The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Sunday that Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) had claimed that the United States is the greatest threat to peace in the world:
American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to a crowd of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
Though the Sun-Sentinel never provided a direct quote of Murtha, the story was featured on the Drudge Report and Murtha immediately came under attack from conservative pundits:
Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, 6/26:
Murtha has lost all perspective and did months ago, but his message is firmly entrenched in America’s far-left precincts. … [T]hat kind of extreme thinking, based on little evidence, by the way, is putting all Americans in danger.
Tucker Carlson, MSNBC, 6/26:
What is really going on here, and you know it as well as I, is that Jack Murtha has been intoxicated by the amount of publicity that he has gotten from his anti-war crusade, and he has become progressively more unreasonable, progressively more left-wing as the days go on, and he is in the thrall of people who, I think, have hostility towards the United States.
Newt Gingrich, Fox News, 6/26:
For an American congressman to say that is beyond any acceptable behavior, and I would hope the Congress would move to censure him.
One problem: Murtha apparently never said anything of the sort. What he did was cite a Pew poll released two weeks ago showing that people around the world, including in closely-allied countries like Great Britain, believe the U.S. is the greatest threat to peace.
A statement released by Murtha’s office today quotes an email from Melissa Sanchez of the Miami Herald, who also attended the speech, saying of the purported Murtha “quote”: “That was in reference to international polls. It was not so much his own conjecture, but a conclusion drawn from polls in various countries.” ThinkProgress confirmed with Murtha’s office that the email accurately reflects the views of reporters at the Miami Herald.
Email the Sun-Sentinel’s reader liason Gail Bulfin — email@example.com — and ask that the paper print a retraction. See update above.