Mollie Hemingway: Anatomy Of A Smear: The Media Vs. Republican Senators On Iran Letter

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The claims in the Daily Beast story are completely 100% unsubstantiated

mollie writes: This week, a group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas (pictured above, with a kitten, in Iraq) issued a very brief open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the differences between mere executive agreements and international treaties ratified by the Senate. It’s a fairly basic letter that includes reminders about the Constitutional system under which we operate. I couldn’t begin to speculate why, but the media lost their collective minds over this letter. Along with other Democrats and progressive activists. You can read the breathless, outraged, totally-over-the-top headlines if you’d like to see this melt-down in action.

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Now, that’s fine. That’s their business. To be completely honest, and not that you care, I’m not the biggest fan of such letters myself. I mean, they’re not as bad as Nancy Pelosi going to Syria to undermine Bush’s foreign policyJimmy Carter helping North Korea get nuclear weaponsTed Kennedy secretly asking the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election or any of the many other interjections we’ve seen, but I think it’s generally a good idea to yield to the president on foreign negotiations, even if it’s a really bad president who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag if the stakes involved, oh I don’t know, going ahead with Iran as a nuclear power.

“What he sure as MOTHERFREAKING FREAK doesn’t say is that he’s a senator, that he thought it was a dumb idea to sign the letter, that he signed it and then realized it was a bad call or that he represents the ‘some’ in the headline.”

But let’s look a little deeper at just one part of this media campaign against Republican senators. It comes from Tim Mak of the Daily Beast and it looks like he’s got an explosive story:

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Whoa. Check that out. Republicans now “admit” that the letter was “a dumb idea”! That’s huge. And “some Republicans who signed on” are now “realizing” it was a bad call? I can’t wait to read this story — taglined “HINDSIGHT” for extra flair — can you?

“Other than this low-level staff aide who didn’t even say he thought the letter was a bad idea, much less a dumb one, we have two Republican Senators who always opposed the letter and then also a Democratic Senator who didn’t like the letter…”

What are their names? Which of the senators are changing their minds and “admitting” and “realizing” that the media were right after all? Who are they?

[read the full text here, at The Federalist]

Oh dear. That’s … weird. Very weird.

“So, in other words, we have a story that in no way supports the headline. Not even close…”

Hunh. Tim Mak’s story doesn’t even claim a single senator changed his mind. Not even close. Yikes.

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Um. So it turns out that the only people quoted in the story against the letter are people who always opposed the letter. There’s also a quote from an unnamed, completely anonymous “Senate Republican aide” who doesn’t in any way say anything even remotely close to the claims made in the headline or anywhere else in the piece. Let’s look at the actual words of the unnamed guy who probably exists in real life even though we can’t verify that:

“Before the letter, the national conversation was about Netanyahu’s speech and how Obama’s negotiations with Iran are leading to a terrible deal that could ultimately harm U.S. national security. Now, the Obama administration and its Capitol Hill partisans are cynically trying to push the conversation away from policy, and towards a deeply political pie fight over presidential and congressional prerogatives,” said a Senate Republican aide whose boss signed the letter.

OK. So Obama and partisans are cynically trying to push the conversation away from policy and onto the senators with the help of a fully compliant media. OK. Fine. We all noticed that. And into a pie fight….(read more)

The Federalist



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