The Newsmax columnist spewed false pro-Trump election conspiracy theories, then abruptly changed his tune after the Capitol riot. But rather than apologize for spreading lies, he simply shifted to hyping right-wing culture wars.
By Terry Krepel Posted 9/2/2022
A few weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Newsmax columnist James Hirsen -- whose beat is supposed to be entertainment -- devoted a column to lecturing about "moral projection":
In my assessment, which results from my academic coursework, professional background, and ethics studies, there is another kind of projection that exists, which takes place within the moral realm of human consciousness, one that I term "moral projection."
Moral projection occurs when an individual experiences feelings of guilt over acts that he or she has committed or omitted. This individual may subsequently find the uncomfortable feelings difficult to confront and/or manage. The conduct, or lack thereof, which evoked the feelings of guilt, also frequently becomes very difficult for an individual to own.
Using the defense mechanism concept, an individual may assign to another individual or group the same attitude and behavior that initially generated his or her own attendant guilt.
In other words, take your blame and pin it on another.
Moral projection has been used extensively by Democrats in their ongoing war against anyone who would get in the way of their agenda du jour.
It continues to be wielded as one of their main political and propaganda weapons.
Among the examples he cited was that "Democrats and the complicit media are fomenting fears over whether President Trump will accept the results of the upcoming election, while former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton publicly advises Biden not to do so "under any circumstances" and the campaign hires hundreds of lawyers to go to court to contest election results."
Of course, Hirsen is engaging in his own form of "moral projection" here. He pretends to be a judge of the morality of others when he has insufficiently apologized for being a longtime defender of Mel Gibson at Newsmax -- even after his notorious anti-Semitic tirades -- while failing to disclose that not only was he a close friend of Gibson, he ran an organization linked to an ultraconservative Catholic sect run by Gibson's father. Both of those are serious violations of journalistic ethics.
As we know, Trump lost that election and refused to accept the results. In the weeks after the election, Hirsen helped him do that. He went all-in on election fraud conspiracy theories in his Nov. 9, 2020, column, falsely declaring that "Last minute rule changes, software glitches, count halts, ballot dumps, and statistical anomalies made their ugly appearances this election-go-round, all to the benefit of one party only" (italics in original). As a purported example of this, he claimed: "In Michigan, Democratic presidential candidate Biden at one point received a block of 138,000 votes. Nearly all of the votes added to his tally. This is a statistical impossibility." In fact, that was a typo that was quickly fixed. Hirsen also asserted:
Dominion Democracy Suite software was used for tabulating ballots in Michigan’s Antrim County. A reported "glitch" caused at least 6,000 Republican votes to be counted as Democrat votes, according to Michigan GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox.
When corrected, the miscalculation, which was first reported by a county clerk, changed the results of the county from candidate Biden to President Trump.
Forty-seven other counties in Michigan may also have suffered a similar glitch, due to the same software. If each of these counties, when corrected, were to have a switch-over of 6,000 votes, it would result in President Trump receiving 282,000 additional votes, likely changing Michigan’s election results.
In fact, the "glitch" was a human error, not a problem with the Dominion software, and nothing similar happened in the 65 other Michigan counties (not 47, as Hirsen claimed) that used Dominion software.
Hirsen was still in conspiracy-theory mode in his Nov. 16 column, demanding that states override the popular vote and get Trump re-elected:
Despite repetitive denials emanating from a multitude of Democratic and media sources, it's clear that there has been unprecedented and widespread voter fraud as it relates to the all-important 2020 presidential election.
Although several lawsuits have been filed and are in the process of being adjudicated, the ultimate antidote for the toxin that has infected our electoral system does not rest in a state or federal judiciary.
Instead it rests in the state legislature.
President Trump’s supporters need to keep the faith in the Constitution, in the truth, and in him.
Hirsen got all emo in his Nov. 23 column by couching his conspiracy theories in what he insisted was a "dark night of the soul" for America:
In essence, half the population is now being told to reject what they have seen with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, and know in their own hearts; that on election night, the vote counting of several states was halted, with no explanation given.
When it once again commenced, suddenly there were massive quantities of votes that came in for the Democratic presidential candidate.
