Is it clickbait?
Or is it quality journalism?
I'm talking about Reuters' viral story — surely it came across your social media feed — with the tantalizing headline "In age of Trump, evangelicals back self-styled top U.S. pimp."
Wait, all evangelicals support the pimp!? Well, maybe not all of them. But the international wire service reports as fact that "many conservative Christian voters" do:
PAHRUMP, Nev. (Reuters) — He styles himself as America’s best-known pimp, a strip-club owner who runs multiple brothels and looks set to win a seat as a Republican in the Nevada legislature with the blessing of many conservative Christian voters.
Meet Dennis Hof, whose political rise reflects fundamental changes in electoral norms that have roiled the Republican Party and upended American politics during the era of President Donald Trump.
“This really is the Trump movement,” Hof, 71, told Reuters in an interview at Moonlite BunnyRanch, his brothel near Carson City in northern Nevada that was featured on the HBO reality television series “Cathouse.”
“People will set aside for a moment their moral beliefs, their religious beliefs, to get somebody that is honest in office,” he said. “Trump is the trailblazer, he is the Christopher Columbus of honest politics.”
What evidence — besides the quotes from Hof himself — does Reuters offer that "many conservative Christian voters" back the pimp?
The news organization quotes one pastor who voted for Hof:
When news broke that Hof had won the nominating contest for a state Assembly seat on June 12, evangelical pastor Victor Fuentes said he closed his eyes and prayed.
He did not ask God to deliver Nevada and the Republican Party from Hof, the thrice-divorced author of “The Art of the Pimp” who campaigned as the “Trump of Pahrump.” Although Christian groups have long rallied against the state’s legal brothel industry, Fuentes was willing to overlook Hof’s history as a champion of the flesh trade and gave thanks for his victory.
“People want to know how an evangelical can support a self-proclaimed pimp,” Fuentes said in an interview at his home in Pahrump, an unincorporated town of 36,000 people that is the largest community in the sprawling, rural district where Hof is favored to win in November’s general election.
He said the reason was simple. “We have politicians, they might speak good words, not sleep with prostitutes, be a good neighbor. But by their decisions, they have evil in their heart. Dennis Hof is not like that.”
The pastor said he felt Hof would protect religious rights, among other things.
Besides Fuentes, Reuters names two other evangelicals — a married couple — identified as willing to overlook Hof's profession.