Audit Notes: WaPo on the Bain thing, deadbeat Forbes, hamster wheel

The Post's revealing slip-up on the definition of swift-boating

The Washington Post apparently doesn’t understand just how toxic Wall Street and its even more rapacious cousin, private equity—not popular in good times—really is now. The paper actually thought it might have been an error for Obama to attack Romney over his Bain Capital days:

It also looked, at first, like a mistake.

Democrats such as former president Bill Clinton, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former representative Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), and Steven Rattner, who oversaw the president’s bailout of the auto industry, all condemned the ads as unfair to capitalism.

Still others referred to it as Obama’s attempt to “swift-boat” Romney, the tactic of using a perceived strength against a candidate. The term recalled the 2004 presidential race, when Sen. John F. Kerry’s sterling Vietnam War service record was turned into a liability.

Only on K Street (or 15th Street NW) and amongst people who depend on their campaign donations and speaking fees could attacking Romney on Bain have ever looked like a political mistake. Go read Josh Kosman’s book and particularly its chapter on Romney and Bain.

It’s also pretty revealing here that the Post completely flubs the definition of swift-boating.

It’s not “the tactic of using a perceived strength against a candidate.” It’s the tactic of egregiously lying about your opponent’s strength to turn it into a liability. Particularly vile in the Kerry case was that this strength was his decorated military service, and it got turned against him by supporters of a candidate whose avoidance of combat was a longstanding political weakness.

— Steve Forbes, deadbeat tenant?

The Wall Street Journal gets a nifty media scoop, reporting that Forbes has missed at least three rent payments on one of its offices. The lede is pretty great:

Forbes’s well-known motto is Capitalist Tool.

Maybe it should be The Rent is Too Damn High.

It turns out that an investor had a deal to buy the building for $115 million, but will probably back out because of Forbes’s nonpayment, the WSJ writes. It also notes that the landlord is “exploring legal options.”

Never fear, though, you recalcitrant, stick-in-the-mud journos: Forbes’s Chief Product Officer Lewis DVorkin says “content marketing just might be the full employment act for journalists.”

— Here’s one for the Hamster Wheel Hall of Fame. Fortune tweets out a link to this blog post headlined “Paula Broadwell’s Mac.”

It consists of a picture of (oddly dressed down) FBI agents carrying an iMac out of the house of General Petraeus’ biographer/paramour, four sentences of text, and a picture of the specs of a 2009 iMac.

Needless to say, the world is not eagerly anticipating the model number of Paula Broadwell’s computer.

This kind of thing may be SEO gold, but it makes loyal readers slightly less likely to remain loyal readers.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,