Thursday, October 29, 2009

10/27/09: HuffPost publishes false, inflammatory story about Justice Scalia; user hate-fest erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

Antonin Scalia is considered by many Americans and legal scholars to be one of the brightest, most astute and colorful Supreme Court Justices. Scalia was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 98-0 vote in the Senate in 1986.

is his bio. Here is a recent "60 Minutes" segment on him (Part 2 is here).

Previously, HuffPost --- which has been "legitimized" to the point where it is allowed to ask questions in presidential news conferences, and was even given preferential treatment at one --- named Justice Scalia a "dick." It described him as: "the number one dickiest" Associate Justice; claimed "it is unknown whether Scalia was abused by any of the Catholic priests he studied under"; and while correctly identifying him as a Constitutional "originalist," claimed this is codespeak for, "I am a racist, but I'm too much of a pussy to just come out and say it because I went to college."

Now, from the self-proclaimed "Internet Newspaper" whose founder and namesake reportedly "sees herself as the future of journalism...," and the news her site delivers as being nonpartisan, only interested in "the truth"...

On October 27, 2009, HuffPost published a story (sorry, screencap unavailable) on its front page, entitled:
Scalia: I Would Have Voted Against Brown. vs. Board of Education

The story is
not true. The source of the story, the East Valley Tribune (AZ) --- did you ever hear of that paper before now? --- later issued a retraction.

Given the extremely inflammatory nature of this allegation (see the history of this SCOTUS decision here), did HuffPost do even basic fact-checking before putting it on its front page? Apparently not. This is merely the latest in a long string of false/misleading headlines HuffPost has run on its front page regarding important and controversial subjects, as documented here.

In this case, as shown below, HuffPost later "printed" a correction to the piece --- but only on the
story page:

But by that time, HuffPost had moved the story off the front page. And as HuffPost has no "Corrections" feature on its front page, the readers who saw the story there on October 27 would have no way of knowing that the story is, in fact, not true.

The story generated more than 1,500 user comments --- including all of those featured below, each of which, according to HuffPost itself, it
reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

As you review them, keep in mind the following:
  • According to HuffPost's (supposed) comment policy and terms of service, it prohibits comments containing ad hominem (personal) attacks; slurs based on race or other factors; libels and defamation; wishing for, threatening or celebrating public figures' deaths or illnesses; off-topic content... well, you get the idea.

  • Some of these users have 50 or more "fans" (bolded), meaning that they have been allowed to post comments for quite some time. This tends to undermine Ms. Huffington's multiple claims (1, 2) that comments representing severe violations of the site's policies somehow slip through, and are the responsibility of a handful (or "miniscule minority") of anonymous hit-and-run "trolls," who may even be part of a right-wing conspiracy to embarrass her site.

  • These users are among the millions of "educated... thought-leaders" that HuffPost claims it helps advertisers to reach.


DustinTime I'm a Fan of DustinTime I'm a fan of this user 40 fans permalink
[...] if the Black Panthers had shot you in the neck, I'd have grabbed a shovel and helped them bury you on the side of a highway. Whether you were dead yet or not. Seriously!
Hey, I'm sort of a strict "originalist" too--you gotta a problem with something, you go right to the origin. You know... kill a snake, go for the head. That kind of thing. [...]
Reply Posted 02:16 PM on 10/27/2009

Opygollopy I'm a Fan of Opygollopy I'm a fan of this user 69 fans permalink
Are you not happy that this waste of skin is a Supreme Court Justice. [...]
There have to be term limits or age limits in this arena or the United States will never regain its leadership in the world. Same as Senators, there have to be term limits and/or age limits. Some of them have outlived their usefulness to Society and should not be allowed to make laws.*
Reply Posted 02:07 PM on 10/27/2009
[*Ed.: Thank you, American public school system...]


dissanayake I'm a Fan of dissanayake I'm a fan of this user 9 fans permalink
Did the 'Justice' mention wearing his White Hood too?
Reply Posted 02:02 PM on 10/27/2009

trishinpitt I'm a Fan of trishinpitt I'm a fan of this user 11 fans permalink
Yes... because as an Italian Catholic, the Klan would have embraced him with open arms!!!!
I find it ironic that he himself would still have been the subject of discrimination at that same time.
Reply Posted 02:13 PM on 10/27/2009

Char59 I'm a Fan of Char59 I'm a fan of this user 11 fans permalink
He got tired of peeking through the holes, so he just came completely out of it.
Reply Posted 02:50 PM on 10/27/2009


dre7861 I'm a Fan of dre7861 I'm a fan of this user 23 fans permalink
Well at least Scalia has finally revealed himself as a racist and not very well versed on the Constitution!
Reply Posted 02:01 PM on 10/27/2009

bagelmaven I'm a Fan of bagelmaven I'm a fan of this user 13 fans permalink
[...] IMPEACH Scalia for high crimes and misdemeanors to want discrimination to stay etched in the Consitution...can I start a petition? [...]
Reply Posted 02:06 PM on 10/27/2009

irkulyen I'm a Fan of irkulyen I'm a fan of this user 31 fans permalink
Scalia and his favorite lap dog Clarence Thomas (would HE have dissented in Brown vs. Board of Education?!) are two of the most dangerous men in America today. [...]
Reply Posted 02:10 PM on 10/27/2009

roshni I'm a Fan of roshni I'm a fan of this user 128 fans permalink
re lap dog - yes, he wants to be white and he would copy anything Scalia ever wrote.
Reply Posted 02:53 PM on 10/27/2009


