Correction Request: Tommy Christopher, Mediaite
In the article “Andrew Breitbart’s Video ‘Evidence’ Of Lying Congressmen Is Anything But” published August 6th at Mediaite, author Tommy Christopher makes a number of factual errors and unverifiable claims that ought to be corrected or clarified. The problematic sentences are identified in block quotes with explanations of the errors beneath each quote:
Earlier this week, conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart seized upon a New York Times story correction as proof that Civil Rights hero John Lewis (D-Ga) and others were “lying” when they claimed that a crowd of protesters had hurled the “n-word” at them as they walked to the Capitol to vote on health care reform.
Breitbart did not accuse John Lewis of lying in his Big Journalism post; in fact, the only reference to Lewis at all comes by way of a quote from the New York Times correction. Breitbart did, however, accuse Rep. Andre Carson of lying: "Which [media outlet] will be the first to admit that Congressman Carson lied about the events of that day?"
...its important to go over the other evidence that the incident did occur, at least as told by the corroborating testimony of three credible eyewitnesses. In a court of law, that’s called evidence.
There is only one corroborating witness, not three. Rep. John Lewis has never gone on record saying he heard the n-word used at this event. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said he heard racial slurs like "a chorus" as he walked a "few yards behind" Rep. Lewis, but video evidence proves Cleaver was not walking to the Capitol with Lewis and Carson when the events in question occurred.
With two corroborating witnesses, respected members of Congress — each of whom had little motivation to lie (as Breitbart himself pointed out) — the optics were already pretty bad for the protesters. It would take one hell of a smoking gun to call them all liars.
It's disingenuous for Christopher to suggest "Breitbart himself" agrees the Congressional Black Caucus members "had little motivation to lie." In fact, in the article Christopher uses to source this claim, Breitbart is perfectly clear when he contends the CBC members lied to paint the Tea Party as racist in order to "stop it in its tracks," thus yielding benefits for the Democratic Party
In the video accompanying Tommy's post, he points to a person walking with the congressmen and writes,
Why did this aide point to him?
By "him," Christopher is referencing a protester in the crowd. The "aide" is no aide at all, but is in fact Rep John Shadegg of Arizona. He is not pointing to anyone; he is giving a "thumbs-down" signal to let the crowd know he is against the ObamaCare bill.
From the video included in Christopher's post:
Do all these cameras have a 7 second recording limit?
The video footage Christopher grabbed from BigGovernment.com to make his video comes from the latest in a series of videos that have appeared on Big Government. The implication that exculpatory video footage has been left on the cutting-room floor is wrong and is disproved by the complete footage, available here, here, and here.
Breitbart now presents several crudely-shot, 5 to 7 second video clips of poor audio quality as proof positive that nothing happened that day.
This is a straw man argument, a misrepresentation of Breitbart and Larry O'Connor's position. The complete videos prove that the scene Carson and Cleaver described did not happen, rendering their testimony not credible. That fact, and the fact that no one has come forward with video or audio footage that at all resembles the mob scene described by Rep. Carson (highlight: "n-word, fifteen times") despite the offer of a $100K reward, leads any reasonable person to conclude that at this point, Rep. Carson has the greater burden of proof than the Tea Party.
Given the vast quantity of inaccuracies in this report, it is clear that Mr. Christopher is engaging in advocacy journalism in an attempt to smear Mr. Breitbart. We kindly request Mr. Christopher and Mediaite address the above concerns and issue a formal correction to this column.