A pro-Trump commentator just tried to mansplain civil rights to MLK’s daughter

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Of all the far-right rags currently clogging up and poisoning the internet’s political discourse, few are as egregious as The Gateway Pundit, a fringe publication which has somehow weaseled its way into the White House press briefings and which constantly trafficks in paranoid conspiracy theories and thinly veiled racist dog whistles.

Some past highlights from the website include fake stories alleging that ISIS was responsible for the Vegas shooting and falsely accusing Democrats of engaging in voter fraud. It expels noxious pro-Trump propaganda on a daily basis and lacks anything even vaguely resembling journalistic integrity.

Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for The Gateway Pundit, is exactly the kind of dishonest, dishonorable cryptofascist one would expect to find at such a disreputable outfit.

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Wintrich previously stirred controversy when he made the disgusting allegation that the survivors of the horrific Parkland shooting were, in fact, being trained and coached to push a leftist agenda, going so far as to imply that the FBI may have been involved.

The sinister underpinnings of that false story paint a clear picture of Wintrich’s lack of moral character, but if that weren’t enough he’s once again stepped into the limelight, seemingly in an attempt to dispel any nagging suspicions Americans might harbor that he is anything more than a disingenuous hack.

The story starts with comedian Josh Denny, who sent out an incredibly tone deaf, incredibly ignorant tweet claiming that “Straight White Male” is “this century’s N-Word.” The fact that he chose to completely type out the former and use an oblique version of the latter shows that Denny himself doesn’t even believe his absurd claim.

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Clearly, the first phrase is used to encapsulate a specific kind of historically privileged individual and the other is a hateful, dehumanizing slur built on centuries of torture, death, and enslavement. They’re incomparable.

Denny doubled down after his tweet went viral, digging in to defend his position as Twitter users swarmed to debunk his ridiculous argument.

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Denny’s tweets spread so far that they reached the eyes of Bernice King, the youngest daughter of legendary Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

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She responded to Denny’s cannibalized interpretation of her father’s historic work and explained that MLK was fighting against the “Triple Evils of Racism,” which are prejudice wed with power used to oppress or destroy another race, poverty as it stems from materialism, and militarism.

Pointing out the fact that straight white men have historically been the ones that employ all three evils in this country is not unfairly labeling or discriminating because it’s simply the truth. Until that basic reality is recognized, there is no real way to attain a more just society.

After King tweeted, Wintrich decided to swoop in and once again blast his ignorance out for all of Twitter to see. In a tweet dripping with arrogance, he told Bernice King that she didn’t actually listen to her father before he proceeded to quote the one MLK speech that far-right hucksters love to misappropriate in order to quash any conversation about forwarding civil rights post-1963.

Wintrich wasn’t done there, and condescendingly said that MLK didn’t want us to make “continuous references to people’s sexuality and whether they’re white or not,” which is really just a camouflaged way for Wintrich to say that no one should criticize the remaining bastions of white supremacy that are still embedded in numerous strata of American culture.

In case the first part of the tweet wasn’t wrong enough, Wintrich also erroneously stated that MLK wasn’t a critic of capitalism, which another user promptly corrected.

Wintrich’s tweets are part of a larger conservative effort to dilute down Martin Luther King Jr.’s life’s work so that it’s something that fits into their sanitized, simplistic worldview. They want to portray him as far less radical than he was because then they can ignore much of his message and focus on the parts that are easily digestible.

They’re unwilling to grapple with the nuances and difficult realities he pointed out and so they lie about and misrepresent him. If they can pretend that race is no longer an issue in our society, they can hold onto the remaining ways in which white people, more specifically white men are advantaged at the expense of others. It’s imperative that their ahistorical propaganda is challenged every time it rears its white-hooded head.

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Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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