This is not a post about Barack Obama's girlfriends. Politico did that last week, and quite badly. What it is, is a post asking why Howard Kurtz, host of a show called "Reliable Sources," gave Politico's reporter a complete pass on his "gotcha" post that got righties riled, but failed to pass the truth test.
Last Wednesday, Dylan Byers wrote what can only be characterized as a junky gotcha piece for Politico. It focused on David Mariniss' upcoming biography on President Obama. Rather than placing his focus on Obama's milestones, Maraniss has focused on his relationships. Vanity Fair published a bit of a provocative (not really) excerpt concerning one of Obama's college girlfriends.
Byers seized on the interview to declare that Obama "now admits to Maraniss that the character was a composite." Subtext: Obama lied to readers of his memoir. And sure enough, the right wing blogosphere jumped right on that subtext, with Drudge leading the way in characteristic 108-point madness. The Drudge headline read "Obama Admits Fabricating Character in Memoir." And so began the "composite girlfriend" meme of last week, much to wingers' delight.
Byers was reluctant to back down from his indictment, and initially only corrected the post to say the second edition of the book had a statement about composite characters. However, he was incorrect about that too, and on Friday an update was added to the post by the editors acknowledging that all editions of the book began with that statement, no lies were told, and the "incorrect information had been removed from the article."
But this is Politico, after all. Byers came back the very same day as the correction with a brand-spanking new article entitled "The dangerous new Obama book." Byers contends it has everyone in the White House quaking in their boots because, well, it will show how Barack Obama "fashioned himself" for the Presidency.
Byers used that disingenuously entitled article to make the case for his own quest for "gotcha journalism."