Patterico's Pontifications


Lefty Lee Stranahan on the Blaze Piece on O’Keefe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:48 pm

At, it’s all Lee Stranahan, all the time! But if he keeps writing good posts, I’m going to keep linking them.

How do you stop effective techniques from your political adversaries?

The Andrew Breitbart / Shirley Sherrod controversy, the Hannah Giles / James O’Keefe ACORN sting, and the current James O’Keefe / Simon Templar / Shaughn Adeleye NPR sting all have a common technique that been used to attempt to discredit them – call it a Misdirection Pile-on.

In all three cases – Sherrod, ACORN, and NPR – there were proven issues that resulted in immediate action; people fired, placed on leave and organizational defunding. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome, you can’t argue with that effectiveness. Because a group like Media Matters for America has been so demonstrably ineffective in defending these liberal institutions, they need to try to weaken any future attacks. That’s precisely why organizations like MMfA are so desperate to discredit Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe and (as I’ve seen firsthand) anyone who works with, defends or even sort of likes them.

So here’s the blueprint for Misdirection Pile-on : when with incontrovertible video evidence, gin up some faux-troversy that will get the liberal base to ignore the real controversy and focus on some side issue that you can beat into the ground through the left wing blogosphere’s echo chamber and (in a slightly subdued form) into the mainstream media that sympathizes with you. Use meaningless catch phrases like ‘heavily edited’ and watch gleefully when they become common parlance.

Lee goes on to explain how he believes the Blaze piece about O’Keefe’s editing did just that. The focus is a comparison of what the media initially found compelling about the video, compared to what the Blaze focused on.

One thing I noticed: Lee has not (as of yet) provided a detailed picking-apart of the Blaze article, point by point, regarding each video alleging selective editing. (I already shouldered the burden on the key points here.) After reading Lee’s latest piece, I asked him: what about the Blaze’s detailed criticism — specifically the minor points that I didn’t already address? Do you have anything to say about that?

He replied that he does, and it’s coming up. So, stay tuned.

P.S. Here’s a bonus link to a New York Post column about O’Keefe: In praise of muckrakers.

Lefty Lee Stranahan Explains “How Political Lies Spread On The Left”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:27 am

My new favorite lefty Lee Stranahan dissects a story that spread like wildfire on the left — without any of them lifting a finger to check the facts.

Someone on Twitter asked me last night if I’d heard about what was happening in Minnesota with the poor. I didn’t, so they sent me a link to Crooks & Liars that talked about a law proposed there that would make it illegal for poor people to carry more than $20 cash!

(Note : It’s a total lie, but play along with my fake outrage for now.)

Look!!! Here’s some headlines. Wow!!!

Minnesota GOP wants it to be illegal to carry cash if you’re poor

Minn. to Make it a Crime for Poor to Have More Than $20


Stranahan, who recently explained that his dealings with the notorious Andrew Breitbart and other right-wing bloggers has caused him to start to question certain leftist sources he had previously assumed were honest, continues:

So that’s the claim. I sort of skimmed it and thought to myself “Sounds like a serious charge. “ Up until quite recently, I would have left it at that because Crooks and Liars was one of my go-to sites for information.

Now I think they might want to shorten their name to the more concise and appropriate Liars.

After providing some excellent screenshots of how liberals cut and pasted this story, Stranahan explains that the law actually does not do what all the liberals claim it did. Far from prohibiting poor people from carrying more than $20, which would be crazy, the law actually does something more sensible. Namely, it says people using a taxpayer-funded debit card for people on government assistance may not use that card as an ATM machine, and limits their cash withdrawals to $20:

Subdivision 1. Electronic benefit transfer or EBT debit card. (a) Electronic benefit transfer (EBT) debit cardholders in the general assistance program and the Minnesota supplemental aid program under chapter 256D and programs under chapter 256J are prohibited from withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine or receiving cash from vendors with the EBT debit card. The EBT debit card may only be used as a debit card.
(b) Beginning July 1, 2011, cash benefits for programs listed under paragraph (a) must be issued on a separate EBT card with the head of household’s name printed on the card. The card must also state that “It is unlawful to use this card to purchase tobacco products or alcoholic beverages.” This card must be issued within 30 calendar days of an eligibility determination. During the initial 30 calendar days of eligibility, a recipient may have cash benefits issued on an EBT card without the recipient’s name printed on the card. This card may be the same card on which food support is issued and does not need to meet the requirements of this section.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), EBT cardholders may opt to have up to $20 per month accessible via automatic teller machine or receive up to $20 cash back from a vendor.

Stranahan conducted a Google search for commentary on this false story, and asks:

Did anyone question the story at all or even read the law? Four pages, at the bottom – I found someone. A right winger who quotes the Bible and has a Hillary Clinton ‘Joker’ picture on his blog. The sort of fellow that liberals would call a right wing nutjob, if they were being kind.

Guess what? That’s the guy who had the story right. Hundreds of liberals get crazy about this story, with smugly violent comments about how stupid and evil the Republicans are…and a lone right winger absolutely nails the story.

It would be appropriate at this time, I think, to throw a link to that right-winger, since he does do a great job of actually lifting a finger to do some research. But you also need to read all of Stranahan’s post, in particular to read the amazing story of how a lefty, confronted with his evidence, discounts it and mounts a defense of her previous position while surgically removing language from a quote that might undercut it. It’s quite incredible.

More Stranahan later on. He’s got a nice post on the Blaze criticism of O’Keefe that I will feature here later today. And he promises more to come.

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