Tag: charlie kirk
Charlie Kirk

Rupert Murdoch, Charlie Kirk And Gen Z's Rejection Of The Far Right

Rupert Murdoch announced on September 21 that he will be stepping down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. after a 70-year career poisoning global media with right-wing lies and hate. Fox is now in the hands of Lachlan Murdoch, whose track record at the company indicates he is even more grimly ideological than his father, serving as the main force backing Tucker Carlson’s on-air white supremacy and pushing the network to support Donald Trump’s 2020 election lies despite their financial consequences.

While Rupert Murdoch repeatedly made clear in his announcement that he does not intend to take his thumb entirely off the scale of his outlets, the question of who will now rise to prominence in the right-wing media ecosystem lingers. In just the last few years, the movement’s founding fathers, including Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, and Rush Limbaugh, have died or stepped away, leaving conservative media without a center of gravity. Lachlan Murdoch and other rising right-wing media figures are jockeying to lead the hate and misinformation machine into the next generation.

One of these figures is Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk.

Since first appearing on the scene in 2012, when he had just barely graduated from high school, Kirk has built TPUSA into a reported $80 million media empire. The organization hosts numerous shows and has millions of followers across multiple social media platforms. Kirk himself is a Salem Radio host whose nationally syndicated program is broadcast in Limbaugh’s old time slot.

TPUSA is purportedly an organization representing the next generation of conservative activists, with Kirk as their leading voice. But there is scant evidence that the group has a genuine connection with Gen Z, whose social and political attitudes are overwhelmingly liberal. An October 2021 internal presentation obtained by The Verge stated that only 15 percent of Turning Point’s Instagram audience is actually student-aged. As the organization’s own documentation states: “The content that is going out right now is completely missing our target audience.” (TPUSA told The Verge that “the presentations in question contain multiple inaccuracies and erroneous data.”)

As the original shapers of right-wing media fade into history, Kirk seemingly hopes to capture the attention of the next generation and raise his own profile in the conservative movement by leaning into increasingly hardcore far-right positions. On the very same day that Murdoch announced he was stepping down, Kirk took to his radio show and launched into a vile, racist attack on migrants on the southern border, declaring that a “foreign invasion” of “fighting-age young males who will end up raping many of your daughters.”

He also specifically invoked and validated the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory.

“Obviously the Democrat Party supports this because of power,” Kirk declared. “They smear us and slander us when we bring up the great replacement. The Castro brothers themselves have said that was the reason.”

“You should be at fever-pitch anger,” he concluded.

Kirk is only reflecting the lasting influence of Tucker Carlson, who brought the great replacement conspiracy theory to mainstream conservative audiences with the full backing of Lachlan Murdoch, who is now the sole chair of his family’s global media empire.

But the Charlie Kirk of today would be unrecognizable to who he was yesterday. In his comprehensive history of the first 10 years of TPUSA, University of North Georgia rhetoric professor Matthew Boedy notes that as the organization has grown, Kirk has expressed increasingly extreme views, including on the topic of immigration.

In 2019, Kirk came under attack by the white nationalist “groyper” movement after he stated that “highly-educated immigrants should get ‘a green card’ stapled to their U.S. college diplomas.” This kicked off the so-called “groyper wars” in which followers of neo-Nazi Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes repeatedly confronted Kirk with racist and antisemitic dog whistles while he was on a speaking tour. Kirk ultimately penned an apologia on American Greatness, the same far-right blog that had launched the initial criticism.

Just recently, Fuentes bragged that his followers had infiltrated Turning Point USA and his one-time target had now adopted his messaging.

“I think in 2023, Charlie Kirk, all these others, they sound way more like me, today, than they sound like themselves four years ago,” Fuentes said, before launching into an attack on Jewish people.

Kirk has also radicalized significantly against LGBTQ people.

In 2019, he posted a video of an exchange with an audience member labeled “CHARLIE KIRK TAKES DOWN ANTI-GAY EXTREMIST.” In the video, the audience member condemned Kirk for accepting gay people in the conservative movement. Kirk defended himself and gay conservatives, asking, “What does what they do in their private life concern you so much?” and adding that if you do not embrace and love all people as Jesus did, “then you, sir, are not a conservative.”

