Laura Ingraham took to her primetime program on Fox News last night to defend conspiracy theorists, extremists, and an unabashed neo-Nazi as “prominent voices” in the conservative movement that have been supposedly “censored on social media.”
A graphic produced by Fox News featured eight people who have been suspended or claim to have been throttled on social media platforms. The figures featured were dubbed “prominent voices censored on social media.”
Here’s who Fox News considers a “prominent” conservative figures.
The graphic featured first Alex Jones, the creator and leading voice of the conspiracy theory outlet Infowars. Jones is currently facing multiple defamation lawsuits regarding his insistence that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, which resulted in the families of slain children being harassed and traumatized by Jones’ viewers. Jones’ intentional spread of disinformation, harassment, and bullying of victims of tragedies and his regular distribution of offensive content broke enough community guidelines on social media platforms to result in a wide-scale deplatforming of his operation online. Infowars has regularly provided a safe space for extremists to recruit to their efforts.
Next on the graphic was Milo Yiannopoulous, a disgraced right-wing hate monger who stirred harassment and vitriol online and violated the community guidelines of many social media sites, resulting in his accounts being permanently suspended. His comments online after the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, where a white supremacist slaughtered practicing Muslims in two mosques, resulted in him being banned from entering the country of Australia. Yiannopoulous was once a prominent figure in the right-wing movement, thanks in large part to flush funding from the conservative mega-donor Mercer family. The Mercer family funding and Yiannopoulous’ spotlight was dimmed after BuzzFeed News published leaked emails showing Yiannopoulous’ collaboration with white supremacists and his attempt bring them into the mainstream. After audio surfaced of Yiannopoulous appearing to endorse pedophilia, Yiannopoulous was effectively designated persona non grata among conservatives.
Beside Yiannopoulous is Laura Loomer, an anti-Muslim activist whose targeting of Islamic worshipers (and any random person whose appearance led her to believe they are Muslim) violated social media rules against hateful content and resulted in her removal from major tech platforms. Loomer has had numerous affiliations with members of the white nationalist movement and endorsed Faith Goldy, who recited the white supremacist “14 Words” in her bid to become mayor of Toronto. Loomer, a former Project Veritas operative, has collaborated with Infowars on disinformation campaigns surrounding shootings in Florida and Las Vegas.
Candace Owens, who began her career in conservative media using the moniker “Red Pill Black,” joined Ingraham in-studio for the segment and was also featured on the graphic. She was briefly suspended by Facebook earlier this month after one of her posts had been flagged for violating community standards, but she currently uses the site freely. Owens got an early boost in her career from Alex Jones and has continued to advance in conservative circles despite her early affiliations. Owens was recently filmed saying that the problem with Adolf Hitler was that he was too ambitious and took his plans beyond Germany.
Michelle Malkin, who argued in a 2004 book that the United States was right to displace and intern 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in America during World War II, was another “prominent” voice Ingraham featured. Malkin frequently parrots white nationalist rhetoric on immigration; at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, she likened immigration to an “invasion” that “endangers” Americans. She closed that speech by saying, “diversity is not our strength,” and followed her speech by giving an interview to the racist website VDARE.
Actor and ardent Trump supporter James Woods, who is not banned from Twitter, but rather has refused to delete a post on his Twitter profile with the hashtag “#HangThemAll” that would result in his account being unlocked, was also featured as a “prominent” censored conservative voice. Before being locked out of Twitter, Woods also shared a meme of the Christchurch shooter depicted as a clown, part of a push by white supremacists to find a new way to launder their voices into relevance.
Fox News deemed Paul Nehlen as another “prominent” conservative voice. Nehlen is a failed state congressional candidate in Wisconsin who pivoted his campaign message to explicitly target Jews and then funneled the money he made to his wife and neighbor. He was banned from social media for being an explicit Nazi and is so aggressive that even the white supremacist internet haven Gab decided to boot him. Angry White Men recently reported that Nehlen and his likewise-failed neo-Nazi counterpart Patrick Little had been debating the best way to start a race war in the United States. And as Right Wing Watch reported earlier this week, Nehlen has promoted the writings of neo-Nazi James Mason, which advocate terrorism to fulfill a white supremacist agenda.
Dan Scavino, White House social media manager, was also featured on this list because he accused Facebook of censoring him for replying to a comment. Platforms are known to throttle accounts if software suspects an account may be spamming and there is no evidence that Scavino was targeted for restriction otherwise.
It’s for segments like these that Democrat presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren rejected an invitation to appear on Fox News for a town hall interview, calling the network a “hate-for-profit” scam and drawing criticisms from conservatives. Figures like Meghan McCain insisted that Warren’s refusal to subsidize Fox News with her appearance were off-base and cut her off from conservatives.