A Response to Max Blumenthal

**UPDATED** 2/3/10, 1:26 PM PST

Max Blumenthal has called my post yesterday at Big Journalism “fact-challenged” and “riddled with falsehoods”.

I found five assertions in the piece that I had lied.

I will address them in order of their appearance:

Assertion #1: “Andrew Breitbart, who has paid O’Keefe and attempted to defend him by calling my reporting “FALSE,” has been undermined by O’Keefe himself. O’Keefe concedes my report was true — he was at the event. Breitbart has therefore been contradicted by O’Keefe.”

Response: Neither Breitbart nor Big Journalism ever asserted that O’Keefe was not at the event. The Blumenthal piece at salon.com asserts that O’Keefe was manning a table full of racist literature. This implies he was working at the event or in some way connected with the event beyond being an audience member. This is assertion is false, therefore, Blumenthal’s reporting was false.


Assertion #2: “Meanwhile, the apologia Breitbart has commissioned Larry O’Connor to write in defense of O’Keefe is riddled with falsehoods, including that I never called O’Keefe for a comment. “

Response: I stated that they had not called O’Keefe. They did not. They claim they contacted his attorney. Given their approach to this story, I am not surprised the alleged call was not returned. Furthermore, it is most instructive that they did not ask Daryle Jenkins, the original source of the claim that O’Keefe had “manned” the table full of racist literature, where he had heard that assertion. When I asked Jenkins that question he pointed me to David Weigel. Mr. Weigel is on the record denying he ever said such a thing.

Assertion #3: ” O’Connor also wrongly reported that the event was held at Georgetown University. In fact, it was held on the campus of George Mason University.”

Response: Georgetown University is the location described in the original post at One People’s Project. It is an incidental fact in the story, but if it is incorrect and the actual location was George Mason University, I regret that error. But, it does nothing to negate the point that I was making by describing the location of the event. This event was held at a reputable college that did not seem to have trouble with the content presented.

Assertion #4: “O’Connor went on to defend Marcus Epstein against charges of racism — another lie.”

Fact: This is completely false. I did not defend Epstein in any way whatsoever. I made one statement about Epstein: “The organizer who is being called a “White Supremacist” is half Jewish and half Korean.” That is not a defense; it is a legitimate fact that draws the accusation of “White Supremacist” into greater context. When Salon states that I “went on to defend Marcus Epstein against charges of racism” they are lying. I expect them to fix it immediately.

Assertion #5: “Between O’Keefe, Derbyshire and Taylor, it’s hard to find a racist that Breitbart and his minions won’t defend.”

Response: My post never mentions Derbyshire. My mention of Epstein does not use his name, but is detailed above in Assertion #4. My mentions of Taylor are as follows:

The forum had as one of its three speakers a controversial figure, Jared Taylor, with a track record of making racist statements. He was being debated by two other people including Mr. Martin (taking issue with the racist figure). Mr. Taylor has also appeared with Phil Donohue, Queen Latifa and Paula Zahn on their TV shows to debate race. Are the audience members of the Donohue show racist for sitting and watching that debate?

As can clearly be seen, my mentions of Taylor call him controversial, attribute racist statements to him, and actually label him as a racist. If there is an implied defense of anyone, it is of those who attend debates where Taylor is speaking. There is no defense of any racist or any racist behavior or any racist remarks.

Finally, Blumenthal makes this charge: Now, here is a question Breitbart: Why are you paying and defending a racist?

Response: Max Blumenthal and salon.com have now called James O’Keefe a racist. And now, anyone who questions the methods they used to reach that conclusion is accused of “defending a racist.”

Well, that is exactly what I am doing; I am questioning this hit piece and this unfounded attack. I am questioning this use of McCarthyite tactics using guilt by association, intimidation and outright lies.

Let’s not be coy here, Mr. Blumenthal: Am I racist? Tell me. I really want you to.

UPDATE:

Apparently, I was correct, and the event was held at a Georgetown University building not George Mason as Blumenthal claimed.

All contemporaneous accounts I could find said the event was moved across the street from the Leadership Institute offices. (1101 North Highland Street Arlington, VA 22201)

Georgetown has space at 3101 North Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA

According to this map, it is right across the street.

George Mason University is in Fairfax.

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