Eat The Press


The Politico

Here in Washington, DC, campaign-watchers and wonks of all stripes have had to contend with The Politico--a sort of "My First Political News Organ (...with BLOGS!)" for the Fisher Price set. If The Politico has managed to occupy some space in your consciousness, it's likely due to the way they managed to get the Elizabeth Edwards story precisely wrong and how the error allowed them to cover their favorite subject: themselves.

Their "never say die/never think things through (...with BLOGS!)" spirit was on full display last Friday, when they ran one of weirdest lead stories in memory: "Ambassador Attends Obama Fundraiser." In it, Kenneth Vogel relates that Klaus Scharioth, Germany's ambassador to the United States, attended a fundraiser by Barack Obama. From there, it gets confusing. Scharioth did not make a contribution to Obama's campaign, but, he could have. And if he had, Barack Obama might have accepted it. Obama didn't accept any such contribution, because, as noted, no such contribution was made, but if one had, and if he did, he would be violating the law. Which he didn't, because, as we've previously noted, NOTHING HAPPENED. But, if something had happened, then something would have happened. And since one need only use the power of the imagination to build a hypothetical story of wrongdoing, doesn't that mean...something?

It's all wondrously perplexing. In an attempt to offer a more cogent explanation--one that does not involve alternate realities and holodecks, blogger Matthew Yglesias summarizes:

Vogel came up with absolutely nothing. But instead of not writing the story, he wrote an exhaustive account of a dozen different things that might have been improper or politically damaging about this. None of these things, however, are actually true. But rather than admit that he has no story, Vogel chose to write it up as if he's unconvered something and then -- bam! -- his story becomes the lede item on the site further implying there's something here.

But why allow the absence of actual facts get in the way of a story with such potential?

Ambassador Attends Obama Fundraiser [The Politico]
When There Is Nothing Instead of Something [Matthew Yglesias]

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