Right-wing media uses annotations to spin up the smear machine against Moore accuser

Much ado about "77"

Beverly Young Nelson the latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, shows her high school yearbook signed by Moore, at a news conference, in New York, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked. Anticipating Nelson's allegations at the news conference, Moore's campaign ridiculed her attorney, Gloria Allred, beforehand as "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt." (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Beverly Young Nelson the latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, shows her high school yearbook signed by Moore, at a news conference, in New York, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked. Anticipating Nelson's allegations at the news conference, Moore's campaign ridiculed her attorney, Gloria Allred, beforehand as "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt." (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

In a Friday morning interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Beverly Young Nelson, the woman who presented her high school yearbook she said was signed by Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, altered the story she originally told during a press conference in November.

At the original press conference, Nelson said Moore had signed the yearbook, but made no references to annotations she may have added. On Friday, however, Nelson wrote she had simply added a note at the bottom of his inscription writing the date, “12-22-77,” and “Olde Hickory House,” the restaurant of where the two had met.

Advertisement

This discrepancy is nothing new, however. Moore’s defenders have pointed to the difference between the 7s in “Christmas 1977,” which Moore wrote, and “12-22-77,” which Nelson wrote. As Will Saletan noted in Slate, the inscription and the appended text were obviously written by different people, with Moore writing the former. On November 15, an attorney for Moore said in a press conference that he questions whether “everything written in that yearbook was written by Roy Moore,” a non-denial that acknowledges part of the inscription could have been written by him. Now, Nelson is confirming that the she wrote one part while Moore wrote the other, but now right-wing media has begun to use this against her by saying the entirety of the inscription is fake. If this were the case, both the handwriting on inscription and the annotation would be the same.

Moore himself has repeatedly told false and contradictory stories about his relationship with these women while they were young girls. He first admitted to knowing two of them and called them both “good girls,” but he later changed this story and said he’s never met any of them and they are all liars.

Right-wing media outlets are using the “forgery” narrative to undermine the credibility of Nelson’s story and in by extension, the stories of other women who have come forward to accuse Moore of preying on them when they were young girls.

Breitbart’s headline reads, “Bombshell: Roy Moore Accuser Beverly Nelson Admits She Forged Yearbook.”

Right-wing conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec have also used this opportunity to attack Nelson and absolve Moore of any guilt.

While Fox News ran an article on their website using the word “forged” in their headline, although annotations are very different from forgeries. (The headline inside the article has been edited to replace “forged” with “wrote”).

The Fox story also writes, “Moore has denied signing the yearbook and said he did not know Nelson at the time. Moore, who went on to become a judge and then the chief justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, later ruled against Nelson in a 1999 divorce case.”

This is not true: Moore did not rule against her, nor was he even the judge in her divorce case.

In spite of all this, Moore is heading into the special election on Tuesday with the full support of the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump.


Update 2:01 PM

Fox News has removed the part of their article that falsely stated Moore ruled against Nelson in her divorce case.