A Washington Post reporter could not resist the latest offering from infamous hoaxers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, credulously reporting that the FBI had raided Burkman’s home early Monday — only to learn hours later that the raid the pair had staged was part of another attention-grabbing ruse.
Post reporter Rachel Weiner quoted Burkman — whose Arlington, Va., home has been the site for many a press conference announcing various smear campaigns against Democratic politicians — saying his home had been raided by FBI agents, who reportedly took phones, computers, and documents in connection to a coming press conference.
“We’re not going to be intimidated,” Burkman told the Post, even as law enforcement would not confirm the story to the paper, and later definitively denied conducting the raid.
Weiner moved forward with the story despite the lack of FBI confirmation and the dubious reputation of Burkman and Wohl, perhaps because Wohl faces a felony charge in California and that the FBI is allegedly investigating the duo already.
The Daily Beast settled the matter later in the day by revealing that Burkman and Wohl had in fact recruited white male actors on Craigslist to film a fake FBI raid. One of the men who responded to the craigslist ad with the understanding that he would be filming a television pilot told the outlet what happened and provided emails from an account linked with Wohl to support his claims.
The Beast also reported that someone named “Bev Donahue” blasted out photos and clips of the staged raid to reporters — a factoid the Post did not mention — and posted the “evidence” on Twitter. But the account is linked to an email that apparently mirrors Wohl’s.
After the new reporting shed light on the duo’s latest hoax, Weiner admitted that “there’s a good chance” Burkman “staged this raid himself.” Weiner did not reply to a request for comment on whether she was alerted of the initial story by the “evidence” supplied by “Bev Donahue,” and the Post later added an editor’s note saying that “additional reporting indicates that the raid likely was staged,” after the paper was called out for making shadow edits.
Editor’s Note: After initial publication of this story, additional reporting indicates that the raid was staged. The story will continue to be updated.
We have deleted an earlier tweet. pic.twitter.com/cSVt97aaP1
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 14, 2020
Burkman and Wohl thrive off of media attention, which has waxed and waned over the years of high-profile allegations made against figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci, former special counsel Robert Mueller, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). Episodes like this indicate it might never fully subside.