Friday, April 02, 2010

A tale of two time-stamps: Smoking-gun proof that Democrats, the Huffington Post and McClatchy conspired to smear Tea Party activists?

4/2/2010 10:29PM --- Click here for updates, below
4/2/2010 09:54PM --- Click here for updates, below
4/2/2010 06:24PM --- Click here for updates, below

In today's American Thinker, Jack Cashill does an exceptional job describing the timeline related to the events of March 20th, in which members of Congress were reportedly taunted by Tea Party activists with racial and sexual slurs.

[Members of Congress] left the Cannon Building about 2:30 PM on March 20th and returned about 3:15 PM...

I asked because at 4:51 that same day, McClatchy reporter William Douglas posted an article on the McClatchy website with the inflammatory headline, "Tea party protesters scream 'ni--er' at black congressman."

In other words, Douglas, with an attributed assist from James Rosen, managed to interview representatives John Lewis, Emanuel Cleaver, and Barney Frank, compose an 800-word article, and have it edited and formatted for posting within a 90-minute window.

During that same 90 minutes, Douglas would have received and incorporated a press release from Emanuel Cleaver, making the easily disproved claim that he had "been spat upon and that Capitol Police had arrested his assailant."

But Douglas also had two other important sources: he referenced two additional journalists in the very same article.

Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.' A writer for The Huffington Post said the protesters called Frank a "faggot."

But the Huffington Post's article, by Sam Stein, wasn't published until 4:56pm, five minutes after Douglas' article was posted on the web. This mistake would seem to point to wanton collusion between the two authors as they hastily worked to market the smears.

In about 90 minutes, Stein himself cranked out a 400-word piece in record time after interviewing Rep. James Clyburn and a staffer.

First Posted: 03-20-10 04:56 PM

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident... But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed...

What about the Boston Globe?

It appears that the first Boston Globe article to mention the incident didn't actually hit the website until the following day.

Comment at Mediaite by 'val': March 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm

This is a LIE! I was there and no one spat on that congressman. Maxi waters and her crew walked right through the crowd with a look of contempt on their faces. One aid actually called a protester a cracker and a red neck. The Congressional black caucus was looking for troublE and when they didn’t find any they made s--- up.
So how did Douglas reference both pieces, along with engaging in numerous interviews and tying in a rapidly-generated press release, in only 90 minutes?

Simple.

Why did Pelosi, Frank and members of the Congressional Black Caucus take the long walk directly in front of the Tea Party protests, as opposed to using the tunnel as they do 99.9% of the time?

It appears that it was a conspiracy.

In 90 minutes, a press release was crafted by Cleaver's office, McClatchy and HuffPro "reporters" interviewed a half dozen individuals, wrote lengthy articles, referenced each others material (despite it not having been published) while receiving and incorporating said press release.

This appears to be nothing less than a criminal scam -- a mashup effort by Congress and sympathetic media -- designed to promote racial hatred in order to advance a radical Democrat agenda.
 

Update at 6:24pm: Thanks to links from Michelle Malkin and Jim Hoft, this story caught the attention of McClatchy's DC bureau and its online editor, Mark Seibel. Seibel comments:

I edited the Bill Douglas story in question. As anyone who works in media today knows, the Web isn't a newspaper and its stories aren't created like newspaper stories either. Surely, the author of this piece knows that.

Here's the real timeline:

Bill's first version of the story was posted at 5:01 p.m. (Eastern) Here it is in its entirety: "WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said Saturday that some demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol to protest the health care overhaul legislation called him "ni--er." [Ed: Redaction mine]

Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist who is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said some demonstrators also spat on black members of Congress as they left the Capitol after meeting with President Barack Obama.

The claim could not immediately be confirmed."

The story then went through 13 additional iterations, each adding detail. The second version, posted at 5:12 p.m., corrected when the incident had taken place (it was on the way to the Capitol that the n-word incident happened, not on the way back) and was nine graphs long. The last graph cited a CNN report on the Barney Frank incident. That citation was changed to HuffPost in version 4 at 5:19 p.m. after I was alerted by a Nico Pitney tweet.

