Sen. Josh Hawley introduces bill to end funding for ‘liberal’ propaganda

Gun Rights

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley should know better than anyone how dangerous radical right-wing domestic terrorists are, and how corrosive online propaganda can be to democracy and the public order. They’re the reason no one can watch him walk—or run—anywhere these days without getting the “Benny Hill” theme stuck in their heads

But even though Hawley ran from Donald Trump’s conspiracy-besotted mob on Jan. 6, 2021, much like a stoned ostrich chasing an ice cream truck, he’s faux-outraged that our government would ever do anything to combat the kind of homegrown misinformation that nearly got him killed.

Hawley has introduced a bill—titled the Ending DHS Funding for Liberal Propaganda Act—that aims to make the world safe for conservative viewpoints, so long as they’re suitably bonkers.

Here’s the text of the bill:

You Might Like

The Secretary of Homeland Security may not issue any grant funding to any entity that will use the funds for the development of—

(1) any programming that engages in partisan political advocacy or promotes discrimination on the basis of political affiliation; or 

(2) any programming relating to countering narratives or views on political topics, including6 COVID-19, vaccination, media bias, immigration, and crime.

According to Fox News, here’s the supposed evidence that supports Hawley’s bill:

The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative watchdog group, obtained documents through Freedom of Information Act requests showing a DHS program meant to fight terrorism is funding a group whose work has explicitly targeted the American political right. The MRC outlined its findings in a report, arguing what the group found warrants criminal prosecution.

Another example cited by Hawley includes a grant to the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab, funded through the administration’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program, to create “counter-propaganda” against conservative viewpoints, the Daily Wire reported this month.

The $700,000 grant was used to address “propaganda and misinformation concerning topics including immigration, racial justice, the coronavirus, and vaccination” and “build on top of concerns about so-called ‘fake news’ and ‘cancel culture.’”

Well, Hawley may have a point here. Without propaganda, misinformation, and fake news, all Republicans have left is hours of b-roll of Donald Trump humping flags and praising dictators. Clearly, the effort to stop deadly propaganda is now an existential threat to the GOP.

Hawley, who runs to the right of most of his Senate colleagues—and to the left … and down the stairs … and possibly to the bathroom, where he tucks his feet up onto the toilet lid so his bear spray-wielding MAGA admirers can’t find him—is incensed by the University of Rhode Island grant, and he’s emphatically saying so.

“This is an outrageous use of federal funds and abuse of power,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “All these funds should be clawed back by the federal government immediately, and anyone involved in making this grant should be fired.”

Sorry, but this is the only Hawley statement any of us ever needs to see from here on out:

Meanwhile, here’s a key portion of the Media Research Center’s report:

Instead of focusing on preventing actual violence and terrorism, the program is now being used to target the entire spectrum of the political right and Christians through “media literacy and online critical thinking initiatives” and other so-called training seminars as part of a coordinated effort to make America into a one-party system.

The University of Dayton, one of several grantees, targeted groups including The Heritage Foundation, Fox News, Christian Broadcasting Network, Turning Point USA, PragerU, the National Rifle Association (NRA), Breitbart News, the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Republican National Committee.

Again, if you’re going to fund initiatives supporting media literacy and critical thinking, you’re naturally going to run afoul of outfits like Fox News and Breitbart. Fox News’ election lies and propaganda already greased the skids for one rather conspicuous domestic terrorist incident Hawley might have heard of—and eventually cost the network $787 million. Maybe a focus on “media literacy and critical thinking” would have been useful in the run-up to that unpleasantness. Or maybe, instead of raising his fist in fake solidarity, Hawley himself could have helped Trump’s Jan. 6 mob grasp the incontrovertible fact that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Also, countering coronavirus and vaccine misinformation—which even supposedly “mainstream” conservatives have fed to their followers like they were foie gras geese—is sort of important for, you know, preventing mass die-offs. Sadly, the only reason science-based health care guidance became so politically controversial is because conservatives made it so. 

But Hawley sees more sinister motives behind the Biden administration’s efforts, and that’s why his bill blocks funding for “countering narratives or views on political topics, including COVID-19, vaccination, media bias, immigration, and crime.”

Again, it was conservatives who made COVID-19 and vaccination “political topics.” They’re not really political and never should have been presented that way. “Political” was Donald Trump continually touting an unproven COVID-19 drug (which may have led to thousands of unnecessary deaths) and monkeying with the CDC’s weekly scientific reports in order to paint a rosy pandemic picture in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

In other words, in Hawley-land, science-based COVID guidance that saves lives is “political propaganda,” but Trump pushing COVID nonsense to get reelected is just another in a long list of sacred presidential duties, like encouraging thousands of enraged marauders to hang a vice president.

Is it political to say that the border is clearly not “wide open,” despite conservative caterwauling to the contrary? Or that crime is falling precipitously on Joe Biden’s watch, even as Fox News convinces your grandma that antifa is at this very moment crouching in her freeze-dried legume larder?

Of course, Hawley, who’s happily endorsed confirmed rapist and proud authoritarian Trump, isn’t concerned about any of Trump’s overtly political proposals—such as vowing to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.” No, as far as that goes, Hawley clearly won’t be happy until he’s the senior senator from the Show-Me-Your-Papers State. 

But instead of showing appropriate alarm over Trump’s running roughshod over sacrosanct American values and the plain truth, Hawley is targeting immunologists and demonstrably provable facts on topics ranging from immigration to crime.

He might as well introduce a bill preventing NASA from funding woke spherical-Earth radicals and moon-landing-conspiracy debunkers.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Don’t give him any ideas. Then again, it’s unlikely he read past the Benny Hill bit. “Yakety-Sax” no doubt already plays in his head 24/7. He’s got to be really tired of it.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link.

You Might Like

Articles You May Like

Can a Texas Democrat Get Elected on Gun Control?
New York jury finds NRA executives liable for $6.35M for corruption
New York jury finds ex NRA head Wayne LaPierre liable
Missouri Southern State University Deployed New Commuter Parking Pass Module With GovPilot
Trump vs. Biden: Analysts Weigh In on China’s Choice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *