Breitbart Memorial Disinformation Site to Change Name to “Friends of Humus”
During last year’s election, we and many others remarked on the possibly disastrous consequences of politicians believing the BS that the rightwing blogosphere and other online media peddle and parroting it in public, where occasionally more stringent evidential standards apply. It cost Mittens dear during the second Presidential Debate when his attempt to bully President Obama about when precisely he characterized the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism backfired catastrophically and left him scraping egg off his coif.
The latest episode illustrating this syndrome involves our old pals the Breitbartlets, in particular Ben Shapiro. Simon Moloy at Media Matters summarizes:
On February 7, Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel (according to “Senate sources”) received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” The report spread quickly through the conservative media as damning of Hagel, until Dave Weigel at Slate.com pointed out a salient fact—there’s no evidence that “Friends of Hamas” exists. Now, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman is claiming that a joke he shared with a GOP source is the provenance of “Friends of Hamas.” In response to their story falling apart, Shapiro and Breitbart.com—who angrily and self-righteously demand accountability from the rest of the media for every slip-up, real or imagined—are lashing out and refusing to accept responsibility for publishing a report based on a falsehood.
If Shapiro deserves credit for anything, it’s introducing us to a new meme about his oeuvre—”accurate and clearly caveated,” which translates as, “I pulled this out of somebody else’s ass, and I warned you it was probably bullshit at the time.” (It’s also led to much Twitter punnery on the lines of “Friends of Hummus” etc., to which the title of this post is a humble contribution.)
Meanwhile, the unspeakable John Nolte has been wearing out his iPhone in a desperate CYA campaign on Twitter. You can always tell when they’ve screwed up particularly badly because he goes postal.
Malkin’s Twitchyite horde have also been trying to comfort each other, distracting and covering their embarrassment by picking up on a brief minor omission by BuzzFeed’s Cat Correspondent Andrew Kaczynski.
There’s a conspicuous silence and lack of support for Shapiro on this issue from the rest of the RW blogs, some of whom, like Hugh Hewett, were also caught out, the buffoonery also ensnaring Rand Paul. Others are crediting the ‘bartlets et al. for fouling the pitch for their conspiracymongering and virtually ensuring Hagel’s appointment next Monday.
I may be premature and overly optimistic here, but the era of knitting your own reality seems to be drawing to a close. Will Republicans ever learn to factcheck before shooting their mouths off on the basis of the nonsense their online organs churn out? I hope not.