Barney Frank took the gloves off on the floor and called John Fund out for making up a story about a phony bill and then he outlined how the right wing noise machine works as a propaganda arm of the republicans to push that narrative into the mainstream.
Frank: You are entirely wrong about me and in the absence of your being able to show any basis which you made such a statement to ask you to acknowledge that fact. He's not only a liar, he's a coward. He wouldn't do it. My staff member asked him, called him up and said, what was this based on? Well, I made a mistake. Well, have you made a retraction? Oh, yeah, he said. Can we see it? "I told a couple of people." Mr. Fund makes it up. It's a lie, it's a myth. There was nothing there and it's to discredit all democrats.
His right-wing cohorts echo it and echo it. The next thing is it will be on the floor in the next two weeks. This is the democrat disregard for the electoral process. And when we call Mr. Fund's attention to the fact that this was a lie, what does he say? Whoops. but he's not going to tell anybody about it. Mr. Speaker, this is not the only case of this and I know this has happened before. But because I was directly involved here, I was in position to document this. It begins with a lie from this editorial writer from "the Wall street journal." it is then a lie repeated by his right-ring colleagues. He refuses to do anything about.
It doesn't get any clearer than that. Frank posted the entire story on the web.
Frank responded to fabricated accounts of his supposed plans to introduce a bill on “universal voter registration.” The story began in November at the conservative Restoration Weekend conference in Palm Beach, Florida, where for $1,700 per person activists were able to hear talks by conservative opinion leaders on the theme, “Defending our Country and Culture.” At one session, John Fund, a writer for the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, claimed that Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chuck Schumer had hatched a plan to game the election system by registering felons, illegal aliens and others to vote:
Democrats were very rattled by the November 3rd election results. What do liberals do when they lose elections? They change the rules. In January, Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank will propose universal voter registration.
What is universal voter registration? It means all of the state laws on elections will be overridden by a federal mandate. The feds will tell the states, “Take everyone on every list of welfare recipients you have, take everyone on every list of unemployed you have, take everyone on every list of property owners, take everyone on every list of driver’s license holders, and register them to vote regardless of whether they want to be.”
The allegation against Congressman Frank is absolutely false and has no basis in reality. The Congressman in fact heard about it for the first time after the story was launched in the conservative media.
On January 5th, Glenn Beck of Fox News, which like the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, repeated the same fallacious story, specifically citing John Fund as his source. The next day, Rush Limbaugh retold the story on nationwide radio, also quoting Fund. On January 7th, the Washington Times, owned by Reverend Sun Yung Moon’s Unification Church, ran an editorial titled “Letting Crooks and Illegals Vote.” None of the outlets called Frank’s office to verify the story.
In addition, right-wing web sites have also posted the story online, often embedding video of Mr. Fund’s talk, giving the fictitious story an even longer life-span.
Congressman Frank addressed a letter to John Fund on January 13th, asking the writer to either corroborate or publicly repudiate his statement. When called by a staffer who was seeking a fax number for Mr. Fund, Fund claimed that he had issued a retraction. When asked for a copy of the retraction, he stated that he had not actually issued a written correction, but that he had simply told a few inquiring bloggers that he had made a mistake. To date, Mr. Fund has still not issued a public retraction.
Fund's idea of a retraction was to tell a few people. The Wall Street Journal should suspend him from their pages if they had any real integrity. Fund did his job well. Promote a lie and then watch it take off because he knows that once the story is out there---then it's out there.