In a stunning choice Wednesday morning, MSNBC invited a spokesperson for an anti-gay hate group to opine on the anti-gay “religious freedom” laws sweeping the nation. Watch how she lies about verifiable factsÂ â€“ without any response from the MSNBC anchor.
Note: Sandy Rios segment begins at about the 3:45 mark.
It’s not uncommon for Fox News to invite members of anti-gay hate groups, radical religious right pastors, preachers, and politiciansÂ onto its shows, and to offer them unfettered access to spew hate and lies. That’s just how Fox News works.
But MSNBC, after years of pushback by LGBT activists, the LGBT media, and LGBT organizations has wisely not called upon the Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischers to offer opinion or debate issues like marriage and family and discrimination with any regularity for quite some time now.
Rios, who is also a Fox News contributor and hosts a radio show on the American Family Association’s Radio Network,Â is well know to many LGBT activists, and her animus and hate is well documented by both Right Wing Watch and GLAAD.
Via GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project, some background on Sandy Rios:
“When homosexual men get together, they donâ€™t look for activities to enjoy common interests, they look for activities to find and expedite sex,” she once said.
Equated the love shared by two menÂ to the â€œloveâ€ that kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro had for the young women he kept captive as slaves; when confronted,Â doubled down
When Supreme Court overturned criminal bans on gay sex, Rios described itÂ as a “sad moment in American history;” said it wasÂ “an immoral act” on par with “the Dred Scott decision declaring slaves two-thirds persons“
MSNBC did not mention any of this, other than identifying Rios as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Family Association.
During the lengthy debate with Human Rights Campaign’sÂ Jason Rahlan over Indiana and Arkansas’ anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation, Rios played extremely quick and loose with facts. In fact, she lied.
Here’s how Rios described the case of Washington state floristÂ Baronelle Stutzman, who just lost her discrimination case over her refusal to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
“Barronelle Stutzman,Â 71-years old, a grandmother, who owns a floral shop in Oregon, inherited from her mother, who has gay employees, serves gay people all the time. A gay couple came to her, asked her to do her artistry for their wedding, she said, ‘I can’t do that. I don’t agree with gay marriage.'”
“They’re trying to take Baronelle’s homes, they’re coming after her trying to take her business and by they, I mean the government in Washington State,” Rios falsely claimed.
“Because she doesn’t have a right, as a 72-year old grandmother, to say, ‘No, I love you, you’re my customer, but I don’t agree with gay marriage and I just can’t give you my artistry.”
Later, HRC’s Rahlan responded. “At the end of the day there is no religious freedom crisis in America the only crisis is a rising wave of anti-LGBT legislation.”
So Rios claimed:
“Ask Baronelle Stutzmann, who’s losing her house. Ask the young bakers who lost their business and have five little children to support and have like multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines because they wouldn’t do a cake for a gay wedding.”
So, what’s the actual truth?
Stutzman has been fined a total of $1001 and ordered to obey the law in Washington, like everyone else, and not discriminate.
But Rios claims the state is trying to punish her by confiscating her homes and business.
And no one, not Tamron Hall, not HRC’s Jason Rahlan, pushed back. She was allowed to lie.
Rios also claimed, again, falsely, that, “The same thing happened to a young couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who had a cake shop.”
She is of course referringÂ to Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. After they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, they chose to close their storefrontÂ store and do business online, presumably to avoid Oregon’s nondiscrimination laws.
“So now they’ve been fined, hundreds of thousands of dollars, they have five small children, they’ve had to give up the businessÂ â€“ this is the part of the story that people are not hearing.”
What’s the real truth?
The case has been argued and the Kleins have been found guilty, but no fine has been set whatsoever. It could go as high as $150,000, but again, no fine or final judgment has been set.
Yet Rios claims,Â “they’ve been fined, hundreds of thousands of dollars,” and “they’ve had to give up the business.”
Neither HRC nor MSNBC pushed back, they just allowed false statements to be accepted as truth.
Rios also engaged in this debate withÂ Rahlan, after he mentioned Apple CEO Tim Cook, NIKE’s CEO and President, NASCAR, the NCAA, Angie’s List, and others who all oppose Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:
RIOS: “They don’t know the whole story, Jason.”
