When conservative organizations advocate for conservative principles, the reaction from liberals and their media allies wasn’t simply to fight back but crush them. That was the message Tuesday night on MSNBC as ReidOut host Joy Reid and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) called for the passage of the dangerous For the People Act so they can use the government like “an air force” and “stop” them from having “a stranglehold over America’s legislative process.”
Reid deployed her usual venomous snark and condescension, kvetching in teases for two segments on this supposed injustice that “[t]he corrosive influence of big oil on our politics and our society” and “incredibly powerful corporations” had manifested itself “in blocking critical legislation” like the aforementioned proposal to rig elections in favor of progressives.
Only in Reid’s world do big corporations still control and support Republicans and don’t engage in the woke corporate liberalism that actually dominates our country.
Reid started with a five-minute rant about how oil companies want the country as dirty and polluted as possible to maximize their profits and prevent the U.S. from an immediate and needed change to all-electric cars. Of course, Reid put zero brain cells into how/where the electricity to power said cars would come from.
At any rate, Reid insisted the Koch brothers had an oil company that allowed them to launch Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to poison the minds of Americans and make them dumber (but especially college students), claiming they hate education, fighting racism, the For the People Act, trans kids, and voting.
Reid opened the second segment with this cartoonish, Always Sunny-like screed (click “expand”):
Today we got a stark warning of the very real effects of big oil's impact on the world. An Arctic scientist said global warming may have already passed an irreversible tipping point. And if as the world burns isn't enough, big oil is also not paying taxes, not getting regulated, and ruining our politics. The very people who have been killing the planet, pour tons of money into targeting progressive politics, specifically the organizations funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and the late David Koch. When he died in 2019, New York magazine noted that Koch helped funnel billions into climate-denying organizations for decades since his family made its money on oil and gas, naturally. And with his money he founded Americans for Prosperity, the group that mobilized the tea party.
Americans for Prosperity is still going along, with its other partners in the Koch network, waging a behind-the-scenes network to stop progressive priorities like the For the People Act and launching a tea party version 2.0 campaign to target President Biden's infrastructure plan, whining about spending and taxes, targeting lawmakers from both parties in 27 states.
Reid then brought in Whitehouse, gushing that she’s “that nerd” who “watch[es] C-SPAN” for his “presentations with charts about big money and its influence on our politics” and invited him to explain “how this works.”
A cartoonish conspiracy theorist himself, Whitehouse huffed that “the Koch brothers and a couple of other creepy right-wing Republican billionaires have basically built out what in the intelligence community you'd call a massive covert operation” using “anonymous money,” “cutouts,” “disinformation,” fake scientists, and “front groups.”
Along with the fact that only 3.1 percent of his campaign donations came from small contributors, Whitehouse had been tied to Arabella Advisors, which runs the progressive dark money group Sixteen Thirty Fund (which then runs the far-left group Demand Justice) and, in March, hosted three anti-dark money groups that — you guessed it — take dark money.
We could go on, but we’ll move on as we’re (A) a media blog and (B) we’d be here all night.
Unsurprisingly, Reid never asked him about any of this. Instead, she trumpeted the For the People Act as “an anti-dark money bill” that would tackle “anti-voting rights” and anti-“climate science” groups, but has been thwarted because Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ) won’t kill the filibuster.
This gave both Reid and Whitehouse room to run wild about “connect[ing] the dots” with a half dozen conservative groups such as AFP, Heritage Action, and the Judicial Crisis Network that spookily control our democracy, place justices on the Supreme Court (that then act like Manchurian candidates), and keep Americans from voting.
Click “expand” to behold their glue-sniffing glory in full:
WHITEHOUSE: Yeah. I mean, if you connect the dots a little bit, Heritage Action, which has long been a part of the Koch dark money network, was the group that was caught recently with the clip from their fundraiser saying how they were anonymously funding voter suppression activities in all these Republican states, that sometimes the Republican legislators don't even know it's us and that they work through what they ominously called sentinels in these places to hide their role. You had Leonard Leo, who was the mastermind of the court capture operation that pushed Gorsuch and then Kavanaugh and then Barrett onto the Supreme Court. When The Washington Post did their big expose about his $250 million scheme, he jumped out and he jumped to something called the Honest Elections Project, which does — guess what — dark money-funded voter suppression and which, by the way, if you do the corporate links, it's related to the Judicial Education Project, which is related to the Judicial Crisis Network, which paid for the ads for Gorsuch, for Kavanaugh, and for Barrett. So it's the same central command scheme operating against climate legislation, operating for dark money, and operating to pull off this voter suppression stunt. And frankly, Democrats have had crap for countermeasures against it for a very long time and it's really hard to fight a group like that if you don't take them seriously and take it on.
REID: Well, that was going to be my question, unfortunately, is what can we do about it because — right, they also have these organizations like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council that are also heavily involved in pushing cookie cutter legislation. There is that Heritage Action organization that they have a plan with ALEC to produce model legislation to write voter suppression bills. Because, again, if you just poll things like saving the planet from doom, and we are at this tipping point in terms of saving the planet from climate doom, we don't do anything, we're going to get past the point where we can stop it. Most people want to do something about it. They say no, you cannot and then they say no, you cannot vote because they know the majority would vote to save the planet. So, my question is us little folks out here who are not multi billionaires and just want our planet to continue and want us to be a democracy, what the hell can we do about it when people like Manchin, who has an impoverished state that needs infrastructure, who’s got miners dying at age 50 something because they're in the mines rather being changed into Green New — you know, sort of green jobs, what do we do? If he doesn't want to help, what do we do?
In response to Reid’s cry for help, Whitehouse insisted liberals will be deliberate in “going to war” against groups they disagree with, using the full power of the government like “an air force of, like, truth and light and exposure and transparency in showing who these rascals are.”
As National Review’s Jonathan Adler wrote, Whitehouse has quite the “selective search for dark money.”
With one last chance to ask Whitehouse why he thinks the six Supreme Court justices appointed by GOP presidents are “servants of right-wing dark money interests,” Reid declined and instead continued her obsession with Manchin and Sinema:
Have you had this conversation Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin, because Texas legislators came up and tried to have that conversation and they didn't show up to the Democratic meeting. They just weren’t there.
So, to recap, just over four years after a Bernie Sanders supporter and ardent MSNBC viewer nearly killed almost a dozen congressional Republicans, Reid and Whitehouse sought to criminalize political disagreements.
We’re not experts on radicalization, but we do know that’s not a healthy recipe for political discourse.
This fear-mongering attempt to censor and silence conservative groups was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as Applebee’s, Oscar Mayer, and LegalZoom. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from June 15, click here.