Here’s a nomination for Truth Teller in Media award: Max Kellerman.
The First Take host described people at the intersection of SEC football fans and Trump voters (the Venn diagram may not be a flat circle, but it’s pretty fucking close) as “susceptible to very low-quality information and easy to propagandize and almost immune to facts.”
Kellerman’s full statement, to Stephen A. Smith:
“You made the argument a couple weeks ago, you thought if SEC football wasn’t played that could swing the general election because people in Trump’s base would be very upset that they didn’t have football, which is practically a religion down there. I disagreed because he would simply shift blame because the pandemic is raging. They seem to be susceptible to very low quality information and easy to propagandize and almost immune to facts.
“Because, as Kellyanne Conway, an advisor of Trump’s, said, they have alternative facts. If they stay in their propaganda silos — like the Fox News propaganda silo — it wouldn’t matter what happened because they’d say the handling of the pandemic has been great. The handling of the pandemic has been the worst in the industrialized democratic world, by far, in the United States, by far at a federal level, it’s been a disaster. And as a result, we’re dealing with this pandemic. And yet I didn’t think that would affect voters because the blame would be shifted.
“If the NFL doesn’t play football — I think the NFL players have a lot of power here — if they don’t play football, at a certain point, the core will remain, but the (NFL) football base goes all throughout the country. It doesn’t just hit one or another’s political base, but insofar as there’s such a thing as swing voters still, it would absolutely affect some of them. If the NFL season isn’t played or it’s interrupted, as a result of social justice issues — and of course we understand this is all against the backdrop of the pandemic … I know we exist in this sports bubble and we have this outsized idea of the effect of sports, but I think that might actually have political consequences in a general election.”
Looks to me the most inaccurate part of Kellerman’s statement is referring to the U.S. as part of the democratic world instead of a Putin-style kleptocracy. Dispassionate (a)political centrists may shrug and say, “Yeah, so?” But the ESPN clip went viral as right-wingers lost their goddamn minds.
Let us not lose perspective here, this happened in the same moment when teenage thug Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with intentional homicide in the killing of two people at a protest against police violence in Kenosha, Wis., site of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, is hailed by Tucker Carlson as someone who “had decided they had to maintain order when no one else would.” Rittenhouse is a “Blue Lives Matter” fanatic and was seen at a Trump rally in Iowa early this year.
Rittenhouse, 17, told the Daily Caller it was part of his “job,” to “protect people,” shortly before he allegedly began shooting. “If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle. I’ve got to protect myself, obviously.”
Tucker Carlson is a special kind of evil for our particularly malevolent time. But if any media personality with the following of Carlson doesn’t recognize the tragedy of this young man’s militant, fringe, right-wing, law-enforcement influenced radicalization we must recognize how far we’ve fallen as a society. Or perhaps, how low we’ve always been, that the fascists were always there and are simply empowered to take up arms against “the others.”
It’s SEC country, where QAnon wingnut Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is on a path to Congress with Trump’s blessing. Greene is a run-of-the-mill QAnoner, believing in the “deep state,” the debunked “Pizzagate” theory of a Democratically run pedofile ring. Speaking of Pizzagate, there was a gunman named Edgar Madison who was sentenced to four years in prison for “investigating” the conspiracy and firing an AR-15 inside a pizza parlor. Sounds like another person susceptible to low-quality information. Greene also claims that the killing of an innocent bystander at a Charlottesville white nationalist rally was “an inside job.” Greene has also said that the Democratic Party was holding Black people in slavery with their vote and that Black people should be proud to see Confederate statues.
It’s impossible to list all of the over 20,000 ridiculous lies that Trump voters have bought from their man in orange since his inauguration (you can start with size of his inauguration crowd) but keep in mind that the Twitter meme that, “There’s always a tweet” from Trump — that totally owns him because he’s valueless and amoral — exists for a reason.
It’s also worth noting that Kellerman tweaked the right-wing for simply telling the truth in a way that few traditional political journalists have.