A few days ago, on October 10, HuffPost published the following inflammatory claim as its front page splash headline:
This was HuffPost's contribution to advancing the non-story over the radical leftist blog ThinkProgress's non-fact-based accusation against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce --- that "anonymous sources," including foreign firms, are contributing to American elections, through the CoC. The CoC has responded with substance and a bit of snark here, here, here, here and elsewhere. Did HuffPost publish any of these rebuttals? Of course not.
ThinkProgress's accusations, of course, are as legitimate as Arianna's false public statements about HuffPost's supposed nonpartisanship and journalistic principles --- including her "prohibition" on "inflammatory claims":
"[At HuffPost] there are guidelines that have to be followed -- and they include a prohibition on... inflammatory claims..."
- Feb. 1, 2010
“[T]oo many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned...”
- July 29, 2008
One by one, (real) news sources, including the Washington Post, and even the (gasp!) New York Times revealed the ThinkProgress-DNC fraud as such. So did FactCheck.org.
But leave it to HuffPost to carry the water for the most inflammatory, substance-less, inane accusations against anyone to the right of Mao. It has a long, long, long history of using false, inflammatory and misleading headlines in order to do so.
Returning now to HuffPost's *HORROR* at a major organization's real or faux use of "anonymous sources" to try to influence U.S. elections, however, let us now take a look at its inflammatory splash headline from October 14:
And what is the basis of this story? On what proof did HuffPost rely to "ferret out the truth, consequences be damned," as Arianna intones is the mission of HuffPost?
Why, anonymous sources, of course!!! From its newly-acquired Newsweek retread, Howard Fineman, now its "Senior Political Editor" (emphasis added):
Christine O'Donnell may not be a witch, but she knows how to use scare tactics to raise money, top Republican strategists and officials here tell me. They say the Delaware Republican is loudly complaining about how they won't support her -- and they are not -- as a way to generate angry, send-them-a-message donations from her Tea Party base. [...]
Specifically, according to two top GOP insiders, she said at a strategy meeting with DC types last week: "I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys."
So, in order to smear Christine O'Donnell, HuffPost is citing anonymous sources who may or may not exist --- who describe an alleged quote that clearly was not captured on video or audio. Yet HuffPost chose to publish this inflammatory front-page splash headline, one night after O'Donnell's superb debate performance. Two weeks before what is projected to be a momentous election.
If HuffPost was just some far-left blog with the attendant small readership, all this wouldn't matter much. The reality is that HuffPost is the #1 most-read blog in the world, a top-ten U.S. "news" site, and is supported by some of the world's biggest advertisers --- which clearly means that whatever it says, whether true or not, is going to have an impact.
Memo to HuffPost: If you're concerned about influential organizations using anonymous sources to try to influence elections, you ought to get your own depraved house in order, first. Or, as Eric Clapton so ably noted... "Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself...":
If you'd like to make your voice known to HuffPost's senior management (politely, please), here's how.