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Tag: mastriano

Mastriano Revealed ‘Alarming’ Views On Climate And Religion In 2018

In Pennsylvania, Democratic State Attorney General Josh Shapiro — who is hoping to be the Keystone State’s next governor — has been running two types of campaign ads. The first type lays out the things that Shapiro would like to do if he succeeds Gov. Tom Wolf in 2023; the second type paints his Republican opponent, State Sen. Doug Mastriano, as a dangerous extremist who is way out of the mainstream. And Mastriano, a far-right Christian nationalist and conspiracy theorist who falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, has given the Shapiro campaign a great deal of material to work with.

Journalist Tim Dickinson, in an article published by Rolling Stone, describes a radio interview that Mastriano gave in 2018 — an interview that, according to Dickinson, vividly illustrates why Mastriano is such a disturbing candidate.

“No one would mistake Doug Mastriano — the Trump-endorsed candidate for governor in Pennsylvania — for a moderate,” Dickinson explains. “He tried to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, participated in the events of January 6 — where he was slated to be a speaker — and has endorsed a no-exceptions abortion ban, dismissing the notion of ‘my body, my choice’ as ‘ridiculous nonsense.’ But in a radio interview in 2018, the former Army colonel let the mask slip all the way down, revealing himself as an extremist who would block equality for LGBTQ+ couples, who denies global warming, and who believes Islam is ‘not compatible’ with the United States Constitution.”

Dickinson continues, “Mastriano made the extreme remarks during an interview in February 2018, as he announced a campaign for U.S. Congress. Mastriano spoke to hosts for WEEO News Talk 103.7, a conservative FM channel with a studio in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, near the Maryland border.”

Dickinson goes on describe other things Mastriano said in that 2018 interview. The MAGA Republican described climate change as “fake science,” and when he was asked about same-sex marriage, Mastriano replied, “I’m for traditional marriage. And I am not a hater for saying that. It’s been like that for 6000 years. It was the first institution founded by God in Genesis, and it needs to stay that way.”

Mastriano, Dickinson notes, expressed vehemently anti-Islam viewers during that interview, saying, “Not all religions are created equal” — a “declaration” that the Rolling Stone reporter finds “particularly alarming in the context of the 2022 election, because Mastriano is running for statewide office on the same ballot as Republican Mehmet ‘Dr.’ Oz, the first Muslim from either party to be nominated for U.S. Senate.”

On August 13, Politico’s Holly Otterbein, a Philadelphia-based journalist, reported that Shapiro’s campaign was getting ready to unleash a “pair of attack ads targeting his opponent’s ties to the far-right social media network Gab.”

According to Otterbein, “Republican Doug Mastriano has come under fire for paying $5000 for ‘consulting’ services to Gab, the site where Robert Bowers made anti-Semitic posts before the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Mastriano also participated in an interview with Gab CEO Andrew Torba, where he told him, ‘Thank God for what you’ve done.’ In one of Shapiro’s ads, a narrator describes Gab as a ‘White supremacist website’ where “minutes before Jews were killed at this synagogue, the murderer posted his hate-filled plan.’ The spot highlights Mastriano’s payment to Gab.”

How effective Shapiro’s anti-Mastriano campaign ads will be in November remains to be seen. Some polls released in June showed a close race, with Shapiro leading by only four percent in a USA Today/Suffolk poll and by three percent in a Fabrizio/Anzalone poll. But a Fox News poll released in late July found Mastriano trailing Shapiro by 10 percent, and a poll that Blueprint Polling released in late July showed Shapiro with an 11 percent lead.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Right-Wing Media Covering Up Mastriano's Anti-Semitic Alliances

Right-wing media outlets have ignored Republican gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania Doug Mastriano’s alliance with Andrew Torba, the virulent anti-Semite who runs Gab — a social media site notoriously frequented by white nationalists, including the shooter who killed 11 at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, synagogue in 2018. By ignoring Mastriano’s friendly dealings with bigots, right-wing media are complicit in ensuring that Torba’s ilk are accepted in the right-wing movement and the Republican Party it supports.

Mastriano, an election conspiracy theorist, right-wing extremist, and January 6 insurrectionist, has embraced Gab, praised Torba for “what you’ve done” in an interview with the infamous Jew-hater, and paid the platform $5,000 for consulting services, Media Matters reported earlier this month. Those revelations triggered weeks of criticism for the gubernatorial nominee, and on Thursday, Mastriano and Torba posted statements responding to the firestorm.

But as New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait pointed out, Mastriano did not condemn Torba as an anti-Semite or say he would cease their association. Instead, Mastriano wrote, “Andrew Torba doesn’t speak for me or my campaign. I reject anti-Semitism in any form,” before attacking the press for reporting on their association and his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.


Chait wrote that Mastriano’s failure to reject Torba indicates that white nationalists “now have a place within the coalition” of the Republican Party and signifies “the collapse of any efforts to bar Nazi-like extremists from any place of welcome within the party.”

The rot is deeper than he suggests, though. One way political parties maintain guardrails against extremism is by candidates like Mastriano rejecting people like Torba. But another way is for the party’s institutions to apply pressure on hesitant candidates to do so and reject those who refuse. And that does not seem to be happening here.

Mastriano’s alliance with white nationalists has not resulted in his exile from the GOP – in fact, earlier this week, the Associated Press published a story detailing how the party is “warming up” to him. The Republican Governors Association hosted a donor event for Mastriano just last week and has likewise avoided commenting specifically on the candidate cavorting with bigots. And Mastriano posted a selfie on Twitter outside Capitol Hill Club on Thursday afternoon with the note, “Meeting with our congressional delegation in Washington DC.”

One factor that may be discouraging the party’s entities from weighing in is that numerous GOP politicians have advertised on Gab, including Georgia Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Herschel Walker and Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Meanwhile, rank-and-file Republicans trapped within the right-wing media bubble are hearing nothing about the story. If you get your news exclusively from right-wing sources, you may be unaware that your coalition now apparently includes white supremacists.

Fox News has not mentioned the connection between the Republican gubernatorial nominee and the notorious anti-Semite even once, according to a Media Matters review. When Mastriano appeared on One Nation with Brian Kilmeade on Saturday evening and told Kilmeade’s audience “there’s nothing extreme about me,” the host did not bring up his ties to Torba.

That blackout exists across the spectrum of right-wing outlets. Fox’s far-right competitors, One America News Network and Newsmax, also have not covered the story. It has also not been mentioned on Fox News’ website or on other prominent sites like The Federalist, National Review, the Daily Caller, the Washington Examiner, Breitbart, and the Daily Wire (home of Ben Shapiro, who Torba has said “is not welcome in the movement” because of his Jewish faith) according to Google site searches.

Tucker Carlson, Fox’s most powerful host, has actually gone out of his way to downplay the extremism of Torba and Gab. When Gab was banned by the Google and Apple app stores for “hate speech” in 2017, Carlson condemned those companies for attacking a “pro-free speech platform” whose users he described as “people who just believe in free speech.” Carlson also hosted Torba on his show, allowing to promote himself as someone who simply “believed in free speech for everybody, individual liberty for everybody, and the free flow of information for everybody.”

The Fox host’s support for the platform was apparently undimmed by its link to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter: Last year, he described it as a “free speech alternative to corporate social media.”

Carlson has also described white supremacy as a hoax. Thanks to him and his colleagues, its adherents are now apparently just another faction of the GOP.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.