In the world of political blogs, Gateway Pundit is a fairly popular right wing site. Prior to this election site, it was mostly known for bashing Obama, commenting on outrageous liberal behavior, and reporting on Islamic extremism. However, over the past few months the Gateway Pundit has transformed itself into a Trump apparatchik, repeating Trump talking points ad nauseum. As a full-fledged member of the Trump cult, Trump’s enemies are its enemies; Trumps words are gospel; all others are apostates.
The most glaring example of this is Gateway Pundit’s treatment of Senator Ted Cruz . In 2013, Gateway Pundit covered Ted Cruz’s filibuster to stop Obamacare with stories such as “Ted Cruz Isn’t The Problem With The Republican Party; He’s The Solution” and “Ted Cruz Tries, Barack Obama Lies.”
Even early last year, before Trump got into the race, coverage was generally positive, like the March 23, 2015 post declaring “Liberty University Crowd GOES WILD as Ted Cruz Says: Imagine A President Who Stands With Israel” which even included a screen shot of the Drudge Report with a flattering picture of Cruz over the headline “Imagine a President Who Stands With Israel.”
Well, those days are over. Now Cruz is public enemy number one at Gateway Pundit. Following the lead of Donald Trump, Cruz is often referred to as Lyin’ Ted as in “Lyin Ted Cruz Continues to Lie About Trump and National Enquirer Story” and “DONALD TRUMP Lashes Out at Lyin’ Ted Cruz, GOP Bosses and Rigged Delegate System.”
On Monday, Gateway took the Cruz bashing to absurd levels. The posting in question reported on a tweet from Ted Cruz to Donald trump that read:
Donald, over 1.3mm people just voted in UT, ND, WI, CO & WY. You lost ALL FIVE in a row, by huge margins. #NoWhining
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 17, 2016
The 1.3 million people who voted is a combination of Utah (where 177,000 people voted), Wisconsin (1,101,000 voters) and the caucuses of North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado (60,000 attended caucuses in Colorado). That’s a total of over 1.3 million, and Trump lost all 5 contests.
Gateway’s response was titled “Figures. ‘Lying Ted’ Cruz tweets Trump about Recent GOP Contests and Fudges the Numbers.” The first line of the post declares that Ted Cruz “stated that he has won the last five (Republican Contests) in a row and more than 1.3mm voted for the Senator over this same time period.”
Yet Cruz said nothing of the sort. Cruz declared the total number of voters and pointed out Trump lost those contests. Cruz never said, nor implied, that he received 1.3 million votes in the contests. Yet in the post, Jim Hoft, the founder of Gateway, goes on to list the votes Cruz received in the contests (a total of around 650,000) as proof that Cruz fudged the numbers and is lying.
To be clear, Trump supporters lie in order to feed the “Lyin’ Ted” narrative being pushed by Trump.
When reading Gateway’s pre-Trump love letters to Cruz and contrasting them to the post-Trump vitriol, one cannot help but be reminded of Orwell’s 1984, where in mid-speech, Oceania goes from being an ally of Eastasia to Oceania being, and having always been, at war with Eastasia.
Trump and his followers are playing to win at all costs. They do not hesitate to demonize and lie about their Republican opponents in order to win. Ironically, their behavior is alienating so many voters that even if Trump wins the nomination, he will not have the support of alienated Republicans and a Democrat will once again occupy the White House.