In fake robocall, ‘Bernie Bernstein’ offers pay for dirt on Roy Moore


Roy Moore at an election-night rally in Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 26, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A robocall from a nonexistent reporter calling himself “Bernie Bernstein” is offering Alabamans lots of money for information he promises not to check too thoroughly that would smear Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“Hi, this is Bernie Bernstein, I’m a reporter for the Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5000 and $7000,” the robocall says, according to a report Tuesday by WKRG, an NBC affiliate in Mobile. “We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at [email protected], thank you.”

A recording posted by the station features a man speaking with or mimicking a strong northeastern accent.

Washington Post editor-in-chief Marty Barron said in a statement to the station that he was “shocked and appalled” by the gambit, rejecting the premises that the Post pays sources, and promises not to check sources too thoroughly.


“The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality,” he said. “We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.” No staffer at the Post is named Bernie Bernstein or Al Bernstein.

Moore is reeling from allegations that 38 years ago when he was 32, he dated teenagers and in two cases sexually assaulted them. Moore has adamantly denied the charges but has lost the support of much of the GOP leadership ahead of a special election next month.

The Washington Post first reported the allegations. Twitter users quickly read anti-Semitism into the fake call.

“Looks like someone supporting Roy Moore wants to make the allegations against him sound like a Jewish conspiracy,” Adam Serwer, an Atlantic magazine writer, wrote on Twitter.

Bernie Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to win major-party nominating contests last year when he ran in the Democratic presidential primaries. Carl Bernstein, also Jewish, was part of the Washington Post team that exposed the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.

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