By an unsurprising vote of 71-27, the Senate has voted to end debate on Chuck Hagel’s nomination. This conclusion marks yet another instance in which conservative media figures led their readers astray.
The overwrought accusations hurled at Hagel, not to mention the invention of fake organizations he might be connected to, serve to further diminish the reputation of the conservative media.
All candidates for appointed or elected office deserve a thorough vetting -- not a witch hunt. The never-ending quest for a nonexistent statement, speech, or financial tie that would sink Hagel’s nomination amounted to an embarrassment. Facing a critical moment for U.S. national security interests, conservatives chose to play to their extremist media instead of acting in the best interests of their country.
And if someone can explain how a two-week delay in confirming Hagel best served our national interests, I am all ears.
In Sunday’s New York Times profile of Michael Goldfarb, founder of the Washington Free Beacon, one of the conservative publications that led the digital mob against the Hagel nomination, the provocateur noted, “We get up every day and say, how do we cause trouble?”
Was causing trouble the main reason for the attacks on Hagel? One could argue that even though Hagel was not defeated, it was worthwhile to throw a stick in the spokes of an Obama administration that has been plowing over conservative opposition since the election.
But something else might be at play. Yesterday, 24 hours before a vote whose outcome was not in doubt, the Emergency Committee for Israel purchased full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal and The Hill. An ad buy like that typically costs well into six figures.
Goldfarb happens to be a strategist for ECI, which clearly raised substantial amounts of money around the nomination.
Is it possible that right-wing media outlets pushed to keep this story going so as to continue raising money from donors who were convinced that with just a week and a half more, they could find the bit of information that would sink Hagel?
The real dupes are senators such as Lindsey Graham who allowed the conservative media to box them into a corner whose only exit was off a cliff.
In November, many in the Republican base were shocked that their media could lead them so far off base -- into believing that the election was a lock for Mitt Romney. Now, three months later, it’s clear the lesson has not been learned.