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Thursday, October 26, 2023
MRC Loved 'Rich Men North of Richmond' Song -- Until Singer Stopped Playing Along
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's other song of the summer -- after Jason Aldean's "Try That In A Small Town" -- was Oliver Anthony's "Rich Men North of Richmond." Christian Toto hyped the right-wing embrace of Anthony, and whined that non-right-wingers weren't rushing in the same way, in his Aug. 19 column:

The singer shares plainspoken lyrics that speak to the working stiff, the guys and gals who break their backs only to watch it scooped up by the government. The songs aren’t overtly political, but they speak to modern frustrations in ways that make progressives nervous.

Well, if you work for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline or you don’t even bother. Those entertainment sites are ignoring the stunning rise of Oliver Anthony, a Virginia resident whose song “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral mere days ago.

A Google News search also couldn’t find the AP or Reuters picking up the story. Most mainstream news outlets pretend it’s not happening.

Meanwhile, his recent concert drew strong media coverage from right-leaning outlets.

Billboard begrudgingly covered Anthony’s rise, while both TMZ and Rolling Stone found the most newsworthy element of his story is that conservative influencers are sharing his music.

Like that noted alt-right figure Joe Rogan.


Reporters understand Anthony’s work undercuts their narratives. Bidenomics is working! There is no collusion between the Biden administration and Big Tech! 

Look, squirrel!

Everything is fine, and our elites have the situation firmly in hand.

Anthony’s music says otherwise, and reporters are loathe to give those messages the oxygen they richly deserve.

When the song's lyric about "the obese milking welfare" was called out -- which alludes to right-wing attacks on welfare recipients who tend to disproportionately be people of color -- Nicholas Fondacaro lashed out in an Aug. 23 post:

The rich liberal cast of ABC’s Good Morning America was possibly feeling targeted Wednesday as they broke the network news silence on the runaway, smash-hit song Rich Men North of Richmond with the direct intent to smear singer/songwriter Oliver Anthony with accusations of being a racist. The classic tactic of the rich men north of Richmond.


The report was delivered by correspondent Chris Connelly, who noted that “Fans hear an authentic, from-the-heart hit that speaking on behalf of an overlooked America,” but added that “Critics hear racially-tinged dog whistles.”

Anyone who has actually listened to the song and the lyrics knows that race was not brought up once or alluded to.


Ironically, ABC flashed their own racism because their assertion was that welfare was synonymous with minorities. And if the song truly used "racially-tinged dog whistles" as they claimed, then why have so many black reaction YouTubers fallen in love with the song? It also doesn't square with what Anthony told Fox News earlier int he week that America is a "melting pot" and that's a good thing.

Connelly steered clear of the lyrics that directly called out ABC’s friends and allies in Washington, like President Biden and his terrible economy, which made up a vast majority of the song:

But the lyrics Fondacaro quoted to back up that claim don't reference Biden or any specific media outlet -- which means he's doing the exact thing he's accusing ABC of doing, reading things into lyrics that may not be there.

When NPR noted that the song's lyrics leaned into right-wing conspiracy theories -- not only about welfare but a reference to "minors on an island" that alludes to Jeffrey Epstein -- that hint at QAnon topics, Clay Waters went on a rant in an Aug. 27 post:

National Public Radio is stirring up liberal hysteria again, courtesy of Odette Yousef, who works the outlets “extremism” beat (as in solely “right-wing” extremism). NPR’s website claims that “Yousef aims to explore how extremist ideas break into the mainstream, how individuals are radicalized and efforts to counter that.”

The latest “extremist idea” Yousef has latched onto is a… song? The raw, countrified tune “>Rich Men North of Richmond,” a populist plea from singer/songwriter Oliver Anthony criticizing taxes and welfare, made history by debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was accompanied by a not very terrifying clip of Anthony with his guitar and two dogs.


One doesn’t have to be a conspiracist to have suspicions about Epstein’s death, including the lackof guard checkups and the lack of a cellmate.

With their hypersensitivity to “right-wing extremism” and misinformation, today’s liberals have painted themselves into their own extreme worldview, where speaking out against child trafficking is dangerous.

Waters went on to whine further that it was pointed out that QAnon leans hard into the "anti-Semitic blood libel" of elites supposedly drinking the blood of children, then huffed that professional homophobe Matt Walsh was (accuretly) described as "far-right."

An Aug. 29 post by Tom Olohan cheered that Robert Kennedy Jr. -- whose presidential campaign the MRC has been ironically promoting in the hope it might hurt President Biden's re-election efforts -- got on the song's bandwagon:

According to RFK Jr., people aren’t paying attention to what he described as a “corrupt collusion” between the government and corporate power. He said that this duo is “strip mining the wealth from the American middle class and destroying the lives of the working poor in this country.”

“The whole system is rigged against you,” RFK continued. “And those corporations because of government collusion with these rich men north of Richmond have their boots on the neck of every American... [T]he wealth is being stolen-by corporations with the cooperation of these government agencies”

But a funny thing happened -- Anthony started pushing back against the right-wingers turning his song into a political tool. He issued a YouTube video in which he stated, "It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me, like I’m one of them. It’s aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies and act like we’re fighting the same struggle here, like that we’re trying to present the same message." He added that his song "has nothing to do" with Biden. He further stated:

"It was funny seeing my song at the presidential debate," Anthony said of the Republican debate last week in Milwaukee. "Cause it’s like, I wrote that song about those people."

"So for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. But it was funny kind of seeing the response to it. That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden, you know? It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song is written about the people on that stage and a lot more too not just them, but definitely them."

The MRC stopped writing about Anthony and his song after those sentiments became known. Apparently, it wants nothing to do with someone who won't completely play along with its right-wing narratives.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EDT

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