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June 27, 2012

BuzzFeed's Hackish Hit On Jeff Flake

Gabe had this in the headline's post this morning and linked The RightSphere's take down of it but now the story is going wider (via MSNBC naturally) so it deserves a bigger spot.

First, here's the piece and The RightSphere's destruction of it.

Basically Zeeke Miller rehashes a very old story....Jeff Flake opposed sanctions against the then South African Apartheid regime.

TRS points out Flake's reason for doing this is that sanctions would have hurt blacks in South Africa more than it would have helped. You can debate either side of that argument but it's a legitimate position.

Miller's story however doesn't credit that there might be a respectable basis for Flake's opposition to sanctions. Instead he morphs Flake's support for an anti-sanctions resolution, while a lobbyist for a mining company,into support for the noxious South African regime.

Here's the part of the resolution Miller quotes.

“As an ally of the United States, South Africa is a major source to the free world of vital minerals such as manganese, cobalt, platinum, gold etc.”

“Without a dependable and economic source of these minerals, many industries in the United States and the free world would be severely impacted and the cost of these manufactured items is greatly increased.”

“Whereas, economic sanctions would have had a more direct impact on the black community,”

“Whereas, the black population suffers from the present violent and depressed economy,”

“Notify the elected leaders and all the citizens of South Africa that we welcome them as friends and allies in the war against poverty and racial injustice.”

Where's the part that expressed, "support for the government of South Africa while racial segregation laws were enforced" as Miller put it? Is it the word "allies"? There's no doubt that South Africa was an "ally" of sorts at the time. That doesn't mean anyone supported the regime. You deal with allies as you find them (often trying to modify their behavior) not as you wish them to be, think the Soviet Union in WW II.

This is a lazy hit piece that Miller admits comes from "a Democratic source". Seems BuzzFeed has a ways to go before it can be taken seriously for anything other than "21 great pictures of...." listicles. (Speaking of which...it's a fine line between aggregation and out and out theft isn't it BuzzFeed).

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posted by DrewM. at 11:48 AM

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