The New York Times' blog The Medium was the only big-media news organ to repeat the "Ron Paul hangs with nazis" smear. And it just retracted that post.
A post in The Medium that appeared on Monday about the Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and his purported adoption by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups contained several errors. Stormfront, which describes itself as a "white nationalist" Internet community, did not give money to Ron Paul's presidential campaign; according to Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Paul's campaign, it was Don Black, the founder of Stormfront, who donated $500 to Paul. The original post also repeated a string of assertions by Bill White, the commander of the American National Socialist Workers Party, including the allegation that Paul meets regularly "with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review and others" at a restaurant in Arlington, Va. Paul never attended these dinners, according to Benton, who also says that Paul has never knowingly met Bill White. Norman Singleton, a congressional aide in Paul's office, says that he met Bill White at a dinner gathering of conservatives several years ago, after which Singleton expressed his indignation at the views espoused by White to the organizer of the dinner. The original post should not have been published with these unverified assertions and without any response from Paul.
No, it shouldn't have. What is it about Paul that made The Medium so ready to believe the smear? If a confirmed fraud and liar like Bill White accused a frontrunning GOP candidate (or Dem candidate) of having brunch with him in 1997, does anybody think the blog would have reported on that straightaway? Or would the bloggers have checked out the rumor and debunked it? It's all about the benefit of the doubt, and Paul didn't get it.
Megan McArdle snickers:
I'm slightly bemused by the fact that the Nazis are so eager to claim Ron Paul as one of their own. I mean, not that Ron Paul isn't a perfectly nice guy, and so forth, but isn't claiming that you're friends with famous people who've never met you something you're supposed to grow out of in high school?
I guess I'm surprised that the Don Blacks of the world would chase Paul around for snapshots and autographs. The logic of racist endorsements in politics was explained pretty clearly in the 2000 South Park episode "Chef Goes Nanners."
Jimbo: I thnk we should switch sides!
Ned: Me too. Nnn-that's a good idea.
Jimbo: Look, we have to accept the fact that most people in the world hate us, right?
KKK Members: Yeah, m-hm.
Jimbo: So, whatever side we're on is the side that's gonna lose, right?
KKK Members: Right, yeah.
Jimbo: So why don't we all say that we want the flag changed. That way, most folks'll vote to keep it the way it is.
KKK Leader: That's a great idea, brother!
KKK Members: Yeah!
KKK Leader: Alright, it is decided! We will officially tell everyone that we want the flag changed, so that they will all vote against us!
KKK Members: Hooray, yeah!
More South Park here.