The layers and layers of fact checkers and editors that the media employs are often terrible at their jobs, but seldom do you see a failure as spectacular as this. I am not a huge fan of [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ] and would prefer that someone else be elected Majority Whip. But it now seems clear that the allegation that he spoke at a white supremacist rally is outright false, as you might expect from a story whose primary source is the Stormfront message boards. Even Slate is forced to concede that Scalise never attended the event in question, in the course of (justly) mocking him for having erroneously admitting that he attended it.
It’s not really a surprise to find Obama hack Josh Earnest repeating this lie in spite of the fact that it has been pretty much conclusively disproven. You would hope, however, that the New York Times could muster the dignity to at least point out that Scalise’s attendance is a point of factual dispute (with the facts being on one side, and crazy anonymous Internet racists on the other). However, not only did they not do that, but they have actually expanded the claim, libeling [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ] in the process by claiming that he actually gave a “white supremacist speech”:
The entire article is an absolute disgrace at least insofar as it touches on the Scalise controversy, but this sentence in particular is so egregiously false that it’s difficult to find an explanation for its inclusion in the story that doesn’t involve actual malice. Literally no one – not even the Stormfront nuts – has even alleged that Scalise gave a white supremacist speech at this event. The entire allegation (which has by now completely disintegrated) is that he gave his standard campaign speech to a group that he should have known was comprised of white supremacists. That is, as anyone with passing familiarity with the English language knows, a far cry from giving a “white supremacist speech.”
The New York Times should issue a correction to this story and an apology to [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ]. But first they should familiarize themselves with the facts of this story and the alleged sources of these facts, before they embarrass themselves further.