The Duggars hired Mike Huckabee’s ‘political adviser’ to handle PR nightmare

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It’s been three weeks now since In Touch Weekly broke the Josh Duggar story, and what a wild three weeks it has been. For those of you who enjoy insider-y stories of old-fashioned journalism, I’d suggest watching this video interview with one of In Touch’s editors. He talks about their decision to spend some money and time investigating the Duggar situation after hearing some long-running rumors that Josh had been “sent away” at some point. In Touch sent several reporters to Arkansas to ask questions of the Duggars’ neighbors and fellow-church-goers and they got a clearer idea of what the scandal was, so they tailored their FOIA request specifically to alleged crimes of Josh and anything involving Jim-Bob and Michelle.

In the wake of In Touch’s old-fashioned journalism scoop, the Duggars’ PR and crisis management has been nothing short of a total disaster. They’ve lied repeatedly on-camera, they’ve offended many people and they look like simpering, faux-moralistic hypocrites. So the question becomes: who was advising the Duggars? Turns out they hired a political advisor who worked for Mike Huckabee.

When InTouch Weekly first broke the news that Josh Duggar had molested his underage sisters as a teenager, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and 2016 presidential candidate, was one of the first to very publicly offer his support to the Duggar family. “Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family,” wrote the former Fox News host on his Facebook page, saying that even if an action was “inexcusable” that didn’t mean it was “unforgivable.”

It turns out the politician’s ties to the Duggars may run deeper than just a show of support. According to CNN Money’s Brian Stelter, the Duggar family’s public image crisis is being managed by Chad Gallagher, Huckabee’s longtime political adviser. Gallagher is the founder and principal of Legacy Consulting in Arkansas, and also oversees Huckabee’s political action committee, HUCKPAC, which made the news earlier this year for awarding nearly $400,000 to Huckabee’s own family.

The connection between Huckabee and the Duggars, both Christian conservative icons, seems to run deep, as the Duggars rushed to endorse Huckabee when he announced his 2016 bid for president, dropping their support for Rick Santorum. However, on June 4, reports emerged that the Duggars’ vociferous statements of support had been scrubbed clean from the “I Like Mike” sidebar of Huckabee’s campaign website, leading to speculation the latter’s camp was trying to distance him from the molestation scandal.

Huckabee’s senior communications adviser J. Hogan Gidley told E! News that the removal of the statements wasn’t deliberate and was merely a case of unfortunate timing: “The plan when we launched the Huckabee for President website simply was to rotate supporters’ pictures the first of every month.” Specific questions were sent to Legacy Consulting and Gallagher by email and via phone call, but they did not respond to Newsweek’s repeated requests for comment.

[From Newsweek]

For what it’s worth, Huckabee was on Fox News last night blaming “the media” for exploiting the family. Seriously. Anyway, I suspect that Chad Gallagher is one of several high-priced conservative wingnuts brought in to help “save” the Duggars. In Touch reported over the weekend that the Duggars arranged for a private plane for some crisis manager – possibly paid for by TLC? – to come to Arkansas to advise them. I don’t know if that crisis manager and Chad Gallagher are one and the same, but as I said – it seems like the Duggars have a team of morons “helping” them.

The Wrap had an interesting piece called “Why hasn’t TLC canceled the Duggars?” They don’t really know, they just have a media analyst talking about how the Duggars’ Fox News interviews blew up in their faces. My theory is that TLC has been trying to protect their Duggar cash cow this whole time, spending money on crisis managers and PR consultants to try to “weather” the horrific revelations, and that’s why TLC hasn’t canceled the show – they think that after a few months, they can put the show back on the air.

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Photos courtesy of the Duggars’ social media.

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88 Responses to “The Duggars hired Mike Huckabee’s ‘political adviser’ to handle PR nightmare”

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  1. COSquared says:

    I’ll loathe any consultant who’ll join these SOB. Ew.

    • Denisemich says:

      I am confused as to why they need a PR rep. They should go away and “heal” themselves. The fact that they are still so obviously associated with the Republican party is laughable for the Democrats.

      The US Republican party really needs to take some time and think about “family values”. The premise is killing any hope they have of revamping that party.

      • ataylor says:

        Because they are more interested in saving their show (and all the $$$ they will gain) than “healing” as a family. Forget their belief system. They have totally sold their souls for fame and fortune.

      • belle de jour says:

        “The fact that they are still so obviously associated with the Republican party is laughable for the Democrats.” “The premise is killing any hope they have of revamping that party.”

        Your comment must have posted while I was still writing mine, below. I’m thinking along very similar lines… and that there are some connections & factors here that may go beyond a network trying to salvage its damaged investment.

