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Politico Is Tawdry
National Review ^ | Andrew C. McCarthy

Posted on 11/03/2011 2:42:05 PM PDT by ventanax5

Rich, I continue to think the real story here is the media — and Politico in particular. To repeat, I am not a Cain guy, and I think that lashing out at Perry, on the basis of what appears to be close to zero evidence, undermines Cain’s colorable claim to be the target of a hatchet job — if you’re going to charge hypocrisy, you need to stay above it yourself. But Cain’s shooting himself in the foot doesn’t change how we got here — and how Politico is still stoking the flames with irresponsible reporting.

Politico’s initial story was woven out of insufficient evidence, anonymous sources, and vague allegations that — even if you construed every possible inference against Cain — would amount to an impropriety that outfits like Politico would find too trivial to cover like this if the culprit were a left-leaning Democrat.

Martin’s explanation of his reporting in a CNN interview (reproduced by Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism site) is embarrassing. Martin is asked succinctly, “What did he [Cain] do?” He replies with blather about how he can’t get into details and needs to be “sensitive to the sourcing involved here” (no need to be sensitive to the innuendo he’s willfully creating against Cain — just make sure his sources, who won’t identify themselves, get to stay comfortable in their anonymity). Martin’s bottom line is not that this purported “sexual harassment” actually involved anything sexual; just that women were made uncomfortable.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cain; hermancain; leftwing; politics
Rich, I continue to think the real story here is the media — and Politico in particular. To repeat, I am not a Cain guy, and I think that lashing out at Perry, on the basis of what appears to be close to zero evidence, undermines Cain’s colorable claim to be the target of a hatchet job — if you’re going to charge hypocrisy, you need to stay above it yourself. But Cain’s shooting himself in the foot doesn’t change how we got here — and how Politico is still stoking the flames with irresponsible reporting.

Politico’s initial story was woven out of insufficient evidence, anonymous sources, and vague allegations that — even if you construed every possible inference against Cain — would amount to an impropriety that outfits like Politico would find too trivial to cover like this if the culprit were a left-leaning Democrat.

Martin’s explanation of his reporting in a CNN interview (reproduced by Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism site) is embarrassing. Martin is asked succinctly, “What did he [Cain] do?” He replies with blather about how he can’t get into details and needs to be “sensitive to the sourcing involved here” (no need to be sensitive to the innuendo he’s willfully creating against Cain — just make sure his sources, who won’t identify themselves, get to stay comfortable in their anonymity). Martin’s bottom line is not that this purported “sexual harassment” actually involved anything sexual; just that women were made uncomfortable.

Now, how would a responsible person evaluate that? How would Martin figure a reasonable reader would evaluate that? He would need to know more details (which Martin suggests he knows but won’t reveal), and he would need to know about the character of the women involved: Are they normal women who would be irritated but not bent out of shape unless the behavior Martin refuses to describe was truly obnoxious? Are they unusually sensitive women who were apt to take offense at behavior that a more grounded person would have found innocuous? Are they women who had a motive to make a mountain out of a mole hill because they had other issues with Cain or with the NRA? We don’t know because Martin won’t say — he has intentionally leveled a weighty accusation and denied his audience what anyone with common sense would know are the facts necessary to assess it. That is irresponsible.

Cain could have taken the high road. He could have tried to keep the focus on the obvious media bias. On that score, I’m looking for any indication anywhere that Martin did any reporting like this to vet candidate Obama — Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Rezko, Chicago Annenberg Challenge . . . ? I’ve found a couple of pieces in which he suggests that raising Ayers and Rezko was unworthy, desperation politics; and I’ve found an item in which he attacked “Joe the Plumber” after he (Joe Wurzelbacher) elicited Obama’s damaging “spread the wealth” comment. But nothing so far that suggests Martin thought Obama should be scrutinized over the sorts of things he seems content to see Cain’s candidacy scuttled over.

Instead of going that route, Cain — a day after his campaign claimed to be “follow[ing] Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment” by resisting any urge to hurl mud at other campaigns — proceeded to hurl mud at Perry . . . based on what appears to be evidence so flimsy it might even have given Jonathan Martin pause. I’m afraid we’ve learned a lot more about Cain’s judgment from the way he reacted to the Politico allegations than from the allegations themselves.

But we’ve learned the most about Politico. Look, for example, at this: Politico this morning had a post about how, after Cain blamed Perry for being the source of the sexual-harassment story, Perry promptly turned around and floated Romney as the likely source. Yes, congratulations GOP on the circular firing squad — but that’s not the point. The point is: Politico knows who the source is.

This isn’t a game-show where the host has the answer on his little card and his job is to have the contestants keep guessing until someone stumbles into the right answer. This is supposed to be news coverage — professional journalism about a serious matter with a goal of edifying the reader about what actually happened.

Politico has now framed discovery of the identity of the source as is a noteworthy story. Yet, Politico knows that if the identity of the source is a story, it is only because Politico itself is being coy. Politico has reported that Perry may be the source and that Romney may be the source. Yet, Politico knows precisely whether the Perry campaign or the Romney campaign (or both . . . or neither) is the source. It is thus almost certainly true that at least some of the conflicting allegations Politico is airing are known by Politico to be false. In fact, both the Perry and Romney camps have denied involvement — if it so happens that one of those camps is the source, then Politico knows the denial is a lie, yet it published the denial anyway. That would amount to colluding with its source in order to tarnish Cain while fraudulently portraying its source as above the fray.

