Looks like more people than just your humble blogger have been after Mark Hemingway for his piece which all but concludes that Romney push-polled himself.
He's come out with a defense of sorts (link in the title of this post), but there's one point that's very easily debunked, and so I will take that one first and work on the rest as time permits.
And I did not merely speculate — I provided new evidence and I also provided pro-Romney balance as well.This is very easily taken care of. Hemingway's article covers two pages at NRO, and fully one and one-third of those pages are devoted to "evidence" that Romney was involved... "evidence" like what the mysterious "Amanda," a name which Hemingway seems to believe unique.
Where's the pro-Romney balance? It's a mere three paragraphs, two of which are a mere three lines on my laptop screen. These three small paragraphs also appear on the lower two-thirds of page two, or if you prefer, "below the fold." Here they are:
The Romney defense is plausible, but not everyone is convinced. “Consultants tend to be tribal and work off of referral,” the aforementioned anonymous political consultant advises. “The ones that are whorish tend not to be in business for very long.”This is "balance," New York Times style. Lead with the damning evidence, then bury any exculpatory evidence below the fold and fence it round with other accusations. If one just skips over the next paragraph, we are reminded:
There are a number of mitigating factors outlined on mymanmitt.com that suggest that the Romney campaign may be telling the truth. Western Wats has over 1,500 employees across the country — there’s no evidence that Amanda Earnshaw and other employees are donating to Romney at a rate or contribution level higher then the general population, or doing anything unethical or out of the ordinary to help the Romney campaign. And currently, not a single board member or the CEO of the company is Mormon.
Also, reports describing the calls note that in addition to the anti-Romney queries, questions were asked about John McCain’s military service. The McCain campaign has denied involvement and has asked the New Hampshire attorney general to investigate the incident.
According to another source at a rival campaign who wished to remain anonymous, there’s speculation that Romney may have push polled himself because his campaign wanted polling data regarding the negative perception of his Mormon faith for internal use. But since they couldn’t do so without causing controversy, they took steps to make it look like McCain.And then there's this gem of a closing:
The Romney campaign, ultimately, has the power to clarify any misconceptions. If there is a relationship between the two firms, then Alex Gage and Target Point should immediately clarify the extent and nature of the work that it has contracted out to Western Wats to end speculation and exonerate Romney.Sure sounds like Hemingway views Romney as "guilty until proven innocent," doesn't it? This is again the tactic of MoveOn, DailyKos, and Democratic Underground... just look at their treatment of, say, Blackwater.
All in all, I find his response highly unsatisfactory.