Yesterday, the Weekly Standard ran a ridiculous hit piece on Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, accusing him of misrepresenting his record. The attack follows Giannoulias' opponent Mark Kirk's false claim that he was awarded a top Navy award for service during NATO's conflict with Serbia. And his false claim that he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And his claim that he came under fire aboard an aircraft in Iraq, which he reportedly said may not be true.
Kirk eventually said, " “I want to be very contrite and say there is a casualness with which I sometimes describe military details. And if it gave the impression that my military record is larger than it was, I want to apologize.” (The old non-apology apology.)
So it was only a matter of time before the conservative noise machine fired back at Giannoulias' résumé. In a post titled, “Giannoulias's Embellishment” , The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper pointed to an error on Giannoulias' official website. The website previously stated: “He [Giannoulias] founded and chairs the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.”
“The problem is,” wrote Halper, “the charity no longer exists.” The website has since been changed to say he “chaired” the foundation.
To quote Sarah Palin (there's a first time for everything), “This is all about 'gotcha' journalism.” Only lamer. Much, much lamer.
Halper's blog post was picked up by Bret Baier on Special Report Friday night:
BAIER: Résumé boosting. We've seen it numerous times now. We've had Mark Kirk, the Republican in Illinois. We've had Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut. Jan Brewer now, the governor of Arizona. And now Alexi Giannoulias, who apparently inflated his website, who's -- he's the Democratic candidate in Illinois.
Notice how Baier effectively equates what Kirk and Giannoulias did.
But odds are, Giannoulias' campaign had just used an old biography from the days when the foundation was still in existence. After all, it's not as though saying he “chaired” a foundation that “donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations” is much different than saying he “chairs” such a foundation.
Regardless, it's certainly nowhere near as significant as saying that you served in “Operation Iraqi Freedom” when you didn't. Or admitting your claims you were shot at may not be true. Or saying you received a military award you didn't.