I often say that hate is big business. Because it is, it sells. It seems many white folks don’t want to make an effort to understand people from the most diverse regions on the planet. Most refuse to see the US for the multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial society that it is. Instead, they fear being outnumbered as if white culture (whatever that is) is in danger. The reality is, they fear Indigenous people, Black people, and people of color treating them the way they treat us.
While nothing could be further from the truth, driving these narratives makes big money. One of the most-watched cable “news” hosts is Tucker Carlson. Yes, the racist purveyor of “white extinction” conspiracy theories is viewed more than nearly anyone else. That means Fox News charges top dollar for ads during his one-hour show. Since his show is a success from a dollars and cents standpoint, they allow him to spread hate unabated. It’s just business, baby.
To take it a step further, Fox news dominates the top 10-most-watched cable “news” shows with 9 of their shows taking up top spots, according to Adweek. Seemingly innocuous misinformation trickling in, hour after hour every day, not only generates big money for Fox but also has a broader damaging effect on its viewers. Recently, Tucker Carlson interviewed Chaya Raichik of Libs of TikTok and allowed her to spread propaganda about the LGBTQ community.
While Fox News is complicit in Carlson spreading hate and bigotry, so are many more elites with unlimited amounts of cash. From Rebekah Mercer funding the far-right platform “Parler” to Betsy DeVos’ family funding hate rallies disguised as anti-mask protests, some of the wealthiest people in the world financially back hate groups and extremists all over the country. Even the heiress to the Publix grocery store chain, Julie Fancelli offered $3 million for the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
People often wonder where funding for these groups comes from. Well, it’s not just from selling paraphernalia and t-shirts. It comes from people with real money who benefit from creating unrest among the general population. It allows them to move in silence as they loot our taxpayer dollars to create welfare for the rich disguised as so-called “corporate subsidies”.
From the Fringes
Before the Internet, spreading hate speech was done through flyers, mailers, gatherings, and schools. Yes, schools. Kids who embrace generational hateful ideologies and teachers who support those views continue to spread them. While a bit slower than today’s environment, extremists adapted and used the tools available to them with a great amount of success. Despite the lag in spreading disinformation, it was much more personal, thus, making it more impactful.
Since the advent of the Internet, schools function less as an environment for spreading hate and more like an institution that bolsters racial and cultural animus. We see it manifest itself as the history that is taught in schools is challenged, therefore, challenging educators and students who believe they’re superior in some way. These changes inevitably challenged parental beliefs which is the foundation for the attacks on “wokeness” by bigots all across the country.
Once relegated to the fringes of the Internet on websites like Stormfront, outlets like Breibart began pushing racial and cultural animus into the mainstream. The birth of social media only served to provide some of the oldest sites on the World Wide Web and newer “newsrooms” with a platform to promote bigotry. In the first ten years of social media, hate exploded in the US.
Once social media companies began to crack down on blatant hate speech while allowing more subtle animus to continue, many other sites popped up to take on the exodus from major social media companies. Meanwhile, Facebook pivoted to try and keep as much of its user base as possible by creating a more private and encrypted ecosystem. Despite sites like 4Chan and 8Chan, Facebook is still the preferred platform for many extremists.
Private groups and encrypted chats allow extremists to recruit as unabated as before. They use the platform, including Instagram, to drive potential recruits to more private sites like Telegram. They expose potential members using subtle hate speech and memes in more public areas on all of Meta’s platforms. From there, it leads to more extreme content and radicalization.
Andrew Tate is a perfect example of how it begins. Tate targets young men with a chauvinistic and manipulative view of women. He represents the misogyny and homophobia that act as a doorway to more expressive hate employed by every hate group in the US. But Tate is far from an anomaly. Elon Musk, his purchasing of Twitter, and unlimited funds take what Tate and others like him do to a new level. Musk illustrates how far the wealthy will go to create social unrest.
And he is not alone.
During the pandemic, the country witnessed anti-mask rallies happening everywhere. The vast majority of those in attendance were white and heavily armed. It was hard not to notice. That’s because the crowds were dominated by members of extremist and hate groups. As they acted oppressed and outrageously screamed “tyranny” in everyone’s faces, they employed one of the oldest recruiting tactics in the US. They used a common inconvenience to attract new members.
Those rallies, as I previously discussed multiple times in 2020, exposed how Betsy DeVos, former president Donald Trump’s Education Secretary, was behind the funding of groups such as the Michigan Conservative Coalition – a far-right group with ties to extremists and extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and popular neo-Nazis.
Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s family often supported various anti-Muslim groups driving Islamophobia all over the country. Nina Rosenwald, the Sears heiress, also funneled millions of dollars to anti-Muslim groups as well as the Gatestone Institute which not only promoted Islamophobia and xenophobia but published literal fake news. Both Adelson and Rosenwald were two of former president Donald Trump’s biggest financial supporters.
The Publix heiress, Julie Fancelli was also a top donor to former President Donald Trump while contributing to other well-known racists and bigots. Spending over $1 million on Charlie Kirk’s hate groups – Turning Point USA and Turning Point Action – and contributing $200,000 to far-right heel Alex Jones to help with transportation and facilitate his part in the January 6th rally, according to the Washington Post.
Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer and founder of Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), has donated $32 million to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) which was founded by Sekulow and televangelist Pat Robertson. The ACLJ is also known for spreading anti-Muslim propaganda and anti-Latino xenophobia. The group also provided legal support for the Trump administration’s 2017 Muslim travel ban.
Robert Mercer is the largest financial backer of Breitbart, a so-called “newsroom” Steve Bannon once hailed as the platform for the alt-right. Mercer has also bragged about donating over $100 million to right-wing candidates and think tanks. His daughter mentioned earlier, Rebekah Mercer didn’t only help fund the alt-right social media platform “Parler,” she was also Steve Bannon’s main financial backer until 2018.
And yet, there are still more. Add Elon Musk and his willingness to promote hateful ideologues while silencing those who counter them promises only to lead us further down the dark path of hate and bigotry. Musk’s actions will only serve to harm marginalized people from various races, cultures, and identities with no remorse or consideration of inalienable human rights.
And in the end, that’s largely the point.