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July 29, 2013

Top Headline Comments 7-29-13

Happy Monday.

Ilya Somin has an interesting piece on the times the Supreme Court unanimously shut down Obama Administration overreach this term.

Cumulus Media is threatening to drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from their radio stations at the end of the year. Sounds like a negotiating tactic.

Jim Pethokoukis takes Obama's "middle out" policy to the woodshed.

And another word on PJMedia's supposed scoop from last week (you may have seen this in our sidebar, along with RNC's denial). On Friday, PJTatler, ran a poorly written, anonymously sourced post claiming that the RNC was working with Attorney General Holder to put Texas and other states back under VRA preclearance.

This allegation was, of course, preposterous on its face, and, if PJTatler's anonymous author had bothered to ask the RNC for comment (like any real journalist would have done), the post would have never run. A spokesperson for the RNC did respond to our inquiry with a categorical denial: no, the RNC is not working with AG Holder to put Texas and other states back under VRA preclearance.

Undeterred and unapologetic for their erroneous clickbait, PJMedia has run a follow-up post by J. Christian Adams. I would like to note a few things about that follow-up piece.

First, Adams admits that it is, in fact, "unclear" whether the claim of the original PJTatler piece is true. I guess Adams has no faith in PJTatler's anonymous source or PJTatler's anonymous author. If it is so unclear, even to PJMedia's own writers, that PJTatler piece should never have been run.

Second, Adams oddly trumpets the fact that "[a]fter the story hit last Friday, Republican donors and grassroots activists around the country went nuts." I guess he doesn't care at all whether the central allegation of the post was "unclear" or not, as he himself admits, as long as the claim riles up donors and activists. Aside from the post's falsity, it is this divisive character that most bothered me about PJTatler's hyperbolic post, as it seemed to have no purpose other than to set Republicans against Republicans. Quite simply, there are folks that get off (and make a lot of money) by claiming that the RNC is the enemy. I was surprised to find that PJMedia was one of them and surprised that Adams would so blithely champion "donor and grassroots fury" over a story that he himself admitted may not be true and which the RNC has categorically denied.

Third, Adams, having admitted the facts of the PJTatler piece were unclear, provides some unclear allegations of his own, reaching back seven years to allege RNC involvement in the 2006 VRA reauthorization. I don't know whether any of that is true or not -- though I note how vague Adams is with respect to how long this went on thereafter -- but I will note for those who have trouble keeping track of dates that Reince Priebus and most of the RNC's current staff weren't working there in 2006. In fact, there were two intervening chairmen between 2006 and 2011 when Priebus took over.

In short, the PJTatler piece was intended to be sensational. In that, PJTatler succeeded. I'm not sure what Adams' follow-up post was intended to be, but to the extent he cheers an attack on the RNC that he does not actually know to be true, it is despicable.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:00 AM

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