The plot thickens: The NY Times reports that the "high-ranking source" who gave the NY Post the faulty tip about Representative Dick Gephardt being John Kerry's running mate was Rupert Murdoch! Wow, Rupert must really be out of the loop with his contacts; we expect someone's legs to be broken shortly. Of course, the Post is denying that the tip came from Murdoch or that there were threats of reporters being fired if they discussed the snafu. And the Law & Order episode will be the murder of the reporter who writes a story that is proven wrong or the murder of the so-called tipster. Maybe this was all a drill, to keep reporters on their toes and really take the high off the long July 4th weekend. Elsewhere in the Times, Clyde Haberman mulls over the mistake, noting that many a media organization of late has had to own up to mistakes, but also mentions how Murdoch has used the Post to forward his political interests:
Still, the Gephardt scoop was one for the books, and it had some New Yorkers wondering if it was an innocent blunder or part of a Machiavellian design by the newspaper's guiding spirit, Rupert Murdoch.
Such speculation is not off the wall. Since as far back as 1977, when he decided that Edward I. Koch should become mayor, Mr. Murdoch has turned his newspaper - headlines, news articles, editorials, columns, the whole shebang - into a pamphlet for his candidates of choice in major elections. Little but scorn is given the opposition, whose sin very often is that they fall to the political left of Genghis Khan.
In the Gephardt blunder, however, there is no reason to suspect anything more dastardly than an enduring journalistic tradition. It is the pursuit of the fake exclusive, or scoop.
Ed Koch has Murdoch to thank for his mayoral stint? That's an interesting fact that Gothamist did not know about - if only we had the Internet, plus motor and reading skills, when we were a year old. At any rate, the leading contender for our Halloween costume this year is the Post cover.
Gothamist on the mistake.