MARCH 6, 2020
Have you heard that Pokemon Go is an elaborate conspiracy to kill Christians? Or that US government death squads murdered former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia? Or that the Israelis were responsible for the 2020 Iowa Democratic primary vote-counting debacle?
If you haven’t, you’ve missed out on watching TruNews, a “news network” that spreads conspiracy theories, racism, homophobia and other forms of hate. In particular, TruNews made headlines for spreading vicious antisemitism, including their recent claim of a “Jew coup” against President Donald Trump. Founder Rick Wiles and his team frequently launch screeds against Jewish Americans and Israel, demonizing them and decrying their supposed control over US policy.
At the core of TruNews’ politics is the racist belief that Jews and Israelis are surreptitiously in control of US foreign policy. Wiles thinks that Israel and the US developed ISIS and now control it, and that they are “orchestrating a coup in Venezuela.”
Wiles says that, “The Zionists, what they’re doing to the Palestinian people now, they’re gonna globalize it. But they’re gonna occupy your mind, they’re gonna control your mind, control your mouth. You will not be able to speak and think anything that’s contrary to what the Zionists want.”
The TruNews team believes Jews are uniquely responsible for a multitude of American social ills, championing the timeless antisemitic notion that there is nothing the Jews cannot be blamed for.
In 2017, Wiles said Ivanka Trump was “a Kabbalah practicing, evil woman whispering evil things in the ear of her father. She’s going to the grave site of an old dead Kabbalah practitioner and getting spirits telling her what to do.”
They also published segments on Jewish contributions to legalized abortion — warning it’s become “America’s Jewish Holocaust.” They assert, “the Talmud not only supports the killing of the unborn, it is quoted and codified into US law to defend the practice.”
Wiles also charmingly referred to Kabbalah in 2018 as the “voodoo that Jews do.” No surprise that when it comes to one of history’s most deadly antisemitic conspiracy theories, Wiles says that, “the Protocols of Zion … are disputed, but they’re eerily correct.”
Unsurprisingly, TruNews also promotes vicious anti-Zionism, asserted through deeply antisemitic language. Wiles falsely claims Jews have no connections to Israel and that they descend from Babylonians. He uses his anti-Zionism to twistChristian theology: “I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew…There are two things that you cannot publicly criticize now … you cannot criticize the homosexual agenda and you cannot criticize Zionism.”
Wiles’ antisemitism and anti-Zionism dovetail with other forms of racism. He has made claims like: “We have a brown invasion that has come in. This is the land vomiting the people out.” Sound familiar? This was the rhetoric used by the white supremacist terrorists responsible for the October 2018 Tree of Life and March 2019 Christchurch massacres.
YouTube previously banned TruNews, but then later reinstated it. On February 20, 2020, after considerable pressure, the social media giant finally permanently removed the outlet’s account. However, Facebook and Twitter continue to allow the group to reach a large audience with its hate.
TruNews has also been granted press credentials by the White House numerous times during presidential trips abroad. At a briefing in September 2018, TruNews correspondent Ed Szall was called on, and asked the president about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They also scored an interview with Donald Trump Jr., who later said he had been unaware of TruNews’ hateful record.
Wiles and his team exploit their access to presidential press conferences to bolster their brand and credibility, sharing Instagram photos from the press pool in Helsinki, the United Kingdom, the North Korea peace talks in Vietnam and they made headlines after being granted press passes to cover the February 2020 Davos conference. What can be done about this hatred?
1. Join the StandWithUs campaign calling on Facebook and Twitter to join YouTube in permanently banning TruNews from their platforms.
In an era of rising division and profound distrust of the media, we must demand better for ourselves and all people who are threatened by the hateful propaganda broadcasted on TruNews. Social media companies must remove TruNews from their platforms and government officials must deny these “journalists” the veneer of legitimacy they gain from covering important press conferences around the world.
Lauren Post is StandWithUs’ senior researcher and content manager.