Bob Dreyfuss’s profile of White House aide Sebastian Gorka in Rolling Stone is an impressive feat of scholarship, compiling every lie about the former Breitbart News editor in one place.
It is a useful service for the ideologically addled and the functionally illiterate, who like their propaganda served straight-up, undiluted by the cold ice water of reality. Students of cheap partisan smear jobs need look no further, for Rolling Stone has perfected the genre.
Dreyfuss does not seem to have done any original research, but recycles work done by other hacks — without, of course, bothering to provide his readers with any of the defenses that arose in their wake.
He cribs shamelessly from the left-wing Forward, which has quarterbacked the campaign against Gorka and recently listed him twice on a list of people Jews should fear most, and right behind the arch-antisemite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. (Noted Jewish advocate Alan Dershowitz called the list “the most despicable article ever in Jewish media.”)
In one passage, Dreyfuss plagiarizes a quote that appeared in another publication four months ago. “Gorka’s thesis is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University,” says UNC professor Andrew Reynolds. The same quote, almost verbatim, appeared on the ThinkProgress blog in April: “In sum, Gorka’s Ph.D is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University.” The source is Reynolds’s blog, which Dreyfuss does not bother to cite (and which is crowned with the “fake news” from April that Gorka was fired, which he was not).
Dreyfuss likewise copies many lies that were debunked months ago, such as the claim that Gorka’s anti-communist father was a member of the Vitézi Rend order, which he said “was created by the Nazi-backed ruler of Hungary” and was “involved in the slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust.” As Breitbart News and others proved six months ago, the order to which Gorka’s father belonged was an entirely separate organization that had no connection at all to the original — which was created long before the Second World War, by the way. (Even Wikipedia knows that.)
At one point, Dreyfus is forced to acknowledge: “By all accounts, Gorka’s own writing and statements at the time [in Hungary] included no anti-Semitic comments, and neither The Forward nor other reporters who’ve investigated his background in Hungary have turned up any evidence that Gorka himself participated in anything that could be called anti-Jewish.” Still, he insists that Gorka must somehow be an antisemite, because — well, just because.
Where Dreyfuss cannot find proof to back up his hysterical claims, he turns to that most reliable of secondary sources: Democratic politicians. He cites Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), a supporter of the Iran nuclear deal reviled by many of his own Jewish constituents, who claims falsely that “Dr. Gorka is a member of certain anti-Semitic Nazi groups such as Vitézi Rend.” (Gorka is not a member, nor — again — was the group his father joined antisemitic.)
What is curiously refreshing about Dreyfuss’s work is how shamelessly bad it is. One might have thought that after Rolling Stone‘s recent history of hoax reporting, its editors had learned a lesson. You have to admire their chutzpah.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated to include Dreyfuss’s acknowledgment that there is no proof that Gorka has written or said anything antisemitic in Hungary (Indeed, he provides no such proof elsewhere, either).