Media Matters Dings Drudge for AP Error

Media Matters for America attempts to smear Matt Drudge by doing exactly what they accuse Drudge of doing, only worse:

Drudge tried to smear Kerry with false AP charge that he outed CIA operative

Conservative Internet gossip Matt Drudge attempted to smear Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) by linking to an Associated Press report that falsely suggested that Kerry and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) “may have blown” the cover of CIA officer Fulton Armstrong.

Drudge went further than the AP in implicating Kerry. Omitting Lugar’s name, he titled the link simply “Kerry Blows CIA Agent Cover?…” The AP article, written by AP diplomatic writer Anne Gearan, reported that Kerry and Lugar both mentioned Armstrong by name during the April 11 Senate confirmation hearings of John Bolton, President Bush’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and falsely suggested that they “may have blown his cover” by doing so.

The blogosphere was all over this yesterday morning, with Michelle Malkin and others debunking the story while the Washington Post and others were falling for it. Charles Johnson and several other conservative sites also elided Lugar’s participation in this, for which I dinged them yesterday. But, as Kevin Aylward notes, “[Lugar’s] name hardly captures reader interest the way a former candidate for President does.”

Frankly, Matt Drudge does something several times of week worthy of scorn. But linking to an AP story and pulling out the juicest “fact” from it is not among them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Frankly, Matt Drudge does something several times of week worthy of scorn. But linking to an AP story and pulling out the juicest “fact” from it is not among them.

    But it’s the one that made John Kerry — however briefly — look bad.

  2. bithead says:

    I haven’t gotten the transcripts yet, but a big question in my mind on all of this is which of the two, did it first? First blood is the most damaging, after all.

  3. Tom Maguire says:

    As a bonus, the Times has a follow-up with this:

    Though Mr. Armstrong had been identified in news reports two years ago about his dispute with other officials over intelligence involving Cuba, that was when he was the national intelligence officer for Latin America, and his name was no secret. **When the Bolton nomination resurrected the old accounts, however, the C.I.A. asked news organizations to withhold his name.**

    On Monday, Mr. Lugar announced that aides on the Foreign Relations committee had interviewed Mr. Armstrong. Later, Mr. Kerry mentioned him by name while questioning Mr. Bolton. The hearings were televised, and transcripts were widely published. On Tuesday morning, The Associated Press mentioned the disclosure and identified Mr. Armstrong.

    …At a time when a special prosecutor is investigating how the identity of another undercover C.I.A. officer, Valerie Plame, was leaked to the press, the disclosure of Mr. Armstrong’s name did not go unnoticed by reporters on Capitol Hill. Asked about it on Tuesday, Mr. Lugar said simply, “No comment.”

    Mr. Kerry defended himself. “Senator Lugar had already mentioned it,” he said, “and it had already been in the press.”

    So I guess Lugar screwed up first. But as the Times notes, it is interesting to see just how seriously the Senators took the CIA request for discretion.