NewsBusters caused a stir this week with a Dec. 27 post by P.J. Gladnick that essentially accused Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of being intoxicated in delivering a speech on the Senate floor. Smearing a Democrat, of course, is catnip for right-wingers like Matt Drudge.
The problem? At no point does Gladnick offer any evidence to support the claim. Nevertheless, Gladnick offers a pre-emptive dismissal of any response from Baucus' office as a lie:"Do you really expect a candid response? And who in the Baucus Senate office will reply? His military affairs aide, Captain Morgan?"
But hey, why let a little thing like lack of evidence stand in the way of smearing a Democrat?
Mark Finkelstein goes on in a Dec. 29 post to sneer at MSNBC's David Shuster pointing out, in a Twitter post, that Baucus "always speaks in a halting fashion."Finkelstein then follows up by making fun of MSNBC for referencing Baucus "in the same sentence with a variation on the word 'blasted.'"
Like Gladnick, Finkelstein offers no evidence to support his claim that Baucus was drunk (his end-of-post note that "Baucus wasn't blasted, and the parrot wasn't dead: 'e was just restin'" doesn't count).
Further, neither Gladnick nor Finkelstein have seen seen fit to report to their readers that Baucus has indeed respond to the smear (but Politico has). Wouldn't want those pesky facts to get in the way of a good smear, eh?
(P.S. We swear we saw at one point yesterday a Newsmax story on disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley bashing Baucus over this -- also reported by Huffington Post -- but it seems to have disappeared from the Newsmax website. Foley, if you'll remember, was a favorite of Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy until reports of Foley's dalliances with teenage congressional pages became public. Foley has since apologized for his remarks on Baucus.)