Prominent alt lite blogger and radio host Mike Cernovich is spearheading an alt right and alt lite crusade against U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, including using social media to attack General McMaster and creating a website seemingly designed to spread negative information and disinformation about the Trump administration official. Cernovich allegedly even commissioned a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon to use as part of his campaign against McMaster.
These attacks on McMaster appear to be a reaction to recent housecleaning within the National Security Committee by McMaster of officials originally appointed by McMaster’s predecessor, the ousted Michael Flynn, who had been a favorite of the alt right and alt lite. One of those fired, Rich Higgins, the NSC’s director for strategic planning, had recently authored a controversial memo claiming there was a “Maoist insurgency” of Islamists and globalists who were trying to thwart Donald Trump and destroy the United States.
Cernovich and others on the alt right and alt lite fear that McMaster and some other appointees within the Trump administration are engaged in a campaign to remove appointees whose views the alt right and alt lite view as similar to their own. The ADL Center on Extremism’s goal is to highlight the anti-Semitic attacks and conspiracy theories being generated against McMaster from the ranks of the alt right and alt lite.
Cernovich debuted a new website on August 2 titled “McMaster Leaks,” encouraging readers to “post your leaks about H. R. McMaster.” This site prominently features an anti-Semitic cartoon by Ben Garrison, an artist known for cartoons with right-wing, anti-government and conspiratorial themes. On his own website, Garrison claims that the cartoon was “commissioned” by Mike Cernovich.
The Garrison cartoon features a stage with McMaster and retired general David Petraeus as puppets being manipulated by left-leaning philanthropist George Soros, perceived as a major villain across the far right spectrum in the United States and the subject of many conspiracy theories. Soros, who is Jewish, is himself depicted in the cartoon with puppet strings, being guided by a greenish hand and arm labeled “Rothschilds,” the name of a Jewish family long involved in the banking industry. The thrust of the cartoon is clear: McMaster is merely a puppet of a Jewish conspiracy.
Ironically, Garrison has frequently complained that some of his cartoons were being manipulated by others, with anti-Semitic themes added to them. In this instance, however, he displayed a clearly anti-Semitic cartoon on his own website. Equally ironically, Cernovich has also attacked McMaster on the grounds that he is ostensibly anti-Israel.
The anti-Semitic theme of the Garrison cartoon is impossible to miss and individuals on social media complained about it. That may be why, after the image’s debut on the McMasterLeaks website, Cernovich subsequently replaced it with a cropped version that excised the Rothschild reference while keeping the Soros as puppetmaster imagery, making the anti-Semitic nature of the cartoon somewhat less overt.
However, the original artwork continues to be shared widely, including on such places as the /r/forwardsfromHitler subreddit on the popular discussion site Reddit. This spread has in turn caused others to share their own anti-Semitic reactions, such as a retweet of the Garrison cartoon that used the anti-Semitic “echo” symbol for Soros and the Rothschilds.
In addition to creating the McMaster Leaks website, Cernovich has tweeted and retweeted a variety of anti-McMaster messages and images.
Many attacks on McMaster use hashtags such as #McMasterFacts, #FireMcMaster, and #McMasterLeaks. In just the past two days, #McMasterFacts, the most popular such hashtag, has been tweeted at least 2,600 times and retweeted over 19,500 times. #FireMcMaster has accumulated over 7,100 tweets and retweets.
Cernovich is one of the most prominent propagandists of the alt lite, with a large following. He received widespread attention for his promotion of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which promoted false claims that prominent Democrats were engaged in child trafficking in connection with a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. This conspiracy theory resulted in someone actually traveling to the restaurant and opening fire with an assault rifle in December 2016. Fortunately, no one was injured in that attack, but it was a powerful real-world example of the potential consequences of such propaganda.