As Boedy points out, a TPUSA chapter guide from 2017 specifically instructs participants: “no talk about abortion, gay marriage, etc.”

Since then, Kirk has become one of the most extreme voices singling out LGBTQ people for violence across the right-wing media.

  • In August, Kirk said that trans people who join fraternities and sororities should “be made fun of so much, bullied so much, crying so much, they would get themselves out.”
  • Kirk has referred to trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney with an anti-trans slur on multiple occasions.
  • Kirk called LGBTQ identification a “social contagion.”
  • During 2023’s Pride Month, Kirk vowed to remember “all the gay flag stuff” at Starbucks after several stores caved to right-wing pressure to take down Pride decorations.
  • On the first day of Pride Month, Kirk tweeted, “Pride is a sin.”
  • Kirk has argued that “monogamous heterosexual marriage should be a prerequisite to adoption.”
  • In 2022, Kirk warned that gay people “are not happy just having marriage. Instead, they now want to corrupt your children.”

But perhaps Kirk’s biggest transformation has been on the role of religion.

Boedy tracks this transformation masterfully. As TPUSA was getting off the ground, Kirk criticized the conservative movement of decades past for evangelizing too much, claimed to promote right-wing values “through a secular worldview,” and once told an audience that “he saw his job as the face of TPUSA as ‘no different than’ being a plumber or electrician, who likely don’t tell everyone they met about their religion.”

In 2021, Kirk launched the TPUSA Faith initiative, which he has used as a platform to increasingly lean into Christian nationalism. Since then, TPUSA Faith launched Freedom Life Church, a network of TPUSA-aligned congregations with the expressed goal “to change the trajectory of our nation by restoring America's biblical values.”

In 2022, he declared, “There is no separation of church and state.”

Kirk has also falsely claimed that the Founding Fathers based our system of government on the Book of Genesis, and speaks of the country as engaged in a “spiritual battle.”

The Murdochs and Fox News are also directly responsible for helping Kirk launch his career. As TPUSA was just getting off the ground, Kirk started becoming a semi-regular guest on Fox News as the youthful face of opposing the Obama presidency, often hosted by Neil Cavuto. Kirk has appeared at least 235 times on weekday Fox shows since 2018, though his last appearance was May 18, 2023, having since seemingly been blacklisted from the network.

Like the rest of us, Charlie Kirk is getting older, but high school and college students are staying the same age. Conservative media across the board face an uphill battle if they want to win over Gen Z. So far, Kirk’s strategic approach to inheriting the house that Rupert (and Rush) built has been to amplify the extremist fringes.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Right-Wing Media Figures Babble About ‘Demonic Possession' Of Democrats (VIDEO)

Right-Wing Media Figures Babble About ‘Demonic Possession' Of Democrats (VIDEO)

Right-wing media figures are ramping up apocalyptic political rhetoric that literally demonizes LGBTQ people, perceived political enemies, and progressive causes, with some absurdly suggesting that demons are using portals to enter Earth and wage “spiritual war” against humanity.

Rhetoric about “demonic” influence and an existential, “spiritual” war has become a hallmark of right-wing punditry and Republican politics ahead of the 2024 elections, as Christian nationalism grows in popularity among Republican voters. Language that demonizes and dehumanizes political opponents has been a staple of right-wing commentary for years, but these recent accusations are not simple rhetorical flourishes; a number of media figures have begun to warn their audiences about occult rituals from the left and supposed portals to hell from which demons would enter the Earth. Last year, Trump ally and provocateur Roger Stone even claimed that a “Satanic portal” had opened over the White House after President Joe Biden took office.

This sort of framing, which posits that political enemies are literal “demons” waging a “spiritual war,” stems largely from a right-wing Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. For years, the NAR movement has reportedly sought “to take dominion over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus.” Rolling Stone described the core NAR belief in spiritual war in a profile of one of the movement’s leading figures, commentator and self-proclaimed prophet Lance Wallnau:

NAR followers like Wallnau believe that America is specially anointed by God to project Christianity across the globe. And the NAR movement’s followers view foes of their quest as satanic. This is not metaphorical. They hold that the physical world is enveloped by a supernatural dimension, featuring warring angels and demons, and are convinced that demons afflict their enemies on behalf of the devil. The movement holds that these spiritual battles are reflected in earthly politics. As the late NAR founder C. Peter Wagner explained in a striking NPR interview in 2011: “I believe there’s a lot of demonic control over Congress … that needs to be dispersed.”

