"If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...
...it probably is." That old saying is good advice, whether you're looking into a business deal or political information about your least favorite Presidents.
The left side of the blogosphere is abuzz with discussion over this report from Capitol Hill Blue, a "non-partisan" website that features other such "non-partisan" posts as "A gutless, draft-dodging coward named Dick Cheney". The newest report is that President Bush, in a meeting with Republican congressman and staffers about the Patriot Act, said, "The Constitution is just a god-damned piece of paper" and "I'm the President and Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way", among other things.
When consuming political information, you should be a little suspicious of anything that conforms too closely to your particular prejudices. Consider the media reports of flooding victims shooting at helicopters in New Orleans, or large numbers of brutal murders in the Superdome. Turns out, they didn't happen. Always consider the source. In this case, the source of the story had previously written that President Bush is again drinking heavily, based on a report from the National Enquirer.
And always step back and ask some "what if" questions. For example, consider the case we're discussing here, where three sources decided to confide in a somewhat non-mainstream media outlet with a report that, if true, could really damage the President with his base. (It sure would upset me.) Let's assume that the President doesn't make these pronouncements at every meeting; therefore, you could assume that the Rovian thugs investigating the leak might know 1) when this meeting was, and 2) who was at this meeting. Therefore, you can deduce that these staffers, who also should be expected to know this, might know that they would likely be identified as the source -- they might lose their jobs. (Especially since they talked on the phone with the blogger -- Rove has all phones tapped!) You might ask: "Why would three sources, knowing they were putting their jobs on the line, decide to blow the whistle?" You'd realize that they might have been so disturbed at the President's conduct that they felt no choice but to publicize it; then you might realize that in making this choice, they probably would have gone to a more reputable outfit.
Why stay anonymous? Because this could this end up destroying them financially? Here's the deal; congressional staffers don't make that much money, relatively speaking. Don't you suppose that a brave whistle-blower, upon being outed and fired, might find a progressive benefactor (Soros, et al) to keep his family from starving? Or maybe even do a little better? Those staffers, if they exist, would know this. (Unless, of course, Bush really does "suicide" everyone who opposes him.)
As always, apply Occam's Razor. Is it more likely that the President really is a Constitution-hating megalomaniac who is unafraid of revealing this to people he hardly knows (staffers at the meeting), or that a person who runs a website dedicated to digging up dirt on the Administration might "make up" some story to get attention? For some, this might be a tough question. If you're one of those people... well, good luck with the real world.
Rarely, it turns out that the story that comes out that confirms your most extreme prejudices ends up being true ("I just knew Clinton was getting blown by an intern"). In most cases, though, you might end up feeling a little sheepish if you post about how a particular story "seems to describe the attitude of our current President and his administration" when it turns out not to be true -- even if one did state that one isn't sure if it's true or not. What if it turns out that everything you've read to make you come to this conclusion is also not very true? Suppose it turns out that the Bush junta really is mostly concerned with trying to prevent another terrorist attack, and not just oppress dark-skinned people and funnel money to Halliburton? Won't you feel just a little silly?
In all fairness, when trying to question the validity of the source of these stories, it's normally not very persuasive to shoot down the source simply by mocking the credentials of those who repeat the story, as I did in the comments over at Rob's Blog. (I pointed out that on one well-known moonbat site, the story was right next to a bunch of UFO coverage.)
Not persuasive, maybe, but fun nonetheless.
Going deep to await Rob's comment about how the Freepers agree with me...
Update 0147 13 Dec: As of now, a quick search reveals that Wonkette hasn't even touched the story; that's all the proof I need that there's nothing to it. (For those not familiar with Wonkette, she'll pretty much will print any rumor in D.C. that isn't completely out to lunch. Apropos of nothing, she's originally from my home stomping grounds around Lincoln, Nebraska, so she must be trustworthy.)