Fox News contributor Clay Travis helped rouse an angry, threatening crowd of anti-maskers against a Williamson County, Tennesee school board last night and tweeted about how much they impressed him.
Travis does not have a medical background, but the radio host has spent the last 16 months minimizing Covid-19, preaching that the need to be cautionary is overblown. Ultimately, board members went against Travis, voting to require masks for students, staff, and visitors inside buildings and buses at the elementary school level.
“I would tell every parent here, don’t let your kids wear masks. REFUSE! REFUSE!” Travis shouted as he turned to face the crowd of applauding parents before proudly strutting away from the podium.
As my Crooks and Liars colleague, Ed Scarce, wrote in a post this morning, parents shouted at doctors and nurses who spoke in support of a mask mandate for children under 12, who are not eligible for vaccines, only until September 21, “We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you!”
Tennessean reporter Brinley Hineman tweeted this morning, “I’m still in disbelief over the WCS board meeting. I’ve never witnessed a public meeting devolve into chaos, threats and drama the way I did last night over safety and health precautions.”
I’m still in disbelief over the WCS board meeting. I’ve never witnessed a public meeting devolve into chaos, threats and drama the way I did last night over safety and health precautions.— Brinley Hineman (@brinleyhineman) August 11, 2021
I’ve picked up about 400 new followers since then, so ICYMI: https://t.co/yRW6XeTgy2
But there was nothing not to love about it for Travis. He is on Tucker Carlson’s show tonight, no doubt taking a victory lap for dividing America and undermining institutions (I’ll catch up with it tomorrow):
Here’s my full statement against masks @WCSedu tonight. So impressed by all the parents who came out tonight to speak on the absurdity of masks in schools. Very impressive group. Speak out at your own school boards: pic.twitter.com/t5go0YJCxN— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 11, 2021
In May, long after Travis made his anti-mask/pro-COVID views known, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch celebrated the acquisition of Travis’ Outkick, a conservative sports news site. Variety reported, “Outkick, said Murdoch, is a leader ‘in sports news, and more critically, sports opinion,’ and is likely to align with Fox’s core audience.”
(H/T reader Eric Jefferson)
Correction: The title of this post originally said the anti-maskers threatened the school board. As far as I know, the threats were to the medical professionals who spoke in favor of masks.
I saw the video of that (luckily) verbal attack against the medical professionals who spoke in favour of masking the kids in Tennessee. The mind boggles to realise that it will take a medical disaster to make people like that wake up, assuming they are capable of doing so.
It’s so sad to see how America’s image has been tarnished over the past five or so years.
Travis and Sexton were born at the beginning of the 1980s. (Travis in 1979 and Sexton in 1981). Neither is a particularly intelligent person, or even an inquisitive one. But they grew up listening to bigots like Limbaugh and his copycats (given that Limbaugh’s reign as an AM Radio shock jock began when both men were under 10 years old), and they had that cemented when Fox News was inflicted while they were teenagers. They learned from Limbaugh and Fox’s financial success that they just needed to say outrageous things and then play off the notoriety for their own personal profit.
Travis is a failed lawyer who figured he could use the Limbaugh model to inject his angry Right Wing perspective into sports commentary. Which is why he attempted podcasting and other low-end fringe ideas before he was able to get some money thrown at him for his Right Wing setup of Outkick. I note that Travis repeatedly made a point of saying and doing incredibly bigoted and vicious things on Outkick, as well as on the various media appearances he parlayed along the way. For example, he embarrassed himself in a massive way on CNN in 2017 when he tried to inject a lewd comment into what was supposed to be a serious conversation with Brooke Baldwin and instead got himself tossed off the air.
When it comes to the pandemic, Travis has spent the time repeatedly doubling down on utter falsehoods. It appears that he and Sexton both have gone with the initial Limbaugh party line about how COVID was a hoax, how things were supposedly blown out of proportion “just to hurt Trump”, and about how masks are just “theater”. Travis spent 2020 like many other angry Right Wingers trying to peddle the idea that we should just let everyone get sick and somehow get to herd immunity that way, as well as the various conspiracy theories about Joe Biden. After the Right Wing was humiliated last November, one would think that they would have taken some time to learn their lesson (that an overwhelming majority of the country and the world has had enough of their bad behavior) but it seems that many angry Right Wingers just want to keep doubling down on a losing bet.
Listening to Right Wingers like Travis or Sexton (or O’Reilly or Hannity), one would think they were in a parallel universe, since their presentation of “undisputed facts” is out of a fantasy world. It also appears that Travis and the others simply want the pandemic to continue and worsen so they can blame the Biden/Harris White House for it and try to take Congress and the White House back for themselves. It does not appear that they care about how many people will die because of their conduct here. For someone like Travis, the hope is that he can profit from the carnage, just as Limbaugh made himself a multi-millionaire from his various bigoted stunts.