Thursday May 23, 2013
Right Wing Media Pushes 'Friends of Hamas' RumorDr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
A rumor in the anti-Chuck Hagel campaign quickly swept through the right wing media machine.
(CHICAGO) - The Hill reported Tuesday afternoon:
One rumor in the anti-Chuck Hagel campaign started as a joking question that quickly swept through the right wing media machine until it reached Fox News business guru, Lou Dobbs.
It was such an outlandish charge that it should have been ignored and tossed into the “birther” trash can. The rumor “implied” that Hagel might have received funds from an organization called “Friends of Hamas”.
Dan Friedman, the New York Daily News reporter who inadvertently launched the “Friends of Hamas” rumor, was shocked to see how quickly a joking question he posed casually over the phone, went from nowhere to everywhere. He tells his sad tale in the Daily News:
Friedman was wrong.
The right wing media machine swung into action, sending Friedman’s joking question on its mission to destroy Hagel. The aide Friedman had initially called, promised to get back to him. He did not call, so Friedman followed up with a reminder e-mail to the aide that asked: “Did he get $25K speaking fee from Friends of Hamas?” The aide still did not respond.
One day later, Friedman was shocked to see that his joking question had reached the Breitbart News website, under the headline: Secret Hagel Donor?: White House SPOX Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas’
The Brietbart author, Ben Shapiro wrote:
Shapiro tweeted the link to his Breitbart story to his nearly 40,000 Twitter followers. The joke had become a serious story, treated as such by commentators who did not check to see if it was true. Friedman reports what happened next:
Noting that Slate.com was one of the first main stream web sites to raise “big doubts whether ‘Friends of Hamas’ even exists,” Friedman continued his narration:
When Friedman spoke to him on Tuesday, Shapiro acknowledged “Friends of Hamas” might not exist. But he said his story used “very, very specific language” to avoid flatly claiming it did. Friedman’s joking question had gone very, very wrong.
He concludes his role in the rumor story:
The rumor, by this time, had taken on a life of its own. A single rumor became “rumors abound”, in The National Review On Line, where Andrew Stiles wrote:
Veteran columnist David Wiegel was the first to do the obvious: He checked out “Friends of Hamas”. On February 14, he wrote that he could find no evidence of its existence.
Lou Dobbs, on his Fox News program, interviewed National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy about the Hagel quandary, and “Friends of Hamas” came up again. (Click here for a video from the Dobbs Fox program. It runs four minutes)
The following interview excerpt provides a flavor of Dobbs as an eager purveyor of the “Friends of Hamas” rumor.
Catchy, indeed, and entirely made up from a false rumor created out of a joking question. The rumor spread quickly because the right wing media machine wanted to promote a falsehood for political purposes. No one in that machine bothered to check out the story .
The Senate hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary will resume next week. The Armed Services Committee has approved the nomination on a party line vote, 14 to 12.
Democratic leaders in the Senate want to present the nomination before Wednesday, February 27, to the full Senate for a final confirmation.
Opponents of Hagel on the Republican side of the aisle continue to mumble against a wounded Viet Nam veteran with extensive government and business experience, purely on spurious grounds.
Hagel’s chief adversaries, John McCain and Lindsay Graham, appear however, to have given up any further thought of a filibuster against Hagel.
The sooner the better. The obvious fakery of the charges leveled against Hagel exposes the pettiness of Hagel’s opponents, both in the right wing media and in the increasingly hard-right leadership of the Republican party.
Please visit James Wall's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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