The desperate congressman sent a 40-page mailer to attack the Fresno Bee. The paper has endorsed him eight times.
Released last week, the mailer, fashioned to look like a magazine, attacks the Fresno Bee as a “propaganda machine,” and takes issue with the paper for such offenses as reporting on activists protesting at Nunes’ office, writing stories about the winery that Nunes co-owns and uses to pass himself off as a “farmer,” and other examples of basic journalism.
The mailer also attacks the paper for covering a strange incident in which Nunes’ uncle called law enforcement on a video crew shooting an ad for Nunes’ challenger Andrew Janz, even though the Janz campaign had written permission to be there.
This isn’t the first time Nunes has gone after the Bee. Earlier this year, he had a meltdown when a Bee reporter asked him if he planned to hold any open forums in the district, which he has not done since 2010.
A few months later, Nunes put out an ad falsely accusing the paper of working with “radical left-wing groups” to produce “fake news stories.”
But as Fresno Bee editor Joe Kieta pointed out recently, the paper has endorsed Nunes eight times in past election cycles. “We did not change here, he has,” Kieta told KVPR radio in response to the mailer.
Indeed, Nunes has made an art form of avoiding his constituents. Recently, he has taken to holding invitation-only events, at which guests may be subject to searches and must provide a raft of personal information before they can even learn an event’s location.
And once he is surrounded by those carefully selected guests, Nunes spends his time slamming the residents of his own state and district as “fruits and nuts” who believe in “goofy stuff” like protecting the environment.
But perhaps the biggest change since the paper endorsed Nunes in 2016 is his relentless campaign to shield Trump from the Russia investigation. After Nunes attempted to discredit the Mueller investigation by hyping a bogus intelligence memo in January, the Fresno Bee dubbed him “Trump’s stooge.”
Since then, Nunes has done everything in his power to prove the paper right. The infamous “Nunes memo” turned out to be embarrassing failure that actually debunked GOP attacks on the Russia probe.
Nunes persisted in trying to get more classified documents released, despite their potential to harm national security. The last of these documents to be released showed even more conclusively that Nunes’ attacks on the Russia investigation were all lies, but Nunes is still pressing for the release of even more documents.
It is absurd for Nunes to claim that the newspaper that endorsed him for 14 years is suddenly a “propaganda machine” that’s out to get him. But attacking the press simply for doing its job is exactly what you would expect from a man who has earned the title of “Trump’s stooge.”