The Boston Globe version of events was added to the story at 6:54 p.m. after Bill heard the audio of the Globe's interview with Frank. At that point the story, in its seventh version, had grown to 16 paragraphs.

James Clyburn's comments were added in Version 9, at 7:35 p.m. The statement from Emanuel Cleaver's office was added in Version 13, at 8:33 p.m. At that point the story was 25 paragraphs long.

The final version, posted three minutes later, made some minor word changes.

That's the timeline from McClatchy's internal audit system.

I sent an email to Seibel asking for some screen-caps from the web site CMS (content management system). I will add updates if I receive responses.

Now there are a couple of additional questions I have for Mark.

1. How is it that an inflammatory word like ni--er wasn't redacted, especially when the story was unconfirmed?
2. Now that more than a dozen videos have emerged of the walks, with none showing the use of a racial epithet, how is that a retraction was never issued for this story?
3. Does it strike you as odd that McClatchy's Nico Pitney re-tweeted an inflammatory HuffPo headline within one minute, apparently without even reading the accusation?
4. Does anyone wonder what's going with HuffPo's CMS when the story says it was "First Posted: 03-20-10 04:56 PM" (see above for screen-shot), yet tweet links started occurring 45 minutes before that timestamp?

Put simply, Mark, this entire story -- from the highly unusual walk through a massive protest, to the instant posting of racially divisive words and inflammatory rhetoric (without a whit of confirmation) -- stinks to high heaven. Are you folks journalists or flacks? Because, from all appearances, it looks like you're the latter.

Andrew Breitbart offered $100,000 to anyone who can provide proof that the slur occurred. No one has taken him up on his offer.


Update at 9:54pm: McClatchy DC online editor Mark Seibel was kind enough to respond twice tonight. His first email reads:

I've seen no video of the event. The americanthinker video displayed is not the event -- the Capitol is clearly in the background and the Congressmen are walking away from it, not to it. The n-word incident, as relayed to Bill, happened when they were headed to the Capitol. I went over this afternoon to see where the videographer was standing when he shot what's on the Web. There's no way it could represent the incident as the incident was relayed to Bill -- or at a time consistent with when Bill interviewed both Lewis and Cleaver in the Visitors Center before they left to go back to their offices. If the videographer had been there when the Congressmen left for the Capitol, that would be useful. But I've yet to see a video of that. As for a screen capture of the story versions, I think I can do it. We'll soon find out.

In response to my request for screen-caps of the McClatchy content management system, Mark did relay the following images a bit later (click to zoom):

Ok. here are two png files. I couldn't get one screen grab that captured the whole thing but i think these two together work. you'll notice a version 15; that's something I did today when I noticed I hadn't clicked the correct box for archiving sales on the first version back on the 20th. there wasn't a change in the story, just how its source (McClatchy, AP etc.) was categorized. I'm sorry they aren't more legible, but i think you can make them out. To the right of the headline you'll see a number in parentheses. this is the word count of that particular version, which would include summaries, links etc.


Note the 4:51pm "release date" at the top of the screen. This corresponds to Jack Cashill's time-stamp for the publication of the original story.

I very much appreciate Mr. Seibel's forthright approach and help. That said, answers to the questions I posed, above, would be very helpful. I will update this post as events warrant.


Update at 10:29pm: I've been reconstructing the chain of events on Twitter. Recall that Seibel said he altered Douglas' article to refer "to HuffPost in version 4 at 5:19 p.m. after I was alerted by a Nico Pitney tweet."

Let's ignore the fact that a mainstream media outlet instantly modified a major news article based upon a re-tweet by a Huffington Post associate. Nico's tweets are screen-capped above. About ten minutes after @CrewOf42 tweeted that Rep. Carson said he'd been called the "N-word", the HuffPo DC bureau chief re-tweeted the news. There was no link and no attribution associated with this message.

