The reporter who says he inadvertently started the bogus "Friends of Hamas" rumor about Chuck Hagel has some advice for conservatives in the media: try using Google.
Dan Friedman, who covers Congress for the New York Daily News, joined HuffPostLive host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin Wednesday to talk about how he thinks a couple of jokes he sent to a Republican senator's aide wound up fueling the false rumor that Hagel might have received money from the Hamas-loving association. Most notably, the rumor wound up in a piece on Breitbart News, and rocketed around conservative media circles. The problem? "Friends of Hamas" doesn't even exist, something Slate's Dave Weigel showed was pretty easy to figure out.
After Friedman's piece was published on Wednesday morning, Breitbart's Ben Shapiro, who wrote the original Hagel story, posted a follow-up defending himself:
Since the original “Friends of Hamas” story was written, the media has downplayed or ignored the myriad of borderline anti-Semitic Hagel comments regarding Iran and the State of Israel, as well as the “Jewish lobby.” They have deliberately obstructed news coverage of Hagel’s well-documented supported base among friends of Hamas. Instead of asking Hagel to release the requested documents, the media has attacked Breitbart News ... Our Senate source denies that Friedman is the source of this information.
Friedman said that his source, who he did not identify, told him that he may have discussed Shapiro's comments with other people. He also responded to Shapiro.
"I spoke to Ben and I'm trying to avoid getting personal," he said. "I talked to him and what he said was that if you read his lede as caveated, that he didn't directly he didn't directly say this group exists. He said that this person told him that they were asked if this group exists."
Friedman said that usually it was not enough to merely relay information a source gave you without checking first to see if it was accurate.
"[Shapiro is] aware of that distinction," he said. "He says it doesn't matter ... many journalists would actually check. They would Google 'Friends of Hamas' to see if it exists before writing it."
WATCH THE FULL CONVERSATION HERE: