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Friday, August 25, 2017
MRC Defending 'Patriot Prayer' Rally, Hides Its Alt-Right Roots
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 18 post, Craig Bannister was eager to serve as stenographer for "Patriot Prayer" organizer Joey Gibson when he appeared on Fox News (of course) to defend an upcoming rally in San Francisco from allegations of white supremacist ties:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling for the National Park Service to revoke the permit for a Patriot Prayer event because she says it’s a “white supremacist rally” – even though the organizer and all but one speaker are not white.

“The National Park Service’s decision to permit a white supremacist rally at Crissy Field raises grave and ongoing concerns about public safety,” House Minority Leader Pelosi declared in a statement calling for cancellation of the conservative event scheduled for Aug. 26 in San Francisco, California.


But, Patriot Prayer rally organizer Joey Gibson calls Pelosi’s claim a “ridiculous lie” intended to gin up violence, not stop it.

Speaking to Fox News Host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, Gibson explains that he’s not even white – and has scheduled an extremely diverse group of speakers:

“I’m not white. We have about eight speakers and only one speaker is white. You know, we have a couple of black speakers, a Hispanic, we have a transsexual speaker; we have a woman speaker. It’s very diverse. It’s really just about what’s on the inside – what you believe, what’s in your heart, your soul – it has nothing to do with skin color.”


Gibson not only promises to keep Nazis and white supremacists out of the event, he also says they won’t even want to attend - because all, but one, speaker is non-white[.]

Similarly, Corinne Weaver rushes to Patriot Prayer's defense in an Aug. 25 MRC NewsBusters post attacking counter-protester Terrence Ryan for calling the rally "alt-right" in an article on the website Bustle:

One has to wonder: did Ryan read the Patriot Prayer announcement on Facebook? The group specifically stated that they are bringing in minorities to speak at the rally. It said, “Before you accuse Patriot Prayer as being hateful, please find specific examples. You will not find any hate speech, you are being lied to by corrupt politicians. SF is supposed to be a safe haven for minorities. If this is true then please be respectful to the speakers we are bringing in. 3 black, 2 hispanic, 1 asian, 1 Samoan, 1 muslim, 2 woman, and 1 white male. There will also be an opportunity for an open mic for moderate Americans.”

There is also a transexual who will be leading a prayer group at the rally. But all the people saw was that it was organized by a Trump supporter. While Bustle begrudgingly admitted that the group had stated that it was not a “hate group,” it also gleefully reported that the rally has less than half of the pledged attendees that the “poop protest” has.

Why is Bustle encouraging this kind of passive-aggressive childish behavior? The Patriot Prayer Rally isn’t illegal, while a rally to have dogs defecate on public property is an act of civil disobedience.

Are these people--and Bustle--guilty of the same kind of hatred that they accuse Neo-Nazis of harboring?

Well, Bannister and Weaver are definitely guilty of trying to whitewash the fact that Patriot Prayer does indeed have alt-right origins.

David Neiwert explains at the Southern Poverty Law Center that a previous Patriot Prayer rally featured members of the white-nationalist Identify Evropa group, and the right-wing "III Percenter" militia provides security at all of Gibson's events. The SPLC adds that a typical Gibson "prayer" event "clearly appears more an attempt to troll the left than a sincere effort at dialogue."

In other words, there are legitimate concerns about the intent of Gibson's rally. Too bad the MRC doesn't feel like telling its readers the whole truth, instead gullibly taking Gibson at his word when he claims there's no alt-right ties.

UPDATE: Matthew Balan insisted that NPR "improperly" labeled Patriot Prayer as "alt-right"; his only defense is that "the controversial liberal Southern Poverty Law Center "does not list Patriot Prayer as such, nor is [founder Joey] Gibson considered an extremist," acccording to a Wednesday report from The Mercury News."

Oh, suddenly the MRC considers the SPLC to be authoritative when it's in the MRC's interest to do so? Balan didn't mention that the SPLC considers Gibson to be a troll.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 26, 2017 1:12 AM EDT

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