The Media Research Center loves washed-up musicians who spout right-wing political and COVID narratives -- and lashes out at the ones who won't.
By Terry Krepel Posted 4/21/2021
The Media Research Center just loves it when musicians start spouting right-wing talking points -- so much for the old "shut up and sing" insult conservatives used to silence any musician who said anything remotely liberal. Alexander Hall complained in a November 2020 post:
American band TRAPT was reportedly booted from Facebook for sharing a meme.
“Nu-metal one hit wonders Trapt were kicked off of Facebook after the group shared a Proud Boy meme to promote their new account on social media site Parler,” Newsweek reported Nov. 19. Alternative-rock band Trapt had tweeted: “For posting this pic and saying the same thing in the post, Facebook has completely deleted the TRAPT FB account.” The official Trapt account then declared: “I will be suing Facebook.” Trapt was the nu-metal one-hit-wonder band known for the song “Headstrong” in 2002.
The MRC loves supporting fringe people and conspiracy theories when they can be used in its dishonest war against social media.
Hall went on to complain that "Facebook’s moves to restrict activist groups in the name of preventing unrest have appeared to be completely partisan in nature." Of course, the Proud Boys are much more than an "activist group"; they're violent thugs with a white supremacist and anti-Semitic bent.
But a couple weeks later, Trapt 's Twitter account got banned. Why? This is why:
The nine-month hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck has come to a screeching halt. Trapt’s Twitter account was finally suspended after frontman Chris Taylor Brown vehemently defended underage sexual encounters between teenage boys and adult women.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage the planet, Chris Taylor Brown became one of the most inflammatory users on Twitter by defending President Trump’s COVID response, blaming George Floyd for his own death, threatening to fight or sue countless Twitter users, supporting neo-fascist group The Proud Boys and more.
Brown’s Proud Boys support got Trapt removed from Instagram and Facebook, but Twitter didn’t take action until the musician began publicly defending statutory rape.
“A 15 year male and a 25 year old female is not pedophilia, you fucking moron,” Brown later tweeted. “I wouldn’t care if a 15 year old boy banged his 25 year old teacher. That’s it...”
“I would be giving the kid high fives!” Brown continued in yet another tweet. “Only if the teacher was hot though... So much worse when a grown man does that with a 14 year old girl. They get much tougher prison sentences, so society agrees with me. As long as the kid wasn’t sad about it. I mean the teacher could break his heart and that would be sad.”
Hall isn't going to tell you what Trapt did to get banned from Twitter, since that doesn't fit with his dishonest agenda. But this is the crowd Hall and the MRC are associating with.
(At least Hall conceded that Trapt was a "nu-metal one-hit-wonder.")
Gabriel Hays touted another washed-up musician spouting right-wing opinions in a Sept. 15 post:
Biden’s blunder in Afghanistan was so disastrous that it has already inspired musicians to write songs about it.
One artist moved to create out of anger and disappointment in the 46th president’s braindead pullout of Afghanistan was lead singer/songwriter of the group “Five For Fighting,” John Ondrasik.
Ondrasik, who wrote the unofficial 9/11 anthem “Superman (It’s Not Easy)" composed the new 2021 track “Blood On My Hands” after the suicide blast which killed 13 U.S. service members outside Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan less than three weeks ago.
Talking to conservative outlet On Balance, Ondrasik remarked, “I was angry and frustrated. And did what songwriters do. I went to my piano and banged out some chords.”
Hays even helped Ondrasik -- who is essentially a one-hit wonder and hasn't had a major hit in close to 20 years -- play victim by hyping his claim that his Facebook ads promoting the song were flagged for divisive political content: "Yep, so now you can’t post songs slamming dumb*ss politicians on Facebook. Sounds like a convenient ploy to keep the heat off of heads of state who totally deserve it from mainstream artists."
By contrast, Hays was much, much harsher to an old musician who failed to spout right-wing talking points. He sneered in a July 28 post:
Musician and peace and love enthusiast David Crosby is currently moonlighting as a bloodthirsty fascist who thinks about shooting people who promote politics he doesn’t believe in. Yeah sure, the first member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young embodies that hippy lifestyle, though today it seems in a way less reminiscent of John Lennon and more akin to Charles Manson.
