It was an accident that I was even listening to the radio that afternoon. The Alabama State Senate had gone late, so I was late getting back on the road to head home to Baldwin County.
As I often do in Montgomery, I tuned my radio to NewsTalk 93.1. Through the speakers came an old familiar voice, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.
To recap, Brooks was defeated by Katie Britt nearly a year earlier in a runoff for Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nomination.
Since that loss, Brooks, someone I like and respect, has not had the most graceful exit from politics.
That day, his appearance on David Earnest's "Health and Wealth Show" didn't do much to help.
Brooks unambiguously said China played a role in his election loss in 2022.
"Communist China is very much aware of my views, and so they did everything they could to assist the election of somebody else to the United States Senate in 2022," the now-former congressman said in an interview with Earnest during an interview that aired May 17.
Audio and partial transcript of Brooks' remarks here: Mo Brooks: Communist China assisted in my 2022 U.S. Senate defeat
That's quite a claim, no? The biggest threat to America's national security interfered in a U.S. Senate election.
As the editor of 1819 News, I would be failing in my job if that soundbite did not make it to our site's front canvas.
He said it. The audio does not lie.
Enter Alabama Board of Education member Wayne Reynolds.
Reynolds, who needed something to pass his off-time away from solving the woes of Alabama's beleaguered public K-12 schools, besides commenting on Gov. Kay Ivey's weight on social media, went on offense against Brooks.
How does one go on offense against a defeated congressman? By filing an ethics complaint with the Alabama Republican Party, as one does.
In his complaint, Reynolds interpreted Brooks' comments about Communist China working for his defeat to mean that Communist China was aiding Britt.
"I supported and voted for Katie Britt," Reynolds wrote. "I nor anyone I know of were influenced by the Communist Party or the Chinese Government. Senator Britt won because the Republicans of Alabama preferred her over Mo Brooks."
That isn't precisely what Brooks said. However, since Katie Britt defeated Brooks, coming to that conclusion is not a wild leap.
See Reynolds' complaint below
Editor's note: Mo Brooks did not make these remarks during my radio show.
Of course, Brooks had to offer a written response to Reynolds, which formalized Alabama's dumbest (and saddest) political feud.
See Brooks' response below
However, Brooks erroneously attacked the messenger.
For emphasis, Jeff Poor's sensationalized opinions about what my remarks might mean are just that: opinions, and the Ethics Committee should look at my actual verbatim remarks, not some writer's interpretations that, in the media business, are often intended to sensationalize and be "click bait" to maximize hits and media profits.
I've known Congressman Brooks for many years. He has never hesitated to call me when taking issue with anything I have written. This was apparently the exception.
A couple of things here:
First, there are no "sensationalized opinions" involved, Mo. You said it. Own it. Those were your verbatim remarks.
Second, if 1819 News' decision to highlight your remarks was guided by "click bait" to maximize hits and media profits, as you say, I am committing malpractice in my duties as editor. There are many more relevant and click-enticing places to look than a has-been congressman's interview with a brokered early evening Montgomery radio show.
He doesn't need it, but my advice to Congressman Brooks is if you do not want frivolous dumb ethics complaints made against you, don't say dumb unsubstantiated things on the public airwaves.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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