Saturday, July 25, 2020


Many of you believe that the Lincoln Project is a Trojan horse designed to insinuate itself into the Democratic Party and steer it to the right -- it may help depose Trump, but it will leave the rest of the GOP intact. Call me naive, but I believe the Project's founders and allies when they say they're disgusted with the Republican Party and want to reform it. I'm not saying I'd like the party they hope to create, which would undoubtedly favor huge military budgets and overseas adventurism while rejecting regulation, increased taxation on the wealthy, and government social programs. But in some areas, I think the party the Lincoln Project wants to create would be at least be a slight improvement over the current GOP.

As Max Boot notes, Stuart Stevens, a former Republican consultant, now calls the GOP "a white grievance party” and acknowledges that “there is an ugly history of code words and dog whistles in the party.” Boot writes,
If you accept Stevens’s searing critique of the Republican Party — and I do — then it is incumbent on the Lincoln Project to target not just Trump but also his enablers. That’s just what it has done with commercials such as this one urging the defeat of Republican senators.
I think the ad is sincere:

But I also think it's too late. Trump might be on the way out, and Democrats might be on the verge of retaking the Senate, but the Republican Party that remains -- a party that still commands the respect of a majority of white American voters -- appears to be getting crazier and crazier.

At least 14 candidates affiliated with QAnon will be on ballots nationwide in November.

This weekend, the right-leaning Sinclair group of television stations will air an interview with a prominent COVID-19 conspiratorialist.
Local television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group are set to air a conspiracy theory over the weekend that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.

The baseless conspiracy theory is set to air on stations across the country in a segment during the program "America This Week" hosted by Eric Bolling....

In this week's episode of the show, Bolling spoke with Judy Mikovits, the medical researcher featured in the discredited "Plandemic" video that went viral earlier this year and which was banned from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Throughout the segment, the on-screen graphic read, "DID DR. FAUCI CREATE COVID-19?" ...

During the interview Mikovitz told Bolling that Fauci had over the past decade "manufactured" and shipped coronaviruses to Wuhan, China, which became the original epicenter of the current outbreak. Bolling noted that this was a "hefty claim," but did not meaningfully challenge Mikovits and allowed her to continue making her case.
Bolling, of course, is a former Fox News host who resigned in disgrace after sexual harassment allegations surfaced. The Plandemic video argues, falsely, that "If you've ever had a flu vaccine, you were injected with coronaviruses," that vaccines increase susceptibility to COVID-19 by 36%, and that "Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus. You're getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions." Before the video was removed from YouTube and social media platforms, it had more than eight million views, after being promoted by, among others, QAnon influencers and the Reopen movement.

And a story that appeared this week as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch coverage reminds us that a new right is being built out of a toxic combination of racist extremism, crackpottery, and new conservative media outlets:
Jack Posobiec, a correspondent for One America News Network (OANN), ... produced a segment for OANN in September 2018 in which he interviewed “Microchip,” who was at that time a pseudonymous contributor to the white-supremacist-friendly website Gab. Microchip achieved notoriety during Trump’s 2016 run for president for his involvement in a number of high-profile disinformation campaigns. Posobiec also linked his Twitter followers to Microchip’s Gab feed at least five times after the interview was aired, archives show. Microchip posted statements to Gab prior to being interviewed on OANN that celebrated Hitler, and alluded to terrorism and murder.

“I wish [Atomwaffen Division] had survived. They did great work in scaring the living shit out of everyone,” the person behind the Microchip Gab account wrote on July 24, 2018, across two posts. “We need more hatred and fear. Everyone needs to stop being such f------ p------.”

Atomwaffen Division is a terroristic neo-Nazi group responsible for at least five murders in the U.S. since 2017. On July 14, John Cameron Denton of Atomwaffen Division, who goes by the online moniker “Rape,” pled guilty to charges related to “swatting” journalists, which means calling police on false grounds to the homes of people in an effort to provoke accidental violence against them....

Posobiec based the OANN segment with Microchip on claims the pseudonymous personality made about inventing “QAnon,” along with the help of one other person....

Posobiec has an apparent personal connection to Microchip that goes beyond interviewing him on OANN. Posobiec referred to what he claimed was the creator of QAnon as his friend in a tweet he published on March 8, 2019. He made the claim six months after he produced the segment reporting that Microchip created QAnon with another person.
Which reminds me of another story that appeared last week:
The head of the New York Police Department's second-largest police union gave a television interview Friday afternoon while sitting in front of a mug emblazoned with QAnon imagery and slogans.

The mug was positioned behind Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, during a roughly seven-minute interview on the Fox News show "Your World with Neil Cavuto." ...

The mug behind Mullins featured the word "QANON" and the hashtag #WWG1WGA, which stands for "where we go one, we go all," a popular slogan among QAnon supporters. At the center of the mug was a large letter Q....
The Lincoln Project isn't the future of conservatism and the Republican Party -- this toxic brew of nuttery and racism is the future. I enjoy the Lincoln Project's work, but I don't think the party the Project's members and allies want to save can be made respectable again. It's too far gone.


UPDATE: Sinclair has reversed course.
The Sinclair Broadcast Group ... said Saturday it will postpone and rework a segment it planned to air this weekend that suggested Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus....

In a memo sent to its local television stations on Saturday, Sinclair instructed news directors to avoid airing for now the most recent episode of Bolling's show, which was supposed to include the conspiracy theory.
... Media Matters has found that the segment already aired on at least one local station based in Charleston, West Virginia.

And they still plan to inject this poison into the conversation, but in a way that appears "responsible."
"After further review of this week's originally planned episode, it's clear that we need to provide additional context to the highly controversial segment regarding the COVID pandemic and Dr. Fauci," Scott Livingston, Sinclair's senior vice president of news, wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNN Business.

"In order to meet our standard of providing an open and honest marketplace of ideas and viewpoints, even if incredibly controversial," Livingston added, "we will need to rework the segment to ensure viewers get the best information available.
How about not airing it and issuing a correction wherever it was already viewed? This is on the same level as flat-eartherism. It doesn't need to be presented with "additional context." Its advocates need to be shunned.

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