Right-Wing Media Busted For Spreading False Story About Harry Reid’s Accident

Harry Reid announces he won't run in 2016

A Las Vegas man who concocted the story about Harry Reid getting injured in a brawl with his brother came forward over the weekend to confess that he made the whole story up. Larry Pfeifer, a convicted felon and former entertainment industry consultant, told reporters for the Las Vegas Sun that he invented the story to demonstrate the lack of credibility in the partisan media.

Pfeifer, using the pseudonym Easton Elliot, pitched his fabricated story to a number of media outlets. Pfeifer alleged that Harry Reid’s brother, Larry, showed up drunk at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Henderson, Nevada with an injured hand, claiming he had just beaten up a relative.

John Hinderaker, who writes for the right-wing blog “Powerline”, posted the story on April 3rd. The fabricated story quickly gained momentum in right-wing circles with Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, all spreading the phony account of how Harry Reid sustained his injuries.

Although Hinderaker did make a half-hearted disclaimer when he first published the bogus story, he quickly pivoted to chastising the mainstream media for not pursuing the story. In his blog he presented the information, in part, as follows:

That is Easton Elliott’s account. I can’t vouch for it, of course, but if what he says about the AA meeting is accurate, the inferences he draws seem reasonable.

Someone attacked Harry Reid on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day; that much seems clear from photographs and from the nature of his injuries. So far, to my knowledge, no one has investigated to try to find out what really happened. My “investigation” consisted of answering my telephone. Perhaps those reporters who were so eager to dig through Sarah Palin’s dumpster and track down Mitt Romney’s high school classmates will now swing into action, carry out an actual investigation, and either confirm or refute the events described by Mr. Elliott.

From there, the account spread like wildfire through the right-wing media universe, catching hold with right-wing talk radio icons like Limbaugh, Beck and Ingraham. Apparently none of them showed much concern for vetting the source, or for verifying the accuracy of the fabricated “eyewitness account”. After all, it fit a narrative they were all too happy to promote. Therefore, it didn’t matter whether it was actually true or not.

Pfeifer also acknowledged over the weekend that several media outlets acted more responsibly than the right-wing sites that spread the story. For example, he pointed out that the Las Vegas Sun requested that Pfeifer provide them with his real name and a copy of his driver’s license so they could run a background check and confirm his identity. That proved a wise decision on their part, as unlike many of the partisan right-wing sites, the Las Vegas Sun escaped the whole fiasco without getting “egg on their face”.

Pfeifer’s actions certainly should not be condoned since he spread damaging lies about both Larry and Harry Reid that amount to character assassination. However, Pfeifer does not bear that responsibility alone. Right-wing media outlets that were overeager to slander the Nevada Senator also should be ashamed that they promoted his story without verifying any evidence to determine if the story were reasonably likely to be true. By failing to apply even the flimsiest of journalistic standards or ethics, the right-wing media has demonstrated once again that they are far too willing to sacrifice the truth, as long as it furthers their extremely narrow and petty partisan agenda.

 

23 Replies to “Right-Wing Media Busted For Spreading False Story About Harry Reid’s Accident”

  1. Like I have been saying in the Clinton thread they have nothing but lies and when you call them out on it they start crying ” Why are you so mean”

  2. Never have understood the people who make up a story that injures another person. Be it friend or Family or someone you don’t even know, what do they get from it?

  3. Rule#1 Conservatives LIE!!! Rule#2 If a Conservatives says he/she is not lying…THEIR LYING! Rule#3 Conservatives project their ignorance on everyone who refuses to believe in their ignorance. Rule#4 See Rule # 1

  4. Yes, Hinderaker “protected” himself by saying he couldn’t say whether or not this was true. But he also knows what his readers like and knows they will react as if it is truth.

    But he goes beyond that with this comment. “Someone attacked Harry Reid on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day; that much seems clear from photographs and from the nature of his injuries.”

    He had no evidence to back up that assertation but he presents it as total fact. All I know, is I wouldn’t want to have him be my lawyer.

  5. All of these right wing liars need to be in court defending themselves against libel and slander lawsuits. Maybe after many of them have been sued into destitution will they stop their lying.

  6. Republicans claim to be children of God but my goodness I beg to differ. It’s more like they’re the devil’s spawn. The biggest liars and hypocrites walking…….

    Can’t believe a word they say and the press and people in authority refuse to call them out…..

    Evil has truly come to America and it’s name is Republican…….

  7. Considering their track record, The Democratic Party would be fools to not take advantage of the Right Wing Zealousness for hack scandals.

  8. Many on the right are very gullible individuals who will print/believe/repeat anything that supports their POV of an opponent or issue they don’t like/support. Although they keep wiping rotten egg off their faces, they have learned nothing. I would be embarrassed if I were exposed again and again as a highly partisan hack and follower, but it doesn’t seem to bother them. They have no shame and being embarrassed is something that happens to others. When they’re proven to be wrong, they never apologize, they just look for the next lie or conspiracy theory they can push. Their denial of facts and reality is a real drag on the country’s progress in moving toward a brighter, and better, future.

  9. Only people who lean far to the right listen to the three stooges (Ingraham, Limbaugh, & Beck) anyway. Even if they retracted the story the idiots who listen to them would say it was a conspiracy, that Reid paid somebody off. Think about the Obama birth certificate, it did not matter the proof, they did not want it to be true that he was born in the U.S. so they refused to believe it.

  10. It’s not just conservative media that does this. All media is guilty of running stories that support their worldview without properly vetting sources. Let’s change the names in the last paragraph and show how it applies to liberal media.

    “Jackie’s actions certainly should not be condoned since she spread damaging lies about both the unnamed student and Phi Kappa Psi that amount to character assassination. However, Jackie does not bear that responsibility alone. Liberal media outlets that were overeager to expose rape culture also should be ashamed that they promoted her story without verifying any evidence to determine if the story were reasonably likely to be true. By failing to apply even the flimsiest of journalistic standards or ethics, the liberal media has demonstrated once again that they are far too willing to sacrifice the truth, as long as it furthers their extremely narrow and petty partisan agenda.

    Don’t act like it’s only conservative media that fail at journa…

  11. Rolling Stone did the same thing the author of this article is accusing the right-wing media of doing when the magazine ran the UVA rape story without properly vetting Jackie and her story.

    It is dishonest to claim only right-wing media throws journalistic ethics out the window when a story that supports their worldview pops up.

  12. And what did Rolling Stone do when the story fell apart? They owned up to their mistake. Please tell me when have right wing site,blogger or media has done the same. GTFOH with your both sides do it bullshit

  13. jimmyk, thank you jimmy and btw I AM a genius in reality but the only reason why you would be so anal about my grammar is that you have NOTHING of substance to counter my comment! As far as the typo…guess what jimmykkk!?…I don’t give a rat’s ass! People make mistakes and move on, just like your mistake by tilting with me or anybody here. Get a life!

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