WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

HuffPo erases history to cover up Greg Mitchell's embarrassingly wrong defense of John Edwards

This is interesting.

In late July of 2008, when it was obvious to anyone with two firing neurons that John Edwards was a lying dirtbag philanderer, Huffington Post columnist Greg Mitchell wrote some sort of twisted denial/defense of Edwards. You can read the comments in reaction to that story here.

The only problem is that while the comments are there, the column has disappeared. The archives, while apparently comprehensive by month, omit Mitchell's column. Of course, plenty of non- (less-?) embarrassing Mitchell columns from that era are still available.

Serious blogs take blog ethics seriously. And disappearing inconvenient columns down the memory hole is a serious no-no. If the HuffPo is going to erase inconvenient history, it's a blog that cannot be trusted.

UPDATE: I haven't been able to find the story on Google archives or the Wayback machine, either. But here's a contemporaneous Salon article that characterizes it:
I know what you're thinking: Why even bother with anything printed by the Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid you probably think of as the kind of "newspaper" that focuses on rumors that Elvis Presley is alive -- and leading a band of rampaging space aliens? That's certainly the message Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell sent in an item he published at the Huffington Post on Friday.


UPDATE 2: I just found this on the Wayback Machine:
How can I remove my site's pages from the Wayback Machine?

The Internet Archive is not interested in preserving or offering access to Web sites or other Internet documents of persons who do not want their materials in the collection. By placing a simple robots.txt file on your Web server, you can exclude your site from being crawled as well as exclude any historical pages from the Wayback Machine.

[...]

Here are directions on how to automatically exclude your site. If you cannot place the robots.txt file, opt not to, or have further questions, email us at info at archive dot org.

I did see an error message about robots.txt when searching for the post last night, so that is likely how Mitchell and/or the HuffPo disappeared it from the Wayback Machine.

Mitchell has done this type of thing before. See Riehl World View and Hot Air for a similar scandal in 2006.

I'm guessing that Mitchell did this on his own, and the Huffington Post management is probably not even aware of it. What's the HuffPo policy on the opposite of cherry-picking (turd-picking?)? I know Arianna is new to this whole Internets thing, but somebody ought to explain the basics to her.

Screen caps here and here in case Mitchell tries to disappear the comments, too.

Now if Mitchell were just another ditzy Hollywood hanger-on like so many HuffPo bloggers, he could be excused for not getting the whole "ethics" thing. But he's not. As you see can from his bio, he's the editor of Editor and Publisher, a news industry magazine! One would think that some basic understanding of journalistic ethics would be required for such a post.

Come to think of it, why would a trade publication such as E&P have a hysterical partisan as editor, unless everyone in that industry held the same... oh, I get it.

UPDATE 12/12/09: Ed Driscoll has found what appears to be the full text of Mitchell's Edwards post, copied contemporaneously into a comment on Godlike Productions. It lines up with this contemporaneous partial post on Yahoo Buzz.
In a shocking update, The National Enquirer is reporting today that not only do John Edwards and Rielle Hunter have a "love child," their secret baby has two heads and may have been produced when the couple was kidnapped by aliens last year and taken to a UFO in the backwoods of North Carolina.

The tabloid says it has obtained proof, in the form of pictures of the baby, who reportedly has unusually large googly eyes. But the paper has not yet released the pictures. It promises "updates."

Edwards and Hunter have not denied the story, lending credence to the report. The fact that the bombshell emerged with the release of the new X-Files movie also adds to its credibility, some claim.

Charges from conservatives and blogosphere that the press has a double standard in not reporting on the "love child" are sure to now grow. Some have already pointed to the massive coverage of Sen. Larry Craig's scandal last year -- and he doesn't even have any children with an alien pedigree (although it has been said that Craig himself often let his own "second head" lead him astray).

The Los Angeles Times has ordered its bloggers to ignore the bombshell, proving the media conspiracy. Slate has covered it but says it stands ready to apologize if it doesn't pan out.

The alien visitation was allegedly arranged by a mutual friend of Edwards, Hunter and the visitors.

Edwards' aides are reportedly "spitting mad and furious" about the revelation. It is certain to doom his chance for the vice-presidential nod on an Obama ticket.
Yes, the National Enquirer has a history as a trashy tabloid. It's a shame that Greg Mitchell and the rest of the groupthinkers in the "respectable" press have abandoned journalism and left it to the likes of the National Enquirer and bloggers.

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