Prominent GOP consultant falsely accused of fabricating quote after NBC stealth edits article calling Trump supporters a 'nuisance'

NBC ran an article stating that DeSantis supporters feels that Trump supporters are a "nuisance." That article, called "Trump's online war machine trains its weapons on Ron DeSantis," quoted a spokesperson for pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down calling Trump supporters "internet trolls." 

Alex Bruesewitz, a GOP consultant and CEO of X Strategies, who was quoted for the story, posted a screen shot from the article.

Bruesewitz shared a screen shot of a paragraph, which read: "Trump's friends on Twitter, Truth Social and other platforms are more of a nuisance than anything, said Erin Perrine, communications director for the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down."

"To our social media friends," Bruesewitz commented, "accounts both big and small, thank you for standing with Trump and calling out Rob DeSanctimonious for turning against MAGA and teaming up with the establishment GOP. Team DeSantis finds you to be a “nuisance.” But I think you’re all wonderful patriots!"

That paragraph from the story was deleted, with no note about the stealth edit. Then Bruesewitz was hit with a "community notes" fact check, with claims that he had fabricated the paragraph since it did not appear in the story.

A community note was slapped on the post, saying "The image is a fabricated quote that doesn't appear anywhere in the NBC News article that is shared."

"The fact that they accused me of fabricating the quote is absolutely absurd," Bruesewitz told Human Events. "Why wouldn’t they reach out to the reporters at NBC News for comment first? Community notes should not be so quick to act on behalf of the DeSantis 2024 campaign. Hopefully this will be a one time issue."

The article had not been archived before the stealth edit was made, yet Perrine had commented on the tweet thread, saying "That's the reporters phrasing not mine." With that statement, Perrine acknowledged that yes, the paragraph had been in the story.

Perrine's quote, however, remained in the story.

"'Let's not confuse internet trolls who previously praised Gov. DeSantis and are now deleting their tweets to try and protect their bottom lines with real influencers,' said Erin Perrine, communications director for Never Back Down, a pro-DeSantis super PAC. 'There is a stark difference between making noise and wielding actual influence.'"

It was only well after the deletion of the "nuisance" paragraph that a note was added on the article to say that it was revised.

"CLARIFICATION: (April 4, 2023, 8:47 a.m. ET):  This story has been updated to remove a characterization of Perrine’s quote that Trump supporters on social media are "more of a nuisance than anything."


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