As the snowball of condemnation began to grow larger and
larger as it cascaded down the Virginia mountainside, bearing down on the
Governor’s mansion last weekend, I was curious how the “Facts First” network
(that would be CNN) would be covering the story.
Just as a reminder, this is the same “Facts First” network
that held panel discussions and breaking news chyrons over every new
development in the “Brett Kavanaugh likes beer” saga a couple months ago. The same “Facts First” network that went
crazy in dragging Catholic high school kids before they had, well, any facts at all.
Clearly they had learned their lesson and were being overly
cautious – you could even argue downright skeptical – of all implications that
the Democrat Governor of Virginia who had recently refused to apologize for
musing publicly about infanticide might have a yearbook scandal brewing.
Certainly it was just CNN’s effort to do their due diligence and not any ideological loyalty to the subject of the scandal (or his political party) that kept them from taking the lead on digging through Governor Northam’s yearbook themselves. It’s not like they’d spent any time scouring the pages of any other notable public figure’s yearbook in recent months. Ahem.
Behold how CNN’s Oliver Darcy handled the Virginia-Pilot scoop on Governor Northam’s blackface/Klan scandal:
“Virginia Pilot now has the story, which first appeared in Big League Politics, the site run by former Breitbart writer Patrick Howley.”
A not-so-subtle attempt to diminish the trustworthiness of
the story, framing it as a smear that originated on a low-rent blog run by a
political hack from the scourge of sophisticated media types, Breitbart.
But isn’t “Facts First” journalism supposed to care about,
well, facts? Does it matter where the
story originated, or whether a Breitbart alum scooped other news operations if,
in fact, it was Northam in the picture?
And actually, isn’t this a rather sad admission that a news
organization with the resources and manpower of CNN couldn’t dispatch some
investigative journalists to track down the origin of the photograph, obtain a
copy of the yearbook, and take the lead before some two-bit operation like Big
League Politics scooped them?
Unsurprisingly, as the ugly truth emerged out of Virginia
late Friday night, Darcy’s Twitter feed merely retweeted Northam’s statement
while filling up the timeline by a 5-to-1 margin with other news like the Super
Bowl, and a tweet about Tom Hanks narrating a Washington Post ad about, of all
things, the importance of newsgathering.
Seems like maybe the Post should have gotten the Breitbart
guy to narrate the ad, no?