The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Sarah Palin: The scandal that wasn’t

Posted by Bill Nance on September 4, 2008

Michael Moynihan of Reason has blasted Andrew Sullivan for posting some particularly nasty rumors about Sarah Palin, and rightly so.

THE rumor, which you won’t find repeated here, was fascinating. It held just enough truth to be interesting, …for about 30 minutes.

I looked into it. I thought about it. I even wrote something on the subject. And then I trashed it and never posted the piece.

There was a reason for this: There was no concrete information to support the theory, and the one and only source was an anonymous blogger on Daily KOS, a source which I consider so utterly without credibility I rarely, if ever, look at it.

As I said, I wrote a piece. I thought about it. The piece itself literally made me ill. The rumor was disgusting. As I wrote to Mark Klein, a highly partisan but always fair blogger, who also had the good sense and decency not to post on the subject and in fact called on others to STOP IT:

…I was looking at the KOS posts, and well, it looks a lot more than somewhat suspicious. But…I couldn’t run with it. It’s just too damned inflammatory and I can’t find anything concrete to back it up… If I had the resources of a major news organization I could FOIA (state version) the [removed] and talk to [removed], get [removed] records, etc. I have a feeling the MSM are going crazy dealing with unavailable stuff due to the holiday weekend…I think this is going to be answered one way or the other by the MSM and the McCain campaign soon enough, and I just couldn’t write it up, [not] even just as passing on the rumors.

Reporters ask questions. Lots of them are uncomfortable. They also do things like go to primary sources, pour over public records and other very unglamorous and often boring things that eventiually root out the truth.

What they don’t do, what they should never do, is publish rumors. It undercuts faith in the press, it makes them look like fools, and it often hurts people who’ve done nothing wrong.

I’m a blogger, not a reporter. I don’t have the resources and time to do the job. I leave it up to reporters on the ground to be the primary finders of fact. But that doesn’t mean I get to hold myself to a lower standard.

The best thing I’ve ever heard on the subject is here. Ted didn’t think it was necessary to add that we should make sure a story was true before we went to press. Maybe the editors of The Atlantic need to remind Andrew Sullivan of this.

Man up Andrew, you blew it.

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