So-called “reporters” have been sending threatening messages to people, demanding they invent fake stories about Congressman Matt Gaetz in exchange for their names being kept out of the news.
“[T]ime and time again, what a reporter will do is contact someone that maybe I’ve had a relationship with, maybe I haven’t had any relationship with, maybe I’ve only been in the same room with one time,” Gaetz told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “But they’ll say to a person, ‘You know, look, we are going to write your name into a story that will have sex trafficking and Matt Gaetz in the headline, unless you provide us some bad information, some embarrassing conduct about Gaetz. And if you do that, well then your name will be protected, your reputation will be protected.'”
One stunning example is that of Mother Jones reporter Matthew Phelan, who has harassed a number of Gaetz-world figures demanding they invent narratives to keep themselves out of the news and out of trouble with law enforcement.
Phelan contacted a young woman from Gaetz’s district, who after their conversation sent Phelan an email reiterating how she had “never been harassed by Matt Gaetz… Any interaction with him or his office has always been respectful and kind. You stated someone told you I received some kind of death threat and that’s just a false accusation.”
But reporter Phelan wasn’t interested in that.
He snapped back: “To be frank, I don’t want to tip my hand too much here, but I think you’re going to want to revise this response, or maybe just spend some time jogging your memory a little bit more. But, there’s time to get that in order. I look forward to circling back with you closer to publication time.”
Phelan also left an unhinged voicemail for a former staffer, insisting that Rep. Gaetz had murdered someone, was secretly bisexual, and that sex tapes had been used to blackmail him.
Phelan texted the former staffer after several days, threatening: “I just hope you are more cooperative with the FDLE and the FBI when I turn over everything I have to them after publishing this article. As a one-time paid staffer of Matt Gaetz, helping them keep this story quiet is a great way to catch charges in a wider criminal conspiracy probe.”
Another example of the behavior is that of Jose Pagliery at the far-left Daily Beast blog.
Pagliery texted a female friend of Rep. Gaetz: “I understand Megan Zalonka brought cocaine to Matt’s hotel room after the Lincoln Dinner in Oct. 2019. I’m doing a story on her. If you call me and confirm, I will not use your name. You were there, and I’ve seen a photo.”
When confronted by Just the News reporters, Mother Jones’ Matthew Phelan hung up the phone, then texted to say: “Heading into a tunnel on the subway…I can’t comment on any aspect of this until the article is published.”
Mother Jones’ Editor Tommy Craggs confirmed he had rebuked Phelan over the unethical behavior: “Matthew and I have spoken about the email you’re alluding to, and I’ve urged him to use more discretion. He said he would do so.”
Commenting on the matter, Rep. Gaetz said: “The media has bullied people into lying about me, and now we have even more indisputable proof. This is not a free press, it is an army of America Last operatives. They’re coming for me because I fight for the people. And I always will.”
The news comes after Project Veritas exposed senior CNN technical director Charlie Chester, who admitted on hidden camera: “If the agenda say, is to like get, like Matt Gaetz right now, he’s like this Republican. He’s a problem for the Democratic Party because he’s so conservative and he can cause a lot of hiccups in passing of laws and what not. So it would be great for the Democratic Party to get him out. So we’re going to keep running these stories to keep hurting him and make it so that it can’t be buried and just like settled outside court just and like, you know, if we keep pushing that, it’s helping us.”