The Huffington Post likes to fancy itself a newspaper and not merely a group blog. I think they have arrived. Just before the New Year, they ran an article that libeled Peter Wallison and Charles Calomiris of the American Enterprise Institute. The article (in the Google cache for now, also here), tried to rebut a 2008 AEI publication on the irresponsibility of Fannie and Freddie. The article, by David Fiderer — labelled by HuffPo as a “financial professional” — did not only contest Wallison and Calomiris’s conclusions, but repeatedly accused them of lying.
And I mean repeatedly: “lied”, “lying”, or “lies” appeared six times; “fabricate” or “fabricated” three times; “deceitful” twice; “fraudulent” or “fraudster” twice; “liar” twice (one of those referred to John Boehner); “falsehoods” twice; “bogus” once. That’s eighteen accusations of outright lies.
If you are going to take a tone like that, you need to be damn sure you have your facts straight. There is no scoundrel like the man who lies in accusing another of lying.
But he did not have his facts straight. Wallison and Calomiris published a response that substantiated all the facts in their 2008 publication and explained where Fiderer erred.
The Huffington Post pulled down the piece, replacing it with this:
Editor’s Note: This post has been removed from the site due to factual inaccuracies.
But they did not, as far as I can tell, post any further correction or retraction. Thus we can see that the Huffington Post has truly arrived as a newspaper: weak editorial standards and a lack of integrity after the fact. Congratulations HuffPo!