Secret Service finds no basis for “kill him” smear

posted at 9:10 am on October 16, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The Secret Service investigation into allegations that someone yelled, “Kill him!” at a Sarah Palin rally has found no basis to the charge.  The story, which got picked up by the national media, came entirely based on the recollection of one man, a reporter for the Scranton Times-Tribune.  No one else at the rally recalls hearing it, including the Secret Service detail that listens for just that kind of threat:

The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.

The Scranton Times-Tribune first reported the alleged incident on its Web site Tuesday and then again in its print edition Wednesday. The first story, written by reporter David Singleton, appeared with allegations that while congressional candidate Chris Hackett was addressing the crowd and mentioned Oabama’s [sic] name a man in the audience shouted “kill him.”

News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim, with most attributing the allegations to the Times-Tribune story.

Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.

“I was baffled,” he said after reading the report in Wednesday’s Times-Tribune.

This was deemed so damaging to Republicans that Barack Obama mentioned it in last night’s debate.  However, only Singleton managed to hear it in a crowd of thousands.  The newspaper says it will stand by its story, but the reporter never bothered to look around to get a description of the alleged offender, and never bothered to get confirmation from the many people standing around him at the time.

That’s not exactly a great piece of journalism, is it?  And the Times-Tribune’s editors seem a little too credulous to run an allegation, even if witnessed by their reporter, without having him get at least a couple of bystanders to agree with his recollection.  We can make the same criticism of the national media, who seemed so eager to paint McCain-Palin rallies as gatherings of Deliverance-style mutants to bother checking the quality of the report.

McCain defended the honor of his supporters last night.  Maybe Obama would like to apologize for buying into a smear campaign and amplifying it on national television.  I won’t hold my breath.


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In the words of an ACORN leader, “That’s not the point”.

bloggless on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 AM

McCain defended the honor of his supporters last night. Maybe Obama would like to apologize for buying into a smear campaign and amplifying it on national television. I won’t hold my breath.

Obama has never been anything but truthful about anything he has ever said. You do not believe every Word from the Mouth of The Lamb. You are a racist.

BKennedy on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Well… Of course, everyone who goes to McCain rallies are Klansmen… After all, they have the audacity to support the old white guy over the nice young black man. The only reason why they would do this was because they hate all blacks… sarcasm off.

Illinidiva on October 16, 2008 at 9:16 AM

The media have made much noise about alleged idiotic bursts of hatred from a couple of McCain/Palin rally attendees the other day, accusing the GOP nominees of fomenting rage. Ignored by the media are the widespread, vicious assaults against Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin, and even Palin’s children.

Hollywood gets into the act (pun intended), with pathetic, clueless, insulting rants by everyone from Matt Damon to Barbra Streisand. Democrat leaders from Harry Reid, John Lewis, James Carville, to Barack Obama himself have accused McCain/Palin of injecting race into the campaign, when there is no evidence of it whatsoever. In fact, McCain won’t even let his surrogates use Obama’s middle name–and there are millions of Americans who don’t know that his middle name is Hussein.

Basically, here’s what’s happening: Normally feminist-leaning media elites are ignoring all of the horrific misogynistic attacks on Palin, while imagining racist attacks on Obama.

jgapinoy on October 16, 2008 at 9:17 AM

But…but…that’s probably what the reporter knew he was THINKING. You know what murderous thugs those right-wingers are. /

ManlyRash on October 16, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Obama apologize? hah! I cant see that happen.

becki51758 on October 16, 2008 at 9:19 AM

This has to be a referendum election not only against Obama, but against the media! If we let the media get away with the un-ending garbage they try to feed us, and Obama wins because of it, we’re toast. Now is the time to stand up and say, “No More, we’re smarter than to be spoon fed lies, and filtered news.”

Then we should all get a turn at slapping the anchor of our choice. I take Katie Couric.

anniekc on October 16, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Blame the reporter who started the lie, and then the rest of the Obamamedia for running with it, and portraying all of the McCain supporters as crazy redneck hicks. Hope it gave them a warm and fuzzy.

I do think this will be the first POTUS that will be elected by the media, and it will be a disaster.

kam582 on October 16, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Keith Olbermann will do a retraction I’m certain.

carbon_footprint on October 16, 2008 at 9:24 AM

Fake but accurate.

Elizabetty on October 16, 2008 at 9:24 AM

Then we should all get a turn at slapping the anchor of our choice. I take Katie Couric.
anniekc on October 16, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Yes! I get Olbergeek.

