How crazy has the right wing gotten? This crazy
I, for one, don’t pay any direct attention to Fox or talk radio. I get my facts (and interpretations of news) from credible sources.
On Twitter, I do get to see little videos of Jeanine Pirro’s over-stretched face and blown up mouth, but I don’t turn on the sound, although I do scan the quotes underneath the videos and then quickly scroll away.
So I depend on other, braver souls to tell me what conspiracy theories are being nurtured out there in the Land of People Who Should Be On Haloperidol.
MediaMatters is one of the best conspiracy-killing resources.
Today it published a list of the right-wing conspiracies…uh, trending? is that the word…out there.
For those of you who, like me, don’t grasp what’s happening on the other side of sanity:
| 14 debunked conspiracy theories about the women coming forward about Brett Kavanaugh
Right-wing media’s response to the reports of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were exceptionally unhinged. Along with predictable attacks, false claims and conspiracy theories were promoted across outlets like 4chan and Infowars, as well as by conservative media figureheads, such as Laura Ingraham and Erick Erickson.
A quick rundown of the top conspiracies conservatives are spreading:
- Right-wing media figures attacked Christine Blasey Ford based on student reviews of a different professor with a similar name. Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, right-wing blogger Jim Hoft, and others highlighted student reviews of the wrong Professor Ford in an absurd attempt to discredit her accusation against Kavanaugh.
- Right-wing websites and media figures pushed a conspiracy theory that Ford’s accusation was motivated by revenge for her parents’ home foreclosure. Right-wing bloggers Hoft and Erick Erickson repeated a conspiracy theory that Ford reported Kavanaugh for assault because his mother, also a judge, presided over a foreclose of Ford’s childhood home. But Kavanaugh’s mother had actually dismissed the foreclosure case after Ford’s parents worked out an agreement with their lender, and Ford’s parents still own the home.
- Pro-Trump outlets fabricated a connection between Ford and Fusion GPS to discredit her accusation. Right-wing websites and social media trolls smeared Ford over her brother Ralph Blasey’s work at a law firm that did legal work for Fusion GPS, a company connected to the Trump/Russia investigation. His work at the law firm ended six years before Fusion GPS was even founded.
- Rush Limbaugh and other conservative media spread a fake claim from a serial hoaxer that Ford similarly accused Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Right-wing media figures including Rush Limbaugh repeated a made-up claim by serial hoaxer Josh Cornett that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was reluctant to share a letter Ford wrote with Feinstein’s colleagues because Ford sent a similar letter about Gorsuch last year during his confirmation hearings.
- Infowars’ Alex Jones falsely identified a high school yearbook photo of a girl wearing a miniskirt as Ford and called her “captain of the sluts.” Jones and his website smeared Ford over excerpts from high school yearbooks of Ford’s school, calling her a “hussy.”
- Conservative media figures embraced the bizarre theory that Ford misidentified her attacker, who they claimed was really Kavanaugh’s doppelganger. Fox News , Erick Erickson, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, and The Gateway Pundit promoted a theory tweeted by conservative legal commentator Ed Whelan that Ford had confused Kavanaugh with another boy who Whelan claimed looked similar. Ford quickly and unequivocally debunked the claim of mistaken identity. By the next day, Whelan had deleted his Twitter thread and apologized for publicly naming the person he suggested was the actual assailant, calling it an “appalling” mistake.
- Right-wing columnists attacked the wrong Deborah Ramirez over a “tie to George Soros.” After Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in college, right-wing columnists Quin Hillyer and John Fund claimed that Ramirez won a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2003 and criticized the magazine for leaving out that irrelevant detail — but they identified the wrong Deborah Ramirez. Hillyer and Fund later apologized for mixing up the two women.
- Fox News falsely claimed Republicans were kept in the dark about Ramirez’s report until it was published by The New Yorker. In its article on Ramirez’s report of sexual assault by Kavanaugh, The New Yorker wrote that “senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week. … Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.” But Fox News hosts instead pushed Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) evidence-free claim that Republican staff didn’t know about the report.
- Fox News legal analyst tried to hurt Ramirez’s credibility by falsely claiming The New York Times “refused to report” Ramirez’s accusations in an effort to hurt her credibility. Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed Ramirez had “no credibility” with her accusation against Kavanaugh because “The New York Times refused to report her story.” But the Times didn’t publish an initial story on Ramirez’s accusation because she was already exclusively talking to The New Yorker.
- TMZ and Erick Erickson pushed a false 8chan claim that Ford’s lawyer was pictured with Hillary Clinton during the presidential election. They ran with the false claim that Ford’s lawyer Debra Katz was spotted in a photo with Hillary Clinton in August 2016. In fact, the woman in the photo was Clinton photographer Barbara Kinney.
- Photos falsely represented as Ford have been repeatedly shared online to discredit her. The fact-checking website Snopes.com has debunked several purported images of Ford that were spread online to discredit her. One of them was actually a photo of Ukrainian human rights activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska with philanthropist George Soros, whom the right-wing treats as a boogeyman. Another featured a photo of a half-naked woman pouring alcohol that is apparently from the 1960s, possibly before Ford was even born. Another smear attempt claimed that various women pictured at anti-Trump protests were Ford; one of them was identified as a woman named Liz Darner, while the other doesn’t “have much resemblance” to Ford, according to Snopes. The anti-choice outlet Life News and the conservative Daily Caller promoted the miscaptioned protest photos.
- Conservative media defenders of Kavanaugh attempted to make hay over the fact that Ford didn’t know who paid for a polygraph exam she took. There is nothing unusual about lawyers paying for their client’s polygraph test. It is the same process through which they, rather than the client, would typically select an expert witness for a legal proceeding and then later bill the client — or not bill the client if the legal work was being done on a pro bono basis, as it is in this instance.
- Conservatives claimed that Ford’s fear of flying discredited her. As Christine Blasey Ford testified, Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor Republican committee members hired to ask questions on their behalf, asked Ford at length about the times she has flown on an airplane. Ford told senators that she finally decided to fly after some encouragement from her friends. It is simply indisputably true that people overcome their fears to do things regularly.
- Conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist Michael Savage is promoting a rapidly spreading conspiracy theory that professor Christine Blasey Ford has “deep” connections to the Central Intelligence Agency. Savage has met with Trump in the Oval Office and partied with him in Mar-a-Lago.
This entire phenomenon — the outlandish false claims, the desperateattempts to smear women coming forward to tell painful stories — demonstrates that there is truly no low to which right-wing media figures won’t stoop. Trump’s media sycophants continue to wreak havoc on the lives of sexual assault survivors and their families by promoting blatant lies and fabrications.