Greg Sargent of The Plum Line blog now blogs under the banner of The Washington Post, a recognition of his status as one of the premier, and normally more reasonable, left-wing bloggers.
Yet it appears that Sargent, while far less vitriolic than many of his compatriots, has brought the nascent war against Sharron Angle to WaPo.
In the past two days, Sargent has put forth two significant distortions of Sharron Angle’s statements in order to paint Angle as a “wackjob.”
On June 8, Sargent wrote a post about Harry Reid’s strategy of painting Angle as a “wackjob”:
Harry Reid’s political operation in Nevada is quietly assembling a battle plan to take on Tea Partyer Sharron Angle in the general election, presuming she beats Sue Lowden in today’s GOP primary.
The strategy: Use her own words to paint her as, well, a complete whackjob. Sound familiar? That’s what ground up Lowden in the wake of the chickens-for-checkups gaffe.
In that same post, however, Sargent himself distorted statements made by Angle:
Exhibit A: An interview Angle gave in which she suggested she favors outlawing alcohol and supports legislating morality. This, in Nevada.
In an interview with Liberty Watch magazine, Angle expressed her opposition to legalizing marijuana, and added: “I feel the same about legalizing alcohol.”
Yet read the interview, including even the language quoted by Sargent in his post, and it is clear that Angle was not calling for outlawing alcohol, she simply was stating her personal beliefs on the encouragement of the use of any type of drug. As to legislating morality, Angle was observing that politicians inevitably bring their beliefs to bear on policy making.
Even a cursory bit of research by Sargent would have revealed that he was distorting Angle’s position on alcohol made clear weeks ago, into the exact opposite of Angle’s actual position:
Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy insists Angle doesn’t want to return to the days of prohibition.
“Sharron doesn’t want to make alcohol illegal,” Stacy said. Alcohol is a legal substance adults can choose to imbibe.”
Stacy said Angle has never introduced any legislation to ban alcohol, and even voted against taxes on booze.
Sargent grossly overstated Angle’s statements and drew conclusions (such as outlawing alcohol) not supported by the transcript and contrary to Angle’s actual position. And all in the context of warning about how Harry Reid’s operatives plan on doing the same thing.
Today, Sargent has a post titled Sharron Angle: In wake of Gulf spill, we need to “deregulate” Big Oil. Sargent argues that Angle stated in an interview that she wanted to deregulate offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf tragedy. Sargent’s post has been picked up and regurgitated around the blogosphere.
But that is not what Angle said. The transcript in Sargent’s post is misleading because it cuts off with a sentence about deregulation.
But if you watch the video (start at 7:00), it is clear that Angle was in the process of segueing to a point unrelated to oil drilling, about the proper level of deregulation of industries which have moved jobs overseas, as a means of inviting them back to the U.S.
Here is the last sentence quoted by Sargent (in bold) followed by Angle’s continued answer:
We have oil reserves and petroleum reserves that we should tap into. And that’s a policy that we really need to look at as a nation. How do we deregulate enough to invite our industries to come back into the United States and quit outsourcing their business? We need it here. And especially in this climate, and we also need to talk about taxation as well, you know, the corporate tax rate. Why is Ireland at 12.5%, here we’re at 25-35%. We need to be competitive, and competitive in all markets.
The full answer, not artificially cut off in mid-stream, gives a very different context than that portrayed in Sargent’s post.
The war against Sharron Angle in the left-wing blogophere has begun. Left-wing bloggers missed their chance to smear Scott Brown early on, and they are not going to make that mistake again.
And the pixels at WaPo’s website now are part of that campaign.