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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 08/30/2011

New York Post: Bachmann perceived as Jewish

Now here’s a scoop: The New York Post is reporting that Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is seen by Republican donors as Jewish---a perception that is causing fundraising problems for top-tier opponent Mitt Romney.

To hear the New York Post tell it:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing a new challenge: He’s having trouble raising money from some Jewish donors who mistakenly believe one of his opponents, Michele Bachmann, is Jewish.

Slightly more detail comes via this paragraph:

Some Jewish donors are telling fund-raisers for Romney, a Mormon, that while they like him, they’d rather open their wallets for the “Jewish candidate,” who they don’t realize is actually a Lutheran, The Post has learned.

Bolded text added to highlight classic tabloid sourcing tactics. By saying that the “Post has learned,” the Post avoids having to detail just how they got the information, how strong it is, whether those who provided it have an ax to grind, and so on.

The story clocks just above 400 words and could use a few more, preferably in the form of testimony from Jewish donors who gave to Bachmann instead of Romney because they believed the former was Jewish. That hole in the reporting has already emerged on Twitter:

@benpolitico (Ben Smith): I haven’t run into any Jewish donors who think Bachmann’s Jewish, & NYP story doesn’t name any. Great concept tho ... is.gd/QGvsui”

Here’s another passage that would benefit from substantiation:

Now, with this latest hiccup among Jewish donors, some in Romney’s camp have been wondering whether Bachmann and her allies are pushing the “Jewish” rumor to help their own fund-raising, sources said.

Time to do some unpacking:

Item No. 1: As noted above, this rumor hasn’t been too well established just yet.

Item No. 2: To say that “some in Romney’s camp have been wondering” about Bachmann complicity is tantamount to airing an accusation that they are guilty of it. Yet the reporter, Josh Margolin, doesn’t appear to have put that question before the Bachmann people, as the story’s conclusion suggests:

Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben said he hadn’t heard anything about chatter that Bachmann could be Jewish.
He said only that his candidate is doing well in that community because of “her strong support of the nation of Israel,” not because some think she’s Jewish.

When pressed on these items, Margolin responded by writing, “We’re going to pass on saying anything beyond what we ran.” The Erik Wemple Blog will continue pursuing the story.

By  |  11:18 AM ET, 08/30/2011

 
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