The latest attempted right-wing smear attack of Vice President Kamala Harris has backfired in spectacular fashion after revealing itself as fake outrage over a promotional video encouraging children to get interested in the decidedly uncontroversial topic of science. Conservatives were so busy trying to discredit the vice president that they failed to remember that their cult leader, Donald Trump, was also “guilty” of doing the same thing they’re accusing Harris of. Only way worse.
But more on that later.
For now, all you need to know is that the video in question was produced in concert with NASA for World Space Week, which ended Sunday, and features astronaut Shane Kimbrough challenging children to study the moon. Kimbrough then introduces his “team” of five kids from across the country as they meet virtually Zoom-style before beginning their lunar learning expedition.
As the video progresses, it’s apparent that these kids are reciting lines during the sleekly produced nine-and-a-half-minute video. At one point, one of the children gets a Facetime-style message on his cellphone from Kimbrough, who is shown floating in an apparent space shuttle, purportedly broadcasting live from outer space directly to this kid’s phone. Kimbrough tells them they can learn how to build their own telescope in Washington, D.C., at the Naval Observatory, which is where all U.S. vice presidents live. There, they’re shown meeting with Harris, who also leads the National Space Commission.
This is probably the point where you’re likely asking where the controversy is and what sparked the aforementioned outrage.
Well, believe it or not, a growing number of right-wing media outlets have dedicated entire news stories to this topic by disingenuously trying to shame Harris for the use of children as “paid actors” in the video, which, again, was not produced by the White House or President Joe Biden’s administration.
“The first installment of Vice President Kamala Harris’s YouTube Originals space series featured child actors who auditioned for their roles in the project,” the Washington Examiner wrote in one of the most non-gotcha ledes of all time.
“A video meant to sell children on the wonders of space exploration featured Vice President Kamala Harris giving a memorably loopy performance alongside a quintet of child actors who auditioned for their roles,” wrote the New York Post, which has previously been accused by a former staff writer of ordering slanderous articles about the vice president.
“Vice President Kamala Harris’s YouTube space series featured child actors in its first installment,” Fox News wrote.
However, missing from all three of those reports was why the use of child actors even mattered in the first place.
The entire disingenuous episode of fake outrage drew attention to the time when Trump, himself, first declared his candidacy for president more than five years ago. That was when he kicked off his campaign with a fine blend of ignorance and racism in front of a crowd of purportedly adoring fans who were later revealed to be actors who were paid to be there and pretend to be cheering supporters.
Yes, that’s right, Trump’s campaign hired a whole casting firm to contact its list of clients in a desperate attempt “to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement,” according to the email that was obtained and published by the Hollywood Reporter one day after Trump’s event.
To make matters worse, Gotham Government Relations — the firm that Team trump used to hire the paid actors to pretend to be his supporters — didn’t even get paid the $12,000 it was owed for supplying the paid actors and was forced to file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission before it even saw a single penny for its services.
“The delay between the time Gotham was hired — June — and when it was paid — October — essentially means that Gotham floated credit to the campaign for those four months, potentially making it a campaign contribution,” the Washington Post reported in 2017.
But with the revisionist history defiantly displayed by Trump supporters nearly a year after he lost the 2020 election, it’s easy to understand why they picked this disingenuous battle against Harris while selectively ignoring the fact that Trump did the same thing, only much worse.
This is America.