Wednesday, December 15, 2021


At Talking Points Memo, Christina Cabrera writes about an attempted gotcha by The Federalist:
The Federalist, a reliable GOP media ally, tried to run interference for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Wednesday and ended up stepping on a nice big rake instead.

The outlet published what was apparently meant to be a rebuttal to House Jan. 6 committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealing on Monday that Mark Meadows had received a text from an unidentified lawmaker arguing that “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”

Schiff didn’t identify the lawmaker by name at the time, but on Wednesday the Federalist went ahead and revealed that the sender was Jordan while simultaneously accusing Schiff of purposefully distorting the text.

... The Federalist claimed that the text was actually written by a lawyer named Joseph Schmitz who was summarizing to Jordan his legal theory that Pence could throw out Biden electors, and that Jordan had merely forwarded Schmitz’s summary to Meadows. This, the Federalist seemed to suggest, was quite different from Jordan personally proposing that Pence do so.

The Federalist also accused Schiff of doctoring the screenshot to add a period at the end of the message and crop out an em dash. According to the Federalist, the message continued: “— in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence.” Schmitz’s purported summary to Jordan then continued for two more paragraphs.

Shortly after publishing its, uh, scoop, on Wednesday, the Federalist claimed in a triumphant follow-up post that the Jan. 6 committee had “admitted” to “doctoring” the text by ... adding a period.

As Cabrera writes, "it’s unclear how Jordan forwarding Meadows someone else’s blueprint of how Pence could orchestrate a coup is any less damning than it would be for the lawmaker to have come up with it himself." So this "scoop" really is a non-scoop.

But it doesn't matter.

It's 2021. Many people don't read entire stories -- they just read headlines. And The Federalist's headline, in big red letters, is: "During January 6 Hearing, Schiff Doctored Text Messages Between Mark Meadows And Rep. Jim Jordan."

And the rest of the right-wing media knows that it has to move in lockstep with The Federalist. Headline at The Western Journal: "Corruption: Schemer Adam Schiff Played Dirty Tricks on Mark Meadows' Texts Before Others Saw Them." Headline at RedState: "Adam Schiff Gets Caught Doctoring January 6th Text Messages, Exposes His Imbecility in the Process." Headline at Gateway Pundit: "Dirty Schiff Does It Again! Pencil-Neck Doctors J-6 Text Messages to Build Case Against Trump #IndictLiarSchiff."

It doesn't matter if it happened. If headlines from everyone trusted by right-wingers say it happened, then they'll believe it happened.

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