There’s also a question of journalistic ethics. Luntz requested that the remarks remain off the record; while a journalist who was in the room verbally agreed to this request, Abbi (who isn’t a journalist) and Mother Jones (who wasn’t present) did not. So are they still bound by it? Does a request to remain off the record amount to a decree, or must it be agreed to? Regardless of where you stand, it’s a fuzzy area. Meanwhile, Luntz has withdrawn a scholarship in his father’s name since the remarks leaked.
» So what to make of all of this, anyway? If you ask me, there’s a lot of hand-wringing people can do after the fact. Monday morning is coming up pretty darn soon, and quarterbacks are ready to throw up questions. And considering the unprecedented ways people screwed the pooch on this story, it’s fair. But let’s be sure not to let the navel gazing get in the way of the next situation. We should learn lessons from this and improve our own patterns, not talk about it endlessly. We also need to figure out how to wean ourselves off the drug that is banner-ad-dependent web traffic, because it’s not helping things. This was a bad week for journalism, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make things better next time. (Also, the guy who basically owned this story top to bottom, NBC’s Pete Williams, didn’t tweet once this week.)
To the national party’s credit, Young’s remarks were roundly denounced by Republican leaders, and Kincannon has basically been disowned by the state GOP. But every story like this reaffirms the exact stereotypes the party is working so hard to combat right now, and until the party can get its members under control, even a superficial rebranding is likely to be unsuccessful. The larger issue, though, is whether the Republicans’ electoral base actually wants it to change. The early evidence isn’t very promising. source
There’s a wrinkle here: In its recounting of today’s revelations, the Daily Caller writes that the lawyer “blamed four news outlets — CNN, The Daily Caller, Telemundo and Univision — for allegedly encouraging him to fabricate false accusations about Menendez.” This isn’t true; according to the Post, the man only accused the Daily Caller—not the other three outlets—of offering to bribe him (the other three were mentioned as having requested to interview the man after he made the claims). The lawyer’s reliability is already shot, having reversed his story at least once, but the Daily Caller has seriously undermined its own credibility by reporting the original story in such a misleading, and indeed factually inaccurate, way. This is one of those weird news stories where all parties involved seem to have been dishonest to some degree—with the possible exception of Menendez himself.