Andrew Malcolm Tweets Unsubstantiated Rumor As Fact Under the LA Times Banner

An unusual tweet went out from the LA Times‘ supposedly non-partisan Top of the Ticket political blog late last night. Take a peek.

Well, that’s certainly big news if a Democratic lawmaker in Wisconsin has broken ranks. Only problem: it doesn’t appear to be true. Not a single news report has confirmed Cullen’s formal reentry into Wisconsin. The original source of the information was a tweet from Big Journalism blogger “Liberty Girl.”

Perhaps “Liberty Girl was reacting to this story in the Wisconsin State Journal, which reports Cullen met with Republican lawmakers yesterday at a McDonald’s in Kenosha. But Kenosha happens to be right on the border of Illinois. So one meeting in McDonald’s does not mean Cullen has suddenly broken ranks with his fellow Democrats and is ready to sell the public unions out.

Hmmm, so why would Top of the Ticket retweet a “Liberty Girl” factoid that hadn’t been confirmed in any way, shape or form by someone with their boots on the ground in Wisconsin? Like, I don’t know, say…LA Times reporter Abby Sewell?

There are only two reasons we can think of. The first, sloppy journalism, plain and simple. The other is the fact that this item was re-tweeted and re-reported all over the right wing blogosphere, in an obvious effort to demoralize the protesters and sew unrest among Cullen’s fellow Democratic lawmakers. Top of the Ticket blogger Andrew Malcolm, Laura Bush’s former press secretary, couldn’t possibly have had that in mind when he lent the Times‘ credibility to an unsubstantiated rumor, could he?