NPR presents a heavily edited audio recording of an interview with the the former campaign manager for a splinter candidate in the Michigan 1 Congressional race. Republican Dan Benishek is narrowly leading the unionist Democrat in the race. Benishek has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Redstate.com, and is a favorite of local Tea Parties.
But NPR and the Michigan Messenger want the Democrat elected. Since there is really no way to increase the support for the Democrat past the socialist base, they want to split the conservative and Tea Party vote, or at least suppress the Benishek vote with a last-minute attack.
And so this story about a Benishek campaign staffer “conspiring” with Rich Carlson. Carson quit as campaign manager for Wilson last month after there were strong differences of opinion.
An NPR reporter made a recording of a phone call in which Carlson notes that he hadn’t been happy with the campaign, and the Benishek staffer offers to help spin the story to protect Carlson’s reputation. Wilson unwisely claims to have fired his own campaign manager three weeks before an election, something no one with any sense would do.
Either Wilson has no sense, or he’s smearing his former employee Carlson.
And oddly enough, what do we find the Michigan Messenger doing? Running ads for NPR using Sarah Palin as a prop.
Advertising for NPR, using Sarah Palin as a prop — Sarah Palin, who endorsed Benishek. Hmm, could there be a connection?
And none of this has much to do with Dan Benishek himself, who is best understood here:
It made big news last month when Rich Carlson, the campaign manager for independent candidate Glenn Wilson in the 1st Congressional District, announced that he had left the Wilson campaign because Wilson had pledged to pull out of the race if he had no chance of winning but might prevent Republican Dan Benishek from winning as well — a pledge Carlson claimed Wilson was now betraying. But NPR reports now that this was a story made up with help from the Benishek campaign.
The reality, NPR reports, is that Carlson was fired from the Wilson campaign. And one of their reporters was with Carlson when he got a phone call from a Benishek staffer suggesting that Carlson could pretend to have quit on principle in order to make Wilson look bad and Benishek look good. Here is the audio of that call, along with a bit of talk from the reporter as well:
The staffer gave permission to NPR to play the audio of that phone conversation but only if they say that he was not representing the Benishek campaign in the call. That would be a lot more plausible if the staffer had not talked openly in the call about how the Benishek campaign was preparing two entirely different press releases about Carlson leaving the Wilson campaign, both designed to make Wilson look bad but with entirely different stories.