I have to admit to being amused by Deadspin completely and utterly crapping the bed with this Cory Gardner story. For those of you not on Twitter last night*, Deadspin "broke" a story about how Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner "lied" about playing football as a youngster. Groundbreaking stuff and clearly relevant to his possible performance as a United States senator! However, it was quickly revealed to be utterly untrue. The Denver Post reported that Deadspin's main source called the report totally fake. Gardner himself posted photos from his teen years in a football uniform. It was a cluster from start to finish.
And normally I'd just let that go. Shit happens, news outlets make mistakes. Except that Gawker Inc. has been really concerned about the quality of political reporting in recent months, with Gawker's Adam Weinstein wondering "Is Ratfucking Journalism Dead?" before criticizing several much-discussed Free Beacon pieces.** So I accept the solemn responsibility of answering Weinstein's question: Yes, ratfucking journalism is dead. And y'all over at Gawker Media killed it.
Despite the fact that this was a politically motivated hit, pure and simple, the author of the Deadspin piece, Dave McKenna, has his defenders. Here's Mike Riggs, for instance:
That said, he clearly got this one wrong. But to assume that he did this simply to ding a Republican is most likely wrong.
— Mike Riggs (@MikeRiggs) October 16, 2014
I'm sorry that Mike thinks conservatives are being too mean to someone he "deeply respect[s]." But you kinda sorta lose the benefit of the doubt when you filed the story under "LIARS," this is your third graf and this is how a member of your organization tweets out the story:
Gee, I wonder why conservatives are giving McKenna and Deadspin a hard time?
Anyway, I encourage the good folks at Gawker Media to get back on that horse! They're trying really hard; I'm sure they'll eventually get it together. And the first round of microbrews at the next Ratfucking conference is on us, Adam.
**To be fair, he did get one thing right: Many Free Beacon staffers enjoy microbrews. So he's got that going for him.