Something to cleanse the palate while we wait for — dun dunnn — The Memo.
Ah, Alan Grayson. A man so far to the left and so stupidly provocative in his partisanship that he was once described by Anthony Weiner — Anthony Weiner — as “one fry short of a Happy Meal.” A man so ethically clouded that Harry Reid told him to his face at a Progressive Caucus meeting, “I want you to lose.” He’s also a man who was accused by his ex-wife of multiple instances of domestic violence over 20 years. Grayson denied that and claimed that it was actually his wife who’d been physical with him. She supplied Politico with documentation to try to corroborate her claims.
When Politico confronted Grayson about it, things didn’t go well.
— POLITICO (@politico) July 26, 2016
If you’re a “fact-checking organization” eager to bolster your journalistic credibility with readers, who better to be your ombudsman than a guy who was caught on tape getting in a reporter’s face for asking important but uncomfortable questions?
— Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee (@jasonelevation) February 1, 2018
That tweet set off a three-hour slam dunk contest in which more or less every reporter on Twitter scoffed at, belittled, and attacked Politifact for turning to an irascible crank in its search for objective truth. The unavoidable question: How does an outfit devoted to fact-checking not spend two minutes checking a prospective hire’s background before announcing that he’s joined the team?
After being punched in the face repeatedly online (but hopefully not offline by Alan Grayson) for its decision, Politifact belatedly put in those two minutes of fact-checking and bowed to reality:
We called Alan a short while ago and informed him that we would be canceling our agreement for him to write on PolitiFact. We remain committed to this experiment, however, and will be seeking out a Democrat to replace Alan. If you have a good suggestion, please reach out.
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) February 1, 2018
Horribly embarrassing for an organization whose reputation depends on diligent scrutiny of its subjects. But at least the embarrassment is over.
Or is it? A blast from the past:
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) December 8, 2015
If you’re going to look for an ombudsman, one way to start would be to eliminate all the known liars in your own archives, yes?
Ah well. Politifact’s always leaned left so it’s no great surprise that it would have a blind spot about Grayson. In fact, lost in the hubbub over his very brief tenure today is the Republican whom the site hired to serve his counterpart ombudsman on the right — David Jolly, a former congressman from Florida known for holding some moderate positions (he’s pro-gay-marriage and has spoken of the value of ObamaCare as a “safety net” for the unemployed) and for being a strident critic of Donald Trump. That is to say, when it went looking for ex-congressmen to serve as reader advocates, Politifact dug up one of the most centrist Republicans available and one of the most left-wing Democrats available. Right down the middle!