Bryan Lowry, the Washington correspondent for the Kansas City Star, wrote a flawed hit piece about Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Wednesday that suggested the firebrand populist senator was not actually a resident of Missouri.
While the central allegation falls apart fairly quickly–Hawley is living at his sister’s house while he builds a new home for his family–the hit piece against Hawley calls into question Lowry’s own political bias, including when he called himself a “Trotskyite,” to the left of Rachel Maddow.
Lowry reported on Wednesday that Hawley sold his house in Springfield, Missouri, and now he and his family live with his sister in Ozark, Missouri, while his new house is currently being constructed.
Kelli Ford, a spokeswoman for Hawley, slammed the Star for asking about the senator’s housing status and attacked a Democrat-aligned group that raised the issue of where Hawley currently lives. Ford also chided the Star for not including her full statement.
Ford said in a statement on Wednesday:
This is a laughable attempt of a smear by a Democrat group and their allies at what is left of the KC Star. Josh and Erin sold their home in Springfield earlier this year to build a new one in Ozark, Missouri, and are staying down the street with family in Ozark while it’s finished. We realize Ozark may not be ritzy, but it suits Josh and Erin just fine. With ridiculous stories like this one, it’s no surprise the KC Star is losing money and had to move its printing operations out of state.
Hawley himself also pushed back on the hit piece, bashing the newspaper for apparently moving its own printing operation out of Missouri into Iowa and slamming the newspaper for ties to big tech giant Google–which Hawley has been particularly critical of during his time in the U.S. Senate.
“It’s sad. The Google-KC Star has become a dumping ground for Democrat BS no other publication will run,” Hawley wrote. “Enjoy Iowa!”
It’s sad. The Google-KC Star has become a dumping ground for Democrat BS no other publication will run. Enjoy Iowa! https://t.co/OU2g0ZS3i4
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 18, 2020
In the hit piece, Lowry asked if the senator is paying his sister rent, how many nights he stays at his sister’s house, and why he wanted to use his sister’s home for his voter registration. Hawley voted in the 2020 election while registered at his sister’s home.
The Congressional Integrity Project, a Democrat-aligned group that investigates GOP senators, claimed in a report that Hawley’s voter registration could potentially violate Missouri voter registration law.
Hawley slammed the Congressional Integrity Project for investigating Hawley’s construction of a new house in Ozark, Missouri. The hit piece follows as Hawley railed against the big tech “robber barons” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week.
“One day after I exposed more liberal #BigTech censorship, some George Soros Democrat group is attacking me for – wait for it – building a new home in Ozark, MO,” Hawley wrote on Wednesday. “House is coming along great! We love Ozark. Dem losers, thanks for playing.”
One day after I exposed more liberal #BigTech censorship, some George Soros Democrat group is attacking me for – wait for it – building a new home in Ozark, MO. House is coming along great! We love Ozark. Dem losers, thanks for playing pic.twitter.com/csDOsD9teT
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 18, 2020
However, despite Lowry’s hit piece against Hawley, the reporter even admitted that residency at his sister’s house would not likely break any laws.
Chuck Hatfield, a Missouri attorney, said, “It’s kind of circular. What does it mean to be a resident? It’s not very well-defined and the courts have been pretty darn lenient… I can’t imagine a scenario where Josh is in violation of the state law.”
Lowry reported that the issue of Hawley’s “residency is likely to be more of a political issue than legal one, especially as his national profile continues to grow ahead of 2024, when he could either run for president or a second term in the Senate.”
But the very idea that there is any concern with Hawley’s residency is just simply ludicrous. The senator is literally currently building a new home for his family in Ozark, Missouri, down the street from his sister’s residence, where he and his family are currently residing until such time as the new home is completed. This is not like other cases in the past where U.S. senators have completely abandoned their states, and moved to Washington, DC, therefore creating a political liability for themselves. In Hawley’s case, he literally is living in Missouri–and building a new house right now, where he and his family are moving as soon as it’s done.
Despite the ridiculous nature of Lowry’s report and inquiry into Hawley, his reporting does raise questions about of his own political biases and background. Lowry is not a traditional media figure, or nonpartisan objective observer, as many in media claim to be. He has a long history of having worked for Democrats, and in columns past has openly admitted he will always be a partisan hack against Republicans.