@CrewOf42 is the Twitter handle for Lauren Victoria Burke, a self-described "unbought and unbossed" blogger reporting upon "the 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus."

Her first tweet reporting the incident came at 2:34pm, just four minutes after -- according to Cashill's timeline -- the CBC departed the Cannon Building for the Capitol.

Now that's service! Four minutes after setting off on his walk, Carson verbally informed a reporter that he'd been called the N-word? Give me a freaking break.




27 comments:

The Ghost said...

gee, I wonder if there are grounds for a class action suit for liable and defamation lurking around there somewhere ?

The Ghost said...

just getting them to reveal any communication or emails prior to publishing during the discovery phase would make for some interesting reading ...

McClatchy Watch said...

Great job putting the timeline together.

William Douglas was later asked by McClatchy to lay out the timeline describing how he came to publish the piece. Here is Douglas' timeline.  Click here to see it.  Looks to me like he left out some important info.

FYI, here is the malicious McClatchy headline: Tea Party protesters scream 'nigger' at black congressman

Mark Seibel said...

I edited the Bill Douglas story in question. As anyone who works in media today knows, the Web isn't a newspaper and its stories aren't created like newspaper stories either. Surely, the author of this piece knows that.

Here's the real timeline:

Bill's first version of the story was posted at 5:01 p.m. (Eastern) Here it is in its entirety: "WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said Saturday that some demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol to protest the health care overhaul legislation called him "nigger."


Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist who is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said some demonstrators also spat on black members of Congress as they left the Capitol after meeting with President Barack Obama.

The claim could not immediately be confirmed."

The story then went through 13 additional iterations, each adding detail. The second version, posted at 5:12 p.m., corrected when the incident had taken place (it was on the way to the Capitol that the n-word incident happened, not on the way back) and was nine graphs long. The last graph cited a CNN report on the Barney Frank incident. That citation was changed to HuffPost in version 4 at 5:19 p.m. after I was alerted by a Nico Pitney tweet.

The Boston Globe version of events was added to the story at 6:54 p.m. after Bill heard the audio of the Globe's interview with Frank. At that point the story, in its seventh version, had grown to 16 paragraphs.

James Clyburn's comments were added in Version 9, at 7:35 p.m. The statement from Emanuel Cleaver's office was added in Version 13, at 8:33 p.m. At that point the story was 25 paragraphs long.

The final version, posted three minutes later, made some minor word changes.

That's the timeline from McClatchy's internal audit system.

MaroonedinMarin said...

Mark Seibel: First of all, this is all a LIE. I saw Congessman Lewis leave the Cannon Building and there was no N word or any other slur yelled. Other video backs this up. There was no N word yelled when they came back nor was there a chorus of slurs, as also alleged I was there, filmed it and posted it on my blog that evening. McClatchy News needs to issue a public apology and retraction of this slander.

directorblue said...

Mark,

I appreciate the candor. Would you open to sending me some screen-caps of your CMS and the version history?

Also, since there were over a dozen audio/videotapes of the event, and none capture the n-word, why hasn't a retraction been issued?

Regards, Doug

p.s., my email is douglas.ross@gmail.com

Barney said...

Mr. Seibel...just a few questions at first read. There is a discprancy as to when the original McClatchy article was published. According to you it was (5:01) and Mr. Cashill has it at (4:56). Can you show original post with time stamp?

Who was your source for Rep. Lewis's claim? I saw no citation for that.

Who knew to look for your post and have you correct it to reflect that the alleged event happened on the way TO the Capitol just minutes after it appeared?

Does Nico Pitney continuously monitor your site? So it would seem for him to respond so quickly.

Why would you post a claim about the person who allegedly spat on Rep.Capitol Police making the arrest.Cleaver being arrested simply based of the report of a staffer of a different congressman? I would think it would have been easy to substantiate or debunk wityh a phone call or two given that it would have been the Capitol Police performing the arrest

Anonymous said...

