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Posted at 09:56 PM ET, 11/04/2011

Reader Meter: The Hermanator and ‘The Post’s’ Matt Patterson

Two things strike me this week. One is the lack of e-mails and phone calls about GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who is in the middle of trying to explain allegations about sexual harassment while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

The other is a parcel of e-mails wondering if someone named Matt Patterson works at The Washington Post, and asking if he wrote an anti-Obama satirical screed for The Post that is making the rounds of the Internet. The answer is, no, he doesn’t and he didn’t. This is not the first time I’ve received a round of e-mails about some anti-Obama rant allegedly written by someone from The Post.

On the Hermanator, I received 11 e-mails about the GOP presidential candidate, on a variety of topics, including the photos that The Post runs of him with online stories.

Two readers complained, naturally, that the only reason The Post was reporting on the allegations was to take down another Republican. I disagree. If there is a pattern of this kind of behavior, serious enough to lead to legal settlements, then at the very least it is a warning sign of behavior you might not want in a president.

Two readers wrote to complain about the use of a particular photo of Cain used online. The photo, appearing in a photo gallery and with a Dana Milbank column, is of Cain wiping his brow with a handkerchief, as if to indicate he’s withering under pressure. Cain has become angry in recent days under all the questions, sure, but bald men under the TV klieg lights often perspire and need to wipe their brow, readers said.

“When this picture continues to be printed alongside reports of the allegations against him, the implication is clear: The ‘heat’ of the story is making him ‘sweat,’ and he’s losing it; in other words, he’s most likely guilty,” one reader wrote. “This is patently unfair and manipulative and amounts to editorializing.”

The photo in question was taken Nov. 2 at a news conference on health care here in Washington, where in fact Cain was testy with reporters, so I think it’s a legitimate photo. But using it more than a couple of times may go too far.

The mysterious Matt Patterson might be the Matt Patterson who contributes to the Examiner newspaper here in D.C. and who works for the conservative Capital Research Center. His work has appeared in The Post, but not this work.

His article starts with the old saw, “Historians will look back in awe at…”   In this case they’ll wonder if the election of Obama was “a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.”

I always thought the witch craze was in Salem, Mass.  Never mind.

The last one of these that made the rounds was an anti-Obama piece supposedly by a nonexistent Post reporter by the name of Dale Lindsborg about why the president never puts his hand on his heart when the national anthem plays and why he doesn’t wear the flag lapel pin. This, too, was fiction, debunked by several urban legend sites.

When I get these, I usually check right away, find out that the reporter is fictitious or working somewhere else, and write back to the e-mail correspondents.

 

 

 

 

By  |  09:56 PM ET, 11/04/2011

 
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