AmericaBlogReality, Watching Distortions Spread

John Aravosis’s distortions spread in a perfectly predictable D.C. conventional wisdom sort of way.

That’s why most of the folks in D.C. have no problem spreading them.  But, the latest example strains even D.C. levels of credulity.  So, we start with Anderson Cooper’s Obama interview.

In it, Obama says nothing new.  Period.

Obama says that he wants Congress to act to change the law and reiterates comments from others that he is looking for “the possibility, though, that we change how the law is being enforced, even as we are pursuing a shift in Congressional policy.”  He discusses making the policy work well for “the outstanding gay and lesbian soldiers that are both currently enlisted or would like to enlist.” He says he’s like to see this accomplished “sooner rather than later.”

Nothing in there is new, other than the President — rather than solely Secretary of Defense Gates — says that he is looking for an interim solution until Congress acts.  Those are the facts.

Then, Sam Stein at The Huffington Post goes to John for comment, under the premise that the Obama language is “bound to cause some concern.”  He then quotes Aravosis as a “prominent writer and gay activist” — which, I think, at least implies a fact-based assessment — and asks for his view on what Obama has said.  Shockingly, Aravosis states that “President Obama no longer wants to repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ he only plans to change’ the law” — despite the reality that nothing suggests that is the case.  Aravosis concludes for Stein’s story: “It’s increasingly clear that this White House has a severe case of the cooties when it comes to the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans.”

Stein, unfortunately, fell prey to Aravosis’s goal — advancing AmericaBlogReality, regardless of the facts that underlie (or, more often, don’t) that reality.  Stein posted his article at 6:31 p.m.

Then, in less than two hours, at 8:07 p.m., Aravosis has the gall to use Stein’s interview with . . . um, Aravosis . . . to advance . . . of course, Aravosis’s view.  He writes:

The most disturbing part of the interview is when Obama starts talking about “changing” DADT. (Sam Stein at Huffington Post appeared to have the same interpretation of the Obama interview as I did, with regards to the change to the word “change.”)

Yes, the link is to the piece quoting him as the only on-the-record source stating such a view.

And then, predictably, the reality spreads.  This evening, Kelvin Lynch at the Cincinnati Examiner sourced Stein’s reporting of Aravosis’s comments to justify the headline:

“Forget a repeal, Obama now just wants DADT to work better for US soldiers.”

And that is how AmericaBlogReality spreads.

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect,, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.