It doesn't give me a lot of joy to pick on Jake Wagman, but I saw something this weekend that is so embarrassing, it can't be left alone.
I was reading the Political Fix Friday night and I saw an article titled - "Controversial RNC finance presentation offers no mention of Blunt." Here is a screen shot of the piece. The piece is a powerpoint presentation of a RNC finance presentation that was left in a room in Florida, and passed to the Politico. Wagman's main point is the piece doesn't mention Roy Blunt or Missouri in Top Senatorial Targets.
When I read the piece - I thought it was quite silly to point out, as the now 7 point lead and the dropoff in Carnahan's fundraising, as well as the general conservative nature of Missouri (slim win by McCaskill, state went to McCain), would make it easy to focus on other states. It turns out I was wrong.
The list doesn't have Missouri featured because it's a Democratic takeover list, and no current Republican seats are mentioned.
You know how I find out? I read the Political Fix today and the entire article has changed. Jake altered the story, without telling his readers why. The piece still has the presentation and the link to the Politico (who broke the story), but now it lists the reason why Blunt is not on the presentation.
The current url lists the original title:
And here's a screen shot that shows the original title scraped from Jake's feed.
It's definitely been changed. And it's a substantial rewrite, deleting and adding paragraphs, in a very poor attempt to cover the original story. What does Blunt have to do with it in the new piece? Nothing. Blunt is not mentioned in the Politico piece. It seems to be entirely based on Jake's reasoning. if that was the end of it, we could let it pass. Proper blogging etiquette is to never fully erase a story, but instead to add edits and updates. While it's not what I would do, I thought it was an honest mistake that any of us can make.
And then I saw where it came from.
This is a search on Twitter for @royblunt. Go back a few days, and you see three names in succession pitching the same story as Jake. One is Linden Zakula, the press secretary for Carnahan for Senate. The other is the MO Dem Party, which is Ryan Hobart (formerly of Carnahan's state office). These are the only mentions of the story until Jake publishes the same version. And that's where we have a problem. If you're going to print stories directly from the Missouri Democratic Party and the press secretary for the Carnahan for Senate campaign, you don't get to then alter the story when it turns out their stories were bogus.
And that's what Jake did. This goes far beyond misreading a report and publishing a story - it's the blatant publishing of Democratic talking points as if it's a story, followed by a down-the-memory-hole erasing of the story in order to republish a substantially different article. The Post Dispatch Political Fix may be a blog, but it is written by a reporter. You don't get to just hide the article because you made a mistake and don't want to be called out on it.
Keep in mind, the Post Dispatch has been caught editing titles to make Roy Blunt look bad. They've been caught covering for Russ Carnahan and his foreign trips on the taxpayer dime. And the editorial board went so far as to write a column claiming a Republican candidate opposing Carnahan isn't fit to serve in Congress. At some point, we're going to start thinking the Post Dispatch is actually a political arm of the Carnahan family, and not a professional newspaper with obligations to its readers, the chief among them an honest accounting.