Glenn Beck invited on professional liar and smear artist Michael Goldfarb -- whose skill at distorting and misleading and obfuscating we have some personal experience with -- to promote Beck's latest ginned-up-out-of-nothing "scandal", namely, the claim that the White House threatened Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska with yanking Offut Air Force Base if he didn't play ball on the health-care reform bill.
His spokesman quickly dismissed a report by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin that Nelson was even being threatened with “closure of an air force base,” presumably Offutt Air Force Base, which is south of Omaha and home of U.S. Strategic Command. Malkin also said Nelson has been promised a “bribe bigger than Sen. Landrieu's.”
That's a reference to Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat and one of the last holdouts on the vote to begin the health care debate. The legislation includes a provision to increase Louisiana's Medicaid funds that Landrieu says is worth $300 million.
Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson said both of Malkin's claims about Nelson are false.
“The rumor is not true,” Thompson said. “This misinformation is coming from inside-the-Beltway partisans who only want to derail health care reform.”
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer likewise chimed in:
Proving that they will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to undermine health reform, some blogs opposing reform are now trafficking an absurd rumor that Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base is being threatened over Senator Ben Nelson's vote on the Senate reform bill.
To be perfectly clear: these rumors are completely baseless and false.
These denials, of course, were a matter of public record well before Beck went on the air. Not that dishonest hacks like Beck and Goldfarb would have informed the public of their existence.
Indeed, you'll see that Goldfarb has to start out retracting one of the key elements of his original reportage -- that it was Rahm Emanuel who had made the call. As you can see, he has to explain that this was false, though he does not use that word.
Ultimately, his only source for this story is an anonymous, unidentified "Senate staffer".
But wingnuts are never content to just call an unconfirmed rumor an unconfirmed rumor (unless it's one that makes wingnuts look bad). So of course the shrinking contingent of wingnuts in the Senate, led by moral paragon Sen. John Ensign, R-C Street, is demanding an investigation.
Now Goldfarb is using that fact to continue defending his disappearing "scandal", illustrating just how deeply these guys are breathing their own exhaust:
They protest a little too much. I do not know this story is "absolutely false." To the contrary, I'm confident it's true. Twenty senators are now calling for an investigation, and each is presumably pretty well sourced in the Senate. If the charges are "absolutely false," maybe the White House will encourage Senate Democrats to call this Republican bluff. I won't hold my breath.
And we won't hold our breath waiting for a correction when Goldfarb is eventually proven wrong once again.
Meanwhile, Sen. Nelson is calling it "yellow journalism at its worst." Sounds about right.