“GOP Senate nominees Kevin Cramer, Corey Stewart sought support of extreme anti-gay group,” reads a headline from CNN today over a story written by reporter Andrew Kaczynski.
Congressman Kevin Cramer is generally opposed to gay marriage, which is an area where I sharply disagree with him, so the idea that he might like to be supported by a socially conservative group isn’t surprising. But this group is pretty awful, per the CNN report:
The group’s founder and chief executive, Eugene Delgaudio, said in February he believes that former President Barack Obama was a “child molester” and that “adult homosexuals want to recruit and brainwash children.” He is an active promoter of the far-right pizzagate conspiracy theory.
The problem is, CNN used the word “sought” in the headline. That’s a word with a very specific meaning, and the use of it to describe this situation creates a certain perception. To say that Cramer “sought” this group’s support is to say that he identified them and he initiated contact.
Yet all CNN reports is that Cramer answered some questions the group sent him and that, subsequently, the group has run some ads in his support:
Both Stewart and Cramer answered yes to all eight questions on the survey, which says transgender bathrooms encourage and protect pedophiles and says they don't support teaching about gay historical figures.https://t.co/D6zjsMSSsv pic.twitter.com/0gLFBSUoAs
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) June 14, 2018
It’s up to Cramer to defend his positions on the issues identified in the questionnaire, but if all he did was share those positions with this group when he was asked to do so then it’s inaccurate to say he “sought” their support and CNN should issue a correction to show that.
I reached out to the Cramer campaign and asked, specifically, who initiated the contact over this survey. “They did,” campaign spokesman Tim Rasmussen told me.
I asked specifically if Cramer or his campaign reached out to this group in any way. I also asked if Cramer ever solicited any donations or support for those groups. Rasmussen gave me one-word answers to both of those questions as well: “No.”
Unless the folks at CNN have some evidence to dispute these answers from Cramer’s campaign, they need to correct their story.
Of course this criticism would still valid, depending on your point of view, even if CNN does correct:
My question is were other senators just smart enough to not fill this out or were they the only two who scored 100%. Either answer isn't super.
— Dave piepkorn (@Davepiepkornfan) June 14, 2018
Cramer is famously open. Perhaps recklessly so. Maybe he doesn’t need to respond to every questionnaire his office receives.