Bishop on October 16, 2008 at 9:25 AM

O.K., why wasn’t McCain’s staff aware of this so their candidate could be primed and ready in the debate? They had enough time to corroborate the Secret Service finding and should have had John cocked and locked with regard to the false claim. Are they that out of touch when opportunity knocks at the door? This non event compared to the documented, vile Palin is a c**t T shirts would have had impact.

a capella on October 16, 2008 at 9:28 AM

McCain defended the honor of his supporters last night. Maybe Obama would like to apologize for buying into a smear campaign and amplifying it on national television. I won’t hold my breath.

Obama was in a prevent defense mode last night just trying to run out the clock until Nov 4. McCain wasted too much time on “who said what about whom”. McCain needed to focus everything on the distinction between himself and Obama with the all Dem congress. He needed to leave viewers with the sense that McCain/Palin were the final barrier against “Senator Government” and his congressional minions who will intrude on your life in ways that your grandkids and their grandkids will have to deal with.

dedalus on October 16, 2008 at 9:28 AM

I do think this will be the first POTUS that will be elected by the media, and it will be a disaster. – kam582 on October 16, 2008 at 9:21 AM

In spite of a yeoman’s effort on the part of the Drive-By media, Obama will lose in November by a respectable percentage.

ManlyRash on October 16, 2008 at 9:28 AM

As for Odippy, he has a lot of seeds mentioning something like that as his supporters have been calling Palin AND Hillary the nastiest things since day one.

I am sooooooo tired of this pretentious asshole, whining and pointing fingers at everyone while he and his assholian wife complain about this great nation and its great people.

Bishop on October 16, 2008 at 9:28 AM

I’m flabbergasted.

You mean to tell me the MSM fabricated a story just to portray McCain/Palin supporters as white racists and boost Obama’s poll numbers?

As I’ve said before, as have others, the Obama’s have set back race relations over 50 years. They and their cohorts in the MSM play the race card at every opportunity, without proof or justification that even a hint of racism has ocurred.

Maybe no one’s caught them using the “whitey” term, but their actions, and the reporting of their allies in the press, are a tell for their mindset.

fogw on October 16, 2008 at 9:30 AM

This is just yet another example of the B.O. Truth Squad to throw up more smoke on what is already a smoke-filled situation as far as this election goes. Would the media be making as much noise about this if someone had yelled out something like “Screw Him” or worse “F*** Him!” ? Probably not. But so much as mention something like this and the B.O. groupies go into a full blown frenzy.

For the record, name me one President, just one, that someone has not tossed a similar comment at or about at one point or another during their respective terms in office.

I am not saying that a comment like this is warranted. On the contrary, it should be looked down on as being the ultimate in poor taste.

pilamaye on October 16, 2008 at 9:30 AM

2008: The death of journalism

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 16, 2008 at 9:31 AM

OT Watched a news video from Drudge. Voters registered many times by ACORN in Ohio “are” voting multiple times.

The fix is in if we don’t protest.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e43_1224086229&p=1

Er, there’s a transvestite too.

hawkdriver on October 16, 2008 at 9:32 AM

“…the national media, who seemed so eager to paint McCain-Palin rallies as gatherings of Deliverance-style mutants to bother checking the quality of the report.”

This is exactly why FNC, talk radio an the net have become our primary sources for news. The MSM has historically (and currently) reported what they want the news to be instead of just telling us what happened.

perroviejo on October 16, 2008 at 9:34 AM

A proven MSM stand-by: When you run out of ammo, just make stuff up.

whitetop on October 16, 2008 at 9:34 AM

Obama uses Secret Service to intimidate voter

eaglesdontflock on October 16, 2008 at 9:35 AM

and this was the justification Obama used to not repudiate Congressman Lewis for comparing McCain/Palin to George Wallace

jp on October 16, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Obama is the Orwellian candidate, the question is the media playing along for free OR are they all blackmailed or bribed into this someway?

jp on October 16, 2008 at 9:38 AM

The MSM bias is reaching critical mass. There will be a meltdown.

I will have a party.

pugwriter on October 16, 2008 at 9:38 AM

I’m thinking that the United States Secret Service would’ve heard “kill him” at the rally if it was actually said. Isn’t their entire job to listen for such remarks?

amerpundit on October 16, 2008 at 9:39 AM

McCain needs to assemble a list of lies that Obama has told, especially after last night, and repeat them over and over along with this one and hammer home that the media will not tell voters the truth.

All in, McCain, or you’re done. Telling the truth isn’t negative campaigning, and it’s not dishonorable. Picking your nose, going through the motions, offering ineffective and glancing blows, and rolling over and playing dead is, however, extraordinarily dishonorable.

