After founding the College Republicans chapter at Roger Williams University, conservative wunderkind Jason Mattera created a $50 scholarship for white people as a snarky defense of institutional white privilege and founded a student paper that alarmed the faculty with its homophobia and Muslim-bashing. Perhaps best-known outside the wingnutosphere for calling First Lady Michelle Obama a “dietary dominatrix” on Fox Business Channel in 2011, Mattera is a former editor of Human Events and a successful author of screeds — according to the New York Times bestseller list, anyway, which conservatives have gamed for years in order to puff up their messaging.
A regular on the right wing talk circuit, Mattera’s ambush-interview style has endeared him to the most hateful figures of the online right: Ann Coulter calls him “a national treasure,” while the ever-venomous Michelle Malkin and the sordid Rush Limbaugh praise Mattera for confronting “deserving liberals” in the manner you see above. Of course, in their reckoning all liberals ‘deserve’ to be confronted in the streets this way, especially the ones who, like Lois Lerner, have been smeared for years by powerful right wing forces.
As I explained yesterday, the ‘IRS scandal’ is one of the most contrived examples of the conservative persecution complex, which is a psychological compensation for the shifting cultural values that change America and threaten conservative orthodoxy. This complex manifests in conspiracy theories, projected faults, and character assassination in pursuit of political ends.
For example, as the number of tea party-related nonprofit applications multiplied exponentially between 2009 and 2011, Lois Lerner was one of the few IRS employees who knew how the dark money game worked. This naturally made her a key person in the IRS review of nonprofit applications that became so controversial — and then made her a primary target of the resulting smears and character assassination.
The ‘IRS scandal’ was made possible by a collaborative organizing effort of right wing websites and tea party activists that focus-grouped talking points for Republican regurgitation. From the very beginning, Lerner was the recipient of the most vitriolic and harebrained accusations that President Obama had ordered a sinister political investigation of conservatives. Only later did we learn that conservative nonprofit applications had not suffered any special scrutiny, that in fact progressive groups were ‘targeted’ more extensively than conservative groups, and that the only group that was ever actually denied nonprofit status was a liberal one.
Lerner has wisely chosen to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights since 2013 because House committee chairman Darrell Issa keeps accusing her of a crime that has not actually been committed. For people like Mattera, however, this is proof of her perfidy rather than a runaway political witch hunt. By ‘confronting’ the witch with accusations of witchcraft, he has won fresh praise from the ravening crowd of witch-burners.
But the truly-evil genius in Mattera’s ambush of Lois Lerner is that he did it in the Washington, DC area, which is one of the worst places in America to ask a neighbor for help. This is the future of conservative media: aggressive, hate-filled conspiracy nuts confronting demonized federal employees while they walk their dogs, then celebrating the “payback” won against their imaginary persecution.
When conservatives do this, they call it justifiable politics; but when it happens without political justifiers, we call it ‘insane stalking.’