Great Moments in Meaningless Reporting

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I’m a big fan of TPM.  They’re one of the best news organizations working.  But this is way beneath them.

The headline is “Criminal Probe of Ensign Seen as Likely.”  But then comes the Fox-worthy reveal: “An expert consensus may be forming that the Justice Department will likely launch a criminal investigation . . .”

That sentence is so overqualified that it has no meaning left.  Unlike the headline, it doesn’t say the DOJ is likely to launch a criminal investigation.  It doesn’t even say a bunch of “experts” think the DOJ is likely to launch a criminal investigation.  It says it seems like maybe a lot of “experts” might be about to think the DOJ is likely to launch a criminal investigation.

If that’s the best information they’ve got, they shouldn’t have written the piece at all.  It’s not news.  It’s not reporting.  It’s innuendo, best designed to mislead a careless reader.  If they’ve got harder information than their lede suggests, the person who wrote that sentence should be put in timeout for a few days.

Ensign is, based on the facts that have been reported, a giant, hypocritical douche bag.  And it does seem quite possible he’s going to have legal problems.  There’s no reason to resort to innuendo reporting.

When there is an expert consensus that the DOJ is about to investigate the man, report that.

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