Daily Caller Provides Forum For Right-Wingers To Slam DOJ Staffer

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

I have to hand it to the Daily Caller: They provide great stenography. If you're a right-winger and you want your claims credulously repeated, they're the ones to talk to -- especially if you want your partisan leanings disguised.

In the latest example, Tucker Carlson's vanity project devoted nearly 1,300 words to a hit piece attacking Loretta King, a career lawyer at the Department of Justice. The article is based on quotes from five conservatives who Daily Caller reporter Caroline May says are "wondering whether her guide is the law or racial politics." Incredibly, May carefully hides the right-wing backgrounds of all of those critics.

While May interviewed three right-wing King critics for the piece and quoted from statements by two other right-wing critics, she gives no indication that she attempted to find any King defenders. Instead, she provides comments from DOJ spokespersons that deal with specific issues with which King was involved, and reports that "King declined to comment to the DC" (it's not particularly surprising that a mid-level DOJ staffer refused to comment on the record for a right-wing publication's hit piece).

It's also worth pointing out that the Caller piece opens with a glaring error on a basic fact. The article is titled "Critics contend Assistant Attorney General Loretta King motivated more by racial politics than the law." May reports in the article's first sentence that King is "a little-known assistant attorney general." But King isn't an assistant attorney general; she's one of several deputy assistant attorneys general who report to Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights. She served for a time as acting assistant attorney general back in 2009, but that tenure ended in October of that year when Perez was sworn in.

It's telling that the Caller feels the need to fib about King's position in order to justify their article. I'd say this effort is embarrassing, but we're talking about the Daily Caller here.

May goes to great lengths to present her sources as impartial and obscure their ideology.

The first King criticism comes from an interview with "J. Christian Adams, who worked with King while serving as a voting rights attorney at the Justice Department." That description hides Adams' GOP partisanship both before and after his tenure at DOJ.

Adams was reportedly a volunteer with the National Republican Lawyers Association and a Bush campaign poll watcher in Florida in 2004. He was then reportedly hired for DOJ by Bradley Schlozman, the Bush-era political appointee whom a DOJ investigation found had "considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law." After leaving DOJ, Adams began blogging for the right-wing Pajamas Media; he recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

May next cites criticism of King from the testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from "former DOJ Voting Rights Section chief Christopher Coates." She does not mention that Coates's conservative bona fides were defended by Schlozman, who called him a "true member of the team." Coates later defended Schlozman's hiring practices, and was spotted in November 2010 at a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society.

The article moves on to attacks levied on King by Todd Gaziano, identified only as a "Civil Rights Commissioner." While Gaziano is one of the commission's nominally "independent" nominees, he serves as the director for the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation; according to his Heritage bio, he previously "served under noted conservative leaders in all three branches of the federal government." Gaziano has previously attacked Presidents Clinton and Obama and said that "conservatives and liberals all agree" that Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor is "dumb."

The Daily Caller's next source is the "scathing rebuttal" issued by "Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel" in response to the DOJ's 2009 scrutiny - led by King - of the state's voter verification program. May does not mention that Handel was elected to that position as a Republican and later ran in the GOP primary for governor.

May closes with an attack on King from Hans von Spakovsky, "former counsel to the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division." In who's Department of Justice? May doesn't say, but wouldn't you know, von Spakovsky was in the Bush DOJ. Bush later recess-appointed him to the Federal Election Commission; Democrats refused to confirm him to the position for two and a half years, in part in response to a letter from senior attorneys in DOJ's Voting Section urging his rejection and savaging him as a political partisan. Von Spakovsky is now a blogger for National Review Online and a Heritage Foundation fellow.

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