Take a look at today's editorial. First they set up the whole "Joe The Plumber" thing and then get to the distortion:
BUT (and there's always a big but when fact-checking the Trib's editorials) let's take a look at the actual reporting from The Columbus Dispatch.
...Big Media scrutinized "Joe's" background. And it appears that it might have had lots of help from Ohio's Democratic Party apparatus, now under investigation.
The Columbus Dispatch says officials want to know if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed to mine personal information about Mr. Wurzelbacher.
Driver's license and SUV information thrice was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database. Information also was accessed by computers assigned to the offices of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rodgers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and Toledo Police Department, The Dispatch reported.
If the allegations are true, it will confirm how Democrats in power abuse that power in pursuit of the destruction of those who dare oppose their policies.
Some questions to keep in mind: Do they report that Ohio's Democratic Party apparatus is now under investigation for peeking into Joe's files as is (at the very least) implied by the Trib's editorial? Do they report that the Ohio Democratic Party had anything to do with someone accessing the files? Do they report the same about the national Democratic Party?
Let's take a look. The Dispatch first reported the story on the 24th:
State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."A few paragraphs down, however, they reported:
It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why.Then on the 25th they reported:
The Republican presidential candidate reacted today to a story in The Dispatch about the use of state computers to access personal information about "Joe" - suburban Toledo resident Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.And they added a few paragraphs later:
State and local officials are investigating why his driver's license and vehicle registration information was accessed shortly after Wurzelbacher became a household name.
Republicans, including McCain, painted the news as a politically motivated invasion of privacy and an attempt to dig up dirt.
Who accessed the information, and why, has not been determined. Access to BMV data is restricted to legitimate government purposes. Illegal access can be a crime.Nowhere in the reporting from the Columbus Dispatch is there any connection made between the local or national Democratic Party and whomever accessed Wurzelbacher's files. And yet the Trib's editorial board clearly implied that there is a connection using the Dispatch's reporting as evidence. I'd say that goes beyond distortion into dishonesty. But that's just me.
It's still possible someone in the Democratic Party over stepped the line in Ohion. But unless and until that's reported no responsible editorial should implicate anyone with such wrong doing.
And no responsible political party should either (as the Ohio Republicans have already done). But considering this is the McCain campaign - a campaign that pushed a hoax story before all the facts were in - it's not surprising that they'd dive headfirst into the mud.