This weekend, so-called “New Right” media personalities fell in love with rapper Kanye West after he praised Candace Owens, the communications director at the youth-oriented Turning Point USA, who exists as a prominent “New Right” voice in conservative social media circles.
Last week, West returned from an almost year-long hiatus from Twitter and began posting a mix of mysticism epiphanies, self-help messages, and album announcements. On Saturday, West praised Owens:
I love the way Candace Owens thinks
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
That tweet is all it took for right-wing media to fall for Kanye.
West’s positive tweet about Owens surprised many in the media and angered some of his liberal fans, who may know Owens from her days using the moniker “Red Pill Black”—which plays off terminology popularized on alt-right and men’s rights forum boards—and appearing on fringe outlets like Infowars, where she has denied the existence of systemic racism and claimed that white supremacists don’t exist. Owens is one of many conservative pundits who travel the media circuit with a narrative about leaving liberalism for conservatism while offering no tangible solutions to any issues aside from switching political parties. Owens fawned over the attention of West and asked him to meet with her.
Turning Point USA president Charlie Kirk remarked that West “has been preaching wisdom lately.” Turning Point USA turned West’s tweet into one of the organization’s signature memes:
— Turning Point USA (@TPUSA) April 21, 2018
Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson said the tweet was “a watershed moment for the culture wars.”
“Kanye West represents a massive threat to the left because he has an army of adoring fans and he’s clearly done with being a puppet for their divisive agenda. After this, he’s going to be relentlessly attacked by the establishment like never before,” Watson said. “Get ready.”
“Celebrities with something to say other than vacuous virtue signaling and cliché platitudes are now all but extinct,” Watson continued. “And that’s because any celebrity that uses their platform to speak uncomfortable truths is immediately shunned and attacked by the legacy media.”
Conservative media lined up to defend West against whatever backlash came his way for praising Owens. Pro-Trump “New Right” pundit Mike Cernovich likened people attacking West for his tweet to people who supported the Holocaust, writing that “those who attack Kanye would’ve been lining up to guard the camps.” The Gateway Pundit relished in liberal reactions to the tweet, claiming that “reaction from the leftie goons is pure Desperado!” Timothy Meads at Townhall attributed backlash against West to an “anti-black conservative phenomenon” among liberals. Conservative pundit and Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro said he couldn’t wait for Kanye to tweet “facts don’t care about your feelings,” which is the signature catchphrase Shapiro deploys before he says something controversial about a particular community.
This morning, Kanye shook up Twitter again when he tweeted a string of clips from Dilbert comic creator turned pro-Trump pundit Scott Adams.
In a strange turn of events this morning, @kanyewest is tweeting out clips of Dilbert comic creator turned pro-Trump pundit Scott Adams. Kanye has become a conservative media favorite over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/lhr7cXrOKT
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) April 23, 2018
Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist leading Infowars, said that he admired West’s “bold moves against the thought police” and invited him on his show, promising him that it would make “these control-freak vampires really go crazy.” Jones also apologized to West for assuming he was “a Democrat and a globalist.”
A headline on Gateway Pundit declared, in part, “Kanye West Continues to Red-Pill the Masses.” Ian Miles Cheong, who writes for Milo Yiannopoulous’ site Dangerous, compared Kanye to philosophers René Descartes and Friedrich Nietzsche. Conspiracy theorist “journalist” Laura Loomer said the reaction to Wests’ tweets proved liberals “don’t know how to be free thinkers.” Infowars reporter Millie Weaver claimed “Kanye got redpilled.”
Right-wing media’s embrace of West comes in stark contrast to their movement’s line of criticism toward celebrities who express liberal viewpoints. Some of the people now praising West once aimed criticism directly at him, like when the Daily Wire once called West “a turd.”
West’s welcome among “New Right” circles spawns from the movement’s desperation to maintain its shrinking political and culture relevance among mainstream audiences after the 2016 election and is reflective of conservative media’s widespread de-evolution into trolling liberals. As we saw last week, there are few boundary lines that conservative media have been unwilling to cross in order to rile up liberals.