On Saturday, President Obama formally introduced Loretta Lynch as his nominee to take over for Eric Holder as the nation’s Attorney General. Lynch is considered both extremely qualified and a relatively safe choice. The federal prosecutor out of Brooklyn has made few political enemies and has not had any direct involvement or ties with the Obama Administration. She has been easily confirmed by the Senate in the past for her two terms as the US Attorney in Brooklyn and Republicans have personally vouched for her. If confirmed, Lynch will be the first black female to hold the post.
However, because this is Washington, even though Lynch seems to be a very uncontroversial pick, some conservatives are trying to make political hay and controversy over the selection. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his acolytes, such as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), have already indicated that they will try to push this matter, centering it on the immigration debate. With that in mind, some members of the conservative press started chiming in and finding a way to smear Lynch.
One media outlet in particular, Breitbart, ran an article claiming Lynch was a member of the Clinton legal team during the Whitewater investigation in 1992. This article, published Saturday, was then used as the basis for another article the site published on Sunday which stated Lynch was a very political choice by the White House. However, there was one little problem — the Loretta Lynch they referred to that assisted the Clintons is NOT the same Lynch who has just been nominated by Obama to be Attorney General.
It appears that the writer for the Breitbart piece, Warner Todd Huston, went on a Google search looking to dig up some dirt on Lynch. Huston apparently found the other Loretta Lynch mentioned in a couple of archived articles regarding the Whitewater investigation from 20+ years back and then went with the assumption that the two women were the same person. Using that assumption, he then wrote an article wondering why few Republicans were talking about the fact that Lynch was involved with the Clinton Administration and helped them during a ‘scandal.’ He also claimed that Loretta Lynch (the AG nominee) has been rewarded for her political loyalty over the years.
Media Matters’ Timothy Johnson discovered the error on Sunday and published an article pointing this out. Shortly afterwards, Breitbart issued a correction to Huston’s article. Talking Points Memo editor-in-chief Josh Marshall ridiculed the right-wing site’s correction on Sunday evening. Breitbart placed ‘correction’ at the end of the headline and then placed a small correction at the bottom of the article pointing out the Whitewater attorney was not the same Loretta Lynch. Marshall said that entire assertion behind the piece fell apart, so issuing a correction is almost impossible.
The best I can say in defense of this comical ‘correction’ is that it would be challenging to amend the piece in light of the categorical collapse of the article’s central assertion. I mean, how do you correct it? I guess you just don’t? Which is pretty much what they did here.
Breitbart finally decided to just completely delete the article on Monday after dealing with the fallout of publishing a false article and then using it to back-up another article that was meant as a hit job on Lynch. The other article now has a section removed and a correction at the bottom of it. However, the central premise remains intact that Lynch is an extremely political choice. Mostly, I guess, because Obama nominated her.
This is a lesson for all. Whenever you decide to go and find dirt on someone, always make sure that when you find something, it is actually attributable to that person. And it might be a good idea to look at a photo or two.
Image via Media Matters