BuckeyeSam on October 16, 2008 at 9:40 AM

perroviejo on October 16, 2008 at 9:34 AM

If there were ever a question as to the existence of media bias, one would only have to do a cursory review of the Foley/Mahoney scandal coverages. We could call the phenomina the….

Thinking, thinking…

Foley/Mahoney scandal coverage phenomina!

hawkdriver on October 16, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Obama uses Secret Service to intimidate voter

eaglesdontflock on October 16, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Yes. I heard that one too. It’s quite awful. BTW, I’m wondering how the Obamatrons actually got that poor lady’s number.

Illinidiva on October 16, 2008 at 9:41 AM

I suppose the left will at first try to ignore this and continue with the lie, or if they’re called out, spin this as another cover-up by the Bush/Chaney/McCain/Palin Administration, and that you can’t trust the Secret Service because it’s controlled by the Rethuglicans (taken to its logical end, this would mean Obama couldn’t trust the Secret Service to protect him, and would have to contract out protective services. Wonder how a purchase order for four years of bodyguards from the Nation of Islam would go down on the appropriations list?).

jon1979 on October 16, 2008 at 9:41 AM

The story, which got picked up by the national media, came entirely based on the recollection of one man, a reporter for the Scranton Times-Tribune.

That wouldn’t happen to be the same Scranton that Joe Biden keeps talking about, would it?

highhopes on October 16, 2008 at 9:44 AM

When a little leftist foot soldier claims someone in the crowd said “kill him” or “macaca,” he’s doing something exceedingly important in his own mind, like throwing a dollar in a big red Salvation Army Kettle.

Little by little, the contributions add up. For us, it’s not death by machete, but slow and humiliating torture by a million little pricks. That’s what’s happening to our beloved country.

jeff_from_mpls on October 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Obama care about someone else’s honor?
Wouldn’t he have to have some familiarity with the concept first?

MarkTheGreat on October 16, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Ed, thanks for writing this up. It’s important that voters know it didn’t happen. It’s also important to point out that McCain rallies are open and as we saw in the primaries, the Democrats are not above planting their own at a Republican event.

Connie on October 16, 2008 at 10:00 AM

For us, it’s not death by machete, but slow and humiliating torture by a million little pricks.

jeff_from_mpls on October 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM

*cough*

CherokeeJack on October 16, 2008 at 10:00 AM

So Bambi was whining about how Sarah didn’t immediately denounce the “kill him” comment. She couldn’t denounce what she didn’t hear, her Secret Service detail didn’t hear, which apparently only one reporter heard. I wonder if the reporter himself is the one who said it, so that he could honestly report that he heard it.

The Monster on October 16, 2008 at 10:03 AM

yeah this has gone longer than it needs to. move along.
I am sure there are threats we’ll never find out about, so why keep this crappy story going longer than necessary? Like joking about bombs in airports, this is something which just is a no-brainer that people shouldnt do.

johnnyU on October 16, 2008 at 10:06 AM

You know what murderous thugs those right-wingers are. /
ManlyRash on October 16, 2008 at 9:18 AM

…and Sarah can take down a moose from a long distance away with a rifle.

And they STILL insist on screwing with us.

/heh

Mazztek on October 16, 2008 at 10:06 AM

I bet the evil JOOO’S developed a device that keeps all those news cameras from picking up anything that makes McCain look bad.

But it happened!!! I know because the MSM told me so.

Bicyea on October 16, 2008 at 10:13 AM

hawkdriver on October 16, 2008 at 9:40 AM

The best video illustrations of MSM bias can be found on YouTube. Search on “Katie Couric” & “Michelle Obama” then search on “Katie Couric” & “Cindy McCain.” Compare. If you have time to kill, just pick any other MSM talking head and use the same formula. They loooove the lefty and despise the conservative. Bernard Goldberg once said of Katie and a lefty “If you only had audio you’d think they were painting each others toe nails.”

perroviejo on October 16, 2008 at 10:15 AM

He may have been saying “Throat Wobbler Mangrove” but was misunderstood.

mylegsareswollen on October 16, 2008 at 10:20 AM

yeah this has gone longer than it needs to. move along.
I am sure there are threats we’ll never find out about, so why keep this crappy story going longer than necessary? Like joking about bombs in airports, this is something which just is a no-brainer that people shouldnt do.

johnnyU on October 16, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Did you miss the point here?? It didn’t happen, that is why it’s being highlighted. Another setup by Obama’s minions. It’s not that the comment is a no-brainer, it’s that there was no comment to begin with.

eaglesdontflock on October 16, 2008 at 10:21 AM

AXELROD.

