RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
Donald Trump has been relatively quiet this week following his defeat in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary but, luckily for us, other right-wing politicians and preachers have stepped in to promote their own bizarre claims.
5) America Has Fallen To Baal Worship
Glenn Beck is very worried that people think he’s “nuts” and is upset that no one respects his role as a prophet. Beck told Sam Rodriguez, one of the Religious Right’s favorite pastors, that anti-Christian persecution in America is heating up and wondered if he will soon “have to make the same kind of choices that [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer did,” referring to the dissident anti-Nazi pastor.
“If people would just look up Baal and Moloch from the Scriptures,” Beck warned, “we are worshiping them right now, we just don’t know it, just in a different way. You used to have to sacrifice your children; it was promoted to have sexual intercourse and, if you got pregnant, you brought the baby to the altar and killed the baby. I mean, it’s the same thing. It was worship the god of finance, the god of war and the god of the earth. I mean, we’re there!”
4) They’re Coming For Jim Bakker
Speaking of doomsday prophets, televangelist Jim Bakker is out with his own warning about the supposed persecution of Christians in the U.S. Bakker spoke with Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin about how America has lost the freedom of religion to the extent that the government is now seizing businesses from Christians left and right.
A terrified Bakker absurdly claimed that the government has taken away the freedoms to pray and preach from the Bible.
“We are losing it one thing at a time,” he said. “We’ve lost prayer, we’ve lost Bible-reading, we’ve lost just about everything so that we can’t even preach the very foundations of the Word of God. I sit on this program and I bring the greatest speakers in the world here. And if they stormed in these doors right now and arrested me, I would not be surprised.”
3) White Straight People Are Oppressed
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media joined in on the persecution rhetoric, but with a special focus on the plight of white heterosexuals working in the media.
“The real one percent consists of the open and closeted homosexuals and their allies in positions of power in the major media, academia and the corporate world,” Kincaid warned, and this powerful group is “growing stronger by the day” and becoming even more “determined to expel normal, white heterosexuals from the newsroom.”
“Being white is not a protected class of people,” he said. “White people are the villains, unless they identify as a member of a protected group. That leaves white heterosexuals as people who have to be demoted or dismissed…. Indeed, whiteness is such a cancer in the newsroom that a ‘remedy’ is needed. These white people have to be put in their place. They must be cut down to size.”
2) The Voter Fraud Myth
On Tuesday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman came close to admitting that his state’s new voter ID law, ostensibly passed to thwart the mythical scourge of in-person voter fraud, would ensure that a Republican candidate for president wins the state in November.
The long lines faced by Wisconsin voters in this week’s presidential primary inspired a former aide to a Republican state senator in Wisconsin to write about how a “handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications” of the voter ID law “and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” These legislators, he said, used “the guise of ‘voter fraud’” to justify their voter suppression measure, even though “[t]here was almost none.”
The aide, Todd Allbaugh, told Chris Hayes yesterday how Republicans were determined to “take people’s constitutional rights away, or at least impede them, in order to hang onto power.”
1) Another Planned Parenthood Debunking
While Planned Parenthood has been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories and smears for decades, things really heated up after David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released a stream of videos purportedly showing the group selling fetal tissue for a profit.
The accusation became a favorite of conservative activists and Republican politicians, who pushed the false smear that Planned Parenthood committed criminal acts. As it turned out, Daleiden and his colleagues had edited their videos to misrepresent the truth, which was that Planned Parenthood had donated tissue for medical research in compliance with federal law and had only received fees to cover costs like transportation.
After watchdog groups pointed out the group’s misrepresentations and Daleiden himself faced a lawsuit and a criminal indictment, he tried to reverse course and say that he wasn’t an anti-choice activist seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood but simply a journalist.
A recent report by the Los Angeles Times and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, however, found that Daleiden’s new claim that he was just acting as a journalist the whole time doesn’t comport with his actions:
Now, Daleiden, head of the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, and his associates contend that they were acting as investigative journalists, seeking to expose illegal conduct. That is one of their defenses in lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood and other groups, accusing them of fraud and invasion of privacy.
But unpublicized footage and court records show that the activists’ methods were geared more toward political provocation than journalism.
The videos and court records show that Daleiden and his associates — posing as representatives of a fetal tissue brokerage — tried to loosen the tongues of abortion providers with alcohol.
In conversations, they tried to plant phrases such as “fully intact baby” and to elicit statements suggesting that fetuses were alive when their tissue and organs were harvested for use in medical research.
A comparison of raw footage and the videos he released shows that Daleiden edited out material that conflicted with his premise that Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics profit from the sale of fetal tissue for research purposes.
On Feb. 5, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco issued an injunction requested by the NAF to keep more than 500 hours of Daleiden’s unreleased footage under seal.
Orrick said the videos Daleiden has made public so far “have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions… of criminal misconduct.”
Daleiden’s “fraud” was so extensive and his videos so misleading that his still-unpublished recordings of private conversations do not warrant 1st Amendment protection as free speech, the judge said. In his order, Orrick used the words “fraud” or “fraudulently” 13 times in referring to Daleiden’s methods.