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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Ted Cruz mistress allegation

The National Enquirer has published a story claiming that Ted Cruz has had no less than five extramarital affairs.

Of course, the Enquirer is no-one's idea of a legitimate newspaper. Yet they've been right about such scandalous matters before -- the examples of Gary Hart and John Edwards come to mind.

The most interesting aspect of this piece concerns the photos of the five women. All of the photos were altered to hide the identities of the women -- altered poorly. So poorly, in fact, that internet sleuths were quickly able to match these fuzzy images to non-fuzzy versions available online.

(This sort of thing could give rise to a ground-breaking lawsuit: Can the Enquirer really be said to have hidden the identities of the five?)

A Breitbart-related blog has published the names of three very real women whose photos match three of the Enquirer images. If the tabloid's allegation proves false, the women are not likely to sue a shallow-pocketed blogger. Conversely, if the main Breitbart site had printed those same names, a lawyer might have considered the case worth pursuing. A "satellite" blog can serve a useful purpose in a propaganda operation.

According to the story at the other end of the link, one of the women is a conservative activist who is heading up a "blacklist" of Trump supporters. Another was the campaign manager for Carly Fiorina.

The Breitbarters, of course, are all on Team Trump. Gateway Pundit (not part of that team) contacted one of the three named women and got a resounding denial.
It’s ridiculous. Anyone with half a brain knows it’s false… I don’t think the article is true. I can’t see Cruz being like that… All I know is it’s not me. There’s a reason they don’t use my name. They know it’s BS.
Salon has published the name of the third woman: Katrina Pierson. Guess what? She is a spokesperson for -- wait for it -- Donald Trump.

Pierson's response: 
What's worse? People who actually believe the trash in tabloids, or the ones who know it's false &spread it anyway? #stupidity on all levels
Salon has labeled this statement an "unconvincing non-denial."

Need I point out the obvious? By issuing a "non-denial," Trump's employee helps to keep alive a story that can only help Donald Trump.

Salon does not mention Pierson's possible motive for choosing those words. Frankly, it seems pretty damned unlikely that Trump's spokesperson would have an affair with Cruz. Salon declines to mention that point, too.

Of course, it has been obvious for some time that Salon, like Breitbart, is on Team Trump. The formerly progressive website has become a truly obnoxious propaganda operation. Salon encourages Democrats should sit out the election or go third-party if Hillary wins (as she will). Translation: Salon seeks a Trump victory.

I suspect that this whole story originated with the Breitbarters. That's just a suspicion: I can't prove it.

The Enquirer does try to avoid libel suits: There is a lingering institutional memory of Carol Burnett's successful action against the tabloid in the 1970s. On the other hand, maybe someone gave some behind-the-scenes assurances to the publishers: "If you're sued, I'll cover the costs..."

The "mistress" claim could secure the nomination for Donald Trump. Right now, he is projected to come close to gaining enough delegates for a first-ballot win -- but close isn't good enough. Many people have suggested that Trump's candidacy would never survive a brokered convention, given the deeply-rooted antipathy toward him.

Knocking Cruz out of the race would secure a Trump victory.

Even if the story turns out to be pure smear, it may give Trump the nomination. A whispering campaign could cause sufficient number of Cruz supporters to doubt their man.

So far, the only print journal to carry the Enquirer story is The Sun in the UK. The Sun account includes this tweet from an alleged Cruz supporter:
I was a Cruz supporter until I learned this. As a Christian I cannot abide such sinful behavior. END YOUR CAMPAIGN NOW TED!#CruzSexScandal
Yeeeaaahhhh. That reaction feels pretty damned ersatz. You thinkin' astroturf? I am.
I disagree Salon is on "Team Trump." The mag is clearly on Team Sanders. They have had article after article trashing the next president of the United States.
Two or three would have been a bit more plausible, but five? Come on, Donald.

Salon was one of the more loyal Hillary Clinton supporters in 2008 when others were being bought out. I used to get their headlines by email but lately I don't recall seeing their headlines so I have missed their betrayal. So many progressive sites just have to stab the Clintons in the front and the back.
Off topic. Written by Bruce Belland and Dave Somerville, and sung by Willie Nelson. YouTube link.

"The Troublemaker"
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