So much has been said about Chuck Hagel since being nominated for Secretary of Defense that it's hard to keep track of it all. But Dan Friedman, a reporter for the New York Daily News, has admitted to stirring one rumor:
The revelation could have doomed President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense: He gave a paid speech to a group called “Friends of Hamas.”
Fortunately for Hagel, this claim, which galloped across the Internet, was bogus. I know, because I was the unwitting source.
In the process, I became part of an inadvertent demonstration of how quickly partisan agendas and the Internet can transform an obvious joke into a Washington talking point used by senators and presidential wannabes.
Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out.
On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?
Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?
The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.
Friedman ends with this:
I am, it seems, the creator of the Friends of Hamas myth. Doing my job, I erred in counting on confidentiality and the understanding that my example was farcical — and by assuming no one would print an unchecked rumor.
And that appears to be Friedman's big mistake, trusting a Republican. He should know that they aren't worried about facts, but rather soundbites. It's easier for a silent mea culpa down the road, than it is to fight with the truth.
So now that this revelation has come out, we can be sure the Republicans will recant, right? Not so fast! Here's Breitbart:
Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News wrote a piece today suggesting that he was the inadvertent source of Breitbart News’ story on “Friends of Hamas” in early February. There’s only one problem. That’s false, and Friedman knew it was false when he printed the story. Welcome to the Obama media, where protecting Chuck Hagel and attacking any media who question Hagel is par for the course.
So a journalist has risked their credibility just to defend Obama. Really? According to wingnuts that's the case. And this shows you just how far down the conspiracy hole that wingnuts are willing to travel just to push a meme, no matter how wrong it is. It also proves just how right Hillary Clinton was when she talked about the "right wing noise machine."