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Moral Panic Hysteria Fully Sets in as Matt Walsh Goes After Fox News

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 16, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 16, 2023 |


I hate to use the word “woke” here because we all f**king hate the term now, but there is a line between ‘on the woke spectrum’ that crosses over from genuine, legitimate care and concern for social injustices, inequality, and discrimination and into the performative. It took a couple of years, but I think that, broadly, we have done a good job of policing and calling out performative bullshit, 98 percent of which is a product of attention-seeking white people trying to make it about themselves.

The anti-woke movement, however, is still relatively new, and those people are wildly overreaching, mostly for social-media clout. That will catch up to them. There have been waves of moral panic in the United States for decades, but the moral panic always passes, and its death knell can come from unexpected places (Dee Snider, for instance). It doesn’t help when one of the moral panic guys is caught on camera berating his pregnant wife, and when adults start interrupting track meets to yell at 9-year-olds, the backlash can’t be too far behind.

This week, there is more performative outrage coming from the likes of Matt Walsh (the bad one), who is making waves on Moral Panic Twitter because he’s dug up internal documents from Fox News that he thinks are damning for a conservative network he thinks is overly woke. Yes, Fox News.

“We’ve obtained internal docs from @FoxNews employees,” Matt Walsh tweets. “Fox Corp is celebrating Pride by encouraging employees to read about “glory holes,” supporting a group that gives sterilizing hormones to homeless youth, & deployed woke AI to monitor everyone. EXPLICIT CONTENT. The documents we’re about to show you were produced by Fox Corp, which is the parent company of Fox News. These materials are presented to Fox News employees when they log into their employee portal. Let’s start at the top.”

Warning: Overblown moral panic incoming.

The first horrible thing that Fox News does is encourage its employees to donate to The Trevor Project (suicide prevention service for LGBTQ folks), The Ali Forney Center (which provides shelter and support for homeless LGBTQ youth), and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, all worthwhile causes that Walsh suggests are evil entities by cherry-picking information or passing on misinformation. It’s very easy to do. Watch: “Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, which claims its aim is to spread the gospel of Jesus, has a 205-page database listing hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse, often with minors. The Southern Baptist denomination is a pedophile ring.”

Is that true? Well, it’s a lot more true than the implication Walsh makes when he links to a NYPost article that says the Trevor Project connects 13-year-olds with adults in a “sexually explicit chatroom” — the chatroom is for suicide prevention, and “sexually explicit” here means, “One time, a kid asked an adult for advice on where to find binders, which are devices used to help conceal breasts, and the kid’s mother lost her shit.”

Moral panic.

Walsh also takes considerable issue with the fact that the Fox News employee portal offers three book recommendations for Pride Month. Walsh calls Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue “gay erotica,” which is a hilariously overblown way of characterizing a very light rom-com featuring gay characters (the image above is from the forthcoming movie on Prime Video, which will almost certainly be PG-13). Walsh tries to suggest that by recommending Fairest — a memoir from a trans person that at one point mentions glory holes — that Fox News is basically mandating the addition of glory holes in all of their public restrooms.

Walsh, who must be the snowflakiest of all the snowflakes, also screeches that the kid’s book “I’m a Unicorn,” will basically turn the kids of Fox News employees gay.

Walsh characterizes all of this as “woke indoctrination” and LGBTQ propaganda, but it is benign stuff for reasonable adults, nothing 90 percent of America’s grandmothers would have a real issue with. Helping young gay people struggling with homelessness or thoughts of suicide is hardly “woke indoctrination.” It’s called base-level compassion. Walsh is overreaching. It’s moral panic hysteria, the large majority of Americans do not buy it, and even most conservatives are eventually likely to tire of this level of outrage over Red, White, and Royal Blue, a book objectively appropriate for older teens. You know anti-woke moralism has hit its late-stage death rattle when they start attacking Fox News, Bud Light, Cracker Barrel, and Chick-Fil-A.