In ‘Friends of Hamas’ Story, Media Fail to Pursue Full Disclosure from Hagel

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There were not one, but two Breitbart News stories about the allegation that “Friends of Hamas” had donated to organizations connected to former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Both ran Feb. 7, and alongside one another, atop the site. The fact that the media have focused on the first, and ignored the second, is a testament to their refusal to hold Hagel to reasonable standards of disclosure, or to address the substantive issues releated to his associations.

The first story reported that Senate sources believed Hagel was refusing to comply fully with financial disclosure requests because “one of the [donor] names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’” The second story explored a possible factual basis for the rumor: that “friends of Hamas” (lower case), such as the family of former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri in particular, had donated to the Atlantic Council.

Both stories indicated clearly that Breitbart News had not yet managed to corroborate the sources’ story about “Friends of Hamas” (upper case), but both noted the underlying problem was Hagel’s refusal to comply with requests for disclosure. The media showed no interest in exploring Hagel’s funders–not even Buzzfeed, which originally named the Hariri family as a key concern for the Senate (without bothering to explain why).

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