WaPo’s Wemple Wimps Out

Dear Readers,

At 1:46 p.m. Monday, WaPo‘s opinionated media writer Erik Wemple wrote to ask about the whole Friday flap with Wonkette Publisher Rebecca Schoenkopf. In case you missed the fiasco, on Friday she fabricated a story that I was going to be fired. Why? Because she – her words – wanted it to be true. Wemple wrote me by email, “Schoenkopf says you called her a liar over the Politico party thing without even checking first with Politico itself. Then, she says, you took their version of events at face value and smeared her. Any response?” A second later he wrote back: “And to tack on one other: Does FBDC have higher standards than Wonkette and if so, in what way?”

Before we examine Wemple’s questions, let’s give you proper context since he couldn’t be bothered. Schoenkopf is Wonkette‘s editor who admittedly hates my guts for this, this and this. All the stories were based on actual reporting and sources. One includes research and numbers regarding Wonkette‘s web traffic after we noticed Schoenkopf was on the record stating wildly different numbers to different reporters (a story we’d cover no matter who it was about). Another discusses a party at the GOP Convention in Tampa at which Schoenkopf, according to witnesses, got sauced at a Politico soirée and claimed to be tossed out of the party. The funniest part was her nonsensical writing. She herself admitted to FBDC that she was 7 out of 10 on the drunken scale. Based on witnesses, we’d put her at 11.

Wemple called the details of the original story and source of her hatred for FishbowlDC “irrelevant.” Yes, Erik, why let facts and reporting get in the way of your story? But don’t worry. You’re in the same boat as Schoenkopf in that she doesn’t have time for facts either. In fact, she’s allergic to them–I think they may give her hives. She thinks I’m “vile” and  a “c–t” – and, wow, she sounds just like Anthony Weiner‘s Communications Director Barbara Morgan.

So according to Wemple’s statements in his email to me, Schoenkopf says I called her a liar over the Politico party incident without checking with Politico first. Simultaneously, I fell for Politico‘s statements because we never write anything negative about Politico or question them about anything. So somewhere in the craziness of Schoenkopf’s mind I both did NOT check in with Politico and I ALSO believed them because I – what? – talked to them? Come on, Wemple, even you can see that that’s a whole pack of stupid in one sitting.

But no.

Wemple offered a woman who INVENTED an entire story simply because she wanted it to be true the opportunity to insult me and my colleagues for most of his post.  Normally a reporter at a news outlet would be fired for intentionally publishing a false story for malicious reasons. But instead of questioning Schoenkopf hard on her brand of fairytale journalism, Wemple went easy on her and reduced the incident to little more than a cat fight between two websites run by women.

As Wemple so brilliantly put it…“What a great outcome: One gossipy Web site accuses the other of poor editorial standards; the other accuses it of poor editorial standards,” he wrote.

Wonkette has not been accused of poor editorial standards — at least not by us. The undisputed fact is they ran an absolutely false story with knowledge that it was likely false and with no attempt to verify it.  Wemple gave her a pass and in his less-than-objective way, lumped FishbowlDC right alongside them for whatever reason only he knows.