The Target of the MRC's Transphobia
The Media Research Center helped vicious far-right gay-basher Matt Walsh spread lies about Pride Month merchandise sold at Target -- but it refused to similarly attack conservative-friendly Chick-fil-A for not sufficiently hating LGBT people.
By Terry Krepel
The Daily Wire host Matt Walsh blasted YouTube for attempting to force him to use Dylan Mulvaney's preferred pronouns last week.
Quite the petulant child, isn't he? Yet the MRC decided that this immature rant was award-worthy -- and it eagerly signed on to promote a new anti-trans rage campaign. Tom Olohan merged hate with rah-rah in a May 24 post:
Conservative podcast host Matt Walsh is calling on conservative women to launch a Bud Light-style boycott to rebuke another woke company pushing the rainbow mafia agenda on children.
Olohan and Walsh are lying about the designer, Erik Carnell, by calling him a "Satanist" -- he considers himself an atheist, and none of his vaguely Satan-adjacent stuff (done to make a political point, not to promote Satan) was ever sold by Target. They are also lying by claiming that "tuck-friendly" swimsuits were being marketed to children; kids' swimsuits are constructed differently.
But facts don't matter when there are people to be demonized and companies to attack for a partisan hate agenda. Kevin Tober expanded on the lies later in the day:
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News dedicated an entire segment of their newscast to Target being forced to remove some of their clothing from their stores which visibly worship satan. In addition, Target announced they were reviewing some of their other clothing which caused a national uproar. Most notably, their "tuck friendly" bathing suits in which men are able to "tuck" their private parts in their bathing suit bottoms to pretend they're women.
In fact, not even the MRCTV post to which Tober linked offered evidence that anything sold at Target "worshipped Satan." He went on to whine that "The left-wing correspondent parroted leftist gender ideology vocabulary like “gender-affirming operations.” --though he didn't explain how being transgender is an "ideology" -- then complained that things were fact-checked and others admitted they felt threatened by the hate campaign:
He then spoke to Ben Collins, NBC’s senior reporter who proclaims he’s on the so-called “dystopia beat.”
Alex Christy managed to avoid repeating any of the lies from Walsh and his co-workers in a May 25 post, but he complained that a hate-filled transphobe didn't get enough airtime on CNN:
The View’s Alyssa Farah Griffin and Rolling Stone’s Jay Michaelson teamed up on Wednesday’s CNN Tonight to attack conservatives for wanting to boycott Target for certain Pride-themed merchandise aimed at children. In things never said about liberal boycotts, Farah Griffin labeled it “very totalitarian,” while Michaelson warned of “stochastic terrorism.”
Christy went on to dismiss Michaelsen as a "liberal rabbi and former Merrick Garland clerk," then tried to play whataboutism: "One wonders if Michaelson, who once accused Antonin Scalia of all people of inciting terrorism, thinks Nashville was “stochastic terrorism” or does that label only get applied to hypothetical right-wingers? Either way, people aren’t going to suddenly believe that boys can suddenly become girls because that’s not hate, that’s just science." Christy is referencing the Nashville gun massacre, which Christy and the MRC care about only because the shooter was allegedly transgender, not because guns were used to kill both adults and children.
Tim Graham repeated those lies in a May 26 column that tried to blame the victim, insisting that it's somehow Target's fault for making right-wingers lie about it:
Some might claim that Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is part of his “right-wing media machine,” but not when it comes to the news pages. The front page on May 25 included an article headlined “Target Is in Bull’s-Eye Of the Culture Wars.” Inside the paper, it’s “Culture Wars Snare Target.”
Again, Cornell is not a Satanist, but Graham couldn't be bothered to telling his readers that. He did grudgingly admit that "The edgy Satanic gear isn’t on sale at Target," but insisted on blaming Target or it anyway: "Are their executives so dense that they can’t imagine this Satanist-adjacent promotion might be a publicity problem?" Graham also failed to mention that this war on Target was not organic but manufactured by people like Walsh -- a fact one of his writers gleefully touted.
Graham also conceded that no "tuck-friendly" swimsuits were ever marketed to children, but Target was again somehow to blame because someone under the age of 18 might wear one:
The Target story first kicked into prominence when the Associated Press and PolitiFact “fact checkers” rushed in to defend Target against those anti-groomer right-wingers who were spreading “misinformation.” They insisted that the swimsuits being sold with “tuck-friendly construction” were only in adult sizes. But it should be obvious that many teenaged children would fit into adult sizing.
Graham concluded by raging that not hating transgender people is somehow making people want to be transgender:
The number of youth identifying as transgender has doubled in recent years, and all these leftists want to pretend that none of this happened because of their crusades waged on the Internet and their urgent “Pride” marketing from “woke” corporations.
In fact, social contagion is not causing more youths to be transgender. Graham didn't explain why transgender people must always be hated and vilified in the media.
