Art Pope’s Stooge Sucks It
This is what happens when you drink dirty water:
At 2:56 pm, Sam Hieb Said:
Hammer and Bledsoe are responsible for their reporting, although Hammer does say ‘mainly anonymous sources,’ with Eric Townsend named but not quoted and Eric Carson quoted in two stories. Yes, it meets the ‘two source rule.’
But you read it yourself, Roch — Joe Killian said he had not heard any of the calls. Should he solicit speculation about something he has not confirmed himself?
At 3:54 pm, Roch Smith Said:
I’m sorry, I think you’ve missed my point.
You quoted a story that impugned an individual, Townsend, and posited in your own words that makes him a “rat.”
It has been brought to your attention that the underlying fact used to impugn Townsend is contradicted by the same source you cited. The thing that the Rhino says Townsend reported wasn’t true was also reported in the Rhino.
So I am not asking about Killian’s reporting techniques, I am asking you if it is right for you to leave unaddressed your calling a man a rat when the reason you offer for it is contradicted by your own source.
At 5:01 pm, Joe Killian Said:
“Should he solicit speculation about something he has not confirmed himself?”
That’s kind of what we do as reporters, Sam.
Now and then and on certain kinds of stories we’re able to witness everything ourselves — a meeting, an event. But when something breaks without us there, we have to find the people who are involved and talk to the people who actually witnessed it.
Last year I was lucky enough to actually get a robo-call I ended up talking about. So I heard it myself. That gave me a leg up because then, as now, no one had a recording or a transcript and the only proof that it had happened at all was that people came forward through calls or e-mails and said they’d gotten these calls, described them to us.
That’s what I built that story around and that’s what I’ve built countless crime and political stories around — talking to people who have witnessed (or in this case audited, I guess) events about which we’re tasked with writing without actually being able to be there when the inciting incident transpires.
I don’t believe anyone disputes that the calls actually occurred. Wade herself, from the first story, didn’t dispute it. She said she was disturbed by it, called it low and wanted people to know that it wasn’t her. That’s why she’s called for an investigation. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have defended the calls, though most of them claim not to have heard or made them, as legitimate “message testing” and not push polling. But no one’s called or written me to say “this never happened.” Even Hammer, though he clearly doesn’t like the coverage, isn’t saying the calls didn’t occur – just that Townsend may have misunderstood it or taken more away from them than was actually there.
So what we’re really talking about is: Are the people who have called and e-mailed me (a number of whom, frustrating though it is, didn’t want their names in the paper because they didn’t want to be dragged into ugly political conversations whereby they for the crime of having gotten a call like this and talked about it publicly are considered suspect) mis-characterizing the substance of the calls?
They could be. That’s the risk you run with eyewitness (or ear witness?) accounts. If so, they’re doing it with great consistency including some smaller details that haven’t been printed.
At each step of these stories I’ve talked with our editors about sourcing, what we had and what we didn’t have. I’ve given everyone against whom an accusation was made the opportunity to refute it and to say their piece. I wish I had more, but I feel good about what we’ve had — certainly better than I’d have felt keeping it all quiet unless I could hear the call myself.
Killian taking a “fellow journalist” to the woodshed is breathtakingly enjoyable. It cements forever the undeniable proof that Killian has a highly-developed sense of humor. And the craftsmanship displayed in a mere comment to one of the local Christofascists speaks to his work ethic and respect for the rest of us.
Congrats on a good day’s work, gentlemen.
Yes, I’m drunk.