The fakest of fake news reports are plaguing our news cycle this morning.
Over the last 24 hours you may have encountered a news headline suggesting Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell's campaign manager said, "Boys will be boys," in response to a viral photo of some teenagers pretending to choke a cardboard cutout of socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
There's just one problem with these news stories: it never happened. He never once said, "boys will be boys."
But that didn't stop news outlets like Newsweek and the New York Daily News from reporting on the story and even getting reactions from other lawmakers to the news.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday for a statement that his campaign never issued.
The incident first began after a photograph of a group of young men, donning the majority leader’s campaign t-shirt and posing with a cutout of the New York congresswoman, circulated around social media. The picture was taken over the weekend at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in Kentucky and was posted to Instagram with the caption “break me off a piece of that Fancy Farm.”
“Hey [McConnell] – these young men look like they work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez said referencing the picture. “Just want to clarify: are you paying young men to practice groping [and] choking members of Congress [with] your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch? Thanks.”
A spokesman for the McConnell campaign responded to Ocasio-Cortez, denying that the group had any affiliation with the Senate majority leader. He further slammed the self-proclaimed “radical” congresswoman and left-wing media for using the picture to “demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics.”
“These young men are not campaign staff, they’re high schoolers,” Kevin Golden, McConnell’s campaign manager said in a statement. “It’s incredible that the national media has sought to once again paint a target on their backs rather than report real, and significant news in our country.”
“Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender,” Golden said in a separate statement.
The campaign later followed up in a series of tweets contending that the freshman congresswoman and liberal Twitter personalities are trying to publicly reveal the personal information of the minors, and further stated that the same individuals “are cheering on thousands of accounts calling for Senator McConnell to ‘break his neck.’”