In congressional, state, and local races, voters turned away from Democratic candidates, yet they still managed to vote for the Democratic candidate for president.
In record numbers, Black Americans chose the Republican candidate.
Nevertheless, the Democratic presidential candidate somehow received 11 million more votes than former President Barack Obama did in 2008.
And the same people who spread false information about Russia-gate and Ukraine-gate are now urging folks to move on, claiming that there is nothing to investigate and that the American people should graciously accept their candidate of choice.
First: Those "record numbers" of Black voters for Trump still meant that only 8 percent of Black voters voted for him. 92 percent did not.
Second: there are more Americans than there were in 2008 and 2012, and many of them were motivated to vote against Trump, so it makes sense that Biden got more votes than Obama.
Hirsen tried to end on an optimistic note: "What follows the lowest of low points is an unexpected breakthrough that enables the protagonist to overcome seemingly impossible odds and secure victory. I like to think of it as 'The Bright Light of the Spirit.'" The problem, of course, is that he believes that the dishonest, amoral, reality-denying Trump is the protagonist -- and Hirsen was his willing enabler.
Hirsen used his Dec. 7 column to dishonestly liken the election to a "bank heist":
Think of it as a bank heist, one in which armed robbers crash through the front doors and hightail it to different sections of the building.
One approaches a teller and shoves a gun in his face.
One sneaks over to the main computer and hacks away. Another goes into the vault and locks it behind him, so he can swap out real hundies with counterfeit ones when no one is looking.
That pretty much sums up what the Democrats did, election-style.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen out from under the American people.
And the crooks used a number of means to bring their devious plan to fruition.
Evidence of fraud is there for anyone to see, but the corporate media seem to be engaging in one of three strategies: stating that none exists; ignoring it altogether; or subjecting it to a "fact-checking" process.
In his Dec. 14 column, Hirsen lashed out at the Supreme Court justices who refuse to take up the highly dubious Texas lawsuit trying to intervene in the elections of other states:
To the heartbreak of millions of Americans who were hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court would give justice a fighting chance in the current fog of electoral war, seven of the nine members of the High Court simply slunk away last Friday without even lending an ear.
Approximately one week ago, shortly before midnight, the state of Texas filed a lawsuit directly with the high court.
In that suit, Texas challenged the election procedures that had taken place in the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The seven members of the high court, who took the position that Texas and the other co-plaintiff states would not be allowed to have their case heard, committed a fundamental error.
The justices may have been influenced by a slew of legal prognosticators, some of whom had taken to the Democratic-dominated media to ridicule the Texas attorney general for having initiated the action in the first place.
The threshold issue that was before the Supreme Court was whether the constitutional prescription for the selection of electors had been violated by non-legislative actors.
This was, and will always remain, central to the functioning of our republic, and it is a premise that is vitally important for all of the justices to recognize.
Seven simply did not.
These wayward seven failed to allow the case to move forward.
In his Dec. 28 column, Hirsen ranted about Americans allegedly being victims of intelligence-style PSYOP tactics over the election:
There has been a concerted effort to perpetuate two falsehoods: first, the claim that no such evidence of election fraud exists; the second, the repeated mantra that the election is "over" and everyone needs to "move on."
The first falsehood supports the fallacious premise that the 2020 presidential election was conducted in a legitimate manner. It was not.
Even former Attorney General William Barr, among others, admitted that there was fraud.
The second falsehood seeks to sweep the rigged election under the rug.
The nation cannot.
The Republic ceases to exist without free and fair elections.
At present, approximately half of the country believes that the election was conducted in an illegitimate manner.
These are the folks who are not just distrustful of the way the election was conducted.
They are the folks who have lost trust in their government; lost trust in their elected officials; lost trust in the complicit news media; lost trust in the social media; lost trust in the tech companies; and on and on.
No doubt, the use of PSYOP on an unsuspecting public played a major role in the vanquishing of their trust.
However, this type of undermining typically leads to cynicism, which can be unhealthy for an individual and fatal to a society.
But Hirsen is engaged in his own PSYOP here. His goal as a right-wing activist is to instill that distrust in people and elections for the benefit of Trump -- otherwise, why would he spend the past two months ranting about how the election was stolen from Trump, something he would know is not true if he had ever bothered to closely examine the evidence?
