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Humane Society criticizes possible Trump appointee

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The Humane Society of the United States —  the nation’s leading animal protection organization — is speaking out against the potential appointment of Daily Mail reporter David Martosko as President-elect Donald Trump’s White House press secretary. 

The group says Martosko is unfit for the role because of his work with the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group run by Washington public relations executive Richard Berman that has relentlessly attacked the Humane Society.

A separate report in The Daily Beast on Tuesday said Martosko would not get the press secretary job, which instead would go to Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer. It did not appear that the Humane Society statement played a role. 

The Humane Society charged that Martosko created a a fake account on Facebook under the name of “Greg Davis” in an effort to dig up dirt on animal rights activists. 

{mosads}Martosko, who later worked as an editor for The Daily Caller, eventually admitted to creating the alias in an effort to gather information.

“David Martosko is unfit for the role of press secretary or any other position with a presidential administration,” the Humane Society’s statement said.

“His principal background experience is not in credible journalism but rests on his years of work with a discredited not-for-profit called the Center for Consumer Freedom, run as a self-enrichment scheme by Washington, D.C. public relations operative Richard Berman.

The group “urges the new administration to take into account Martosko’s role as ‘an early architect of ‘fake news,’” the statement says.

The Hill has reached out to Martosko for comment. 

The Humane League of Philadelphia sued Berman and Martosko for libel after an advertisement from the Center for Consumer Freedom called the organization a “violent animal rights group” whose “national leaders are still in prison,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit was eventually dismissed in 2013. 

Berman’s Center for Consumer Freedom operates the HumaneWatch.org website, which has criticized the Humane Society for spending too little of its donations on animal welfare.

It’s not clear who backs the website, though a Center for Public Integrity report noted that many of the board members from the Center for Consumer Freedom are veterans of the restaurant industry. The Humane Society has criticized pork producers for their treatment of animals.

This story was corrected at 3:22 to reflect that Martosko worked at The Daily Caller after his work for the Center for Consumer Freedom.

This story was corrected at 2:34 p.m. on Wednesday to reflect that the Humane League of Philadelphia was the organization that sued Berman and Martosko for libel.

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