The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby updates a story we’ve been following of Western Slope Republicans led by Rep. Scott Tipton snowballing misinformation into a veritable avalanche of bullshit directed at Gov. Jared Polis, making absurd allegations about the distribution of COVID-19 relief funds that say more about the competence of Polis’ accusers than Polis:
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton knew, or at least should have known, that money from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package approved by Congress last month included no money for smaller local governments, Gov. Jared Polis said in a blistering letter to the Republican congressman this week…
“It is troubling that you continue to proliferate misinformation related to the $1.7 billion in the Coronavirus Relief Fund that the state and its local governments are slated to benefit from,” Polis wrote back to Tipton on Wednesday. [Pols emphasis]
“As you well know, the bill you and Congress developed not only reduced the requested funding needed for state governments, but inexplicably prohibited communities of 500,000 or less from accessing direct aid dollars,” Polis wrote. “We remain unclear why Congress chose to strictly prohibit communities of 500,000 or less from directly accessing aid dollars. As you and your Colorado congressional delegation colleagues indicated in a letter dated April 21, ‘Congress should not be picking winners and losers in our nationwide recovery.’ ”
As we wrote previously in unpacking the several layers of misinformation which contributed, Rep. Scott Tipton voted to approve the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act–which means he has absolutely no excuse for not knowing what what’s in the bill. Nevertheless, acting on a mistaken interpretation of the bill Tipton voted for by a local official, Tipton demanded Gov. Polis explain why the money wasn’t being allocated according to that mistaken interpretation. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Tipton initially alleged that Gov. Polis intended to use the money “to balance the state’s budget,” which is a function of the legislature, not the executive branch.
Even though the whole allegation falls apart under scrutiny and leaves Tipton and Republicans who parroted him looking like idiots, the problem is there are plenty of voters who will hear the misinformation on social media, see the name of a Congressman they trust, and not ask any more questions. They’ll never see the correction, and some of them won’t care if they do see it. This is how bogus information becomes part of the popular narrative, and responsible public figures on all sides have an obligation to not make the contemptible factual errors Tipton made in his silly allegations.
The most memed moment in Billy Madison fits perfectly:
Pretty much, folks.