      • Liberty says:

        In college, in my business school, a great and very entertaining professor from EU came in for a special course. He normally advised huge corporations.

        He taught us about “business karma” — his term for brands willfully committing business suicide thanks to the morons who ran them into the ground.

        This appears to be an example buffet of his premise with regard to this family, TLC and a political party, too.

  2. NewWester says:

    Maybe In Touch should do some digging and see if there is a connection between TLC/ Discovery executives and Mike Huckabee? This story has so many layers that when we finally get to the core, the public may be more appalled than they are now. More dirt is coming out soon

    • belle de jour says:

      If Huckabilly were a more serious presidential contender/threat to other candidates in his own party, I think someone else (besides TLC) would have ‘discovered’ – and publicized – more nefarious connections & cover-ups by now. I have a feeling they will still come out, but perhaps at a different pace – and by different means.

      One angle that occurs to me, the longer this goes on: Huckabilly – and the Duggars – represent one vocal faction in the Republican party that some very powerful insiders would like shut-up and shut-down… especially before a national election.

      Sometimes I wonder if there is a whole different sort of battle being waged behind the scenes of this fiasco that doesn’t have as much to do with TLC as with some other players and other motivations.

      • NewWester says:

        You raise some good points. This scandal with the Duggars may involve more people than we have thought.

      • Wren says:

        It will be interesting to see. All I can think is that the longer this goes on and the louder these idiots shout, the worse it will be for the GOP. Giving the other side the ability to say, “at least WE don’t support child molesters!” is never a good thing, and I don’t think the far right conservative vote will make up for that.

      • doofus says:

        except Wren, that Fox News has made it pretty clear that they’re carrying water for the Duggars and the GOP that supports them, and if there’s one reliable thing about Fox viewers it’s that they tend to buy everything Fox sells.

        as long as Fox is demonizing “the media” and downplaying what both Josh and his parents did, and at the same time repeating the Duggars’ lies about the whole situation and perpetuating the “war on Christianity”, people will support them. there’s a good piece over on Salon about this. and, as they and so many here have said, you’d think that child molestation is one thing both the “left” and the “right” can agree on, but no…Fox has made this into and “us vs. them” kind of fight.

        again, I wonder how Fox would have handled this if it were a very religious Muslim/Jewish family, or simply a non-caucasian Christian family…

      • belle de jour says:

        @ doofus: I know from my parents (don’t get me started) that Fox is also an equal-opportunity sexual abuser apologist… evidently, their expressed outrage so far re Dennis Hastert and the young man he allegedly abused has not been about the sexual abuse itself, but about the fact that the FBI is investigating charges against him regarding ‘his own decisions and intent with what he wanted to do with his own money.’ Or: the blackmail & hush-money payments he kept just under $10K apiece to avoid financial disclosure and investigation.

        So what’s rainbow-beautiful about Fox is that it’s not really about sexual abuse, male or female style; they’re gender-blind! It’s about the invasion of privacy, what you can do with your own kids and your own money… and the principle of the thing, don’tcha know?

  3. LookyLoo says:

    Seventh Heaven is back on various channels. Unfortunately, people have short memories.

    • Snazzy says:

      Seriously? Pfft, faith in humanity is plummeting ….

    • Luca76 says:

      I honestly think that’s a little different through I have no desire to watch Seventh Heaven. The show exists and they are a work of fiction it’s disturbing sure but there are many old shows in syndication that feature actors guilt of crimes and involved in scandals .
      On the other hand 19& counting is a real life commercial for these awful people and their disgusting lifestyle. Keeping the show on the air normalizes their behavior.

      • Erinn says:

        I get that, and mostly agree – but the dudes getting residuals every time that show plays. So, while he’s playing a fictional character, he’s got like a million episodes of this show, and will be collecting from it because it’s all blown over in the minds of the stations.

      • ataylor says:

        Thankfully, the Duggars won’t be getting residuals if TLC decides to air reruns of their show. Reality show participants sign away those rights from the get-go.

      • minx says:

        ataylor, I didn’t know that. Good. No wonder they are so frantic to keep the gravy train going.

      • Lucinda says:

        @Erinn–so are all the other people who worked on that show. Should they lose money they earned because of one co-workers failings? Just wondering. Ideally his residuals would be going to his victims in a perfect world.

  4. Cannibell says:

    Whoever hired them would have been smarter to donate that money to an intimate partner violence prevention organization or, better yet, Planned Parenthood.

    • The people that hired them don’t believe in either of those things.