Fiery rhetoric of a spiritual war coupled with demonization of opponents has created an atmosphere in which violence appears permissible and justifiable to followers. For instance, the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was largely undergirded and inspired by boisterous cries of spiritual warfare from prominent figures on the religious right — including Wallnau — who have conditioned their audiences to consider political violence a legitimate tactic.

Over the last two years, right-wing media figures have increasingly adopted the scorched-earth rhetoric of movements like the NAR, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous political atmosphere in 2024. Here are a number of examples:

Right-wing media figures say demons are using 'portals' to enter Earth

On several occasions, prominent right-wing media figures have claimed that demons are using “portals” to attack conservative causes or even fearmongered that Satan created a “woke mind virus.”

  • Right-wing media gadfly Roger Stone — who observers have noted has increasingly adopted rhetoric around “spiritual war” — claimed on Eric Metaxas’ Salem radio show that “a demonic portal” had been visible above the White House since Biden’s inauguration. Stone suggested that through the “portal,” demons began to “populate the Biden administration,” arguing “you can’t tell whether they are men or women.”

  • Salem media host Charlie Kirksaid that “we’re in the midst of the most consequential spiritual war” in millennia because “there is no other way to explain the campaign of arson and destruction against our country other than diabolical, spiritually dark influences that are fighting for dominion over this nation.” He also argued that “witchcraft and the occult is a real thing, and there are portals to darkness and you have to be vigilant about this.” Kirk also alleged that Satan had created “the woke mind virus” to destroy America and called on religious leaders to “excommunicate … the demons of the woke.”
  • Conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Joneswarned that the European Council for Nuclear Research had used the Large Hadron Collider for “satanic rituals” which he claimed “definitely has opened up a gate” to hell and let demons into the Earth “like paratroopers.” Jones has also claimed that an “alien offworld force” with demons as its agents is “working against us around the clock because they know we are about to go from our embryonic level to birthing into the next level.” What’s more, in his trial for defamation of the families of the Sandy Hook massacre, Jones attacked the judge and plaintiffs’ lawyers as “committed to occult ideology of the new world order” and implied they were “demonically possessed.”
  • Daily Wire host Michael Knowlessaid of reports of interactions with aliens: “Aliens are just demons for liberals who don't want to admit metaphysical reality."

Right-wing media figures have labeled LGBTQ people and abortion 'demonic'

Conservative media figures have also revved up their attacks on trans people, LGBTQ Pride month, and abortion by claiming they are inspired by “demons in our society.”

  • Knowles — who demanded this year that so-called “transgenderism” be “eradicated from public life entirely” — claimed that trans people are “demonic” and that demons are “always trans.”
  • On her prime-time Fox News show, Laura Ingrahamreferred to gender-affirming care as “a demonic campaign to destroy the natural biological order.”
  • Daily Wire host Candace Owens called trans people “demons in our society” and smeared “any actor, actress, individual that supports this” as “demonic.” Owens has also argued that surrogacy is “deeply demonic.”

