Right Wing Watch has been reviewing some of the more bizarre and loopy claims from the right wing, especially paranoid predictions that never came true. Which raises an interesting question: Are these claims made out of ignorance, dishonesty or demagoguery?
While the temporary increase in unaccompanied child migrants coming to the southern border this summer has since subsided, the children fleeing violence in Central America provoked a year’s worth of fear mongering and conspiracy theories from conservative commentators and politicians.
One member of Republican National Committee speculated that the children were actually anti-American “warriors” who would soon “rise up against us,” an anti-immigrant activist suggested that they were child soldiers bent on waging war against the U.S., and Phyllis Schlafly and Alex Jones told their audiences to start worrying about becoming slaves to immigrants.
Republican members of Congress came up with their own conspiracy theories. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama accused Democrats of using immigration as part of the party’s “war on whites,” Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said Democrats planned to turn the child migrants into illegal voters, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota warned that the government would use the immigrant children “to do medical experimentation” and a whole host of GOP politicians falsely claimed that the child migrants were carrying Ebola, a disease that has still not infected a single known person in Central America or Mexico…What Turned The Kids Gay This Year?
The right-wing adage that gay people “cannot reproduce so they must recruit” children is still alive and well, and this year many anti-gay conservatives continued to worked overtime to propagate the homosexual recruitment myth. Televangelist Pat Robertson warned that Hollywood is turning children gay through “girl-on-girl movies,” while radio host Kevin Swanson said movies like “Frozen” are trying to “indoctrinate my five-year-old to be a lesbian.”
Gordon Klingenschmitt, a televangelist who was recently elected to the Colorado state legislature, said a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Al Franken would “require pedophilia in all public schools” and “require pro-gay child recruiting.” He even hosted a whole show about how parents should avoid interactions with “a gay” lest he “recruit” their kids. Conservatives also railed against Common Core and other education efforts by warning that they would turn kids gay.
And I didn’t even include all the “OMG, Ebola is going to kill us all” hysteria. So do they make such outlandish claims because they actually believe them, which indicates both stupidity and paranoia, or are they making them purely as political manipulation? I suspect it varies by individual. I have little doubt that Gordon Klingenschmitt or Rick Wiles actually believe such nonsense. But when a politician says things like this, I’m more inclined to believe they are deliberately lying for political gain. There may be some overlap, of course.