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Target Starts Culture War Fire, Gets Burnt

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Some might claim that Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is part of his "right-wing media machine," but not when it comes to the news pages. The front page on May 25 included an article headlined "Target Is in Bull's-Eye Of the Culture Wars." Inside the paper, it's "Culture Wars Snare Target."


One of the most annoying tendencies of liberal journalists is defining the term "culture wars" as conservative resistance to the left-wing war on America's Judeo-Christian heritage. Target has lowered itself from typical progressive "Pride Month" pandering to partnering with a British satanist to push an agenda in their stores.

Satanists aren't culture warriors, only the Christians are? Target isn't engaging in culture war, but Hobby Lobby is?

"Trans man" Erik Carnell's Abprallen brand sells apparel that includes satanic imagery including pentagrams, horned skulls and references to the devil. One design on their T-shirts and pins carries the message, "Satan respects pronouns."

Last year, Carnell wrote on his brand's Instagram account: "Being called a demon is something I can cope with, and the idea of a trans demon is pretty damn cool, most of my work focuses on gothic or dark and satanic imagery juxtaposed with bright colours and LGBT+ positive messages."

The edgy satanic gear isn't on sale at Target, but they do sell Carnell messages such as, "Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People" and "Too Queer for Here." Are their executives so dense that they can't imagine this satanist-adjacent promotion might be a publicity problem? The boycotts kicked into gear, and the stock price tumbled.

The Wall Street Journal doesn't get to this controversy until paragraph 17 of a 19-paragraph story. Reporter Sarah Nassauer fails to quote a single conservative or outraged parent. But the paper did include Target lamenting they stopped selling their Pride items because "we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being while at work."


Then came the leftist conga line:

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom slamming Target for "selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists."

2. A spokesperson for the radical Southern Poverty Law Center, described as a "civil rights group" working against "extremist groups," claiming that withdrawing Pride merchandise is "making a statement that threats of violence will work."

3. Sarah Kate Ellis, the boss of GLAAD, screeching about how a "small group of extremists are threatening disgusting and harsh violence." As opposed to affirmative violence?

None of these sources are identified as extremists, let alone leftists -- because, once again, reporters pretend there aren't two sides to culture wars. There are "extremists" versus the "right side of history."

The Target story first kicked into prominence when the Associated Press and PolitiFact "fact-checkers" rushed in to defend Target against those anti-groomer right-wingers who were spreading "misinformation." They insisted that the swimsuits being sold with "tuck-friendly construction" were only in adult sizes. But it should be obvious that many teenaged children would fit into adult sizing.

Then it was also shown that swimsuits for younger children were tagged in the store as "thoughtfully fit" for "multiple gender expressions." Obviously, young male children don't have as much need for a "tuck-friendly" suit.


The number of youth identifying as transgender has doubled in recent years, and all these leftists want to pretend that none of this happened because of their crusades waged on the internet and their urgent "Pride" marketing from "woke" corporations.

The Left pretends this surge of gender confusion and amputation is "organic," that it's just people finding their "true selves" by the thousands. But it's the result of a gender-denying culture war.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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