Sean Duffy Reels in CNN’s Joe Johns

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Oh man oh man. Like a bass flailing out of the water, the office of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) just reeled in a lunker in the person of CNN’s Joe Johns. Truly hilarious. Johns just went on the air and said that he’d “just got off the phone with [Duffy’s] office and they say that this tape that has been circulating and up on TPM, on the internet and what not, is actually a case of selective editing.”

Wow, Joe. Way to get punk’d, man.

Let’s try this again. TPM doesn’t do selective editing of video. And before you accuse us of that on the air you should really watch the video, check with us or just find out really anything about what actually happened.On Tuesday, TPM posted the entire video as prepared by the local county Republican party. The next day the local Republican Party in Duffy’s district filed an official claim of copyright infringement with our third party video service. We do not believe that copyright law is properly used to suppress political speech or to suppress video of a member of Congress in the course of his public duties. Based on that belief we consulted extensively with our outside counsel and determined that we would fight their efforts. Acting on the advice of counsel we republished as short a clip as possible to show the key statements.

In other words, we post the complete unedited video. Republican Party from Duffy’s district tries to force us to stop showing the video with a bogus copyright infringement claim. We decide not to give in and follow the advice of counsel in putting the information back in front of readers. This involves republishing only an excerpt of the original video. And now Duffy comes back claiming that he’s the victim of a cagey video editing. And Joe Johns falls for it and repeats this slander on the air.

We have been clear from the start that our primary interest here is not Duffy’s income but rather the attempts to hide the video. I noted yesterday that he’s hardly alone in his views that members of Congress scrape by on their official salaries. And we published a further story today noting that by congressional standards Duffy isn’t that well off at all.

But c’mon. This is a comical attempt to run away from the story — even more ridiculous to try to beat back the story by preventing anyone from showing the video. And it’s even more comical for a CNN reporter to repeat it on the air with no effort at all to see whether he was being put on.

Here’s our new story. Watch both videos and decide for yourself.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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