Charlie Savage's New York Times profile of Attorney General Eric Holder and how he has become a "lightning rod" for partisan criticism must have seemed like an early Christmas present to The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle: It lets him accuse The New York Times of bias and attack Holder in one fell swoop.
It was clearly so exciting that he didn't bother to put together even a minimal arrangement of facts before suggesting the Times should issue a retraction.
Boyle suggests that Savage inaccurately reported that neither testimony nor documents have contradicted Holder's statements that he didn't know about the controversial 'gunwalking' tactic used in Operation Fast and Furious. In fact, just as Savage reported, there has not been any documents or testimony that suggest Holder knew about those tactics.
"Mr. Holder has denounced the tactics used in the operation, known as 'gunwalking,' but said he did not know about them or sanction their use," Savage wrote. "No documents or testimony have shown otherwise, but Republicans have pummeled him at oversight hearings and in news media appearances."
Savage made these statements without attribution.
Despite those assertions, Holder's office was provided with multiple briefings and memos about Operation Fast and Furious by top Justice Department officials. The memos contained intimate details of how Holder's DOJ allowed guns to walk.
The claim is specific: neither documents or testimony have shown that Holder himself knew about gunwalking tactics.
It's simply not true that, "The memos contained intimate details of how Holder's DOJ allowed guns to walk." In a letter sent to several members of Congress, Holder wrote of the memos, "Please note that none these summaries say anything about the unacceptable tactics employed by ATF." To support this position the memos were sent as an attachment to the letter delivered to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).
Boyle quotes from the memos but doesn't actually quote any part of them that support his contention that the memos show Holder knew about gunwalking. Rather he quotes parts of the memos that simply describe a gun trafficking ring that has ties to Sinaloa cartel. If he's got any evidence that Holder's account of the memos isn't true he never presents it.
Even if you ignore the fact that Boyle is misrepresenting the memos, he still doesn't prove his case. As Boyle says "Holder's office" was provided with the memos. Savage says Holder personally was not aware of the tactics. Holder has repeatedly stated his staff reviewed the memos and that many documents nominally sent to Holder are reviewed by his staff.
Holder has said he was not personally aware of the operation, much less the controversial details. In a exchange with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) during a Senate Judiciary hearing Holder said of the memos (from Nexis), "I didn't receive them... What happens is that they're -- these reports are prepared, these weekly reports or whatever -- they are prepared with my name on them, with the deputy attorney general's name on them. They are reviewed by my staff and a determination made as to what ought to be brought to my attention."
Boyle has written about about Cornyn's line of questioning during that hearing but doesn't reflect this information in his criticism of the Times.
Boyle concludes his article:
New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha hasn't responded to a request from The Daily Caller about how -- or if -- the publication will hold reporter Charlie Savage accountable for the inaccuracies he reported on the front page of the Sunday Times. It's also unclear if the Times will issue a correction.
The same questions Boyle asks of The New York Times about accountability and inaccuracies should apply to The Daily Caller and Boyle himself. If the past is any guide it's good bet that The Daily Caller doesn't care if Boyle screws up the facts.