Don’t leave it to Cleaver, part 16

McClatchy News was responsible for the single worst story reporting the allegations of Reps. Andre Carson, John Lewis. Emanuel Cleaver and James Clyburn that Tea Party protesters abused black congressmen with racial epithets while demonstrating against Obamacare on Capitol Hill on March 20. The story is “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressmen.”

We believe that the congressmen’s story was a fabrication intended to defame the Tea Party movement and distract attention from the resistance to Obamacare. Not a single video corroborates it. No independent witness has stepped forward to vouch for it.

Given the involvement of Rep. Clyburn in promoting the story, the fabrication extends to the Democratic congressional leadership. It is a scandal that warrants the attention of the mainstream media.

In recent installments of this series, we have posted correspondence — both our own and that of our readers — with McClatchy News investigative editor James Asher. (All previous installments can be accessed here.)

Readers have continued to forward their correspondence with Asher to us. This correspondence powerfully points out the deficiencies of the messages we have posted from Asher. But it is evident that Asher has no interest in examining the merits of the story.

The common theme of his response to us and to our readers is Asher’s demand that a witness be produced to contradict McClatchy’s story. Asher simply ignores the several videos that belie McClatchy’s story far more effectively than any witness ever could.

We were there, Asher says. Were you?

McClatchy was certainly there to take the statements of the congressmen on March 20 and turn them into a story within a matter of an hour or two. We have no reason to think that McClatchy reporters heard the alleged racial abuse first-hand. None has stepped forward to testify to it.

There is no evidence that in McClatchy’s story that any reporter heard it. Asher’s response appears nothing more than bravado and deception.

In any event, we have posted the eyewitness testimony of reader Greg Farrell contradicting the congressmen’s story retailed by McClatchy and others. Indeed, Farrell has contacted Asher directly with the following message:

Mr Ashner,

My name is Greg Farrell and I have been following your exchange with individuals on Power Line. In your last response to Mr Todd B. you asked if he was there at the Cannon Building that afternoon while these congressmen supposedly had racial slurs screamed to them.

Mr. Ashner, if you are the true journalist you claim to be you would acknowledge the obvious evidence that contradict these charges such as Mr Todd B. noted. Instead you act like a child and try to put the onus on him asking whether or not he was there as if that changes any of the evidence that clearly shows this was a total fabrication.

I would wonder if you had the courage and the professionalism to provide my version of the events being I WAS THERE. I can and will corroborate what Todd B. offered My testimony of the events of that day are published at Power Line as stated.

You are free to contact me anytime you want as my email address is provided. As of now as far as we can see you are not interested in the truth but like most in the dwindling print media you are only interested in forwarding unsubstantiated propaganda to effect a desired political outcome. That is not journalism, that is being a lapdog.

Greg Farrell

Farrell has provided us Asher’s response as follows:

thank you gregg for your note.

We hesitate to declare the conclusion of this miniseries, but we appear to have come to the end of the line. Like the congressmen whose story is in issue, Asher has clammed up.

UPDATE: After another exchange of messages, Farrell reports that Asher has asked him for his telephone number. We will continue to update this series as appropriate.

A FINAL WORD: At last report, Asher had yet to follow up with Gregg Farrell.