The Corner

Politics & Policy

What The Hill?

Did the entire editorial staff at The Hill have a stroke yesterday?

That’s about the only explanation I can fathom for the way they’ve handled this piece – ”Can the 2016 Election Be Rigged? You Bet.” – ​by Roger Stone. Yes, that Roger Stone. Unofficial-Trump-advisor, threaten-the-delegates, LBJ-killed-Kennedy Roger Stone. Roger Stone who spent the last six months warning that Republican leaders would steal the nomination from Trump (“The Big Steal!”). To the surprise of no one with a functioning cerebrum, he is now saying to look out for Hillary Clinton. Or DIEBOLD. Or something. The specifics are fuzzy. But it’s going to happen! Because all you need to steal a presidential election is a $15 gadget from Best Buy. Apparently.

As a matter of principle, it’s not worth anyone’s calories to argue with Roger Stone. It’s like trying to Greco-Roman wrestle with the Cheshire Cat. My interest here is in The Hill.

Set aside the absurd premise (if anyone will need to steal votes this November, it’ll be Trump), the shoddy argument, and the character of the writer. Did no one take a gander at Stone’s sourcing before going to print? In one place, he links to a piece at Cosmoso.net, a catchall blog that began in January 2015 and brings up “Is it a scam?” results in Google. And he links (twice) to a post at the “D.C. Clothesline” blog, which purports to prove that the “polls are rigged for Hillary” by quoting . . . InfoWars.

Maybe things slip through the cracks. But then there’s this:  

Both parties have engaged in voting machine manipulation. Nowhere in the country has this been more true than Wisconsin, where there is irrefutable evidence that Scott Walker and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elections including the defeat of a Walker recall election.

Pardon?

Yesterday, Commentary’s Noah Rothman observed on Twitter that this was, perhaps, an irresponsible thing for a reputable publication to print — seeing as there is literally no evidence for the claim. Not long after, The Hill changed the line, replacing “is irrefutable evidence” to “are strong indications” — but it did not add any note acknowledging the change. In other words, The Hill compounded incompetence with deception, for no discernible reason.

When not recording Republicans’ latest saltations (“Republicans seize . . . !” “Republicans pounce . . . !”), The Hill is a respected mainstream publication with a sizable readership.

Apparently, it’s trying to end that.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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