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Despite a newfound reputation as an unbiased news source, an influx of hundreds of millions of dollars, and the new ownership of a massive media conglomerate, The Huffington Post is apparently incapable of fact-checking the articles that appear on its website. An entry posted late this morning on the website attributes an apparently erroneous quotation to Sen. John McCain.

The line comes in a Huffington Post article written by legal scholar Bruce Fein entitled, “McCain Dethrones the Rule of Law.”

This author reported last month that Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against Bill Clinton, has drafted articles of impeachment against Barack Obama over the president’s unwise, unauthorized, and unconstitutional military action against Libya. This author is fully supportive of Fein’s goals and actions on this matter.

Unfortunately, it appears an online prank got past him – and The Huffington Post.

Too-Subtle Satire

Fein quotes McCain as saying, “Any [p]resident, Republican or Democrat, should be able to deploy armed forces whenever and wherever he deems necessary.”

This author has written extensively about the president’s usurpation of the Congress’ war-making power, as well as the collective Congressional abdication led by John McCain. After reading Fein’s article, I started to include the quotation in a short post on the topic. However, I could find no authentication for it anywhere.

It appears to have originated on the website of the Arizona Sunlight, which bills itself as “the home of John Semmens’ semi-news, a satirical review of the events shaping our nation and the world.” The original source of the words is a May 21 post entitled, “Wrangling Over the War Powers Act.”

Immediately before the McCain “quotations,” Semmens attributed a number of humorous, fictitious quotations to Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI. “The War Powers Act was passed in 1973 by a Democratic Congress to protect the country from being dragged into an unnecessary war by a Republican President,” Semmens has Levin declare. “Its attempted use by Republicans to try to tie the hands of President Obama is politics at its worst.”

Someone reposted Semmens’ satire on FreeRepublic.com, where not all of the readers got the joke. It likely passed from there to Fein.

The Rest of the Article is Fein

All the remaining quotations in Fein’s article – from James Madison, James Wilson, Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, Justice Robert Jackson, and John Bassett Moore – are authentic. The Founding Fathers vested the decision to go to war solely in the hands of the legislative branch.

Unfortunately, all the remaining quotations of Senator McCain are authentic, as well.

McCain did, indeed, say: “No president has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and neither do I. So, I don’t feel bound by any deadline.”

In a 1994 debate over the presidential use of military force, McCain said if the president unilaterally initiates a war Congress has no “right to declare peace,” because “the president of the United States is given the responsibility, the most grave responsibility of sending into harm’s way our greatest national treasure, our young men and women.”[1]

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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