  • On Fox, now-former host Tucker Carlson used the Covenant School shooting in Tennessee to falsely claim that “the trans movement is targeting Christians, including with violence,” and denounced the trans community as part of “a deranged and demonic ideology.”
  • On YouTube, BlazeTV’s Liz Wheeler said that “if you took the three most disgusting, demonic ideologies that you could possibly think of and put them all in one flag you would get the trans flag.”
  • Doomsday prophet and repeat Trinity Broadcast Network guest Jonathan Cahn recently declared that Biden had put the United States under “demonic possession” at the hands of an ancient goddess of “sexual immorality” by lighting up the White House in the colors of the rainbow for LGBTQ Pride.
  • Two days after a shooter killed five people in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club, Infowars host Owen Shroyer ran footage of drag queens and questioned whether “these people are even human,” ranting: “Demon possession is real. Satanic agendas are real. I don’t know how else to describe any of this.”
  • BlazeTV host Steve Deacepartnered with far-right Christian filmmakers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon to produce a right-wing movie that argued humanity is engaged in a spiritual war against demonic forces such as abortion and LGBTQ equality. On his podcast, in an episode titled “Hot Take: Demonic or Democrats?” Deace said that people who advertise drag story hours are “literally inhabited by a demon” and are “a manifestation of a demonic presence.”
  • Salem Radio host Eric Metaxas and his guest John Zmirak proclaimed that Satan himself was behind the LGBTQ rights movement, with Zmirak decrying “blasphemous drag queen rituals, in your church, mocking Christ” and comparing the Pride flag to an inverted pentagram, claiming Satan “wants you to use the pronoun they.” Metaxas then warned his audience that if they did not boycott companies that celebrate Pride Month, they would be comparable to Germans who failed to stop the Holocaust, saying, “The death camps were the result of good people saying, ‘I don’t want to deal with this. Just let me live my life.’”
  • Christian nationalist pastorJack Hibbs, whose sermons air on Fox Business Network, declared that transgender people are “satanic,” saying that in “the last days there’s going to be doctrines of demons and deceiving spirits. Wonder what that’s going to be like? You’re in it.” Per Right Wing Watch, Hibbs has also claimed that "demonism” has caused public support for trans rights.
  • Christian nationalist influencer and repeat Fox guest Sean Feucht has described abortion and the movement for trans rights as demonic, ascribing public support to “demons” and “the demonic spirit.” Feucht is closely associated with prominent NAR movement leaders and “apostles.”
  • Right-wing radio host Jesse Kellysaid that “we have a society so full of demons that baby murder is now popular” and also referred to the LGBTQ community as “the LGTBQ demon mob.”
  • Lance Wallnau, a contributor for The Victory Channel’s Christian nationalist show FlashPoint, has repeatedly invoked demons while discussing LGBTQ people. In an April show, Wallnau said that transgender people represent “a fundamental deception” and that accepting them has made society “sympathetic with evil.” Wallnau said that demons target people to make them trans, saying, “I believe a demon comes along that enters into that confusion that affirms that they are the opposite gender.” Per Right Wing Watch, Wallnau also claimed that people become trans because "Satan has taken 'em over with crazy talk about them being in the wrong bodies.”

Right-wing media personalities warn Democrats are 'demonic' and 'satanic'

Far-right Christian media figures and prominent right-wing commentators have told their audiences that the left is engaged with “satanic worship” and “demonic forces,” rationalizing ideological opposition as a product of the “demon-possessed.”

  • Fox prime-time host Jesse Wattersclaimed that viewers should be afraid of “demonic teachers” interested in “turning their classroom into a drag show.”
  • Carlsonwarned on Glenn Beck’s show that there are “spiritual forces surrounding” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), calling him “a force of darkness.”
  • On a FlashPoint broadcast, contributor and pastor Hank Kunnemantold viewers that “we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places — you know, demonic entities.” Earlier in the episode, Wallnausaid that tragedies in society such as mass shootings should be understood through a lens where “you don’t deal with current events, you deal with a demonic spin cycle.”
  • BlazeTV founder and longtime conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck proclaimed that the 2020 election was not contested against Democrats, but against “Satan himself,” which he claimed was prophesied to him in a dream. Beck has an extensive history of linking progressives to “the devil” and warning of “demonic” influence.
  • Disgraced Trump ally-turned-podcast-host Steve Bannonsuggested that Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) is “satanic” because he “exudes … pure evil” and “hangs with Satanic Groomers.”
  • During his Christian nationalistReAwaken America Tour, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has frequently asserted that there is a “spiritual war” in America. He has also called former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “demon.”
  • Right-wing podcast host Benny Johnsonattacked the grand jury forewoman investigating Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference in Georgia, calling her “borderline demonic” and “demon-possessed.” He has also claimed that “you can see demonic forces at work" in Schiff's district, claiming that the congressman is “on the side of the demons.” Johnson has previously embraced the rhetoric of spiritual warfare, saying, “This rabbit hole goes down so far into the occult … This is a spiritual battle. This is a battle of possession, and there are stages of demonic possession, and we are in the oppression stage right now.”
  • Far-right pundit Stew Petersfearmongered about “SatanCon,” an event that is hosted by “a progressive church that doesn't worship the devil but instead uses the word to get attention,” claiming it was evidence of “full-blown satanic worship” in America. His guest, Sean Feucht, insisted that we are witnessing “the total unveiling of this demonic realm, this demonic spirit.” Feucht then warned that these alleged forces of Satan were “agitated and upset and trying everything they can do to intimidate Christians.”
  • On his BlazeTV podcast, Deacecalled the Democratic Party “a demonic construct, a satanically influenced entity, and a death cult.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

