To: New Hampshire Republican Candidates and Elected Officials
From: Jennifer Horn, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman
Date: May 16, 2014
Re: Deceptive Practices Employed by Liberal Huffington Post
Over the past several years the lines have been blurred between credible news organization and partisan organizations pushing misinformation. The problem was on full display this week when the liberal blog The Huffington Post spent several days trying to advance a phony story of its own creation in an attempt to influence our United States Senate race.
While this particular issue focused on Scott Brown and Senator Kelly Ayotte, similar incidents could occur involving any one of our outstanding Republican candidates or elected officials.
Earlier this week, the Huffington Post published a blog that falsely accused New Hampshire Republican candidate Scott Brown of "lobbying" Republican senators to kill a bill sponsored by Senator Shaheen "so as to not give Shaheen something to run on." The post failed to identify a single named or unnamed source to back up the phony rumor. The bill ultimately failed because partisan politicians like Harry Reid and Jeanne Shaheen refused to allow an amendment to approve the bipartisan Keystone XL Pipeline that has been blocked by the Obama Administration.
The next day, the Huffington Post manufactured another post by asking liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for reaction to their false report. Predictably, Schumer launched phony partisan attacks against Brown.
The next day, liberal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the United States Senate to launch partisan political attacks based on the false, unsourced post published by his ally, the Huffington Post. The false story was spread as his dishonest attacks were picked up by other liberal blogs.
Later that day Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, approached Senator Kelly Ayotte in the halls of the senate to ask her if Brown had pressured her to "slow down" the bill.
"No he didn't," said Ayotte in response to Grimm's question according to a full transcript. "I told him what my position is, but I wasn't lobbied on it or anything and obviously I did what I thought was best based on my state and voted the way I thought I should."
Despite Ayotte's clear statements, Grim wrote an utterly dishonest post with the blaring headline "New Hampshire Republican throws Scott Brown under the bus." The story alleged that Brown had called Ayotte to lobby her on the bill even though she clearly said, "I wasn't lobbied on it or anything." Grim deliberately and maliciously edited Senator Ayotte's quotes to fit the phony, preconceived narrative that he wanted to push.
After the recording of the full conversation was circulated to New Hampshire media tocorrect the record, the Huffington Post's phony interpretation was mocked and criticized.
WMUR-TV's James Pindell wrote that the "audio of the interview provides a different context and premise -- and maybe not even a story."
"The story's first paragraph went on to explain that Brown, a U.S. Senate candidate, had called Ayotte to lobby her to vote a certain way," reported WMUR. "But the audio version of the interview, which to Huffington Post's credit eventually was posted with the story, had Ayotte directly saying that Brown didn't lobby her."
New Hampshire Journal noted "The Huffington Post later changed the headline after an audio of Ayotte's interview with its reporter was circulated widely to the media. The lead to the story, which had said that Brown called Ayotte to lobby her against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's energy efficiency bill, was also watered down in a later version."
An unbiased reporter would have never published this story given the clear comments that Senator Ayotte made in the interview. The mistakes made in the post are too serious and egregious to be considered a simple error, which leads to the obvious conclusion that this was a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation. A legitimate news organization would have already disciplined the author and retracted this false story. But the Huffington Post's lack of action confirms that it is more interested in dishonest political advocacy than actual journalism.
Left wing blogs like Huffington Post have a right to carry water for liberal politicians like Jeanne Shaheen, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama. They are free to peddle mistruths and falsehood that damage their credibility if they chose. But they shouldn't be viewed as serious or trusted news institutions that provide unbiased coverage.
Given this unfortunate incident and the Huffington Post's obvious lack of integrity, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee will no longer participate in its stories or respond to inquiries from its writers.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.