What did you expect from fellow travellers? Lie, Cheat, Steal. Whatever moves the agenda forward. The end justifies the means.

SteveCan said...

Sounds like it's another BIG job for RETRACTO ...But I'm not holding my breath!

Bones said...

From bias, to lies to just making stuff up. It's a damn shame that you can't believe anything from the MSM or the government. When the truth is so buried with such a large volume of untruth, the signal noise ratio goes to hell. Thanks to the net and talk radio, we have other sources of information.

mike said...

The quality of McClatchy's "journalism" has really gone down in about the last decade. The run with an inflammatory story like this without verifying its veracity is amateurish at best. In a way I can understand their desire to push this story though. They're Canadian and they have a sucky health care system. It's jealousy, plain and simple. They're medical system sucks and ours doesn't. Plus, they're Canadian, which is itself somewhat of an embarrassment these days.

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I LOVE your blog!!

Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

ps. Link Exchange???

Scooter Jay said...

McClatchy is a joke.....i've been battling with the local newspaper, a McClatchy rag, over their blatant bias of posters on their website.

Mondo said...

Doug,

This is A-1 work! Great, great job!

You are one reason that the MSM will never have the power they once had to peddle bogus narratives and destroy people's (Tea Party protesters, for instance) lives.

The MSM is a corrupt, bought-and-paid-for collection of left wing hacks/flack/attack dogs.

Kudos expotentially!

gadfly said...

Here is a video posted by Big Government which shows the Black Caucus group going to the Capital. No Nigger calls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPoJGNhWB-s&feature=player_embedded

Mondo said...

Mark Seibel illustrates a key difference between bloggers and online websites for newspapers: when bloggers change a piece that's published, changes and additions are clearly marked (except for minor grammatical errors) with an UPDATE/CHANGE notice.

In the online newspaper sites I'm familiar with, the stories change-- significantly at times--without the benefit of the reader knowing that the story has been changed or additions made to it.

Real journalism doesn't posit narratives and find facts (or fabricate them) to fit that narrative. It's the main reason that the MSM is in a death spiral, financially.

Oso S. Diesel said...

Sorry ... No Video = no proof = BS made up story. CASE CLOSED, Waiting patiently for the retractions.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is relevant, but the McClatchy Twitter account has a link to Douglas' article timestamped "1:26 PM Mar 20th." http://twitter.com/McClatchyDC/status/10790947039

I assume this is 1:26 PM my time (I live in WA state), so 4:26 PM Eastern.

Barney said...

Great work, Doug. Please keep on it. Do you know if anyone has reached out to Lauren Victoria Burke for comment?

This is a very important story, because we can expect to see more of these false claims being made to try to discredit and marginalize the Tea Party. If the original source for the claims of the racial epithets can be put under the spotlight and be forced to have the details scrutinized, I truly believe it would all fall apart as there is no third partty who has been discovered to witness the name-calling first hand.

Apart from shaming the perpetrators of the hoax, I believe it would force the media to think twice before airing stories like this without any substantiation.

Anonymous said...

Any wonder the McClatchy debt empire is on the verge of financial collapse and insolvency.
The McClatchy prevaricaion team is obviously working the streets for a bailout from the democorrupts congresscretins at the expense of taxpayers & our grandchildren's incomes. Anyone thinking presstitutes & jwhorenalists.

rrpjr said...

I agree with Barney. Make this the banner case. Dissect its falsehoods and bad-faith boosterism by the media. Flog it. Because the Left will never stop. Hate, slander and intimidation are all they know. Make them eat this story again and again.

As for a retraction -- forget it. Never going to happen. In the Left's mind -- and in the mind of their handmaiden media -- this "narrative" is too important to sully with a retraction.

Barney said...

Four minutes after setting off on his walk, Carson verbally informed a reporter that he'd been called the N-word?

