Chalk this up to a textbook example of how to extend a damaging news story.
Last week, the Washington Post published an item about Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, and how the firm owned several companies that engaged in the practice of shipping American jobs overseas. The Romney campaign’s initial reaction was almost comical – they claimed that the story didn’t differentiate between outsourcing and offshoring, both of which can involve the removal of jobs from the United States to areas overseas. I know who really doesn’t differentiate between outsourcing and offshoring – people who lose their jobs as a result.
But the campaign was really fired up about this semantic argument. If they could use it to pry open a correction on the story, they could discredit the entire thing. At least, that’s probably how the thinking went. So they requested a meeting with the Washington Post seeking a retraction of the story. And the WaPo granted the meeting. And afterwards, they… reinforced the story.
“We are very confident in our reporting,” Washington Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti told TPM after the meeting, adding that appointments with people concerned about coverage are common.
So now this story, which was on the verge of being forgotten, to the extent any of these stories are fully forgotten, gets new life as the WaPo denies the Romney campaign.
This could of course work to Romney’s advantage as well, as part of a narrative of being picked on by liberal media. That’s certainly a classic conservative pose. But it’s outweighed by the renewed attention to Bain Capital and its prioritizing of profit over American workers. Indeed, the Obama campaign and Democratic surrogates have pounded Romney over this story.
Sometimes it might be better to just shut up and take the lumps.