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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 02/13/2012

Daily Caller reporter points fact-checking finger at another news outlet

Lies!

That’s what the mainstream media (MSM) are spreading around the country, if you listened to the folks at a session of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday morning. Lies about guns. Lies about political orientation: MSNBC and the New York Times, said one speaker, “say that they’re coming at it from the middle of the road,” but they’re both liberal outlets.

Another point: TownHall.com news editor Katie Pavlich complained that the MSM simply refuse to correct the mistakes that appear in their stories. Conservative blogger Matt Lewis joined in the fun by narrating his exploits vis-a-vis a Reuters story about Marco Rubio. The piece in question was titled, “Florida’s Rubio a star, but an unlikely VP pick.” That “unlikely” part focused on a number of “significant financial problems” in Rubio’s past that led Lewis to term it a “hit job.”

Lewis fact-checked the Reuters piece and found himself busy at the task. His post on the matter claimed seven “errors or exaggerations.” Solid watchdogging — Reuters ended up making a string of crow-eating corrections, though not quite enough to please Lewis, who said at the CPAC session that the Reuters people still “owe” him at least a couple of additional corrections.

His tale of conservative media accountability was well received by the audience. And through it all, no one bothered to connect two dots. Lewis works for the Daily Caller. And when we talk about “owing” the world a correction or two, well, there’s no media entity out there with a bigger debt figure than the Daily Caller. In late September 2011, the Daily Caller reported with a straight face that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was seeking 230,000 additional workers at a cost of $21 billion to enforce greenhouse gas regulations. When others pointed out that the EPA wasn’t in fact asking to boost the federal workforce by 10 percent, the Daily Caller, in what will define quasi-journalistic sophistry forever, fashioned an argument to avoid correcting the story.

Nothing against Lewis here. When I asked him after the CPAC session about the EPA thing, he said he wasn’t involved in the piece, nor had he commented on it.

Yet the failure of Lewis’s editors at the Daily Caller to clean their own house will always poison his work in calling out other outlets on their bogus journalism. The taint, too, extends to the family of news outlets of which the Daily Caller is a member. So long as the Daily Caller leaves this outrage on its Web site, the truth-telling mission of the conservative media will always be vulnerable to snickers and giggles. (See this Politico story for more on the Daily Caller and accuracy.) Though the Daily Caller managed to outlive the firestorm that flared upon publication of the false EPA story, it’ll never outrun the legacy of its own denial.

Today, for instance, the Daily Caller is featuring an investigative piece on Media Matters for America. It contains some pretty headline-worthy details about the behavior of organization honcho David Brock. But I won’t aggregate them into my space. As Pavlich said at the conclusion of the CPAC session: “My view is that the truth prevails.” Unless you’re reading DailyCaller.com.

By  |  02:06 PM ET, 02/13/2012

Tags:  daily caller, matt lewis, epa, cpac

 
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