Publisher Explains, Apologizes – See Comments.
When is a satire not funny? When it’s almost plausible and definitely damaging. There’s a site you and I had never heard of – until today: “The Discust.” Its tagline is, “Because in South Carolina, we expect more than just the truth.” Yesterday, they ran an “article” entitled, “Jenny Sanford: ‘Gay marriage wrecked my family’.â€
Here’s how it begins:
“Sullivanâ€™s Island â€“ South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford released another statement today, this time blaming her husbandâ€™s affair on the declining moral values in America.
â€œOf course Iâ€™m not saying that Mark is gay,â€ Sanford said, â€œbut he may as well be.Â The moral decay in this country has claimed another victim and this time it was my family.Â Our marriage was perfect until these laws started passing around the country. Clearly the slow dissolution of the sanctity of marriage in America seeped into Markâ€™s psyche until he no longer felt compelled to abide by our vows.â€
Now, I confess when I first saw it I was afraid it might be real. I read the piece and hoped it was satire. And I did some digging on the site and found their “About” page, which states,
“The â€œnewsâ€ on this site is not entirely real.Â If there is, in fact, actual news on this site, then it is likely marked as such, just so you can tell the difference.Â This site is news parody, but if you had to actually come to this page to figure that out then you might not catch that particular nuance even as itâ€™s being explained to you so maybe you should just move along.”
The site mixes “satire” with “real news.” The publisher, “Harbor Light Media” says, “The editorial content of this site is satire and parody. Real news is clearly marked. Lighten up.” Um, no, I won’t.
I was relieved, but angry. Angry, because there are enough people who are blaming gay marriage for many things. (People like Rep. Sally Kern, whom you’ll read here tomorrow what she’s blaming gay marriage for.) Angry because most people don’t have the time to dig around a site, especially when one of their friends on Twitter (which is where I first saw this) recommends a story. Angry because so many people passed the story on unwittingly, as fact. And angry because some will never know it is false.
Doing some quick research, I found well over a hundred mentions of the story on Twitter and Google, including pieces by a few well-known bloggers who were duped.
But the damage done here is to Jenny Sanford (whose views on gay marriage are not known to me,) and to the institution of marriage itself.
I left a comment on the site, although it seems comments are no longer available for viewing. Here’s what I wrote:
“Well, by the type of comments and the vast number of comments, it’s clear what you (the author of this “article”) are doing is not working. Yes, I had to check your “about” page to verify my hopes that this was satire. It may be intended to be satirical, but it’s not funny. And, worse, it is damaging and hurtful.
There are a great many people who have read your piece and believed it to be true. I can see from all the Twitter mentions that you have now made a great many people believe that Mrs. Sanford is a horrible person, and yes, you have just reinforced for some that gay marriage is the evil they assumed. I’ll assume you do not believe that to be true, and if so, you have chosen a poor way of showing your support to the millions of lesbian and gay Americans who are working so hard for equality.
I am no lawyer, but your “disclaimer” being on a different page, in my opinion, is at best misleading.
I urge you to label this piece, and your site, more clearly. “The Onion” can do what it does because it is a brand, and has a reputation. You do not. Please reconsider what you are doing here. You have done enough damage already.
I urge you to publish an explanation and a retraction, and, an apology.”
Irresponsible publishers need to put their thinking caps on and estimate the results of their actions before they hit “publish.”
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Stefanik Was Once ‘Laser Focused on Electing Santos’ – Now She Blames Voters for Electing Him as She Backs Away
One of the most powerful Republicans in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), used her reputation and geographic proximity to help get fellow New York Republican George Santos elected to Congress. But now, as her donors and his express anger at being misled and lied to, and ahead of what appears to be a likely federal investigation and possible prosecution against the freshman GOP lawmaker, Stefanik is blaming voters for electing him to Congress: “Ultimately voters make this decision,” she said Tuesday.
Stefanik is the Chair of the House Republican Conference, a role she was first elected to when the now former Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, was thrown out of GOP leadership for telling the truth about the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump. Stefanik was re-elected to her role after the November election.
Amid Santos announcing on Tuesday he is temporarily recusing himself from the two committees he was appointed to, Stefanik was asked if she regretted supporting his candidacy.
Indeed, one of the top reasons Santos was elected was Stefanik’s endorsement – and all the donor money that came with it.
“Stefanik’s team was laser focused on electing Santos to Congress – more than just about any other race in the country,” a senior Republican strategist involved in campaigns before the midterms told CNN. “Another donor, who attended a fundraising luncheon with Stefanik and Santos, confirmed to CNN through a representative that ‘he donated to George Santos because of Elise Stefanik’s endorsement.'”
