Saturday Reads: Daily Caller Caught Red-Handed (?), GOP “Estranged from America,” and Other News

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Good Morning!!

There’s a lot of news out there this morning, so I’ll get right to it.

Well, well, well, isn’t this an interesting headline at the WaPo: Dominican official links Daily Caller to alleged lies about Menendez.

A top Dominican law enforcement official said Friday that a local lawyer has reported being paid by someone claiming to work for the conservative Web site the Daily Caller to find prostitutes who would lie and say they had sex for money with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

The lawyer told Dominican investigators that a foreign man, who identified himself as “Carlos,” had offered him $5,000 to find and pay women in the Caribbean nation willing to make the claims about Menendez, according to Jose Antonio Polanco, district attorney for the La Romana region, where the investigation is being conducted.

The Daily Caller, owned by smirky right winger Tucker Carlson, claims it’s not true. Sure, Tucker.

The videotaped claims of two women, made with their faces obscured, were posted in the fall on the Daily Caller. The site reported that “the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. . . . They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”

In its statement Friday, the Daily Caller said: “At no point did any money change hands between The Daily Caller and any sources or individuals connected with this investigation, nor did anyone named Carlos travel to the Dominican Republic on behalf of The Daily Caller. As recently as two weeks ago, Figueroa was on record with another news outlet as saying the women he represented were telling the truth about their initial allegations against Senator Menendez.”

There’s quite a bit of wiggle room in that denial. So no one from the Daily Caller actually handed money to anyone, and “Carlos” didn’t travel from the U.S. to the Dominican. Big deal. The arrangements were probably made by phone and the money was giving out through the lawyer.

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I don’t know what happened for sure, but I know Tucker Carlson is a sleazy S.O.B. What I didn’t know until today (via Crooks and Liars) is that the Daily Caller got its start-up funds from Foster Friess, the Republican billionaire donor who recommended that women put an aspirin between their knees as contraception. C&L’s Karoli also linked to this Mother Jones article by Kate Sheppard: Controversial Daily Caller Editor Admitted to Posing As Radical Animal Rights Activist.

David Martosko—the outgoing executive editor of the conservative Daily Caller and a prominent defender of the news site’sdisputed claim that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) paid two women for sex in the Dominican Republic—admitted in a court document obtained by Mother Jones that he used a fake Facebook profile to pose as a “dope-smoking commie” in order to gather information on animal rights activists. The admission came in a May 2011 depositionMartosko gave under oath as part of a defamation case against him and his former employer, Berman and Company, a PR shop that specializes in combating progressive activists who target corporations.

Before Daily Caller Editor in Chief Tucker Carlson hired him in 2011—a controversial choice given Martosko’s previous arrests and lack of experience in journalism—Martosko spent a decade working for Richard Berman, a longtime PR operative behind a number of industry-backed campaigns. At Berman and Company, Martosko served as the director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a Berman-run nonprofit that opposes new laws on food and beverages. CCF, which is funded by the food and beverage industry, runsHumane Watch, a website that posts derogatory information about the Humane Society of the United States. Martosko was the site’s “founding editor.” CCF also operates Activist Cash, a website that compiles biographical information on groups and individuals that engage in “anti-consumer activism.”

Despite all this circumstantial evidence that the Daily Caller is a fraudulent operation, Politico posted a piece by MacKenzie Weinger supporting Carlson’s operation and implying that the WaPo is trying to defend Democrats rather than simply reporting the results of investigative reporting.

Also from the WaPo, and op-ed by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center — The numbers prove it: The GOP is estranged from America. I actually have a lot of problems with this article–Kohut writes from the point of view of an old-style Republican, which he is. He claims that the Democratic Party has gotten more liberal, when the current Democratic President, Barack Obama has publicly state that his ideology is that of a Rockefeller-type Republican. Here’s an excerpt:

Read the rest of this entry »


CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Confronts Rep. Peter King on “Apology Tour” Lies (and Red Hot News Updates)

Good Afternoon!

This freak-out by Peter King under pressure from Soledad O’Brien is must-see TV.  I’m surprised he didn’t have apoplexy trying to defend the imaginary“apology tour” meme originated by Karl Rove. I thought I’d put it on the front page, in case everyone hasn’t seen it yet.

Here’s the transcript, thanks to Think Progress.

O’BRIEN: Never once in that speech, as you know, which I have the speech right here. that was — he never once used the word “apology.” He never once said “I’m sorry.”

