Usually when people accuse Politico of cutting-and-pasting GOP press releases into their stories, they're speaking metaphorically. But no—that's what they actually do. They select the angry words, hit the "copy" thing, and paste them right onto the internet.
Earlier this week, Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) went on MSNBC's Morning Joe and made some rather reasonable remarks about the racists who hate Obama: They exist, he said, and some of them go to town hall meetings. But not everyone who hates Obama is a racist.
But that was too much for the GOP, which seized on the comments and started sending the video around, saying, "Tom Perriello thinks we're all racists!" A "tipster" sent the video to Politico's Glenn Thrush, who found it "interesting" inasmuch as it was an opportunity to WIN THE DAY by talking about race all the time.
Here's what Thrush saw Perriello say when he played the video:
I conducted over a hundred hours of town hall meetings in my district in central and Southern Virginia, and the vast majority of them were civil; people disagreed passionately on ideological grounds. And there were the rare cases where very racist remarks were made. Sometimes they were called out by neighbors in the audience; sometimes they weren't. Clearly, race remains a factor in America, but there's also a lot of disagreement here that is genuine and not based on race, so I think we have to have both conversations.
Since he's interested in reporting things that actually happened, Thrush dutifully sat down and took the five minutes or so required to transcribe Perriello's remarks—just kidding! No, of course he didn't. Instead, he just cut and pasted a "transcript" of Perriello's comments that he got via e-mail from a GOP hack, who had conveniently cut out the parts where Perriello said "the vast majority of [meetings] were civil," and "people disagreed passionately on ideological grounds," and the racist remarks were "rare."
He also copy and pasted the GOP hack's comment that Perriello is exactly like Jimmy Carter and Nancy Pelosi and cries race all the time and is a pointy-headed college boy: "Much like Jimmy Carter and Nancy Pelosi, Tom Perriello is mistaking genuine opposition to the president's agenda for bigotry. These insulting remarks are yet another indication that Perriello's Ivy-bred elitism is impeding his ability to represent everyday Virginians."
Apparently he got caught, because today Thrush posted an apology:
As I was transcribing, I got an email from a NRCC spokesman Andy Sere, who wanted to comment on it, appending what appeared to be a full a transcript of the exchange.
A time saver, I thought, so I cut-and-pasted. What I didn't immediately realize was that Sere had replaced key words — that provided important context —with elipses. When the error was pointed out, I quickly fixed it.
Anyway, lesson learned, right, everybody? The lesson being that Politico will take literally anything, so keep up the good work, Andy.
NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that we misspelled the hell out of Tom Perriello's name.