New Hampshire Fake News Awards

Motivated by this tweet from the President:

I thought I would announce my picks for the most Fake News in #nhpolitics in 2017:

THIRD PLACE:  Casey McDermott for her article on December 5th titled, Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping with Harassment at N.H. State House.  The article detailed horrifying examples of sexual harassment at the New Hampshire State House such as -brace yourself- a lobbyist being asked out on a date:

And Saunders Paquette said one of her female staffers had recently been invited by a male lawmaker to move their policy discussion away from a professional setting and toward dinner or drinks instead.

Even worse -I know it’s hard to believe- other lobbyists had to endure:

… lawmaker staring at them as though he was “undressing [them] with his eyes.”

McDermott’s crack investigative work also exposed an entire “culture of misogyny” at the State House.  Her lead example is that “of the 24 standing committees in the New Hampshire House, 19 are led by men.”  Apparently, McDermott is unaware that the Speaker chooses the Chairs of committees.  So to the extent that having 19 of 24 committees led by men proves a hatred or contempt for women –as opposed to political payback or numerous other non-misogynistic criteria for appointing Chairs– it is the Speaker who is the misogynist.

The bottom line is that McDermott could not come up with a single example of what an objective person would consider sexual harassment or misogyny at the State House, yet wrote an article based on the premise that harassment and misogyny are commonplace at the State House anyway.

SECOND PLACE:  The senior of WMUR’s two #BuckelysBoys, John DiStaso, for his “coverage” of a Democrat State Representative pleading guilty to assaulting a woman during a recount.

The assault occurred during a November 16, 2016 recount for a State Senate seat won by the GOP.  The victim of the assault, Susan Olsen, was present as an observer for the GOP, while Representative Katherine Rogers was present for the Democrat candidate.

Here are excerpts of the coverage from New Hampshire Patch:

In the complaint, Olsen stated that Rogers was challenging many of the ballots and requested that they be put closer to her so she could see them … Rogers put her hand on her shoulder, as if to hug her, stated that she wanted Olsen to be happy, and then struck her. Olsen warned Rogers that if she touched her again, she’d have her arrested and stated that Rogers… replied … “in a low, mocking, angry whisper,” … “Hit me. I know you want to. Go ahead. Hit me.”

After the case was filed Rogers’ attorney – William Christie of Shaheen & Gordon – told media outlets that the incident was a ploy and being played up for political purposes. … Olsen, however, countered that she waited until the end of the legislative session to file the charge in order for it to not be perceived as political. During the investigation by New Hampshire State Police, a witness came forward to corroborate Olsen’s complaint … .

A contingent of elected Democrats and other activists were in attendance to support Rogers including Ray Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord, … and others.

Contrast Patch’s coverage to the coverage -if it can even be called that- by DiStaso.  He simply posted an “update” -at 11:07 p.m.- to a story that ran back in August.  The “update” merely reported the terms of the guilty plea, followed by this spin from Rogers’ attorney:

Rogers’ attorney told WMUR in a written statement: “During a recount in November 2016, Representative Rogers touched a former Republican representative while they were sitting side by side counting ballots. No complaint was filed at the time of the incident. Six months later the person, a political adversary, filed a complaint with the police. Today, Representative Rogers accepted responsibility for touching the other person without her permission.”

To include only Rogers’ version of events, which are thoroughly inconsistent with the victim’s, is completely unfair and evinces strong bias.  Add to that that there was no mention of the corroborating witness or the presence in court of the Democrat Party Chairman and House Minority Leader.

It is indisputable that if the shoe were on the other foot -if the perpetrator had been a GOP State Representative and the victim a Democrat activist- that DiStaso would have covered it in the opposite manner.  The victim’s version of events would have been front and center while the perpetrator’s would have been excluded or met with extreme skepticism.

Additionally but unsurprisingly, both Ray Buckley and the Democrat House Leader Steve Shurtleff got a pass from DiStaso.  Again, if the shoe were on the other foot the presence of Buckley and Shurtleff in court would have been noted, and they would have been asked why instead of calling for the resignation of a Representative who had plead guilty to assaulting a woman, they were instead putting on a public show of support for that Representative.  And their double-standard of calling for GOP Representatives to resign merely based upon accusations, but not calling upon Democrats to resign after guilty pleas, would have been noted.

FIRST PLACE:  Drum roll please.  And first place -the fakest of the Fake News- goes to Adam Sexton Grady -the other half of WMUR’s #BuckleysBoys- for smearing likely Trump voters as “white supremacists.”

In September, Sexton Grady interviewed Matt Braynard, the executive director of Look Ahead America, an organization created by some former Trump campaign data-gurus whose mission is to “identify patriotic Americans who’ve become disaffected and cynical, so we can engage them on issues relevant to them, get them registered, get them educated and turn them out to vote.”  

“New Hampshire’s going to be, probably, the state we advance to next,” Matt Braynard, Executive Director of Look Ahead America, said. “We’ve identified maybe 15,000 inactive voters who we would consider disaffected, patriotic Americans. And potentially 100,000 or more unregistered adults we’re going to reach out to.”

Following the interview, State Democrat Chair Ray Buckley was soundly taken to task, and deservedly so, for referring to these voters as white supremacists:

“The organizing and activating of these extremists, these white supremacists, really could have a detrimental effect on the entire culture of New Hampshire,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said.

But it was actually Sexton Grady who started the white supremacist slur:

Sexton asked … : “We’ve seen extremism rearing its ugly head lately. What happens if you’re able to identify potential voters but you do see some extremism there – perhaps white supremacism, things like that.

“Is a vote a vote or are you guys going to try to keep those people separate?”

Rather than reporting facts without favor, Sexton Grady instead uses his position at WMUR9 to advance the agenda of the Democrat party, which at this time -shortly after the Charlottesville riots- was to paint President Trump and the GOP generally as supportive of “white supremacists.”

For smearing an entire group of voters, Sexton Grady wins the fakest of the Fake News.

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