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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is having some fun with the recent massive public failure of his detractors in the media: when right-wing blogs fell for a complete hoax about his recent injuries.

“What this guy proved to me is that journalism doesn’t exist,” Reid told reporters late Tuesday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. “I wish I’d meet this guy and pat him on the back.”

So what is it that’s got Reid gloating?

Right-wing media have been been circulating various conspiracy theories about Reid’s injuries — the most common one being that Reid was beaten up by the Las Vegas mafia — instead of Reid’s publicly accepted explanation that he had an accident involving home exercise equipment.

Larry Pfeifer, a Las Vegas resident, admitted on Sunday that he had cooked up a story that Reid had been assaulted by his brother, Larry Reid — by claiming to have met an agitated Larry Reid at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Pfeifer also reused elements of Larry Reid’s actual recent DUI arrest, in order to lend the story an aura of verisimilitude.

Pfeifer’s stated goal: To discredit the media sources that picked up his story. Or, as he explained it to the Las Vegas Sun“Can I set off a domino effect where people say, ‘We’re sick of this,’ and start turning away from this kind of media or maybe boycott their sponsors?”

Pfeifer contacted John Hinderaker of Powerline Blog, using the pseudonym “Easton Elliott,” though Hinderaker writes that Pfeifer also eventually gave his real name. (In an email exchange with The National Memo, Pfeifer claimed that his alias was “not at all” based on Elliot Easton, lead guitarist of The Cars. This reporter was not convinced.)

The story got Pfeifer exposure on Hinderaker’s site and a guest spot on talk radio, when Hinderaker guest-hosted for Laura Ingraham. The rumor was also repeated by the king of right-wing radio himself, Rush Limbaugh, which led Pfeifer to come clean publicly after his unsuccessful efforts to actually get on Limbaugh’s show and admit it all there.

As for Hinderaker, although he told The Huffington Post, “I’m not critical of anything I did,” he also said, “But if you look at it in hindsight, obviously, you know the guy turns out to be some kind of a fraud…So, in hindsight would I do it differently? Heck yes. I wouldn’t have even spoken to the guy.”

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  • Dominick Vila

    I don’t have a problem with debates influenced by ideology or, obviously, the record, but when the focus involves the least common denominator, and the so called “liberal” media finds nothing better to talk about than what charlatans and opportunists have to say about someone else, it is time to turn off the TV, radio, or stop reading newspapers and admire the beauty of the world we live in.

    • TZToronto

      I’ve stopped watching CNN simply because all they’re looking for is controversy. They love to get the guy from the left and the woman from the far right to talk about something that’s pretty easy to figure out without having to listen to a useless argument. The two “spokespeople” start talking over each other, one extolling President Obama and the other alluding to his Muslim-ness and fascist-socialist tendencies accompanied by incompetence. Nothing worth hearing is said, and the ratings go up. I’ve switched to CBC news. (Can you get it in the U.S.?) They cover what’s going on the the U.S., but they don’t have the partisan pundits to confuse the issues. Also, they don’t focus on the latest pseudo-scandal involving Hillary’s emails or the umpteenth investigation of Benghazi.
      I was especially offended by Chris Cuomo’s irresponsible speculation today (my wife was watching CNN) surrounding Freddie Gray’s death. Right, he intentionally broke his own spine and larynx, according to another detainee who couldn’t even see what was going on–but probably figured he could get preferential treatment from the police if he accused the deceased of killing himself. Cuomo also speculated that Gray had a pre-existing spinal injury, but it turned out that it was Freddie Gray, Sr. who had the injury. Very irresponsible and disappointing.

      • Dominick Vila

        I watch the BBC and TVE (Spanish TV) for the same reason you watch CBC. Their broadcasts are more in depth, they usually spend more time on important issues, they include interviews with local people, and they lack the partisanship and focus on ratings that seem to be the most important motivation or goal for the American media. An example of issues usually not covered by the U.S. media was a program on TVE about Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. In addition to dwellings, the Israelis have also confiscated small farms previously owned by Palestinians, who are now farm hands in the land they once owned. The worst part is that many of those farm hands are children under 16, a violation of Israeli law which is ignored or deemed not applicable to the Palestinian territories. Issues like this will not even elicit the typical 2 minute coverage we see, ostensibly because it raises questions about the message our media and special interests have been hammering in our brains for decades.

