The Mirror

The Biggest Ass Kissing Story You’ll Read Today

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger

How many bosses can a Washington Post reporter suck up to in one story?

Well, three to be exact. But who’s counting?

In a piece by HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone, he examines just how WaPo‘s Carol Leonnig went about getting her string of provocative and damning stories on the Secret Service.

A great story idea. Something I’d definitely want to read.

Except that the story doesn’t address any of it. In short, she developed sources and did reporting. Good old-fashioned shoe leather. She revealed nothing about how she actually got her stories. The rest was the wonderful, beautiful, fantastic, perfect, incredible, amazing, caring, luscious encouragement of her editors.

The headline lures a reader in, but is completely misleading in that the story doesn’t uncover anything about her reporting or answer its premise.

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There’s no taking away from Leonnig’s memorable reporting of the last few weeks that deserves all the praise it’s receiving in the media and beyond. But if she’s not going to discuss anything at all interesting or specific about how she got such a great story, then why do the story at all?

Ass kissing lines at a glance

  • “I think they trusted The Washington Post more than they trusted their headquarters’ leadership,” Leonnig said in an interview with The Huffington Post. (Seriously, this is considered an exclusive? That Leonnig says her sources trusted WaPo more than their own agency? Isn’t this rather obvious?)
  • “It is the kind of old-fashioned reporting The Post does all the time and Marty Baron, our executive editor, has really championed.” (Three cheers for Marty Baron!)
  • “She credited Baron, along with editors Anne Kornblut and Peter Wallsten, for urging her earlier this year to continue digging into the Secret Service and for “seeing that the symptoms mean something bigger.” (Three more cheers for Marty Baron!)

Does your boss Marty Baron really need all that public adulation?

Wait, don’t answer that.