From Big Journalism.
Twice this week, progressive media outlets have embarrassed themselves by jumping on stories that looked like promising anti-Republican material only to discover hours later they’d been fooled. In one case, the mistake was a piece of satire, the other a joke mistaken for a serious comment.
Tuesday morning Politico’s Roger Simon posted an article which was clearly not meant to be taken seriously. The thrust of the piece was that Paul Ryan had become unhinged and was “marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.'” Stench was supposedly Ryan’s new nickname for Mitt Romney.
If that weren’t outlandish enough, on page two of the piece, Simon writes, “A word about PowerPoint. PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets. After PETA successfully argued in court that PowerPoint actually was more cruel than iron mallets, the program was adopted by corporations for slide show presentations.”
Despite going way over the top with comments like this, the crack research team at MSNBC didn’t catch the joke, and Lawrence O’Donnell opened a segment with it Tuesday evening. Reporting on the O’Donnell segment Wednesday morning, Mediaite reporter Tommy Christopher wrote, “Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles.” He did allow suggest that the quote may have been Ryan making an ironic meta-comment on the media.
In any case, Mediaite was far from alone. NY Times columnist Paul Krugman repeated the claim on his blog “Conscience of a Liberal” this morning, before going back and striking through the entire thing. To Krugman you can also add Gawker, Daily Kos and a couple other outlets. That’s media gaffe number one.
While one embarrassment like this would be enough, Tuesday’s was actually the second of the week for some of these outlets. On Sunday the entire left media–Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Gawker, Think Progress–ran stories claiming Mitt Romney was confused about why the windows of airplanes didn’t roll down. Gawker’s lede gives you a sense of the tone: “Affluent Imagineer Mitt Romney has some exciting new proposals for the future of airplane design…”
But it wasn’t just Gawker and Daily Kos that got on board. Politico covered it in a style not that different from Gawker: “Here’s hoping Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul federal regulations doesn’t include airline safety standards.” The Atlantic‘s James Fallows published an email from an expert who helpfully explained,”the windows in an airplane don’t ‘roll down’ because, for one, the plane is pressurized.”
Rachel Maddow highlighted video of Romney’s remarks while wondering if it might be a “turning point in the election.”
The leftwing nutbags in the media are so desperate, they’ll repeat anything derogatory about Romney even if it’s fit for publication in The Onion.
- Romney Rumor: Ryan Calls Romney “The Stench” (pjmedia.com)
- D’oh: Olbermann, media fall for bungled Politico satire claiming Ryan calls Romney ‘The Stench’ (twitchy.com)
- Media Gets Pwnd by ‘Stench’ Satire (pjmedia.com)
- The Democrats Are Too Desperate For Satire (powerlineblog.com)