Exactly..If you watch the video, they are moving at a very leisurely pace. Then, they have to make their way to the Speaker's Lobby, where Lauren Victoria Burke claims she got the statement from Carson, assemble all the claims then ssek out and report them to Burke..who then has to tweet the message. 4 minute?? Not at all likely.

It is important to note that Lewis never claimed that he heard any epithet himself, but rather Emanuel Cleaver made the claim that he heard someone shout "nigger" and that it was directed at Lewis. That in itself is strange. How would he know who the racial epithet was directed towards as they are all black? Remember..he makes no claim as to seeing the alleged haranguer..but rather just hearing it.

It should also be noted that Cleaver put out a statement that he was spat on that the man who had done it was arrrested. The video shows that Lewis had not been spat on, and Capitol police say no arrest had been made. Lewis later changed his story saying that he told the police not to make an arrest.

This is an obvious conspiracy among various members of Congress and members of the media to create a hoax to smear the Tea Party.

These people need to be put under the spotlight..and should be held to account

Anonymous said...

Just curious, has anyone identified the individuals that supposedly used racial epithets? I think someone should try to find these people, and get their side of the story. I am sure we would find out that they never said it at all. We have the incident on tape, surely someone knows who they are.

lauren victoria said...

"Why did Pelosi, Frank and members of the Congressional Black Caucus take the long walk directly in front of the Tea Party protests, as opposed to using the tunnel as they do 99.9% of the time?"

You have your days incorrect. Speaker Pelosi walked across the street on Sunday, March 21, 2010, the day of the health care vote. She did not walk across the street outside on Saturday March 20, 2010, the day of the N word incident involving Reps. Lewis and Carson. She did NOT walk with Reps. Lewis and Carson on Saturday, March 20, 2009.

Reps. Lewis and Carson regularly walk from the Cannon House Office Building outside on their way to the Capitol for votes. Members generally prefer walking outside when the weather permits. The walk through the tunnel requires waiting for elevators on the Capitol end and is time consuming. It is not a "long" walk. They do not use the tunnel "99% of the time." It is a simple walk across a street called Independence Avenue. The weather on March 20, 2010 was fantastic.

Also: You want be careful making allegations involving "conspiracy" and "fabrications." Were you at the U.S. Capitol on March 20 or March 21, 2010? Will you be there for the tax day rally on April 14?

Lauren Victoria Burke
CREW OF 42 blog

directorblue said...

Lauren, thank you for the reply. Would you be open to an interview?

Randall Carter said...

So let me get this straight. It's okay to call the Tea Party demonstrators racist and accuse them of shouting racial slurs without an single ounce of proof and hearsay evidence that wouldn't be admissible in court but when one individual raises questions through timelines and facts as well as documented videos, its okay to make vague threats to them for proposing the possibility of a conspiracy.

As a member of a local tea-party organization, I want proof. If this occurred then let's hold them accountable for their actions. If it didn't occur, then a greater accountability is in play because the public media was used as a format to advance an ideology inconsistent with my own experience with other 9-12ers.

Al Sharpton, on O'Reilly, made the accusation that simply because this is a predominant white group-not just white but older whites, that it must be obvious that the tea-party people are racist. Where is the similar rage by a supposedly unbiased media at Sharpton's comments?

Sharpton's comments were directed at the whole of the tea-party movement, not just an individual. There should be an outcry!!!

lagibby said...

Regardless of any conspiracy to perpetrate a smear against the Tea Party people, look at the video as many times as you need and you will find ample proof that the incident is a false allegation of racism. For openers, if these folks were so concerned about racism, why did they make the walk in the first place. Second, why did they insist on walking so close to the protesters? Third, why did that uniformed officer take action against an obvious breach? Fourth, explain to me why Mr. Lewis stepped directly in front of the the alleged violator while he was already voicing his discontent in an obviously highly vocal manner? If this wasn't a provocation I don't know the meaning of the word. In a word: B***s***!