Alana Goodman at the Daily Mail had a Big Scoop today: Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee founded a club in high school called “Fascism Forever!”
The only problem is, it’s not true.
Here are the introductory grafs from Goodman’s article:
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.
The name may be inconvenient for a Supreme Court nominee facing a tough confirmation battle. However it also shows the depth of Gorscuch’s right-wing credentials – and his penchant for mischief while attending his exclusive prep school in the 1980s.
Wow! That’s crazy! So . . . what’s her evidence for this?
A single entry in a high school yearbook.
He served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.
The yearbook described the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ as an anti-faculty student group that battled against the ‘liberal’ views of the school administration.
‘In political circles, our tireless President Gorsuch’s “Fascism Forever Club” happily jerked its knees against the increasingly “left-wing” tendencies of the faculty,’ said the yearbook.
Are there interviews with teachers to corroborate this? With former students? Photos of club meetings? Writings that set forth the club’s agenda?
Nope. That’s it. Just the yearbook entry. The End.
Above: the yearbook entry from the Daily Mail article
Ed Whelan wrote early today:
Earth to newpaper reporters: High-school yearbook editors sometimes have a sophomoric sense of humor. I am reliably informed that no such club ever existed and that there was instead an inside joke among friends in the senior class that parodied political debates happening at the school. A contemporary of Gorsuch’s at the school also tells me that yearbook editors added stuff to student blurbs without their permission. All of this also leads me to doubt the yearbook’s claim that Gorsuch was a “Believer in The World According to Ward.”
And at America Magazine, they have done the work Alana Goodman should have done, and tracked down a former teacher who has gone on the record to dispute the bogus story:
[Gorsuch] wrote that he founded and led the “Fascism Forever Club,” though those with knowledge of the school back in the 1980s say there was no such club. The mention of it in the yearbook was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun at liberal peers who teased him about his fierce conservatism.
It was “a total joke,” said Steve Ochs, a history teacher at Georgetown Prep who was the student government advisor during Mr. Gorsuch’s junior and senior years at the Bethesda, Md., school.
“There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists,” he told America. “The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.”
And of course snarky lefties went nuts:
We all did crazy, embarrassing things when we were young.
But we didn't found a goddamn Fascism Forever club.https://t.co/m4jfuO6QlL
— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) February 2, 2017
The story is garbage, and Alana Goodman and the editors at the Daily Mail should be ashamed of themselves.