Christy tried to play whataboutism with right-wing attacks on Target in a May 26 post:
Apparently, colleges just hand out PhDs to anyone who wants one because on Thursday’s The 11th Hour on MSNBC, economics Prof. Justin Wolfers wondered if Target is “cowardly” for backing off slightly on the store’s display of LGBT products for children or simply the victim of “economic terrorism.” Meanwhile, the pot called the kettle black as senior reporter Ben Collins called the Target boycott a “terminally online” phenomenon.
Christy then trampled on his employer's messaging, complaining that Collins (accurately) identified Walsh as the "leader of the movement," though he did make sure to tout Walsh as a "MRC Bulldog winner." But then he complained that "Collins’s entire job is to submerse himself in the deepest backwaters of the internet and claim those weirdos represent and have outsized influence on the Republican Party." If Walsh is such a fringe "weirdo," why did the MRC see fit to give him a major award?
Another May 26 post, by Nicholas Schau, attacked non-right-wing media outlets for reporting accurately on the furor while repeating those right-wing lies (again):
While the rest of America was busy being appalled, leftist media hacks celebrated Target’s disturbing line of LGBTQ-themed merchandise designed by an avowed Satanist.
Schau's lies continued:
CNN similarly wrote a blatantly biased piece claiming that “Target is being held hostage by an anti-LGBTQ campaign.” In its absurd article, CNN blames “right-wing personalities” for creating this campaign which “became hostile.” CNN defended Target’s actions and claimed that “the campaign misrepresented Target’s ambitions,” adding that much of the totally reasonable criticism was based on “misinformation.”
Only in the MRC's right-wing bubble is it "absurd" for a media outlet to report facts. Indeed, despite all his ranting, Schau did not dispute a single fact in any article he attacked.
Olohan returned for a June 16 post parroting right-wing commentator (and Walsh's boss) Ben Shapiro's complaint that a Washington Post article on bomb threats at Target stores that failed to note to his satisfaction that at least some of the threats came from left-wingers and not that "fans of Matt Walsh, upset over Target’s grotesque pride month collection, were responsible for the threats." But, of course, they are responsible in a way: They fell for Walsh's lies and spread them in order to inflame hatred of LGBT people, yet they are now surprised that others are using those inflammatory tactics. Olohan also repeated the falsehoods that Erik Carnell is a "Satanic designer." So the lies continue, because the MRC thinks it's OK to lie about your enemies.
Giving conservative companies a pass
By contrast, when companies that have a reputation for catering to conservatives run afoul of the new new conservative correctness, they get treated differently. A June 2 post by Tom Olohan started out with righteous anger:
After Chick-fil-A drew attention to its diversity, equity and inclusion program, prominent figures across Twitter reacted to the news while leftist media exaggerated criticism or missed the problem entirely.
Olohan is misleading by claiming that Chick-fil-A wasn't the one that "drew attention" to its DEI program -- as he admits, it was "many Twitter users." But having done this, he seems to want to distract from it:
Leftist news sources like The Hill exaggerated this criticism, uplifting smaller accounts calling for a boycott, while others like The New York Times and CNN aggressively missed the point on what DEI is and why conservatives object to it.
But if DEI is so evil, how can The Hill (which, contrary to Olohan's assertion, is not a "leftist" publication) be exaggerating the issue? Olohan didn't explain. Instead, he called on vicious transphobe Michael Knowles to try and absolve Chick-fil-A further:
Daily Wire columnist, Michael Knowles, agreed with the idea that creating a DEI department is a problem in and of itself. On his show Wednesday, Knowles told his audience, “The exact verbiage does not exactly matter. It’s all pretty much just gobbledygook anyway. The disconcerting thing is not the exact wording. The disconcerting thing is that Chick-fil-A has embraced DEI at all, and now while some conservatives are calling for a boycott of the openly religious, generally relatively conservative company, as far as I’m concerned this story has almost nothing to do with Chick-fil-A.”
Actually, Erickson didn't say that. Here's what he actually said: "Y’all really gonna boycott @ChickfilA? When you start boycotting every business as 'woke' the average American will think you’re full of crap," adding that the company's stated mission is to "glorify God" and stating that conservatives need "discernment in your targets." In other words, he was pointing out that conservative anger in general was discrediting them. But wouldn't carving out an exception for Chick-fil-A also discredit conservatives when they target other companies for doing the same thing? (WorldNetDaily also gave Chick-fil-A a pass as well.)
And that attitude is why the MRC was completely silent when it was revealed that Cracker Barrel -- another restaurant chain beloved by right-wingers -- has embraced DEI and not hating LGBT people.
It seems that, despite Olohan's headline, the media did not miss the point, and Olohan is the one who needs to explain why he's hypocritically giving certain "woke" companies a pass based on their past friendliness to conservative agendas.