Chicago, Illinois, January 8, 2014 - You don’t have to have 20 years of political experience to know that this spate of orchestrated “gay” rumor attack pieces on Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) were timed to coincide with the launch of his former aide, Steve Shearer’s anti-Rauner PAC.
I’m not a big fan of Rep. Aaron Schock. In fact, last year, I interviewed Club for Growth’s Andy Roth and Roth, as it turns out, isn’t a fan Schock’s either. Like Roth, my issues with Schock concern his voting record i.e. the fact that he cozies up to the GOP establishment on spending.
But Gawker’s story of Schock “outed” as gay by the CBS journalist (that isn’t a CBS journalist) Itay Hod is just bad reporting. It’s not journalism. It’s tabloid fare.
A case of he said, he said.
Just yesterday Huffington Post blasted out this headline, "Outing Rep. Aaron Schock is completely acceptable." If you are going to "out" somebody, Huffington Post, you'd better make sure it's true.
Consider this as the “factual meat” of the story from Hod’s Facebook page:
There's a hypothetical: what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let's just say from Illinois, is gay... and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower... together. now they could have been good friends just trying to conserve water. but there's more. what if this congressman has also been caught by tmz cameras trolling gay bars. now what if you know that this very same guy, the darling of the gop, has also voted against repeal of don't ask don't tell, opposed the repeal of doma, is against gay marriage; and for the federal marriage amendment, which would add language to the us constitution banning gay marriage and would likely strike down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country?
It’s like something you’d see in The Onion. It’s 100 starving dogs feasting on Kim Jung Un’s uncle all over again.
And yet scores of mainstream media outlets and blogs have repeating this rumor as if it were true so they can speculate about Schock’s “gayness.” Casual Facebook readers, who mostly just read the headlines, share them and voilà a scandal is born.
The timing of this story is also funny. Not funny like Schock’s infamous pink gingham shirt and teal belt. But funny nevertheless.
Funny as in odd, ironic, and suspicious.
Why so funny? Because just recently, Steve Shearer, former Chief of Staff to Schock, resigned to head-up a political action committee to “educate” voters about GOP candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner, a close friend and political ally of Rahm Emanuel who, like Emanuel, has spent millions on his race to win.
There has been bad blood between Schock and Rauner since January 2013 when the little known Jobs and Progress Fund financed $400,000 worth of TV and radio spots against Schock in his Peoria, Illinois district. The Jobs and Progress Fund is an out-of-state fund that does not disclose its donors. But Schock campaign representatives fingered Rauner as the real culprit behind the campaign because Schock had announced he was considering a run for governor himself.
Schock ended that speculative bid for governor in April 2014 but, apparently, the bad blood between Schock and Rauner continues.
Since then, Rauner’s campaign has continued to use surrogates to attack the other GOP candidates in the race for Illinois governor while portraying himself as “above it all” in the millions he is spending on TV ad buys.
Recently, Joe Walsh, who hosted a town hall meeting with Bruce Rauner in support of his term limits referendum in Illinois (though the Illinois Constitution will likely thwart any mandatory enforcement of the measure), has called for Rep. Schock to finally “be honest” about his sexuality. One of Walsh’s key backer’s is Ron Gidwitz, who just happens to be Bruce Rauner’s finance chairman.
There is more irony in Walsh’s concern: In 1996, Walsh announced he was the most “gay-friendly Republican around” and supported a socially liberal agenda in his race against Rep. Sid Yates (D-IL) that included support for abortion and gay rights. Schock, who has a conservative voting record on social issues, in contrast, is being attacked for his 0% score from the liberal Human Rights campaign by the mainstream media.
So the real story here isn’t the flimsy comment Itay Hod (who, again, isn’t a CBS journalist) made on Facebook. The real story is about the shady lengths a GOP candidate for governor named Bruce Rauner, who has given more than $870,000 to the Democrat Party and is this close to Rahm Emanuel, might go to win the GOP nod in Illinois.