The big political story of the day revolves around what turned out to be a non-story. Several media outlets (the vast majority conservative) were left with egg on their faces after they trumpeted up the tale of a McCain volunteer who claimed to have been assaulted by a large black man because of a McCain bumper sticker on her car. On her face was carved a backwards 'B' (meant to represent Obama's name). The Drudge Report called it "mutilation."
It was a hoax. And now, some in the fourth estate are left to explain why they pushed this apparent political ploy. Those in the business who showed some prudence are calling out their competitors for taking the bait.
On CNN today, anchor Rick Sanchez did just that, naming the outlets that not only reported but actively pushed the story of Ashley Todd. In addition to explaining why his station didn't report the story, Sanchez dug the knife in a bit deeper when it came to Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio talk show host who appeared on CNN Thursday and blamed "that side" (i.e. the Democrats) for engaging in "extraordinarily" disturbing acts.
"Part of the story is the fact that it was reported by the media," said Sanchez. "We would not be telling the story now had it not been carried by so many outlets. As I mentioned before, it was mentioned on, as a matter of fact I have a list and not to mention names, but the initials of the news organizations are Fox News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Newsday. And also radio talk show hosts went on their radio stations and talked ad infinitum about the story yesterday, one of them even seemingly being a braggadocio about it when he was on the air with our own Wolf Blitzer yesterday."
Separately, the College Republicans -- a group of which Todd is a member -- sought to distance themselves from the whole affair, telling the Huffington Post: "When Ms. Todd initially contacted us claiming to have been attacked, our first reaction was obviously to be concerned for her safety ... We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions."