The Adams Cycle: DOJ Smear Moves From Right-Wing Website To House Hearing

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Media Matters' Simon Maloy details below how the Fox Cycle -- in which right-wing attacks go mainstream with the help of the network before being inevitably debunked -- bore fruit this morning as Republican members of Congress questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about the Fox-pushed New Black Panthers Party phony scandal.

But that same congressional hearing also saw the birth of a new transmission belt for conservative attacks. I'll call this one the Adams Cycle, after its propagator J. Christian Adams, the GOP operative and former DOJ attorney who started the New Black Panthers Party fabrication.

The Adams Cycle goes as follows:

1. Sources at DOJ -- almost definitely conservative attorneys hired under the Bush administration's politicization of that department -- leak information or documents to Adams.

2. Adams attacks DOJ with bogus story based on leaked information.

3. Republican representative raises bogus story during House hearing, crediting Adams.

4. DOJ shoots down story.

5. Repeat.

The Fox Cycle may -- but does not necessarily have to -- kick in between steps 2 and 3 of the Adams Cycle.

Here's today's example.

On February 10, Adams reported at the right-wing website Pajamas Media that he had "obtained FOIA logs" from DOJ which he said were a "Bombshell." Adams posted a list of "friendly" people and groups he claimed had received "speedy compliance" and a list of "well-known conservatives, Republicans, or political opponents" who supposedly "had to wait many months for a response, if they ever got one."

Significantly, Adams did not attempt to assess the complexity of the FOIA requests he cherry-picked. Instead, he claimed that this demonstrated that Holder has "even politicized compliance" with FOIA.

This morning, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that deals with the DOJ, opened his questioning of Holder by asking about Adams' FOIA claims.

Holder flatly denied Adams' report, saying:

"I'm not sure what research Mr. Adams has done. I've looked into the issues that were raised in a blog, and article, something that he wrote. Best I can determine, there is no ideological component with regard to the response times that the Justice Department makes to these requests. More complex requests take more time, requests that are relatively simple in nature can be answer faster, but I can assure you there is no ideological component with regard to how we respond to FOIA requests."

From a right-wing blog to a member of Congress questioning the Attorney General of the United States in just over two weeks. Not bad for (former) government work.

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