Stelter: Trump propaganda video shows where he's coming from
New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
Some right-wing media personalities are encouraging Americans to protest stay-at-home orders, arguing it is time to start to re-open the economy.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday tweeted approvingly of people in Michigan demonstrating against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order. “Time to get your freedom back,” Ingraham declared. “Soon Marylanders, Virginians, etc will stand for their right to work, travel, assemble, socialize and worship? Massive long lasting damage is piling up day after day as many ‘experts’ continue to get the virus analysis wrong,” Ingraham wrote in another tweet.
Ingraham wasn’t the only Fox personality to express such a sentiment. Jeanine Pirro told Sean Hannity Wednesday night that the health officials “overblew what was going to happen in terms of the number of people who were going to die” and now are telling people to stay home. “No,” she said. Pirro later added, “The American spirit is too strong and Americans are not going to take it. And what happened in Lansing, [Michigan], today, God bless them, it’s going to happen all over the country.”
Fox also spent the day spotlighting the protests. It was the top story on FoxNews.com for a fair amount of time, with the headline, “NO TO THE ‘NANNY STATE.'” And it received airtime on shows where hosts appeared to somewhat agree with the protesters.
Outside Fox, others in right-wing media have also started speaking out. A prominent Infowars host is organizing a Texas rally for later this week. “Are we in martial law right now?” the host asked Wednesday. “Because we’re acting like it.”
The far-right blog The Gateway Pundit framed the protests as people protesting a “tyrannical governor” who had implemented “police state policies.” And Candace Owens tweeted this week she was going to the grocery store every day, expressing outrage at the fact that she was asked to wear a mask. “WTF is going on?” Owens wondered.
“We can’t be careless”
I thought I’d ask Jason Miller, the former Trump comms adviser, what he thinks of right-wing media stars saying such things. Along with Steve Bannon and Raheem Kassam, Miller has co-hosts “War Room Pandemic” — a daily radio show that has covered the coronavirus for weeks.
Miller said that he believes right-wing media personalities encouraging Americans to protest stay-at-home orders are “on the outskirts of sensible voices on this topic.” Miller added, “We all want the U.S. to reopen as soon as possible, and there’s plenty of room for debate for how best to do that, but we can’t be careless in how we go about doing it.”
The social distancing culture wars
Late last month, The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins forecasted the looming culture wars over social distancing. So I also pinged him on Wednesday to get his thoughts on all of this. “There are some legitimate ideological beliefs driving this — an aversion to government overreach being one of them,” Coppins noted. “But there’s really no obvious reason public health measures during a pandemic should be a partisan issue. When I first wrote about this last month, it was still a relatively niche phenomenon. I worry it may become more common in the weeks and months ahead.” I do as well…
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