Let's see if the media will do its job here. I have no delusions it will.
Democrat Senator Harry Reid has made the insane allegations that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years. Reid says he has heard this from a "very reliable" source, but he won't say who that source is. Romney has responded by telling Reid to "put up or shut up." Of course, Reid is just doing this to get the story out there and let his wack-jobs run with it. Some members of the Activist Old Media have already grabbed the baton.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama sits on the sidelines and watches. Imagine a Republican saying he was told Obama failed most of his classes in college but wouldn't produce proof? That Republican would be first, ignored; second, destroyed.
Were the media doing its job it would demand Reid prove his charges. So far, the media is applying little, if any pressure. Since Reid is making these charges, the burden of proof is on him. For weeks now the media has carried the Democrats' water by questioning Romney on his taxes at every turn. Meanwhile, Romney has already released the taxes that are required by federal law.
So far, only Jon Stewart of Comedy Central has taken a hard line with Reid.
“Here’s a rule of thumb,” Stewart said. “If you have to follow your claim with the words ‘I don’t know if that’s true,’ then shut up. Otherwise you might as well put a dead cocker spaniel on your head and start yelling about birth certificates.”
The media should make Reid the laughing stock of Capitol Hill over this.
The media prides itself in being the Police Force on out-of-control politicians. If Reid hasn't already "jumped the shark" long ago with foolish statements like, "this war is lost," while U.S. soldiers were still fighting and dying in Iraq, then he certainly has now (BTW, how did that war end up? Thank you, George W. Bush.)
As journalists, we could not make allegations like these without backing them with substance, so we must demand the same of Reid. Not just a halfhearted appeal of Reid to back his words with substance, but hit him hard when he deflects. The media should go "junk yard dog" on this and not let up until Reid proves his charges. Blast him at every turn and demand answers. Shout out questions at news conferences until he answers, or is shamed into backing up.
Instead, for the most part, the Activist Old Media has used this issue to cause Romney to back up and answer questions. Three months from Election Day and this campaign has been turned into a "dog and pony show" by Reid and instead of destroying the senator over this, the media is buying tickets.
Follow Ron Futrell on Twitter @RonFutrell