Toldja

Toldja

Toldja

drjohn on October 16, 2008 at 10:21 AM

That damned weasel Harry Smith said to Rudi Giuliani in a sarcastic tone

“Yeah, it’s always the media.”

Smith suggested that the “kill him” event was a mortal wound to McCain’s campaign.

Anyone imagine that old Harry will be noting that this rumor was false?

Harry was right. It is always the media.

drjohn on October 16, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Who is David Singleton?

Why isn’t someone squeezing his ass about this?

Lemme guess to which party he belongs…..

drjohn on October 16, 2008 at 10:27 AM

We are like the old man sitting in the cafe while the brown shirts sing and whip up the people. No one will dare take a stand to stop these folks. If the ballot box fails and our first amendment doesn’t cut it…is it on to the 2nd? Is tyranny knocking at the door or is it already in the house?

wepeople on October 16, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Oh, the lies!

Brass Pair on October 16, 2008 at 10:28 AM

from mm.com

On October 16th, 2008 at 9:34 am, Paul-Cincy said:
Wait a minute. Obama claimed in a debate heard by millions across the world that some McCain supporters said “kill him” at one of McCain’s rallies and there’s not a single bit of substantiating evidence? Is this the kind of careless talk we can expect from a Prez Obama? When has anyone with so little accomplishment come so close to becoming POTUS? He is unprepared, he has no experience, he has demonstrated no ability for this job. It will be 4 years of talking nonsense. I trust nothing of what he says. I can’t say he has bad character, but I can’t say he has any good character either. He was the first black Prez of Harvard Law Review. Well, good for him. That prepares him to be Prez?

I’m sorry to say, I’m getting really pissed off. 19 days ’til the election? How can this country elect an Obama? Are we 3rd world now, that we’d fall for a cult of personality?

Paul-Cincy on October 16, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Obama attends Yearly Kos Convention, Kos readers dance on the grave of Tony Snow = Obama’s fault.

V15J on October 16, 2008 at 10:41 AM

I guess it’s okay for the moonbats to advocate killing MM (which was captured on tape).

Flint Stone on October 16, 2008 at 10:46 AM

It’s been a drive by media Obama-con from the get go.

tarpon on October 16, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Since when does the media care about the facts?

The Media are the enemy, people. If there was a way to overcome and triumph over them, I haven’t found it yet.

newton on October 16, 2008 at 10:54 AM

If Obama DOESN’T win we’ll spend the next two years recounting votes and responding to accusations of racism. You can bet that Obama won’t be able to lose on policies and experience alone. Oooooh Noooo. Michelle Obama would be on every talk show for a year pounding the race card home.

Ernest on October 16, 2008 at 11:11 AM

I was at an Obama rally in Orlando, and I heard a black attendee say “kill that honky bitch Palin”. Olbermann, where are you?

marklmail on October 16, 2008 at 11:20 AM

If Obama DOESN’T win we’ll spend the next two years recounting votes and responding to accusations of racism. You can bet that Obama won’t be able to lose on policies and experience alone. Oooooh Noooo. Michelle Obama would be on every talk show for a year pounding the race card home.

Ernest on October 16, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Good! People are already sick of it and see it for what it is. When she piles on with that sourly bitter angry expression that’s etched in her face, it’ll just reinforce that the race-baiters are the whining frauds we’ve always known them to be.

techno_barbarian on October 16, 2008 at 11:51 AM

He was the first black Prez of Harvard Law Review. Well, good for him. That prepares him to be Prez?

Slighty OT-didn’t I read somewhere that once he got that he never published anything? What good would it do to tout that if you were never published?

mauioriginal on October 16, 2008 at 12:16 PM

My guess is that the reporter was hanging around trying to think up new adjectives to use to describe the hate rally when he heard someone next him say “Yo! Dog! Whatup?”, to which the response came, “Jus’ chillin’.”

And he was off to the races.

jl on October 16, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Secret Service – Smecret Smervice! They’re all a bunch of lying white guys anyway.

And so what if Sarah Palin didn’t happen to be in the area at the time it happened – or whether or not it actually did happen at all. None of that matters.

As the Republican candidate for Heartbeat-Away-From-President, Sarah Palin obviously should have jumped into the crowed and strangled the guy HERSELF. I know this for a fact, because I heard it straight from the mouth of Barack Obama (aka, The Messiah – maybe you’ve heard of him!) And anybody who disagrees with him is a racist and a traitor.

logis on October 16, 2008 at 12:40 PM

He was the first black Prez of Harvard Law Review. Well, good for him. That prepares him to be Prez?

