Liberal Mania - Not Helping Vol. 2: WaPo's Josh Rogin
As frustrating as it is to watch President Donald Trump (or even type those three words), I find it equally annoying to watch the media's inability to get out of their own way. With his actions, Trump has opened up multiple doors for the press to walk through and point out his mistakes. Instead, the press decides, "Let's see if I can run through this wall!"
The latest example is Josh Rogin's piece on State Dept. exits in the Washington Post.
Step 1: Rogin posted his EXCLUSIVE "The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned." I saw the story posted a few times on Facebook. The lede was:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.
But in this day and age, you have to wait a bit to make sure that the story is legit. Wait for a follow-up story with confirmation, ideally named stories, and not just rehashes based on the same initial reporting.
Step 2: Rogin tweets out CNN"s take on the story. "Top State Department Officials Asked to Leave By Trump Administration." That story refutes Rogin's assertion that the people quit because they "don't want to stick around for the Trump era". Every new administration starts with people turning in their resignations. In this case, the White House, surprisingly to some, accepted these resignations. (Well, except for one person who had been planning on retiring for months and probably shouldn't have been included at all in the initial story.)
Step 3: The Washington Post echoes CNN's story with a new story entitled, "Trump Administration Choosing to Replace Several Senior State Department Diplomats." It would seem that the Post has looked things over and decided CNN's version of the story is the one to go with.
Later in the day, President Donald Trump would add to the litany of things that the Washington Post could have spent their time on by bringing a 20% tariff on Mexican goods that would be levied in order to pay for his wall, an idea that was so immediately shot down by both parties and pundits everywhere that Sean Spicer had to then go out and say that Trump was just spitballing and that the 20% tariff wasn't an actual policy proposal, it was just the kind of thing that we COULD do to pay for the wall or one of "a buffet of options" as Chief of Staff/Co-Head of Verbal Janitorial Reince Priebus noted.. Although, if it's a bad idea then it's not really a thing that we SHOULD even bother considering to pay for the wall, right?
Unfortunately, Josh Rogin helped give conservatives a different talking point to focus on with his apparently off-base "exclusive". (I say apparently because, who knows, maybe I'm wrong and somehow Rogin will salvage his report with a new exclusive but, at this point, I'm willing to wrap this story up and say he gave a fairly uneven report, to put it nicely.)
Rogin has since tweeted out the new WaPo story but no word on whether he is rescinding his story or an explanation for the direction he took his tale but I'd hope that the Washington Post higher-ups and the ombudsman are grilling him and perhaps there should be some consequences. You can't have writers making mistakes like this with zero repercussions. I mean, you can because everyone does and it's why we're in the state that we're in today but eventually somebody needs to stand up and act responsibly. Why not today?
EDIT: Rogin has finally responded to someone and wrote: "Technically, they resigned, but the Trump team wanted them gone, so in a way they were fired." So basically, the general thrust of his story that the State Dept. people were making some sort of principled stand against Trump is wrong. Again, I think there should be consequences for this type of reporting. Or we should just change Michelle Obama's quote to, "When they go low, we go low but point out that they went low first so that makes it just the common sense reaction to those who go low."