Limbaugh and Taranto repeated American Spectator gossip

››› ››› SHANT MESROBIAN

On June 7, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh repeated an American Spectator "Washington Prowler" report that cited only anonymous sources. Limbaugh was conflicted: In the excerpt below, he conceded, "I'm not sure I believe it either," yet he proceeded to repeat the gossip as fact: "[A]t some point it was the case."

The Prowler alleged that House Democratic Leader Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) willfully delayed issuing a statement on former President Ronald Reagan's death and alleged that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) delayed lowering the American flag outside its headquarters to half-mast.

The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto also repeated The Prowler's unsubstantiated report about the DNC -- which relied merely upon an unnamed secondhand source, purportedly "a DNC staffer, who heard about the incident" -- in his June 8 "Best of the Web" column.

From the June 7 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: All right, was it The American Spectator today who's got that story about the flags at the DNC? The -- this -- this is -- no, I -- OK, well, I know the link. I can get it. I just -- I -- I was just telling these guys in the break, and nobody believes me -- I'm not sure I believe it either, but some staffers at the Democratic National Committee in Washington went out to lower the flags to half staff, and somebody inside the DNC saw them and went out there and said, "No, you're not lowering those flags here." And it's -- it's a -- it's in, like, "The Washington Prowler" segment or section of The American Spectator's website.

Now, I -- I can't believe that. Well, part of me -- I don't -- I guess I can, but I'm just -- I'm just stunned by it. I don't know if it's still the case. I don't know if cooler heads prevailed over the weekend and the flags are there now at half-staff. But it was -- at some point it was the case.

Nancy Pelosi, Miss America, delayed her announcement to late at night, on her thoughts of -- of Reagan's passing. There's -- there's a -- there's -- folks, don't -- don't -- just don't believe all this love and adoration you're hearing out there over the weekend.

From Taranto's June 8 "Best of the Web" column on The Wall Street Journal editorial page website, OpinionJournal.com:

The American Spectator's "Washington Prowler" notes some very small-minded behavior at party HQ (second item):

In Washington, staffers at the Democratic National Committee stopped a couple of interns who were lowering the flags to half mast outside their headquarters.

"The interns were just doing what they thought was right," says a DNC staffer, who heard about the incident. "But somebody a bit more senior told them not to lower the flags until they absolutely had to, I guess when President Bush announced that all flags should be lowered. There was only an hour's difference. It was pretty petty, but that's how bad things have gotten around here."

It's kind of funny that the Dems were waiting for orders from George W. Bush, of all people.

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