It wasn’t just her endorsements. It appears Stefanik took great interest in getting Santos elected. CNN also reported that a source “said that a top political aide for Stefanik was involved in campaigning for Santos. Multiple sources told CNN that aide was closely advising Santos’ campaign and involved in hiring people.”
Stefanik’s spokesperson denied the allegations.
In July, Santos tweeted that Stefanik “has been one of my strongest backers and closest friends. I fully stand with her vote today as she stood up for civil rights. I look forward to serving alongside her when I’m elected to Congress in November.”
In fact, this was the banner atop Santos’ Twitter account for a very long time, up until recently:
Here is Stefanik tweeting her “major announcement” – her endorsement of Santos – on August 11, 2001, more than a year before Election Day.
“Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03. @Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support!”
🚨🚨 MAJOR ENDORSEMENT ALERT 🚨🚨
Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03.@Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/vGTnWW1ROY
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) August 11, 2021
And in May of last year: “WOW! Great lunch event for @Santos4Congress! We raised over $100,000 to help George FLIP #NY03 George has my complete and total endorsement and come November, New Yorkers will send George to Congress! #SaveNewYork #SaveAmerica”
WOW! Great lunch event for @Santos4Congress!
We raised over $100,000 to help George FLIP #NY03 🔵➡️🔴
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 23, 2022
She literally told voters that electing George Santos to Congress will “Save New York” and “Save America.”
On Tuesday, Stefanik told voters something very different: it’s their fault they voted for him, she said, taking no responsibility for her endorsements.
“Like all of my colleagues, particularly in New York State, I supported George Santos as the nominee, and the people of his district voted to elect him,” she told reporters – not once mentioning there was no Republican primary and Santos automatically became the Republican party’s nominee.
“Ultimately voters make this decision about who they elect to Congress,” Stefanik declared, wholly removing herself, her endorsements, and any possible assistance she or her campaign may have given to Santos or his campaign.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 31, 2023
Santos Recuses Himself From Committees Amid Possible Criminal Investigation
Embattled freshman U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), in what is the first time he has taken any steps to acknowledge the depths of political and now possibly criminal challenges he faces, says he will recuse himself from his committee assignments until his ethics issues have been resolved.
Santos also told his Republican colleagues of his plans on Tuesday, NBC News reports. Santos is on the Science and Small Business committees.
The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, who has provided extensive reporting on the Republican frequently called a “serial liar,” adds that the Santos’ announcement came after a meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“With all signs pointing to an active federal criminal investigation into his campaign finance activity, Santos has ‘voluntarily’ declined—after meeting last night with Kevin McCarthy—to stay off of committees, as Republicans try to sideline Ilhan Omar,” Sollenberger reports.
Sollenberger broke the news that Santos, or his campaign, amended his FEC filing to indicate $625,000 in “personal” loans to his campaign were not actually from his personal funds.
Republicans are trying to keep U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of their regular, prime targets, from taking her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Speaker McCarthy has already blocked Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, invoking his ability to do so because it is a Select committee and subject to the Speaker’s decisions.
MSNBC reported the breaking news on-air. Watch below or at this link.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 31, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
2024 Fundraising Fail: Trump Took in Less Money After Declaring Run for President Than Before
Donald Trump, the candidate who in 2015 vowed he would self-fund his presidential campaign, only to turn his White House run into a never-ending fundraising operation, is having trouble raising money.
“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Trump said when he launched his campaign in June of 2015 – despite quietly accepting over $14 million in the months after.
The ex-president, under numerous criminal investigations and facing civil court cases, now is “strapped for campaign cash,” NBC News reveals in an exclusive report. The embattled and disgraced one-term president who remains his party’s top choice, took in less money in the six weeks after he officially launched his third attempt to enter the Oval Office than he did in the six weeks before his mid-November announcement.
Trump is now revamping his fundraising machine and hiring a new company, Campaign Inbox, “to solicit the small-dollar donor set.”
The former president had built a massive fundraising database but decided to launch in November, which puzzled many experts. Some believe he did so in an attempt to evade any possible Dept. of Justice prosecutions. Even as far back as July those who know Trump predicted he would not only run for president again but launch his campaign early – to try to escape justice.
All this points to Trump returning to Facebook, if only to revive his “cash-strapped” campaign.
“Almost 50% of Republican donors log in to Facebook every single day,”Republican digital fundraising consultant Eric Wilson told NBC News, citing data from a survey connected to a nonprofit group he runs. “So if you are not able to reach those donors, you’re just at a huge fundraising disadvantage.”
Image: Shirley Preston/Shutterstock
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