This will be a quickie. Yesterday, Deadspin published a piece questioning claims made by Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican who is vying for Democrat Mark Udall’s U.S. Senate seat, that he played high school football in the early 1990s. Deadspin relied substantially on a former teacher and stats man for the Yuma high school football team, Chuck Pfalmer, who said he remembered Gardner but was definitive that Gardner never played for the Yuma varsity team before he graduated in 1993.
Last night, Pfalmer reversed himself and said definitively that Gardner did play high school ball for Yuma. Deadspin issued a retraction and apology today, describing itself as “sorry and embarrassed” for having “fucked up.”
I was half-tempted when I read the original piece yesterday to blog something quick and snarky about Gardner, a generally awful candidate. Because I got busy with other stuff, I didn’t. Lucky for me. People’s memories are faulty. We all have our investments in versions of reality that affirm our sense of ourselves. I think Deadspin, as a collective, is generally excellent and I’m broadly sympathetic to their viewpoint. So, of course I will be very forgiving about this screw-up and continue to regard them as generally credible. Indeed, I have little doubt that they’ll re-double their efforts now to make sure they get their story straight when they’re doing original reporting. Folks on the other side of the aisle will not, of course, be so forgiving. And in this case, had the reverse been true – had Breitbart falsely claimed that Mark Udall’s father, Mo (himself a long time former member of Congress) didn’t actually play pro basketball – I’d certainly take that as further confirmation of that which I already believe: that Breitbart, in general, is a collection of ideological hacks.
So it goes.
As a quick aside, the top comment underneath today’s apology gave me a really good laugh: