Last week Think Progress blogger Amanda accused John McCain of plagiarizing a speech from Admiral Timothy Ziemer only to retract the story hours later. Amanda, last name unknown, had failed to check with McCain's office before running her "exclusive," and she failed even to check McCain's website to see if he had used similar language in the past. In fact, he had. In a 1995 speech to the VFW, a speech predating Ziemer's, McCain had uttered the same phrases he was now alleged to have plagiarized. Amanda apologized for her sloppy reporting, but apparently she didn't learn much from the episode.
Today she runs a story about North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry under the headline: "Rep. McHenry calls U.S. soldier in Iraq a â€˜two-bit security guard.'"
Well, it isn't true. Think Progress provides the video, but at no point does McHenry indicate that the "security guard" is an American soldier. In fact, if Amanda had bothered to call McHenry's office, she would have learned that the security guard was one of the foreign contractors so reviled by the left--an individual who in any other circumstance Amanda would likely label a "mercenary." I did call McHenry's office and the congressman's press secretary offered this statement from his boss:
It was a poor choice of words to describe the foreign contractor, but anyone who was there knows that I delivered a speech praising the heroism and sacrifice of those who are serving our country in harm's way.
The choice of words does not paint McHenry in the most flattering light...calling a security guard a "two-bit security guard" isn't exactly a classy move. But once again, Think Progress has failed to maintain even the minimum standards of the profession. How Amanda got from "security guard" to "U.S. soldier" is unclear, unless it was only intended to smear, like the false accusation she leveled at John McCain last week.