Happens all the time in Washington: A story that’s highly critical of some politician surfaces on the Internet. The target of the story then lashes out. Wrong. Inaccurate. Factually compromised.
That’s the scenario that played out this morning, following the Boston Globe’s story citing SEC documents noting that Romney “remained chief executive and chairman of [Bain Capital] three years beyond the date he said he ceded control.” The Romney people took out their pins to prick the Web balloon blown up by the Globe piece, as documented by Politico’s Dylan Byers:
“The article is not accurate,” Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement. “As Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point.”
In a conversation with POLITICO, Romney adviser Matt McDonald also said the Globe report was inaccurate. “Romney wasn’t involved in any investment decisions,” McDonald said. “He was on the SEC filings because he was still technically the owner, but hadn’t transferred ownership to other partners.”
Synonyms for “not accurate” include “wrong,” “erroneous” and “false.” That is to say, it’s an artillery-grade charge to lob at a news organization.
Yet! Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, says that the paper has fielded no request for a correction or other such action from the Romney campaign. Saul didn’t immediately respond to a question as to whether the campaign would issue one.
It’s a truth serum of sorts. If a campaign tars a story as inaccurate or worse, yet fails to even address the matter with the originating news outlet, you have to wonder how seriously it takes its own rhetoric.
[UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.]: Saul passes along word that the campaign will indeed stand behind its rhetoric: “Yes, we are drafting a formal [correction] request, they will have today.”