(Cross-posted from Shot in the Dark)
A few weeks ago, Jason Leopold a "reporter" for the ironically-named left-wing website "Truthout" published a sensational story that purported to confirm the impending criminal indictment of Karl Rove in the Valarie Plame case. The left-wing blogosphere was all atwitter to the point of sexual arousal at this "news." Everywhere you looked this story was being flogged, including in a comment thread on this very blog about some completely unrelated topic (probably Bruce Springsteen).
As we later found out, the only impending thing was Leopold's exposure as a fraud.
Excuse me for a moment while I lose myself in reverie as I reminisce about that glorious day.
So Rove is off the hook. Dandy. But what about the rest of the story? What would compel someone who fancies himself a journalist to confidently run with a story that was so awfully and provably wrong?
Joe Lauria, writing for WaPo today has some unique personal insights into the Leopold's "mind."
And it ain't pretty:
I met Leopold once, three days before his Rove story ran, to discuss his recently published memoir, "News Junkie." It seems to be an honest record of neglect and abuse by his parents, felony conviction, cocaine addiction -- and deception in the practice of journalism.
Leopold says he gets the same rush from breaking a news story that he did from snorting cocaine. To get coke, he lied, cheated and stole. To get his scoops, he has done much the same. As long as it isn't illegal, he told me, he'll do whatever it takes to get a story, especially to nail a corrupt politician or businessman. "A scoop is a scoop," he trumpets in his memoir. "Other journalists all whine about ethics, but that's a load of crap."
It gets worse. Read the whole thing.
In the end of the piece, Lauria attempts a diagnosis of Leopold:
After reading his memoir -- and watching other journalists, such as Jayson Blair at the New York Times and Jack Kelley at USA Today, crash and burn for making up stories or breaking other rules of newsgathering -- I think there's something else at play here. Leopold is in too many ways a man of his times. These days it is about the reporter, not the story; the actor, not the play; the athlete, not the game. Leopold is a product of a narcissistic culture that has not stopped at journalism's door, a culture facilitated and expanded by the Internet.
In the end, whatever Jason Leopold's future, he got what he appears to be crying out for: attention.
Maybe. Or maybe he's just a creep.