Recently, Andrew Breitbart Twittered a $1,000 bet challenging Media Matters and senior fellow Eric Boehlert for proof that Bertha E. Lewis -- whose name recently appeared on a White House guest list -- was not ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis. Breitbart's challenge followed his begrudging semi-correction acknowledging that a White House official reportedly told Politico's Ben Smith that it was, in fact, a different Bertha Lewis.
The basis of Breitbart's steadfast defense of his thoroughly debunked "scoop" appears to be that, but for the word of the White House, there is no evidence to suggest it was not the Bertha Lewis visiting the White House. (As Media Matters' Matt Gertz noted, more than 1,000 individuals with that name appear in a whitepages.com search, and to reiterate, it strains the imagination to see why it would be troubling for the CEO of ACORN to meet with White House officials.)
What Breitbart ignores in his embarrassing effort to salvage the story is -- as Ben Smith explained in initially debunking Breitbart's breaking news -- the women do not, in fact, share the same name:
One clue: The ACORN official's middle initial, according to her New York voter registration record on Nexis, is "M." An ACORN spokesman says her middle name is "Mae."
It seems that the egregiously false Accuracy in Media blog post attacking Kevin Jennings -- which AIM later removed then apologized for, followed by another attempt to smear him -- may be just the tip of the laziness iceberg over there. Cliff Kincaid writes in a January 4 AIM Report:
I DON'T WATCH THE SHOW, BUT IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT LESBIAN commentator Rachel Maddow of MSNBC devoted time and attention to the hanging death of a census worker in rural Kentucky with the word "fed" marked on his chest. Maddow thought this was a murder carried out by conservatives opposed to the federal government and inspired by conservatives in the media. Time magazine agreed, running an article claiming that, "The discovery of the body of Bill Sparkman, 51, a substitute teacher and a field worker for the bureau, comes at a time when talk media, tea parties and white-hot town-hall meetings have fanned antigovernment sentiment." Faiz Shakir of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress called it a "gruesome lynching" and tried to blame it on conservative Rep. Michelle Bachman, who had been critical of the Census. It turned out to be a suicide made up to look like a homicide for insurance purposes. It was a personal matter and had absolutely nothing to do with conservatives. Please send Maddow a postcard asking for an apology.
Read that again. Kincaid wants his minions to demand an apology from Maddow, even though he can't be bothered to watch her show and, thus, cannot explain exactly what she should apologize for.
If Kincaid had watched Maddow's show, he would know that while Maddow did cover the Sparkman case when it happened, the show also reported that Sparkman's death was ruled a suicide.
Also note that Kincaid apparently still can't get over the fact that Maddow is a lesbian, as evidenced by his need to identify her as a "lesbian commentator." He has previously described her as "a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man."
If Kincaid wants apologies, he might want to start by offering his own. To cite a couple recent non-Jennings-related examples, there's AIM's repetition of the false claim that less than 10 percent of Obama cabinet appointees have private-sector experience, or Kincaid's own sleazy smear of Ted Kennedy, that he "left a party, probably a drunken orgy, with this poor girl [Mary Jo Kopechne] and his car went off a bridge."
Hmm, I wonder if our constant goading about Breitbart's mostly invisible corrections policy at Big Government had anything to do with this sudden turn-around. The timing sure is interesting because yes, Breitbart has posted an odd, belated correction, or update, in regards to the debunked story his site hyped last week about how Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN, had supposedly visited the White House in 2009.
Surprise! The story was not true.
But rather than just say so, here's what Breitbart came up with [emphasis added]:
UPDATE: According to Politico's Ben Smith, the Bertha Lewis who went to the White House is not ACORN's CEO but another woman named "Bertha Lewis." I contacted Smith to tell him that Big Government would offer a correction if the "administration official" who offered the information went on record and told us who the "other" Bertha Lewis is and got the unnamed administration source to come out from behind the veil of anonymity and use his/her name. So far, according to unnamed White House sources, "different" people with the familiar names of Malik Shabazz, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers were discovered on White House visitors logs. As I skeptically asked on my Twitter account, "What are the odds?"
First thing Monday morning, Smith contacted the White House and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki came from behind her anonymous veil and confirmed for Smith, "it was a different Bertha Lewis, though she declined to share details about that visitor, citing privacy reasons."'
Isn't that kind of bizarre? Apparently nobody at Big Government, let alone its fearless founder and leader, is capable of confirming whether a story that the site ran days ago is, y'know, accurate. So Breitbart contacts a reporter who doesn't work for him and asks him to call somebody at the White House to try to figure out if the Big Government scoop was hollow. (Hint: It was.)
