The embattled House Intelligence Committee chair is using campaign money to defend his lies and pretend it's news.
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) has badly damaged his brand by pushing a memo based on classified intelligence sources he had not even read, full of right-wing conspiracy theories to exonerate Trump and attack the FBI for investigating Russia.
Facing accusations of being “Trump’s stooge,” and polls show him in a tight re-election race in his usually solid Republican district, Nunes’ latest ploy is the creation of his own fake news website to spread pro-Nunes propaganda.
And he is already being mocked for it.
“Devin Nunes created and is paying for a fake news site that, among other things, attacks me,” tweeted California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu. “So I am going to do the same thing. Aw, just kidding. I don’t need to spend money peddling fake news. I’ve learned there is an easier way to inform the American people: tell the truth.”
“We have to laugh otherwise we’ll go crazy,” wrote HuffPost congressional reporter Matt Fuller, “but it’s really something to see a ‘news site’ paid for by the political campaign of a committee chairman who should actually be looking at the issue of ‘fake news.'”
Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean had a succinct reaction: “Fake Devin creates a fake news site.”
Nunes’ Democratic opponent, Fresno prosecutor Andrew Janz, reminded everyone that nothing about Nunes’ behavior resembles a man who views himself as accountable to the people. “Fake news, fake Clovis district office, and fake radio Town Halls on KMJ,” Janz tweeted. “It’s time for a change in #CA22”
Nunes’ website, titled “The California Republican,” was first exposed by Politico on Sunday. Paid for by the Devin Nunes Campaign Committee, it has run headlines like, “CNN busted for peddling fake news AGAIN!” and “Understanding the process behind #ReleaseTheMemo.” Its Twitter account even posted an image of Nunes with the words “This is what a hero looks like.”
Disguising election propaganda as a media website is not a new tactic for for the GOP. In 2014, the National Republican Congressional Committee launched two dozen fake websites designed to look like local newspapers, including the “Central Valley Update” and the “Augusta Update,” each with a single “article” attacking a Democratic congressional candidate.
Last year, the Republican Governors Association published “The Free Telegraph,” a “news” service dedicated to explaining what a wonderful job Republican governors are doing.
But Nunes’ website might be the GOP’s most brazen foray into propaganda yet, with continually published articles and a social media presence, all either defending Nunes or pushing back on Democrats or media outlets criticizing him.
This is not the behavior of a man confident in the legitimacy of popularity of his cause. And the ridicule he now faces for his desperate stunt is well deserved.