People For the American Way

Right Wing Watch’s Work More Important Than Ever

People For in Action

It’s been a busy year for the Right Wing Watch team as Religious Right leaders and far-right players moved their game to the heart of power in and around the Trump White House.

Right Wing Watch Impact

Jared Holt’s reporting on the hosting of violence-inciting conspiracy theorists and hate-mongers by major social media and Big Tech payment platforms—in violation of those platforms’ terms of service—led to some major changes. For starters, Jared’s piece about the hosting of Alex Jones’ Infowars programs by Spotify led to Jones being kicked off the platform—a tipping point that led Apple Music, YouTube and others to do the same. Jones’ access to the PayPal payment processing platform met a similar fate, thanks to Jared’s reporting.

Infowars host Alex Jones reads from a legal brief at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2018. (Photo by Jared Holt for Right Wing Watch)

Jared also revealed the most popular personality on YouTube as a purveyor of anti-Semitism.

Peter Montgomery’s reporting on the involvement of dominionists and would-be demon-slayers in the midterm election campaigns was unequaled in any other outlet. He also tipped off the world beyond the Christian Broadcasting Network’s audience to a visit to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by a group of evangelical leaders, including Michele Bachmann. (And this was after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.)

In 2018, RWW published a total of 151 items about right-wing activity around the midterm elections. Included among them are Jared’s pieces on Patrick Little, the neo-Nazi who ran in California’s Republican primary for a congressional seat. (He lost.) Jared also dove into the background of Paul Nehlen, a white supremacist who ran a primary race for Paul Ryan’s current seat.

In one TV ad, after showing footage of himself surrounded by shotguns, Brian Kemp promised to use his truck to personally run “criminal illegals” out of the state.
And Kyle Mantyla exposed Paula White’s unabashed electioneering from the pulpit. White is often seen at the White House at events courting religious right leaders.

In addition, we did deep-dives on right-wing activity in key races, including a narrative piece by independent journalist Bob Moser, an expert on Southern politics, about the many tactics Georgia’s former secretary of state, Brian Kemp, used to suppress the African-American vote in his gubernatorial race against Stacey Abrams. (Kemp prevailed in that race.) Additionally, we did a three-part series on the far-right ties of Ron DeSantis, who ran against Andrew Gillum. (DeSantis is now Florida’s governor-elect.)

National Pickup

In 2018, Right Wing Watch research and articles have been picked up by a wide array of mainstream news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vox, NBC News, MSNBC, The Guardian and many others.

And the recent naming of Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general prompted news organizations to plumb our archives for a video clipped and posted by former RWW Research Director Miranda Blue in 2014 that showed Whitaker taking part in a forum convened by Iowa’s The Family Leader during which he claimed he thought all nominees to the federal bench must have “a biblical worldview.” Video with the Right Wing Watch stamp appeared on major networks and cable news outlets.

A flag bearing the logo for the “Three Percenters” militia group flies at the August 4 Patriot Prayer rally in Portland. (Photo: Jared Holt for Right Wing Watch)

Our Intrepid Correspondents

We’ve also done our share of traveling to get the stories. Peter Montgomery went to Moldova to explore the intersection of the U.S. Religious Right with the authoritarian governments and churches of Eastern Europe in his coverage of the annual gathering of the World Congress of Families, led by anti-LGBTQ activist Brian Brown. Jared Holt traveled to Portland, Oregon, and Little Rock, Arkansas, to chronicle events staged by far-right players and neo-Nazis. RWW editor Adele Stan went to St. Louis to cover an event co-sponsored by Gateway Pundit and the late Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Council, a perhaps unlikely place to break a story about former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s then-impending visit with the president of the Czech Republic.

Going Forward

As busy as we’ve been at Right Wing Watch, we’re pretty sure that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With the Mueller investigation climbing toward crescendo and the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, right-wing leaders will likely only up their game. But fear not, at Right Wing Watch, we’re always upping ours.