Nearly 15 hours after it was first posted, the once reputable US News & World Report was still running as a headline, “Kobach Says He Wants to Do for Kansas What Trump Done for US” (italics added).
Scarier still, Google News was running this headline among the top three Kansas news stories of the day. To be clear, this is not a quote. US News was running a story from the Associated Press, the reporter for which cannot be blamed for US News’s appalling grammar.
In context, the Kobach assertion makes perfect sense. “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has told Donald Trump Jr. at a fundraising event that he wants to do for Kansas what the president has done for the country’s blue-collar workers,” report the AP.
Trump Jr. appeared at a Wichita fundraiser in support of Kobach, a gubernatorial candidate in Kansas. The president’s son had earlier appeared at an Overland Park fundraiser in support of Kobach.
At the fundraiser Kobach asserted the ACLU had sent mailers supporting Colyer. The AP took the ACLU at its word, saying the ACLU “vehemently denied” Kobach’s charge.
Had the AP bothered to show the mailer in question the reader would not have come away thinking Kobach’s complaint an empty one.
“It’s a pro-Colyer ad, anti-Kobach ad,” said Kobach. “In my entire life, I have never heard of the ACLU advertising on behalf of a Republican candidate for anything.”
“ACLU spokesman Mark McCormick confirmed that the ACLU had sent out the flier,” reported the Wichita Eagle, “but he emphasized that the organization does not support candidates.”
“We support civil liberties and civil rights and want voters to be well informed on these issues,” McCormick told the Eagle in an email.
Yet the mailer clearly gives the impression that Colyer would be the less objectionable of the two candidates, given that he, unlike Kobach, “supported a bipartisan education package” and backed efforts to make government records more accessible.
The fact that spending more money on public education is now seen by the ACLU as a “civil liberty” shows just how much a tool of the Democratic Party the ACLU has become.
The Colyer campaign believes, perhaps correctly, that the mailer is something of an ACLU “dirty trick” designed to boost Kobach’s campaign, thinking he would be an easier candidate to beat in November.
Whatever the motives of the ACLU decision makers, they may have done more damage to the Colyer campaign than US News done to the English language.