Topic: Accuracy in Media
Right-wingers like the employees of Accuracy in Media love Rep. Michele Bachmann, and they don't like it when she's held accountable for what she said. Thus, we have a March 22 AIM column by Roger Aronoff desperately trying to spin away Bachmann's falsehoods in her CPAC speech.
Aronoff begins by channeling what Bachmann said to CNN's Dana Bash after Bash pursued a briskly walking Bachmann to confront her with her falsehood about the White House having a dog walker:
In a clear case of the media’s double standard, CNN has been chasing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann around regarding her CPAC comments on the President’s lavish lifestyle. This, when the majority of her speech focused elsewhere: on Benghazi, the federal debt, medical innovations, and cyber attacks.
Aronoff doesn't explain Bachmann should get a pass for making a false statement because it wasn't the main focus of her speech.
Aronoff goes on to complain that the Washington Post's four-Pinocchio takedown of Bachmann's claim didn't quote Bachmann conceding that the president and his family "deserve the best security and the very best protection that we can get them." That's because it's irrelevant to Bachmann's false claim -- including it doesn't make her claims less false.
Aronoff is further annoyed that both the Post and CNN's Anderson Cooper dismissed a book Bachmann's office cited as a source for her claims because "it is self-published and without sources." Isn't that enough reason to dismiss it? Apparently not for Aronoff.
Aronoff then tried to parse Bachmann's claim about the dog walker, insisting that "Bachmann didn’t say 'he has a dog walker'" but, rather, "We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the President’s dog," which is true because the White House groundskeeper also walks the dog: "In other words, she never asserted that someone had been hired for this purpose, but that they were paid to do it." It's a distinction without a difference -- if you're paying someone to perform a job, doesn't that mean you've hired them? Bachmann's statement can easily be interpreted as describing a White House position consisting solely of walking the dog.
That's the kind of ideology-before-facts approach that makes AIM a lousy media watchdog.