RAHLAN:Â “They’re pretty smart people Sandy, I think they do. They know the whole story.”
RIOS:Â “No I don’t think they’re pretty smart at all.”
RAHLAN:Â “You don’t think the CEO of Apple is smart?”
RIOS:Â “You know if he were smart why is he doing business with countries where they are actually executing homosexuals?”
RAHLAN:Â “WhatÂ about the NCAA?”
RIOS:Â “The NCAA watches, they watch the media! They watch the ridiculous exaggeration.”
There’s a great deal more, but bottom line, MSNBC should never have hosted a spokesperson for an anti-gay hate group, should at least have been better prepared, and should have properly identified Rios as a member of a hate group.
This was, in short, journalistic malpractice and MSNBC needs to apologize and correct the record.
Some reactions via Twitter:
â€” Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) April 1, 2015
â€” Jeremy Hooper (@goodasyou) April 1, 2015
â€” Karen Ocamb (@KarenOcamb) April 1, 2015
.@tamronhall is interviewing Sandy Rios… and getting swamped by her speechifying. Would love to be in the room.
â€” Lucas Grindley (@lucasgrindley) April 1, 2015
â€” Jeff Henderson (@dallasjeff) April 1, 2015
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Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters
At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.
“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”
Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”
"Why can't we have poll watchers? And so we're in court trying to have poll watchers in Philadelphia." — Trump pic.twitter.com/E4xCSFJqEk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2020
First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.
Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”
Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.
Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.
On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.
In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”
This Democrat Is Beating His GOP Opponent, So the Right-Wing Is Lying About Him Dressing Up As Hitler
Arizona senatorial candidate Mark Kelly is currently beating his Republican challenger Martha McSally by about 5 percentage points. So a right-wing media outlet decided to try and take Kelly down by posting a photo and lying about him dressing up as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during his school days at the Merchant Marine Academy.
On Friday, the right-wing website the National File shared photographic “proof” that Kelley had dressed as Hitler, and the post quickly went viral. But Kelly’s former classmates Jennifer Boykin, Peter Lindsey, Mark Baden and Ed McDonald have all said that the image isn’t of Kelly.
Lindsey in particular said someone contacted him with the image via the professional social network LinkedIn asked “and asked if the person in the costume was Mark Kelly. I told them no, and want to say again, Mark is not in those photos. I have spoken to numerous classmates about this evening, and they concur that he is not in any of these pictures. The people spreading these lies should stop.”
“The person who reached out to Lindsey was identified by the campaign as a paid consultant for a super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., that is spending millions of dollars to help defeat Kelly,” AZCentral.com reports.
Every Second Another American Gets COVID-19. 100,000 New Daily Cases Predicted by Election
On Friday, the U.S. reported its highest ever daily toll of new COVID-19 cases with 83,948 new cases, according to Reuters. Considering that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, that means that almost every second, a U.S. resident comes down with a new case of COVID-19, according to New York Times correspondent Mike Baker.
Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Rasumussen, a virologist at Columbia University, has predicted that the U.S. will likely have its highest-ever daily count of newly confirmed cases by Election Day with around 100,000 new cases in a single day.
We will have 100K cases per day by Election Day https://t.co/mFoJ2vmLx6
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) October 24, 2020
As of October 23, an average of 800 U.S. residents are dying of COVID-19 each week and nationwide there are currently 41,000 hospitalizations related to the ongoing pandemic, reports The Guardian.
At the third and final debate last Thursday, Republican President Donald Trump said we’re “rounding the corner” on the epidemic, meaning that we’re improving towards sustainable change. There are no indicators that is actually happening. In fact, at a rally on Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden quipped, “As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths, and there’s not much he would do differently? If this is a success, what’s a failure look like?”
In fact, multiple pandemic experts, including Dr. Anthont Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said cases are likely to rise even higher during the cold winter months as people cluster indoors and meet for fall and winter holidays.
As of October 23, the U.S. has had over 8,535,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 223,900 related deaths. The epidemic has now killed more Americans than were killed in the U.S. military conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined.
While Trump has promised that a vaccine will appear in a few weeks, Dr. Fauci has said that a majority of Americans won’t have access to it until deep into 2021.
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