Last week, members of the Congressional Western Caucus denounced what they characterized as an “unwarranted attack” by the Arizona Republic. One member of the Caucus went so far as to call the Arizona Republic piece targeting Rep. Martha McSally and the Caucus “fake news.”
While the piece, Martha McSally’s anti-Grand Canyon views don’t belong in the Senate, offered fake news as fact, it was an opinion piece by progressive columnist Linda Valdez.
“This is fake news, plain and simple,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin in a press release. “The Arizona Republic’s hit piece against Rep. Martha McSally is nothing more than a desperate attempt to belittle the great work she is doing for the people of Arizona…. I am disappointed that the Arizona Republic has chosen not to do their homework when it comes to the issue at hand. I would urge the people of Arizona to study the issues and draw their own conclusions, rather than take the opinion of a publication who puts politics before facts.”
“We all want clean air, clean water and to protect the health of our communities. However, we also want good jobs, affordable energy, to ensure our military has the tools they need to accomplish their missions and to reduce our 90+% dependence on uranium imports from countries like Russia,” stated Western Caucus chairman Paul Gosar. “In today’s day and age, we can have our cake and eat it too as modern mining advancements and stringent environmental requirements ensure that we can accomplish all of these objectives. Let me be clear — No one is proposing to mine in the Grand Canyon or cause it or our local communities any harm. This week’s hit piece from the AZ Republic is fake news, poor journalism and shows a lack of understanding of the public policy issues at hand. It would appear the publication just took Rep. Grijalva’s ridiculous talking points, chose to own them and published them without doing any research or allowing any alternative views to be considered. The Republic should be ashamed and should issue a formal apology to its customers, Rep. McSally and the Western Caucus.”
Fellow Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs piled on, “I am not surprised to see the Republic attacking the Congressional Western Caucus and one of our hard-working Arizona colleagues. We are one of the most pro-active caucuses in Congress. We fight every day to hold the federal government accountable and to bring more economic freedom to the West. Our successes are well-documented, and thousands of Americans are now better off because of them.”
California Congressman Doug LaMalfa questioned by Valdez chose to “attack Rep. McSally for a letter she didn’t even sign.” He called Valdez’s decision “very interesting.” Malfa stated that Valdez’s work is “a perfect example of why many are distrustful of the media these days.”
The Western Caucus members also argued that Valdez “falsely claimed Rep. Grijalva’s massive land grab bill provides “the real fix.” Grijalva’s 1.7 million acre national monument bill is not a real fix. In fact, it’s not even in his district. There is lots of opposition from local Arizonans and Utahans to this misguided proposal that deserves at least a mention.”
Caucus members note that while Valdez fails to mention opposition to Grijalva’s scheme, she also failed to note the “numerous actions” the Caucus has taken “to protect and promote the Grand Canyon.”