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Covering Washington

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I love Twitter. With the advent of Twitter I can follow the major (and even some minor) national reporters and get 127 versions of what all of them have just seen, heard, and thought.


For someone like me, that is a significant time-saver and amajormoney saver.

The recent CPAC convention is a case in point. First of all kudos to Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which organized the convention. By all accounts it went off without a major hitch, and just about all of the major (and even some minor) unannounced, but "seriously considering" candidates for the GOP nomination made an appearance.

That's part of what I want to discuss.

Given Twitter, cable news, instantaneous updates to stories previously filed on the websites of major (and even some minor) news organizations' websites there is a serious competition to file first.

If that new posting can include some tidbit that no one else had yet, written with a Matt Drudgeian breathlessness (BREAKING!) then the First Filer might not just get a mention on other websites but pats on the back in the bar (PBBs) at the end of the working day.

What that has led to is a situation in which journalists don't just report what they're seeing and hearing; but declaring it is the beginning, the end, the rebound, or the end of one campaign or another.

This is like watching a pre-season football game in August and having the color man in the booth telling the play-by-play guy (and the audience) not just whether a play worked or not; but declaring the ultimate winner of the Superbowl the next February, based on that play.

While CPAC was going on in suburban Maryland, just up the Potomac another game was afoot as House Republicans fumbled in their first attempt to force House Democrats to support a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.


DHS is not the issue; the issue is looking for ways to defund or otherwise reverse President Barack Obama's executive order on deporting illegal aliens.

Republicans thought … well, I'm not sure what Republicans thought but when they finally threw in the towel after nearly an hour (on an official 15 minute vote) the vote was 203-224 to extend funding for three weeks.

Twelve Democrats disregarded the instructions of their leadership and voted for the bill. Unfortunately, 52 Republicans ignored the wishes of the GOP leaders and voted against it.

Having made their point, Democrats later in the evening helped pass a one-week funding bill so every non-essential employee at DHS who would not have shown up for work on Saturday

anyway, still didn't show up for work on Saturday but at least they would get paid for it.

The BREAKING! part of the coverage was Hill reporters trying to find evidence that a coup d'etat was being formulated against Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh).

Maybe there was (and is) such a move afoot, but it hadn't spilled over into the Speaker's Lobby by Friday night.

File this one away for future use.

We all roll our eyes when some public figure declares something he or she said or wrote was "taken out of context."

Sometimes they're right.

The Left's unending desire to find something - anything - with which they can hammer Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis) into submission spilled over into his budget plan.

According to a website called

"Under Walker's budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker's plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it."


This was dutifully trumpeted by the Huffington Post (BREAKING!). Was Scott Walker going to be the Todd Aiken of the 2016 cycle?

No - it was out of context.

The requirement to report was, indeed, removed from the budget but the HuffPo, in an update, was forced to report that the requirement to report was removed

"at the request of University of Wisconsin Systems. The network of campuses said the federal government already required them to report rape statistics, and the Wisconsin state requirement forced them to duplicate those efforts."

Thus did Gov. Walker escape the clutches of the Left again.

Right Facts + Wrong Context = Bad Reporting.

The consuming need to be first with the juiciest will lead more reporters (major and minor) into dangerous waters as we move through this cycle.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the CPAC conference, to the DHS funding votes, and to both the Jezebel and the Huff Post erroneous reporting.

Also a Mullfoto that I know will make you laugh.

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