Reporter Sparked ‘Friends of Hamas’ Rumor

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Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (C) shares a laugh with former U.S. Sen. John Warner (L) and former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, before Hagel's confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of Defense on January 31, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Reporters don’t want everything they do to go viral. A Daily News reporter says he accidentally started a rumor that Chuck Hagel gave a paid speech to controversial groups. Dan Friedman asked a Republican aide whether Hagel had given speeches to the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France” and “Friends of Hamas” (he says he was talking “hypothetically and hyperbolically”). His source never responded. Shortly after, Breitbart.com ran the headline “Secret Hagel Donor? White House Spox Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas.’” The rumor took off from there. The Breitbart reporter said that “Friends of Hamas” might not exist, but he used “very, very specific language” to avoid claiming that it did. Well, that didn’t work.