Good grief. Behold more "conservative journalism," where even the overdue corrections are lame.
UPDATED: As usual, Breitbart seems quite confused. During a typical bout of his rambling, late-night tweets, he suddenly seemed to back off the correction and claim that the WH story was legit but that he just couldn't, y'know, prove it. Also, that it's now Media Matters' job to prove the negative at the center of the WH non-story. Or something.
Sorry Andrew. We knock your 'scoops' down. We're not responsible for trying to piece them back together.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz casts a pox on both houses:
Howard Kurtz: You've hit on a pet peeve of mine, which is that journalists often seem to suffer from amnesia. Republicans defend filibusters and Democrats complain about them, the opposite of what we saw during the Bush years.
Well, Kurtz has hit on a pet peeve of mine, which is that journalists often draw false equivalence between vastly different situations. The Republicans' use of the filibuster in recent years is quite simply without precedent. It isn't the opposite of what we saw from Democrats a few years ago; it is vastly different.
Howard Kurtz keeps suggesting both parties are the same, and he keeps being wrong.
I noted last week that Sen. Joe Lieberman's foreign policy blunder -- in which he joined Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to halt the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, despite the fact that the transfer had already occurred -- was unlikely to be greeted by the kind of media mockery that such a blunder by a liberal would receive.
[C]onservative senators who were among the lead cheerleaders for the Iraq war can screw something like this up, and you won't hear a peep about Joe Lieberman and John McCain not having the foggiest idea what they're talking about.
Indeed, Lieberman appeared on yesterday's broadcast of ABC's This Week, where Lieberman talked about transferring Gitmo detainees to Yemen. And yet guest host Terry Moran politely avoided any mention of Lieberman's error earlier in the week.
From Pamela Geller's January 4 Atlas Shrugs post:
Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department
Does Obama know anyone who isn't wacky, radical, militant, judeophobic, socialist, marxist, pedophilic? ...... Does he chill with anyone who is normal?
I guess this is better than teaching fist f**king to our children. Now there's a positive spin.
It's astonishing the lengths to which Beltway reporters will go in order to play dumb about the world of politics, and specifically the world of Republican partisan politics.
Note the recent WSJ article about Se. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and the ramifications of his recent health care vote: [emphasis added]
Mr. Nelson's support was crucial for helping Democrats secure 60 votes for the bill, preventing a Republican filibuster. Almost immediately, Mr. Nelson drew fire. Republicans have derided the bill as the "Nebraska Windfall." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) called it "sleazy." Even the state's governor, Republican Dave Heineman, has been critical of the deal.
Wow, even the state's Republican governor criticized the Democratic senator over his health care vote.
Of course, in the world of politics and journalism, most reporters would not use "even" in that instance because it doesn't really make sense. The WSJ wants readers to think it's newsworthy that a Republican attacked a Democrat over health care?
But as I said, this makes no sense since the entire Republican strategy has been to uniformly oppose health care reform. Therefore it's not newsworthy that a Nebraska Republican attacked the state's Democratic senator. In fact it's the opposite of newsworthy; it's predictable and expected.
Apparently it is to everyone except for people who work inside the increasingly GOP-friendly WSJ newsroom, which stresses that even Nebraska's Republican governor has been critical of the Nebraska Democrat's vote.
I'm being redundant, but that language literally makes no sense. Why the "even," when based on the relentless partisan warfare that the GOP has been waging this year, the attacks the WSJ describe are entirely predictable. The only way the Journal's reporting would have made sense would have been if Nebraska currently had a Democratic governor and "even" he/she had "been critical" of the health care deal. Then that would have been news. But the dog-bites-man partisan attack on display isn't news, so why does the Journal treat it as such?
And oh yeah, there's speculation that Nebraska's Republican governor may challenge Nelson for his senate seat in 2012, which, of course, makes the governor's partisan health care attack even less newsworthy than the Journal pretends it is.
Newsbusters' Ken Shepard offers an up-is-down, black-is-white defense of Brit Hume:
Tolerance is a virtue the Left loves to trumpet, except when the intolerable is set forward. In this instance, the intolerable is a gentle Christian evangelistic overture to a celebrity caught in sexual scandal.
See, the Left is being intolerant by criticizing Brit Hume for criticizing Tiger Woods' religion. Makes total sense, right? I mean, I'm quite certain that if a liberal criticized Brit Hume's Christianity, and was in turn criticized by conservatives, Ken Shepard would blast the conservatives for being intolerant. Right?