Women continue to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Right-wing media belittles them.
By Andy Campbell
Conservative media has found a new boogeyman to froth over: civically engaged women.
Last week, women all over the country left their homes and workplaces to protest the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice who they believe represents an ongoing crusade against their rights. They marched by the thousands. They screamed in the faces of their elected officials. They gritted their teeth and, once again, told horrifying stories of sexual abuse, so that their friends, family and colleagues might be heard too.
They were still doing so Wednesday.
This worries the right-wing media and the politicians who read it. Even after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, conservative news is trying to downplay, belittle and flat-out lie about protesters. Fox News, The Washington Times, Town Hall and The Daily Caller, among other outlets, latched on to storylines about “paid protesters” attending various anti-Kavanaugh rallies. The Blaze called the demonstrators “unhinged” and said their numbers were padded by “liberal celebrities”; a Fox News contributor called them “screaming animals” who should be “tasered, handcuffed and dragged out of the building”; Town Hall even published a column comparing the Kavanaugh protesters to Kermit Gosnell, a doctor who was convicted of murdering three infants.
“The darkness of evil infiltrated the nation’s capital during the Senate confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh,” Town Hall columnist Rebecca Hagelin wrote. “You could feel the vitriol in the shrills of protesters interrupting the hearings and the confirmation vote.”
The list goes on. To conservative media, liberal women are rabid in their efforts to take down Kavanaugh; the wider point about the Me Too movement and the reproductive rights at stake are lost in the outrage. For some of the more extreme, Infowars-style websites on the right, fear-mongering headlines aren’t a surprise. But the content pipeline between those sites, Fox News and the president’s Twitter account is extremely short.
With each day comes another round of stories portraying peaceful protesters as either violent or part of a bad-faith campaign funded by liberal donors. President Donald Trump thinks anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators were a little of both, calling victims of sexual assault who cornered their congressmen “paid D.C. protesters” and “screamers”:
Donald J. Trump
The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks – in other words, they weren’t paid! Screamers in Congress, and outside, were far too obvious – less professional than anticipated by those paying (or not paying) the bills!
Trump has been using this tactic against protesters since his presidential campaign, and he often gets his ideas for such rhetoric from the media he consumes. This particular outburst likely came from a Fox News segment, in which Wall Street Journal writer Asra Q. Nomani said that protesters are “waiting for their check.”