I once wrote that a certain Breitbart piece was “the stupidest of all time.” Every day for the past two years I’ve kicked myself for wasting that assessment so early.
Perhaps you saw Breitbart’s latest masterpiece on The Drudge Report yesterday:
Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush Took Campaign Cash from Soros… https://t.co/2eroJ02JC0
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) February 7, 2017
Wow! Rubio, Ryan, Graham, McCain, and Bush ALL took money from George Soros?? I bet this is a really important story that somehow only Breitbart managed to uncover and not malicious clickbait.
Except, yeah, it’s malicious clickbait. The catch is that Soros never gave those candidates money, and Soros’ foundation never gave them money, and even Soros’ company never gave those candidates money. Instead, private individuals who happen to work for Soros gave them money, even as Soros himself was spending billions to defeat them.
George Soros oversees a multi-billion dollar hedge fund empire. This may come as a surprise to Breitbart, but most people have no problem working for or hiring those who disagree with their politics. These Republicans only took what Breitbart calls “Soros-connected cash” if you assume that the country’s largest and most prestigious hedge fund only hires soulless automatons who do Soros’ bidding.
Here’s an easy counterexample: According to the same publicly available source, Bernie Sanders received $1,697 in individual contributions from employees of Koch Industries. By Breitbart’s standards, Sanders is in the pocket of the Koch Brothers. Suffice it to say, he’s not; the Kochs just employ a guy who likes Bernie Sanders, because mature adults can disagree with their co-workers.
Unsurprisingly, the piece’s author is Matt Boyle. When it comes to reporting on all things Trump, Boyle has a history of sounding less like a journalist and more like a White House intern… specifically Monica Lewinsky. Purely by coincidence, I’m sure, the Republicans targeted in the piece are all prominent Trump critics.
Easily the most amusing parts of the article are those where the spokesmen for two of the Republicans in question slowly and carefully explain for Boyle just how freaking stupid his entire premise is:
Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop argues that since Soros himself didn’t give Graham money that this is not controversial. “George Soros has never given a penny to Lindsey Graham,” Bishop said in an email. “George Soros Fund Management has never given a penny to Lindsey Graham. These are donations from individuals who are employed by Soros Fund Management.”
Bishop compared this to an employee for Amway or for the Trump Organization making a donation to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, something that would mean that employee–not Amway owners like the DeVos family or President Trump or his family–is the one making the donation. But Bishop does not deny that Graham did take a donation from Soros Fund Management employees.
A spokesman for Rubio, Matt Wolking, vociferously defended the senator, calling this story in Breitbart News—without having read it because it wasn’t written until long after he responded to inquiries about this matter—a “fake” story since Rubio didn’t get donations directly from George Soros himself and since hedge funds as companies cannot make donations to federal candidates…
“This story is a fake,” Wolking told Breitbart News. “Senator Rubio has never received any contribution from George Soros. And he has never received any contribution from the Soros company because, among other things, companies can’t donate to federal candidates.”
Wolking makes a great point, which is that the specific guy who donated to Rubio– Joshua Danfield— has a long history of donating to GOP causes. Before he worked for Soros, Danfield worked for Canyon Capitol and donated to Republicans. While working for Soros, he donated to Republicans. Last year he left Soros and joined Element Capitol, and continued to donate to Republicans. Why, it’s almost as though the guy’s a Republican.
Oh, and I have I mentioned that Boyle’s exclusive was blatantly stolen from a World Net Daily story written a day earlier, with nary a link or hat tip?
So no, this time I won’t bother to calling this the stupidest Breitbart piece of all time. History has shown they always have a way of surprising us.
[Image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.