Friday, April 3, 2015

The Indiana Memories Pizza Fundraiser Is A Conservative Media Scam

The Indiana Memories Pizza Fundraiser Is A Conservative Media Scam

April 3, 2015 By Manny Schewitz 


By now, most of you have heard about the Indiana pizza shop that announced it would refuse to cater same-sex wedding ceremonies. I’m pretty sure most self-respecting gay couples wouldn’t serve pizza at their wedding receptions or rehearsals, but Memories Pizza went ahead and put their bigotry out there for everyone to know about it anyhow, and they promptly felt the collective wrath of the Internet.

The backlash was absolutely devastating, and Memories Pizza quickly announced that they would be closing their business until further notice. Sounds like an open and closed case of bigotry rearing its ugly head and quickly being slapped down by the good people of the world, right? Not so fast. While the outrage toward their announcement was certainly legitimate, the GoFundMe campaign that was launched to support Memories Pizza and has currently raised over half a million dollars is about as genuine as a three dollar bill. Yesterday, Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze gushed over the fundraiser, calling it the “Greatest Thing I’ve Seen In Years” as their blogger Jason Howerton wrote. In less than 24 hours, over 8,000 people have donated more than $228,000 for the embattled Christian owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana. A slew of online threats forced the small business to close its doors after the owners told a local news station that they would refuse to cater for same-sex weddings based on their religious beliefs. Among all of the donations was a $20 contribution that is being called the “greatest things I’ve seen in years” and the epitome of “real tolerance.” The GoFundMe page was set up by Lawrence Jones, a contributor for TheBlaze TV’s “Dana.” (Source) As you notice, The Blaze admits that the page was set up by Lawrence Jones, a contributor to their TV program anchored by Dana Loesch. Seems transparent enough, right? Not really. It’s already obvious that the campaign was started by an employee of The Blaze, but that’s not all there is to the story. Lawrence Jones isn’t just a contributor to The Blaze, Lawrence Jones is also a political operative who has worked with James O’Keefe from Project Veritas as an “investigator.” Yes, that James O’Keefe. Aside from his status at the University of North Texas as a double-major pre-law student, he is also a “pastor of college ministry” and the 2013 FreedomWorks Activist of the Year. However, his greatest claim to fame may be his work with Project Veritas, the infamous “conservative non-profit” spearheaded by James O’Keefe. As reported here, Jones went undercover for Project Veritas to “expose” fraud among “Obamacare Navigators” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. So before anyone gets the idea that this is some sort of “grassroots” endeavor by an average citizen, it should be pointed out that this is a carefully-orchestrated campaign by an experienced rabble-rouser who is not above using the “average citizens” for political grandstanding, or associating with those who do the same. (Source) Conservatives who support the religious freedom laws that have become popular in red states across the country ahead of the Supreme Court’s expected ruling have poured their money into this campaign, but the sad fact is that they’ve wasted their funds once again on another publicity stunt designed to gin up the conservative base. 

The story over at The Blaze also claims that GoFundMe donors include members of the LGBT community who support Memories Pizza; but then again, anyone can post anything on the Internet and say that it is true. This isn’t an organic campaign to help out a business that decided to become a political martyr; it’s a publicity stunt by The Blaze and a financial windfall for the owners of Memories Pizza. The GoFundMe page also begs of supporters, “After you donate please go “like” and combat the leftist hatred expressed on Dana’s page.” Remember the story of the waitress in Tennessee, Toni Jenkins, who claimed a customer wrote a racial slur directed at her on his receipt? After the owner of Addicting Info created a donation account and blasted the story across Facebook in an article that has since been removed, she collected nearly $11,000. The only problem is that was also a publicity stunt and it turned out that Ms. Jenkins probably made the story up. Memories Pizza isn’t the victim here; the real victims are the over 1,700 people who’ve donated more than $500,000 to a business owner who has made more money in a couple of days than his business probably makes in years. Oh, and he probably won’t have to pay a dime in taxes on the donations either. As the saying goes, “a fool and his money are easily parted” – and The Blaze is making sure that the bigoted owners of Memories Pizza will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Manny Schewitz Manny Schewitz is a progressive from the Dirty South with an inclination to say it like it is. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and also maintains an active and lively presence on Facebook. You can find him on Twitter as well, @MannySchewitz. Be sure to check out Manny's archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.

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