Ben Smith Tod Kelly Doesn’t Understand How Google Works Know How to Read
UPDATE: Ouch! In a post where I rolled my eyes at someone’s basic research incompetence, I went and totally got my Bens confused. So for the records, I would like to formally apologize to Ben Smith, formally pile on Ben Shapiro, and formally assure everyone that Bens Fold, Kweller, Cartwright and Converted Rice truly had nothing to do with the terrible Breitbart article with made up terrorist sympathize-y groups.
Apologies to the readers as well. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to don my hair shirt.
A few days before he demonstrated how embarrassing little he learned about health insurance after writing about it for four years, Ben Smith apparently reported on Chuck Hagel’s alarming ties with the Muslim extremist group Friends of Hamas.
Last week over at Breitbart, Ben Shapiro reported on Chuck Hagel’s alarming ties with the Muslim extremist group Friends of Hamas.
As you can imagine, this incendiary piece of reporting – based on a thing he heard from this guy – has taken the conservative media machine by storm. The story is being carried by the National Review, Hugh Hewitt with Rand Paul, Fox News, Frank Gaffney, Mike Huckabee and PJ Media, just to name a few.
Mind you, there is one tiny little problem:
The group doesn’t seem to actually exist.
As Dave Weigel notes,
At best, it’s an organization so secret that nobody in government has thought to mention its existence. At worst, it’s as fake as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. The Treasury Department, which designates sponsors of terror, has done so to many charities tied to Hamas. “Friends of Hamas” is not among them. The State Department doesn’t designate it, either. And a bit less holistically, a Lexis search for the group reveals absolutely nothing.
I’ve been unable to find any Senate staffer who knows where the “Friends” rumor came from, and Dave Reaboi, communications director for the (generally conservative) Center for Security Policy, shared my confusion about the alleged group. “Looking back to the 1990s, there were several groups (some affiliated with Holy Land Foundation, some not) that functioned as fund-raisers,” he said in an email. “I wouldn’t put it past these people to refer to it this way in private, but I doubt highly that they’d actually call a legit group ‘Friends of Hamas.'”
That’s probably why nobody has formed a group by that name, and why, after the Atlantic Council released a list of funders, “Friends of Hamas” was nowhere on it.
A wee, minor story for a Friday afternoon, I know. (Although really, when did we get to the point that major news organizations reporting on made up s**t was a wee, minor story?) But since this story fit so will with the Sailing to Irrelevance stories
, and since Smith had already made me hit me head on my desk this week, I decided to run with it anyway.