This might be difficult to believe, but it happened. On Monday, BuzzFeed News published a story entitled “People Say The Republican Congressman Who Was Allegedly Run Off The Road Is Ignoring Them” included some implied approval with a Republican Congressman David Kustoff (Tenn.) allegedly being run off the road by an angry liberal constituent.
Written by Brianna Sacks, the piece painted the woman who allegedly ran Kustoff off the road as a sympathetic figure simply wanting answers from her Congressman about ObamaCare’s future.
Sacks applied no ideological or party label to Wendi Wright but touted her “crowdfunding campaign” to meet with Kustoff:
A crowdfunding page set up by friends and family of a woman accused of endangering a United States congressman says she was upset the lawmaker didn't return her requests for a meeting or to set up a town hall about the ongoing health care debate.
Wendi Wright, 35, from Union City, Tennessee, wanted to discuss Republican Rep. David Kustoff's vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The measure, which passed the GOP-led House of Representatives earlier this month, has now moved to the US Senate.
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Two paragraphs about her alleged actions passed before it was back to promoting her fundraising scheme:
The organizer of the crowdfunding campaign, who identifies herself as Nicole Mc T, wrote on the page that Wright is a single mother who has been falsely accused and had been trying to speak with Kustoff before the alleged incident. Wright is studying early childhood education at the same campus where Kustoff's meeting took place.
A person familiar with the YouCaring page confirmed to BuzzFeed News that its creators know Wright and that she is aware of the campaign. It's raised $250 out of its $15,000 goal since it kicked off Saturday.
Sacks also touted Wright’s fundraising material, which proclaimed that “[s]he needs help fighting this story that is being told about her.”
After explaining that Kustoff wasn’t actually holding a town hall but just visiting University of Tennessee at Martin, Sacks went straight to the heart of the American outrage: the comments section on Facebook.
She promoted livid commenters on Kustoff’s Facebook page and laid out what allegedly happened with Wright going after Kustoff:
After the congressman wrapped up his May 8 meeting at the university, Wright allegedly tried to stop him on campus and talk to him about her grievances, Plunk said. When the congressman drove away in his car, "that's why she began following him," Plunk said, adding that it was for about five miles before the congressman pulled into the driveway of a farmer he was familiar with.
When Kustoff's vehicle entered the driveway, police said Wright got out of her car and "began screaming and striking the windows" of his vehicle. At one point she allegedly reached inside his car and then tried to block the vehicle from moving, police said.
Plunk said there was a "lot of cursing," and that witnesses "couldn't understand a lot of what she was saying."
Someone called 911 during the encounter, but Wright left before police arrived. Authorities later identified her after she posted about the incident on Facebook, the sheriff's department said, but declined to provide details about her post.
Plunk said that when police attempted to speak to Wright about the incident and get her side of the story, she refused to cooperate.
"That left us with no other choice but to issue an arrest warrant for her and take her into custody," Plunk said.
Normally, this would be the part where a journalist would point out not only the severity of Wright’s supposed actions but how rare this is for American political discourse. It surely would be stated if this happened to a Democrat or racial minority.
Alas, that wasn’t the case. Instead, Sacks concluded the puff piece with more from Wright’s brother:
While her brother said he could not speak for Wright, he also expressed a frustration over the Republican healthcare bill, and specifically language that would allow insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums in states that choose to do so.
"There are a lot of pre-existing conditions that would leave people without a way to even be insured. A lot of folks will be without insurance," he said.