On Monday, 770-KOB AM's morning drive-time radio host Larry Ahrens announced that Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was campaigning for George W. Bush in Wisconsin, although he didn't mention his source. Ahrens was trying to suck-up to local Republicans who might have been stupid enough to think that the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday could actually predict a Kerry victory. In fact, he reminded local listeners that Favre is the most popular guy in Wisconsin, and by implication his support for Bush should easily counterbalance the jinx the Redskins put on Bush. Although Ahrens offered a disclaimer, saying he heard this news on the Internet and it may not be "gospel," he still said it without even naming the Internet source.
So I looked up www.themilwaukeechannel.com and found Bush's schedule for Monday. There was no mention of Favre anywhere, just the usual rally featuring the Oak Ridge Boys and Brooks & Dunn. In fact, there was no mention of Favre supporting Bush anywhere on the Internet that I could find.
So why didn't Ahrens cite his source on the air? As in, “according to msnbc.com ...” or some such. Any self-respecting journalist knows that you have no credibility if you report rumors, and at the very least you should name your source.
Instead, it seems ol' Larry just talked out of his arse after he went fishing for news on www.redstate.org, a partisan Republican blog several notches to the right of DrudgeReport.
In an e-mail exchange Tuesday, Larry explained: “Wasn't my disclaimer good enough? ... It's very important to not take what you see on the Internet as fact until there are corresponding sources. I said that very plainly on the air.”
C'mon big-hitter, you reported a baseless rumor. There's no excuse for that.