Reporters, politicos and even celebrities were beside themselves Thursday over reports Republican lawmakers had cases of beer wheeled into the Capitol building to celebrate the successful passage of their health care bill.
The problem is: There's absolutely no proof to this claim and there was no reason to believe it. It's actual fake news.
It all started with one reporter, Vice's Alexandra Jaffe, who tweeted at 1:50 pm Thursday from the Capitol building, "Cases upon cases of beer just rolled into the Capitol on a cart covered in a sheet. Spotted Bud Light peeking out from the sheet."
She then followed that tweet, which came shortly before the House voted to pass the Republican health care bill, with a clarifier, writing eight minutes later, "In fairness I don't know where his was going. Just hopped on an elevator."
Jaffe then followed up with a very specific and very important picture of the booze, writing, "Here are the beers. Asked if they were going to a GOP conference meeting & he said 'no, different meeting,' no further details."
Here are the beers. Asked if they were going to a GOP conference meeting & he said "no, different meeting," no further details pic.twitter.com/ugS8oW4kGj— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) May 4, 2017
To be clear, the person wheeling the beer specifically said it was not intended for the GOP conference on the American Health Care Act, the GOP's response to the Democratic Party's Affordable Care Act. Also, to be clear, Jaffe never actually said the beer was to be used for celebratory purposes following the House's vote on the health care legislation.
Yet, that's precisely what many in media, politics and entertainment automatically assumed after seeing her first tweet, which, by the way, has been shared more than 3,300 times on social media by Friday afternoon.
"This is disgusting: @HouseGOP is getting ready to *celebrate* taking healthcare away from 24 million Americans. This is absolutely shameful," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
CNN contributor Sally Kohn remarked, "To celebrate the millions of Americans who will be hurt by their new legislation?!?!?!?"
"Because taking health insurance from 24M people is a matter worth celebrating?" asked Steve Rattner, the investor who formerly headed President Obama's bailout of large automakers.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THESE FRAT BOYS ARE GONNA F—KING PARTY AFTER STRIPPING 24 MILLION OF INSURANCE?!?! WILL THERE BE KEGS FOR PAUL?!?!" asked the Center for American Progress's always calm and reasonable Igor Volsky.
"Republicans celebrated a bill with beer kegs that 18% of Americans support and most believe strips 24 million citizens of health care," said MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.
Yahoo contributor Dan Devine said, "To celebrate stripping medical coverage from 24 million people. Man."
The blog Jezebel published a story headlined, "GOP Health Care Bill Passes House as Republicans Drink Beer, Democrats Sing."
"Republicans celebrated taking away Americans' health insurance with cases of beer," read a headline published by Mic.
Raw Story pushed an article under the title, "Republicans plan massive beer bash as they take healthcare away from women, the disabled and poor.
None of this is true, none of these stories had an ounce of reporting, and it was explicitly disputed by the person wheeling the beer into the Capitol building.
It's bad enough that the GOP slapped together a poorly thought out alternative to the Affordable Care Act, despite having had seven years to prepare for this. It's bad enough they passed the amended version without an updated score from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. It's bad enough the bill was crafted and passed with even less transparency than the Democratic version.
Let's not detract, however, from the real and unacceptable circumstances under which the GOP bill passed with some ginned up nonsense about a supposed booze-addled victory lap.