How to lose credibility in 48 hours…

Filed as News on May 16, 2006 3:49 am

The Credibility Rule

I like to believe in what I call the credibility rule of blogging. Simply put:

If we want to be taken credibly as journalists as we blog – we have a responsibility to ensure that we don’t spew nonsense – particularly if we have a political agenda.

Karl Rove Indicted?

On Saturday, Jason Leopold, writing at truthout wrote that sources had informed him that Karl Rove had been indicted for perjury and lying to investigators over the Valerie Plame Wilson CIA leak case.

This was after a posting on Friday, where Leopold wrote that Karl Rove had informed President Bush that he was to be indicted shortly.

The Blogosphere Storm

Before long, the story was all over the blogosphere, particularly what I’ll call the “leftist blogosphere”. Technorati even setup a separate page to rack the conversation about Rove’s potential indictment.

The problem, of course, is that this all turned out to be untrue. Rove hasn’t been indicted.

Bias & Lost Credibility

Truthout, of course, is a blog site that appears to fall rather to the left side of the political spectrum. The homepage is covered with pictures about Mothers saying No to War, Green Politics, and Red Revolution links. Certainly not the place I would expect to find breaking news of Rove’s pending indictment – at least not with any level of credibility.

Beyond that, Wizbang comes with perhaps the best post about the credibility of Mr. Leopold when Kevin writes:

The author of the story, freelance writer Jason Leopold, seems to be working his way down the media chain; going from respectable outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, to online magazine Salon, and now a kooky site like Truthout. There’s a reason his work isn’t featured anywhere else – he’s already been busted down by as a plagiarist and fabricator of material, and as Howard Kurtz reports: he’s engaged in “lying, cheating and backstabbing,” is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life.

Wishing doesn’t make it happen

I don’t know if Karl Rove committed a crime or not – that’s not the point of this post.

If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger – then be a serious blogger. Find good sources, get others to corroborate their stories, and then post them. After all, that’s what real journalists do.

And if you have a political bias, either hide it or disclose it.

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  1. By Pillock Watcher posted on May 16, 2006 at 5:39 am
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    Dear Matt,

    FWIW…. You sir… are a complete pillock.

  2. By BONE posted on May 16, 2006 at 6:49 am
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    You are correct about Leopold; but Matt, your last sentence “And if you have a political bias, either hide it or disclose it.” makes little sense in light of the fact that Leopold’s writing eminates from “truthout”. Writing for a liberal blog is an open declaration of bias, so disclosure of said bias is a forgone conclusion.

    My biggest problem with his article was his statement that Rove was given 24 hours to get his affairs in order. This is inconsistent with this type of indictment in which the accused is released and it is inconsistent with the manner in which Libby’s indictment went down.

    People following this case for years have become accustomed to such wild speculation.

    Still hoping, though.

  3. By Oswald Sobrino posted on May 17, 2006 at 9:51 am
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    This is a response to a comment to another post (April 21st). (I have to respond here, because the comment form for that post is now closed.) The comment states that I accurately expressed the Pope’s view on a smaller Church with less style and grace than the Pope would have done so. I plead guilty. I certainly have my own unique measure of style and grace in writing, but the Pope’s is certainly superior to mine. I hope, in time, that I will pick up some of the Pope’s superior style and grace of expression. Maybe, that’s why I keep reading his works, which I highly recommend to all.

  4. By rickdog posted on May 19, 2006 at 12:07 am
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    You have a way of bending a story to suit your own political bias, something that I find most prevelent in the right wing media. Truthout never said that the indictment is public or even final, and they are standing behind their story: Update on the Rove Indictment Story. You impune the credibility of others by conjecture, you try to discredit a whole group of people who are trying to bring to light the dastardly deeds that the current adminstration have perpetrated on our nation and the world. You’ll probably blithely ignore the final outcome of this because the truth just won’t fit your sadly twisted world view. But I urge you, when the truth is brought to light, please examine your political allegiance and finally start supporting the people. Enough is enough.

  5. By Matt posted on May 19, 2006 at 12:25 am
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    Dancing is what truthout is doing. Dancing. Something that most places don’t do very well at all.

    If Rove is indicted, I’ll post it here and publicly state that I was wrong. But I don’t believe that’s going to happen.

    orperhaps it will be in the next “24 hours”. But not really 24 hours, I mean 24 business hours. But since that timeline has expired, I mean.. well, I didn’t really mean 24 hours, I meant….

    Matt