Politico’s Roger Simon attempts satire, leaves a ‘stench’ behind


Even when Mitt Romney’s campaign isn’t committing gaffes, the media is literally making them up.

Earlier today, Politico’s respected chief political correspondent Roger Simon penned what seemed to be damaging report about Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s attempts to distance himself from Mitt Romney. As Simon wrote, Ryan

now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Rumors that Ryan was going rogue were too juicy for journalists to pass up. But only after multiple media outlets, including the New York Times Paul Krugman, picked up on the story, did it become clear that they had been punk’d. (This, of course, makes the outlets who believed Simon’s reporting look like fools.)

Look, satire has a long and respectful tradition. But it should be clearly marked or patently obvious (It’s pretty clear that Obama isn’t really the “Lizard King,” right?)

For this reason, I’ve always opposed the trend of media outlets and journalists posting April Fool’s jokes as legitimate news stories. (With journalism already in a sorry state, why spend 364 days trying to be taken seriously, and then throw it all away just for a cheap laugh?)

The sad thing is that Roger Simon is a respected journalist. In 2004, he penned what is probably the definitive explainer of how the Iowa ground game works.  His book “Show Time” is also respected.

But he lost some credibility today. This might just leave a Stench behind.

UPDATE: Bloomberg View’s Tobin Harshaw deserves credit for being first to sniff out that the stench story was bogus.

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