LeftLeanWing I'm a Fan of LeftLeanWing I'm a fan of this user 161 fans permalink
Clarence Thomas. I'll bet you that as Scalia made this comment ----
his self-hating black
nodded in approval !
Reply Posted 02:36 PM on 10/27/2009

[Ed.: HuffPost has permitted "LeanLeftWing" to post more than 12,000 comments since October 2006, many of which are clear violations of its policies --- yet it routinely censors and bans non-violating users who dare to stand up to users like this; here]


gawkhawk I'm a Fan of gawkhawk I'm a fan of this user 16 fans permalink
How does Clarence Thomas feel about that?
Reply Posted 02:32 PM on 10/27/2009

swengnikaerb I'm a Fan of swengnikaerb I'm a fan of this user 237 fans permalink
Thomas the "potted plant" is too busy being quiet and knowing his "place".
Reply Posted 02:36 PM on 10/27/2009


raker I'm a Fan of raker I'm a fan of this user 66 fans permalink
From Scalia and Thomas, I get a sense that their resentment at the universe for having wronged them is so bitter, and so vast and deep that they revel in taking revenge against their fellow humans. It's so very Republican, and so pathetically juvenile. [...]
Reply Posted 02:43 PM on 10/27/2009

notb observer
I'm a Fan of notb observer I'm a fan of this user 68 fans permalink
[...] it sure seems that the Righties have put an end to even trying to cover their racism, intolerance and bigotry recently... [...] It sort of reminds me of a convicted murderer who claimed to be innocent, but when he is found guilty, loses all composure and the truth comes out, and it becomes obvious that we are looking at a serial killer.
As for Scalia... What can one expect. The Right Wingnut community is incapable of dealing with change. [...]
Reply Posted 02:48 PM on 10/27/2009


SouthernYankeeBelle I'm a Fan of SouthernYankeeBelle I'm a fan of this user 63 fans permalink
[Justice Clarence] Thomas is not black. He is in denial. I don't say that to be mean but it is the truth. He should be ashamed of himself because he and Scalia both forgot the hardships of their families coming to this country.
Reply Posted 02:55 PM on 10/27/2009

N8tracks I'm a Fan of N8tracks I'm a fan of this user 4 fans permalink
We call them "sellouts"!
Reply Posted 02:57 PM on 10/27/2009

jemiltd I'm a Fan of jemiltd I'm a fan of this user 81 fans permalink
Thomas himself doesn't believe he's a black man or haven't you understood that yet.
Reply Posted 02:56 PM on 10/27/2009


LeftAlone I'm a Fan of LeftAlone I'm a fan of this user 2 fans permalink
scalia is the closest thing to a real na zi that you can find on the planet.
he is a disgrace.
Reply Posted 03:46 PM on 10/27/2009

richinkle I'm a Fan of richinkle I'm a fan of this user 12 fans permalink
For all Scalia's supposed intellectual acuity, this statement reveals him to be a grade A mo.ron, with less than a Jr. High command of the Constitution, and not one iota of decency and common sense.
Reply Posted 03:29 PM on 10/27/2009

gardenkitty I'm a Fan of gardenkitty I'm a fan of this user 2 fans permalink
Why can't he die of a heart attack? The sooner the better.
Reply Posted 03:29 PM on 10/27/2009

TheyAllSuck I'm a Fan of TheyAllSuck I'm a fan of this user permalink
Stroke works for me. Or a plane crash while lobbyists are shuttling him over to another judicial seminar.
Reply Posted 03:35 PM on 10/27/2009



Even casual HuffPost observers know well that its front page routinely features its calling out of other "news" sources for inaccurate reporting, and commentators (e.g. Rush Limbaugh,
as in the first story, below) for falling prey to pranks. All of these stories were featured high on HuffPost's front page, as indicated by many (in some cases, thousands of) user comments they generated.
Fox News Falsely Claims Obama Watched Documentary On HBO Instead Of Election Results

Fake Obama Thesis Story Goes Viral, Because Of Stupidity

The Ten Most Egregious Fox News Distortions

(VIDEO) Fox News Newspaper Ad Makes False Claims About Tea Party Coverage

Non-Stories: A Season Of False Starts For News Organizations

Paul Begala: Fox News: We Report -- Even if We Know It's False

GE: Bill O'Reilly's Report "Maliciously False"

9/12 March 'Tea Party' Photo: False Image Spread By Anti-Reform Activists

Yet as is shown in this article (and many others chronicled here at Huff-Watch), when HuffPost has published false or misleading stories, they are generally either (a) left in their uncorrected form, or (b) moved off the front page once they are corrected, meaning that it is difficult, if not impossible for the damage they wrought to the victims to be undone.


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