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, the songwriter who inflicted “Almost Cut My Hair” on the world had some brutal words for the creator of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, saying that he should be “ taken out and shot” because of all the fake news being pushed out of his network. Oh he also went on about how evil Trump is.
Geez, Another has-been with a negative opinion of right-wingers? Ooooooh, Daily Beast., talk about exclusive scoop!
But yes, how’s that for partisan journalism? Begin your interview with the mustachioed musician talking about his music and then switch right into talking about Trump. Readers could see that Crosby knew that this was going into cheap political clickbait, when he responded to the Trump pivot, with a simple, exhausted, “Ah, jeez.”
Yeah we hear you, Croz. No one wants to do this.
Yet Hays did it anyway. Go figure.
Hays' headline called Crosby a "cranky old hippie," even though he's no more cranky than Ondrasik or Mustaine. Also note that Hays didn't describe the right-wing rants from Ondrasik and Mustaine as "cheap political clickbait" the way he did Crosby's, even though it is by virtue of the fact that Hays fell for it and ate it up.
The MRC returned to Ondrasik when decided that he was a victim, and we all know how much the MRC loves their right-wing victims. Alexander Hall conferred victimhood on the musician in a Jan. 11 post:
Musician John Ondrasik, also known by his stage name Five for Fighting, slammed YouTube for reportedly temporarily censoring his music video about Biden’s incompetence in the Afghanistan troop withdrawal.
Biden mishandled the end of America’s longest war so badly that Big Tech is haphazardly handling criticism of the president. “Ondrasik spoke out against censorship on Monday during an appearance on America’s Newsroom after YouTube temporarily removed and then reinstated a music video of his song ‘Blood on my Hands,’ which criticized the U.S. for its handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal,” Fox News reported on Monday. While YouTube reinstated the original video, Ondrasik slammed Big Tech leadership for being too quick to remove content.
Ondrasik explained to co-host Dana Perino that concern over free speech has become a value Americans only protect selectively rather than universally. "This YouTube issue, umm, it seems that freedom of expression only matters when the censorship applies to our side, our tribal team," he observed. "If it’s criticizing some, somebody that is on our side, ‘Well, so what?’ Censorship, it’s all political."
If Ondrasik has a ready platform at Fox News he can run to whenever he has a complaint to make, he's not really being "censored" the way he thinks he is. Besides, even Fox News itself called the video "graphic and chilling," including "horrifying videos of those who died trying to escape the country as well as those who were hanged, beaten and tortured by the new regime in power."
In other words, it appears to be little more than an artsy version of a snuff video -- content that Hall didn't reference in his post and more than likely the reason YouTube temporarily pulled it. Ondrasik apparently didn't reference the video's graphic content when he ran to cry to Fox, since Hall didn't note it.
The problem with the MRC's victim narrative is that it usually has to hide inconvenient facts to sustain that victimhood.
COVID and aging rockers
defending the right of an ex-member of a washed-up '90s band to refuse to get a COVID vaccine. Abigail Streetman wrote in an Aug. 4 post:
Vaccine mandates have been growing in popularity over the last couple months with companies like Tyson, Walmart, Google and Disney now all requiring the shot. But it’s not just theatres and businesses now. Pete Parada, drummer for The Offspring has been booted by his own band members for refusing to get vaccinated due to possible complications related to his medical history
Parada has been a member of this band since 2007 and stated in a lengthy Instagram post that he plans to release music with his daughter now. The musician took to his social media account to explain why his fans would no longer be seeing him on stage or around the band during their upcoming tour.
He explained that for him “the risks outweigh the benefits” and he holds no grudges towards his band. But he can’t promise that many of his fans won’t be upset, and rightfully so. We don’t accept racial discrimmination but prejudice against the unvaccinated, that’s perfectly acceptable.
