The Washington Post

Rove gripes about Obama vetting

Karl Rove in the video above helps to consolidate a mantra. In a discussion with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Rove laments the Washington Post story on Mitt Romney’s prep-school days, which he calls “odd journalism” and a “waste of time and energy.” Then comes the logical segue:

They’re devoting this kind of resources to this kind of a story? On the Republican candidate. I don’t remember them examining some of the lost — Barack Obama’s lost years at Occidental or what he did as a community organizer or an in-depth large story investigating Rev. Wright’s comments.

Let’s just bore in on the community organizer issue, which is a common touchstone in the argument that the president has been insufficiently “vetted.” It’s indeed possible that Rove missed some journalistic work on this front:

*The Washington Post in March 2007 did a long piece on the connection of Saul Alinsky to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

*The New York Times in July 2008 did an in-depth piece on Obama’s community organizing.

*The Chicago Tribune in March 2007 scratched away at the nitty-gritty of the same topic.

The reason that these pieces aren’t credited as examples of “vetting” is that they found nothing explosive about the president’s background. The guy did some organizing, got frustrated with the narrow impact of his work and eventually quit.

“Vetting” means merely to put something under a microscope or, using this definition, to “subject to thorough examination or evaluation.” NOT: To “subject to thorough examination or evaluation and find something scandalous.”

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


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