Kerry Spot [ jim geraghty reporting ]
A SHINING MOMENT FOR THE STAR TRIBUNE
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Hugh Hewitt, author of the most important paper-based work on the blogging phenomenon to date, could not have imagined how badly the Minneapolis Star Tribune would react to Nick Coleman's column.
Coleman's column, as you'll recall, alleged that the bloggers at Powerline are "only interested in being a megaphone without oversight, disclosure of conflicts of interest, or professional standards." That was right after he suggested they were size-deficient in their reproductive organs.
The guys at Powerline had a chat with Coleman's editor, objecting to some factual errors in the piece (please, no reproductive organ jokes). They learned:
Among other things, the editor advised me that Coleman's attack on us involved no reporting, and that the column's factual misrepresentations were to be read in that light. Moreover, certain of the misrepresentations were to be construed as sarcasm rather than taken at face value.
Finally, according to the editor, Coleman's false assertion that he didn't know and we didn't say whether we might be on the take from some campaign, political party or anonymous benefactor, appeared to violate no Star Tribune standard. In his meeting with Coleman after my discussion with the editor yesterday morning, Coleman had told the editor that he "assumed" we received a stipend from the Claremont Institute. (Wrong. As we expressly stated here in response to Coleman's slander earlier this month, "we are not paid by anyone" for our work on the site. What part of "not" doesn't Coleman understand?)
I asked the editor what standards Coleman's column was subject to at the Star Tribune. He said he didn't know; he would have to research the answer to that question and get back to me. But they do have standards, which is of course a relief!
Brent Bozell or other media critics could not have written a scenario that makes the mainstream media look worse.
Imagine that you are writing a novel. You write a scene in which a newspaper columnist wrote that his Internet-based critics had no "professional standards" and then got one of his central arguments wrong because he didn't bother to check what he assumed about his critics. After the errors are revealed, neither he nor his editor can say what "professional standards" his column is held to.
Most book editors and readers would shake their heads at that scene it's not believable, stacking the deck too much. Newspaper columnists aren't that sloppy or reckless with the facts. Editors don't just let them write whatever they feel like - they edit.
Like the story of the CBS memo, this is turning stranger than fiction.
[Posted 12/30 10:14 AM]