In his failed 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry infamously quipped that he wanted to do away with the Department of Energy, so more than a few media eyebrows were raised when he was chosen by President Donald Trump to head that very department.
Enter The New York Times, which on the day before Perry’s Senate confirmation hearings published what has been widely criticized as a “garbage” hit piece on him, essentially characterizing him as a know-nothing who didn’t fully understand the depth and complexity of the job he had agreed to do.
The article claimed that Perry assumed he would simply serve as an ambassador for the oil and gas industry and had no idea that he would also be in charge of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
But The Daily Caller noted that a number of journalists quickly pounced on the piece by The Times, pointing out that the entire article was based on one out-of-context quote supported by mere speculation.
A media story in 4 acts:
1. Clickbait headline
2. Shocking lede
3. Bury bland, on record quote cited in headline in 4th graph
4. Narrative! pic.twitter.com/ny0WLT2U6G
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) January 19, 2017
Furthermore, Perry himself had specifically mentioned “safeguarding our nuclear arsenal” during his comments to the media following his acceptance of the nomination.
Even a senior writer for the liberal “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central took to Twitter to challenge The Times for its shoddy journalism, which is worthy of an ironic chuckle or two.
Hell of a lede in that New York Times Rick Perry Story! When are they going to run the article that actually goes along with it?
— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) January 19, 2017
But it was T. Beckett Adams of the Washington Examiner who veritably skewered The Times over the article, not simply on social media but with an article of his own detailing exactly where “the paper of record” went so wrong.
After first noting the overblown reaction of some segments of the media who took the report from The Times and ran with it, he then meticulously debunked it bit by bit.
The one quote on which the entire piece had been based came from a GOP operative named Michael McKenna, a former adviser to Perry who had worked on the Trump transition team for a short time but who had left Trump’s team nearly a month before Perry accepted the offer of the DOE job.
“If you asked him (Perry) on that first day he said yes, he would have said, ‘I want to be an advocate for energy,’” McKenna said. “If you asked him now, he’d say, ‘I’m serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.’ It’s been a learning curve.”
McKenna’s quote was merely speculation about what Perry may have been thinking, a point McKenna later made in saying that his quote had been taken out of context.
But worst of all, Adams was easily able to go back and find numerous on-the-record quotes from Perry over the past several years which proved that Perry was well aware of the fact that the nation’s nuclear arsenal fell under the auspices of the Department of Energy, quotes The Times should have been able to find as well, had it not been blinded by its own narrative.
In the end, the piece by The Times was meant for no other purpose but to smear Rick Perry as stupid and incapable of doing the job with which he has been tasked. Perhaps surprisingly, The Times has stuck by its story even as it has been debunked.
This is what is known as “fake news,” a prime example of why the American people have had their fill of the liberal mainstream media, and is why The Times is failing.
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