Slighty OT-didn’t I read somewhere that once he got that he never published anything? What good would it do to tout that if you were never published?
mauioriginal on October 16, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Hello – it’s a little thing called “executive experience.”

Sarah Palin never did anything but stumble around trying to look for Russia in her living room. According to the Constitution, it’s the Harvard Law Review who hold responsibility for running the Alaska National Guard and overseeing the Arctic NORAD facilities. So Obama CAN’T release any records of his secret activities while he was in school, or else the whole country goes up in a mushroom cloud.

Geez, don’t you guys know ANYTHING about what qualifies a person to be the Messiah-In-Chief!

logis on October 16, 2008 at 12:49 PM

He was the first black Prez of Harvard Law Review. Well, good for him. That prepares him to be Prez?

Slighty OT-didn’t I read somewhere that once he got that he never published anything? What good would it do to tout that if you were never published?

mauioriginal on October 16, 2008 at 12:16 PM

From what I’ve read, Obama’s only academic paper was an unsigned piece in the Harvard Law Review, written during his time as a Harvard law student. I don’t know if that paper was peer-reviewed (which scholarly works generally are) or if it was published as more of an editorial piece.

The telling thing is that in 8 years on the faculty at the University of Chicago Obama did not publish a single scholarly work. Despite this fact, the University reportedly made multiple offers of a tenure-track faculty position to Obama. It would be very unusual for a university of the U of C’s caliber to give a tenured or tenure-track position to someone whose only academic achievements were restricted to the classroom. I hate to burst the bubbles of Obama-worshippers (and Charles Krauthammer), but Obama achieved nothing of intellectual note after graduating from Harvard. There is simply no evidence of scholarship — he has no scholarly publications (peer-reviewed papers, academic books) or scholarly research (externally-funded through grants).

I spent two decades in academe and have sat on both graduate school admissions committees and faculty search committees. About a quarter of the undergraduates applying to my former university’s graduate program (oh, and that was a *gasp* state school, one of the Big 10) had more evidence of scholarly achievements than Obama assembled in a dozen years during and after his time at Harvard Law School.

If there are any legal scholars out there that can convince me that Obama’s academic credentials would be considered sufficient to get a tenure-track appointment at the University of Chicago, please correct me. After all, my scholarly field was science, not law. Barring evidence to the contrary, I am convinced my alma mater offered Obama a tenure-track position because of his race, not because of his scholarship.

Is this why I’m not voting for Obama? Nope. But it certainly says something about his campaign and his supporters who denigrate the intelligence of McCain and Palin based on their academic credentials, doesn’t it? Maybe they shouldn’t be focusing on this stuff, huh?

Y-not on October 16, 2008 at 12:54 PM

There are two “kill me” smears

The first in Clearwater FL by Dana Milbank, Olberdork’s sidekick. The Secret Service investigated and the person is on tape saying “Tell Him” – not “Kill Him”.

The second in Scranton, PA was from a reporter with Joe Biden’s liberal hometown newspaper. The reporter had no video, no audio and no witnesses. The Secret Service investigation result – ‘unfounded’.

The media have jumped from biased to corrupt.

Obama would have been briefed by the Secret Service and would have known these smears were lies before the debate last night.

faraway on October 16, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Actually, this may be the “Game Changer” debate with Obama’s Racist Smear.

faraway on October 16, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Someone on Fox News should DARE Olbermann, Madcow and the rest of the MSNBC morons to tell the truth about this.

Speedwagon82 on October 16, 2008 at 2:01 PM

So, while we’ve all been carefully picking these “kill him” stories apart (“It sounds like he’s referring to Ayers, not Obama,” and “According to the timeline, Palin would not have even been speaking when he shouted it”) it never occured to any of us to make the obvious assumption: Some reporter probably just made the whole incident up.

I feel kinda stupid now.

SteakRules on October 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM

Ed, I think you have a loyal fan in Rush Limbaugh! He has a link to this post in his daily email. Well done.

Zorro on October 16, 2008 at 5:42 PM

The media is trying to turn Barry messianic martyr (they’re controlled by the DNC after all). And their excuse for this will be the Secret Service is run by a bunch of neocon fascists that want to see Obama killed, in fact THEY MIGHT EVEN DO IT!!!11!1!!

Joe the Plumber FTW!

Cr4sh Dummy on October 16, 2008 at 5:48 PM