The Atlantic's James Fallows Uses Anonymous Accusations to Attack Romney

James Fallows at The Atlantic is a big fan of anonymous quotes in his blog posts. Just last month I noted that he was using an anonymous (and false, it turned out) quote to accuse Mitt Romney of being a "liar." Shortly after my post rebutting the anonymous accuser went up, Fallows backed away from it.

But here we are a month later and Fallows is at it again. In this post published Monday morning, Fallows is pushing the attack on Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital using two anonymous quotes. The first one is from "a corporate veteran." Now, any corporate veteran writing to James Fallows in order to suggest a new line of attack on Mitt Romney probably has a partisan agenda. But, putting that aside, here is the line of attack this anonymous business savant believes will spell the end for the Romney campaign:

If you weren't in charge at Bain in 1999-2001, who was?  If Mitt Romney had 'retroactively' retired -- who was 'proactively' managing Bain Capital? Just a simple name -- or a committee would do...Answering this simple question would clarify matters greatly.

As he did last month, Fallows airs the anonymous accusation (once again insinuating Romney is a liar) and then tacitly agrees that it is serious before moving on. He makes no effort, not even one sentence, to actually address the question being raised. Apparently, Fallows sees his job as trial-ballooning new attacks, not offering relevant facts.

There is a pretty good answer to the questions posed by Fallows' anonymous accuser, one that Fallows ought to be aware of if he's following this story. As the NY Times reported last Thursday, a spokesperson for Bain said “due to the sudden nature of Mr. Romney’s departure, he remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999.”

Is there anything in the public record to back up this claim? Yes there is. Over the weekend, Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed linked to a December 2000 capture of the Bain Capital website. The site lists a 37-member "management team." Notably absent from the list is Mitt Romney's name.

So it seems a reasonable answer to the accusatory questions Fallow's "corporate veteran" asked are already out there. Fallows doesn't seem to know or care. He just moves on to the next anonymous attack.


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