Culture

Sean Spicer, Without Evidence: Muslim Ban Protests Aren’t Organic And The Protesters Are Being Paid

Sean Spicer and his alternative facts are back with another ridiculous claim. During Monday’s episode of Fox and Friends, during which the White House press secretary reacted to SNL‘s take on him (courtesy of a hilarious Melissa McCarthy), Spicer addressed protests over Trump’s Muslim ban. Naturally, Spicer’s take has little to do with the truth. When Brian Kilmeade questioned whether this was an “organic disruption” or if Spicer thought that “people are being paid to protest,” he happily answered yes to both these assertions while providing zero evidence:

“Oh, absolutely. I mean, protesting has become a profession now. They have every right to do that, don’t get me wrong, but I think that we need to call it what it is. It’s not these organic uprisings that we’ve seen through the last several decades. The Tea Party was a very organic movement. This has become a very paid, ‘astroturf’ type movement.”

By “astroturf,” Spicer is calling these protesters as fakey-fake as his own take on the truth on any given day. All of this, of course, is an attempt by the Trump administration to warp public perception and delegitimize the act of protesting — which is protected by the constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Naturally, Trump isn’t thrilled about the scores of massive protests that followed his election victory, his inauguration, and his Muslim ban. Yet Spicer, as press secretary, is lying about paid protesters.

As Salon points out, Fox News Tucker Carlson debunked a hoax group that claimed to pay protesters at Trump events (including inauguration-related ones). Still, the vilification of protesters by the Trump administration continues. Last week when an event for right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled due to protests, Trump tweet-claimed that “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters” are only proving the point of his voters.

The Huffington Post rounds up a few other examples of politicians complaining about paid protesters with no proof. Congressman Dave Brat (R-Va.) said they were “paid to go around and raise havoc” over GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And in 2009, Robert Gibbs — then press secretary to Barack Obama — also called tea-party ruckus “astroturf” and “manufactured anger.” This is all coming full circle in a very weird way, especially since the Tea Party was in fact generously funded, back in the day.

(Via Mediaite, Salon & Huffington Post)

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