Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

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

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Donald Trump urged Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday to give in to the demands of the armed mob of protesters who stormed the state Capitol a day earlier.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," he tweeted. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."


Trump was referencing a protest Thursday by hundreds of people — many armed — at the Capitol in Lansing. Angry about Whitmer's stay-at-home order, they chanted "lock her up" and "heil Whitmer." Some entered the building and unsuccessfully demanded to be allowed on the floor of the House of Representatives as the chamber considered whether to continue Michigan's state of emergency. Many of the protesters wore no face coverings.

The protests were part of a national effort by far-right groups to rally against state stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar protests of varying size have occurred in other states, including Alabama, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Trump has egged on the protesters, with tweets urging them to "liberate" states run by Democratic governors, including one such tweet about Michigan.

Polls have shown that the vast majority of Americans — and even most Republicans — support the social distancing requirements.

Whitmer ordered most residents to stay at home on March 23, with an initial end day of April 13. She first extended the order through April and recently continued much of it through May 15.

Republican state lawmakers have repeatedly sought to limit Whitmer's emergency powers and have criticized her orders.

"OUR Governor IS DESTROYING OUR HEALTH BY KILLING OUR LIVELIHOODS!" State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey wrote last month on Facebook. "Under the guise of protecting our health....she is DESTROYING our HEALTH by killing our Livelihoods."

Last month, protesters flouting social distancing rules and safety guidelines gathered at the Capitol to yell, "We will not comply" with the stay-at-home order. Those protests were organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund, which has ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

At the time, Trump dismissed concerns that they had ignored local authorities and praised them for being Trump supporters. "I think they're listening. I think they listen to me," he said. "They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion, and my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors."

The Republican-controlled legislature voted against extending Michigan's emergency declaration on Thursday and authorized a lawsuit challenging Whitmer's authority to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

As of Friday, Michigan has confirmed 41,379 COVID-19 cases and 3,789 reported deaths.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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.