      • Cannibell says:

        Oh, TC, that’s a given. But when I thought about the lunatic arrogance of anyone who could think that throwing money at this would make it all better, it seemed that throwing the money down a sewer would be more practical – but I hate waste, so this seemed like a better way to go, even though you’re right. And Poink 517 – I donated the money to buy two Thanksgiving turkeys in honor of Karl Rove after the “Republican math” incident on Fox during the last presidential election, so I love love love the idea of donating to DV agencies and Planned Parenthood in honor of the Duggars and Mike Huckabee.

    • Poink517 says:

      LOL – I would die laughing if they donated that money to Planned Parenthood. You just gave me a great idea, though. I think I’m going to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in honor of the Duggars.

  5. minx says:

    It cracks me up that someone actually got paid for that fiasco.

  6. BritaBae says:

    It’s the liberal media’s fault that Josh is a child molester…okay Huckabee.

    How does someone so idiotic manage to keep lowering the bar? Commitment, apparently.

  7. Citresse says:

    Someone is trying very hard to get them back on TLC.
    They’ve had their fifteen minutes and worn out their welcome. Please, enough now. They’re not relevant.

    • Snazzy says:

      you’d be surprised. I’ve been reading newspaper articles on this mess and commenters are actually defending the parents and the way that they failed to deal with the predatory behaviour of their son or the violence inflicted on their daughters. Sad and sick

      • LookyLoo says:

        Yes, I’ve seen that, too. That and “take Josh off and put the rest of the family back on.”

      • Shambles says:

        One of my Facebook friends shared a link to the original interview with Jim Bob (I gag just typing his stupid name) and Michelle. She wrote, “I love the hearts of these parents. God forgives so we forgive.” After I got out of my rage coma, she was deleted. I’m amazed by any person who could feel anything but outrage and horror when it comes to this mess.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Shambles. WTF? I mean, this isn’t a kid who got detention at school, you know?
        I just don’t understand…he MOLESTED children! As I’ve said before, to me, this is not far away from murder on the Scale o’ Sins.

        It’s just beyond my comprehension how people can minimize this or act like it’s just a small transgression. Ugh.

  8. Jayna says:

    I didn’t notice it, but I read Jim Bob had his smartphone open and he kept looking down reading things on it (messages from the PR guy?) and that Michelle had a paper in her lap she would look at.

    • Christin says:

      There are photos online that clearly show papers in Michelle’s and Jill’s laps during the interviews. They had talking points, I assume.

  9. Betti says:

    Someone in power is desperate to keep this show on air. There are politics involved all right – and they are hell bent on protecting the Duggars and promoting their kind of ‘Christianity’.

    InTouch PLEASE expose the hypocrisy of TLC and those ‘people’ who are backing the Duggars. Name and shame those faceless people who are protecting this vile family.

    We can’t let this be brushed away so that this family can keep their show and Josh can return to politics. Its time the ‘liberal’ media stood up to the idiots who think molesting children is perfectly fine.

    • Ankhel says:

      Josh will never be able to return to politics, thank heaven. He can’t, not when his opponents could bring up his past whenever. Small mercies.

  10. Luca76 says:

    I honestly think TLC has some sort of political agenda behind their support of this family. They were aware of the family’s history and helped cover it up for so many years.

    • Jules says:

      They threw Mama June under the rug fast enough…………….

      • doofus says:

        yeah, but Mama June wasn’t a super-duper “Christian” with ties to the republican party…

        and they didn’t cancel that stupid Duck show…another group of super-duper “Christians” with ties to the republican party…makes one wonder, huh?

      • TheOriginalTiffany says:

        The duck dynasty show isn’t on TLC. they put abuser Kate Gosselin back on though…
        Disgusting TV channel. Duggars, Gosselins, Cheer moms who sleep with boys and Mama June.

      • doofus says:

        oh, sorry, thanks for the correction.

        to add to your list, don’t they also show that gross toddlers in beauty pageants show, where the 3 year olds are dressed like showgirls?…

      • Jules says:

        Yes, doofus…………….it was called Toddlers and Tieria’s (sp)

    • Jayna says:

      It’s all about the dollars for TLC.

  11. delphi says:

    “Crisis manager”? Why not call a spade a spade and just admit that this Chad yutz (sorry, I loathe that name) is a far right wing fixer who will (attempt to) sweep this all under the rug? I shudder to think of the disgustingly large amount of money he will make trying to fix the unfixable.

    The stench of skeeze from these people is unbearable.

  12. Lilacflowers says:

    The connection between Huckabee and the Duggars runs very deep because he was the governor at the time of the state’s investigation and he ordered the settlement of the family’s appeal of the state agency’s decision. Deflect and divert and hide before somebody decides to take a much closer look at how Huckabee handled all protective services cases involving child molestation when he was governor.

