Saturday, March 5, 2011

Big Journalism's Request For New York Times Retraction Highlights Hypocrisy

Retracto, the Correction Alpaca, posted a retraction request on Big Journalism Friday, claiming New York Times writer James C. McKinley Jr. falsely reported that a Big Government contributor and FBI informant Brandon Darby "encouraged" anarchists in firebombing plot involving the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Last week, we asked the New York Times to correct an article by James C. McKinley Jr. that falsely claimed FBI informant and BigGovernment contributor Brandon Darby “encouraged” the left-wing terrorist plot to firebomb the 2008 RNC convention on which he blew the proverbial whistle. First, we pointed out that this assertion had been debunked by both the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota and one of the convicted plotters. We then brought in journalist Matthew Vadum, an expert on Darby’s incredible story, to write up a more comprehensive article to provide broader context to the Times’s smear. But the record went uncorrected.

So we pressed the Times even more, this time getting another expert on this case, James Walsh of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to reach out to Mr. McKinley and point out the egregious error in the NYT piece. We were forwarded the following email written by Mr. Walsh (emphasis added):
I sent an email to the NYT reporter this morning. In it, I said that I covered the case and that Darby was never proven to have encourage or participated in any violence. I told the reporter that [David McKay] made that assertion and won a hung jury, but later admitted that he lied when it became apparent that [Neil] Crowder would testify against him.

I got this response:

“Thank you for you letter and for straightening us out on that point. Yours. Jim”

For what it’s worth….

James Walsh
Staff Writer
Federal Courts and Federal Agencies
Star Tribune
According to Walsh’s email, Times reporter James C. McKinley Jr. is now crystal-clear that there was never any evidence to suggest Mr. Darby did anything to encourage the plot to murder Republicans, yet his article remains uncorrected.
What was the offending reference to Darby in the McKinley piece, anyway?

McKinley wrote one sentence: "An F.B.I informant from Austin, Brandon Darby, was traveling with the group and told the authorities of the plot, which he had encouraged."

Big Journalism believes that a brief response to an email from Star Tribune writer James Walsh was proof that McKinley was now aware that Darby did not "encourage" anarchists and that a retraction was due, but does Big Journalism really have the facts straight?

Retracto references a Big Journalism post by Matthew Vadum, in which Vadum cites a James Walsh article where Walsh quotes one of the anarchists, David McKay, as saying he lied about the participation of Darby in the plot.  Conveniently, this statement by McKay came right before his sentencing - it has been noted that throughout the trial, McKay tried to place the blame on everyone else but him.

While Walsh, Vadum, and Retracto buy into McKay's "admission," which would exonerate a member of Big Journalism, the Department of Justice and the FBI had a completely different take on the matter.
On May 21 in Minneapolis, United States District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced David Guy McKay to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, one count of illegal manufacture of a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm with no serial number. McKay pleaded guilty on March 17.

Today’s sentence included a finding by Judge Davis that McKay obstructed justice at his January trial by falsely accusing a government informant, Brandon Darby, of inducing him to manufacture the Molotov cocktails.
I find the demand of a retraction from The New York Times to be very interesting because it sounds very familiar.  The attack against McKinley and the defense of Darby is reminiscent of the right-wing defense of other Big contributor Lila Rose and her activist videos smearing Planned Parenthood.

Retracto wrote that it was "crystal-clear that there was never any evidence to suggest Mr. Darby did anything to encourage the plot to murder Republicans, yet his article remains uncorrected."

Has it not become "crystal-clear" that there was zero evidence implicating Planned Parenthood in the many crimes alleged by Lila Rose and her cohorts?

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli even stated on Fox News that there was no indication from the edited tapes that Planned Parenthood did anything illegal, although he did insist a "willingness," but that didn't stop Big Journalism for putting a spin on the matter.  Lila Rose jumped on her computer and wrote a post for Big Journalism, defending her videos and detailing how she believed Planned Parenthood is guilty of aiding and abetting child prostitution rings - she even claimed that them contacting the FBI is proof they were not serious about stopping supposed illegal activities in their clinics, but if that is the case, and Rose believed Planned Parenthood to be acting against the law, why did it take her longer to contact authorities?

If you don't like the Lila Rose comparison, just look to any of the pieces written by Jim Hoft of Frank Gaffney for any of the Big sites.  Hoft accused Obama of laundering money for Hamas and Gaffney believed Obama was a crypto-Muslim and was submitting to Shariah Law because the redesigned logo for Missile Defense Agency, authorized under the Bush administration - resembled a crescent - not to be outdone, Hoft also had a logo/cresecent reference on his own Gateway Pundit later that year (also mentioning the Missile Defense Agency logo).

It seems that the contributors over at Andrew Breitbart's websites are prone to error, so where are the retractions on Big Journalism apologizing for their failure to get the facts right?


  1. The judge specifically ruled that McKay lied about the encouragement. This is not the first time the Times has published demonstrable lies and refused to retract them. They figure that if they keep posting the lie eventually it will become truth.

  2. Being a Republican means never ever saying you're sorry, and never ever admitting a mistake. The proper words when caught in a lie are "I misspoke," and "My words were twisted by the liberal media."

  3. I have read nothing stating the judge "ruled" that McKay lied about the encouragement.

    From the Walsh article:
    Before Davis imposed sentence, McKay tried to explain that phone call.

    "My belief was that Brad was going to say something that was not true to protect himself," he told Davis. But he admitted that he'd done the same thing. "I embellished -- I guess actually lied -- that Brandon Darby came up with the idea to make Molotov cocktails."

    It seems McKay mentioned his lying about Darby only to try and get a reduced sentence. The prosecution even pointed out how Darby was blaming others in his defense and that was a partial reason why he got such a long sentence. So when the verdict is reached, why all of a sudden would he come out with the "truth?"

    McKay is a perfect example of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Nobody knows for sure if he was lying or not...

    Also, another point to this article is the hypocrisy of Big Journalism and the hack job they do at reporting. Consider the Retracto call for corrections - they claim an email from Walsh and a one-sentence response from McKinley was evidence that he "acknowledged" the alleged smear, and subsequently ignored it.

    If Walsh and Big Journalism were so interested in getting down to the bottom of things, why did they stop with a one-sentence response? Why did they not try and seek an interview or a more detailed response?

    Maybe McKinley's response was sarcastic...


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