks up should stand surrounded by the images of butchered children so that all Americans can see what we are fighting for.
The budget and appropriations fights are forthcoming. If Barack Obama is willing to risk a government shutdown because he demands our tax dollars continue funding an organization that kills our children and sells their organs, we should have that fight.
Shut down the government if that is what it takes. Shut it down now. If we cannot stand on this high ground, we should not stand at all. Children are being ripped apart and their hearts, brains, lungs, and livers sold. Is this not a fight worth having?
Update: Erickson additionally said he "intend[s] to ask each POTUS candidate" at the RedState Gathering on August 7, "if they'd support a gov't shutdown" to defund Planned Parenthood in a July 31 tweet:
I intend to ask each POTUS candidate next week if they'd support a gov't shutdown if that's what it took to defund Planned Parenthood.-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 31, 2015
Conservative media figures are using the death of Cecil the Lion to push bogus stories of Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetal tissue.
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson called on companies to cease donations to Planned Parenthood, accusing donors of having "subsidized the brutal killing of animals."
Right-wing media and the GOP have pounced on deceptively cut videos released by the anti-choice conservative group The Center For Medical Progress (CMP), which claim to have caught Planned Parenthood officials "haggling over" prices for fetal tissue and discussing "the selling [of] aborted baby parts" for profit. Although fact checkers and mainstream media quickly and roundly denounced the "shady" videos" for "show[ing] nothing illegal" and fabricating the myth that the reproductive health provider profits from the sale of fetal tissue, conservatives have exploited the videos to call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Erickson, editor-in chief of RedState.com, took the right-wing drumbeat a step further in a July 23 post. He equated pregnant women seeking reproductive health care to "pregnant female animals," going on to write that companies that support Planned Parenthood "subsidized the harvesting of organs from young animals that are otherwise crushed up through direct donations to the organization crushing the animals." Companies who support these practices "should be ashamed," Erickson said, calling on a list of 39 companies that support Planned Parenthood to cease their donations:
Coca-Cola has not only ruined its signature product with that idiotic Freestyle machine that makes all its drinks taste terrible, it also has subsidized the brutal killing of animals. It is horrific news that should unite the left and the right. Coca-Cola has been joined by Verizon in subsidizing this.
Both companies have contributed to an organization that takes pregnant female animals and pulls their unborn from them and crushes them. In numerous cases, the barbarians who do this procedure then take the organs from the small, crushed animals and give them to others for scientific research.
PETA and other organizations have long protested the use of animals for scientific research, yet Coca-Cola and Verizon have subsidized the harvesting of organs from young animals that are otherwise crushed up through direct donations to the organization crushing the animals. In some cases, a procedure is done on the pregnant females where their unborn are vacuumed out. In other cases, the unborn baby animals have their heads slit open and their brains sucked out before the rest of the animal is ripped apart and extracted from its mother via the animal's birth canal.
Coca-Cola has subsidized this organization. Verizon has subsidized this organization. The have contributed money that is used to make this happen. Even worse, scientific evidence strongly suggests that the baby animals in many cases can feel themselves being ripped apart. In fact, they have to let the animals grow to an advanced stage to be able to harvest the organs -- a stage advanced enough for brain function and nerve function and pain sensors to develop.
Coca-Cola and Verizon have subsidized this. They should be ashamed.
There are thirty-seven other companies that have subsidized the brutal extraction of small animals from their mothers to harvest their organs. The Homo sapiens need to be protected and cared for against this brutal torture.
Right-wing media are seizing on deceptively edited videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood profits from the illegal sale of fetal tissue to justify comparing the organization to Nazis, invoking the deadly human experimentation of notorious Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. In reality, the full, unedited versions of the videos debunk the allegations. Many groups, including Planned Parenthood, donate fetal tissue to support medical research such as the development of treatments for diseases, and such donations are legal with consent from the donor. It's also legal for providers to accept payment "for reasonable expenses" with "informed consent," but Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donations -- Legal reimbursement helps offset the costs associated with donations.
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson attacked transgender military members as "mentally ill" in response to the Pentagon's landmark announcement that the Department of Defense will create a working group to review "policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly."
On July 13, a press release from Secretary of Defense Carter Ash stated that the military's current ban on transgender service members is outdated and going forward, "must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve":
The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.
Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.
After this announcement, Erickson responded on Twitter that transgender individuals, specifically those serving in the military, are "mentally ill":
It is very kind of the Obama administration to allow the mentally ill to serve openly in the military.-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 14, 2015
In its report on this news, Time cited a report from the Williams Institute at UCLA that estimated 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military.
Note: This post has been updated for clarity.