3:00 pm CST
As is always, depressingly the case, it took the truth a lot longer to get its pants on before a lie went around the world...
NO, Obama is NOT tearing down Reagan's "childhood home" to "put up a parking lot."
The real story is that a severely dilapidated building which Reagan did live in as a youngster was purchased by the University of Chicago in 2004, denied landmark status in 2010, and is now scheduled for demolition as part of a campus expansion.
To suggest that the same institution of higher learning which just established The Milton Friedman Center For Research In Economics is behind some anti-Reagan conspiracy is on par with "face on Mars" nonsense.
That didn't stop the insanity from taking hold.
The internet age's latest disservice to the truth seems to have started at the reliably whack-a-doo Washington Times.
In spite of the fact that the Times being a primary source for anything should have raised a few alarm bells, the ever-salacious U.K. Daily Mail picked up on the rumor yesterday and fleshed it out into an eye-popper.
One gem typical their piece:
"Some have said that the liberal Chicago establishment does not want a reminder that Reagan, a conservative icon, once lived in the city.
Its current mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, was the White House Chief of Staff during Obama's first term." (EMPHASIS MINE)Gasp! "Some have said!?" And Obama has a Chicago "connection?!" The horror!
That was, as they say, when all Hell broke loose.
Other outlets did what they do now... they grabbed it, they ran it, and they sat back and counted their internet views.
Nobody did, you know, the journalism thing until after they ran it.
Mediaite bears no small amount of the blame. Over there, Noah Rothman's cutting and pasting threw a heckuva lot of gas on the fire. His post still hasn't yet been "corrected" or even "updated" at this time. Even generally level heads like Frum's young gun, Justin Green, a writer whom I usually admire, should be ashamed of themselves for their laziness in passing it along without much comment.
As for anyone who easily bought into a story with such obviously ridiculous optics, it says a great deal about their own willful and hateful irrationality.
We should all take a step back and look at what really matters; This affair exposes yet again the worst that can happen when lousy journalism meets the instant communication of the internet. It was hours before anyone did their due diligence. By then, of course, the reactionary nitwits had gone bananas.
Remember when the far right had a near-nervous-breakdown and and whipped up the knuckle-draggers by promoting false claims that Obama was spending $200 million a day for a trip to India?
This is the same high quality fabrication.
The story now is the false story itself.
Yet again, the multi-billion dollar miracle that is the internet is exposed as the world's largest sewing circle.
What's more, this is yellow journalism on a scale that would've made Hearst blush.
I fear it might be the exemplar and not the exception of things to come.
Salon rounds up the good, the bad, and the extremely crazy reactions HERE.