Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A River of Misinformation

By Karl Bremer

When I exposed the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing’s big lie about the Obama Administration and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood supporting their Boondoggle Bridge, the Coalition’s director defended its claim in a blog posting of his own.

“Despite what some people want us to believe, recent comments by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood indicate that the Obama Administration really does want the St. Croix River Crossing to be built,” huffed Coalition Executive Director Michael Wilhelmi. “Honestly.”

“The only way one could think that his comments in support of the St. Croix River Crossing actually mean that the Obama Administration doesn’t support the St. Croix River Crossing,” Wilhelmi charged, “is when you ignore basic facts, as was recently done by a local blogger.” He linked to my column.

Today, the Star-Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis confirmed what I had reported last week: the Obama Administration has not thrown its support behind the Boondoggle bridge, and neither has Secretary LaHood, as the Coalition has falsely claimed. Mary McComber, the Coalition member who told Ripple in Stillwater that neither the Administration nor LaHood had expressed a preference for any particular bridge, also reaffirmed to the Star-Tribune what she told me.

According to the Star-Tribune: 

McComber, who was at the White House last month for a meeting with local officials, said Tuesday that [White House Chief of Staff] Daley did not specifically back the project and that the coalition's statement went too far. "Something has gotten mixed up somewhere along the lines," she said.

When one of Wilhelmi’s own Coalition members says they aren’t being truthful, that should tell you something.

The Star-Tribune went on to note:

Even though LaHood has said he supports building a bridge, he declined to back the specific legislation in Congress, saying that's something he never does.

The White House declined to comment for the Star-Tribune’s story.

Wilhelmi boasted in his missive that “We make sure that the details and facts that we use in support of the project are verified by a state or federal regulatory agency. Bridge opponents cannot say the same.”

Maybe when Wilhelmi sees his deceptions exposed by a big-city newspaper instead of just a “local blogger,” he’ll think better of continuing to make false claims about support for his Boondoggle Bridge that doesn’t exist. Then again, maybe he’ll just blithely accuse the Star-Tribune of “ignoring the facts” too, and continue to spew his river of misinformation.

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