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Memo To Media: There Is No Right-Wing "Smell Test"

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Marveling at how the bogus India trip cost story was unfolded, NBC's Chuck Todd tweeted that he was surprised the absurd numbers gained any traction and that a simple "smell test" would have halted the story in its tracks. But that might have given right-wing partisans too much credit by assuming they were interested, or even cared about, getting the story right.

And that's a sentiment that remains common among media elite, this idea that far-right media players sometimes get things wrong and that for everyone's benefit they ought to apply a common sense "smell test" before they run with controversial stories, like the one about Obama's India trip.

But here's the thing, there is no right-wing smell test. It no longer exists. In fact, there appears to be no sense of smell at all, which is closely related to the right-wing media's lack of common sense and decency. (It's a package deal.)

For instance, did Sarah Palin's death panel claim pass any kind of smell test last year? And what about the right-wing blogosphere's freak-out this summer that Mexican gangs had invaded Texas? The wide-eyed proclamation that two million Tea Partiers had marched on Washington, D.C., in September, 2009? That Obama wanted to "ban sport fishing", that he liedabout attending his daughter soccer game, or that he's a Kenyan-born Muslim? Or, has anything that Jim Hoft has posted at his right-wing site, Gateway Pundit, ever passed the smell test?


None of hysterical allegations above make any sense or pass any kind of elementary "smell test." But day in and day out the right-wing noise machine traffics in this kind of utter nonsense pretending they're connected with reality and breaking "news."

That's why this isn't really about the India trip and the foolish costs attributed to it. That was simply last week's caper. This week will bring some other made-up controversy to take its place. And next week will come another fabrication. And on and on it goes, a perpetual wave of made-up claims and allegations that crumble beneath the slightest scrutiny, but that collectively create a din of negative background noise. That signature sound of the GOP Noise Machine you hear is a thousand points of lies colliding into each other.

Read the full Media Matters column, here.