Anyone who logged into Breitbart over the last couple days saw the site’s usual sensationalist, large-font headlines, but they may have sounded disjointed if read all together. On one side, a vocal defense of Republican senate candidate Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who has been accused by four girls of pursuing inappropriate, underage relationships with them. On the other side, a string of enthusiastic articles about the takedown of liberal Hollywood by sexual harassment and assault allegations.
One headline, “Judge Roy Moore on Hannity Radio: ‘Allegations Completely False,’” appeared next to the headline, “#OscarSoRapey: Harassers, Enablers Prepare to Celebrate Themselves for Five-Month Awards Season.” Another headline quoted Steve Bannon: “‘Same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post’ Dropped Trump Tape, Roy Moore Hit Pieces… ‘Purely Part of the Apparatus of the Democratic Party’.” next to that article was one about a man who was allegedly beaten by immigrants in Germany after aiding an underage girl – precisely the type of girl Moore is accused of preying on.
The right-wing defense of Moore has been stunning. Some have denied the charges outright. Many have attacked the accusers. Others have actually said Moore’s conduct wasn’t problematic. That conduct allegedly included preying on one 14-year-old girl working as a mall Santa’s helper and preying on another during a child custody case. That girl was 14-years-old when Moore, then 32, reportedly guided her hand to touch his genitals. Breitbart has mostly opted to deflect the charges with a string of epithets: Bezos, Democrat, Amazon.
Breitbart has been solidly on the side of Moore ever since his Republican primary race against Luther Strange. In fact, it was one of the earliest and most prominent breaks the site took with President Trump, who endorsed Strange. Moore is just the type of far-right theocratic bigot that makes Steve Bannon salivate. He is an unrepentant homophobe and the Christian version of a Taliban cleric.
Turns out that, like virtually every sex-obsessed right-wing public figure, Moore has deep perversions of his own. But Breitbart will shamelessly downplay, deny, and defend allegations against him at the exact same time it publishes articles about celebrities titled, “Rape culture rap sheet: 71 accused.” Every accusation against Hollywood is given credence – gleefully. The credible, well-sourced accusations against Moore deserve the same standard.
It’s baffling that Bannon invoked the infamous Access Hollywood tape in defense of Moore. The Washington Post published it, sure enough, but it was Donald Trump’s own voice on the tape, boasting of committing sexual assault and using his celebrity status to get away with it. Any comparison to that tape would suggest Moore is guilty, so exactly what Bannon is trying to say is baffling. Perhaps it makes sense only to the deluded alt-right base with whom he has forged such a strong connection.
The comparison to Trump is apt, though not as any kind of defense for Moore. Like Trump, Moore aggressively denied the allegations and threatened to investigate his accusers. Republicans are masters of always remaining on the offensive, and Trump is the best at it of them all. More than a dozen women came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Trump, at least one with a case in court. Trump dismissed them all as fabrication and threatened to sue.
Hollywood’s predators deserve, and are receiving, their comeuppance. But Republicans protect and defend the predators in their ranks. Bill O’Reilly still appears on FOX News as a guest of Sean Hannity. Donald Trump became president. If it wasn’t already painfully obvious that the GOP is an unprincipled, win-at-all-costs party of fascists, the different approaches to the parallel scandals of Roy Moore and Hollywood – shamelessly written in big, bold letters on the front page of Breitbart – should remove any doubt.