“Fake news” attacks; bogus arrests of reporters; an actual physical attack on a reporter by a congressional candidate; unheard-of nastiness by a federal agency toward journalists: Could anti-media hostility get much worse?
As it turns out, yes. Just check out this paragraph from a Post article on Wednesday. The context is that The Post was seeking information from the campaign of Alabama Republican nominee for Senate Roy Moore, whose people on Tuesday launched a series of attacks on the paper’s reporting about Moore’s alleged pursuit of teenage girls when he was in his 30s. At a media event, Ben DuPré, a Moore aide, questioned the logistics of a claim from Leigh Corfman, who was 14 when Moore allegedly pursued her, that Moore had once picked her up around the corner from her house.
As part of a back-and-forth with The Post’s Michael Scherer, Moore strategist Brett Doster sent an email to the paper:
The Washington Post is a worthless piece of crap that has gone out of its way to railroad Roy Moore. There is no need for anyone at the Washington Post to ever reach out to the Roy Moore campaign again because we will not respond to anyone from the Post now or in the future. Happy Thanksgiving.
According to Scherer, that statement was pointedly “on the record.” Meaning: Overt and spiteful hostility vis-a-vis the media just took another step from the haphazard fall-back position of yesteryear to a standard, default footing for political campaigns. Should Moore prevail on Dec. 12 against Democrat Doug Jones, operatives will surely take note.