When asked why the Republicans oppose Hagel so much, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) admitted it had to do with Hagel's refusal to support President Bush and Republican efforts to push for the surge in Iraq. McCain stated that many fellow Republicans "have a long memory" for that type of thing. But other Republicans have admitted they sought to delay Hagel's inevitable confirmation in the hopes that more accusations of shady dealings will arise, leading to Hagel withdrawing his nomination to head the Pentagon. But what kind of "other" dealings might arise?
According to Fox News, citing Breitbart.com, Hagel had delivered a speech to a group known as "The Friends of Hamas" and failed to disclose the speech and related income as required under Senate rules. Even though the Obama Justice Department cleared Hagel for the nomination in their vetting process, the Republicans continue to claim nothing from the Justice Department can be truthful, so they are waging a personal war against Hagel based on allegations from Breitbart. Except one little bit of evidence has gotten in the way! What could that be? Proof that Hagel's speaking to "Friends of Hamas" never happened because no such group exist(ed) and that a reporter making a joke made the entire thing up. According to various news sources, including The Wire, Dan Friedman, a reporter with the New York Daily News, had a conversation with a source and knowing Hagel was being framed as Anti-Israel, started the rumor as a joke, recently admitting responsibility; "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?" 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." So what happens next? Despite being ridiculous, the source knows this is "red meat" to the Right Wing Communication Machine so he passes it along as a "rumor." And that is enough for "Fair and Balanced" Fox News to report it accordingly. Wow!
So there we have it! Something so ridiculous and outrageous that it cannot be possibly be believed as true, is promoted by the ideologically based for-profit media in an effort to embarrass President Obama and destroy the reputation of former Senator and decorated Viet Nam war veteran, Chuck Hagel. Forget about working to seek and find the truth, it is easier and more salacious to sell lies to their gullible, ideologically leaning audience knowing how easy they are to be cynically manipulated for political gain. Fox News, Breitbart and Republican Senators Inouye and Cruz should be ashamed. But will they feel ashamed? Not likely, because they are the newly minted and celebrated stars of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party and its supporting media. Instead of dealing with facts, they deal with smears based upon innuendo, falsehoods and fear. As Harry Truman once said, "When even one American who has done nothing wrong is forced to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril." So when dirt is being spread around, let's remember that some of it is laced with partisan manure that can lead to Senators with dirty hands!