The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘BullyGate': What Did Jason Horowitz Know, and When Did He Know It?

Posted on | May 11, 2012 | 27 Comments

The implosion of the Washington Post‘s “BullyGate” story — a rapidly rising item on Memeorandum today — has sparked questions about the sourcing of reporter Jason Horowitz’s article:

A key element of the Washington Post’s 5,000-word account of Mitt Romney’s alleged high-school bullying is based on a second-hand account of a conversation with a dead man.

In response to my earlier post about the journalistic standards of the Washington Post account, a news editor with more than a decade of supervisory experience in D.C. sent me the following questions that he, as an editor, would ask the reporter (language warning):

Jason Horowitz talked to the sisters (we know this because his story cites them as the source of “Lauber dead” fact). Did Horowitz ask them whether Lauber ever mentioned the incident? If so, what did they say? Was it the same as what they’re telling ABC now? If it’s the same, why did Horowitz privilege one chance meeting with a now-semi-stranger at an airport over what those closest to Lauber said?
If the family said to Horowitz something different from what they’re now telling ABC about the effect on Lauber, why wasn’t THAT in the story
And if Horowitz DIDN’T ask the Lauber family about the effect of this incident on him … why the fuckety-fuck not!!?!?
Two of the three scenarios I’ve outlined are discipline cases in any story; on a 5,000-word A1 feature on a presidential nominee, it’s firing.

The Washington Post owes its readers some answers to such questions.

UPDATE: It doesn’t take an experienced editor to spot the common-sense problems with the Washington Post story:

Da Tech Guy senses a purposeful distraction. Bryan Preston at PJMedia doesn’t believe the timing of the WaPo article was entirely coincidental:

Horowitz has some explaining to do, and so do his editors. Did he fabricate any part of the story and implant it with Mitt’s school friends? Did he work on the timing of the story’s release with anyone in the Obama campaign?

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Comments

  • KC

    REM, would you please comment on the EDITORS who let this go to press? Don’t stories like this go through editorial review prior to publication?

  • KC

    Dang autocorrect – I meant RSM. How could an editor let this go to press? And if so, does that make Horowitz a useful idiot who they can fire to absolve themselves, after the damage has been done?

  • K-Bob

    This is EXACTLY why people on the right need to treat all stories from WaPo the same as stories from Ron Paul’s old newsletter, or like articles in True Detective.

    Stop treating these sick-minded, deluded clowns like they matter. Just stop.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Romney ought to sue their asses for a billion dollars, and he should not settle for less than somewhere north of two hundred million, and this should be contingent on the settlement being made public, along with a public apology and admission of wrongdoing.

    It’s high time Republicans sent these low life scumbags a damn stern message. There also should be a law that any time a newspaper purposely and knowingly publishes false and defamatory articles about anybody, they should be shut down and their property seized. The same with broadcasters, jerk their damn licenses. They don’t broadcast anything the American people can’t do without anyway. 

    As for these scumbags that try to deny conservatives their First Amendment Rights, there should be a nice cell in GITMO waiting for those fucking traitors. Of course, I understand full well there’s not enough cells in Gitmo to hold them all, but that’s all right. Let them live in the damn jungles and live off berries and their own piss.

  • http://twitter.com/drawandstrike Brian Cates

    Awesome job on this article! Keep up the good work! We got a long campaign season ahead and this was a slow softball.  Let’s be ready for the next fastball because they are gonna be really upset we turned this one back so fast & so easily.  

    follow me on twitter!  

    @drawandstrike:disqus 

    my blog: 

    drawandstrike.blogspot.com  

  • DonaldDouglas
  • robertstacymccain

    Of course, the editors who approve a flawed story are responsible, but first we need some explanation of the process before we can know who did what in letting this travesty go to press.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MJGP4QXZ5PRW2MFA5E25CV2WNU rosalie

    I would love to know why Romney apologized?  I think that instead of apologizing for something that happened fifty years ago, he should bring up the issues that really matter to us voters.  If he wants to apologize, let him apologize for Romneycare.

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     The writer knowingly wrote a false story, a calumny, and submitted it for publication. Where the editors are at fault is allowing such a long story such prominence on their front page, when they had to have known the whole damn thing was, even if this story of routine high school hijinks were true, obviously timed to help Obama and to hurt the Romney campaign. If the publisher had any integrity whatsoever (assuming he is not himself in the tank for Obama) he would clean that whole ship out from stem to stern.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    He apologized IF he had ever done ANYTHING to hurt or offend anyone, and freely admitted he had done stupid things in high school. He stated plainly he did not remember the incident in question.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MJGP4QXZ5PRW2MFA5E25CV2WNU rosalie

    He apologized for something he doesn’t even remember.  Great.  Everyone does something at one time or another to hurt or offend someone.  This is getting ridiculous.  Has O apologized for bullying a black girl?  It’s always our side that has to be contrite and apologize. 

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  • http://classicalvalues.com TallDave

    Better and better.  These stories that fall apart are inoculating Romney from future stories, and people are learning Obama  gave an account of hitting a girl in his autobio.

  • http://classicalvalues.com TallDave

    Hey, be fair — Obama has apologized numerous times for how much America sucked before he became President.

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     I wonder what the story is on that girl, who she is and how her life turned out. That had to have been a humiliating experience, to think you had finally found one person in an entire school you could relate to, only to be shunned and assaulted by that person in front of the crowd of people you always felt alienated from.

    Of course, that’s even assuming the damn story was true, and not some made up allegory meant to demonstrate how demeaning it was to be a black kid in white America.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    If it’s good enough for the NYTimes, why should the WashPost be fussed?

    Cheers

  • AnonymousDrivel

    “…Did he work on the timing of the story’s release with anyone in the Obama campaign?”

    Does a bear “Bill Maher” in the woods?

    BTW, is Jason Horowitz an affirmed member of the original JournoList, or is he just a member of the partisan organization that employed JournoListers known as The Washington Post?

  • http://therionorteline.com/ Michael Smith

    Like I wrote, I’m not a real, live, functioning, full frontal nudity journalist like Stacy but bullsh*t stinks no matter what color you paint it. The sheer gall of the Post to assume that the Internet would let this one slip by is nothing short of amazing. As Ken Layne famously said, “We can fact-check your ass!”

    The Post must think that it still is the age of Woodward and Bernstein.

    Thanks for the link to The Rio Norte Line.

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  • Taxpayer1234

    “why the fuckety-fuck not!!?!?”

    Line of the day!  LOL! 

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  • jsn2

     He’s not on the list.
    Doesn’t mean it wasn’t an aspiration.

    Look for yourself and bookmark the page.

    http://thevailspot.blogspot.com/2011/01/journolist-membership.html

  • jsn2

    She lives in Chicago and is a member of  Trinity United Church of Christ.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=94e_1314152039&comments=1