Chuck Hagel shakes Barack Obama’s hand after his nomination. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.)
Yes, we can all enjoy a laugh for a few days over the Breitbartian “scoop” that wasn’t—Chuck Hagel, nominee for Pentagon chief, getting funds from “The Friends of Hamas.” There’s even a fake Friends of Hamas webpage mocking the Breitbart.com generator of the scandal, young Ben Shapiro, while others make fun of Shapiro for claiming his original claim was “caveated” (maybe he meant “cravated”).
More mirth has ensued from the aggressive yet lightheaded new senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, asserting that Iran’s leaders have embraced Hagel’s nomination, an allegedly scary and unprecedented action from any hostile foreign government. Also, need we point out, untrue.
You can’t make this stuff up. Except that many do.
Enjoy it while you can. For the simple fact is, the right-wing media, and the right-wingers in Congress, couldn't care less. They will go on making shit up, in some cases merely rallying their followers, in others doing that plus getting respectful coverage in mainstream news and commentary outlets.
Matthew Duss observes at The American Prospect:
Much like the belief that Barack Obama is a secret Islamist sympathizer, Cruz’s comments were the product of a hermetically sealed, Fox News-fed reality. The ensuing stories in Politico, The New York Times and The Washington Post scolding Cruz for his antics are a win-win for the freshman senator, providing him both greater visibility and negative attention from the “lamestream media” that delights his right-wing base.
As Alex Koppelman points out today at The New Yorker, this is their modus operandi. As much as we may complain about the mainstream media, they at least, in most cases, take the trouble to check many of the facts, seek more than one source for a story, and not print every tip or rumor that furthers an agenda.
Koppelman covers the Friends of Hamas jokefest but also explores the more typical case of Weekly Standard writer Daniel Halper’s assertions after NBC’s David Gregory had the nerve to question the NRA’s Wayne Lapierre about his call for putting armed guards in every school. Halper claimed that Gregory’s kids attended a school which has an eleven-man armed security staff, which was blatantly false. Koppelman concludes: