The story's been around for a few days. Some rightwing blogs/internet outlets reported that former Senator Chuck Hagel, and now President Obama's Secretary of Defense nominee, contributed to an organization called "Friends of Hamas."
How many fools reported this? And who are these easily duped ninnies? Here's a partial list--we'll call it an "A" ["A" as in, well you can guess] list:
Biggest A: Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com
"According to the three-paragraph story, "Senate sources" told Breitbart News "exclusively" that Hagel had received foreign funding from "a group purportedly called 'Friends of Hamas.'" Based on what his "sources" had told him, writer Ben Shapiro called a White House spokesman for comment. Shapiro wrote that the spokesman hung up on him. Shapiro apparently decided that being blown off by the White House was sufficient confirmation. He tweeted a link to his Twitter followers.
And then, the deluge. The right-wing website Powerline copied and pasted Shapiro's dispatch, and topped it with the headline TIME TO STICK A FORK IN HAGEL. The National Review's Andrew McCarthy linked to the Powerline item, quoted Powerline quoting Shapiro, and topped his own post with the headline IS HAGEL TOAST? "
Lesser As: Hugh Hewitt, Rand Paul, Lou Dobbs, and the cementheads over at RedState.
The rumor about Senator Hagel's connection with "Friends of Hamas" is entirely made up, but that didn't stop the wingnutters from jumping on the false information and spreading it throughout their outlets. Because in their deranged eagerness to derail President Obama's nominee for SoD, they'd believe what anyone said, even if it came from a talking unicorn.
Here's what actually happened, as reported by Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News--Friedman commented with a joke about possible organizations from which Hagel may have received speaking fees. Without carefully reading the story and seeing the obvious nonsense in it, the nutters enthusiastically believed the joke with all their Obama-detesting hearts and eagerly spread it to all their mickey-mouse third-rate outlets. So soaked are these toadies in their hatred for anything attached to President Obama, that they report first and check for facts later--wait, obviously they didn't check anything, since the story spread, like effluvium from an overflowing septic tank, throughout wingnuttia.
From Dan Friedman:
"Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out.
On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?
Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel.
So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?
The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically.
No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them."
From the Reid Report:
"...no such group exists. But right wingers, and the McCarthyite Senators they’ve gone and elected, and their silly “news” cable channel, and their talk radio guys, and their blogs, just need, NEED, NEEEEED, to hate Barack Obama and everyone around him so desperately, they’ll believe damned near everything."
And so the nutters believed what the unicorn said. These are the folks other rightwing bloggers turn to for facts and reporting: Idiots of truly epic proportions who heard a rumor and never bothered to do the work of finding out if it were, y'know, TRUE!
More from The Reid Report:
"And therein lies the problem with the right.
They start at the end, rather than the beginning — so filled with the desire to believe the worst, that they’ll just as easily believe the stupidest.
They did it with election “projections” and “unskewed polls” that had them convinced that a) everybody, HATES Barack Obama and b) Mitt Romney would MOP THE FLOOR WITH HIM in last year’s presidential election. Oops.
And now it’s happening with Hagel.
And this, my friends, is the “new media” the right is relying on to get them back in the game."
Smearing Hagel: The conservative "media" in action
"Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist
How An Over-The-Top Joke Became A Republican Talking Point Against Chuck Hagel