TPM sends lie about McConnell halfway 'round the world, truth still on first pants leg

Here is what Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech yesterday during Equal Pay Day festivities, which he rightly pegged as a politically motivated stunt in the same speech. But this is the passage that took off in the mainstream media:

“Yesterday, here in the Senate, Republicans were hoping the Democrat Majority Leader would finally work with us to pass a job creation package that contains ideas from many of our members — legislation with provisions several key Democrats support too,” McConnell said. “But that’s not what the Majority Leader chose to do. Instead of focusing on jobs, he launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession. Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”

“[Reid] launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession.” Can any of you guess what McConnell was referring to? Hm, something Sen. Harry Reid attacked on the floor of the Senate and seems to be a “bizarre obsession?”

But Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur threw out Occam’s Razor like a dull Gilette and instead wrote that McConnell was attacking the idea of the “gender wage disparity” as a “bizarre obsession,” thereby making the remarks more damaging to the Republican brand and giving the “blowing kisses” bit a problematic whiff of sexism.

Kapur’s report was repeated by the New York Times, the National Journal, The Daily Beast, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Hill, and even Real Clear Politics.

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post gamely chased down all the mentions and corrections, even pushing the National Journal to make note of its change in copy, which it had not done. His whole piece is illuminating.

McConnell’s staff points out, perhaps not in so many words, that the target of the “bizarre obsession” comment could only be the pay gap if you’re illiterate and have been in a medically induced coma since 2012, when Reid started obsessing about the Kochs.

“As is crystal clear to anyone who actually read or heard his remarks, Senator McConnell was referring to an ‘attack’ that Senator Reid had made the previous day on two private citizens who disagree with him,” McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire said in a statement. “Only someone who believes that Senator Reid was ‘attacking’ pay equity could conclude that Senator McConnell was doing so himself.”

Hey, a narrative’s a narrative, guys.