People For the American Way

Right Wing Watch Launches Weekly COVID Roundup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2020

Contact: Laurie Kinney at People for the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202.467.2307

WASHINGTON, D.C.— People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch program is monitoring right-wing reaction to the coronavirus crisis on a daily basis.  Below is our new weekly roundup of blog posts illustrating how the Right’s responses continue to fall into five major categories:

Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat; Distracting Americans with Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing; Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is; Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism; and Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan. These categories are identified by researcher Peter Montgomery in his piece, Tactics From the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19.

Here is the latest RWW reporting on right-wing activities related to each of these categories.

Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat
Tweet: Seems worth noting that Bill Mitchell has spent months endlessly tweeting that the coronavirus is a hoax.
Tweet: Andrew Wommack doesn’t think he should have a wear a mask because he can’t picture Jesus wearing one.
Tweet: E.W. Jackson doesn’t live in the same dimension that the world lives in, so he doesn’t need to listen to Anthony Fauci or worry about getting the coronavirus.

Distracting Americans with Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing
Jerry Boykin Says COVID-19 May Have Been ‘Deliberate Attack’ By China, But God Is Using It to Bring Revival
Rudy Giuliani Claims Democrats Want to Lengthen Lockdowns for Political Gain
Scott Lively Says Christians Must Prepare to Wage Violent Revolution
Tweet: Bill Gates is not a human? DeAnna Lorraine attacks Bill Gates.
Tweet: DeAnna Lorraine says that wearing a mask to limit the spread of the coronavirus is a sign of submission.

Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is
Lindsey Graham Says Trump’s ‘Pro-Life’ Stance Led His Coronavirus Response
Jerry Boykin Says COVID-19 May Have Been ‘Deliberate Attack’ By China, But God Is Using It to Bring Revival
Rudy Giuliani Claims Democrats Want to Lengthen Lockdowns for Political Gain
Tweet: Presidential spiritual adviser Paula White hopes that everyone will have empathy for Trump as he deals with the COVID-19 pandemic because “you can see how much he cares about human life.”
Tweet: David Barton says Trump has done an excellent job of handling the coronavirus pandemic by “not letting medical professionals run everything.”

Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism
Preventing Jim Bakker From Selling a Bogus COVID-19 Cure Is an Unconstitutional Restriction on His Religious Liberty, Says His Legal Team
Alveda King Implies COVID-19 Hit New York So Hard Because It Is ‘The Home of Abortion’
Tweet: Right-wing pastor Rodney Howard-Browne has a new book coming out next month: “The Phantom Virus: How An Unseen Enemy Shut Down The Planet.”

Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan
Preventing Jim Bakker From Selling a Bogus COVID-19 Cure Is an Unconstitutional Restriction on His Religious Liberty, Says His Legal Team
Alveda King Implies COVID-19 Hit New York So Hard Because It Is ‘The Home of Abortion’
Jerry Boykin Says COVID-19 May Have Been ‘Deliberate Attack’ By China, But God Is Using It to Bring Revival
Scott Lively Says Christians Must Prepare to Wage Violent Revolution
Tweet: E.W. Jackson doesn’t live in the same dimension that the world lives in, so he doesn’t need to listen to Anthony Fauci or worry about getting the coronavirus.

Tactics From the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19:

  • Dismissing and Downplaying the Threat, including decrying the pandemic as a hoax or overhyped by media.
  • Distracting Americans with Conspiracy Theories and Finger-Pointing, including blaming the virus on China, North Korea, Satan, Democrats, or others. Some extremists promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory say the virus and social distancing measures are cover for Trump to make mass arrests of a deep-state pedophile ring.  A new wave of hoax conspiracy-mongering is spreading on social media using hashtags like #coronavirustruth and #FilmYourHospital.
  • Pushing the Team Trump Line, Whatever It Is, which often amounts to reflecting and reinforcing Trump’s abrupt shifts in position — without explanation or acknowledgment.
  • Making the Most of It / Shameless Opportunism, which revolves around such preexisting agendas as promoting hostility to immigrants and immigration; fomenting nationalism, and disparaging international institutions. It also includes hawking bogus “cures.”
  • Playing God and Portraying Trump’s Actions as Part of a Divine Plan, including telling supporters that the virus is a punishment for abortion or LGBTQ rights, and that attending church is a test of their faith in God’s power to heal.

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.