May 24, 2013
Breitbart Editor Believes Hoax About Hagel’s Ties to ‘Friends of Hamas’
Posted on Feb 20, 2013
After getting suckered into reporting a fake story that Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, had ties to a terrorist organization, Breitbart.com editor-at-large Ben Shapiro is refusing to admit his error, choosing instead to stick by the false piece.
The rumor of Hagel’s involvement with the supposed terrorist group was started by New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman, who said he called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill to get the scoop on the former Nebraska GOP senator.
“Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel,” Friedman wrote in the Daily News. “So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the ‘Junior League of Hezbollah, in France’? And: What about ‘Friends of Hamas’?”
Friedman continued: “The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed—let alone that a former senator would speak to them.”
The source never got back to him, and Friedman says he had moved on from the story. Until he noticed a headline on the conservative website Breitbart.com on Feb. 7 that screamed, “SECRET HAGEL DONOR?: WHITE HOUSE SPOX DUCKS QUESTION ON ‘FRIENDS OF HAMAS’ ”
Still, despite Friedman’s acknowledgment that he invented the groups, Shapiro is standing by the story. The Breitbart editor claims he was citing a different Senate source from the one Friedman spoke with when he reported that “one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’ ”
It appears rumors spread quickly on the Hill.
Moving on to other things that are phony that Shapiro should report on—because it’s so obviously meant to be a joke—how about the Friends of Hamas website that links back to the Gawker story about Shapiro being suckered by Friedman?
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
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