Bob Ehrlich, who runs away from reporters and refuses to answer questions about robocalls, misuse of campaign donors' money, and grand jury subpoenas, prances onto Page One of today's Washington Times, no questions asked
Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) took a break from dodging reporters' questions
about voter suppression robocalls, mysterious campaign payments
to a commodities firm owned by his friend, and grand juries investigating his campaign
to feed a lapdog story
to Washington Times reporter Joseph Weber.
No one expects Bob Ehrlich to bring up the federal and state grand juries investigating his campaign or the subpoenas that have been served, but shouldn't a seasoned reporter like Mr. Weber or a Washington Times editor do a simple google search before updating their readers on what a major political figure has been up to lately....
If Mr. Weber and the Washington Times editors failed to google the subject of their profile, should we expect them to monitor what their readers call the lamestream media, ie; the Washington Post, Daily Record, and Baltimore Sun, each of which broke details of the Ehrlich grand jury subpoena story two weeks ago? Or perhaps tune into Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ-TV's report from Kelly McPherson?
There's a fail-safe when reporters neglect their homework called Getting both sides of the story. Perhaps Mr. Weber might have learned about the Ehrlich grand jury subpoenas if he sought comment from a spokesman for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who beat Republican Mr. Ehrlich by 14 points last November, or the Maryland Democratic Party, or, say, my evil twitter twin, @fakeBobEhrlich.
Instead, the Washington Times let Bob Ehrlich wax on unchallenged about...
- Having "no plans to return to Capitol Hill to lobby or become a Washington insider," even though he joined the "government advocacy" team of a Washington lobbying law firm and has spent the past few months using the press to send love letters to Republican congressional leaders.
- Writing a book that he has been talking about writing since 2006 but never materialized. (Who wants to read a book by a one-term governor who won on a fluke, twice failed to get re-elected, and doesn't do well on TV?)
- Seeking "a proposed syndicated radio show" without questioning its plausibility considering that a local radio show he hosted with his wife was canceled.
- Then quoting his old friend, the politically irrelevant Rudolph Giuliani, on Mr. Ehrlich's gubernatorial performance without comment from even one of the 56 percent of Maryland voters who disagree with Mr. Giuliani's assessment. To refresh your memory, as governor, Bob Ehrlich raised taxes by $3 billion (including property and income taxes) then lied and said he didn't, proposed the largest annual spending increase in Maryland history, and ran a painfully corrupt administration.
I don't make a habit of criticizing reporters, and not just because of the old warning not to pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel and paper by the ton, but also because I don't expect the working press to fulfill my partisan whims, I respect their craft, and we all make mistakes.
In this instance, however, Mr. Weber had an obligation to do his homework and to get both sides of the story. Because he wrote a story apparently without doing either, Washington Times readers won't find out an important thing to know about Bob Ehrlich right now: That his campaign is being investigated by a state and possibly federal grand jury.
- Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis
get justdafacts and fakeBobEhrlich on twitterUpdated by justdafacts at Mon May 23, 2011 at 11:56 AM EDT
Maryland media pariah Bob Ehrlich, who runs away from reporters and refuses to answer questions about robocalls, misuse of campaign donors' money, and grand jury subpoenas, prances onto Page One of today's Washington Times, no questions asked: