Hours after the 1/6 Committee laid bare the naked power grab of election theft by the Republican Party, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who somehow represents Texas, was doing his best to drum up outrage at “the Left” by sharing a fake story, without a link, with a byline by someone who left the publication in 2014:
So, someone created a fake story, slapped @abbyohlheiser‘s byline on it even though they haven’t worked at The Atlantic since 2014, which has led to a bombardment of harassment, and now a U.S. Senator is sharing said fake article. pic.twitter.com/sKTS26ENd1
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) October 14, 2022
“So, someone created a fake story, slapped @abbyohlheiser
‘s byline on it even though they haven’t worked at The Atlantic since 2014, which has led to a bombardment of harassment, and now a U.S. Senator is sharing said fake article,” Parker Malloy tweeted on Friday.
You could be forgiven for expecting someone drawing $174,000 plus perks per year for allegedly making laws for The People to be able to discern reality from fiction. But do bear in mind, this is Ted Cruz.
Don’t worry, the Republican Senator eventually deleted it in one of his signature run-away-without-accountability moves. The truth shall not apply for redress.
Cuz is kind of everything the Right hates about what they mistakenly think of as the “Left”: Cruz is, after all, Ivy League educated at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, born in “socialist” Canada, playing the part of a dummy Texan for votes. He knows better, unlike some of the easy marks he uses.
Cruz, of course, objected to the certification of President Joe Biden’s win for 2020 presidential election, which was the goal of the domestic terrorist attack on January 6th. Cruz also served his supporters a lot of lies about how Trump actually won the election, even though he knows that the 2020 election was the most secure election in American history and they have been unable to prove fraud. Even the partisan hacks at the Supreme Court turned Trump’s Election Lies down.
Cruz has made it his career mission to do his best to destroy things like our system of government and former President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, even shutting down the government in 2013 in an attempt to defund Obamacare. Nothing gets under his skin more, apparently, than people having access to the kind of healthcare that he gets for free from same people. Coastal elites, right?
The looming task for Ted Cruz this Friday morning was how best to deflect the day after the January 6th Committee pretty much outed his entire party to be anti-American election deniers spreading lies that culminated in a horrific domestic terrorist attack on 1/6 in which Trump supporters planned to murder then Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in which Cruz himself played such large role in selling the Great Lie that he is now the target of a bar association complaint due to a group of lawyers saying he played an “outsized role in the efforts to void the 2020 election results.”
His answer was, naturally, ‘share fake news attacking the Left over garbage.’
Ted Cruz knows his base. They don’t care if the story is true, they only care that it confirms their biases and deeply held, near-religious belief that the “Left” is evil.
Just a few days ago, Denis Molla, a Trump supporter, plead guilty to fraud for blaming “left-wing” (Black Lives Matter, Antifa and Biden supporters, to be exact) vandals for something he actually did. On September 23, 2020, Denis Vladmirovich Molla falsely reported to law enforcement that someone had lit his camper on fire.
In an act that mirrors much about Trump himself, Molla burned his own property and then “submitted multiple insurance claims seeking coverage for the damage to his garage, camper, vehicles, and residence caused by the fire” — claiming he was targeted because he supported Trump — while submitting nearly $300,000.00 in fraudulent insurance claims, creating a Go Fund Me and allowing others to be created in his name, raking in $17,000 from supporters.
Ah, the popular politics of pretend persecution.
If this reminds you of 2008’s “B girl”, the McCain campaign volunteer who was charged in the hoax attack after lying about being robbed and having the letter “B” carved into her face “in what she had said was a politically inspired attack by a black man,” it’s because stories of persecution by white people blaming Black people every election cycle are all the rage on the Right. Persecution is a big Republican theme that ties to their belief that they are aligned with Jesus, as they lie, inflict great harm on vulnerable people, and justify every manner of immoral behavior so long as their side wins. (Seeing beginning blossoms of this on the Left, now, because frankly grifters see easy pickings on both sides of the divide.)
In 2016, it was alleged-racist Sherri Papini’s hoax kidnapping; the fake story behind which she pinned on “two Hispanic women” claiming she was being sex trafficked (at her age), bundling the Right’s favorite theme of stoking racial hatred and fear into one big, front page news fake hoax that offered proof for those seeking it that Trump’s racist lies about Mexicans were warranted. All of this mess culminated in her absurdly obvious Thanksgiving Day return. #SoBlessed.
Of course, the Right is hardly alone in making up Persecution stories, although they do have a knack for banging them out around election time and leaning into the hokey ignorance of, for example, carving the B backward and believing a mid-thirties mom is being sex-trafficked by two Hispanic women.
Jussie Smollett reported his hate crime hoax to the police in late January of 2019. The difference here is that he wasn’t acting near a big election and feeding a phony, partisan narrative. Black people are actually way too often victims of hate crimes. That doesn’t make his hoax less harmful, because he harmed the many actual victims of hate crimes, who already struggle to be believed.
If you guessed Ted’s Deflect Strategy before all of this backstory, congratulations, you win a Ted Cruz ‘I ran to Cancun while my constituents froze and all I got was health insurance for the rest of my life’ sticker, which, to be fair, is more than his constituents get from him.
Republicans know: When the Real News comes for them, they attack with actual “fake news” they’ve primed their supporters into believing.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.