    • Bre says:

      DING DING DING! It’s more than just protecting them, he’s protecting his own butt too.

      • Ankhel says:

        Makes sense. His amount of charitable shovelling, when faced with such a stinking mess, was really suspicious.

  13. Jules says:

    And how many years did it take for these greedy faux Christians to get help for their daughters? FOUR!!!! And it had to be ordered by the AK child protective services. Why the desperation to keep these fakes on TV?

    • Christin says:

      Yet this goes public and they have a nationally televised interview lined up within days (complete with crisis management coaching, allegedly).

      Priorities.

  14. Sugar says:

    The video with the In Touch guy was fascinating. Thanks for posting it!

  15. Tate says:

    I can’t boycott TLC because I don’t watch anything on that channel but this story gets more disturbing by the day. The way some people are trying to downplay the seriousness of molestation is mind blowing and so so harmful.

    • Neelyo says:

      You can boycott all Discovery Communications channels. I’ve stopped watching Investigative Discovery channel even though I love a good trashy re-enactment.

    • Poink517 says:

      Agree. This whole thing is throwing me into a rage.

      I also think that the Duggars think they are smarter than the general public, which is laughable.

      • Kitten says:

        Not smarter than the general public, but they are most definitely smarter than their fanbase.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I emailed Discovery Communications (which owns TLC) and let them know I would be asking my cable provider to drop TLC from my lineup. Even if you don’t watch the channel, you still have some sway.

  16. Kiddo says:

    This explains it.

  17. Izzy says:

    This explains so much…

  18. Dibba says:

    I think TLC is just waiting until the dust settles to make a decision. The family has a huge fan base and TLC doesn’t want to miss out on thr profits from that. Even if TLC cancels the show the family will get picked up by other outlets and that has to be killing TLC execs as they created the Duggar sensation. Do they all go to tanning salons? They look orange tan like fake. No pants but tons of makeup? Will the mother ever get rid of her 1980′s hairdo?

    • Kiddo says:

      Someone, I forget who, posted the total number of followers of this show, and it wasn’t enormous.

      • ataylor says:

        4.4 million fans/viewers for 19 Kids and Counting

      • Christin says:

        I had those numbers on yesterday’s post. Their following (both show and family FB pages) pales in comparison to the K family and show, even though people repeatedly claim to be sick of them as well.

      • Kiddo says:

        Thanks Christin, I’m sorry that I couldn’t remember that it was you.

      • Christin says:

        I’m glad you brought this up, Kiddo, because it gives me a chance to say again that they have a relatively small but very vocal audience.

        I used FB stats, as Twitter may have ‘bot’ accounts.

        — Their show has 2.4M likes/followers (compared to nearly 8M for KUWTK)

        — The population of Arkansas is 2.9M

        — Mom and Pop Duggar’s family page) has 711K likes/followers

      • Poink517 says:

        Makes me wonder how many of those followers are trolls – not actually fans of theirs, but people who follow them so they can bash them on their page…

      • MinnFinn says:

        Variety reports the show’s Nielsen ratings at 3.3 million as the high for this season that just ended and 1.7 million for the final episode that aired a few days before InTouch released their story.

    • minx says:

      I honestly don’t think they’ll get picked up by any major outlet–sponsors have abandoned this train wreck.

  19. Dibba says:

    Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make you one. They are clearly not Christian as they do not follow the teachings of Jesus

  20. AnnieC says:

    The fact that this horrid story is still going strong after three weeks is quite telling. TLC and their sordid lineup of reality shows should be blown off the air — and the Duggers should go back to the s**t-kicking cave they came from!

    • Betti says:

      The Duggar’s will do what they can to keep their show, family and the big bucks rolling in. When TLC does finally drop them (I live in hope) they will get picked up by another network and will continue to be held up as the last bastian of the perfect evangelical Christian family.

      Clearly the family has powerful backers and this is what worries me – these backers will do what it takes to keep them in the public arena.

      I hope the 5th victims comes forward – she would be the final nail in that coffin.

  21. Kiki says:

    At this point I am done with TLC, unless they cancelled 19 and counting. I will not be watching none of their shows completely on this channel period. Even if they made a spin-off with the two girls (whom I feel sorry for) I will definately will not watch this sinking ship of a channel. So TLC is losing a lot of money and fans.

  22. ojulia123 says:

    I read a story on the Washington Post website about how In Touch got the Duggar story, and it was all legal (I think the Washington Post called it, “solid journalism”). Apparently, In Touch has even more “significant” information on the Duggars that they will be releasing at some point.

