Dinesh D'Souza exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse after pleading guilty in New York, May 20, 2014. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Here's what Dinesh D'Souza was incredibly wrong about today

A prominent conservative tweets rumors that are quickly debunked


Matthew Sheffield
August 28, 2017 6:21PM (UTC)

Dinesh D'Souza once had a career as a respectable conservative pundit. But in the past several years, he realized he could become a lot richer by repeating crazy far-right conspiracy theories. His pet cause of the moment is repeating the history of the Civil War and claiming that since Democrats supported slavery 150 years ago, this means that today's Democrats are actually more racist than today's GOP.

This has long been an argument favored by conservatives who ignore or are unaware of their movement's history, such as 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater's embrace of "states rights" as a means of opposing racial desegregation laws, or the infamous "Southern strategy," whereby conservative and Republican activists sought to use race as a means of reaching out to economically centrist or liberal Southerners.

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Actual white nationalists find D'Souza's argument to be as absurd as most other people do. They encounter and mock it so frequently, they even have a slang term for it, "DR3," short for "Democrats R the Real Racists." The theory is "stupid" and only for "idealistic children," according to anonymous blogger Butch Leghorn. As is widely known, the neo-fascist movement that calls itself the "alt-right" actually grew out of regular American conservatism and libertarianism.

D'Souza and others who buy into his argument have had a tougher time making their case after the violence that broke out at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which was organized by white nationalists who were wearing "Make America Great Again" hats in support of President Donald Trump. To rationalize this very inconvenient rally, they've been trying to claim that Jason Kessler, the organizer of  the "Unite the Right" event, is actually a leftist trying to make conservatives look bad. They're basing their beliefs on amateur-level internet sleuthing that supposes there is only one person in the United States named Jason Kessler.

Needless to say, that isn't true at all. D'Souza provided a great example of the conspiracy thinking in two tweets he wrote on Monday accusing Kessler of having been a former CNN producer. Notably, he did not explicitly claim it, he merely asked the question, a common technique of promoters of fake news:

Unfortunately for D'Souza's conspiracy theory, CNN had already spoken out about the situation, as several of his Twitter readers were quick to remind him.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed this denial in a statement to Salon: "The Jason Kessler who previously worked for CNN is not the same Jason Kessler who organized the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville. Same name. Different people."

Given D'Souza's long record of making foolish and inaccurate statements, we don't expect him to correct the record.

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Bonus: About an hour after he spread the false information that Kessler had worked at CNN, D'Souza retweeted an anti-fascist "antifa" account which literally five seconds of web searching reveals as bogus.

dsouza

Update 16:30 ET. D'Souza responded to this post on Twitter, changing his story from falsely claiming that CNN had not responded to the charge that Kessler had worked at the cable network to asserting that CNN's denials could not be trusted.

Since D'Souza appears to trust the word of a white nationalist more than CNN, we present the following tweet to him:

 


Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Charlottesville Charlottesville Rally Democrats Dinesh D'souza Jason Kessler




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