The Washington Post

RNC issues e-mail blast for story critical of RNC

John Kerry, the subject of some e-mails from the Republican National Committee. (Alex Wong/Gerry Images)

Earlier this afternoon, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski pushed out a message incorporating a piece by Jake Tapper of ABC News. Titled “President Obama’s Debate Prep Partner Has Some Questions About Benghazi,” the story notes that Sen. John Kerry “has been formally requesting information from the U.S. State Department about what precisely happened in Benghazi, Libya.”

Good stuff for the GOP: Efforts to investigate the administration’s disastrous and misleading public pronouncements on the provenance and nature of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, are a pressing public matter, and as the story develops, it gets darker for the Obama administration.

Yet there’s some text in Tapper’s story that might just deter a less e-mail-promo-happy organization:

The Republican National Committee has seized upon these letters to state “Obama’s Own Debate Partner Not Buying Spin On Libya,” which is not quite an accurate assessment of what’s going on.

The statement that Tapper deems a bit off is a headline from assessing Kerry’s maneuvers. The GOP interpretation, Tapper appears to be saying, goes too far because Kerry has merely demanded details on Benghazi and has pulled up shy of criticizing the administration.

The RNC’s Kukowski isn’t sweating such distinctions: “If John Kerry WAS buying Obama’s spin on Libya, he won’t be issuing a public, formal request for clarity,” writes Kukowski via e-mail. Okay, but don’t you want to be careful about blasting out stories that accuse you of being not quite accurate? “Thrust of story is important and merits more outlets to cover — it’s clear there are questions about his debate partner. We often share stories that include criticism but that we agree with the overall message,” noted Kukowski.

Asked about the RNC’s promotion, Tapper responded, “I can’t really get in the business of objecting to my stories being used as long as they’re being used accurately and in context. I stated right in the 3rd paragraph that the RNC’s description is ‘not quite an accurate assessment of what’s going on’!”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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