As the news broke yesterday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on multiple counts while President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple separate crimes—including campaign finance charges that appear to implicate the president—the digital right-wing media machine went into overdrive to amplify a different story: the killing of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.
Yesterday morning, it was reported that authorities found a body identified to be Tibbetts and that the suspect charged with Tibbets’ murder is a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico who had been working on a local farm connected to a GOP official. The Washington Post confirmed that the suspect had passed the government’s E-Verify system.
While the news was breaking regarding Manafort and Cohen, right-wing activists and outlets were focused almost exclusively on using the Tibbets tragedy to promote the president’s anti-immigration agenda.
At Fox News, as The Washington Post’s Hamza Shaban pointed out, coverage of Tibbetts’ murder was Fox News’ top story at the same time that other news outlets carried the breaking news of Cohen’s and Manafort’s convictions.
Coverage on other right-wing media outlets and among right-wing internet pundits also focused heavily on Tibbetts’ murder, even as the Manafort and Cohen trials dominated coverage elsewhere.
Candace Owens, communications director of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), jeered that although the left protested child separation policies, they didn’t protest the murders of Tibbetts and Kate Steinle, who was killed when an undocumented immigrant fired an illegally-possessed gun in her direction.
Charlie Kirk, president of TPUSA, said that Tibbetts’ family should sue the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been representing Central American migrants who came to the U.S. seeking asylum:
Tomi Lahren, Fox News talking head, said it was “absolutely sickening” that candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York City Democrat running for Congress, and Cynthia Nixon, who has launched a primary challenge to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, are advocating for the abolishment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency:
Michelle Malkin, conservative pundit now working for CRTV, asked, “Where’s the Time magazine cover?,” referring to a cover the magazine ran as news broke about child separations happening at the Southern border:
Jack Posobiec, One America News correspondent of “Pizzagate” fame, demanded that Trump “Build Kate and Mollie’s Wall”:
Andrew Wilkow, a SirusXM Patriot Channel host, addressed a tweet to Democrats that read that Tibbetts “has been separated from her family by an” illegal immigrant:
Cassandra Fairbanks, reporter at The Gateway Pundit, said that Democrats “want to let every monster into our country and don’t want women to be able to arm themselves. Remember that next time you’re jogging alone at night and some perv starts harassing you”:
Bill Mitchell, YourVoice America host, said Democrats don’t care about Tibbetts’ murder:
Katie Hopkins, pundit for Rebel Media, wrote, “This is The Fear. The monsters trembling in the dark to snatch your baby from you”:
Ryan Saavedra, writer at The Daily Wire, snidely blasted the Washington Post for using the term “undocumented immigrant” instead of “illegal alien”:
Wayne Dupree, a right-wing talk radio host, posted that “the guilty co-conspirators” enabling illegal immigration should be “punished”:
Brit Hume of Fox News Channel wrote that if Tibbetts’ killer “hadn’t illegally entered the country, Mollie Tibbetts would be alive“:
Amy Mekelberg, one of Trump’s leading anti-Muslim voices online, boosted the story on her own feed:
Former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski wrote it was “non negotiable” that we “stop illegals from coming to our country and killing innocent people”:
Scott Presler, a Trump hype guy on social media, wrote that Tibbetts’ murder “is a result of democrat party policies.”