The right-wing site Gateway Pundit is being sued. About time.
I’ve cited Gateway Pundit and its founder, Jim Hoft, many times over the years. GP is the place to go if you’re itching for the latest news on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Yeah, that’s still a thing. Hoft is a variation of Alex Jones, but dumber. See, for example, When Being an Obama Supporter Is Unacceptable from 2012.
News of the suit caused me to check out current headlines. Here’s a juicy one — Biden’s DOJ Releases Memo that Totally Blows Away the ‘Trump Incited an Insurrection’ Narrative. Wow, that would be a big deal. Amazing no one else is reporting on it.
So what does this memo say? This sentence —
“It is objectively unreasonable to conclude that President Trump could authorize citizens to interfere with the Electoral College proceedings…”
See? Trump couldn’t have done it. Of course, what the document is saying is that Trump had no authority to tell people to march to the Capitol and interfere with the election, not that he didn’t tell people to march to the Capitol and interfere with the election. Truly, it’s for good reason that Hoft has long been known as the Dumbest Man on the Internet.
The suit was filed by two Georgia election workers — Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss — who were singled out by Hoft and accused of stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballots for Biden. The New York Times reported,
Ms. Moss, who continues to work for the Fulton County elections board, and Ms. Freeman, a temporary employee during the 2020 election, were ensnared by the Trump-supporting media and Mr. Trump himself after Gateway Pundit published dozens of false stories about them, starting last December and continuing through this November. The stories called the two women “crooked Democrats” and claimed that they “pulled out suitcases full of ballots and began counting those ballots without election monitors in the room.”
Investigations conducted by the Georgia secretary of state’s office found that the two women did nothing wrong and were legally counting ballots.
For example, here is one of Hoft’s stories, from December 2, 2020. What’s Up, Ruby?… BREAKING: Crooked Operative Filmed Pulling Out Suitcases of Ballots in Georgia IS IDENTIFIED. This is classic Hoft. The post is illustrated with fuzzy photos that have been doctored with circles and arrows. The text tells you that photos show you ballots being manipulated. But in truth, without the captions you wouldn’t know what was going on in the photos. Well, with the captions you still don’t know what’s going on in the photos.
Reuters has a special report about this incident and what came next — Trump campaign demonized two Georgia election workers – and death threats followed. It’s not clear whether the story about the fake ballots originated with Hoft or somewhere else. It might have originated with the Trump campaign, which fed the story to Hoft. But Ruby Freeman’s name was soon all over right-wing media. Trump himself referred to Ms. Freeman several times in his infamous call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
Predictably, MAGA thugs began to terrorize Freeman and Moss, who are black. From Reuters —
Freeman made a series of 911 emergency calls in the days after she was publicly identified in early December by the president’s camp. In a Dec. 4 call, she told the dispatcher she’d gotten a flood of “threats and phone calls and racial slurs,” adding: “It’s scary because they’re saying stuff like, ‘We’re coming to get you. We are coming to get you.’”
Two days later, a panicked Freeman called 911 again, after hearing loud banging on her door just before 10 p.m. Strangers had come the night before, too. She begged the dispatcher for assistance. “Lord Jesus, where’s the police?” she asked, according to the recording, obtained by Reuters in a records request. “I don’t know who keeps coming to my door.”
“Please help me.”
Freeman quit her temporary election gig. Moss took time off amid the tumult. The 37-year-old election worker, known for her distinctive blonde braids, changed her appearance. Moss often avoided going out in public after her phone number was widely circulated online. Trump supporters threatened Moss’s teenage son by phone in tirades laced with racial slurs, said her supervisor, Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron. …
…Their modest incomes left the two women with little power to defend themselves against the billionaire president and his legions of backers. After Freeman went into hiding, she initially stayed with friends. They soon asked her to leave, fearing for their own security, so she moved from one Airbnb to another, never staying in one place for too long, said a person with direct knowledge of her movements. Freeman went to great lengths to conceal her identity and location, the person said. She stopped using credit cards and started using a system for electronic money transfers that caters to people wanting to keep a low profile, the person said.
The constant threats so terrified the two women that they did not return calls from Fulton County District Attorney’s Office investigators who wanted to talk to them this summer as part of their probe into whether Trump illegally interfered with Georgia’s 2020 election, Barron said. “They wouldn’t even answer the phone,” he said.
See also Raw Story, ‘You should be hung!’ How Trump supporters drove two Georgia election workers into hiding.
This is horrible. These women must have been scared out of their wits, for good reason. This is how black people in Georgia end up dead. But Hoft shows no remorse. Yesterday he ran an article headlined Interesting. FBI Investigated Alleged Threats to Ruby Freeman but There Is No Record of FBI Investigating the Illicit Late Night Actions at State Farm Center.
We know there was no ballot-box stuffing; Georgia re-counted the ballots three bleeping times, three bleeping ways. Trump lost every time. Election officials in Georgia, including Republican officials, keep verifying that Freeman and Moss did nothing wrong. What you see in (not manipulated) videos and photos is what ballot counting looks like.
Ruby Freeman used have a small business selling ladies accessories from a kiosk at a mall, but that had to be closed. I wish Freeman and Moss all the best with their suit, which seems strong to me, and hope Jim Hoft gets taken to the cleaners. A whole lot of right-wing sites that have demonized and doxxed innocent people over the years need to learn there are consequences for causing harm.
Ben Collins, We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 04: Election workers count Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena on November 4, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots to count. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)