Gawker Media’s sports website Deadspin attempted to turn Colorado U.S. Senate race around in the incumbent Democrat’s favor with a “big scoop” that blew up in its face in the most spectacular way. Not only did Deadspin get its facts horribly wrong, the leftwing outlet has been accused of outright lying by its own primary source.
Deadspin’s big October Surprise against U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner was supposed to be the news that the Republican lied about playing football in high school.
The only problem with Deadspin’s epic game-changer is that, uhm, Cory Gardner did play football in high school.
Worse still, in-between a whopping 1300 words of superior snark (“Breaking news: Politician makes shit up!”) laced with cheap gay jokes (“Gardner played both ways?”), that Deadspin seemed sure would save the Senate for Obama The Precious, Deadspin repeatedly quoted a man named Chuck Pfamer, a retired teacher at the high school in question.
“Cory Gardner wasn’t on the football team,” Deadpin quotes Pfamer as saying. Except…
Deadspin’s now-debunked hit-job has one other problem: Pfamer says Deadspin is lying:
The Deadspin story quotes Pfalmer as saying: “Cory Gardner wasn’t on the football team.”
But Pfalmer, who doesn’t remember saying that, says the reporter initially asked him questions by phone, and then Pfalmer followed up by e-mailing the reporter more information.
He said he had trouble sending that e-mail, and the address appeared to be incorrect. The reporter, Dave McKenna, told The Post that he did not receive the e-mail, which Pfalmer said he sent after checking his records.
Pfalmer read from the e-mail, which said, in part: “I did find a few things that may interest you. First, Cory did play football for three years. In his third year, he had one tackle and three assists. He did not play his senior year.”
Although Deadspin’s headline contained a question mark — “Is A Colorado Senate Candidate Lying About His Football Career?” — the actual story, written by Dave McKenna, is smugly sure of itself:
No way, says Chuck Pfalmer, a now-retired Yuma High School teacher: “Cory Gardner wasn’t on the football team.”
Everybody around Yuma (pop. 3,524) knows everybody around Yuma. Even when Gardner was a kid, folks around town saw him as somebody who was going to run for political office someday. And for an even longer time, Pfalmer’s been known as the go-to guy for football facts about Yuma High, Gardner’s alma mater. He kept stats for the Yuma Indians varsity squad from 1971 to 2010, a streak of 394 consecutive games.
But Gardner, who graduated in 1993, never played in any of the Yuma games Pfalmer saw under the Friday night lights. Not at “fullback” or “middle linebacker” or anywhere else.
As certain as those paragraphs sound, the story is not only 100% wrong, but according to Deadspin’s primary source, the story is a made-up fraud.
Once the dust settled, Gardner — the man Deadspin described as a “homo-hatin’ and climate-change-denyin'” liar — managed to bury Deadspin with a lot fewer than 1300 words:
— Cory Gardner (@CoryGardner) October 15, 2014
Cory Gardner is ready for primetime.
Gawker should stick to “Pictures of Lesbians.”
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC