Huffington Post offers job to James Carter IV after he facilitates leak of Romney video to competitor

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James Carter IV made contact with the source of Mitt Romney's "47 percent" video on Twitter, then courted him relentlessly. As Josh Lederman relays:

In a string of Internet conversations, Carter showed the source evidence that he had helped David Corn, a journalist with the magazine Mother Jones, report a story about Global-Tech Appliances Inc., a Chinese firm that Romney's Bain Capital briefly invested in. Both Carter and the source suspected it was that firm's factory that Romney was speaking about in the video.

We all know what happened next. Carter told Cenk Uygur on Current TV's "The Young Turks," "A lot of my supporters and my friends on Twitter have actually been saying that this is poetic justice for, you know, that it was a Carter that found this video that's giving the Romney campaign so much trouble. And I agree with that."

The former president, Lederman reported, sent his grandson an email saying in part, "This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa."

"I don't think he's ever emailed me the word 'extraordinary before,' " Carter, whose Twitter bio says he's "Currently looking for work," told Uygur. Lederman says Carter received a "string of job offers Tuesday, from the Ohio Democratic Party to online news sites like The Huffington Post and ThinkProgress."

Bloomberg TV's Matt Miller was incredulous that the video went out via Mother Jones, which he called "the National Enquirer for the left" in a conversation with Bloomberg View's Josh Barro.

Miller: It's like, I can't believe that whoever made the video didn't give it to a halfway respectable media outlet. Why not place it somewhere where most of the country would under -- I mean, nobody knows what Mother Jones is except for the intellectual, sort of Northeastern and college crew.

Barro: First of all, I think you're selling Mother Jones way short there. I think a lot of people like Kevin Drum and Adam Serwer are doing very good work there. But I think, you know, the question of why did this guy give it to an ideological outlet -- I think, first of all, the tapes basically speak for themselves, so in terms of the political impact it didn't really matter where you placed them so long as they got out into the discussion. My impression is that the guy who had the tapes had a relationship and felt comfortable with David Corn at Mother Jones and that's why they ended up there. But I think the story is basically playing out just as it would have if they had gone out through something like The Times.

Mother Jones co-editor Clara Jeffery noted on Twitter Tuesday night that "The Daily Show"'s Monday segment about the video didn't credit her news organization, which got record online traffic from the video.

But does Mother Jones deserve credit for the scoop? Dylan Byers digs in on Huffington Post's claim to the video. HuffPost, he writes, "was the first news outlet to publish a verified version of the clip, with a splash across the homepage that read, 'Romney Leak: Obama Voters "Dependent on Government." ' ”

It had part of the video and had been cajoling the source for the rest: "Our take was it was better to get the whole video than to go with a half-scoop,” Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim told Byers. “Then, when he let us know that we had lost, that he decided to give it to Corn, we rushed up the piece with what we had.”

Corn told Byers Mother Jones spent the past week verifying the video and published once it knew Huffington Post was going with the story. Grim told Byers, “Having the whole video is more important. There’s just no way I can sugar coat that.”

The result is that while Huffington Post can claim first, it is very likely that Mother Jones will claim history — a coup for the old media in a new-media age where a major premium is put on breaking news first.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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