Warren Says NOPE to Fox News Town Hall

Good for her:

I get why Democratic presidential primary candidates appear on Fox: It burnishes their bipartisan bona fides and can generate a lot of positive press from a Beltway media that is determined to uphold Fox News’ legitimacy as a “sister organization,” as Jake Tapper once called it.

But while preening hacks like Tapper may coo over the alleged bravery of Dems who appear on the TrumpCo propaganda outlet, in my book, Warren’s is the more courageous approach. She’s standing up for something more important than a momentary bump in the polls or both-sidesy hack approval; she’s standing up for the truth, which is that Fox News is a white grievance/racism distribution network that has done incalculable damage to America. Warren, quoted in HuffPo:

“A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox ― no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: it’s not),” she said. “I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates ― especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers.”

So far, Sanders and Klobuchar have done a Fox News town hall, and Gillibrand and Buttigieg have scheduled one. Castro is said to be “in the process of scheduling one,” and Booker, O’Rourke and Harris are considering it.

Again, it might work out for those individual candidates as a campaign strategy, but appearing on Fox News undermines the larger and ongoing project of documenting the network’s relentless bias and discrediting it as a legitimate news source outside wingnut circles. People like Jane Mayer have done great work to that end, and when Democratic presidential candidates appear on Fox News, they undermine that work. That’s not brave. It’s selfish.

“Somebody could say it’s improper…”

We talked about this last week — Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to compel the Ukrainian government to reopen an investigation into Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business activities in that country. The purpose is clearly to advance-slime a potential rival. Now Giuliani is being even more blatant about it (NYT):

“There’s nothing illegal about it,” he said. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

Mr. Giuliani’s planned trip, which has not been previously reported, is part of a monthslong effort by the former New York mayor and a small group of Trump allies working to build interest in the Ukrainian inquiries. Their motivation is to try to discredit the special counsel’s investigation; undermine the case against Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman; and potentially to damage Mr. Biden, the early front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Why are these people not in jail? (Note: rhetorical question!) I’m not a lawyer, but dangling incentives for foreign countries to help bugger a U.S. election — after obstructing an investigation of previous foreign interference in an election for two years — seems like it should at least fall into the category of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Does anyone believe for a second that if another candidate starts to eclipse Biden in the primary, Trump won’t dispatch goons like Giuliani to slime that person too? It’s intolerable.

2nd place finisher decries Derby results

You’d think if anyone would blithely accept the elevation of a second-place finisher over the first, it would be Pendejo Naranja, but no:

Does anyone know what prompted the fool to babble about “political correctness” in this context? I don’t think the disqualified horse is white…

File Under “Well Played” (Open Thread)

Trump was on an epic retweeting binge earlier this morning, raiding the account of Fox News personality Dan Bongino to amplify dozens of Trump “supporters” who criticized the firefighter’s union endorsement of Joe Biden. This one, though:

I assume the account owner changed his or her Twitter name and avatar AFTER the retweet. Well played, sir or ma’am.

After retweeting tons of praise for himself, Trump has moved on to criticizing President Obama over the handling of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Maybe the House will use that opening to hold hearings on that topic.

Open thread!

The Truth, the Wohl Truth, and Everything But the Truth: The Jacob Wohl Story

Jacob Wohl is the Carter Page of Jim Hofts. Bless his heart!

From The Daily Beast (emphasis mine):

A pair of right-wing provocateurs are being accused of attempting to recruit young Republican men to level false allegations of sexual assault against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

The details of the operatives’ attempt emerged as one man suddenly surfaced with a vague and uncorroborated allegation that Buttigieg had assaulted him. The claim was retracted hours later on a Facebook page appearing to belong to the man.

A Republican source told The Daily Beast that lobbyist Jack Burkman and internet troll Jacob Wohl approached him last week to try to convince him to falsely accuse Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, of engaging him sexually while he was too drunk to consent.

The source who spoke to The Daily Beast said Burkman and Wohl made clear that their goal was to kneecap Buttigieg’s momentum in the 2020 presidential race. The man asked to remain anonymous out of a concern that the resulting publicity might imperil his employment, and because he said Wohl and Burkman have a reputation for vindictiveness.

But the source provided The Daily Beast with a surreptitious audio recording of the meeting, which corroborates his account. In it, Wohl appears to refer to Buttigieg as a “terminal threat” to President Donald Trump’s reelection next year.

On Monday, a separate individual using the name of Hunter Kelly published a post on the site Medium in which he alleged that Buttigieg sexually assaulted him in February. That post was tweeted out by David Wohl, Jacob’s father, and quickly re-written by the site Big League Politics, which is known as a landing ground for right wing conspiracy theories.

The Daily Beast reached out to Kelly on a cell phone listed to him in the student directory at his  Michigan college. Told we were reporting on apparent efforts by Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman to drum up false sexual assault allegations against Buttigieg, Kelly replied, “I was unaware this was happening. But yes it is true.”

Kelly wrote that he did not control the newly-created Medium and Twitter accounts that posted the allegations under his name. When asked if he could verify his identity, he texted the Daily Beast a selfie that matched the photo seen on Medium and on Kelly’s longstanding Facebook accounts.

“Here is a selfie of me, sorry I have been crying,” he wrote. “Today and the promises made didn’t go as planned.”

Kelly declined to provide more details. But two hours later he posted a message to his Facebook timeline headed, “I WAS NOT SEXUALLY ASSAULTED.”

“It’s important for everyone to know that I was not sexually assaulted and would never falsely accuse anyone,” he wrote. “To keep it brief for now, I was approached by a political figure to come to DC to discuss political situations from the standpoint of a gay Republican. When I arrived they discussed Peter Buttigieg and started talking about how they would be working a campaign against him.”

“I went to bed and woke up to a fake Twitter @RealHunterKelly and an article that I in no way endorsed or wrote. I have since left and am working on a formal statement to give to everyone including the Buttigieg family.”

Much more at the link.

Wohl’s dipshit dad, who is both a lawyer who should know better and was a major 2016 on air surrogate for the President and his campaign on cable news, also got in on the stupidity.

Shonda – the Wohl lot of them!

Wohl is currently under investigation for making false police reports in Minneapolis during his fact finding expose with Laura Loomer and Ali Alexander and the world’s tiniest body guard* to bring the truth about Congresswoman Omar to light. Wohl faked death threats against himself and then provided them to the Minneapolis Police Department. Let me just restate that: Jacob Wohl sent himself fake death threats, reported them to police and provided evidence of the fake death threats, in the hope that the Minneapolis Police Department’s investigation into Jacob Wohl’s attempt to assassinate himself would somehow expose Congresswoman Omar having done something.

Back in March I wrote that the 2020 election cycle was going to be an information war. I’m going to add something to that assessment, which holds up pretty well as every one of the five lines of attack have been hit since the attack on the synagogue on Saturday. Specifically, every single Democratic campaign, the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, and the various organizations and groups – from think tanks to unions to advocacy organizations – all need to establish counter-influence operations teams ASAP!!!! A failure to do so should be seen as malpractice.

Open thread

* He’s just a wee thing…