The Media Played Defense for the Lincoln Project's Sexual Abuse of Young Men for 16 Years

What's the best kind of controlled opposition? The kind you can blackmail with sexual misconduct. That was the KGB's policy in Russia. It's also the media's policy. John Weaver's history of preying on young men was no great secret. The media had just been playing defense for him for some 16 years.

Karl Rove, Lifelong Gay-Baiter - The New Republic

This Is Exactly How Karl Rove Works - The Nation

Karl Rove's Split Personality - Vanity Fair

Karl Rove in a Corner - The Atlantic

It may be hard to remember these days in the era of peak Trump Derangement Syndrome, but Democrats once used to be almost as crazy about George W. Bush. BDS was real and it was spectacular and it centered around people like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove because the Democrat consensus was that there had to be a secret evil genius behind Bush and they hadn't come up with their Russia, Russia, theory of political control yet. 

The obsession with Karl Rove, a guy who casually appears on cable news networks today, may seem strange, but for those who remember, it was very real.

And the various publications zeroed in one detail.

Another example of Rove's methods involves a former ally of Rove's from Texas, John Weaver, who, coincidentally, managed McCain's bid in 2000. Many Republican operatives in Texas tell the story of another close race of sorts: a competition in the 1980s to become the dominant Republican consultant in Texas.... Both were emerging as leading consultants, but Weaver's star seemed to be rising faster. The details vary slightly according to which insider tells the story, but the main point is always the same: after Weaver went into business for himself and lured away one of Rove's top employees, Rove spread a rumor that Weaver had made a pass at a young man at a state Republican function. Weaver won't reply to the smear, but those close to him told me of their outrage at the nearly two-decades-old lie. Weaver was first made unwelcome in some Texas Republican circles, and eventually, following McCain's 2000 campaign, he left the Republican Party altogether.

That's the New Republic. The original source was The Atlantic and many other media outlets, including NBC, picked it up. 

The story was ideal because back then the media play was to use McCain to split the GOP against Bush. (Just to show you that some things never change.) And because any story proving that Karl Rove was an evil mastermind who was also a bigot was perfect.

The problem is the story was true and considering the hothouse atmosphere of political campaigns, the media almost certainly knew it.

Instead, the media protected Weaver, played on the idea that McCain and liberal Republicans were being victimized by dirty tricks from the "Right" and young men paid the price.

But it seemed like people in McCain's camp also loathed Weaver.

Several sources told TheDC that Sen. John McCain himself directly warned Huntsman not to hire Weaver.

Mark Salter, a close McCain advisor who was also recently consulted by the Huntsman campaign, however, disputed the story.

“I saw him [McCain] today and asked him if there was any truth to the story that he had called Governor Huntsman and discussed John Weaver,” Salter told TheDC. “He told me emphatically there wasn’t; that he hadn’t talked to Huntsman about Weaver at any time and had no intention of doing so.”

Why might that be? Oh.

Then, in February 2008, the New York Times published a story alleging McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Almost immediately, Weaver was suspected as being the source for the story. Although he called MSNBC to deny the rumor himself, many didn’t — and still don’t — buy it.

The real marketers of the year are the media.

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