In a brazen case of media dishonesty, left-wing outlets have raced to attribute a fabricated quotation to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign team.
The snafu began when Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York retweeted a screen shot of an Instagram post in which teenage boys in “Team Mitch” T-shirts are seen posing next to a cardboard cutout of the freshman congresswoman.
In the photo, some of the teenagers are touching the cutout. One has his hand around the cardboard version of Ocasio-Cortez’s neck.
While the boys’ behavior in the photo is repugnant, Ocasio-Cortez did not limit her criticism to the teenagers.
Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you.
Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 6, 2019
Instead, the New York Democrat accused McConnell of employing the boys on his campaign.
“Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch? Thanks.”
In a series of statements, McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, responded to the congresswoman’s question.
“Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life sized cardboard cut outs of any gender in a manner similar to what we saw from President Obama’s speechwriting staff several years ago,” Golden said, according to The Daily Beast.
The campaign manager also clarified the identity of the boys in the picture, noting that “these young men are not campaign staff, they are high schoolers,” adding that the image is being used to “demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics.”
The Daily Beast was not the only outlet to run the story. Fellow left-wing publication the New York Daily News also published an article about the controversy.
But the Daily News did more than just editorialize: It flat-out distorted the McConnell campaign’s statement.
“[McConnell’s] campaign literally says boys will be boys,” the Daily News declared, adding that Golden “pooh-poohed the disturbing post.”
Golden’s statement, of course, did nothing of the kind. The campaign manager went out of his way to denounce the boys’ behavior.
The claim that the campaign “literally” said that “boys will be boys” is even more flagrant. Golden neither used the phrase nor endorsed the idea.
Seemingly following the Daily News’ lead, The Daily Beast tweeted out its own original article with the caption “Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager essentially says boys will be boys.”
Ocasio-Cortez, for her part, kept the flame of outrage burning bright. Retweeting the Daily Beast, AOC repeated the false quotation and suggested the reasoning that “boys will be boys” motivated McConnell’s “blocking” the heavily partisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
“Boys will be boys.”
Is that also the reason why you’ve chosen to block the Violence Against Women act too, @senatemajldr?
It prevents dating partners w/ records of abuse + stalking women (also an early warning sign from many mass shooters) from obtaining a gun. https://t.co/shWCRmEv60
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 6, 2019
“‘Boys will be boys.’ Is that also the reason why you’ve chosen to block the Violence Against Women act too, @senatemajldr?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Following the tweet, a third left-wing outlet rushed to cover Ocasio-Cortez’s response to McConnell, further spreading the fake quotation in the process.
A Tuesday Newsweek article reported that Ocasio-Cortez “slammed” the Kentucky Republican for “invoking the ‘boys will be boys’ defense.”
Newsweek staff evidently never bothered to check if the claim against McConnell was actually true.
In a matter of days, no fewer than three establishment media outlets — not fringe websites — spread a complete misrepresentation of the McConnell campaign manager’s remarks. The indignation of a prominent freshman congresswoman only intensified the fiasco.
The episode is a stunning example of media dishonesty. But that’s not all it is.
The media’s treatment of McConnell is also an issue of wanton hypocrisy.
The Senate Majority Leader has faced far more serious threats — and the establishment media has not batted an eye.
As recently as Sunday night, angry protesters surrounded McConnell’s Kentucky home as the senator recuperated from a fall that left his shoulder broken.
“Just stab the motherf—– in the heart, please,” one protester said according to the New York Post. Others chanted, “Murder turtle!” and said, “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
To outlets such as Newsweek, the Daily News and the Daily Beast, death threats against a high-ranking Republican can’t hold a candle to fabricated quotes from his campaign team.
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