No one has to tell me I’m being greedy; I already know that. But if I’ve learned one thing during this misspent life of mine, it’s that the worst someone can say is “no.” But this is really Erik Wemple’s fault. Over at his Washington Post perch, Wemple made the mistake of practicing some very good journalism. And once I get a taste of Good Journalism, I just gotta have more. Wemple’s biggest mistake, though, was criticizing one of his own. You can’t give someone a taste of that and expect them not to come back for more.
And so, with equal parts humility and greed, I submit to Wemple five completely botched Washington Post stories that require investigating–that demand the attention of a smart, diligent reporter like Wemple.
As you’ll see, these stories run the spectrum of outright bias to outright fraud, and as of yet (as far as I know) the Post has yet to offer a complete explanation.
Over to you, Erik…
In an early and obvious smear against Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the Post not only got it all wrong, but they were later caught red-handed (by yours truly) quietly memory-holing the errors instead of issuing a correction or retraction. Naughty-naughty.
Who’s responsible for the false reporting and who did the scrub?
If Suzi Parker had the power to publish on her own, it’s understandable that someone so bitter and joyless could believe what she so desperately wants to believe. But thanks to the Post’s own ombudsmen, we now know a Post editor also fell into “too good to check” mode.
Because Parker and this editor obviously didn’t know the Daily Currant is a parody site, that means they published a story based on information from a site with which they were unfamiliar. How did that happen? Who was the editor? Has any disciplinary action been taken?
Unless Suzi Parker’s writing them, we assume the Post takes weeks and sometimes months to put together major scoops, especially those that involve research, sourcing, and the like. How is it then that during the 2012 campaign, we documented three instances of the Post and the White House launching major anti-Romney narratives within hours of one another.
Once might be a coincidence, twice might be a mole, thrice is outright corruption.
And we weren’t the only ones who noticed.
Thanks to one of those wild coincidences, within a few hours of Obama announcing his support of same sex marriage, the Post published a major, front page expose accusing Mitt Romney of being an anti-gay bully a half-century ago in high school. The only problem is that there was no way Romney could have known at the time his classmate was gay.
There were a ton of other problems with the Post’s hit piece, but no one at the Post has ever explained how this reporter read Romney’s mind in order to report on his motive. Did no one in editorial ask? Could this reporter be too hard to find as he haunts seedy gambling joints where his extraordinary mental abilities are most profitable?
5. Seriously, WHAT Was This About?
Wemple has displayed some real independence as of late, which is how he made a name for himself as the editor of the independent and well-respected Washington City Paper. If there’s still a possibility the fallen Post can return to its glory days, Wemple’s scrappy independence and smarts turned within are its best hope.
To be clear, I don’t expect Wemple to tackle these five stories all at once, and I certainly don’t expect him to neglect his other duties, including those Toure’ vs. Nugent bombshells. But maybe, when it’s slow or on weekends, he could treat his own backyard like a cold case.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC