How the 'anti-Left' dark web is fueling 'groomer' panic
Ben Shapiro (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

The notion that Disney and the nation's schools are "grooming" children about their sexuality is directly traceable back to right-wing activists who gin up conspiracy theories on the "intellectual dark web" and is not the result of an organic shift in the opinions of American people about the LGTBQ community.

That same cadre of people, who also claim that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in grade school classrooms, are what The Daily Beast’s senior opinion editor Anthony Fisher calls “self-identified disaffected liberals” who rallied around the idea of hyper-political correctness in 2016 or 2017. Fisher notes in the latest installment of the "Fever Dreams" podcast that the biggest players in that universe are Joe Rogan, the controversial Canadian professor Jordan Peterson, YouTuber Dave Rubin, Eric Weinstein and Ben Shapiro.

“These people claim to be lifelong Democrats, some of them say that they were Bernie Sanders supporters and they’ve not had a nice thing to say about a single Democratic politician or liberal commentator or liberal idea in the last six years… I think they’re more defined by what they’re against rather than what they’re for,” Fisher says. He adds, “a lot of these people are anti-left, all the things they see on the left are things that are ‘threatening Western civilization,’ which is why they latch onto people like Tulsi Gabbard, somebody who’s nominally a Democrat… but for the most part seems to be playing toward the MAGA right audience.”

"Fever Dreams" co-host Will Sommer points out the group now has migrated from being mostly Twitter-based chatter to fueling national culture wars. Specifically, he notes, the right’s language about CRT and the "lies about Disney 'grooming' children can directly be traced back to Christopher Rufo and James Lindsay. They’ve created this groundswell that is absolutely affecting policy,” Fisher says, pointing out that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ own press secretary is now "parroting the leaders of the movement."