Extremism Looms At The MRC
Media Research Center employees dismiss right-wing extremist Laura Loomer as crazy on their personal social media, but that doesn't translate to their employer, where she's just another Muslim-hating "free speech" martyr.
By Terry Krepel
The next day, Houck tweeted a thread quoting right-wing activist Erick Erickson denouncing Loomer as "a grifter who is going to take people’s money that could be used in serious races with serious people to get them elected" and castigated Florida Republicans who support her, declaring that they "should be marched into the sea like the lemmings that they are."
But if you read NewsBusters -- again, the MRC outlet for which Houck serves as managing editor -- you will find nary a disparaging word about Loomer. Just as it has with other right-wing extremists, NewsBusters treats her as a free-speech martyr because most social media operations (and other places) have banned her for her hate-spewing Islamophobia. That's something the MRC is done for quite a while, and now Houck's operation is doing it even more now that she's a Republican candidate.
The MRC's Corinne Weaver spent a November 2018 post detailing how "Twitter's war on conservative thought" claimed a couple so-called victims. One was "far-right journalist Laura Loomer," whom Weaver writes "was erased from the platform on November 21 for criticizing Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)." Weaver added: "Loomer was booted off the platform on Wednesday for accusing Muslim Rep. Omar of being anti-Jewish, supporting Sharia law, and being pro-female genital mutilation. She was told that by doing so, she had “promoted violence against, threatened, or harassed other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” Almost immediately after her Twitter ban, Loomer was given a 30-day Facebook suspension."
While Weaver earned a little credit for admitting that Loomer is "far-right," she failed to inform readers just how far right-- and Islamophobic -- she is. Loomer was banned from using Uber and Lyft after she ranted that "Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of @uber or @lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver" and complaining she couldn't find a "non Muslim cab."
A couple days after her banning, Loomer handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter's corporate offices in New York while wearing a yellow star of David as if getting kicked off Twitter for spewing hate was the same as getting Holocausted. (Quick, someone call Rabbi Spero!)
Loomer is clearly not a person who anyone should take seriously. But Weaver wants you to think she is in order to keep up the MRC's anti-social media narrative.
The MRC wasn't done trying to turn an extremist into a martyr. A February 2019 post by Hall complained that Loomer was banned from PayPal, including a quote from her that she was banned "for no reason whatsoever." Hall, to his credit, didn't call Loomer the "journalist" that she is not, and admitted she is a "right-wing provocateur" and "an activist and performance artist." Hall uncritically repeated the platforms from which Loomer has been removed and let her whine without challenge that "the left" is targeting her.
But as before, Hall didn't give his readers the details of Loomer's extreme behavior. For instance, Hall let Loomer complain she's been banned from Uber and Lyft -- but didn't explain that it's because she went on an Islamophobic rant complaining that the ride-sharing services employ Muslim drivers. And handcuffing yourself to the door to Twitter's headquarters is a desperate cry for attention, not "performance art."
Nevertheless, Hall felt the need to lecture: "The question here is where the legal distinction lies between core values and political ideology. There is a difference between saying one cannot bake a gay wedding cake for religious reasons, but can offer other items versus denying all of one’s services because you don’t like a person’s political ideology." But Hall presents no evidence Loomer has been de-platformed for "political ideology" alone. Indeed, the evidence shows -- if Hall had bothered to present it to the MRC's readers -- that Loomer engages in hateful, extremist and discriminatory behavior.
But Loomer's de-platforming fulfills the MRC's narrative of purported persecution of conservatives on social media, so Hall will continue to give her martyrdom she doesn't deserve.
In May 2019, Hall again complained that PayPal has "deplatformed non-violent conservative activists like Laura Loomer. A few days later, Hall promoted how Loomer, in protest of her banning by Facebook, "showed up to Facebook’s lobby on May 3, skewering the company for showing solidarity for everybody but Jewish and Christian people." Hall benignly described Loomer only as a "recently deplatformed activist," silent once again on her well-documented-elsewhere hate; instead, he huffed that "Facebook, like many other big tech companies, is famous for a left-wing political monoculture."
