Perhaps, for the 500th time in a series that appears to require infinity, I should again remind readers what a column like this is all about.
This is a political opinion column. It is written by me, who has covered and been involved in politics for 40 years. That simply means I am a political consultant with a journalism degree and some think that qualifies me to write about politics and government in general.
Unlike a front-page news story, a column such as this one is simply one man’s opinion. A news story requires absolute factual checking. We cannot report something we cannot verify to be true in news stories. Usually, documentation will exist to prove we are printing the truth on page one. A police report will be mentioned; a photo of the car wreck or fire will be printed; we KNOW the things reported there are factual.
A columnist is under no such restrictions. My rule on reporting rumors and gossip is to hear the same story from two reliable sources. But that is MY rule. I am under absolutely no obligation to confirm anything written here. That’s why you read a lot of “I heard,” “sources said,” and “allegedly” in this space. I could not get on a witness stand, affirm I’d tell the truth, and then swear to every rumor mentioned here. I simply don’t know if all are true.
What I do know is that I have the experience to separate truth from fiction in politics; I require two reliable sources; and I do the best I can to be sure I tell readers something is speculation when it is.
I am not about to ruin anyone’s life by reporting some unverifiable rumor as Gospel. Never have; never will. And it doesn’t matter whether I like the politician or not, I treat them all the same here. So, if there is a report of a rumor about an indictment, I have two verifiable sources telling me about it. If it never happens, those two sources become less reliable in the future in my book.
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It is also important to remember that I have no earthly influence over who gets in legal trouble and who doesn’t. Believe me, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin does not consult me regarding who should be indicted. So, like in sports where I regularly predict how the local team will do in any given week, my comments are simply MY opinion. They are not necessarily 100 percent accurate and they seldom reflect what I would LIKE to see happen. I am only guessing what I think WILL occur, based on what I know.