Thursday, May 25, 2006

Take A Deep Breath

Of course House Speaker Dennis Hastert denied all the allegations in the ABC News story that broke last night, but according to this update, federal law enforcement officials confirmed that ABC got it right.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has provided information to the FBI about Hastert and a number of other members of Congress that have broadened the scope of the investigation. Sources would not divulge details of the Abramoff’s information.

“You guys wrote the story very carefully but they are not reading it very carefully,” a senior official said.

That’s right; the immediate assmuption is that the story says that Speaker Hastert is about to be frog-marched out of the Capitol (oh, be still my heart…). But all it says is that he is but one of many House members under investigation in the Abramoff scandal. The Speaker could be as pure as the driven slush.

It would be all too easy for over-eager bloggers and pundits to jump to any conclusions just yet — haven’t we learned a little something from the recent past (vis. Truthout reporting Karl Rove’s indictment as a fact and the Iranian yellow-stars-for-Jews story) to both check the sources and actually read what the story says?

For those of us who watched helplessly as the press gobbled up and spat out anything at all that Bill Clinton did during the impeachment episode, it has an all-too-familiar ring of blaring out a lot of noise without any substance behind it (“President Clinton winked at a check-out girl at McDonald’s!”). So let’s let the investigation go forward patiently and thoroughly.

But it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy watching them sweat.