Later that month, Weaver noted only that Loomer was among the "individuals" banned by Facebook with no mention of why she was banned. And Hall had another benign description for Loomer -- "Jewish American activist" -- and complained that she and Infowars conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson were among "controversial but ultimately non-violent YouTubers" who have been "purged."
Gabriel Hays contributed to the whitewashing a couple days later, complaining that a vulgar song by a French rapper nobody's ever heard of remains on YouTube "while internet personalities like Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph Watson have been removed for 'far less violent content.'"
The MRC continued to defend Loomer throughout 2019. In July, Weaver noted Loomer was on a "dangerous individuals" list at Facebook, going on to complain: "Theoretically, users could post content threatening to kill these individuals, and nothing would be done by the company." The next month, Hall lamented that Facebook had deplatformed "entirely non-violent commentators such as Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer."
In September, Hall highlighted a report that Facebook was seeking First Amendment protections against a lawsuit by Loomer, describing her only as a "controversial provocateur" and censoring any mention of the vicious Islamophobia that got her deplatformed, instead gloating that "Facebook’s brazen admission that it acts as a platform has opened it to possible prosecution or the repeal of Section 230’s protections."
In a November post, Weaver grumbled that a "study funded by grants from liberal billionaire George Soros claimed that conservative news outlets and figures amplified xenophobic and hateful 'attacks' against Rep. Ilhan Omar" adding: "The study also focused on 'Queen of Trolls' Laura Loomer, whom it referred to as 'the most influential anti-Muslim voice in Ilham Omar’s network.' Loomer was identified as someone who worked for Project Veritas, smeared as 'a conservative organization that secretly records liberal figures to entrap them.'" Weaver made sure to censor most of what the study said about Loomer: that her online popularity for her hatred of Muslims "is based on a combination of political theater and an adept talent for digital self-promotion" and crafting "staged efent[s] for social media," as well as that she "has also been banned from Uber and Lyft for posting Islamophobic comments about their Muslim drivers and was also thrown out of the 2019 Conservative Political Action Committee conference for heckling a reporter." (Weaver also didn't explain why the study's description of Project Veritas is the "smear" she claims it is.)
Loomer the candidate
When Loomer started running for the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Florida, the MRC played up her victim status even more. Hall made her a victim by association in a May 26 post:
Twitter’s terms of service say the platform doesn’t need a reason to terminate users or meddle with user content, and it appears its warning was no bluff.
As usual, Hall censored any mention of the vicious Islamophobia that got her deplatformed. Then again, to him hate is just "radically pro-free speech."
And on Aug. 18 -- the same day Houck denounced Loomer on Twitter -- his NewsBusters published another post by Hall gushing that she was a "conservative firebrand and Florida GOP frontrunner" who has "reportedly been targeted" by a cable company. No only did Hall provide no verified evidence to back up Loomer's accusations, he again failed to detail Loomer's viciously hateful rhetoric, instead repeating his benign description of her as "a Jewish-American right-wing provocateur."
The next day -- the same day Houck retweeted Erickson's bashing of Loomer -- his NewsBusters published a post by Corinne Weaver that once again helped Loomer play the victim:
Facebook is blatantly interfering in elections by banning the ads of a Republican congressional candidate.
Like her colleague Hall, Weaver refused to detail the Islamophobia that got Loomer banned, instead robotically repeating the "Jewish-American right-wing provocateur" boilerplate.
Hall returned on Aug. 24 to tout a right-wing effort to get the feds to investigate "Big Tech" and portrayed Loomer as utterly normal: "The recent GOP nomination of Laura Loomer in the U.S. House race for Florida’s 21st Congressional district shows how the electoral game has changed, and conservative organizations are taking notice. [The American Principles Project's Jon] Schweppe argued in his open letter that while Loomer has been censored by multiple platforms '[d]ue to past controversial comments,' the fact that she 'is now a major party nominee for U.S. congress' shows its high time for a reassessment." Once again, Hall was silent on the exact nature of those "past controversial comments," nor did he or Schweppe explain why they have become less controversial because she's now a Republican politician.
Houck and Whitlock are cowards, pure and simple. By censoring any criticism of Loomer and the real reason social media banned her, they do not have the courage of the convictions they express outside of work.