I cannot count the number of times I’ve done it. I see a story, or a series of stories, in the newspaper and think something is, well, fishy. Something doesn’t compute, or doesn’t fit with what I know about a subject. Since I’m a conservative, and work for a conservative publication, and know a lot of conservatives, very often the story casts a right-leaning figure (or policy initiative) in a negative light and I suspect or know that there is more to the story. In these instances I will often contact the person (or person behind the initiative) and offer to help them get the other side of the story out. Sometimes the figure in question, grateful for the chance to respond to negative publicity, then cooperates with my work. I fill copy and get to think I’ve done a good deed, and sometimes the people I’ve defended give me a little scoop in the future. Shocking, all of this, I know.
It’s in this light I read this non-story, about Rich Lowry. Talking Points Memo is headlining it as “Email: Rich Lowry Offered To Help White House Spin Firings.” Seems to me the real spin is in the headline.
And in the conclusion. After reporting that Lowry “offered to help,” Zachary Roth writes:
The best part? Taylor went on to ask: “Anyone better?”
Lowry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he felt dissed.
Oh, come on. If one of the right-leaning people I contacted and offered to help said that a New York Times reporter or David Broder or Keith Olbermann was already well-informed about his side of the story and planned to air it, I would understand why that person would be “better” from the point of view of helping counteract the negative publicity. It wouldn’t bother me a bit. Note to Roth: Bitchiness is more entertaining when it’s smart.