Tucker Carlson seemed to be trying to assume Breitbart’s mantle exposing black “racism” back in October, when he reportedly paid for a non-scoop: the full video of a speech Obama gave to a black ministers’ conference back in 2007, which had been widely covered by the media at the time. Carlson hyped his story with Sean Hannity, believing he had an “October surprise” that could win the election for Mitt Romney: proof-positive that the president is a racist, because he praised Rev. Jeremiah Wright and suggested the federal government tarried in providing Katrina aid. Carlson insisted Obama was preaching racial division to his black audience and sputtered, “This is not a dog whistle, this is a dog siren!” But beyond Hannity, even Fox paid little attention to the non-scoop, and it died.
Now the Daily Caller has shamed itself with its dodgy story about a Democratic senator paying prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. To be fair to Carlson, a gesture he would never reciprocate, I should acknowledge that there’s reason to distrust Melanio Figueroa when he says the Daily Caller paid the women to lie. Of course, there was also plenty of reason to distrust Figueroa when he said Menendez patronized Dominican prostitutes. That’s why other news outlets, like ABC, the Newark Star-Ledger and the New York Post, passed on his lurid story when he peddled it to them. Only the Caller thought it passed muster. Now Carlson is working overtime to discredit Figueroa, when a little elbow-grease to vet the shady lawyer before the story ran would have gone a long way. That’s how journalism works.
But what the Caller and the Breitbart empire do mostly isn’t journalism; it’s opposition-research. When Reince Priebus declared in his GOP “autopsy” last week that conservatives should “hire activists to track Democratic incumbents and candidates with video cameras constantly recording their every movement, utterance, and action,” it was more evidence how much Breitbart is missed. Hell, he’d have been more likely to have gotten prostitutes to entrap Menendez into patronizing them than to pay them to lie about it. Or to get James O’Keefe to try to entrap him, anyway.
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