In politics, it seems there are three levels of discourse. Level one: if you have a good argument, you make it. Level two: attack the opposition with truth. Level three: attack the opposition with lies. It tells you something about the weakness of the gun-controllists case that they are settling for the bottom level.
The buzz of the day is over how gun-rights supporters heckled the father of a victim of the Sandy Hook massacre at a hearing on gun-control measures. Or, more precisely, the buzz of the day is over how that didn’t happen, but the media reported that it did.
The story seems to have started with a story in the Connecticut Post, which reported that gun-rights supporters interrupted Neil Heslin as he argued for gun control. But the video (cue to 15:00) shows that that didn’t happen. On the contrary, Heslin asked a question and was answered:
Heslin: Is there anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question, why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips?
[Pause. Heslin looks around the room as if waiting for a response.]
And not one person can answer that question or give me an answer.
Audience members: [unintelligible] The Second Amendment shall not be infringed.
Lawmaker: Please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking. Or we’ll clear the room. Mr. Heslin please continue.
Not content to merely lie in their descriptions, MSNBC and CBS went further, airing videos that made it appear as though Heslin really was heckled, by editing out “Is there anybody in this room that can give me one reason . . .” to hide the fact that Heslin asked the room a question and was waiting for an answer. MSNBC’s original editing reportedly was even more dishonest. It’s gone down the memory hole now, but the appended update tacitly admits it (“the original video has been replaced with a fuller version”).
The story being completely debunked hasn’t put it to rest. Although a few have admitted their error, the claim that Heslin was “interrupted”, “heckled”, or even “shouted down” remains throughout the media, to say nothing of the leftist blogosphere.
UPDATE: Video of MSNBC’s earlier, even-more-deceptive editing, is here. It not only edits out the question (as their later video did), but also edits out the several seconds that Heslin waited for a response, and his follow-up statement that no one could answer him. It jumps in the middle of Heslin’s sentence to the audience members answering his question, making it appear he was interrupted, when he was not. Martin Bashir, you are a damned liar.
UPDATE: Some of the the people who joined in the lie: Eric Boehlert (Media Matters), David Frum, Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo), Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs, which once was good), Piers Morgan (CNN), as well as publications and/or group blogs Gawker, Wonkette, the Daily Beast, and the Huffington Post. A few other credulous fools (Slate, and Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed) joined the liars but later retracted.