Editors' pickPolitics

A Trump-backed conservative group is trying undermine real sexual assault victims with fake ones

Project Veritas, a conservative activist group known for creating debunked “sting” videos, is trying to use fake sexual abuse victims to undermine real ones.

On Monday afternoon, the Washington Post published a story headlined, “A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.”

The woman, who used the name Jaime Phillips, told Post reporters a dramatic tale, alleging that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore had impregnated her at 15 and she had gotten an abortion. Reporters found inconsistencies in her story, and later, saw her walking into the New York headquarters of Project Veritas Monday morning.

Project Veritas is known for making undercover videos and then highly editing them to remove important context to make “liberal” outlets like NPR and Planned Parenthood look bad.

The Washington Post also found a GoFundMe under Phillips’ — the woman who claimed Moore had impregnated her — name that was asking for money to take a job in New York “to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt (sic) of the liberal MSM.”

Nine women with highly credible allegations — the first four having been published in a bombshell Washington Post report — have come forward to say Moore sexually abused them, one of whom was as young as 14. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said they believe the women.

But Moore himself has denied every accusation, claiming they’re all “fake news.” His supporters have parroted that claim, and a fake request from a man who said he was “Bernie Bernstein” and claimed to be a Post reporter who would pay women thousands of dollars to make damaging remarks about Moore made its way to Alabama voicemails.

One of Moore’s supporters is President Donald Trump himself, who has continually hit Moore’s rival, Democratic candidate Doug Jones, as “soft on crime” and echoed Moore’s denials.

Trump is also a financial supporter of Project Veritas: In 2015, the Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to the group. Now, Project Veritas is trying to gin up fake news to discredit real, credible victims.

But the immediate reaction to the story was general hysterics.

“Everyone Points and Laughs at James O’Keefe’s Incredibly Embarrassing Journalism Blunder,” Mediaite declared, highlighting reporters and political figures who reacted with jokes about O’Keefe’s failed string.

Will Sommer, an editor at The Hill, went on an 11-tweet rant about all of the O’Keefe’s history of blunders, which, admittedly, are hilarious.

But the top-line news should be that a Trump-backed conservative activist group is trying to create real fake news to discredit women who ought to be believed. And that, like the rest of Project Veritas’ work, is disgusting.


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