Hillary's Knitgate, Bernie's Jacketgate and Faux Resistance Outrage


Over the holidays, Hillary Clinton super fans lost their minds over a poorly done video by Vanity Fair editors in which several of the publication’s employees proposed mocking New Years resolutions to Hillary Clinton. One woman, for example, suggested Clinton take up knitting.

The video poked the beehive of Clinton fans on social media, who attacked the magazine and demanded to Vanity Fair editors that anyone involved in the video be fired. Several Clinton fans pushed the #CancelVanityFair hashtag, urging Hillary supporters to cancel their subscriptions.

The faux outrage is similar to that of some Alt-right protests, which have included burning NFL jerseys to oppose Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism. Another was destroying Keurig coffee makers because the company pulled its ads from Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

This outrage stems from a fragile sense of politics in which all content that dares challenge the infallibility of a political figure/celebrity must be met with condemnation, boycotts, and termination of employment. Vanity Fair is an elitist rag that celebrates excess wealth. The outrage over the publication’s video was heightened by the fact that its audience overlaps with a part of Hillary Clinton’s super fan base, the ultra-wealthy and those who idolize hyper-capitalism.

For these fans, publications are supposed to serve as public relations puppets for their hero and any and all criticism of Hillary is instantly dismissed as unacceptable dissent by conservatives, Bernie Bros or Kremlin trolls.  Several people with large social media followings have built their followings with rigid adherence to this notion and seek to build outrage toward any perceived slight of Clinton out of desperation that her political clout is waning.

On the other side of this faux outrage machine are hot takes or misleading hit pieces on her political opponents. Last week, neoconservative worm Ben Shapiro’s publication, the Daily Wire, alleged that Bernie Sanders is a hypocrite for wearing a $700 coat during New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s swearing-in ceremony.

The claim was regurgitated by Newsweek in a story with the blaring headline, “SOCIALIST BERNIE SANDERS WEARS A $700 JACKET WHILE COMPLAINING ABOUT RICH PEOPLE,” and which chastised the Vermont senator because he is “famous for slamming the billionaire class.”

Jacketgate was celebrated by the Clinton fan beehive, though easily debunked. The overwrought stories failed to note that the jacket was a 2016 Christmas gift from his wife’s son, Dave Driscoll, who works for Burton Snowboards, the Vermont based company which makes it. (Jane Sanders tweeted about the gift a year ago.) Newsweek hasn’t changed its initial report, though thus far no one is  childishly calling for the reporter to be fired or the publication to be boycotted.

This genre of stupid anti-Sanders stories seek to distract from the senator’s popular policy proposals and the work of progressives who are working to build a movement against Trump and Republicans. In contrast, the aspirations of the Clinton wing of the Resistance begin and end with Trump’s removal, rather than building a movement that fights poverty, racial injustice, and the Republican agenda. Their fantasy is of a new era of bipartisanship that pushes through bad policies that hurt most Americans in exchange for continuing to enrich the wealthy, special interests and corporations.

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