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Arizona Republican Party Doubles Down On 'Liberal Hacks' And Anti-Journalist Rhetoric

Less than two weeks after Sen. Martha McSally (R-Arizona) called CNN reporter Manu Raju a “liberal hack” when asked a question about impeachment, the state Republican Party Committee is seizing on the phrase and using it as a rallying cry.

At the 2020 meeting of the State Committee for the Arizona Republican Party, speakers including McSally, Rep. Debbie Lesko, and party chairwoman Kelli Ward each repeated anti-media and anti-journalist messages that label the press the “liberal hacks.” At one point, Lesko encouraged Republicans to get their news directly from the Republican Party.

Committee Chairwoman Kelli Ward borrowed from President Trump’s rallies, calling on the audience to jeer at journalists — who were invited by the State Republican Committee’s communications team -- assembled in a press area near the back of the auditorium.

As Ward said that Republicans would succeed “despite endless propaganda and pontificating by the liberal hacks who are in the room with us today, the fake news media,” members of the audience turned towards the reporters and began booing. Ward joined in with the audience, before continuing her speech.

Sen. McSally, who was in Washington for the Senate impeachment trial, spoke in a three-minute pre-recorded video. In addition to continuing her support for the president, McSally doubled down on the “liberal hack” comment.

“What's even worse, the media is right in step with the Democrats and their extreme agenda,” McSally said. “They don't even realize it, of course. So they didn't like it when I called them liberal hacks. I'm a fighter pilot and I call it like it is.”

McSally has monetized “liberal hack,” selling t-shirts with the phrase.

Rep. Debbie Lesko was more reserved in her criticism of the news media, instead telling the audience to get their information from elected Republican officials.

“Look at the social media. Look at my social media. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, David Schweikert’s [social media]. We’ll keep you up to date,” she said. “The party will keep you up to date.”

News Politics
Scott Bourque was a reporter and podcast producer at KJZZ from 2019 to 2022.