Smear Of Democratic Senator Requires Time Machine

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Mark PryorA right-wing website apparently cribbing from a conservative research group falsely claimed that a Democratic senator flip-flopped on President Obama's State of the Union in two interviews on the same night. In fact, the interviews in question took place a year apart.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) had told one local affiliate that he was "disappointed" in Obama's speech because it supposedly lacked specifics, then praised the speech for providing specifics in an interview with a different affiliate later that night. From their January 29 article:

Pryor told Arkansas' KFTA that he was "disappointed" at the lack of specifics in Obama's speech.

"Overall, I'm disappointed with the president's State of the Union address because he was heavy on rhetoric, but light on specifics about how we can move our country forward," said Pryor.

"I've always said that I'll work with the president when I think he's right, but oppose him when I think he's wrong," added Pryor.

Pryor later told THV11 that he was happy with the speech, pointing out that Obama tried to give specifics and to be bipartisan.

But as Slate's David Weigel pointed out, the second interview actually occurred a year ago, after Obama's 2013 State of the Union.

The Free Beacon has since appended their post with the following update apologizing for their error:

The original version of this post mistakenly said that both of the clips in the video above came from this year. They did not: Sen. Pryor was generally supportive of the president's 2013 State of the Union, but was critical of this year's address. What changed his tune? Rep. Tom Cotton's strong challenge to Pryor's incumbency may have played a role. Whatever the case, our original item was incorrect. We regret the error.

A video attached to the piece appears to have been updated to note that the interviews occurred during different years.

How did the Free Beacon make such a mistake? Weigel suggests they may have gotten the story from America Rising, a research group that supports conservatives, which had posted the same 2013 video clip that appeared in the Free Beacon video, similarly misidentified as occurring last night.

For their part, America Rising has issued no update or apology; they've simply pulled the clip.

Image via Bread for the World using a Creative Commons License

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