Saturday, July 01, 2006

Right-wing media embarassingly wrong...and wins anyway 

I wish I'd posted about this sooner, because I'd have looked like a genius.

This week everyone from Rush to Newt jumped on a lead from a brief, suspicious-looking story in a Florida newspaper. It said (without a direct quote) that Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) told an audience that the U.S. was now the greatest threat to world peace -- more than even Iran and North Korea.

I immediately thought, "There is no f***ing way he said that." There were tons of red flags, but none bigger than the fact that when you write something that inflammatory -- and aren't making it up -- you print the actual quote!

Sure enough, the story is horseshit and was retracted.

Of course, none of the obvious clues sounded an alarm with right-wing bloggers, who for some reason don't want to dig too deeply into the work of reporters when they enjoy the story! Funny how that works, isn't it?

Colossus of Rhodey was among the kazillion sites that ran the item, and you can see from my comment there that I called "shenanigans" from the minute I saw it.

Colossus, to its credit, ran a clarification. But the damage by others has been done -- and that's why the right-wing media echo chamber will always win the propaganda battle. It's miraculous. The talk radio machine can report a story... hear that this story is untrue... then go back on the air the next day and repeat the lie! That's exactly what they're doing with this story, as Media Matters points out.

How can we function in an era when the truth means so little?

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