Did you hear the one about the news reporter who tried to make a joke and accidentally started a right-wing conspiracy theory on Chuck Hagel? Lately rumors have been flying all around the conservative blogosphere that Obama's nominee for Defense Secretary, former Senator Chuck Hagel has secret ties to a group called "Friends of Hamas." If you haven't heard about this, apparently you haven't been keeping up with Breitbart.com:
SCANDAL! A reporter from Breitbart.com called the White House to ask about the Hagel "Friends of Hamas" rumor and got hung up on!
So, where does this whole "Friends of Hamas" thing come from? A joke made by Daily News reporter Dan Friedman. No, really:
Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?
The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.