Parada also explained that those who haven’t yet been vaccinated have varying reasons for their decisions whether it’s a medical condition, “conscientious risk/ benefit analysis,” or “financial instability.” He also had a strong message for those who aren’t willing to accept perspectives that differ from their own. “Let’s avoid the unfortunate tendency to dominate, dehumanize and shout down at each other.”
Streetman clipped a portion of Parada's lengthy statement, in which he mentioned "informed consent," but said nothing else about it. That phrase is a buzzword for anti-vaxxers (like Physicians for Civll Defense, run by AAPS extremist and anti-vaxx fearmongerer Jane Orient) He also spouted more veiled anti-vaxx gobbeldygook that undermined his case. As Wonkette noted: "If he had said something like, 'Please please please get your damn shots to protect yourselves and everyone else, and also to protect people like me who literally can't get the shots,' that would have been OK. As it is, he kinda showed his cards."
And as others have pointed out, the band's leader, Dexter Holland, holds a doctorate in molecular biology, so Parada's dismissal is not without a medically informed basis.
Still, Streetman concluded by huffing, "If only our politicians actually knew how to control their desire for power, or at least hide it better. Pay attention, this is only the beginning of a much larger issue." We'll take the word of a Ph.D. in molecular biology over that of an agenda-driven right-wing blogger.
On Sept. 17, Hays found another largely irrelevant oldster to gush over:
The lead singer and guitarist from Megadeth, and one of the founding members of Metallica, Dave Mustaine is actually embracing the spirit of metal and sticking it straight to the freaking man. During a recent concert in New Jersey, Mustaine gave a speech about how Americans are living in “tyranny” right now.
Mustaine has been writing songs about government tyranny, the military industrial complex, and the new world order for more than thirty years, so this not a big stretch.
In a set on September 15, a show featuring blistering metal classics and some new tracks, Mustaine made a point to share a moment with the crowd and bask in the unity that we’ve all been missing since the outbreak of the Wuhan virus.
He remarked about the power of being in a raucous crowd of like-minded people away from the bureaucratic nags who demand that we stop the fun because it risks spreading Coronavirus.
Mustaine began by asking, “is there anybody here besides me who’s having a great fucking time?!” The crowd roared back affirmatively, flashing devil horns signs and cheering him on. For both the metalhead and crowd, it’s clear it had been too long without a show.
“But I just wanna tell you how great it is. Look around you guys. Look to your right, look to your left and look how wonderful it is,” he said. “We’re all here together, we’re not in fucking bags, you know? We’re not freaking out and we’re not yelling at people, ‘Where’s your fucking mask?’” he added.
Funny how the MRC is suddenly cool with obscene language and flashing of devil's horns when it's done in service of right-wing narratives. Hays continued to gush:
It became more clear that the Megadeth frontman was speaking to the political moment we are facing with the leftist authoritarians in our society, especially when he dropped that big “T” word. “See the thing right now -- what’s going on is tyranny. This is called tyranny. Look it up when you get home,” he urged his fans.
“And tyranny isn’t only in government. Tyranny right now is in the schools and tyranny is in the medical business,” he explained. He's correct. As Americans, seeing critical race theory and enforced mandates burdening our kids in public school, and seeing any semblance of open debate about vaccinations being absolutely crushed in the public square, we recognize the tyranny.
Mustaine continued: “We have the power, especially us ... heavy metal fans, we have the power to change things.” Well as long as Mustaine and others like him are sticking out their middle fingers to the ambitious authoritarians in office, there’s plenty of hope.
But as Rolling Stone noted, the state in which Mustaine made his rant has seen 27,000 people die from COVID, and Mustaine himself is a survivor of throat cancer, a pre-existing condition that makes him more susceptible to catching COVID. That "tyranny" he's raging against just might keep him alive -- not that Hays cares about Mustaine's health.
Further, by contrast, the lead singer of the band co-headlining with Megadeth on this tour, Lamb of God, urged concertgoers to get vaccinated and "wear a fucking mask." Hays somehow forgot to mention that.
So, which singer cares more about the health and safety of himself and his audience? Who's more likely to be alive at the end of this tour? Care to speculate, Gabe?
