Are you a right-winger with an axe to grind and a book to sell? Having trouble getting anyone to pay attention to your expensive non-story about liberal evildoers? Then call Caroline May, intrepid reporter for Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller! The Caller has substantial experience repeating verbatim the politically-tinged accusations made by right-wing figures, and May knows just how to conceal your conservative credentials in an effort to make your story seem credible.
In the latest example of ethical subterfuge, May has written a news story that repeats the claims by conservative bloggers J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky that the hiring practices at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) “have become politicized under Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration.”
Importantly, May doesn't turn a critical eye to the research methods used by Adams and Spakovsky to come to their conclusion that “every single new hire” at DOJ's Civil Rights Division “boasted far-left resumes,” she simply pushes their complaints forward. More importantly, May -- for the second time -- completely omits any mention that Adams and Spakovsky played a central role in the saga of politicization at DOJ under President Bush.
May's story is only newsworthy if the “former Department of Justice officials” (Adams and von Spakovsky) she cites are trustworthy sources whose call for investigation is objectively warranted and not based on an ulterior political motive. It's ethically imperative, then, that their significant right-wing backgrounds are disclosed so that readers can fairly assess the credibility of their work and their claims. May does not even attempt this.
Adams, for example, was hired to DOJ by Bradley Schlozman during the notorious politicized hiring period exposed by the DOJ Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility in 2009. Before that, he was a volunteer with the National Republican Lawyers Association and a George W. Bush campaign poll watcher. Today, Adams is a right-wing blogger who spends his time attacking President Obama with pieces that, among other things, have compared Obama to the appeasers whose policies resulted in the “carnage” of World War II. This latest DOJ exposé precedes the October 2011 publication date of his new book, Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department. Every one of these facts is conveniently misplaced from May's article.
Von Spakovsky, a blogger for the conservative bastions of National Review Online and the Heritage Foundation (as well as Pajamas Media), was also in the Bush DOJ. He also served on the Federal Election Commission after being recess-appointed by Bush. Democrats refused to confirm him for over two years, partially because of a letter from his DOJ superiors which decried his political partisanship and cautioned against his advancement. Again, none of this background made it into May's story, other than to describe him as a “former Justice official and Pajamas Media investigator.”
May exacerbates her Bush DOJ inaccuracies by mischaracterizing the facts of that case, describing it as a “Bush-era scandal in which the Justice Department came under fire for turning away applicants with far-left resumes.” This is incorrect and dishonestly depicts the Bush administration as victims of the system for having refused to hire radicals. In fact, the OIG/OPR investigation of Bush's DOJ found that political appointees were wrongfully taking political affiliations into consideration when making hiring decisions, deliberately hiring people because of their conservatism. After President Obama's inauguration, hiring power was returned to career attorneys.
It should also be noted that the Daily Caller piece -- again, for at least the second time -- inaccurately describes the position held by DOJ official Loretta King. King is described as the “Civil Rights Division chief.” In fact, she is one of several people with the position of Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez is the head of CRD.
Neither the Caller nor PJM provide any evidence that otherwise-qualified individuals were rejected because of their political ideology. Instead, the Caller quotes Adams' incredibly feeble hearsay:
“Work with these left wing groups served as an ideological admission ticket based on what I know [Civil Rights Division chief] Loretta King did in hiring committee meetings. Non-leftists need not apply.”
May's piece ends by extensively quoting Adams and Spakovsky and bemoaning the lack of coverage that their claims have elicited. Perhaps she should ask herself if there's a reason for that.