by Jeremy Fassler
This week, the Purity Left (formerly the alt-left until Donald Trump corrupted the phrase - I'm happy to take suggestions on another term to use) were dealt another blow in their battle against the evil DNC when the class-action lawsuit filed against them by husband-and-wife team Jared and Elizabeth Lee Beck was thrown out of court. The lawsuit stated that the DNC had conned Bernie donors into giving to either the Sanders campaign or the DNC itself by pretending the primary system was impartial, when it was rigged for Hillary from the start.
You may remember the name Elizabeth Lee Beck from a New York Times story in 2015. She and her husband were questioning Donald Trump in a deposition and she left in the middle to use her breast pump to feed her child. Trump called this "disgusting," and, because there's a tweet for everything, elaborated on it in his favorite 140-character medium:
But rather than come down on the side of sanity in the 2016 election, they spent their time tweeting garbage like this:
Their hatred of Hillary, combined with their lawsuit, catapulted them to cult status among the most hardcore Berners. Although the "mainstream media" supposedly shut them out of their coverage (even though they were on in publications like Newsweek and The Observer) they found independent outlets to appear on, mostly in the form of YouTube channels belonging to "journalists" like Caitlin Johnstone, Tim Black, and H.A Goodman, who repeatedly referred to their lawsuit as "the most important story in the country." But let's not use these appearances to write off the Becks as mere far left crazies - they're equal opportunity crazies because they've both appeared on InfoWars.
As the suit progressed, things started to get a little freaky. Co-counsel Cullin O'Brien said he received threatening messages concerning Florida prosecutor Beranton J. Whisenant, who was supposedly investigating former Democratic IT staffer Imran Awan when he was killed in Debbie Wasserman Schultz's district. The Becks themselves later said they received a threatening phone call from someone whose voice was disguised, but whose number they said matched that of Wasserman Schultz's office.
And then the plot becomes even more like an Oliver Stone movie. In addition to the dogged, independent lawyers who take on a suit that the "establishment" doesn't want them to go near, suddenly, a series of unexplained deaths keeps them from presenting their case! First, Shawn Lucas, their process-server, was found dead in his hotel room shortly after the case was first filed in August of last year. The Becks also believe Seth Rich, the former DNC employee killed in a robbery gone wrong last summer, was the WikiLeaks source. Elizabeth Lee Beck elaborated on this:
"'Rich [was] a potential witness in my case,' she said. “All I’m saying is, two potential witnesses in my case – Shawn Lucas was my process server – they both died. Why they died, how they died, I don’t know. Mr. Lucas was about to provide evidence to the court in this case, on service of process, when he very, very suddenly passed away.
"'Seth Rich, he was an employee of the DNC, and he was murdered. Nothing was taken from him. They first said it was a botched robbery, but nothing was taken from him. You can ask anybody that grew up in a large urban area – I’ve gotten robbed – they usually take something.'"
So when the lawsuit was thrown out of court last week, it was because the big, bad establishment didn't want them to take down the all-seeing, all-knowing DNC, right? Well, not exactly. In an article in Paste this past month, Walker Bragman detailed several reasons why the suit was doomed to begin with. While Bragman's past reporting has...let's just say, inspired some saucy rebuttals, here, his explanations of its weaknesses are pretty strong.
From his point of view, for the class action lawsuit to have succeeded, it would have had to establish "detrimental reliance." Since much of the suit was based around the fact that the DNC's charter says it will be neutral in the primaries, the Becks would have had to demonstrate that donors to Bernie Sanders and the DNC at large made these contributions based on the belief that the primary would be neutral. If the Becks had targeted only Sanders donors who had never made a political donation until this point, and had read the DNC charter, then there would have been a possibility of establishing detrimental reliance. Instead, they advertised the case through their SuperPAC, JamPAC, and got a wide swath of Bernie donors to join in on it. By grouping together a bunch of clients who did not all have the exact same redressable injury, establishing detrimental reliance and proving negligence on the part of the DNC were not possible.
Federal Judge Zloch addressed this when he wrote in his dismissal:
"The named Plaintiffs haver not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court...Not one of them alleges that they had ever read the DNC’s charter or heard the statements they now claim are false before making their donations. And not one of them alleges that they took action in reliance on the DNC’s charter or the statements identified in the First Amended Complaint. Absent such allegations, these Plaintiffs lack standing.”
So the Becks did not do a great job putting their case together, and they also propagate conspiracy theories that have been debunked - Seth Rich was not killed for being the WikiLeaks source, and Shawn Lucas died not from any foul play, but from a toxic combination of opioids. (Beranton Whisenant's death was ruled a suicide.) But what about the mainstream media who ignored their crusading lawsuit? Surely they're to blame for some of this, right?
In the World News Daily article, Elizabeth Beck accuses Michael Barboro, the New York Times reporter who wrote the story about Trump's blow-up at her, of blocking her because he "lost his head" when she tried to get him to cover the story. Here's some of her tweets asking him to cover it:
And here's what he said when he finally responded to her:
So Elizabeth aggressively calls Barboro out and is met with the kindest possible response, but then insists that he's irresponsible? This kind of aggressive posturing of "everyone's an idiot but me" is what keeps the MSM from taking the antics of the Purity Left as anything more than childish pouting. The Becks are notorious for this. Look at how Jared responded when I chided him for attacking Joy Reid:
The bottom line is, Jared and Elizabeth Beck are the same as the others in the Purity Left community who, through their own independent media channels, have set up a business for themselves to cater to a specific, ill-informed audience that laps up their misinformation like it's news - much like InfoWars. Their reach will never extend beyond the fringes, but being "ignored" by the MSM is part of their brand - just as much as hating the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Hillary Clinton. The lawsuit wasn't about succeeding - in fact, when Walker Bragman asked Elizabeth Beck what her intention was in the lawsuit in an interview, she lashed out at him. The lawsuit, in this respect, was less about changing the laws or addressing wrongs - it was about building a brand. The Becks may have made themselves part of a community, but it's one whose alliances are based on common hatred rather than common love. And it's why they will remain on the fringes forever.