Monday Morning Quarter-backtrack

by Mark Steyn
The Corner/National Review
October 14, 2009

My old London Telegraph colleague, Toby Harnden, has a piece on Rush and the fake slavery/James Earl Ray quotes that’s better than anything you’re likely to read in the dying US monodailies:

Even those who have been primary movers in spreading these malicious falsehoods – which would lead to payouts of hundreds of thousands in British libel courts if lawsuits were ever filed there – are brazenly unapologetic.

Thus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell pens this column containing the slavery quote and then follows up with another column with a kind-of-sort-of-well-not-really-at-all mea culpa in which he states that the quote seemed “so in character with the many things that Limbaugh has said before that we didn’t verify it beyond the book”.

OK, so it sounded right and it was on the internet or in a book or something so it was fine to just go ahead and print it as stone-cold fact without any attribution? I wonder which journalism school teaches that?

And Burwell caps it off by implying – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – that Limbaugh’s really lying: “Fine, let’s play along for the time being and take him at his word that he was inaccurately quoted in the Huberman book.” I’m no fan of British libel laws but, again, if that had been printed in the UK it would have led to a hefty payout for aggravated damages.

Can anyone play this game? Bryan Burwell says, “I like to have sex with donkeys.” What’s that? He didn’t actually say it? Fine, let’s play along for the time being and take him at his word that he was inaccurately quoted…

Rush should buy The St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Meanwhile, the geniuses at Media Matters say: You want chapter-and-verse on those “Slavery was great/Give James Earl Ray the Medal of Honor” quotes? Okay, here’s some stuff Limbaugh has said about Obama…

Steyn’s article continues here.

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