ProJo Will Print Baloney After All
Apparently some of the baloney that blogs put out is good enough for the ProJo to pick up.
And unattributed at that.
On Saturday, Andrew broke the story that former Senator Chafee had finally left the GOP. So did RI Report’s Tom Shevlin, who has some “original thoughts” on the way it was reported by ProJo (h/t Ian):
Sunday morning, the vast majority of Rhode Islanders awoke with the impression that somehow the Providence Journal had by chance asked Chafee if he had left the GOP. The Journal’s opening paragraph read as follows:
“Lincoln D. Chafee, who lost his Senate seat in the wave of anti-Republican sentiment in last November’s election, said that he has left the party.”
It goes on “Chafee said he disaffiliated from the party ‘in June or July,’ making him an unaffiliated voter. He did so quietly, and until Sunday, he said, ‘No one’s asked me about it.’ He said he made the move because ‘I want my affiliation to accurately reflect my status.’”
So did the Journal just decide to ask him about it? Why ever would they do that?
What the Journal failed to mention, but which I reported on Saturday along with AnchorRising, is that Chafee’s disaffiliation was discovered by an eagle-eyed RIGOP activist who had specific questions regarding Chafee’s registration status.
In fact, there was no need to speak to Chafee except to gather his personal reaction to what was as clear as black and white. Confirmation of the initial assertion was easily obtained through public access to the voter roll available online through the Secretary of State’s website.
No, there was no press release from Senator Chafee; no press conference or unsolicited phone call to the Journal newsroom. Chafee had kept his disaffiliation quiet for several months before the news broke, and without the diligence of one nosy party activist, the Journal and the rest of us probably still wouldn’t know about it.
Now, I’m under no illusions. I realize that the meager readership of the Rhode Island blogosphere pales in comparison to that of the Providence Journal and makes bloggers for the most part bit players in the news cycle….But if the Journal chose not to cite these bit players in their “original” reporting, then perhaps they shouldn’t have used reaction to Chafee’s disaffiliation for the basis of their follow-up story on Monday. Especially if those reactions were taken from a blog which carried the real story the day before the Journal’s own report ran.