The spinning for Harry Reid is in full throttle.
The meme is changing — according to Democratic insiders! — from one of doomed Harry Reid to Harry Reid the survivor:
There’s no denying that Reid still trails in most polls and that his approval ratings back home are in the tank. But with Angle’s shaky campaign launch, Democrats are now talking more about Reid’s post-November power and less about his inevitable demise.
See how it works. Rasmussen just releases a poll showing Sharron Angle with a double-digit lead, and the Democratic spinmeisters portray Reid as lucky to have her. It’s the narrative, stupid.
Nowhere is the spinning taking place more viciously than in the pixels of The Washington Post’s new star blogger, Greg Sargent. Sargent’s hit pieces get picked up by others, including campaign operatives, and take on a life of their own because he has The Washington Post name behind him.
Sargent is setting himself up as the point man for attacking Sharron Angle by distorting Angle’s statements to paint her as a potentially violent extremist.
I documented a few days ago how Sargent conveniently cut off a quote from Angle to make it seem as if Angle wanted further deregulation of oil drilling in light of the Gulf spill. In fact, the sentences Sargent cut out made it clear that Angle was talking about businesses which had taken jobs overseas. But no mind, Sargent got the headline he wanted which was regurgitated throughout the left-wing blogosphere.
In that same post, Sargent stated that Angle was in favor of outlawing alcohol, even though the statement he cited said no such thing and her campaign already had issued a statement denying the accusation.
Now Sargent is at it again, claiming that Angle “floated the possibility” (Sargent’s words) of an “armed insurrection.” The term used by Sargent in his post title and text clearly implies that Angle was in favor of armed insurrection.
But the quote cited by Sargent (listen to the audio yourself) says no such thing. Angle states that the first step towards taking back the country is to get rid of Harry Reid (against whom she is running) and never suggests that anyone should take up arms.
What Sargent fails to note is what the Las Vegas Review-Journal did note:
Asked to comment on the issue, Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy said via email: “Sharron Angle does not advocate a revolution. Her goal is to go to Washington with other like-minded elected officials who understand the proper role of the federal government as already defined by our Constitution.”
Sargent is doing what many bloggers do. But now that Sargent has The Washington Post name attached to his posts, it takes it to a whole new level.
Sargent is embarrassing The Washington Post by turning its blog into nothing more than a political campaign website, going far beyond the usual political opinion columnists. Sargent may be targeting Angle, but he is hitting WaPo.
Why doesn’t WaPo just sub-contract out to Media Matters or Think Progress?
The early attacks on Angle have been planned by the Reid campaign, but fortunately, Harry Reid is who Harry Reid is.
And even more fortunately, Sharron Angle has grassroots support, which propelled her to an unexpected victory, as well as the support of independent groups which can afford to match Reid’s negative ads:
Note: With this post I start a Greg Sargent tag, since he is leading the charge against Angle.
Update 6-17-2010 – In a new post Sargent notes the denial by the Angle campaign quoted above.