When that Max Blumenthal Salon hit piece came out about James O’Keefe’s attendance at a debate, Dave Weigel was quick to pen a post that said he had been at the same event and “can confirm all the details about it.” This led some, such as D. Aristophanes at Sadly, No, to suggest that Weigel was backing up Blumenthal on the allegation that O’Keefe was manning a table of racist literature:
Breitbart is now tweeting that ‘Weigel DENIES’ that O’Keefe manned a table selling Neo-Nazi claptrap during a White-Man-Negro-Haters Club meet-and-greet held at Georgetown University in 2006.
Odd, because here’s what Weigel says about this:
I was at the 2006 event that leads Blumenthal’s story and can confirm all the details about it.
Weigel later wrote another post that made it clear that he was not backing up Blumenthal on the “manning the table” allegation — yet D. Aristophanes did not correct his post to note this fact.
It’s almost as if D. Aristophanes cites Dave Weigel only when Dave Weigel seems to support Blumenthal’s story — but ignores Weigel when Weigel says things that attack the Blumenthal fantasy.
Well, let’s make things even more uncomfortable for D. Aristophanes and his kind. Because Weigel just gave them a lot more that they need to ignore. Weigel today publishes a post titled Clarification — and Mea Culpa — on James O’Keefe and ‘Race and Conservatism’ and says:
[L]ater that day, as Breitbart started pushing back against the story, I wrote: “I’m curious to see what Breitbart goes after — I was at the 2006 event that leads Blumenthal’s story and can confirm all the details about it.” That was sloppy phrasing — I meant that I could confirm all the stuff I’d already written. I had no idea that One People’s Project had told Breitbart’s reporter that I could confirm the facts as presented by them. They should stand by their own story — and they really, really need to produce a full photo of O’Keefe at the event.
(Emphasis in original.)
Weigel is far from conservative — but he does appear to me to be an honest writer. Now, according to the logic of the left, the fact that Weigel was at the event means he is a racist and you can’t believe anything he says. Right? But assuming you don’t subscribe to that loony “logic,” you might pay some attention to what Weigel has to say:
While I’d been at the event, it was Isis, a photographer/investigator for the One People’s Project, who told me that her photo was actually a picture of O’Keefe at a table of controversial literature. But several e-mailers and commenters have pointed out that my first post appeared to endorse Blumenthal’s whole story. I want to quickly walk through that story and point out the parts that, based on my experience at the event and interviews with Isis and event organizer Marcus Epstein, were not true.
Weigel then goes on to list five separate things in the Salon story that Weigel says “were not true,” including:
- Salon’s description of the event as a “conference on ‘Race and Conservatism’” — Weigel says it “was a two-hour debate, not a conference.” That makes a big difference, as one’s attendance at a debate does not by itself indicate an allegiance with one side or another.
- Salon’s claim that “The leading speaker was Jared Taylor” whom Salon labels a white supremacist — Weigel says that Taylor is controversial, but “was only one of three speakers.”
- Salon’s claim that O’Keefe helped “plan” the event — Weigel notes that his other sources agree with O’Keefe that O’Keefe had no planning role. Weigel concludes that O’Keefe “absolutely wasn’t” a planner of the event.
- Salon’s claim that black conservative Kevin Martin “was added at the last minute” to provide cover for conservatives — Weigel provides an e-mail proving that Martin was invited 29 days before the event.
- Salon’s claim that “O’Keefe was manning the literature table” — Larry O’Connor tracked down Blumenthal’s source, who claimed that Weigel had witnessed O’Keefe manning the table. Weigel makes it clear that he didn’t: “I never told anyone that O’Keefe had ‘planned’ the event or ‘manned’ the table, because I could not confirm those things.”
Max Blumenthal’s story has completely fallen apart. It is time for Salon to issue a lengthy and detailed retraction.
Oh, and D. Aristophanes also owes O’Keefe a retraction.
I’ll be over in the corner, declining to hold my breath.