"On second thought, let's not do the internet rumor thing, m'kay? Thanks."
This is really pretty funny: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has written a letter
to defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel asking Hagel to explain an internet rumor about notes that somebody supposedly took during a speech Hagel gave in 2007. To emphasize, Graham's question wasn't based on a video or audio recording of the speech, nor even a transcript. Instead, it was about notes taken by Some Dude and posted on Some Dude's website.
The notes became "a thing" on the right a few days ago when the hilariously awful website Free Beacon tried to turn them into the latest right-wing outrage. Sure, the guy who wrote notes (assuming you take at face value the claim that the notes are bona fide) said that the notes were not meant to be an "not exact word-for-word" transcript, but still, Some Dude posted Something online about Hagel, so Free Beacon saw gold. Specifically, they zeroed in on a line in the notes which read "The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office."
That note—which was not a word-for-word quote from Hagel's remarks, but rather Something that Some Guy wrote afterwards—has now become the centerpiece of the freak show's freakout over Hagel. Never mind the fact that the same website also included this note: "Iran is causing the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq." Not that I think that note is any more meaningful than the other, but it's obvious that the only reason Free Beacon ignored it is that it didn't advance their political interests.
The mere fact that somebody else's note (or alleged note) would make it into the conservative media discourse is absurd enough, but the fact that a U.S. Senator is mindlessly parroting something like this is truly astonishing—or at least it would be if we were talking about a political movement that wasn't cracking apart. But for my money, the best part of this story is that of all the Republican senators who would embrace internet rumormongering, you'd figure Lindsey Graham would be the last.
6:40 AM PT: Oh, by the way, not that this really rose to the level of something that even deserved debunking, but:
Rutgers Professor “Certain” Hagel Did Not Make Adjunct To Israel Comment During 2007 Visit
“I did attend the event, and even though the event was nearly six years ago I'm certain that he did not make the remark attributed to him,” Charles Häberl told BuzzFeed.
6:45 AM PT: Oh, and yes The Washington Post's embarrassingly bad Jennifer Rubin cites the rumor as if it were verified quote that revealed Chuck Hagel's truest essence.