Did Joe Biden call people who disagree with him on economic issues “terrorists” or not? So far all he’s done is issue non-denial denials. But it’s not going away, as Obama found out this week.
WaPo to the rescue! Their self-proclaimed “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler, is glad to run interference for the Obama administration:
The report that Vice President Biden called tea party activists “terrorists” started with an item in Politico, reporting on a closed-door conversation between Democrats about the debt-ceiling agreement. A somewhat vague denial emerged from the vice president’s office, followed by a more forceful on-the-record denial from the vice president himself.
And yet the story continues to circulate, even though the major print media — such as The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal — never did their own stories confirming Biden’s alleged statement.
“Even though”! As we all know, if a story isn’t picked up by the NYT, WaPo, etc., it didn’t happen. Just ask John Edwards. Or Van Jones. Or ACORN. The gatekeepers can’t control what is and isn’t considered a story anymore, and they just can’t handle it.
Kessler goes on to say that the story only has legs because it fits into “the journalistic narrative of Biden as a gaffe machine.” Some might call it less of a “journalistic narrative” than “the merest familiarity with anything Joe Biden has ever said in his life,” but whatever. Then Kessler gets to the good part:
Given the private nature of the conversation, we obviously cannot come to a definitive ruling on this. But readers should be wary of news reports that report mere gossip as facts.
Frankly, we are dubious that Biden actually said this. And if he did, he was simply echoing what another speaker said, in a private conversation, as opposed to making a public statement.
Now that is some strenuous fact-checking! “He probably didn’t say it, and even if he did, so what?”
And then comes the most amazing statement of all from Kessler:
…Secondhand reports about comments made in private — which are then denied by the speaker — should be ignored as unverified tittle-tattle unworthy of public discourse.
Never mind that according to Politico, this “unverified tittle-tattle” was verified by five sources. (Say what you want about Politico, but five sources seems pretty good.) If it’s not written down in a White House press release, if Jay Carney doesn’t mumble it out in front of the press corps, did it really happen? Not according to WaPo’s “Fact Checker.”
Just imagine if the speaker weren’t Biden but rather… oh, let’s say Dick Cheney. Do you think we might be hearing a different tune from these guys right now? Or here’s an even more fitting scenario, courtesy of Chuck Long on Twitter:
Halderman: “The President had no knowledge of the incident whatsoever.”
Woodward/Berstein: “Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your time!”
It looks like the days when the Washington Post stood up to those in power and cut through a fog of lies to get the real story are over. Now they’re content to be White House stenographers, telling us what they’ve been instructed to tell us and dismissing anything that might conflict with it.
Well, at least until the Republicans move back in.
P.S. Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner:
It is odd that the newspaper that broke the Watergate story is so eager to take a White House’s denial at face value. But it is also worth remembering that Obama has been accusing Republicans of terrorist-like acts from the beginning. Just weeks after being sworn into office Obama told house Democrats at a retreat in Virginia: “They cannot hold the president of the United States hostage.” Obama has since outright called Republicans “hostage takers.” Both of these statements are on video. How far of a rhetorical jump is it really from “hostage taker” to “terrorist”?