I wouldn’t say the online magazine The Federalist is the worst right-wing website out there — the competition is stiff, after all — but they are an abominable mess of misogyny and stupidity (which is why none of the links are direct, though you can get to the magazine if you click through). It’s kind of black-humored funny that the magazine declared trans rights as a war on women when they’re so committed to waging one themselves.
They published an article by Georgi Boorman suggesting abortion isn’t necessary in cases of ectopic pregnancy, which is wrong. Boorman admitted as much later but seriously, that’s a very basic fact on the subject. She should never have made the mistake in the first place, no matter how devoted to the forced-birth cause she is.
Of course Amy Otto topped her with an article about that familiar undead sexist cliche, single women having sex destroys the world. It includes the phrase ““[Women] held a majority of the cards in sexual relationships and, facing a royal flush, decided to fold.” Um, nobody can beat a royal flush so folding is the only option. And contrary to Otto, women have never held all the cards in sex (click at the link for my critique).
We have Nicole Russell’s piece from 2015 gushing about how manly Paul Ryan looks with his beard, and how women need manly men to take charge of them more than they need independence. “Men who fail to embrace their masculinity are as bad as chauvinists who wield it like a weapon” No, they’re not.
The magazine’s senior editor, Mollie Hemingway, claims that women’s enthusiasm for 50 Shades of Grey proves feminism has failed and women secretly crave for men to dominate them (are we seeing a theme here?). Maybe they’d “prefer to be in a loving committed relationship with a dude than get successively better office jobs on the way to the corner office.” Strange how this hasn’t discouraged Hemingway from working her way up to the editorial suite.
From earlier this year, we have their accusation Jane Austen is getting cancelled! You will be shocked this is also a lie. More recently, we have one of their editors, Joy Pullman, writing that getting vaccinated against COVID is pagan — Christians should do without and trust God to protect them (as Pullman’s not advocating we give up all vaccines, safety belts and fire alarms, I presume she’s completely insincere and churning out propaganda for the cause).
Then there’s DC McAlister’s argument that women should make love to their husbands even when they don’t want to (which Jesus and John Wayne showed me is a common belief in the religious right — your husband’s reward for supporting you is sex whenever he wants it!).
But what got this article going was going down one of those Internet rabbit-holes and discovering a 2017 Federalist post by Baptist university professor Tully Borland, arguing that Roy Moore’s habit of (allegedly) sexually harassing teens when he was in his forties doesn’t make him a bad person (for the record, it’s far from the only problem I have with Moore). After all, if you want a large family, you need to start when the girl’s young, right? And to afford a large family, the man needs money which usually means being wealthy, right? Besides, everyone thought it was normal back then, why are we applying modern standards to the past!
No, we aren’t. As someone who was alive back in the late 1970s, I would have thought this was creepy as shit. Particularly if Roy was actively harassing the girls as they claim. I don’t think I’m alone — hell, Borland says he’d have assaulted Moore if it was his daughter (apparently other men’s daughters are fair game).
This piece actually generated some criticism outside left-wing blogs (I doubt many other people are aware of the Federalist outside the right-wing/forced birth/misogynist base) so co-founder Ben Domenech responded with a ton of cliches: isn’t it important to understand why people support Moore despite the charges? Sure, he personally thinks Moore’s a perv and didn’t agree with the article but “we publish the things we think make valuable contributions to the public debate, and represent the views of voters.”
First off, Borland wasn’t doing the equivalent of a “Trump safari,” telling us what Alabama voters think. He’s arguing that they should be voting for Moore. It’s a call for support not a deep dive. Second, even if Domenech doesn’t support Moore (it’s the Federalist. He could easily be lying) he obviously thinks “support the guy who sexual harasses teens” makes “valuable contributions to the public debate.” I don’t believe he’d say the same if I’d submitted a “why Christians should support Hilary Clinton” pitch back in 2016. I doubt he’ll ever run an article explaining why the majority of Americans favor the right to abortion unless the explanation is … Satan!
Third, according to the NYT link in the first paragraph of this post, one of the magazine’s major backers is Dick Uihlein who supported and donated to Roy Moore. So I’m not sure Domenech’s decision to run this piece was purely in the spirit of enlightening the public. But “we have to pay off the money men” doesn’t sound as cool as “free speech!”
Out of the crooked timber of The Federalist, no straight thing was ever made.