Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

473px-Kay_Hagan_official_photoAccording to a Public Policy Polling survey released on Wednesday, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) leads all of her prospective Republican opponents by double digits in North Carolina’s 2014 U.S. Senate election.

The poll finds that Hagan leads state Senate president pro tempore Phil Berger and obstetritian Greg Brannon 49 to 39 percent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis 49 to 38 percent, U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx 49 to 37 percent, U.S. Representative Renee Elmers and former U.S. ambassador Jim Cain 49 to 36 percent, pastor Mark Harris 49 to 35 percent, and former Charlotte city councilwoman Lynn Wheeler 49 to 34 perent.

Hagan holds these comfortable advantages despite remaining relatively unpopular among North Carolina voters; 43 percent approve of the first-term senator, while 45 percent disapprove. Voters dislike the Republican field much more, however. None of the Republicans have a positive favorability rating, and those involved in North Carolina’s increasingly right-wing state government are trending rapidly downwards.

“Berger and Tillis have seen their name identification rise by four to five points in the last month, but that’s not a good thing for them,” PPP director Tom Jensen writes in a statement. “Berger has moved from a -12 favorability spread to -20, and Tillis from a -9 to a -20.” This is almost certainly a result of North Carolinians’ displeasure with their Tea Party representatives.

Currently, Representative Foxx leads the Republican field with 16 percent, followed by Berger, Cain, and Ellmers at 11 percent, Brannon at 7 percent, Tillis at 5 percent, Wheeler at 3 percent, and Harris at 1 percent. Should the controversial, far-right-wing Foxx hold on to her lead, it could significantly help Hagan and the Democrats in the general election.

There’s no overstating the importance of North Carolina’s Senate election to the Democratic Party. Brian Schweitzer’s decision not to run for Senate in Montana leaves Republicans, who need to gain a net six seats for a Senate majority, in very strong position to take full control of Congress. Should Hagan win in Republican-leaning North Carolina, however, then a win by Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Begich (D-AK), or Mark Pryor (D-AR) could be enough to keep the Senate under Democratic control.

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


s3.amazonaws.com


Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.