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MSNBC ‘Updates’ Article, Removing ‘White Supremacist Cult’ Slur After TPUSA Threatens Legal Action

Craig Bannister | January 16, 2023 | 11:06am EST
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After being hit with a Cease and Desist letter threatening legal action, MSNBC “updated” and “clarified” an article that had called Turning Point USA (TPUSA) “a MAGA white supremacist cult.”

In a letter dated January 10, from TPUSA In-House Counsel Veronica Peterson to NBCU’s legal team, TPUSA’s lawyer denounces a January 7, 2023 MSNBC commentary, in which author Julio Ricardo Varela made the derogatory claim while tying Mexican-American Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) to TPUSA.

“Even Politifact confirmed that claims about TPUSA and white supremacy have zero factual basis,” the letter says, demanding that MSNBC “immediately cease and desist further unlawful defaming our organization and retract the defamatory statement…no later than January 12, 2023.”

On Friday, about seven hours before the deadline, MSNBC edited the column, without apology, and added the following note to the top of the page:

“Update (Jan. 13, 2022, 5:05 p.m. ET): This article has been updated to clarify Turning Point USA’s connections to white nationalist beliefs.”

The offending text has been changed:

From: “A Latina version of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Luna, according to a summary of her career in the Tampa Bay Times, followed the MAGA playbook to gain political fame. She has ties to chief Kevin McCarthy opponent, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and has worked with what I consider to be a MAGA white supremacist cult: Turning Point USA.”

To:

“A Latina version of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Luna, according to a summary of her career in the Tampa Bay Times, followed the MAGA playbook to gain political fame. She has ties to chief Kevin McCarthy opponent, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and has worked with Turning Point USA, whose founder Charlie Kirk has expressed concern over the “diminishing and decreasing white demographics in America,” and pushes the white nationalist belief of great replacement theory.”

While TPUSA considers the revision an improvement, Spokesman Andrew Kolvet tells Fox News that it won’t drop its legal efforts until MSNBC issues an actual apology:

"We're happy to see that MSNBC has revised its grossly defamatory statements — an admission of guilt — but the time for half-apologies is over. Changing words around and citing the far-left activist organization Media Matters isn't good enough for any 'mainstream' news outlet. TPUSA will continue fighting this legally until they issue a full retraction and apology, or otherwise admit they've become nothing but hack propagandists."

On Friday, when TPUSA Pres. Charlie Kirk posted a copy of the Cease and Desist letter on Twitter, two of Rep. Luna’s Florida colleagues responded by cheering the letter and condemning dishonest, “corrupt” liberal media:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.): “Once again the woke media targets conservatives with reckless lies. As usual, MSNBC is wrong.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.): “Fighting back against the corrupt media. Go get ‘em, Charlie!”

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