This morning we received an email message from McClatchy News DC investigative editor James Asher promoting a current story. Of all the news outlets that covered the fabricated March 20 story of Reps. Carson, Cleaver, Clyburn and Lewis regarding the racial abuse to which they were subjected by Tea Party/Obamacare protesters on Capitol Hill, McClatchy’s may have been the worst: “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressmen.”
As we have discussed in previous installments of this miniseries, two journalists have reviewed the evidence supporting the incident. The Washington Post’s ombudsman essentially found no evidence to support the incident in his review. AP reporter Jesse Washington cited Rep. Heath Shuler in support of the incident, but the AP has withdrawn this element of Washington’s review.
In response to his message this morning, I asked Asher if McClatchy News was ever going to investigate its own “Tea Party protesters scream” article of March 20. This was Asher’s response:
There is no reason to. The criticism is based on a video tape that depicted a different time and not the incident. And we feel confident that the congress members would not concoct their stories.
But thanks for reading mcclatchy.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
[contact information omitted]
Asher’s response illustrates several propositions related to the story. Among them are the folowing.
Asher doesn’t know the story very well. Readers familiar with this story know that there are several videos of the congressmen walking through the crowd to and from Cannon on March 20. Not a single video or any other eyewitness supports their story despite Asher’s “confidence” in it.
Asher has absolutely no interest in getting the story right. He accords a “confidence” to the word of public officials that would be remarkable if McClatchy News weren’t simply in the bag for the Democratic Party and its agenda. Asher’s “confidence” is a faith that is, shall we say, inconsistently applied.
McClatchy doesn’t care to revisit the story or to get it right. It is perfectly happy to be used by the Democrats in their efforts to tar the Tea Party movement as racist and to move on. And Asher’s “confidence” survides despite the lack of corroborating evidence under circumstances where such evidence should exist. This is not how a real news organization operates.
Since they were out peddling their story on March 20 and immediately after, a funny thing has happened to the prominent congressional accusers of the Obamacare protesters. These loquacious men have done something completely out of character.; they have clammed up. Why might that be?
The video above (compiled by Andrew Breitbart) provides substantial evidence that the story sold to McClatchy by the congressmen, and peddled by McClatchy to its readers, is a fabrication. We hear many voicings of “kill the bill.” We hear one “you arrogant prick.” We hear no n-word.
If the incident had occurred as alleged, there would be audio, video or other eyewitness evidence supporting it beyond the congressmen’s say-so. There is none, because it didn’t happen
This alleged incident, fabricated by congressmen including one of the Democratic congressional leaders, is a scandal hiding in plain sight. Surely someone who reports on politics for a living will not want to leave it to Andrew Breitbart to blow the whistle on it, but it will not be McClatchy News. McCatchy News leaves it to Cleaver.