In sum, Politico is publishing at least some things it knows to be misleading or untrue, and framing as a great mystery something to which it knows the answer. That can only be because Politico finds the specter of the Republican circular firing squad more appealing than the prospect of informing readers of the accurate version of events.

When I was a prosecutor, it was considered serious ethical misconduct to suggest to a jury something the prosecutor knew to be factually untrue. If the defense called Witness A, and I was aware of the fact that Person B had robbed a bank, it would be a weighty impropriety for me to impeach A’s credibility by suggesting in my questions that A had robbed the bank. If the judge asked me a question, my choices were to give a truthful answer or to refuse to answer and explain why the law supported my refusal — making a representation that was false or misleading was not an option. And if I later learned that I’d been mistaken in something I’d represented, my obligation was to go back and correct the record as soon as possible. All this because a trial is supposed to be a search for the truth, and I would be perverting the process if I suggested that the factfinder should consider something I knew to be inaccurate or false.

I guess similar rules don’t apply in today’s journalism.

1 posted on 11/03/2011 2:42:08 PM PDT by ventanax5
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To: ventanax5

TAWDRY:
cheap and gaudy in appearance or quality.
-It was a tawdry attempt to smear his opponent.-
-The scandal was a tawdry affair.-


2 posted on 11/03/2011 2:47:22 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th
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To: ventanax5

Interesting. “Politico” is covering the kerfuffle over the source of the story — while it knows and hides the source of the story.


3 posted on 11/03/2011 2:48:57 PM PDT by BfloGuy (Even the opponents of Socialism are dominated by socialist ideas.)
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To: ventanax5

What is the history of sexual harassment cases against Politico execs and workers? Turn about is fair play!


4 posted on 11/03/2011 3:14:36 PM PDT by Graewoulf ( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.)
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To: ventanax5

Cain ‘s “issue” is probably overblown and most likely not going to sink him lest another major shoe drops.

That being said, his response and preparedness to defuse this whole thing has been amateur hour at best.

I’ve seen the “deer in the headlights” moments in interviews and passed them off as being new to politics but now I beginning to sense a lack of judgement and thats a killer. He said he never heard of the sexual harrassment then he did, He accused Perry of the leak with no evidence whatsoever, then he backed off. I’m telling you folks, I like him but he definately ain’t ready for prime time.

Either he hires some true professionals and tightens up his act or the Republicans will eat him alive let alone the Democrats.


5 posted on 11/03/2011 3:33:37 PM PDT by traderrob6
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To: BfloGuy
Politico is delighted, it seems their little foray into unsubstantiated gossip, or maybe their own just plain lies, may disable Cain to the extent that he becomes a minor contender again and finish off Perry completely. What a major victory for the Left, a twofer! I don't want to hear one candidate accuse another, the accusations need to go to the one who is causing so much misery in this country...that would be Barak Hussein Obama! It isn't Cain or Perry who is destroying this country, it's Obama and that's who EVERY candidate should be talking about ALL THE TIME!
6 posted on 11/03/2011 3:42:09 PM PDT by pepperdog (Why are Democrats Afraid of a Voter ID Law?)
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To: BfloGuy; ventanax5
Interesting. “Politico” is covering the kerfuffle over the source of the story — while it knows and hides the source of the story.
Yep:
Politico has now framed discovery of the identity of the source as is a noteworthy story. Yet, Politico knows that if the identity of the source is a story, it is only because Politico itself is being coy. Politico has reported that Perry may be the source and that Romney may be the source. Yet, Politico knows precisely whether the Perry campaign or the Romney campaign (or both . . . or neither) is the source. It is thus almost certainly true that at least some of the conflicting allegations Politico is airing are known by Politico to be false. In fact, both the Perry and Romney camps have denied involvement — if it so happens that one of those camps is the source, then Politico knows the denial is a lie, yet it published the denial anyway. That would amount to colluding with its source in order to tarnish Cain while fraudulently portraying its source as above the fray.
I had a flashback to la affaire Lewinski, when Wire Service Journalism was reporting leaks of Grand Jury information which it would have been illegal for the prosecutor (but not for the Clinton WH) to leak - and reporting at face value claims of the WH that the prosecutor was doing the leaking and reporting the denials of the prosecutor's office. Yet, just as in this case, the people who published the leaks knew who was in fact leaking.
And since I don't recall the special prosecutor going to jail or being disbarred, I take it that in fact it was the Clinton WH which did the actual leaking.

7 posted on 11/03/2011 4:05:55 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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Celebrate Jim's Birthday!

Click On The Balloons And Party!

8 posted on 11/03/2011 4:19:31 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: traderrob6

I never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss lewinski. He couldn’t come up with a better strategy 7 days after it was reported in the mainstream press? That is amateur hour.

Have you ever seen and listened to Obama off teleprompter? Um uh, I uh um... That is amateur hour.

I support Cain because he has leadership skills and his conservatism most closely matches my own.


9 posted on 11/03/2011 4:27:47 PM PDT by Rad_J
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