The case of Clapton
In Eric Clapton, the MRC found a bona fide guitar legend to spout right-wing anti-vaxxer narratives. In November 2020, Gabriel Hays touted a song ranting against COVID-related lockdowns that he made with legendarily cranky musician Van Morrison:
Ok so maybe Clapton isn’t actually “god,” but neither is big government during the height of the Chinese plague. The English blues guitar virtuoso teamed up with legendary songwriter and vocalist Van Morrison to write an anti-lockdown song and provided some words on how the next wave of COVID lockdowns in the U.K. will be terrible for his industry.
Not only providing his talent to Van Morrison’s track, Clapton has united his political perspective to that of Van Morrison, telling Variety that Britain’s lockdown measures have been “deeply upsetting” to him as well.
In addition to praising the “Moondance” singer’s political stance as a source for “inspiration,” Clapton urged his fellow British citizens to fight to get out “of this mess.” He claimed, “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
“Stand and Deliver” will be available for download and streaming on all major platforms by December 2. To hear that one of the all time greats is anti-big government, as opposed to all the useful idiots in his industry, makes his new song essential listening.
In a May 17 post, Hay promoted Clapton's screed against vaccines:
A recent bout with extreme COVID vaccine side effects has inspired another searing rebuke of government pandemic mandates from the guitar legend Eric Clapton.
In a lengthy missive reposted by multiple users across social media, the 76 year-old “Layla” singer spoke of dealing with western governments’ handling of coronavirus as the “greatest dilemma of his life,” one which he claimed has been worse than him overcoming “addiction and alcoholism.”
After all these years, it’s clear that Clapton hasn’t sold out. The same can’t be said for most famous musicians relevant today.
But when Rolling Stone called out Clapton for his anti-vaxx nuttiness, Matt Philbin rushed to his defense in an Oct. 11 post:
For Eric Clapton, all it took to go from rock legend to canceled was to rebel against the establishment. And the establishment’s enforcer is Rolling Stone magazine.
When it’s not publishing lies about college rapes and hicks swallowing horse medicine the once-cooler than you’ll ever be chronicle of counterculture is cracking heads for Biden and Boris. Clapton had a bad experience with one of the vaccines, and he’s using his platform to warn people about it.
Bad idea. Rolling Stone has archives, and they’re not afraid to use them. In an article titled, “Eric Clapton Isn't Just Spouting Vaccine NonsenseHe's Bankrolling It,” Rolling Stone couldn’t simply disagree with Slowhand, explain why he’s wrong and that his fans should be skeptical about his claims. No, the Blues Breakers, Cream, Derek & the Dominoes guitarist must be punished.
Despite the fact that the MRC has never stopped bashing Ted Kennedy over Chappaquiddick more than 50 years on, Philbin whined that Rolling Stone brought up some xenophobic things Clapton said back in the day, then sought to give him a pass for them:
During a 1976 concert in England, Clapton said some impolitic things about immigration to Britain and used what Rolling Stone calls “offensive slurs.” Did I mention this was back in 1976?
Clapton long ago apologized and blamed it on his drinking. Which seems kind of reasonable, and given that the incident was in 1976 ... Hah! Rolling Stone anticipated your weak-willed forgiveness and found somebody who was at that concert 46 years ago to tell you what a bad guy EC really is. “Drink just makes you tell the truth too loud at the wrong time to the wrong people,” according to English Beat founder Dave Wakeling, who was there in 1976.
Anybody who’s read rock journalism from the 60s and 70s knows musicians and the people interviewing them spoke very differently than they do today.
But that doesn’t matter to the current gang of propagandists at Rolling Stone. All they know is Clapton stepped out of the vaccine line and their job is to make sure everyone knows he’s one of those MAGA-hatted, science-denying racists.
Would Philbin still be giving Clapton this pass if he wasn't being useful to right-wing narratives through his anti-vaxx rantings? Doubtful. But then, the MRC has no problem defendingterrible people as long as they remain useful to its agenda. Meaning that Philbin is at least as much of a propagandist as he claims Rolling Stone is.