KING: Didn’t have to. The logical — any logical reading of that speech or the speech he gave in France where he basically said that the United States can be too aggressive. […]

O’BRIEN: Everybody keeps talking about this apology tour and apologies from the President. I’m trying to find the words ‘I’m sorry, I apologize’ in any of those speeches. Which I have the text of all those speeches in front of me. None of those speeches at all, if you go to factcheck.org which we check in a lot, they all say the same thing. They fact check this and they say this whole theory of apologies…

KING: I don’t care what fact check says.

O’BRIEN: There are fact checks. You may not care, but they’re a fact checker.

KING: No. Soledad. Any commonsense interpretation of those speeches, the president’s apologizing for the American position. That’s the apology tour. That’s the way it’s interpreted in the Middle East. If I go over and say that the U.S. has violated its principles, that the United States has not shown respect for islam, that’s an apology. How else can it be interpreted?

O’BRIEN: I think plenty of people are interpreting it as a nuanced approach to diplomacy is how some people are interpreting it. So I don’t think that everybody agrees it’s apology.

A couple more news updates:

According to Dave Wiegel, speechwriter Matthew Scully, whose draft of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech was tossed out by Stuart Stevens and Romney may be the main person behind the “backbiting” that is all over the media today. Wiegel:

My friend and former colleague Tim Noah was the first, I think, to notice that you can’t cross Republican speechwriter Matthew Scully. In 1993, after the George H.W. Bush administration ended, Scully revealed that the president “trusted the wrong people.” In 2007, as the second Bush ediface collapsed, Scully wrote an Atlantic tell-all about the administration’s fumbles. Scully dropped so many dimes on Michael Gerson that the floppy-haired speechwriter could have bought a java chip Frappucino. “At the precise moment when the State of the Union address was being drafted at the White House by John and me,” wrote Scully, “Mike was off pretending to craft the State of the Union address in longhand for the benefit of a reporter.”

In Scullyworld, every Republican has the makings of greatness until he’s undone by bad staffers who — in his one, telling character flaw — he’s unwilling to sack.

David Corn has the leaked videos from that fund-raiser Romney thought was private and off the record!

One of the leaked videos from a Romney fund-raiser that I wrote about on Saturday night, has been posted at HuffPo, along with the news that the source of the videos has turned over the original, unedited version to David Corn of Mother Jones. And what do you know? Corn has already posted his reactions, along with additional quotes from the devastating video.

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

There is much, much more at the link. I wonder how this will go over with working- and middle-class voters when it appears in their local newspapers?

This is an open thread!


Saturday Night Open Thread: Leaked Videos of Romney Fund-Raiser Go (almost) Mainstream

About a month ago, I saw a supposed “leaked video” of Mitt Romney at a private fund-raiser. There were a series of clips from the speech posted on You tube. I can’t recall now where I first learned about this, but at the time, bloggers were saying that it wasn’t confirmed that the audio was actually Romney, although the voice and content sound exactly like him. The earliest new link I can find is this one from August 27 at Shanghaiist.com. The video was also reportedly shown to employees of Sensata, the company in Illinois that is currently being destroyed by Bain Capital.

Suddenly today, the videos are turning up in posts from “respectable” bloggers. Ezra Klein highlights the first one I saw: Romney discussing working conditions at a Chinese factory he toured when he was at Bain Capital.

Klein uses this to argue that Romney was admitting that if you live in the U.S., you’re born with a leg up. In other words, “you didn’t build that.” Klein got the video from Political Wire. I’m not sure why these blogs are posting the videos now when they have been on You Tube for awhile. Have they been authenticated?

A number of these “leaked videos” are posted at the You Tube site of “Anne Onymous.”

Here is another really offensive one in which “Romney” talks angrily about people who vote for Obama as being “dependent on the government” and feeling “entitled to health care, food, and housing.” Listen to how his voice rises in outrage at the notion of people thinking they should not have to starve, die of untreated disease, or live on the street.

In other clips, “Romney” explains why the campaign is using Ann “sparingly,” makes a crude joke about immigration, says he doesn’t want to leave anything to his grandchildren, claims he didn’t inherit anything, admits he was born “with a silver spoon,” and more. In one, “Romney” says “I wish we weren’t unionized. We could go a lot deeper than you’re allowed to go.” What’s that about–wages, benefits? A few of the clips have video, some only audio.

Personally, I’m convinced the voice is Romney’s. But where was the recording made? Or is it a hoax? Check out the videos/audios and see what you think.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe referenced the “purported” Chinese worker video in a story today on Romney’s investments in China. Evidently their reporters had little doubt the voice was Romney’s. I’ve posted some quotes in the comment thread.