Apparently, the liberal, mainstream media lost their sense of humor (if they had any). The hilarious Let’s Go Brandon meme turned out to be not a facetious joke against an extremely unpopular president, but a right-wing-driven vulgarity in bad taste that can even be equated to the extremist cry “Long live ISIS.”
For those unaware, the “Let’s go Brandon” slogan started as a taunt to Kelli Stavast, an NBC News reporter who interviewed NASCAR Xfinity Series race-winning driver Brandon Brown in early October. In the middle of the interview, Stavast told Brandon that the crowd was chanting”Let’s go Brandon”, however, in the clip it is clearly heard that the fans were chanting an insult against the president, “F*ck Joe Biden!”
A phenomenon that annoys the press
It is not known if Stavast’s mistake was on purpose or out of confusion, but what is certain is that the scene was jokingly used by citizens, conservative politicians and critics of President Biden to highlight the hypocrisy of the liberal media in relation to the coverage of the Democratic administration. Let’s go Brandon became wildly popular on the Internet, at sporting events around the country and in stores as many businesses seized the moment to design and sell T-shirts with the anti-Biden meme.
Let’s go Brandon has a great merit: to be born at the right time. The Biden administration is going through a notorious unpopularity problem, according to polls. Seventy-one percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, a perception that is justified by the different crises the country is facing in economic, social (insecurity) and foreign policy matters.
The meme also inspired rapper Bryson Gray, known for his conservative stances, to create a controversial hit called Let’s go Brandon. In the lyrics, Gray criticizes the liberal media and questions the stability of President Joe Biden. The rapper’s song incredibly reached the top spot on the iTunes chart displacing one of Adele’s tracks after YouTube censored the song for “misinformation” related to COVID-19.
However, what should be understood as a valid joke and criticism is being misinterpreted and distorted by the liberal media and progressive journalists.
In The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Carissa Wolf wrote an article titled “Biden’s critics hurl increasingly vulgar taunts.” There Parker and Wolf outline some of the harsh criticism President Biden has received and call Let’s go Brandon a “vitriol” that even made it to Congress with Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL). The journalists state that the insults against Biden are out of control and are a sort of low point in American politics.
CNN’s Edward-Issac Dovere was so uncomfortable with Congressman Jeff Duncan wearing a “Let’s go Brandon” mask that he even decided to speak out on Twitter, “Jeff Duncan, a congressman who calls himself a champion of traditional family values, showed up to vote today with an inside joke telling the president of the United States to perform a sexual act on himself displayed over his own mouth.”
Dovere’s tweet was heavily criticized in responses and quotes for its lack of humor and poor understanding of the meme.
NPR was not far behind, calling “Let’s go Brandon” vulgar; political analyst Maggie Haberman, who works for CNN and the New York Times, also complained about Rep. Duncan’s mask. “There’s nothing serious about this. This is literally done so that he will get attention. And it’s working. It’s just that it involves being on the House floor, which once upon a time was supposed to be something more of a respected space, and a space that was treated differently,” Haberman said on CNN’s New Day.
Likewise, Joe Lockhart, Hillary Clinton’s former press secretary and current CNN political analyst, compared the meme on Twitter to rhetoric from Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and ISIS. “You know who also had coded statements like Brandon? ISIS, the Klan, Nazi’s…beginning to get the point?”
This was the only exaggerated comparison by any liberal journalist or media contributor. According to AP, a Southwest pilot ended a passenger announcement by saying “Let’s go Brandon.” This outraged CNN contributor Asha Rangappa to no end, who wrote a tweet comparing the meme to the extremist “Long live Isis” gripe.
“As an experiment, I’d love for an @SouthwestAir pilot to say “Long live ISIS” before taking off. My guess is that 1) the plane would be immediately grounded; 2) the pilot fired; and 3) a statement issued by the airline within a matter of hours,” Rangappa posted.
The tweet was quite criticized, reaching even Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who said CNN “is deranged.”
“And no, as a factual matter, supporting genocidal religious zealots is not the same as disagreeing with the current President,” Cruz responded to Rangappa.
The liberal media’s hypocrisy with “Let’s go Brandon”
Now the mainstream media on the left is trying to sell the narrative that Let’s go Brandon is some sort of code for insulting Biden, as if it were hate speech against the president. Clearly the meaning is otherwise, being a subtle criticism of the press and the Democratic administration. Beyond that, the generalized indignation against the meme is surprising, given that all presidents have had to endure criticism, mockery and insults.
You don’t have to go very far. For four years, former President Trump was systematically ridiculed and insulted by the academy, the media and his critics.
In 2017, Kathy Griffin came out with Trump’s head slit and bloodied; that case was quite controversial and emblematic and almost the whole country condemned Griffin equally… Well, almost everyone, as some ventured to justify the photo of the actress.
Vanity Fair ran an article that read: “Griffin crossed the line. Her video — and accompanying photograph — is a miscalculated attack on an unpopular president against whom until now it seemed any joke would do. Not this one. But who can blame Griffin? This is the kind of response Trump can expect from an election campaign and presidency in which he has put bullying before diplomacy.”
The insults against Trump were also reiterative. Robert De Niro, for example, on stage at New York’s Radio City Music Hall hurled expletives at the former president in a direct way: “I’m going to say one thing. F*ck Trump.”
In 2017, Madonna also said at a political event that she had “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House”; the statement, which also caused controversy, but was defended by media such as the Washington Post by explaining that that was not “a threat of violence.” Eminem was not left behind when attacking the Republican.
Most of the expletives and vulgarities against Trump were covered with relative normality, especially when they were popular insults in the form of political criticism, this being a form of free speech that is protected by the Constitution.
Conservative media respond to progressive press
The attitude of the media is not going unnoticed. Multiple journalists and columnists from conservative media are taking advantage of the general outrage around Let’s go Brandon to criticize the American liberal press.
Rich Lowry, in the New York Post, noted that the media is wrongly holding up insults against Biden as a “new low in American politics” recalling the vicious insults that were hurled against pre-digital era presidents as well as Trump in recent years. He also mentioned the humorlessness of the liberal press that was outraged by the Southwest pilot case and explained that one of the privileges of living in a democracy is being able to “insult the head of state without fear of jail or other punishment.”
Joe Concha in The Hill also criticized the press in a column titled, “Is ‘Let’s go Brandon!’ a form of hate speech?” Concha said that, for the left, free speech only applies to politically correct speech that they approve of.
Likewise, Stephen L. Miller, in The Spectator World, wrote a column recalling that in China they censored memes mocking Xi Jinping and Barack Obama, who were compared to Winnie The Pooh and Tiger respectively.
“China and its president were so incensed by the idea of the premier being compared to a yellow cartoon bear that they censored media companies and social media to stop the spread of the meme. Sound familiar?” wrote Miller. “If Biden’s allies in the media think getting airline pilots fired over a meme will somehow improve the president’s disastrous approval ratings and convince the public that he’s doing just fine, they are as delusional as they are austere.”