Politco raised eyebrows Tuesday with a heavily criticized report that Vice President Kamala Harris is the victim of a coordinated attack to ruin her reputation among listeners of Hispanic radio in South Florida.
The story, "Democrats riled by Spanish-language radio attacks on Kamala Harris," by Christopher Cadelago and Eugene Daniels declared that "Florida Democrats are sounding alarms over what they believe is a sustained and coordinated campaign rapidly unfolding across Spanish-language media to tarnish the image of" Harris," but failed to present evidence for the claim beyond anecdotal quotes, largely from Democrats.
The piece didn't identify specific radio stations the coordinated calls are allegedly happening on, instead identifying them simply as "local radio programs." The feature also relied on MSNBC analyst Fernand Amandi, although it didn't mention his punditry for the left-wing outlet, instead referring to him as "a political strategist who helped Barack Obama win the state in 2008 and 2012."
Amandi told Politico that criticism of Harris struck him as "weird," claiming she is "not really a topic of conversation down here."
Politco admitted in the story there "is no definitive proof of a coordinated campaign attacking Harris on South Florida radio, as opposed to organic criticism of her conveyed by regular callers." It even informed readers that it tried to prove the theory of a political astroturf campaign to criticize her and found "critiques of Biden still outnumbered Harris" and "sporadic attacks on Anthony Fauci" occurred, too.
Morning radio host Roberto Rodríguez Tejera did agree with the notion that criticism of Harris must be some sort of coordinated effort.
"He identified no suspects but speculated that Republicans are behind them," Cadelago and Daniels reported before quoting another person, who is a "Democratic operative," and declared Republicans are "starting early."
Giancarlo Sopo, a public relations strategist who worked on President Trump’s campaign, ripped the article in a lengthy Twitter thread.
"Many are puzzled by this piece, so let me explain what’s really going on here: I know Miami and its media market really well. This article is laughable and I honestly don’t think [Politico editor Sam Stein] vetted this story. He should have," Sopo wrote.
Sopo noted that a "major red flag" is that the radio station isn’t named, but he felt there was a reason for the omission.
"If you know they’re talking about a conservative AM station the article falls apart," he wrote. "Actualidad Radio’s audience is Venezuelan, Cuban and older. Even rookie national reporters know that Miami Hispanics tend to be conservative, especially Cubans and Venezuelans. So yeah, of course this AM station’s listeners don’t like Biden and Harris …. they’re Republicans!"
Sopo added, "Anti-Biden/Harris callers on AM station isn’t evidence of ‘coordination,’" and noted the story is seemingly designed to make readers think the radio station listeners are Biden-supporting Democrats.
"People who don’t know better may assume these are otherwise Dem voters, but they’re not. Never have been. So what’s really going on? Almost certainly one of two things," Sopo wrote before listing a pair of theories.
"1) FL Democrat political operatives want donors to fund BS ‘anti misinformation’ projects there. In other words, a grift — and not a smart one," Sopo wrote. "2) Democrats are panicking about their Hispanic problem and need ‘misinformation’ conspiracy theories as an excuse for their failures and a pretext to censor speech."
Sopo feels the "core of the problem" is that "Democrats believe Hispanics owe them" their vote.
"We don’t, and these hysterics remind us why we will not vote for them: they are incompetent, censorious clowns," Sopo wrote.
Politico is standing by its story despite widespread criticism.
"We stand by the reporting. The piece makes clear to readers that that there is no proof of a coordinated campaign against the Vice President and that the calls could very well be organic in nature," a spokesperson told Mediaite.
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.