Fund's non-correction: WSJ columnist perpetuated Richardson/Minuteman falsehoodAugust 22, 2005 3:57 PM EDT ››› SIMON MALOY
In his August 22 "John Fund On the Trail" column for OpinionJournal.com, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund perpetuated a false claim he made one week earlier: that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, "asked Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer border patrol group Minutemen, for a meeting." But as Simcox himself stated, it was actually Minuteman Project officials who requested the meeting, as Media Matters for America documented. In addition to repeating the false claim about who initiated the meeting, Fund mischaracterized the nature of that dispute, suggesting it was over whether discussions of a meeting had taken place, not who initiated the discussion.
In his August 15 column, Fund highlighted Richardson's purported request for a meeting with Simcox as evidence that Richardson was shifting his stance on immigration issues. The Journal republished the column on August 17 but omitted the assertion that Richardson had asked to meet Simcox; as Media Matters noted, the Journal did not post a correction or indicate that any change had been made in the column.
In his August 22 column, Fund wrote:
Last week, I reported that staffers in the office of New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson had asked Chris Simcox, president of the volunteer border-patrol group Minutemen, for a meeting. Mr. Richardson later told Fox News that any suggestion he was going to meet with the Minutemen was "a total fabrication." I believe Mr. Richardson when he says he had no intention of meeting personally with the group, which is highly unpopular with his liberal base.
But this is an inaccurate characterization of the issue in dispute. Richardson was not referring to the "suggestion he was going to meet with the Minutemen" as a "total fabrication," but, rather, to Fund's false claim that it was Richardson who had reached out to Minuteman officials. When Fox News host John Gibson said to Richardson, "According to The Wall Street Journal, you have asked to meet with the volunteer group the Minutemen," Richardson said, "that's a total fabrication."
Fund then went on to again falsely claim that Richardson's office requested the meeting:
But members of his staff had in fact contacted the Minutemen and discussed their meeting with the group, which is extending its monitoring of the border into New Mexico.
In fact, Minuteman officials proposed the meeting; Simcox himself confirmed this on the August 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, telling co-host Sean Hannity that "we pitched the idea of a meeting." Fund noted Simcox's statement in his August 22 column, but he presented it as evidence of a "disagreement" between Richardson's office and the Minutemen over whether discussions of a meeting had taken place, not as evidence refuting Fund's claim that Richardson had contacted Simcox for a meeting.