Right-wing website made up viral fake claim Republicans like Marco Rubio are now pushing: report

Right-wing website made up viral fake claim Republicans like Marco Rubio are now pushing: report
Marco Rubio // Credit: Gage Skidmore
Marco Rubio embarrasses himself again by doubling down on false attack of defense secretary

This week Republican lawmakers and voters have had a great time pushing a false claim that the Biden administration is spending tens of millions of dollars to pay for "free crack pipes" for drug abusers. The claim came from a report by the right-wing website Washington Free Beacon, including a quote falsely attributed to an HHS spokesperson, according to The Daily Beast.

It's no surprise The Daily Beast is calling "a lie" made its way to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and a U.S. Senator's Twitter account.

"The Washington Free Beacon seemed to take a big leap to assert that free crack pipes would be part of a harm reduction package," The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberg reports, calling it "a lie rocketed around conservative media."

The report, published Monday and titled “Biden Admin To Fund Crack Pipe Distribution To Advance ‘Racial Equity,’” cited an HHS spokesperson as confirming that a sweeping harm reduction package “will provide pipes” to smoke, quote, “any illicit substance.”

The Free Beacon's article reads: “A spokesman for the agency told the Washington Free Beacon that these kits will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and ‘any illicit substance.’”

The Daily Beast reviewed the email chain between the Washington Free Beacon and HHS. It's unclear how the Free Beacon made the "any illicit substance" claim, given the HHS email specifically states no federal laws would be broken.

In fact, The Daily Beast reports the HHS spokesperson says the Free Beacon “omitted the information shared with him about the grantees needing to comply with federal, state, and local laws—the very language that would prohibit crack pipes.”

The damage has already been done. The "free crack pipes" claim is now one more myth in conservatives' false reality.

Arizona far-right Republican U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko made the false claim on the floor of the House of Representatives:

Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, linking to an article literally titled: "Biden administration denies funding programs that hand out crack pipes to prevent infection and promote 'racial equity'" says in a video posted to his Twitter account, "The Biden administration is going to be sending crack pipes and meth pipes, targeting minority communities," a claim he knows is a lie.

Fox News entertainers Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity both made the most of the claim, with The Daily Mail reporting: "Tucker Carlson slams policy to hand out free crack pipes and needles warning it 'will result in addicts shooting up on the streets.'"

The genie is out of the bottle, and no one on the right has any intention or desire to put it back.


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