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Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Politics | 35 comments

Roger Simon’s Paul Ryan Goes Rogue and Refers to “Stench” Romney Turns Out Was “Satire” (Updated)

NOTE TO READERS:Do you mind if I don’t laugh? It turns out that we (and many many other news sites that pick it up) learn that the Roger Simon post below was simply a satire.

This is a formal RETRACTION — TMV was doing when we checked our gmail so that person who emailed us with abusive language claiming we don’t correct errors should go way down south in the hot climes.

Go here to see Buzzfeed’s post about The Politico’s post by Roger Simon that was in the form of a news report with unnamed sources saying Paul Ryan had gone rogue and was calling Mitt Romney “The Stench.” Click on the link and you’ll see some of the bigger sites that also believed the post.

I like many others took it seriously because a)Roger Simon doesn’t usually write satire (and now we know why), b)I greatly respect(ed) him as a news source since he often used in his posts and also on cable shows indicated he was well-sourced and as a former fulltime reporter I respect journalists who have good sources c)at the time I didn’t see any indication on that post that it was anything but serious (I didn’t read every single word as clearly others didn’t). Unless I missed it (and perhaps I did with the other indications that it was a satire) at the BOTTOM of this satire there is now this small italic note.

To the Politico: Don’t you think that is SO MANY SITES as you can see on this google link linked on that post thinking it was real since it was written by a veteran reporter, that you might put the italicized note now on TOP of that post?

GO HERE and see how it is displayed.
Now GO HERE and you can see the little italic on the second page. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see that there yesterday (and it could be I did but then if so all those other sites that picked it up did?).

This is now being framed as a case of sites that should have known better due to some of the more absurd passages. But if The Politico’s piece was successful satire it would have been seen as that: funny satire that you could tell was just that. This sounded like one more amazing story from the world of 21st century politics where old rules (in this case deference) are tossed to the winds. Or like one of those fake posts or stories someone does that turns out to be a hoax after many websites trusted the source material (which they are less likely to do in the future) Read Slate here.

Real satire is amusing because there’s no question it is just that. You know Mad Magazine and SNL are satires or parodies.

In the print realm go HERE to The Borowitz Report. No one mistakes his bits of brilliant satire for real reports and we’ve even run THIS JUST IN! posts calling Borowitz “investigative reporter Andy Borowitz.” No one has ever read a post and felt it was true.

I’ve dabbled in satire myself, in the 60 writing on The Hindustan Times in New Delhi when I interned there and online in the early 2000s in my earliest version of TMV. And I’ve done some of my nationally syndicated Cagle columns in satire form. GO HERE to see one — and note there is no question what it is.

>So: apologies to Mr. Ryan, apologies to Mr. Romney, apologies to our readers. We’re sure The Politico won’t apologize to anyone even though many others concluded it was a real report, as shocking as its (phony) allegations were. Mr. Simon may be a great reporter but I suspect Andy Borowitz won’t be asking ask him to be his fill-in weekend blogger.

Oh. No apologies for the person who sent the abusive email or for my travel suggestion here on where he should go. I think that’d be a nice fit.

And we won’t delete (this time) the original post. Here it is.

The bottom line: We regret the error.

THIS IS THE ORIGINAL POST picked up via a link displayed on another site that led to the Politico article.

Are we now witnessing the second Vice President on a Republican ticket in four years “go rogue”? Is Paul Ryan fed up with what some see as his Romneyization by the Romney camp? Is he following 2008 Vice Presidential nominee’s advice to “go rogue”? Or both? Yes, expect Camp Romney and Camp Ryan to try and paper over this report. But the Politico’s Roger Simon is a trustworthy, experienced reporter. And his report is getting a lot of buzz:

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Have we ever heard of a winning Presidential ticket in American politics that had a Vice Presidential candidate have an attitude like this about his running mate? Talk about a total lack of deference (or respect). MORE:

Even before the stench article appeared, there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign. It began after his disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans. Ryan delivered his remarks in the style dictated by his Romney handlers: Stand behind the lectern, read the speech as written and don’t stray from the script.

Ryan brought his 78-year-old mother with him and introduced her to the audience, which is usually a sure crowd pleaser.

But when Ryan began talking about repealing “Obamacare” because he said it would harm seniors, one woman in the crowd shouted, “Lie!” Another shouted “Liar!” and the crowd booed Ryan lustily.

Who boos a guy in front of his 78-year-old mother? Other 78-year-old mothers.

There is one aspect to this that is not usually discussed. The Vice President selection is one of the most anti-democratic parts of our political process. The nominee gets to pick a person and then it is understood whomever he or she points to will be swallowed by the part and annointed really by finger pointing, with a vote as an afterthought, by the nominee. Viewed within this context, why would a Vice Presidential nominee have to be totally controlled by the Presidential candidate? He or she has the nomination and is running. MORE

According to Simon, shortly after that Ryan “broke free.” He started doing presentations his own way:

He did a PowerPoint presentation for the crowd. According to the National Journal, be began thusly: “ ‘I’m kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you’ll bear with me,’ Ryan told the audience as he began clicking through four slides, which showed graphs depicting U.S. debt held by the public from 1940 to present, debt per person in the United States, percentage of debt held by foreign countries and a breakdown of federal spending. He then launched into a 10-minute monologue on the federal debt.”

Ryan’s PowerPoint slides were officially labeled: “Our Unsustainable Debt (U.S. Debt Held by Public as a Share of Economy),” “Your Share of the Debt,” “Who Funds Our Reckless Spending?” and “How the Government Spends Your Money.”

The Romney campaign was furious. But Ryan reportedly said, “Let Ryan be Ryan and let the Stench be the Stench.”

Very bad news for Romney: (1)If his own running mate isn’t treating him with respect or as if he already has the majesty of the Oval Office surrounding him, who will? (2)Vice Presidential candidates have almost always been deferential to the person at the top of the ticket. (3)Even reports about Sarah Palin didn’t have her calling McCain names. (4)The talk about let Ryan be Ryan underscores the thirst many GOPers have for a genuine candidate who is known for not just conservative ideas but talking in terms of specificity.

P.S. Expect Romney and Ryan to say all is well and for operatives to deny the story. But Roger Simon isn’t a reporter who makes things up and he cannot be accused of being a Democratic operative or a closet member of MSNBC.

Just think about it: when have we seen a Vice Presidential candidate talk about the top of the ticket this way? The spin will be that it’s all a joke — which would mean Simon’s article is wrong.

Given other factoids emerging about the Romney campaign this fits into a pattern even a can of dogfood on the shelf of Safeway can see about the Romney campaign:

Not a good one.

Follow more blog reaction to this post HERE.

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