    Also: How can a family that willingly signed on for a reality show now complain that the media is exploiting them?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      “In Touch has even more “significant” information on the Duggars that they will be releasing at some point.”

      I am truly scared, but more afraid that it will never come out, especially if people are being victimized. Wow, what could be more significant than this?

  23. ImFlying says:

    As soon as I saw the pic and headline I realized that MH is like a white Al Sharpton. Same false spirit. The advisers mentioned in this article seem to be somewhat on the down low, because I didn’t find much immediate info on them, and couldn’t be bothered much to research more. But, for those not aware, MH’s longtime political adviser was/is Richard Haas. MH says he follows Christ. Really?? Pray for discernment.

    Richard N. Haass
    President, Council on Foreign Relations
    Expertise
    U.S. foreign policy; international security; globalization; Asia; Middle East

  24. funcakes says:

    The sound of skeletons rattling around in huckabee’s must be deafening. Is he really this supportive of the duggars or trying to save his own skin? Sounds like old Mike has backed himself into a corner and like with all people how drunk with power and have something to hide he’s going to bang the drum loudly to take the attention off all his wheeling and dealing from his days in early office.

    • Carmen says:

      He’s nuts. He seriously considers himself a presidential contender. His Facebook page was blowing up with former supporters defecting. He couldn’t get elected dog catcher behind this.

  25. Jayna says:

    Fascinating interview with someone raised in the ATI (Gothard) teachings and homeschooling, which is what the Duggars adhere to.

    And these parts, just wow. It’s a mindblowing article into someone growing up in that atmosphere and beginning to think for himself and explore and debate and reject what he had been taught by his parents and ATI..

    “When you have a sexual thought in your brain, you are lusting after someone. They say that if you think about something three times it’s just as bad as doing it. If you think about sex, it results in this rush of testosterone. So it goes like this: Immodest women cause rushes of testosterone in men and cause them to irresistibly assault–either sexually or violently–women. All the blame is put on the women and how they dress. There is very little responsibility put on men to just not rape women. That’s kind of their ethics going into it. It’s kind of infiltrated mainstream Christianity.”

    “There was a time in my teenage years when I was really struggling with lust and masturbating. I was trying to stop wanting to masturbate, and the natural hormonal urges I was feeling — that was “lust,” that was the devil trying to tempt me. I had a couple of friends and we struggled with this together. One of the guys literally preyed on underage girls; that was his thing. That was his struggle. We would discuss our struggles as if they were equal, as if we were both struggling with this “lust.” My action that I couldn’t control was masturbating, but his action that he couldn’t control was preying on underage girls. That’s the kind of equivocation that it creates. These Christians have been saying this about Josh Duggar. There is no conception of different levels of a sin.”

    “The most dangerous ideas, and the most dangerous impacts, are on the women and the girls in these systems.”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/06/08/a_former_homeschooler_on_the_duggar_familys_horrifying_fundamentalist_education_it%E2%80%99s_literal_rape_culture/

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Holy cow that is horrific! Especially the equivocation of masturbating and preying on young girls. Sigh.

  26. Dr.Funkenstein says:

    I laughed out loud at that. His Political Advisor? I mean, he’s been so politically successful and all. They would have been better off hiring a comedy writer. Wait, I think that might be the same thing.

  27. Kelly says:

    Oh god…I think I went to college with Chad. I’m pretty sure I might have even gone on a Social Club outing with him…it was pretty common for the “good, godly” men of Ouachita Baptist to be slightly curious of the one openly heathen girl on campus. Incidentally, Huckabee’s son, Mark, was there, too. He was kinda creepy and I tended to slide to the other side of the hall when he passed.

  28. Who ARE these people? says:

    Headlines I want to see:

    TLC cancels ’19 and Counting;’ CEO apologizes, offers to fund therapy for Josh Duggar victims

    TLC dragged into court case involving Duggar sexual abuse charges; network suffers ratings, viewer, advertising drops

    Huckabee, Christian right implicated in Duggar sexual-abuse case; 5 presidential hopefuls drop out due to ties to shamed religious sect

    Duggar daughters band together, set up house in Cali’s Bay Area using settlement funds

  29. feebee says:

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    So Huckabee and Duggars are that close… hmmm. Sounds like he’s strapped on an anvil. All his opponents have to do is tip him overboard.

    I hope one day so we’ll get to be more specific with our cable subscriptions and then channels like TLC will indeed be able to feel the consequences.

  30. Gigi says:

    This Chad guy has been acting as their manager for a year. He wasn’t brought in just for crisis PR.