Hirsen wants people to be distrustful of government and the media and to be cynical about the state of things. That's his job. That's what Newsmax pays him to do.
In his Jan. 4, 2021, column -- two days before the riot -- Hirsen embraced another conspiracy theory, the "Great Reset" (already pushed by conspiracy theorists like WorldNetDaily). He invoked Aldous Huxley and ranted, "The list of infringement upon our freedoms at the hands of modern day autocrats goes on forever. I think in order to avoid our own 'Brave New World,' we need to counter The Great Reset with The Great Return."
But in his first column after the riot, on Jan. 11, Hirsen was rather abruptly singing a different tune. While not referencing Trump or the riot, Hirsen went all existential on us:
It’s a strange world in which we find ourselves.
The start of the New Year confirmed to many of us that some individuals we thought we knew so well weren’t the same folks we thought they were.
Many of them appeared to have transformed into a newn persona literally overnight, leaving people, who had supported, admired, and trusted them, in a state of disbelief, distress, and overwhelming sadness.
The depth of duplicity to which they had sunk shocked us to the core.
But it did something else too.
It set us on a path to find out how human beings can cause so much hurt, do so much damage, and care so little about what they'd done.
I would like to offer one explanation, which is based upon my academic background and application of sociological, cultural, and media psychology principles.
There is an insatiable human need to be loved.
In my assessment, this would explain why so many people, the likes of which I described above in my opening, caved so easily to other influential individuals and groups, whom they most longed to please, and whose continuous acceptance they still desperately desire.
It is a hollow choice that these people made.
And they may soon come to know that fame is fleeting, but misfortune oftentimes lingers.
In his next column, on Jan. 25, Hirsen expounded on the dangerous nature of cults. Is he talking about QAnon? Is he talking about fanatical Trump supporters like himself? Again, he didn't say. But his message echoed his earlier column:
I contend that the word "cult" has actually crept into our common vernacular and is creating a significant problem. Because societal members think they are talking to one another, when they are really talking past one another.
They are operating on distinctly different denotations and connotations of the word, which will inevitably result in confusion and friction between parties.
Sadly, some people are simply unaware of what is taking place. Other people are being deliberately provocative and are actually desirous of the negative outcomes that are flowing.
If Hirsen had some kind of post-riot awakening toward Trump, his supporters and his own behavior, it would have been nice if he wasn't being so oblique about it. Come right out and admit it, Jim! Tell us why the riot disillusioned you about Trump and made you question your own beliefs. Explain to us why you no longer stand by the election fraud conspiracy theories you promoted. In short, tell us how you screwed up and say you're sorry.
But Hirsen never did that -- never apologized, never corrected the record, never admitted he deliberately spread lies on behalf of Trump. Instead, he tried to put a spiritual spin on more of his writing, while still clinging to right-wing extremism and culture wars.
Hirsen began an April 2021 column by declaring, "Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been a target of the establishment press and the social media ever since she was elected to office." But he failed to mention any of the legitimate reasons Greene gets criticized -- her support for QAnon, her personal harassment of mass shooting victims, her series of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic videos on Facebook. Heck, even fellow Newsmax columnist Christine Flowers has denounced Greene for her denial of the existence of the Newtown school massacre.
Instead, Hirsen tried to defend another extreme view of Greene's, her claim that a COVID-19 vaccination passport is the "mark of the beast." Criticizing Greene for this extreme view means criticizing all Christians, Hirsen claimed:
It is appalling to have to witness the parade of religious bigots in the news and entertainment media, who with apparent impunity think that they can display contempt for the beliefs of hundreds of millions of Christians.
Bible believers across the globe patiently await and prayerfully watch for a future that will someday unfold, one that is foretold in sacred Scripture.
Passages of the Holy Book, which Christians revere as the sacred Word of God, speak of a time when the Earth is ruled by a highly charismatic, yet deeply malevolent figure.
The “mark” to which Rep. Greene refers is an imprint taken upon one’s body, which is a demonstration of allegiance on the part of followers to the singular evil ruler.
Revelation, the final book of the Bible, sets forth key language on the subject.
Revelation, the final book of the Bible, sets forth key language on the subject.
