By Emily Geiger
So tell me, how do you write a “news” story about an organization paying for a speaker when you don’t even know if the organization is paying for the speaker?
Ask “journalist” Jonathan Martin. He knows all about it.
You see, Jonny wrote a piss poor story the other day about how the Iowa Family Policy Center will be paying a large speaker fee if Sarah Palin comes to Iowa to keynote the IFPC’s fall funderaiser. The only problem is that Jonny has no sources confirming that any exorbitant fee is being charged or paid.
In fact, he had just the opposite. Bryan English, a spokesman for IFPC told Jonny that he did not know yet if Palin was requesting any fee.
Yet, that didn’t stop Jonny from running with the headline, “Iowa Republicans wince at Sarah Palin’s $100K speaking fee.”
And, Jonny had lots of completely impartial sources who were happy to comment and help him “cobble together” an eleven-hundred word story.
Oh, those sources… they were so shocked at this (unconfirmed) unprecedented occurrence. How dare political operatives get paid obscene amounts of money. And speaking of politicos getting paid obscene amounts of money, Jonny went to a very knowledgeable source on that particular issue, Ed Failor, Jr., of Iowans for Tax Relief fame.
Hey Ed, how much were you paid by the Pataki campaign only to end up submarining it when you had a change of heart and decided McCain was your man? Oh well, at least Ed refrained from calling Palin a jackbooted Nazi, so he did show some self-restraint.
Jonny also got some inside info from David Kochel, who was a top aide to former (and future) presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
Hey Dave, didn’t I just read a story about how Mitt Romney tried to buy off the Iowa Christian Alliance? I heard you helped facilitate that little scheme. And somehow you are shocked at the thought of a well-known political figure (who very likely isn’t running for president) getting paid a speaker’s fee for (gasp) a public speaking appearance?
Another of Jonny’s sources was the Iowa Christian Alliance’s Steve Scheffler, who is totally impartial given that he runs a competing organization which is dealing with its own scandal.
And then we’ve got Tim Albrecht quoted. He was the Iowa spokesman for Romney’s 2008 caucus campaign.
Hmmm… Between Kochel and Albrecht, this sounds suspiciously like yet another case of former Romney staffers “going rogue” and badmouthing their meal ticket’s perceived competition.
And that leads us back to Jonny Martin himself. He was in charge of writing the Politico’s GOP blog during the 2008 caucus season. And it always seemed like, whenever the Romney people had rumors they wanted to start about other candidates, Jonny was their go-to guy to get those rumors in writing in front of a national audience.
Some things never change.
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