Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What Profit

On Wednesday, British* reporter Ben Jacobs was asking congressional candidate Greg Gianforte a question about the recent CBO report on Trumpcare when Gianforte allegedly assaulted him. Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault. I used the word "allegedly," but the audio recording of the incident, which you can hear at the Guardian (Jacobs's employer), makes it seem highly likely that Jacobs's version of events is accurate. (By contrast, the Gianforte campaign released a statement that flatly contradicted what can be heard on the audio recording.)

People were trying to piece things together on Twitter, and the following exchange occurred (note, Mandel is an editor at the New York Post):

I quickly scrolled through @Alexa_Bella's timeline, and she is clearly a strong supporter of Greg Gianforte. She offered no evidence (e.g. pictures, corroborating accounts) to support her claim that Jacobs grabbed Gianforte's wrist and then they both fell over. (Note that this is what the Gianforte campaign claimed happened. However, @Alexa_Bella's tweets did not precede the Gianforte campaign statement, so it would have been possible for her to parrot the campaign's version of events. Had she tweeted her story immediately, it might have gained some credibility from its correspondence to the campaign's statement.)

Of course there was some doubt as to the veracity of the "eyewitness" tweets quoted above:

I decided to see how this account held up over time.

Last night the sheriff in the county where the alleged assault took place stated that there were six people in the room at the time of the incident. Of course Ben Jacobs and Greg Gianforte were there. There were three Fox News journalists (who corroborated Jacobs's version of events). There was one other person whose identity I don't know. Of course, it seems that person would have to be @Alexa_Bella for her statement to be true. So I followed up:
And I got this reply:
McKinley is extremely partisan, as a cursory glance at her Twitter timeline will make clear. So it's unsurprising to me that she would weigh evidence in a way that leads to her preferred conclusion (in this case, that there is at least some doubt as to whether Gianforte assaulted Jacobs). Remember the extremely short term nature of the deception that is required. Voting will wrap up tonight. The key thing is to muddy the waters, even if only for a few hours. And this was the purpose to which @Alexa_Bella's almost certainly dishonest narrative was put. (Note that her account is now locked, but her tweets live on in the screenshot shown above.) Once the race is over, Republicans can either continue to minimize his actions (if he wins) or emphasize them as an explanation for his loss. Strategically, this is the right move, but it requires an astonishing level of dishonesty.

And so I'll wrap this up by noting that this woman forever tarnished her reputation for honesty for the purpose of... electing Greg Gianforte to what is almost certain to be only a 1.5-year stint in Congress? The debasement of vast numbers of conservatives in this country is an ongoing and depressing phenomenon, and it extends from the very top of the Republican Party all the way down through random people on Twitter.

* The media has reported that Ben Jacobs is from Baltimore, and a few people on Twitter have repeated that claim. This flies in the face of everything Dave Weigel has tweeted about Ben Jacobs in the last several years, and I refuse to believe it.


Post a Comment

<< Home