And they're still trying. The current version is crystallized in a quote you've probably seen if you spend any time at Breitbart or Townhall.com or any message board populated by their readers:
“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”This is their smoking gun. This is the proof (in their minds) that the Obama administration is cynically using the shutdown to damage congressional Republicans. (As opposed to, I don't know, people blaming Republicans because they hate government and they're holding the government hostage and their demands are completely nuts.)
Funny thing: the source of this anonymous quote is a guy who, it turns out, has kind of a history with this sort of thing:
Pruden started with the Times shortly after its founding. He was originally hired on a probationary basis, founding editor and publisher James Whelan told the Washington Business Journal, because Pruden had run into ethical problems as a reporter.Um...okay. So the sole source for the quote is a guy who has a history of making up quotes.
According to Whelan, Pruden was fired in 1978 by the now-defunct National Observer, where he had worked for 14 years, under suspicion that he had "manufactured" quotes in his stories. (Pruden refused to comment on the reasons for his ouster, except to say it involved "a couple of stories I'd done.") [emphasis added]
In all fairness, it's possible Pruden didn't just invent the quote. It's possible that some disgruntled park ranger just happened to say something so fantastically supportive of the right-wing narrative that Pruden, who just happened to be present at the time, featured it front and center in his column. Anything is possible.
That said, I think this "quote" has to be treated exactly like any "quote" appearing in anything written by Wes Pruden: video or it didn't happen.