From the Left



Sen. Katie Britt Plays a Cruel Political Game to Exploit a Mexican Rape Victim

Jim Hightower on

Poor Katie Britt, the Republican senator from Alabama. She was set up by her party's operatives to do the GOP's televised response to Joe Biden's State of the Union speech.

Sadly, her moment in the national limelight was widely panned, even by Republicans, for her presentation was overwrought and -- well, cringey. But the visuals pale to insignificance when you consider that her partisan presentation was based on an intentional, abject lie -- exacerbated by her shameful exploitation of a woman who had been brutally raped.

Britt told about a 12-year-old Mexican girl who was the victim of multiple rapes, implying the girl's horror was caused by "Biden's border crisis." Unfortunately for the senator, an alert investigative reporter blew the whistle on her political lie. Yes, the grotesque rapes happened -- but 20 years ago, not on Biden's watch. Indeed, Republican George W. Bush was president! Also, her nightmare occurred in Central Mexico, far from the U.S. border, and it had nothing to do with migrants.

Britt knew she was lying as she dramatically concluded that Biden's Latino "invasion" (as Republicans demagogically brand desperate refugees) is "almost entirely preventable." Yes, but guess who helped negotiate a bipartisan bill to end the border crush -- then cynically voted to kill the bill because Donald Trump told her to? Katie Britt.

And what about that Mexican woman whose trauma Britt cruelly exploited? She's now working in Mexico for a nonprofit trying to stop human trafficking. Yet, Britt and the GOP didn't even have the grace to tell her they were going to pervert her story for partisan politics. "I thought it was very strange," she said when later informed of Britt's crude re-exploitation of her -- adding pointedly that, "The work I do is not a game."


Too many Americans newspapers have shut down or shriveled to irrelevance, but, luckily, we still have such bastions of local journalism as the Chicago Chronicle and New York News Daily.


But wait ... those aren't real newspapers, aren't local, and aren't even American. They are Russian fake-news outlets, created in recent weeks by Vladimir Putin's propagandists to interfere in our presidential election. They are web publications with names and designs that mimic real U.S. news sites but have no reporters or local newsrooms. Rather, they exist solely to fabricate "news reports" that appear legitimate, getting picked up and re-reported as fact in understaffed, chain-owned newspapers and then promoted on right-wing social media sites.

This is what happens to people and democracy when local journalism is stripped away or hollowed out; no one is on regular watch, allowing charlatans, profiteers and propagandists to dupe unsuspecting residents. Not only have hundreds of papers been eliminated, but half of the remaining dailies are now owned by Wall Street predators like SoftBank, the Japanese hedge fund that controls the huge USA Today/Gannett chain. Their interest is not in your town or quality journalism, but in slashing news coverage to jack up their profits. Such absentee owners have eliminated nearly 60% of America's reporters and other newsroom staff in just 20 years.

Let's be clear: Real journalism is labor-driven. No reporters on the ground, no local news. Hello -- "news" is the lifeblood of democracy, so why hold it hostage to a handful of corporate profit-seekers? Are we such unimaginative clods that we can't figure out how to finance honest, non-plutocratic news for our democracy?

For ideas on how to revive local news in your town, contact -- and give news democracy a boost.

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at


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Ed Gamble Joel Pett Randy Enos A.F. Branco Peter Kuper Tom Stiglich