In a fascinating development, the Las Vegas Sun is giving 1,100 words to the story of a Las Vegas “former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry” who now says he “started a false rumor” about how Harry Reid got his eye injury in order to test the reaction of conservative media.
If you read the excerpt here, you don’t really need to read the rest of it (although, of course, feel free to). All 1,100 words are a rehash of the basic story.
A Las Vegas man claims he started a false rumor that the injuries suffered by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid several months ago were the result of an attack by Reid’s brother, not an exercise accident.
Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry, said he fabricated the story after becoming appalled that right-wing political blogger John Hinderaker published a rumor that Reid’s injuries stemmed from an assault by a Mafia enforcer. Pfeifer said he pitched his fake story about the Reid brothers’ supposed fight to Hinderaker, author of the Power Line blog, to test whether the blogger would publish it, as well. When Hinderaker reported it and the rumor was subsequently spread by others in conservative media, Pfeifer says he began plotting to self-report it as a lie to show the lack of credibility and journalistic standards among partisan media figures.
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“It was just so outrageous,” he said. “The fact that someone can say something completely false that can destroy somebody’s life, it’s just wrong. Where’s the moral compass?”
Pfeifer, who describes himself as a motivational speaker who is involved in addiction counseling, said he completely concocted the story that Reid’s brother, Larry, showed up intoxicated at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on New Year’s Eve in Henderson and claimed to have beaten up a relative.
I guess there’s always this nugget (get it? Nugget?):
“Is Easton Elliott telling the truth? I have absolutely no idea,” Hinderaker said on Ingraham’s show. (Easton Elliott was the pseudonym Pfeifer adopted.) “He called me and told me this story. He’s related it consistently. Whether he’s right or not, I don’t know.”
But Pfeifer said it was still unconscionable for them to spread it, and now he’s looking to get as much exposure as possible. …
Now, Pfeifer is hoping his story goes viral and leads to appearances in national media to speak out about irresponsible partisan media.
Well, sure. The LV Sun is certainly obliging him in that regard. Oh, and you probably guessed this part already:
In coming forward, Pfeifer said he expected to encounter skepticism about whether he truly was the source of the rumor and whether he made up the story. A convicted felon who was sentenced to prison for financial crimes in the early 1990s, he offered dozens of emails and recordings as verification of his claim. He said he was not pressured to debunk the rumor and had never met Harry Reid or anyone in his family.
Not that you would make unverified assumptions or anything. OK, so, a convicted felon and confessed liar, who used a lie to gain exposure in conservative media, now wants to leverage his lie to gain exposure in the national media. Worth 1,100 words? You decide.
We’ll see what the mainstream national media do with this. The leftosphere is in full prancing-billy-goats mode, as witness the usual suspects: MediaMatters, ThinkProgress, TPM. I think Hinderaker can take the hit. Pfeifer lied; he didn’t. The more coverage Pfeifer’s story gets, the more obvious it will be that there’s no there there. If there’s a scintilla of common sense left in the MSM, editors will see that, and give this one a pass, for the most part. I suppose MSNBC is likely to fulfill its unique destiny, but I think most of them will foresee the bad optics and decline to make this one a main feature.