I come not to defend CJR against the Washington Post’s Assistant Managing Editor Bill Hamilton. I come to criticize further. In the Politico today, Hamilton struck back at us for taking WaPo reporter Perry Bacon Jr. to task for penning the shoddy “Obama Muslim rumor” story last week.
Admittedly I used some, shall we say, strident language in deconstructing Bacon’s piece, but take some comfort in the fact that people are still talking about how poorly done that story was. Must mean there’s something to the criticism, no? But Hamilton doesn’t see it that way, telling the Politico’s Michael Calderone that for a “journalism review to adapt the language of the most extreme blogs totally discredits it.”
It’s perfectly fine if he feels the need to push back, but what’s not fine is the tortured explanation he gives of his reasoning behind running the piece. I’m just going to let Hamilton hang himself here:
The paper’s intention, Hamilton said, was “to write a story about the kind of rumors that are out there,” and added that “saying something is a rumor is not saying it’s true.”
“We didn’t say it was a false rumor,” Hamilton added. “To me, a rumor is not true.”
Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.
With reasoning like that at the top of the editorial food chain, it looks like our job is going to be done for us this campaign season.