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Columbia Journalism Review Slams Politico's 'Frenzied, Single-Minded Focus' On Herman Cain


Now that we’re learning something about Cain’s accusers and how the National Restaurant Association settlements agreements were handled, Politico’s unwillingness to give us specific details in that mega-story of theirs is starting to make some sense, at least to me.

What we’re now discovering is that the facts are much less troubling than what was ginned up in our collective imaginations that were fueled only by Politico’s maddeningly vague allegations and innuendo. So now you have to wonder if the 144 story (and counting) feeding frenzy Politico ‘s journOlisted up over the last ten days wasn’t all smoke and mirrors designed to cover up the fact that their original story was nowhere near worthy of the Normandy-like roll out they organized and commanded.

The there just isn’t there.

Jonathan — He Who Targets Private Citizens For His Precious One — Martin and Herman Cain

Do I personally believe Politico intentionally held back certain facts that would’ve subdued the sensationalism their vague innuendo created?

What is it our esteemed journalist class likes to say? I’m just raising questions.

Politico’s playing for keeps in 2012 and the willingness of left-of-center media watchdogs like ProPublica, Howard Kurtz, and now the “Columbia Journalism Review” to question its story and suggest it ease up on the feeding frenzy proves it.

Moreover, I’m looking at the polls for the lay of the land, and at least for right now, it’s looking like Politico did more damage to itself than they did to Herman Cain.


Yet, while the allegations against Cain are significant, it is irresponsible the extent to which some segments of the political press has allowed them to dominate the political news cycle these past nine days.

Much coverage has had a sort of frenzied, single-minded focus that has come at the cost of coverage of just about everything and everyone else.

Take for example, Politico, which surely helped set this sensational tone when they labeled one of its first stories on the Cain scandal “Bombshell.” Since their initial scoop, the website has published 144 Cain-centric stories, only a handful of them about something other than the harassment allegations.

Thanks to the website we have learned–besides the basics of the charges and the fact that Cain denies them–what Haley Barbour thinks Cain should do, and why Newt Gingrich thinks Cain needs better crisis management, and what Karl Rove thinks of Cain blaming the story on the Perry campaign.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know, instead, what Newt Gingrich–or Herman Cain or any of the other potential nominees–thinks of the Euro crisis? Or potential defense cuts? Or creating jobs?

While it may lead the pack in the Cain race, Politico is not alone. The Washington Post has been all over the story, too, with stories or blog posts numbering in the hundreds.

“144 Cain-centric stories.”


Politico and the Washington Post are using this story not only as a way to destroy Cain but also as a distraction from Obama’s growing pile of failures and brewing scandals. This is all about getting Barack Obama that second term and if “CJR” looked at the last 10 days through that prism all of the confusion would simply melt away.

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