The presumption of innocence and the requirement of hard evidence before making accusations are core tenants of American justice … but it increasingly looks like liberals would rather just throw those into the trash.
We saw hints of this during the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, of course. It was bad enough that media outlets reveled in making baseless claims that smeared the reputation of a family man and long-serving judge. When elected officials got in on the slanderous action, however, a new line was crossed.
Now it appears that making serious accusations with no proof is in vogue. On Friday, a prominent Democrat congressman made a shocking — and unfounded — claim against Jared Kushner.
“Rep. Joaquin Castro … accused senior White House adviser Jared Kushner of orchestrating the killing of Saudi-born Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi,” The Hill reported.
Kushner is not only an official adviser to the president; he’s also married to first daughter Ivanka Trump.
Jamal Khashoggi is the dissident journalist whom authorities believe was lured to the Saudi consulate in Turkey, tortured for his dissenting views, and then likely beheaded.
In simple terms, a Democrat lawmaker who sits on the House Intelligence Committee just accused a Republican and relative of the U.S. president of being an accomplice to a grisly murder — all with no evidence.
Video: Here’s the video of Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro stating without evidence that Kushner may have given the Saudis a hit list that had Khashoggi’s name on it and thus the Saudis had him killed. Incredibly irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/9mossq4Cdt
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 19, 2018
“Jared Kushner may have with U.S. intelligence delivered a ‘hit list,’ and enemies list, to (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) … in Saudi Arabia,” the Democrat declared on CNN. “And that the prince then may have acted on that, and one of the people that he took action against was Mr. Khashoggi.”
Castro vaguely claimed that this accusation was based “on reporting,” but the statement was so shocking that even CNN host Poppy Harlow immediately distanced her network from the stunning accusation.
“I just want to be clear for our viewers: We do not have that reporting,” she said as the camera cut to her. “I’m not sure where you’re getting that from.”
When even CNN is backpedaling from your fake news, you know you’ve stepped in the ca-ca.
“There has been reporting to that effect,” the Democrat congressman continued, doubling down on his jaw-dropping claim.
After outlets including The Daily Beast correctly reported that Castro had accused Kushner of being involved in the foreign murder, the lawmaker desperately tried to retract his statement — but the damage was done.
“To be clear, I did not intend to accuse (Jared Kushner) of orchestrating anything,” Re Castro whined on Twitter, despite video of him, er, accusing Kushner of doing just that.
“(Castro’s) allegation is an outrageous slanderous lie without a shred of proof, it’s reprehensible for a sitting Congressman and supposed ‘news’ outlets to continue citing an article that used unnamed sources and was completely debunked,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.
.@JoaquinCastrotx’s allegation is an outrageous slanderous lie without a shred of proof, it’s reprehensible for a sitting Congressman and supposed “news” outlets to continue citing an article that used unnamed sources and was completely debunked.https://t.co/xf2Zhitg8B
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 19, 2018
We’ve entered a strange new world where facts and evidence no longer matter and even the most outrageous accusation can be tossed out casually with no basis.
Remember, this wasn’t just a random person with a conspiracy theory on social media. This is a sitting congressman, using television cameras to spread a baseless accusation of a deeply serious crime for what can only be assumed to be partisan reasons.
Imagine for just a moment that it was a conservative who had made a similar claim on a national network. Right-leaning pundits have already been suspended and purged from social media for far less outlandish statements — yet when a liberal elected official does worse, there are no repercussions.
There’s a reason that shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater is illegal, and falsely accusing someone of a crime is a serious offense. Actions have consequences, and it’s time for reckless blowhards like Castro to be held responsible.
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