It was a sad moment in journalism when MSNBC forced David Shuster to apologize to the odious Marcia Blackburn because a highly unreliable group of right wing bloggers claimed that the soldier Shuster asked her about in the YouTube above was not actually from her district.

You’d think after Jamail Hussein and other episodes too numerous to mention without overloading our servers that any fool would know the wrong-o-sphere is always wrong, but I guess not. Via InstaPutz:

Shuster’s apology [re: Marsha Blackburn] may have been premature. The tiny hamlet of Bon Aqua, Tenn., is where Bohannon lived in the months immediately prior to entering the Army. The Census Bureau places his home in Blackburn’s 7 th Congressional District.

He lived in Bon Aqua for “close to a year” immediately prior to entering the Army, said Tonya Taylor, 35, who permitted him to stay at her house while Bohannon was dating her daughter.

Bohannon grew up, was home-schooled and was buried in McEwan, which is clearly in the 8th Congressional District of U.S. Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn. But his last legal address was in Blackburn’s district.

Media Bistro makes an excellent point:

Are we missing the point here? Conservatives are arguing that Shuster pulled a fast one on Blackburn and would not do the same to a Democrat. No one knows the answer to that hypothetical. But what we do know is this: Whether or not Bohannon is or isn’t from Blackburn’s district, the fact remains that Blackburn failed to recall the name of the last person to die in Iraq from her district. Big Bad Liberal Media conspiracies aside, Blackburn failed that basic test.

This is what happened to Dan Rather — the GOP comes up with something that is wholly beside the point with regard to the main story (Blackburn couldn’t name the last soldier to die from her district, no matter who it was), floats some disinformation through the right wing blogosphere and then uses that as a source to please the foaming GOP and force the network to humiliate the journalist who dared to challenge them.

David Shuster is one of the best journalists MSNBC has. He’s done excellent work on the Libby trial and other stories and deserves his own show along side Olbermann. No wonder the GOP is willing to use their mindless tools in the wrong-o-sphere to shut him down.

Dan Abrams should publicly apologize to Shuster for being at the helm of this fiasco before the facts had a chance to be ascertained (you know, Dan, journalism and all). Having your journalists hit their knees at the behest of a self-serving politician is not the stuff of Edward R. Murow.

Abrams should give Shuster his 9pm slot in atonement. The world would be a better place.

(Thanks to Scarce for the YouTube. Full clip of the interview available at Crooks and Liars.)

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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