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Doug Mastriano

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Doug Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and January 6 insurrectionist who this week won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor. Mastriano is also anti-Muslim: He previously shared an image with the words, “Stop Islam” and a post claiming that “the American People have a right to be fearful of the prospect of a large number of muslims being elected to congress, specifically if they practice Sharia law.”

In addition to running for governor, Mastriano is a Pennsylvania state senator, a right-wing commentator, and a frequent guest in right-wing media. He regularly pushes lies about the 2020 election being stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Mastriano has shared toxic conspiracy theories on social media. Media Matters previously documented that Mastriano sent more than 50 tweets with the QAnon hashtag in 2018 and used Facebook to share false claims that vaccines are deadly and cause autism.

Mastriano is behind the Facebook page "Doug Mastriano Fighting for Freedom," which frequently posts his commentaries. On August 20, 2018, Mastriano shared a piece from the defunct website DailyTack.com which had the headline “Over 90 Jihadi’s Are Running For Office As Democrats.”

In the piece, author Harry Cherry wrote that “between 90 and 100 Muslims are running for office this year, the most since September 11th, 2001 – the Associated Press has reported. … The bottom line is that the American People have a right to be fearful of the prospect of a large number of muslims being elected to congress, specifically if they practice Sharia law.”

From the piece Mastriano shared:

Between 90 and 100 Muslims are running for office this year, the most since September 11th, 2001 – the Associated Press has reported.

Around 50 of those candidates will remain after primaries, according to the Associated Press. However, that number is drastically higher than the dozen Muslim candidates that ran in 2016.

Many of the candidates say they were motivated by anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. – rightly so after 9/11, the Boston Marathon Bombing and the San Bernardino Massacre. Leftists blame President Trump and the travel ban from 7 “muslim-majority countries,” however all 3 terror attacks listed above, were committed in the United States by muslims – long before Donald Trump ever ran for President. The bottom line is that the American People have a right to be fearful of the prospect of a large number of muslims being elected to congress, specifically if they practice Sharia law. Sharia law is the practice of utilizing the punishments listed in the Quran in one’s daily life, including in public. Sharia law also promotes the killing of Jews and Gays.

Mastriano also shared an image on December 8, 2018, which stated: “In the name of tolerance we have imported intolerance. People who respect neither the culture nor the rights of the original population.” That text was imposed on a graphic stating, “Stop Islam.”

Mastriano has made similar anti-Muslim posts. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reported on May 6, 2019, that he “shared a stream of conspiracy theories and Islamophobic memes and articles” on Facebook. In one instance, the publication noted that Mastriano shared a piece from August 4, 2018, with the headline, “A Dangerous Trend: Muslims Running for Office.”

Mehmet Oz, who is currently in contention for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, is Muslim and has criticized former opponent Kathy Barnette for writing that “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam,” calling the remark “disqualifying.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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Dr. Mehmet Oz

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Senate candidate Mehmet Oz thanked Fox News host Sean Hannity for advising him “behind the scenes,” helping to bring him to the cusp of a potential victory in Tuesday night’s primary in Pennsylvania — a revelation that further illustrates Hannity’s position as a Republican operative who leverages his media presence for political influence.

The Republican primary race could potentially go to a recount, with Oz currently ahead of former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick by a slender margin. The winner will face Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won his primary by a landslide. During a speech on Tuesday night, Oz first thanked his wife, his children, and his campaign staff and then called out two key political figures who endorsed him and advised him throughout the campaign: former President Donald Trump and Hannity.



MEHMET OZ (U.S SENATE CANDIDATE): And I want to thank some other individuals who are actually unbelievably close friends, made a big difference in my life, are always there at every moment. Let's start with 45, President Trump. President Trump, after he endorsed me, continued to lean in to this race in Pennsylvania. He knows all the subtleties of it. He was willing to participate with tele-town halls, which he advised that I do, it was a brilliant idea. He participated in a massive rally out in Westmoreland County. God bless you, sir, for putting so much effort into this race. I will make you proud.

I want to thank Sean Hannity. Sean is like a brother to me. When Sean punches through something, he really punches through it. He understands exactly how to make a difference, and he's been doing that this entire campaign — much of it behind the scenes, giving me advice on late night conversations — again, the kinds of things that true friends do for each other.


Hannity previously had an eerily similar role during the Trump campaign and administration, serving as the “shadow” chief of staff to the then-president and often holding late-night phone conversations in which he functioned as a sounding board for Trump’s policies.

Hannity also endorsed Oz’s Senate campaign, helping Oz launch his candidacy with a nearly ten-minute interview on his prime-time Fox show in late November. Hannity also reportedly lobbied Trump to endorse Oz, which may have made the difference if indeed Oz’s currently thin lead holds up through the vote count.

Hannity also used both his TV show and his radio show last week to attack the campaign of insurgent candidate Kathy Barnette, telling his audience that Barnette should not win in the primary due to her history of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ statements. (Hannity did not acknowledge his own history of spewing similar bigotry.)

During one such segment trashing Barnette, Hannity reiterated his endorsement of Oz, saying he would “always tell you how I feel,” before interviewing Oz to continue attacking Barnette. But, while Hannity might acknowledge his candidate preference, he did not reveal that he had been advising Oz behind the scenes, nor admit his role in securing Trump’s endorsement for the candidate.

Oz’s revelation Tuesday night should also be placed in further context of how Hannity uses his Fox platform to spread misinforming Republican campaign talking points.

Previously released text messages between Hannity and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed that Hannity took direct instructions on coordinating get-out-the-vote messaging on Election Day in 2020, and Hannity later described himself as being “at war with” the network’s purported news figures such as then-Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace over the network’s declaration that Joe Biden had won the election. (The network undermined its own decision desk’s election call nearly 600 times in just nine days after that call was made.)

The texts have also shown the extent to which Hannity wears two faces along with his two hats. On the one hand, he publicly claimed the attackers who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, were left-wing infiltrators. On the other hand, he urged Meadows during the attack to ask Trump to call off his supporters, and afterward, he worked on damage control with the White House.

Whether Oz even wins or loses in the final result is almost beside the point. Hannity’s role in elevating his candidacy and orchestrating another instance of the Trump-Fox feedback loop provides yet another example of Fox's evolution from its earlier role as a propaganda outlet on behalf of the Republican Party to a major engine of the party itself.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.