FORT STOCKTON, Texas -- The journalistic cliche is that someone comes running into a newsroom, shouting: "I’ve got a story that’ll bust this town wide open!" So stop the presses; re-do the front page. But in these days of the Internet, you don’t stop the presses. You merely write it ASAP and hit the "publish" button.
A top conservative news blog and much of the conservative media recently ran a revelation that they thought would bust wide open former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel’s bid to become Secretary of Defense: they reported that Hagel secretly got funds from "Friends of Hamas." The tiny problem: the group doesn’t exist.
The revelation stemmed from a joke made by a New York Daily News reporter to a Republican Senate staffer. Still, the big conservative news site insisted the scoop was real, insisted other sources confirmed the donation from the (nonexistent) group, and suggested that even if it wasn’t true, the reporting of what the source said was itself accurate.
To help partisan websites from each side get people they don’t politically hate, I’m offering here four BIG scoops based on my sources. No need to check the accuracy. Just trust me.
Scoop Number One: One of my most reliable sources wonders whether Hagel has given a speech to B’Nai Hamas, the National Hamas Association, Young Me’’s Hamas Association, McHamas burger restaurants, Temple Beth Hamas Israel, the National Organization for Hamas, the United League of Hamas Citizens, the California Hamas Teachers Association, or Hair Club for Hamas.
Scoop Number Two: Rachael Maddow badmouthed the United States Navy fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor on her MSNBC cable show that aired December 7, 1941. This transcript sent to me by a source must be accurate since it’s in Maddow’s style: while most journalists and broadcasters use an inverted pyramid to discuss a fact or story, Maddow uses a b-i-g pyramid that includes repeating a fact or concept several times before she gets to the point. Here’s part of it:
"Welcome to tonight’s show. Pearl Harbor is an important naval base. It’s a naval base that’s very important. The importance of Pearl Harbor is important. On his Twitter account, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recently said Pearl Harbor was important. President Franklin Roosevelt on his Twitter account talked about the importance of Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor, the naval base. The naval base called Pearl Harbor. But today December 7th, will be a day that will live in history. History -- the record of days, weeks, months..."
(No space here to run the next two pages before she gets to the point).
Scoop Number Three: Barack Obama doesn’t wear underwear.
Scoop Number Four: Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman received secret donations from his church, the Catholic Church. Lieberman’s strong religious ties date back to when he was an altar boy. Over the years, Lieberman helped raise money to plant trees in the Vatican, worked to raise money for State of Vatican bonds, and secretly accepted campaign donations from groups such as the Catholic Torah Institute. Two months ago he made a secret trip to Italy and went bowling with Pope Benedict.
All of these scoops are totally solid and have been confirmed by three additional sources: the Easter Bunny, Jimmy Hoffa and, that famous foot doctor from Oriskiny Falls, N.Y, Paul Bunyan.
If anyone challenges these scoops, just point out that if I told it to you and you wrote about it, you’ve done your job, and it’s accurate because I said it. Trust me -- and you can blow this town wide open.
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates.