Monday, May 20, 2013

When The Messenger Is The Story

ABC’s Jonathan Karl is in the uncomfortable position of being the story instead of reporting it.

He’s the one who got the breathless scoop about the White House e-mails that showed the administration was trying to scrub the facts about Benghazi! to make it look like they were trying to keep the heat off the State Department.  But when the White House released the e-mails in their entirety that proved no such thing and it turned out that Mr. Karl had been given second-hand summaries edited and vetted by Republican Congressional staffers, he became the story.  A number of news outlets, including CBS News, flatly contradicted the ABC story, as did the facts themselves, leaving Mr. Karl as the one who had some explaining to do about his work and the story he published.

That’s not a good thing for a reporter, whether or not he or she is right.  Just ask Dan Rather or Judith Miller.  Or, for that matter, Woodward and Bernstein.

Mr. Karl released a statement yesterday afternoon that basically said that while there were some errors made, the story “entirely stands.”  Josh Marshall takes a look at his statement and calls bullshit: How can you have a factual error in a story, yet say that it’s still “entirely” true?

I don’t know if Mr. Karl will keep his job at ABC News, but it’s likely that he will, given that this is a story about a Democratic president and that party does not have the lung power and the shrillness of the GOP to hound someone out of a job.  If this was about a Republican president, you’d be hearing the Mighty Wurlitzer of Fox News and the right wing demanding his head on a spike all the way to Venus.

3 barks and woofs on “When The Messenger Is The Story

  1. Remind me again: who was it that said if you repeat a lie loudly enough and often enough the people will believe it to be true?

  2. Another lesson learned at work… The worst and most damaging lie is the HALF-truth. Another lesson learned at work is that there is a certain type of person who has the half-truth down to a fine art. (I’ve worked with and around some really fine people but I’ve also worked with what always seemed to me more than my fair share of malicious dregs.)

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