2014 was a great year for conspiracy theorists running for office, but these extreme politicians couldn’t do it without the help of a conservative media bent on pushing outlandish conspiracy theories from the fringe into the mainstream. Here, gleaned from our weekly Paranoia-Rama, are the conspiracy theories that shaped the year.
While the temporary increase in unaccompanied child migrants coming to the southern border this summer has since subsided, the children fleeing violence in Central America provoked a year’s worth of fear mongering and conspiracy theories from conservative commentators and politicians.
One member of Republican National Committee speculated that the children were actually anti-American “warriors” who would soon “rise up against us,” an anti-immigrant activist suggested that they were child soldiers bent on waging war against the U.S., and Phyllis Schlafly and Alex Jones told their audiences to start worrying about becoming slaves to immigrants.
Republican members of Congress came up with their own conspiracy theories. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama accused Democrats of using immigration as part of the party’s “war on whites,” Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said Democrats planned to turn the child migrants into illegal voters, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota warned that the government would use the immigrant children “to do medical experimentation” and a whole host of GOP politicians falsely claimed that the child migrants were carrying Ebola, a disease that has still not infected a single known person in Central America or Mexico.
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Is anyone surprised that conservatives cynically turned a disease ravaging West Africa into a political attack on Democrats and immigration from Latin America? Republican officials and conservative pundits went as far as to suggest that President Obama would deliberately infect Americans, including military service members, with the disease as part of his nefarious, Big Government agenda, or to further his purported goal of punishing America.
What Turned The Kids Gay This Year?
The right-wing adage that gay people “cannot reproduce so they must recruit” children is still alive and well, and this year many anti-gay conservatives continued to worked overtime to propagate the homosexual recruitment myth. Televangelist Pat Robertson warned that Hollywood is turning children gay through “girl-on-girl movies,” while radio host Kevin Swanson said movies like “Frozen” are trying to “indoctrinate my five-year-old to be a lesbian.”
Gordon Klingenschmitt, a televangelist who was recently elected to the Colorado state legislature, said a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Al Franken would “require pedophilia in all public schools” and “require pro-gay child recruiting.” He even hosted a whole show about how parents should avoid interactions with “a gay” lest he “recruit” their kids. Conservatives also railed against Common Core and other education efforts by warning that they would turn kids gay.
Religious Right leaders who hope to criminalize homosexuality and strip LGBT people of marriage rights and antidiscrimination protections are pretty sure that conservatives are the real victims of oppression. And they not afraid to use absurd historical analogies to prove their point.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins charged that gay rights supporters are getting ready to “start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians” to concentration camps, Rick Santorum feared “reeducation camps” for gay rights opponents and pastor Scott Lively claimed gay people are using against conservatives “the same ‘blood libel’ used against the Jews by the Nazis.”
Others drew comparisons to slavery and Jim Crow, with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association alleging that gay people have become “our new slave masters” who will “send us to the hole if we refuse the massa’s demands” and “Trunews” host Rick Wiles warning that Americans “will be saves” to the newly powerful “homosexuals and sodomites.” Wiles even said that gay people in America may soon realize Adolf Hitler’s dream of creating a “race of super gay male soldiers” who are determined to “slaughter” Christians.
Cliven Bundy Hysteria
Becoming vocal cheerleaders for Cliven Bundy — a Nevada rancher and anti-government extremist who refused to obey several court orders to pay decades of back grazing fees — may not have been the best idea for Republican politicians and Fox News pundits. Even Glenn Beck seemed horrified by the racist and violent messages coming from the Bundy ranch.
Bundy’s supporters, however, insisted that the government was using the Bundy standoff as a way to prepare for “civil war,” “mass graves,” “FEMA camps,” “tyranny” and “jihad.” After all, Bundy said that God was on his side.