The Most Busted Name In News, Yet Again

As Allahpundit notes at Hot Air, "HuffPo, [CNN's] Rick Sanchez retract phony Limbaugh quotes":

No harm in admitting the lie now that his NFL bid’s dead. First, via the Standard, comes this belated HuffPo postscript to a post that’s three years old:

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post contained quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, which Limbaugh has since denied making. As is our policy when a fact in a blog post is called into question, we gave its author 24 hours to substantiate the quote. Since he has not been able to do so, the quotes have been deleted from the post.

And now here’s Sanchez, kinda sorta apologizing — on Twitter — for airing the bogus slavery quote on his show earlier this week:

i’ve know rush. in person,i like him. his rhetoric,however is inexcusably divisive. he’s right tho. we didn’t confirm quote. our bad.

Proof that Limbaugh’s threat to sue people over this is being taken seriously? Eh, I doubt it. As I said before, it’s really hard for a public figure to prove defamation. He’d basically have to show that his accusers knew the quote was false and published it anyway; both HuffPo and Sanchez would reply that they didn’t know and were merely lazy, sloppy, negligent reporters in relying on published sources for a quote that they hadn’t fact-checked. The retractions, I suspect, are motivated less by fear of being sued than as a lame nod to journalistic ethics. “See, we correct our highly incendiary errors. …Eventually.”

Even prior to Sanchez's belated admission, fellow CNN colleague Anderson Cooper (he of the earlier tea bagging references) was distancing himself, noting that "on this program, we did not use the wrong quotes" -- unlike Sanchez. And as Tim Graham writes at Newsbusters, "CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez Is Assembling a Pile of Retractions."

In contrast to the story that permanently tainted CNN's reputation at the start of the decade, this was "news" they really should have kept to themselves.

As for the HuffPo, hey, first they came for Rush, then they came for...

So where does Rush, the NFL, and the next would-be NFL team owner go from here? Elsewhere at Pajamas HQ, John Hawkins has "5 Takeaway Lessons."

Related: One of Mark Steyn's readers notes:

As I am sure you are aware, the fake Limbaugh quotes have been traced to the Rush Limbaugh Wikiquote page, dating from July of 2005 (see the following link to see when the quotes were added). The Jack Huberman book that most people source for these quotes did not come out until the following year.

The quotes were added by a user with the IP address of 69.64.213.146. This address has been used mostly to make changes to the article about Rush, but also Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, Rush, James Dobson and Sara Palin from 2005 until earlier this year.

While others have noted this in various forums, no one seems to have made the connection that this IP address is used as a gateway by the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP (see here, for example) that all users from that IP address come from the pbwt.com domain.)

Given the likelihood that Limbaugh will sue over this, I find it interesting that the source of these bogus quotes is probably a lawyer...

"Developing", as Matt Drudge would say.

Update: A Corner reader questions CNN's timing:

The media was fact checking the SNL Obama skit while preparing the stories on Rush. CNN is literally more interested in "disproving" satire about Obama than bothering to confirm bizarre and scandalous things said by Rush. I am literally amazed.

I'm not. Ted Turner apparently wants his old company back. How could he do any worse than this latest incarnation of CNN?