Ted Cruz was forced into an unanticipated campaign reshuffle Monday after the Texas senator fired his communications director for posting and distributing a misleading 21-second video of Marco Rubio, in passing, denigrating the Bible. If that strategy sounds too-bad-to-be-true for a candidate, running in a party, deeply dependent on the evangelical vote, you’re right. If you assumed something was amiss, and just didn’t care and posted it on social media anyway, you, like spokesman Rick Tyler, might work for the Cruz campaign.
Above is a corrected version of the video. Here’s New York Times on the contents and context of the original:
At issue was a video of a hotel lobby encounter between Mr. Rubio and a Cruz staff member who had a Bible with him. The video’s subtitles suggested Mr. Rubio had said there were “not many answers” in the Bible. Mr. Cruz’s communications director, Rick Tyler, posted the video on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, needling Mr. Rubio for an “awkward remark.” In fact, Mr. Rubio had said the Bible had “all the answers.”
While misinformation, rumor, and innuendo—even in such an explicit form as a doctored video—seems like pretty standard (underhanded) fare for this campaign, the real surprise is that someone lost their job over it. Tyler apologized on Facebook early Monday morning, but it wasn’t enough. Pushing the video was, at best, certainly a sloppy thing to do and probably would have been a fireable offense for a press person operating in a pre-2016 cycle, but even at its most sinister Tyler’s misdirection hardly seems even comparable to some of the utter ridiculousness digitally muttered by an actual candidate in this race: human retweet, Donald Trump. The firing does apear to show, however, that the attacks launched by Rubio and, ironically, Trump alleging that Cruz is playing dirty appear to have taken its toll.