No, the Spitting Attack on a Paralyzed Mom Was Not a Hoax

Dana Loesch and other right-wingers react to MoJo’s exposé on gun bullies by attacking an assault victim.

Jennifer Longdon Everytown for Gun Safety

Last week, Mother Jones published an in-depth report exposing vicious, degrading tactics used by gun-rights activists against women, from Arizona to Texas to Indiana. In response, right-wing pundit Dana Loesch and others have claimed that an assault on Jennifer Longdon—a mom, gun owner, and gun violence survivor paralyzed by a bullet—is a hoax. Their attack on Longdon (and Mother Jones) is as inane and illogical as it is wrong.

As I reported in detail last week, a man who recognized Longdon as a gun-reform advocate from a television broadcast approached her in the Indianapolis airport on April 25 and spat in her face. Loesch says that because no video evidence of the attack was presented with the story, it simply could not have happened. “I was in the same airport on April 25th and it was quite busy,” she wrote. “Should be easy to obtain security footage.” Beyond Loesch’s faith in the 24/7 surveillance state as the new standard of fact-finding—nothing is true unless you roll tape!—her comrades say that further proof of a conspiracy rests with CNN supposedly monopolizing all TVs in the Indy airport and having “no record” of the Longdon footage. Got it.

Longdon spoke to me in detail, in multiple interviews, about what she went through in Indianapolis. It was one of several such incidents of harassment and bullying she has endured over several years as an outspoken woman and advocate of gun reform. I confirmed her account of the spitting attack in the airport with other people who she spoke to about it at the time of the incident. The additional harassment and stalking she endured in Phoenix last year, also detailed in my report, was corroborated by a Phoenix police official directly involved in the case.

Each person I spoke with about Longdon in the course of my reporting conveyed that she is a person of integrity and fortitude, qualities you might not be surprised to hear attributed to a person who travels around the country in a wheelchair, in constant physical pain, to advocate for greater public safety. Nobody I spoke with relied on bizarre conjecture and a quick google search, keyword “CNN,” to insinuate she was a liar.

The tactics deployed by Loesch and others to try to discredit our report are nothing new. If they have one shred of evidence that the spitting assault on Longdon didn’t take place, we are all ears. Betcha a nickel—or heck, why not just make it a hundred bucks—that none will be forthcoming.

You can read the full Mother Jones investigation, with the pattern of bullying and harassment it documents in detail, here. You can also watch my discussion of what’s behind this troubling issue with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, below. Hayes, who also reported on this subject recently, describes the phenomenon this way: “What you’re getting is a gun movement that is dominated by a very small, very hardcore group of people, with very fringe views, who can be very aggressive. And we’ve seen this play out time and time again…in which you’re not just getting arguments about policy, you’re getting rank, pure intimidation.”

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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