If fake news is deliberately printing a story that you either know to be false, or should know to be false, then the New York Times took a big dive into the Fake News Pond yesterday with a detestable hit piece on Rick Perry: ‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood.
When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.
In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
Two-thirds of the agency’s annual $30 billion budget is devoted to maintaining, refurbishing and keeping safe the nation’s nuclear stockpile; thwarting nuclear proliferation; cleaning up and rebuilding an aging constellation of nuclear production facilities; and overseeing national laboratories that are considered the crown jewels of government science.
“If you asked him on that first day he said yes, he would have said, ‘I want to be an advocate for energy,’” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who advised Mr. Perry’s 2016 presidential campaign and worked on the Trump transition’s Energy Department team in its early days. “If you asked him now, he’d say, ‘I’m serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.’ It’s been a learning curve.”
This caused the left and the media, but I repeat myself, all manner of amusement because it fits a couple of convenient narratives they like. It implies that Republicans just don’t understand government, even if they are a very successful governor. And Rick Perry is dumb because, well, he’s from Texas and he failed Organic Chemistry. Quick test. How many journalists do you think took a college algebra course much less organic chemistry?
Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry not knowing that his future department maintains our nuclear arsenal is the nightmare scenario.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) January 19, 2017
Here's the Times with possibly the most savage paragraph I've ever read. On the guy Rick Perry would succeed as Energy secretary: pic.twitter.com/z5P6xwsYJT
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) January 19, 2017
To be clear, the NYT report offers exactly zero support for its assertion Gov. Perry didn't know what the Dept. of Energy did. But whatever. pic.twitter.com/WB8tKRGwVg
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) January 19, 2017
As Becket Adams notes there are some things wrong with this story. First, there is nothing in those first four paragraphs that indicate the thrust of the story is correct. In fact, there is substantial evidence to indicate their falsity. On the day his nomination was announced, this is the statement he released:
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected to serve as Secretary of Energy by President-elect Trump. I am deeply humbled by his trust in me,” Perry said. “As the former governor of the nation’s largest energy producing state, I know American energy is critical to our economy and our security. I look forward to engaging in a conversation about the development, stewardship and regulation of our energy resources, safeguarding our nuclear arsenal, and promoting an American energy policy that creates jobs and puts America first.”
Plus, the Times’s main source is not only claiming that he was misrepresented
Michael McKenna, the lead interview on NYT Rick Perry headline, says he was misrepresented. https://t.co/EudFpKBDzk
— Geoffrey Ingersoll (@GPIngersoll) January 19, 2017
He left the transition team nearly a month ago:
This is not a mistake. This is a blatant lie. It distorts Perry’s stated views and throws in the gratuitous cheerleading bit for ridicule. This is what Fake News looks like.