Orbital Matters

Saturn Smith
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JANUARY 11, 2010 12:29PM

Utter crap from Politico: The Rahm-is-leaving rumor

Rate: 10 Flag
Politico's front page right now is leading with "How long will Rahm remain?" and a huge picture of the chief of staff looking speculative, pensive, mischievous, evil... whatever. The story starts like this:

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the administration's most feared and fascinating personality, is fending off questions about just how long he will remain in his draining job — and whether his next gig will be in Washington or back in Chicago, perhaps as Mr. Mayor.

"He's not going anywhere,” a White House aide said. “He's working every day on health care, Afghanistan, the economy and implementing the president's agenda. All this talk that he would go anywhere comes from people who don't know him.”

In reading the story, however, it's clear that the only people here who are asking those questions he's having to fend off are the story's authors, Glenn Thrush and Mike Allen. Everyone quoted basically says the same thing: he's still involved, he's fine, he's doing his job, he's busy.  The quotes, by the way, are almost all from unnamed sources, with the exception of a few sentences from Emanuel's old executive director at the DCCC and a little over a full sentence from Rep. Steve Israel.  Everyone else is "a Senate staffer," "an aide," "a House Democrat close to Emanuel."

This is crap journalism, forcing a story just to have a story on the front page.  It's not terribly far away from publishing a piece called, "Is Barack Obama a Space Alien?" Imagine:

President Barack Obama, the nation's still-new president and newest Nobel laureaute, is fending off questions about whether he might have been born on the planet Xenon -- and whether this intergalatic birth is the reason for his stellar success.

"He's not a space alien," a White House aide said. "He's fully human and he always has been.  All this talk that he's an alien is from people who don't know crap."

Sure, asking whether Emanuel is planning to leave on the two-year schedule he mentioned is a legitimate question. And it has been asked many times recently thanks to Sally Quinn's speculation in The Washington Post. But when everyone answers the question in the negative, and you even manage to pile up convincing evidence that he's sticking around in Washington for a while (there's a list at the end of the piece of personal moves that signal he's planning to stay in D.C.), why run the story? Better: why run the story with a lede that implies this is still an open question? Emanuel himself -- not quoted here -- said conclusively on Sunday that he's staying in Washington. Why not mention that in a three-page story about that exact topic?

Is it just that, having given those hours to investigation, Allen and Thrush have to somehow make Politico some money? Or were the writers there bitter that Mark Halperin's new book was taking the crown for political gossip today?

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This basically runs along the line of "if you can't find the rumor make it up" and "run it on page one today and the appology for getting it wrong on page six next week". Its an example of poor journalism at it's worst.
Thanks for the update, Saturn. It will be interesting to see what Rahm's future holds.
From Dick Cheney's lips to Mike Allen's steno pad. they would know what newsgathering was if it bit them in the posterior.
That would should read wouldn't.
Halperin's ability to find a publisher is but one more sign that nothing has changed and there's little reason to hope that anything will anytime soon.

Business as usual in Washington, DC.
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the Sunday DC talk shows and the National Enquirer. Such is life when you're in a world of courtiers.
I have stated publicly for months that Rahm should go - because he's ineffective and likes to take credit for successes not of his making. That said, I expect Politico made this story up, because they believe that if they "float" a rumor and can get enough people to believe it, then they can make it come true. Ironically, that's how Rahm became the Miracle Worker "responsible" for the Dem's 2006 election win.
Geez, if only Rahm holds off long enough for Palin to break his emailed resignation on Faux News. That would get her some street creds, no?
I read the front page headline -- 'Is Rahm Leaving?' -- and for a few seconds I felt a twinge of hope. Sigh ….
i no space aliens & obama is know space alien
Great - any bets on how long till some loon takes this out of context and purports to have found recently published details about Obama was actually born on the planet Xenon? If you write it on the Interwebs, they will come.