Wohl and Burkman in 2018. Photo by Jared Holt, used with permission

Serial fake news trolls Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have completely failed to create a scandal involving a perceived enemy of Donald Trump, this time with a bullshit claim of sexual assault against Dr. Anthony Fauci that was so transparently fraudulent that not even the rightwing conspiracysphere would touch it. You might think they'd learn something when not even outlets that are less reputable than Gateway Pundit would run with their fake news.

You might recall Wohl and Burkman from such previous fake scandals as their attempt to accuse Robert Mueller of rape/sexual assault; or their attempt to accuse Pete Buttigieg of sexual assault; or their hilarious claim that Elizabeth Warren kept a US Marine boy toy for kinky sexes. For that one, they didn't even put forth a supposed victim. They keep doing the same shit again and again, generating less publicity each time. In previous scamdals, the alleged "victims" have tended to vanish into thin air, if they existed at all, or to get cold feet and recant.

This time out, the only reason anyone (Reason, the libertarian organ) paid attention at all was that the "accuser" contacted a reporter to not only take back her story, but to say she had recorded Wohl and Burkman talking about the whole thing being made up. So that's kind of new, at least. Of course, the possibility remains that this is all some sort of elaborate performance art, and that even the recantation is part of the act. If nothing else, we may need to acknowledge the potential that this is some Shia Lebouf-level surrealism.


Or, more likely, these guys are exactly the stupid bumblefucks they seem to be, insisting that the Liberal Media will fall for fake rape stories because that's just how corrupt the media are. The fact that exactly zero of their hoaxes have been greeted with anything but mockery doesn't seem to deter them at all.

Reason writer Nancy Rommelmann notes that she had participated in a conference call a couple weeks back, to hear the bogus accusations against Fauci from a woman calling herself "Diana Rodriguez." The April Wohl/Burkman joint, Rommelmann notes, was sloppy even by their own low standards:

The rollout of their latest smear job was a fiasco, a series of "media alerts" announcing press conferences with no start times, never mind that neither the public relations contact nor the company she worked for appeared to exist, and a "statement" from Rodriguez so breathless it seemed intended to steam up the windows [...]

It was all in a league of its own weirdness, a collision of Harlequin romance and #MeToo. Nevertheless, several journalists called into a conference call to hear Rodriguez's story. We were treated, instead, to Wohl and Burkman on the line, stating they'd on the fly been invited to represent Rodriguez, who haltingly told a story that varied significantly from the media alert and, when questioned for clarification, was talked over by Wohl.

Wohl then spouted his usual line about how sad it is that "People come forward against figures that are considered media darlings with very credible allegations and are attacked by the media. [...] And you see the same sort of victim-blaming here." Also, he "confirmed" that the presser had originally been scheduled for the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. Says Rommelmann,

It was all beyond absurd, and when the reporters finally stopped laughing, one asked, "Can you just tell us you're pulling a prank here?"

With the exception of The Daily Dot, which covered the claim only to debunk it, no outlet touched the story. There was no there there, and while it might've been instructive to show readers how the rancid sausage is made, did we want to give these charlatans more sunshine, especially in light of Fauci leading the battle against a deadly pandemic?

But then she got an email from the woman, who said her name was actually Diana Andrade, that she had been in a relationship with Wohl, and that "he charmed me into taking money to do this." Andrade said she'd decided to come forward after Wohl and Burkman asked her to recruit another woman to fabricate another claim against Fauci, and that she recorded a phone conversation in which they tried to get her to keep up the ruse. And sure enough, the two had announced yet another press conference, this time with a new Fauci "accuser" going by the name "Karen Draper." Which led Rommelmann to wonder what pretty much everyone wonders about these mooks:

Why did they keep trying the same scam when they were clearly so bad at it?

The recording features Wohl and Burkman being even more nakedly horrible than their usual public poses. When Andrade pressed them to explain why they're trying to smear Fauci with a bogus sexual assault accusation, Burkman goes full cheapass Machiavelli:

"Let me tell you something, Diana," says Burkman. "This guy shut the country down. He put 40 million people out of work. In a situation like that, you have to make up whatever you have to make up to stop that train and that's the way life works, OK? That's the way it goes."

But the pandemic is a real threat, says Andrade. "I mean, it's a huge deal…. I think you guys think it's something made up, and it's not." Burkman's reply isn't really all that different from what we've been hearing elsewhere in the loonosphere lately:

"Mother Nature has to clean the barn every so often," Burkman counters. "How real is it? Who knows? So what if 1 percent of the population goes? So what if you lose 400,000 people? Two hundred thousand were elderly, the other 200,000 are the bottom of society. You got to clean out the barn. If it's real, it's a positive thing, for God's sake."

The thing that sticks with us is Andrade's repeated question:

"I don't know how they do all these things and why they do all these things," Andrade says. "Also, he tried to frame Mueller…I'm like, how is he not in jail?" [...]

"I don't understand," she says, "how he doesn't get in trouble."

Those are pretty good questions. We won't pretend we have any idea what these assholes think they're accomplishing, apart from getting ridiculed for their seemingly desperate bids for attention. They aren't taken seriously even in the flaming rightwing bullshit swamps anymore, so what the hell is their game? It doesn't even make sense as a stunt to reinforce rightwing/manosphere contempt for women, since the Right already dismisses the reality of sexual assault.

Are they really wasting all this time and ever-diminishing effort just for the satisfaction of saying "Made you look"?

We wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Andrade's coming forward is itself one more fake, but if even if it were, what's the point? To say nobody can believe anything, ever? Hard to make that claim when you never had any credibility in the first place. Ah, but that proves "credibility" is a myth!

Honestly, we just hope our spaceship arrives soon and we can escape the simulation without any further mental degradation.

[Reason / Photo: Jared Holt at RightWingWatch, by permission]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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