In the days leading up to the vote for Speaker for the 113th Congress, Breitbart News reported extensively on a growing movement among conservative members of the House to challenge John Boehner’s reelection. The nation’s political media either ignored these reports or belittled them as fantasy. During the actual vote, however, 12 members either voted for someone other than Boehner or withheld their vote. While the revolt fell short, it was clear to everyone then that it was real. In the days since, the media have been scrambling to report on news they missed.
The latest of these was published Sunday in Roll Call. The article, by Jonathan Strong, confirms most of the details reported by Breitbart News in the days leading up to the vote. Rather than acknowledge Breitbart’s reporting, however, Strong makes the strange claim that Breitbart’s reporting was actually about a different conservative revolt.
Breitbart.com covered the Landry effort extensively, and one Republican member who participated in the larger coup attempt said Breitbart’s coverage of the smaller push actually helped keep their effort hidden because it suggested to Boehner and his allies that talk of a coup wasn’t serious. Members of the larger coup plot deliberately excluded top aides from deliberations to enhance secrecy and to protect them from recrimination.
The Landry “effort”, presumably, refers to increasingly vocal statements out-going Rep. Jeff Landry made in opposition to Boehner’s reelection. Breitbart News obviously reported on his public statements, but there was never any supposition that someone who didn’t have a vote in a matter could lead an opposition on it. What we covered extensively was the growing conservative revolt to Boehner’s reelection. The same revolt everyone else, including Strong, missed.
Here’s how Strong today reported on an event that happened several days ago:
After learning of their agreement on the subject through discussions on the House floor during the week or two before Thursday’s vote, they decided to band together in an attempt to assemble a group of 25 members committed to opposing Boehner.
Here’s how Breitbart’s Boyle reported on developments hours before the vote:
Some groups have confirmed that more than 20 House Republicans plan to vote for somebody else as Speaker.
Does this look like Strong and Boyle are talking about two different coup attempts?
There was one revolt against Boehner. It fizzled at the final hour. Readers of Breitbart News were aware of the revolt. Those reading the rest of the political media weren’t. That’s a harbinger of things to come.