FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18 / AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin doubled down late Friday night in his feud with independent media nonprofit ProPublica, after previous comments that some critics called anti-Semitic.
Bevin has been critical since ProPublica announced an investigative project with the Louisville-based newspaper the Courier Journal.
He drew criticism after a Dec. 12 video posted to his official Twitter account in which he railed against nonprofit and singled out Herbert and Marion Sandler and financier George Soros, whom he referred to as “George ‘I-hate-America’ Soros.”
The comments were widely criticized locally and in national media stories, with many saying that invoking Soros in this way in particular is common anti-Jewish dog-whistle.
In the new video, Bevin suggests he didn’t know that the Sandlers or Soros are Jewish.
“I found other people offended by the idea that I happen to mention two people that happen to have a certain, uh, faith tradition, or at least that’s what I’m being told,” Bevin says in the video. “I wouldn’t have even known that or thought of that.”
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 15, 2018
“I don’t care what someone’s faith is,” he insists, “I don’t care what their creed is. …For people who think that’s a dog-whistle: Please, don’t be so simplistic.”
ProPublica editors defended themselves and the partnership in their own tweets, saying Soros has provided less than 2 percent of ProPublica funding. Editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg questioned Bevin’s reaction to their announcement, saying that if it “stirs up this kind of hysteria, what is Gov. Matt Bevin going to do when we publish our first story?”