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MSNBC's Ratigan Attacks NYT Over Blumenthal Story, Conn. Dem 'Simply Misspoke'

In the "Busted" segment at the end of Friday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan went after the New York Times for "accusing" Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal of distorting his military record: "We think the Times should investigate some of its investigative reporting."

Ratigan dismissed a quote the Times used of Blumenthal referring to "the days that I served in Vietnam," claiming it was "only part of the story." Ratigan argued: "A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record." That longer clip included Blumenthal vaguely stating: "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps." Hardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience.

Even so, Ratigan proclaimed: "This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply misspoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times." Ratigan went on to declare: "Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence."

On his April 1 broadcast, Ratigan declared that the Catholic Church was simply "killing the messenger" by criticizing New York Times reporting on the sex abuse scandal: "The Vatican blasting the New York Times for telling the truth about Church - the Church and its harboring of sex abusers. It's the paper's fault." Apparently Ratigan's view of the Times depends on who the paper goes after.

In concluding his Friday rant, Ratigan lamented: "Despite all this and despite criticism from NPR, Columbia Journalism Review, and others, I'll add myself to the list, The New York Times standing by the story."

As Jonah Golberg of National Review explained on Friday: "...everyone outside the realm of naked partisan politics agrees that Blumenthal is a liar and shameful one at that." Even Ratigan's MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews has denounced Blumenthal for lying about his record.

Here is a full transcript of the May 21 segment:

4:49PM EST

DYLAN RATIGAN: Alright, welcome back, a little 'Busted' for you. Some new information coming up about Connecticut Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal and that New York Times story accusing him of overstating his service record. This week the Times releasing a portion of a speech in which Blumenthal says he served in Vietnam, even though he never left U.S. soil while serving in the Marine Corps Reserve during the Vietnam War.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Fact Check; Questionable Reporting on NYT Blumenthal Story]

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam and you exemplify it.

RATIGAN: But that video, only part of the story. A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record.

BLUMENTHAL: I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps.

RATIGAN: This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply mis-spoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times. Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence.

The New York Times also inaccurate on a smaller point, saying a local newspapers report Blumenthal was on the Harvard swim team, even though he never was. However, if you look at the yearbook as well as talk to former classmates, Blumenthal did, in fact, swim for Harvard, or at least somebody with his name who was there when he was there who looked like him.

Despite all this and despite criticism from NPR, Columbia Journalism Review, and others, I'll add myself to the list, The New York Times standing by the story. We think the Times should investigate some of its investigative reporting. We should probably investigate all of everybody's investigative reporting. Anyway. We'll start with the government.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.