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The Dishonesty of Think Progress’ Lee Fang

John on August 7, 2009 at 9:04 am

I’ve written about the dishonesty of Think Progress and their researcher Lee Fang in particular here and here. That second link was my attempt to uncover the truth behind the smear being promoted by Lee Fang about Tea Party protesters, i.e. that it was an astroturf campaign funded by well-heeled lobbyists. It was completely bogus, but he gave it enough credibility that the DNC flaks at MSNBC could pretend they were reporting news and not a DNC press release.

Mary Katherine Ham, writing at the Weekly Standard, has now done a similar service for Lee Fang’s latest disingenuous smear. In case you missed it, he’s gotten lots of attention from the DNC (including a new commercial) for his unveiling of a “leaked” strategy memo telling protesters to shout at members of congress. Of course, as is always the case with Fang’s work, what he left out is a lot more significant than what he said:

When the “manufactured” outrage the Left is trying to demonize lines up so inconveniently with public polling, it’s sometimes necessary to create evidence for the “manufactured” storyline.

Enter Think Progress, which unearthed this shocking, secret memo from the leader of a small grassroots conservative organization in Connecticut, which allegedly instructs members on “infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress.”

Right Principles PAC was formed by Bob MacGuffie and four friends in 2008, and has taken in a whopping $5,017 and disbursed $1,777, according to its FEC filing.

“We’re just trying to shake this state up and make a difference up here,” MacGuffie told me during a telephone interview. He’s surprised at his elevation to national rabble-rouser by the Left.

Right Principles has a Facebook group with 23 members and a Twitter account with five followers. MacGuffie describes himself as an “opponent of leftist thinking in America,” and told me he’s “never pulled a lever” for a Republican or Democrat on a federal level. Yet this Connecticut libertarian’s influence over a national, orchestrated Republican health-care push-back is strong, indeed, if you listen to liberal pundits and the Democratic National Committee, who have crafted a nefarious web out of refutable evidence.

Think Progress highlighted his memo’s directives to “‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’,” calling it a “right-wing harassment strategy against Dems.” The blog falsely connected MacGuffie to the national conservative group FreedomWorks through the most tenuous of threads. The Think Progress link that purports to establish MacGuffie as a FreedomWorks “volunteer” leads to his one blog posting on a Tea Party website (on the free social networking site, ning.com). Think Progress calls Tea Party Patriots a “FreedomWorks website.”

The problem is it’s not a FreedomWorks site, according to FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon. FreedomWorks is a “coalition partner” of TeaPartyPatriots.org, but does not fund the site in any way.

There’s more, but you’ve got the gist. Lee Fang’s report is a tissue of lies. He’s put up new dispatches on the Republican “mobs” every day since and each one continues to reference the “leaked memo” without explaining that it originally was sent out to 10 people or that the guy who wrote it isn’t even a Republican.

Lee Fang also continues to tie the memo to Freedom Works, even though there is no connection there. In fact, my connection to Think Progress is a lot more substantial than Bob MacGuffie’s connection to Freedom Works.

I thought about e-mailing Lee and asking him to explain why he continues to mislead his readers, but let’s face it… Think Progress isn’t a collection of journalists, it’s a leftist propaganda site. Fang doesn’t give a damn about the truth, he cares about creating a plausible narrative that will allow the media to dismiss protesters en masse as a rabble. That way the media focuses on the sizzle and ignores the steak. It’s a good plan, really, assuming you have no scruples whatsoever.

Ironically, Lee’s report about the “leaked memo” shows he is operating off the HCAN script which tells activists to make sure right-wingers get no chance to talk with media. The HCAN memo is a lot more militant and went out to a lot more people than the 10 who got Bob MacGuffiie’s memo. But of course Think Progress and Lee Fang aren’t remotely interested in that story. They don’t do news, they do propaganda.

But this is twice now that this guy has been part of a DNC strategy to smear conservatives. From now on I intend to keep a closer eye on Lee Fang. It doesn’t take much to uncover the truth behind his absurd smears, but given the history it’s obviously work that needs to be done.

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