In a blog post headlined "Is Sen. Reid physically up to the job?" Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick compiled a devastating case to support his assertion that "something's wrong with Sen. Harry Reid." For example, did you know that during a recent debate, Reid "mixed up the Department of Energy with the Department of Education"? And what happened when "Sharron Angle told him to 'man-up' " in that same debate? Reid "had no retort," according to Frederick. (I'd suggest it's possible that Reid had "no retort" because he didn't expect to be told to "man up" during a campaign debate for a seat in the United States Senate, rather than, say, during a pickup basketball game.)
When you're talking about a public figure whose words are catalogued almost constantly by the press, it's not difficult to pick out instances of misspeaking. It seems pretty low to turn Reid's misstatements into evidence that there's something "wrong" with him, especially considering that Frederick's blog post pivots on the mini-stroke that Reid had more than five years ago.
Frederick didn't limit his attack on Reid's fitness for office to misstatements -- ridiculous right-wing talking points came into play, too.
In his post, Frederick wrote that Reid said "loosing [sic] 36,000 jobs in a week was 'really good.' " This is a reference to a statement Reid made on the Senate floor in March, and that's not at all what Reid was saying, as anybody who bothered to look into it would have found out.
Reid was saying that it was "good" news that unemployment and job losses were lower than economists had expected -- and he was talking about the entire month of February, not a single week, for the record.
Here's what Reid actually said in his March 5 floor speech:
REID: Unemployment compensation -- today is a big day in America. Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good. Unemployment rate around America has not changed. Prognosticators thought it would go up; it has not. So, we need to extend -- there are about 15 million people in America out of work. These extended unemployment benefits will help millions of those people.
The ostensible news peg for Frederick's attack was an appearance by Reid on MSNBC's The Ed Show on Thursday. Here's Frederick:
Now he utters this on a political TV show:
'But for me we'd be in a world-wide depression".
What? This is only days before the election of his life. He brags that he personally saved the world from depression.
Where did he think he was -- the Stephen Colbert show?
In this case, that is the gist of what Reid said. But while Frederick seems to dismiss this possibility out of hand, there is broad agreement among economists that legislation that passed the Senate under Reid's leadership was responsible for averting a far deeper economic collapse than the one we experienced.
If you're a regular reader of Frederick's columns and blog posts, this cheap shot at Reid won't come as a surprise. As Media Matters has documented, the Review-Journal has become a dumping ground for conservative misinformation under Frederick.