In the wake of Saturday's tragic shooting in Arizona, Gateway Pundit and Breitbart blogger Jim Hoft has been on a one man mission to prove that the deranged shooter was a "typical leftist nut." This morning, Hoft posted what he seems to think is bulletproof evidence supporting this thesis, but, as is usually the case with him, it is merely evidence that someone as hackishly irresponsible as Hoft should have no role in our national political discourse.
Hoft headlines his latest post "Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner's Hero Was Barack Obama," then proceeds to breathlessly exclaim that "Killer Jared Loughner idolized Barack Obama."
He sources this scoop to "The Examiner" "via Free Republic" and links to a blog post by Anthony Martin at Examiner.com. In the portion of his post excerpted by Hoft, Martin writes:
Even more curious are Loughner's 'heroes.' He mentions by name Venezuelan Communist Hugo Chavez, Latin American Communist mass-murderer Che Guevara, American Socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky, and even Barack Obama.
The link takes you to the Free Republic message board, where a commenter by the name of "Scanian" writes:
From facebook for a Jared Laughner from Tuscon, Arizona, the man named as the shooter. People who inspire him include Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Huo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stalin, and Yassir Arafat. He writes "Fight the Right! Obama and the Progressives will overcome the tyrrany of big business and the racist Tea Party.
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
You'll notice a glaring problem with this assertion: namely, that the shooter's name was Jared LOughner, not "Laughner." (The spelling of his name was originally misreported by several media outlets.)
On Saturday, several people created fake profiles for the shooter, including this one, captured by Voices of Central Pennsylvania, a monthly community newspaper. Voices wrote that the Facebook page for "Jared Laughner" - since taken down - lists "People Who Inspire Jared" as including Obama and added: "With images of President Obama, various noted intellectuals and leftists, a statement indicating homosexuality preferences, and anti Tea Party and revolutionary slogans, it seems possible that it was a deliberate attempt to distribute disinformation."
That Hoft would reprint the outrageous assertion that Loughner idolized Obama - based on a random commenter on a fringe message board that provided no evidence for his assertion - says a lot about his complete lack of journalistic integrity. It's also completely in character for him.
Hoft has since tried to scrub his post from the internet without explanation. Here's a screenshot:
And his tweet promoting it, which he hasn't deleted (yet):
In a separate post, Hoft has added the following note:
Related... I pulled the last post after several readers pointed out that the Facebook information was inaccurate. Thanks! Unfortunately I had it up long enough for Soros-funded Media Matters to capture some screen grabs.
This of course raises the question of why Hoft outsources basic fact-checking to his comments section rather than reviewing his own work before publishing.
That's some Big Journalism.