WaPo ombudsman calls for 'spittlegate' investigative reporting

Thomas Lifson
Andrew Alexander, the Washington Post's ombudsman is forthrightly confronting charges of misreporting of allegations that Congressman Cleaver was spat upon ("spittlegate" in Jack Cashill's term), and that racial slurs were chanted and used multiple times as House members waded through a crowd of demonstrators, rather than using the customary subway system, ont heir way to vote on ObamaCare.

Alexander reports on ABC's examination of the videotape evidence ("A review of the unaltered footage, made by ABC at my request, clearly captures a protester shouting, "Barney, you faggot." Case closed.") , and concludes that yes, one person evidently shouted "faggot" at Barney Frank, but that the n-word and spitting charges are at a minimnum exaggerations. He calls for further media investigation:

The Post and other news organizations left the impression of a despicable, premeditated assault. With videos of the incident so prevalent on liberal and conservative Web sites, and with the question being so widely raised in the blogosphere and on cable channels, The Post was remiss in not providing clarity by quickly dissecting what happened. (Cleaver's office did not return repeated calls seeking comment for this column.)

[....]

If there is video or audio evidence of the racial slurs against Lewis and Carson, it has yet to emerge. Breitbart insists they "made it up." If so, they're good actors.

[....]

Breitbart's $100,000 challenge may be publicity-seeking theater. But it's part of widespread conservative claims that mainstream media, including The Post, swallowed a huge fabrication. The incidents are weeks old, but it's worth assigning Post reporters to find the truth. After all, a civil rights legend is being called a liar. That aside, there's serious money at stake.

A vile hoax was perpetrated on the American public, as House members deliberately provoked the demonstrators by walking through them (an entirely unnecessary and unusual means to get to the House floor) led by Nancy Pelosi carrying an enormous gavel. It is reasonable to conclude that they hoped for and expected some racial taunts. When none were uttered, a "say it don't spray it" encounter was exaggerated, and the n-word chants were fabricated. These charges were amplified and reported irresponsibly (as Jack Cashill demonstrates today).

The WaPo and Alexander take their responsibilities in the matter more seriously than most media outlets. Congratulations to both. As for the other media, when their role is exposed to more people, their credibility and readership will continue their steep decline.


Hat tip: Clarice Feldman
Andrew Alexander, the Washington Post's ombudsman is forthrightly confronting charges of misreporting of allegations that Congressman Cleaver was spat upon ("spittlegate" in Jack Cashill's term), and that racial slurs were chanted and used multiple times as House members waded through a crowd of demonstrators, rather than using the customary subway system, ont heir way to vote on ObamaCare.

Alexander reports on ABC's examination of the videotape evidence ("A review of the unaltered footage, made by ABC at my request, clearly captures a protester shouting, "Barney, you faggot." Case closed.") , and concludes that yes, one person evidently shouted "faggot" at Barney Frank, but that the n-word and spitting charges are at a minimnum exaggerations. He calls for further media investigation:

The Post and other news organizations left the impression of a despicable, premeditated assault. With videos of the incident so prevalent on liberal and conservative Web sites, and with the question being so widely raised in the blogosphere and on cable channels, The Post was remiss in not providing clarity by quickly dissecting what happened. (Cleaver's office did not return repeated calls seeking comment for this column.)

[....]

If there is video or audio evidence of the racial slurs against Lewis and Carson, it has yet to emerge. Breitbart insists they "made it up." If so, they're good actors.

[....]

Breitbart's $100,000 challenge may be publicity-seeking theater. But it's part of widespread conservative claims that mainstream media, including The Post, swallowed a huge fabrication. The incidents are weeks old, but it's worth assigning Post reporters to find the truth. After all, a civil rights legend is being called a liar. That aside, there's serious money at stake.

A vile hoax was perpetrated on the American public, as House members deliberately provoked the demonstrators by walking through them (an entirely unnecessary and unusual means to get to the House floor) led by Nancy Pelosi carrying an enormous gavel. It is reasonable to conclude that they hoped for and expected some racial taunts. When none were uttered, a "say it don't spray it" encounter was exaggerated, and the n-word chants were fabricated. These charges were amplified and reported irresponsibly (as Jack Cashill demonstrates today).

The WaPo and Alexander take their responsibilities in the matter more seriously than most media outlets. Congratulations to both. As for the other media, when their role is exposed to more people, their credibility and readership will continue their steep decline.


Hat tip: Clarice Feldman