The Charlie Kirk Show

Racist Writer Who Worked For Carlson Pops Up Again -- With Charlie Kirk

Blake Neff, a former writer for Fox’s now-defunct Tucker Carlson Tonight who resigned from the show in 2020 following revelations that he made racist and sexist posts in an online forum, has resurfaced on Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk’s radio show, apparently as a producer.

In July 2020, CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported that Neff, then the top writer for Tucker Carlson’s 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.

On the website for The Charlie Kirk Show, Neff is identified as “producer Blake.” In addition to appearing on that show, Neff has also joined Kirk on a new panel show called THOUGHTCRIME.

Neff appeared with Kirk on the first episode of THOUGHTCRIME, a new weekly panel show streamed live exclusively on Kirk’s Rumble channel that’s apparently co-hosted by Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec. Kirk introduced Neff as “very high-IQ Blake,” saying, “And we’re really honored to have Blake on our team — he’s great. And the most, let’s just say, awful people in the world tried to destroy Blake’s life and we’re not going to let that happen.” Later he added, “We love Blake and he does a great job.”

In a prerecorded introduction attached to the audio-only version of the show, Kirk described THOUGHTCRIME as “R-rated,” with “rather graphic elements,” and “not homeschool friendly.”

On June 21, Neff appeared again on Salem Radio Network’s The Charlie Kirk Show to discuss the submersible vessel carrying four tourists and a captain that got lost while diving to the Titanic shipwreck. Kirk described Neff as “our resident submarine expert,” and a chyron identified Neff as “The Charlie Kirk Show Submarine expert.” Neff described the plight of the lost vessel story as “refreshing” as far as news cycles go.

After the break, Kirk referred to Neff as “part of” the new weekly panel show. Neff also said, “I don’t want to say, like, you should not” go on a submersible vessel seemingly operated on a video game controller.

During THOUGHTCRIME, the panelists repeatedly used an anti-trans slur and discussed the X-rated topic of “glory holes” in response to The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh’s claim on Twitter that “Fox Corp is celebrating Pride by encouraging employees to read about ‘“glory holes.’”

This type of talk stands out coming from Kirk, not only because of the raunchy topic, but also because of how it contrasts with the self-righteous Christian nationalist rhetoric he’s embraced over the last year with the launch of Turning Point USA Faith, an initiative to propagandize young people by setting up Turning Point USA chapters in their churches.

“What is a glory hole?” asked Kirk.

“Oh my sweet summer child,” responded Neff.

Kirk then Googled it live on air.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Charlie Kirk

Charlie Kirk Worries Biden Will Be 'Really Hard To Beat' In 2024

It remains to be seen whether or not Democratic President Joe Biden will seek reelection in 2024, and which Republican he will be up against if he decides to run. But Biden certainly sounded like he was planning to run when he gave an aggressive 2023 State of the Union address in February and focused heavily on the economy.

Biden, during that forceful speech, sounded like he was laying out a list of reasons to give him four more years in the White House.

Charlie Kirk, the far-right MAGA Republican and talk show host who heads Turning Point USA, discussed the 2024 election during an April 17 broadcast of his "Charlie Kirk Show" — and argued that Biden will be "tough to beat" in 2024 if he runs.

"Now, we made the prediction that Joe Biden is not going to run for reelection," Kirk told listeners. "That remains to be a mystery. Is he going to run? Is he not going to run? Very soon, we're gonna have to find out. But it doesn't matter. Joe Biden running in 2024 is going to be really hard to beat."

Kirk went on to tell his audience that Democratic organizers will have a strong ground game in 2024.

"Candidate quality means next to nothing right now," Kirk argued. "Because the Democrats have such a structural advantage with how they built the infrastructure in these key states, they can run a brain-dead person like they did — a pseudo-brain-dead person like John Fetterman, who could become a senator. They just chase ballots…. They have their thousands of paid community organizers…. They do not run a campaign; they run 40 different campaigns."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.