The Washington Post reporters Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites engaged in some investigative journalism and broke a story that could shift the results of U.S. Senate race in the state of Alabama.
As everybody now surely knows, the Post spoke with four women, all of whom say Republican Roy Moore had either attempted to date them or did and initiated sexual encounters. One of them, Leigh Corfman was 14 years old at the time.
With the election in Alabama a month away, the fallout from the story continues. Moore denied all of the allegations in the story, claiming the entire thing is an orchestrated political smear campaign. Naturally, Moore has supporters, and they too began yelping about The Washington Post and Jeff Bezos and agreeing with Moore that it’s a smear campaign.
What got lost in all of the hullabaloo is the fact the reporters did an excellent job of making sure they couldn’t get hit with the absurd “fake news” charge. They made sure Corfman’s story did not change:
Corfman described her story consistently in six interviews with The Post. The Post confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records. Moore’s office was down the hall from the courtroom.
One of the more interesting aspects of this story is the one — their overall favorite — charge tribalists can’t use is attacking the story for being anonymously sourced.
That’s been the standard go-to talking point for Trump defenders since his election. Most of the people defending Trump are also defending Moore (big shock) and why not? Despite the fact that Trump endorsed Luther Strange, Steve Bannon backed Moore, and once he defeated Strange in the primary, Team Trump jumped aboard the Moore Train.
Stories that surface and are critical of Donald Trump get dismissed if the allegations contained in the story are anonymously sourced. I’ve seen news stories posted on Twitter or other social media platforms only to have people reject the veracity of the story because they sources remain anonymous.
Anonymous sources have been a standard in journalism for decades. News organizations don’t just allow some person to call the paper, say they have information and just run with it. Most news organizations have strict standards before running with anonymous sources and quotes.
But the Moore story comes with four women on the record.
The excuse the tribe uses now? The timing.
“Why didn’t this surface sooner? If people knew about him and what Moore did (or tried to do), why is it only surfacing now?”
It is possible the women are all lying. But they come across as pretty darned credible. Also, the women did not go searching for reporters. Reporters found them. It’s what investigative journalists do. The timing charge doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. It wouldn’t have made sense for The Washington Post to reporters to Alabama if not for Moore’s win. It’s silly to blame them because somebody provided them with the information they followed up on to get the story.
All this proves is all of the blatherings, whining and yelling about “anonymous sources” didn’t mean a thing. They don’t care if a story has on-the-record sources or not. It was a political calculation. Now they move on to blame “the timing.”
The likelihood they once again wind up once again with egg on their faces is very high.