So is Amanda Marcotte: Should Romney release more tax returns?
That is a matter of judgment. In our view, the press corps could write reams of informative reports based on what is available now.
The truth is, they don’t want to do that.
In his current column, Richard Cohen muses about those returns. At one point, he says the following. On the facts, Cohen is wrong:
COHEN (7/24/12): In general, presidential and vice presidential candidates have released their returns. Maybe this was because most of them were public servants whose salaries were already known and whose wealth was modest. Others, though, were persons of considerable wealth—Lloyd Bentsen, John Kerry, John Edwards—who laid it all out on the table.Cohen is wrong on the facts. To the extent that Kerry was a person of wealth, he didn’t “lay it all out on the table.” (We’re not saying he should have done so, or even that he could have.) The wealth was in his wife’s tax returns. Despite demands from the Post and the Times, she released no full tax returns.
(She released two-page summaries for two years of returns. She released the summary for the second year late in the fall campaign. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/20/12.)
These are very simple facts, but a headlong chase is on. Misinformation can lost a long time when the press corps has a preferred story.
Misinformation can last a long time: Recently, Armanda Marcotte penned the following passage at Slate. It concerns the killing of Trayvon Martin:
MARCOTTE (7/17/12): Sexual abuse is a form of bullying, a violent crime whose pleasure for the attacker is far more about enjoying their power and dominance over the victim than it is about sexual urges. Subsequently, sexually violent men tend to be more violent generally, particularly against people they believe are lesser or weaker. If you're trying to establish that Zimmerman had it in him to hunt down and murder a teenager who is much smaller than himself, than a history of sexual assault does help demonstrate this.Did George Zimmerman ever commit sexual assault against his cousin? We have no way of knowing.
We do know this: In the matter of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman didn’t kill a teenager who was “much smaller than himself.” MSNBC pushed that inaccurate claim for weeks. (The channel’s viewers were falsely told that Zimmerman outweighed Martin, 250 pounds to 140.)
Marcotte still seems to believe it—and she’s still passing it on. Plainly, she thinks it’s relevant.
Cohen is wrong on the facts; so is Marcotte. Misinformation can last a long time, especially when it drives preferred stories.
The official data, such as they are: Trayvon Martin’s autopsy listed him as 5-11, 158 pounds. When Zimmerman was taken into custody, he was listed as 5-8, 185 pounds.
Zimmerman wasn’t measured or weighed on the night of Martin’s death. That said, MSNBC’s claims were plainly wrong. In this, as in many other matters, the claims went uncorrected.
Misinformation can last a long time when "journalists" refuse to correct.