For instance, Lowry served as an intern for now former Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell’s reelection campaign in 2006. During the internship, Lowry said he felt tempted to either curse out or spit at then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) during the campaign. He said that he “stood down” because his campaign manager “lectured” them to be on their “best behavior.” Lowry wrote:
He and Governor Rendell both marched in Abington, PA’s Fourth of July Parade (I got to march in the Rendell entourage a few steps behind the Governor). After the parade I saw Santorum coming round the corner and was tempted to accost him and spit in his face, or curse him out, or maybe just give him a friendly lesson in tolerance. But the campaign manager had already lectured us all to be on our best behavior when Slick Rick came around the bend he shot me the evil eye. I stood down. Ever since I have been wondering what I possibly could have said in that moment. It wouldn’t have made a difference. Rick is hardly the open-minded type. [Emphasis added].
Lowry also derided Santorum in 2012 as a “Bible thumper,” writing:
How could it be that this Bible thumper ever got elected in a state that has gone solidly Democratic in each presidential election since 1992? His career has always been an anomaly in Pennsylvania politics, a state where ideologues fare poorly and moderates prosper. To listen to Santorum’s speeches you’d think that the state must be a theocracy for such a man to get elected, but religious values are usually a non-issue for Pennsylvanians.
Lowry had charged in 2011 that Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson had stirred up hate and even compared Robertson to Osama bin Laden, the notorious Al Qaeda terrorist mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks a decade earlier. He wrote: “Religion stirs up passion like few other things, and although that passion is often love (see: Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa) it is sadly just as often hate (see: Osama bin Laden, Pat Robertson).”
Lowry also wrote in 2012 that he had no “objectivity” regarding illegal immigration because he had taught many children of illegal immigrants while working as a teacher in California. Lowry admitted:
Immigration is often wrongly thought of as strictly a Latino issue, despite the fact that in recent years immigrants from Asia have come in great numbers as well (PDF). There are many illegal immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa, but the popular image of an American illegal is almost exclusively portrayed in the media by a Latino immigrant. This invariably leads to discussion of the Mexican border and the need for greater security. I will be the first to admit that I lack objectivity on this issue. During my time as a teacher in California, I taught many students who belonged to families that had members who had immigrated illegally, whether a parent or grandparent, and in some cases the students themselves were undocumented. I sympathized with the students who often lived in a state of fear; they went to public schools and every governmental form they had to fill out was greeted with suspicions. Thankfully, the Department of Education does not coordinate with INS. [Emphasis added].
Lowry charged 2012, in what is now a popular leftist sentiment, that no human being is “illegal.” He explained:
More than that, I bristle at the notion that any human being is “illegal.” Borders are man-made constructs and subject to change. Let’s not forget that the southwestern United States once was part of Mexico (and that includes Arizona). So why should someone suffer just because they had the misfortune of being born on one side of the border? [Emphasis added].
I realize that I am a Trotskyite to the left of Rachel Maddow and not an ideal commentator on the Republican race. But when the party has spoken for itself, its analysis has echoed mine. This week, ‘The Daily Show’ aired a collection of Romney’s ‘endorsements’ from high profile Republicans such as Paul Ryan, John McCain, and George H.W. Bush. All of them with forced smiles, speaking in tautologies and generally acting with the demeanor of someone about to receive a root canal. [Emphasis added].
Lowry published in 2012 a “set of guidelines” for the Occupy Wall Street movement to gain “legitimacy” and further the cause. He also charged that Occupy Wall Street does not need to “defang.”
In one blog post, Lowry praised a book by Jon Ronson titled, Them: Adventures with Extremists, writing in 2011 he “had the pleasure to read” it. Lowry goes on to favorably describe a passage from the book, saying that Al Qaeda and the KKK are just “people like us.”
Lowry also praised Hunter S. Thompson in 2011 for admitting that there is no “objective journalism.”
“With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.’ Thompson has a point,” Lowry wrote.
Lowry also lamented in 2012 that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is “insane” in an article in which he discusses alleged white privilege.
“Whether or not George Zimmerman will be convicted of murdering the unarmed teen is uncertain because of Florida’s insane ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, but what is certain is that Zimmerman would have never been charged if not for the national outcry,” Lowry wrote.
After Lowry published his attack piece against Hawley, Republicans and conservatives from across Missouri slammed the Star reporter for reporting on Hawley’s new house.
— Gregg Keller (@RGreggKeller) November 18, 2020
Missouri state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R-MO) wrote on Wednesday, “Is the Kansas City Star really attacking @HawleyMO for staying at a relative’s while his home is being renovated? Slow news day?”
Is the Kansas City Star really attacking @HawleyMO for staying at a relative’s while his home is being renovated? Slow news day?
— MaryElizabethColeman (@meaccoleman) November 18, 2020
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.