Anatomy of a conservative media scam

Steve Benen writing at Washington Monthly yesterday brings up a sorely needed point in an article titledBeing conservative means never having to say you’re wrong”:

We talked earlier about the Daily Caller’s massive screw-up yesterday, on an important story about the Environmental Protection Agency. I figured the conservative outlet would grudgingly bury some awkwardly-worded correction and move on. I assumed wrong. To briefly recap, the Daily Caller reported that the EPA is eyeing new greenhouse gas measures, which would in turn ask American taxpayers “to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.” The piece was quickly embraced by the conservative message machine, with Fox News, National Review, and others trumpeting the story.

The editor of the Daily Caller has still not come clean. The story can still be found on Google News from various news sources. In fact the Daily Caller has issued this “clarification,” which is, yet again, simply and completely wrong:

Our story about the EPA was spot-on and accurate. It’s true that the agency’s court filing outlined a “tailoring rule” as a more gradual approach to hiring 230,000 people at a cost of $21 billion. But the EPA was clear that “the Tailoring Rule is calculated to move toward eventual full compliance with the statutory threshold” — meaning it’s not a question of if the EPA wants to triple its budget, but when.

The same scam is played out all the time in conservative circles. If and when enough pressure mounts the publishers may finally cop to the error, even then they’ll do so quietly and well after the damage is done. Media venues like Fox News and right-wing politicians who ran with the story will never be held to account.


  1. unbound says

    Yep. While the rest of the civilized world is playing a game of boxing, the conservative news outlets are pulling out knives and guns. It’s sad enough that the news outlets continue to pull these stunts, it’s even sadder that many people still think that the conservative news outlets are actually playing the game correctly.

  2. louis14 says

    Reminds me of the 100% successful destruction of the Climate Change talks a couple of years back, mainly achieved through lying about the University of East Anglia scientists report to the IPCC.

    There were, I think, three official enquiries set up by the UK government about this, in the wake of the scandal. All of them concluded that there had been no case to answer. The worst offence that the U of EA scientists committed was not to share some of their data quickly enough. But the charge that they had made up and the results of their research and had lied to the scientific community and the IPCC was found to be completely and utterly false.

    But who remembers that? And anyway, what does it matter? The lies did their job at the time – a complete coup.

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