Another media outlet called out by its readers
Here we have it: a typical anonymously sourced tweet, put out by the mainstream media – and not from some Millennial lulu (pace Tom Wolfe), but someone who should have known better: ABC News chief political analyst Matthew Dowd.
I had a conversation with a Navy Seal the other day here in Texas. He said nearly every Seal is embarrassed by this President/GOP leaders.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) July 3, 2017
Embarrassed? Really? As if the attitudes described here by Howie Kurtz really aren't operative in the places the mainstream media don't like to go?
Fortunately, Dowd was called out by his readers, who pointed out the unreliability of his sourcing and the fascinating coincidence that the purported source conveyed feelings exactly like Dowd's. It was a beat-down Dowd deserved. Twitchy has the smackdown.
Now, based on the rest of his Twitter feed, it appears that Dowd is trying to show he is "with it" with flyover country, attempting to do what Salena Zito has done for real in her connections with this underreported region of the country. Unlike her, he ostentatiously quotes the Bible; he talks to Navy SEALs, making sure he threw in that it was in Texas (maybe Austin?); he travels to flyover and tries to mimic its values.
it doesn't really work, because the readers are starting to get wise to this junk journalism, to see right through his claims, starting with that tweet.
What makes it hard to believe? It lacks a quoted name. It throws out an overly broad conclusion about attitudes within one famed unit of the military that is generally in line with much of the military and conservative-leaning. It would have you believe that SEALs are just general Beltway creatures from the swamp, daintily embarrassed by Trump's rough-and-tumble tweets.
It's junk journalism. And we see it over and over again.
One person identifying himself as a SEAL called the claim "total b-------." Another pointed out that the views just happened to match Dowd's own. Someone wondered if he had talked to an actual seal, and someone else wondered if it was an Old Navy clerk. They called him out.
The bottom line is that it was a highly questionable, easy to slap a name on, overly broad statement to make about the Navy SEALs. The big problem with the Beltway types such as Dowd is that they really do think everyone thinks as they do. Dowd was projecting his own attitudes, through a veiled leak in the Beltway style, and not doing journalism with the flimsy claim he's making under the aegis of his ABC News perch. He's basically trying to marginalize those who don't think as he and his crowd does by veiling his quote from a Navy SEAL, who may or may not be real. He doesn't seem to be red-faced about it, either. Readers are now on alert, waiting for his next whopper.