CLOVIS, California — Republican Rep. Devin Nunes isn’t just a major Donald Trump defender — he’s also taking a page out of the Trump playbook and attacking his local newspaper as “fake news.”
In June, Nunes launched an unusually long ad — running more than two minutes — against the Fresno Bee, for its coverage of a controversy surrounding a winery in which Nunes is invested.
“Sadly, since the last election, The Fresno Bee has worked closely with radical left-wing groups to promote numerous fake news stories about me,” Nunes says in the ad, giving no proof for the claims of collusion.
It was a rare campaign expenditure for Nunes, who isn’t seen as particularly vulnerable in his deep-red Central Valley district. But it was heard by enough voters in the district that Fresno Bee reporters received an uptick in hate mail, angry social media posts and voicemails denouncing their reporting and the paper.
Mackenzie Mays was the Fresno Bee reporter who wrote the original story on the winery controversy. In response to Nunes’ ad, she received voicemails calling her and her colleagues “corrupt bastards” — but she said it wasn’t the first time she’s gotten hate from readers, and their attacks have only gotten more vicious recently — since Trump was elected.
This segment originally aired August 21, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.