The Other McCain

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

Consider the Source

Posted on | June 20, 2011 | 15 Comments

Wes Pruden would have ripped my hide off — this, I freely admit.

You don’t hang a story on a single source, especially if that source is anonymous. My old boss at The Washington Times would never in a million years have authorized a story like the two-sentence item I published Friday on The American Spectator blog. So I broke the rules with that item about Sarah Palin’s campaign plans, and must therefore suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune — as well as the snarktastic reaction of Fishbowl DC’s Betsy Rothstein:

My Source, My Source, My Source
My source told me what my source was told. Did someone misinform my source? I don’t know. It is what it is.” — Conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain to The Daily Caller‘s Jonathan Strong, who asked McCain, “Is your (anonymous) source 3rd or 4th hand? Just curious.” McCain wrote on The American Spectator blog Friday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to announce her presidential intentions this week. Palin replied over Twitter, “Really? Hmm, guess they forgot to inform me what I’m ‘expected to do’ next week.” McCain updated his post with the above Palin line and this remark: “OK, fine, governor, but I was reporting what my source had been told. Has my source been misinformed?” We think he’s going to be waiting awhile.

This is amusing. First of all, Rothstein is a DC media gossip columnist who is becoming notorious for her favoritism. (Dave Weigel loathes her.)

Rothstein was recently (and glowingly) profiled by Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. And on Friday, the New York Times reported that the sources for Tommy’s big WeinerGate scoop about “Veronica and Betty” were evidently fictional. Yet Rothstein, while mocking my Friday scoop, can’t be bothered to notice that her friend Tommy appears to have fallen for a hoax.

Rothstein’s most recent item mentioning Tommy was on June 14, when she quoted his oracular pronouncement via Twitter: “Journalism isn’t about what you ‘think’ or ‘believe.’ Skepticism and curiosity are hammer and nails. Takes skill to build something.”


At least I know that my source is a real flesh-and-blood human being. And to repeat what I wrote in a follow-up Friday: I stand by the story.


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