        • TZToronto

          The CBC has a public affairs program called The Passionate Eye, which is shown weekly (or bi-weekly). It examines, in depth, issues that are simply too complex to be handled during regular newscasts. These are more like documentaries, and they’re done in a journalistic style that we rarely see, especially on US TV. These are similar the the old CBS Reports that we used to see back in the 60s. Shortly after the events of 9/11, The Passionate Eye examined all of the questions surrounding the attacks that were never covered by the MSM in the U.S. While not trying to feed conspiracy theories, the show demonstrated inconsistencies in the official version of events.
          Of course, in the current state of affairs in Canada, with a Conservative government in Ottawa, funding for the CBC is always threatened. Good journalism is the enemy of the status quo.

          • idamag

            Who is going to benefit from the dumbing down of The United States? Who will be easier to divide and conquer?

    • idamag

      I freed myself from cable news a long time ago. And like the lyrics of the song, “I can see clearly now.”

  • bobnstuff

    Does anyone else remember a time when reporters check and double checked facts before printing a story. The media is in such a hurry to report news that facts are dropped by the wayside. In order to make profits staff cuts have made newspapers that once were reliable news sources little more then roomer mills and forget places like Fox who don’t even pretend to tell facts anymore. If the truth will set you free then we are all becoming slaves to misinformation.

    • FireBaron

      Even back when I wrote for my college’s newspapers, my editors would question anything “questionable”.

    • idamag

      Alas, we no longer have journalism.

  • CrankyToo

    Hinderaker typifies the rabid, Turd Party loving, right-wing media purveyors of hate and discontent. He’s basically saying, “I may have acted rashly and I may have hung my fat a$$ out over the balcony for the whole country to see, but I’m not critical of anything I did.” Or, in other words, “I may lack journalistic integrity, but I see no need to get all introspective over it.” What a jerk0ff….

  • porter

    What did that tell us that anything that the right wing crowd has to report we need to take a real good look at the people who are doing the reorting

  • plc97477

    I hope hinderaker looks at all “breaking news” a little more carefully. Now that we know how gullible he is, he is going to take on a lot of that.

    • Sadly, he and his cohorts in the Religious Right Propaganda wing are probably still repeating it. They’re probably right now telling their sheep that Pfeifer was likely forced to retract his story by the secular all-gay DREAMers mafia.

  • charleo1

    Ever wondered where do they get this stuff? I have, and now we know one major source. They just make it up! I was in the checkout line at the grocery store the other day, and I read a headline on, “The Globe.” A tabloid, that claimed Obama had been stricken by some mysterious illness, could no longer walk, (they pictured him in a wheelchair.) And was so despondent, according to the huge headline, “CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE!!” Where do they get this stuff? It’s Right Wing pornography, I thought, as the line moved on. I’d rather see porn, I thought, then quickly rejected the thought. But at least they’d be more honesty, and less fantasy in the porn. And it wouldn’t be as ugly as the fact that the editors of this rag, knew full well the lie, and the picture would sell copies.

    • idamag

      Remember when Rachel Ray was supposed to have walked in on her husband having sex and left him? Well, they are still married and she still talks lovingly of him. Remember when Bill Clinton was ill and contemplating suicide? Remember when Hiliary was filing for divorce? Remember when a woman in Connecticut gave birth to a pig by in vitro fertilization? Remember when they discovered the skeleton of a unicorn? People, who believe that, and buy that garbage, are the kind who comes on these boards with ridiculous unproven statements. They aren’t exactly an asset to this country.

  • idamag

    Even to be a member of the radical right means to be gullible when it comes to hate mongering.