He says the Clintons told: Do you remember when Amy Chozick issued this unsourced groaner?
CHOZICK AND HABERMAN (4/111/5): [E]ven as Mrs. Clinton attempts to set aside her celebrity and offer herself as a fighter for ordinary voters, her finance team and the outside groups supporting her candidacy have started collecting checks in what is expected to be a $2.5 billion effort, dwarfing the vast majority of her would-be rivals in both parties.Had Candidate Clinton’s finance team, and the outside groups supporting her candidacy, started collecting money?
Yes, they had.
Were they involved in “what was expected to be a $2.5 billion effort?”
That seems extremely unlikely. But so what?
In a typical New York Times news report, Chozick presented no source for her walloping claim—and the claim went viral. A few weeks ago, we saw the gargantuan number cited again, this time at the start of an anti-Clinton screed at the new Salon.
In a rational world, it would be amazing to see the New York Times print such unsourced claims. In the real world, the New York Times plays this game all the time, as we saw last weekend.
In the latest example, Maureen Dowd told a pitiful story, complete with full quotations, about a pitiful deathbed scene. Well, it wasn’t necessarily a deathbed scene. That was just the impression Dowd worked to give her readers.
(At Slate, John Dickerson actually corrected his initial claim that Dowd had reported a “deathbed” scene. To see his correction, just click here. Like many others around the corps, Dickerson had received the impression which Dowd plainly intended.)
Dowd offered no source for her heart-rending story or for her full quotations. Let’s face it—she may have been making it up!
But sure enough! Amy Chozick grabbed the unsourced claims and put them on the Times’ front page. She even wrote that the heart-rending claims had come from Dowd’s “reporting!”
Why did Dowd present us with the non-deathbed deathbed story? Easy!
Maureen Dowd in an insult addict when it comes to the Clintons. She’s often seen around D.C., piteously scratching her arms as she seeks her next “insult fix.”
This Sunday, she presented her ugliest insult yet. A dying man had used his last nouns to beg Dad to stop the Clintons!
Journalists like Chozick and Dowd don’t need no stinkin’ attribution! Neither does our old pal Chuck Todd, or so it seemed as we thoughtfully watched Sunday’s Meet the Press.
Years ago, we worked with Chuck in an attempt to make him “clean and articulate.” Ardent for some desperate glory, he blurted the statement shown below on last Sunday’s program.
We’re recording the actual words he spoke. To her credit, Kathleen Parker didn’t go along with the play.
Gerald Seib speaks first:
SEIB (8/2/15): The [Biden] family has always, as you suggested, thought this was a good idea. Hunter, not just Beau Biden, has apparently said, “You should do this.”To watch this exchange, click here. Move ahead to roughly the 31-minute mark.
But there are also people in Biden World who are not sure it’s a good idea. They don’t want him to go out in his national political career on a down note. And the donors question is an open one. A lot of money has been committed to Hillary Clinton already.
TODD: And some of his staffers. But I tell you, Kathleen, what’s interesting here is that, um, is that some of this is, is driven by—
I had a—
That the Clinton people are trying to smoke him out! That actually, that they had leaked these anecdotes because he’s sitting out there, sort of hovering over the campaign, and it makes them nervous.
PARKER: I’m not tapped into that conspiracy, I’ve got to admit.
Those were the actual words spoken by Todd. We’ve omitted no words. You’ll have to watch the tape to capture his four or five hesitant pauses.
According to Todd, “I had a [final pause]—
“That the Clinton people are trying to smoke him out! That actually, that they had leaked these anecdotes...”
He didn’t seem to want to state his source, if he has one. But he wanted to state the claim. So he ended up blurting it out.
We like Chuck—but in this case, we have to ask a question:
Chuck Todd “had a” what? He had a sixth cousin to Bill Clinton, twice removed, who told him this rather vague story? He had a dream today?
Todd blurted the story without any sourcing or attribution. All of a sudden, it was the Clintons who were leaking these anecdotes! According to his unsourced tale, the Clintons are the source!
This makes the story better than ever:
With the last of his nouns, a dying man denounced the Clintons. And you know the way those Clintons are:
We only know this story today because the Clintons told!