Reluctantly Defending Paladino


It's open season on Carl Paladino, the homophobic, racist email-forwarding Republican candidate for governor of New York. And much to the delight of the Cuomo campaign, everyday seems to bring a new scandal. Now Paladino stands accused of using salty language about Attorney General Eric Holder, apparently telling a voter that he would say "fuck him" if he attempted to try terrorists in a Manhattan court.

National Journal broke the story, with reporter Jeremy Jacobs stating categorically that the tape shows Paladino saying "fuck him." CBS News correspondent Lucy Madison says "a video has surfaced that will force New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino to confront his own delivery of a different kind of message—to Attorney General Eric Holder." Mediaite writes of Paladino's "expletive-filled assessment of Holder." The Atlantic's Chris Good declares, in a headline, "Paladino on Eric Holder: 'F**k Him,'" but hedges in his post, noting that the Republican hopeful "appears to respond" with an expletive. And so on.

The only real skepticism (that I have seen) comes from AOL News contributor Steven Hoffer, who spots (as I did!) "the discrepancy in voice when the camera pans away from the questioner back toward Paladino. The second utterance of 'F--- him' clearly conflicts with Paladino's actual voice as he begins his response." After repeated listens, it seems pretty clear that Hoffer is right. And that the media simply expected this to be true.

So, Hit & Runners, is Paladino getting a bum rap on this one? And if National Journal et al., turn out to be wrong, as I think they will, can we expect a) a raft of corrections and b) something like this Dave Weigel post, ripping those in the media who went with the story before nailing it down.

The exchange starts at about 2:03.

UPDATE: John McCormack and Allahpundit both also cast doubt on the National Journal story.