ABC News: Romney might be a felon

ABC News is running hard with an unsubstantiated accusation that Mitt Romney might be a felon.  At the time of this post, it’s square and center on their homepage.

Earlier in the day, a less virulent form of the story parlayed–seemingly from out of nowhere–factcheck.org’s smackdown of Team Obama’s outsourcing charge into a suggestion of Romney’s culpability:

But, as fact checkers note, Team Obama does not provide any specific evidence to back up claims that Romney was actively managing Bain between 1999 and 2002.

If they had, Romney could be liable for felony charges in court for lying in sworn statements.

The follow-up story by Matt Negrin makes clear reference to a Boston Globe report and White House campaign fodder suggesting a possible crime.  Yet, Devin Dwyer’s earlier report, deficient in these references, ends up looking like a random mulling of counterfactuals.  If more mainstream journalists followed Dwyer’s pattern, we might see some other hypotheses regularly floated as objective reporting:

If the unemployment rate were two percent lower today, President Obama’s campaign would not be in such rough shape.”

If President Obama attended church regularly, fewer people would be confused about his religion.”

If President Obama had chosen a Fat Tire instead of a Bud Light for the Beer Summit, he might have locked up the LGBT vote.”

Dwyer’s report can be consigned to a bin of recent, poorly written pieces, among which we can include Virginia Heffernan’s universally indecipherable response to Ann Marie Slaughter’s work-life balance essay.  If nothing else, it shows just how eager mainstream reporters are to associate Republicans with criminality.

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