“... all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, ... receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads ...”
The words of the scripture passage also make clear that no one will be able to “buy or sell” unless they have had the mark.
The evil leader about which scripture speaks is called the “son of perdition.” A specific number has been assigned to him, one that is familiar to many Bible believers and non-believers alike: 666.
Hirsen is apparently cool with Greene hatefully smearing people who are trying to keep a infection that has killed millions across the globe from spreading as akin to the devil:
Much like the financial markets make predictions using indicators, the Bible reveals to Christians that they are to watch for End Times indicators of coming events that are foretold in scripture.
One of these indicators is a decline in moral sensibilities.
Millions of Christians and others are painfully aware that this is an ominous trend in our current world. Rep. Greene, along with many of her Christian sisters and brothers, are also extremely uncomfortable with the potential use of intrusive digitally-based identifiers.
For folks like us, the book of Revelation looms large as current events seem to be leaping off the pages of The Word.
The End Times scenario of a one-world government, a one-world religion, and a totalitarian system of rule seem more and more plausible with each passing day.
Thankfully, though, the Second Coming looms larger than all of it.
No, Jim, Greene is not like "millions of Christians" in her spread of hate and embrace of hateful conspiracy theories. You may want to rethink your cynical embrace of her.
A Captain America meltdown
Hirsen began a July 2021 column by sucking up to a former Superman turned right-wing commentator:
Dean Cain gained a whole lot of fame when he starred in the hit 1990s television series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
Cain played the dual role of the understated Clark Kent and his alter-ego Superman, with actress Teri Hatcher co-starring as Lois Lane.
At the height of its popularity, “Lois and Clark” brought in roughly 15 million viewers per show. Its influence spawned a series of novels, trading cards, and a comic book, which all worked to solidify Cain's brand as a major player in the “Superman” legacy.
Not only does Cain have the looks to take on the Man of Steel role, he’s got the athletic cred under his belt to make the media magic believable.
All this sucking up, though, was an attempt to build credibility for the actor to justify his right-wing attacks on the new Captain America comic series. Hirsen obliquely introduced this section by stating that "Cain recently became the subject of a Twitter trend, due to some statements that he made about a new Captain America comic book series." Hirsen didn't note, of course, that the reason Cain became a Twitter trend was because he never read the comic he was criticizing -- and, thus, probably also didn't understand much about Superman, the character he played on TV for a few years, around which Hirsen was trying to build his critical cred. It appears Hirsen has not only not read the comic as well -- he only quotes the one line that his drawn right-wing ire but omitting the entirety of what Captain America actually said on the subject -- his own research into Cain was factually deficient, crediting a Hollywood Reporter story on Cain's remarks when, in fact, the Reporter was detailing what was said on Fox News:
The new sub-patriotic comic book character states that the American Dream is really “...two dreams. And one lie,” adding that for some, it “isn’t real.”
Cain has a sense that the change of direction for the title character is anti-American in nature and appears to be shoehorned into the content of the comic book.
Quoted in the Hollywood Reporter Cain says, “I love the concept of Captain America, but I am so tired of this wokeness and anti-Americanism.”
“In my opinion, America is the greatest country in history. It’s not perfect. We are constantly striving for a more perfect union, but I believe she’s the most fair, equitable country anyone’s ever seen, and that’s why people are clamoring to get here from all over the globe,” he adds.
Cain wonders aloud about whether today's U.S. critics realize what life is like in other countries around the world.
“Do these people ever travel outside of America?” he asks. “Do they go to other countries where they have to deal with governments who aren’t anywhere near as fair as the United States? I don’t think they do. I do it all the time, and I kiss the soil when I get back.”
But as the Twitter folks who demolished Cain's remarks pointed out, superheroes tend to be woke creatures, with Superman in canon helping the disadvantaged and repeatedly taking down the empires of evil capitalist Lex Luthor. Also, Captain America fought Nazis.
It managed to be even more stupid than the Media Research Center's meltdown over Captain America. Maybe that's why Hirsen concluded his column with more Cain-fluffing, laughably insisting that "he has generally been private about his religious convictions" despite most of his recent film projects he listed being made with an explicit right-ring and/or religious.