‘Bernie Bernstein’ robocall used to discredit Roy Moore allegations
Just when it seemed the Roy Moore sexual assault scandal couldn’t get more unbelievable, someone went ahead and pretended to be a Washington Post reporter in a robocall.
After Moore’s wife’s shared fake news on her Facebook page in a misguided attempt to bring down the accusers, it seems the senate candidate’s defenders took her effort to the next level.
An apparent robocall going out to voters in Alabama claims to be from a Washington Post reporter named “Bernie Bernstein,” who is seeking women to give “damaging remarks” about the candidate.
But wait — there’s more.
This definitely real, not made-up Bernstein is offering $5,000 to $7,000 for any woman willing to participate.
The paper is being targeted because it first reported that a woman claimed she had a sexual encounter with Moore when she was 14 and he was 32. Three other woman told the Washington Post about similar experiences with Moore when they were teens. The reporters spoke with 30 sources to confirm details from the four women’s accounts.
Since that story last week, another woman shared her account Monday of Moore attempting to sexually assault her when she was 16.
Moore has denied all the allegations and gone above and beyond to try to discredit the Post’s reporting.
Here’s the audio clip and transcript of the robocall, as reported by local news outlet WKRG.
“Hi, this is Bernie Bernstein, I’m a reporter for the Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5,000 and $7,000 dollars. We will not be fully investigating these claims, however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.”
Where to even begin?
First, Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron put out a statement saying the call “bears no relationship to reality.”
Here’s his full statement:
The Post has just learned that at least one person in Alabama has received a call from someone falsely claiming to be from The Washington Post. The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality. We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.
Then there’s the blatant anti-Semitism in the fake call, down to the accent and voice used in the message, and the over-the-top name. People definitely noticed and called it out on Twitter.
Why not just stick with Jewy McJew?
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) November 14, 2017
The fact that Moore and his supporters would go to these lengths to bring down legitimate reporting shouldn’t be shocking at this point.
It’s not yet clear who is behind the calls.