Dana Milbank Responds to Dylan Byers: Politico’s Reporting Disaster
Politico’s Reporting Disaster
by Dana Milbank
June 18, 2014
Politico’s media blogger, Dylan Byers, regularly supplies his readers with tidbits on comings and goings in the news business, but this week he provided an additional service: a lesson in the limitations of armchair journalism.Dylan Byers
After my column appeared Tuesday on a Heritage Foundation event on Benghazi that devolved into anti-Muslim ugliness, Byers tweeted that I had “totally misrepresented the panel.” It linked to a nine-minute video clip from the session. Byers followed that up shortly with a blog post titled “Dana Milbank’s Heritage Disaster,” based on the same excerpt.
I read Byers’s post, and there was indeed a disaster: the sort of disaster that occurs when a journalist, from the comfort of his office, levels accusations based on a nine-minute clip of a 65-minute panel he hadn’t attended. (Heritage didn’t post the full video until well after the Byers report, and Byers didn’t take me up on my offer to provide him earlier with my audio recording.)
Byers wrote that the Heritage Foundation “feels that the event was ‘mischaracterized’ by Milbank. It also notes that while the event took place at Heritage, it was hosted by the Benghazi Accountability Coalition.”
One of the leaders of the Benghazi Accountability Coalition speaks out.
Allen West claims Obama is trying to create a Saudi-Iranian Islamic caliphate & “destroy” America http://t.co/hSnurE03Pc
Allen West demands to know who funded Obama’s college trip to Pakistan, says he’s forming a “radical Islamist empire” http://t.co/hSnurE03Pc
I read Dana Milbank’s original article and then watched the video, and I’d agree in a very limited way that it seems Milbank slightly overstated the vehemence of the panel’s responses — but he certainly did not exaggerate their nature. The issue of whether Dana Milbank exaggerated the tone of a panel at a top conservative think tank pales in comparison to the ugly fact of the panel itself.
Right wingers are now demonizing Dana Milbank to take the focus off the sickening hate speech at Heritage Institute, and argue there was nothing wrong with the panel.
But everything about that panel discussion was a disgrace. And it’s another marker of the extreme bigotry that has come to define not just the far right, but now the Republican mainstream.