The Jennings smear = the latest right-wing "scandal" to flop in the mainstream
Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
Talk about a long slide for out.
The supposed brains behind the right-wing blogosphere went bonkers this week hyping the latest chapter in its wild hate campaign against Kevin Jennings, the openly gay "Safe Schools Czar" currently serving in the Obama administration. The latest charges, which highlighted the creepy right-wing fascination with gay sex, were rolled over days and presented as the ultimate take-down of Jennings. But alas, the serious press has been singularly uninterested in the story. A check of Nexis shows not one serious national news outlet picked up the story this week, despite the fact that right-wingers, led by Andrew Breitbart, hailed it as a sensational blockbuster.
Then again, Breitbart recently claimed the misdemeanor charges surrounding the Kenneth Gladney incident constituted a massive political cover-up. There as well, the press couldn't have cared less about the story and rightfully ignored Breitbart's wildly inaccurate rhetoric.
It's true that the chronic debunking that Media Matters has done on the Jennings and Gladney stories (to name just two) may have convinced journalists not to touch the right-wing productions. But I also think that in the case of the Jennings 'story,' it was blindingly obvious that the far-right hate brigade just didn't have the goods. And worse, when it didn't have the goods, `wingers made stuff up instead.
Take this Gateway Pundit 'scoop' from yesterday:
Fistgate V: Youth Fisting Instructor Claims Kevin Jennings Knew About Class Content in Advance
In fact, when you read the breathless/hysterical post, nowhere was there any evidence (i.e. y'know, facts) to support the claim that the instructor in question ever claimed Jennings knew beforehand about the controversial content. None. Zero. But to make for a better headline Gateway Pundit just manufactured a claim. And honestly, that's what the right-wing blogosphere has been reduced to; just making shit up.
But bloggers can't very well spend their days and nights making stuff up and then turn around and act surprised and offended when actual journalists don't follow up the nonsensical 'scoops' they post. (Liberal bias!) The endless stream of hollow allegations the right-wing traffics in has now largely become background noise, albeit unpleasant and unwanted noise. They represent a cacophony of endless allegations that virtually never pan out. So can you blame journalists for simply tuning it out?
For instance, what exactly, after a couple hundred ACORN-related posts on Breitbart's site Big Government, have bloggers in recent weeks added to that thoroughly played-out story? Answer: Zilch, which is why the story is officially dormant in most newsrooms. Of course, right-wingers claim it's all part of a liberal media campaign to ignore the all-important ACORN saga. But the fact is when Breitbart actually had an ACORN story, when he actually uncovered some nuggets of news via undercover videos. the press did pay attention. In fact, the press flooded the story with attention, thereby proving it's not liberal bias that now keeps the press at bay. The reason the press isn't' writing about ACORN today is because there is not story to tell.
Just like the Jennings story today is a non-story. Or more accurately, it's a rehash of a nine-year-old story that was (surprise!) thoroughly covered by the local mainstream media at the time.
But you can start to see the right-wing frustration bubbling up. With the launch of 'Fistgate,' this was supposed to be the week that the White House had to scramble to contain its Jennings controversy, as it spread like wild fire. Instead, it's Friday and it's crickets regarding Jennings beyond the secluded world of right-wing media.
On his show earlier this week, Glenn Beck whined on national television that the press wasn't following up on his (truly idiotic) campaign against progressive activist Robert Creamer. And he was right; not a single news org bothered to follow Beck's lead.
Note to Beck: the press ignored the loopy Creamer story for the same reason it's ignored the latest right-wing Jennings hysteria. Because it's not news.
UPDATED: Like I said, the frustration over how the debunked Jennings smear has flopped is now bubbling to the surface. Responding to my post, Gateway Pundit claims the press is covering the Jennings attacks, and points to the Washington Times and Fox News as examples. Of course, as I noted above, no "serious" news orgs have touched the Jennings story this week, so my point still stands.