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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Newsmax Pushed Faux Republican Outrage Over Bowman's Pulled Fire Alarm
Topic: Newsmax

When Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm at the Capitol in an attempt to leave the building in the midst of turmoil over passing legislation to avoid a government shutdown, Newsmax made sure to crank out some performative partisan outrage over the incident. It first published a wire article that featured Bowman stating it was an accident and another one on the investigation he will face over it, but those were quickly followed by said outrage:

An Oct. 1 article by the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy served up more general manufactured Republican outrage:

Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman's act of triggering a fire alarm at the Capitol as lawmakers rushed to pass a bill and avoid a government shutdown sparked outrage among Republicans.

Bowman admitted to pulling the alarm in one of the U.S. Capitol office buildings around noon Saturday. The act prompted a building-wide evacuation at a time when the House was in session and staffers were working in the building.

Republicans accused the progressive New York congressman of triggering the alarm in the Cannon House Office Building so Democrats would not have to vote on the continuing resolution to fund the government temporarily and avoid a shutdown.

McCarthy did note that Bowman said it was an accident, then added that "Many Republicans weren't buying it." to have an excuse to hype more Republican outrage:

Political commentator Julie Kelly said Bowman should be charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, just as people involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

"Rep. Bowman clearly violated numerous laws including 1512(c)(2) obstruction of an official proceeding. At least 320 Jan 6 defendants including Donald Trump have been charged with this felony count," Kelly posted with a screen grab of the law.

It wouldn't be a full-blown fit of manufactured Republican outrage if Donald Trump wasn't involved, and Nick Koutsobinas and Eric Mack oblige in another Oct. 1 article:

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., should be "prosecuted and imprisoned" for the "egregious act" of pulling a Capitol Hill fire alarm, an actual "Obstruction of an Official Proceeding," former President Donald Trump wrote in a pointed rebuke Sunday.

"Will Congressman Jamal [sic] Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C.," Trump posted on Truth Social.

"His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality. It was a very dangerous 'Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,' the same as used against our J-6 prisoners. Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???"

That was followed by an Oct. 2 article by Luca Cacciatore sounding deflated that the Capitol Police found that Bowman's story "was at least somewhat truthful." Then came a paywalled Oct. 4 article by Marisa Herman lamenting that it would be difficult to expel Bowman from Congress over the incident.

When Bowman pleaded guilty to pulling the fire alarm and agreed to pay a small fine and issue an apology, Cacciatore wropte a surprisingly straight Oct. 25 article on it. It also ran an Associated Press article on the plea that was doctored to reflect Newsmax's right-wing bias. The original AP article reads:

 Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count for triggering a fire alarm as lawmakers scrambled to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline.

Newsmax's version reads:

Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a member of "The Squad," pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count for triggering a fire alarm as lawmakers scrambled to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline.

Changing "Democratic Rep." to "Democrat Rep." is a nod to the right-wing campaign to rename the Democratic Party because right-wingers think it's a way to mess with Democrats, and the addition of a "Squad" label for him is irrelevant since it's not mentioned anywhere in the original AP article. 

This, of course, was followed by more right-wing whining,  this time over the punishment purprtedly not being severe enough. Sandy Fitzgerald wrote in an Oct. 26 article:

Allowing Rep. Jamaal Bowman to enter into a plea agreement and pay a fine for pulling a fire alarm as members of the House were heading into chambers to vote on a continuing resolution on Sept. 30 is "disparate treatment," considering how others were prosecuted for impeding an official process in the Jan. 6, 2021 protests, Rep. Andy Biggs said on Newsmax Thursday. 

The continuing resolution was to keep the government open and funded.

"I know he might not think it's a very big deal, but think of all the personnel that he took off the line for first responders around this city because he pulled that alarm," the Arizona Republican said on Newsmax's "American Agenda."

Note Fitzgerald's downgrading of the Capitol riot to a mere "protest." Needless to say, it's laughable to liken a pulled fire alarm to violent protesters. Fitzgerald served up more Republican attacks in another article taken from Newsmax TV:

Rep. Jamaal Bowman should have pleaded "not guilty by reason of insanity" to charges of triggering a fire alarm on Sept. 30 in the Cannon House Office Building on Sept. 30, when a critical vote was being put forward by Republicans for a continuing resolution to keep the government open, Rep. Troy Nehls said on Newsmax Thursday. 

"I don't know why he's even pleading guilty to this thing," the Texas Republican told Newsmax's "National Report." "I think if you know this guy and you're seeing who he is, and some of his interviews, he should have pled not guilty by reason of insanity, and he would have got away with it."

In an effort to keep the story alive, an Oct. 27 article by Nicole Wells hyped a demand by a right-wing watchdog group -- which she dishonestly called "nonpartisan" -- that Bowman "be punished for activating a fire alarm in a federal office building last month and disrupting congressional business."Wells also irrelevantly labeled Bowman as "a member of 'The Squad'" without explaining what it is or why it matters. A Nov. 8 article by Bowman touted a "follow-up complaint" filed by the group, which was again dishonestly called "non-partisan." But that hit a dead end when the House Ethics Committee chose not to open an investigation, which Brian Freeman ruefully reported in a Nov. 22 article.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 1, 2023 5:30 PM EST

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