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2006.06.17

Making Pretty Pigs

From the people who brought you “getting ahead of the news cycle,” We now have several freshly minted euphemisms to help us in our daily battle to dodge responsibility from our “mis-appropriated” squeals and rants. Yes, the cache of cosmetics available to us for prettying up our warty hogs has just grown by two. No longer are we limited to simply putting lipstick on our pigs.

Back in May, Jason Leopold with truthout.org “reported” that Karl Rove would be indicted in the CIA leak case and that he would then immediately resign his White House job once the charges were announced. For months leading up to this…ummmm…broken story, Leopold and truthout had been hyping the imminent indictment of Rove. And for months, much to the frustration of Leopold and truthout, the indictment kept not happening. And so it continued. In the hours and days after Leopold broke the news on truthout, the indictment kept not happening. Even so, some of the MSM was sucked into this scoop of slop. Truth out. Reality in. No indictment.

Finally, buried within the comments sections of truthout’s web site was a kind-of-sort-of retraction whining about having “gotten ahead of the news cycle.” Translation: “We wanted this wish to come true soooooooo much we marshaled all our journalistic sources for news substrate to focus on this issue and so extract the truth: our crystal ball, under cover garden faeries and the magic 8-ball – we even threw the runes! And our sources told us Rove would be indicted.” Or, to put it more succinctly, truthout pulled the truth out of its collective ass and peddled it as fact.

This past week the last remaining pebbles of ground beneath truthout’s feet gave way as it was announced that Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald told Rove’s attorney that Rove will not be indicted in the CIA leak investigation. Jason Leopold and truthout have jumped both the shark and the couch in a single bound. Impressive.

Yesterday, on a front page post, truthout retracted their story…sort of.

Instead of saying “we were wrong and you were right,” truthout says “there is a major contradiction between our version of the story and what was reported.” (Note to Mr. Leopold and truthout: facts don’t have versions. You’ve confused them with opinions.)

Instead of saying “we are retracting our lame new story,” truthout says they are “going to stand down on the Rove matter at this time.” Stand down? Sounds like they have legions of news reporters who will now holster their pens (They don’t have pencils. Those eraser thingies are waaaaaay too dangerous.) At this time? I guess they reserve the right to spill their version of the news on this matter at some point in the future, based on their sources, of course.

Finally, you gotta love this: “We defer instead to the nation’s leading publications.” Translation: “If its news you want, go somewhere else. We don’t do news.”

And so, my friends, we now have at our disposal the following cosmetics for our boarish flubs:

  • We got ahead of the news cycle.

  • There is a major contradiction between our version of the story and what was reported.

  • We’re going to stand down on this story.

Use as needed, then exit stage left.

[Edit History]

2006.06.17 – Tim Blair has similar notes.

2006.06.18 – Jason Leopold gets spanked pretty good by Joe Lauria in the Washington Post.