Guardian repeats Paul Ryan slur without fact-checking

The Guardian's churnalism is becoming worse and worse. And no doubt the BBC will follow suit.

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Fancy some cake, Mr. Rushe?
On 14 August 2012 15:40

Typically, one might argue, The Guardian has fallen foul of journalistic integrity in the repetition of a slur aimed at Mitt Romney’s new Vice Presidential pick, Paul Ryan.

But like a moth to a flame, The Guardian cannot help itself when it comes to attacking right wingers. Recently, we’ve highlighted their inane, easily debunked reporting and showed how their relationship with the BBC is nothing short of incestuous.

But if there’s cake to be taken, then Dominic Rushe, their writer in New York, is going to be a very fat boy.

Rushereveals’ in his article from this morning, that Paul Ryan sold shares in troubled Wachovia and Citigroup banks on the same day that he had a private meeting with Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and then treasury secretary Hank Paulson.

The initial claim, from some obscure leftist blog based out of Richmond Virginia, has been repeated across the blogosphere, making its way onto Slate’s Moneybox. But as of yesterday morning (Eastern time), the author of the piece, Matthew Yglesias, retracted his initial post and issued a full mea culpa.

The fact is Paul Ryan, funnily enough, didn’t control his own portfolio, which is automated using a series of algorithms. To this day Ryan has no trading authority. But even if he did – what of the insider info that he received, and what a convenience that he happened to bail out of the shares on the same day he received such a briefing?

Well a little bit of actual journalism doesn't go amiss. 

Ryan’s meeting with Bernanke and Paulson took place after the markets closed that day. After the trades had occurred. But The Guardian’s headline and body text of their article is written in such a way that readers will draw the conclusion that Ryan is an insider trading crook.

If The Guardian bothered to fact check, rather than simply repeat a spurious claim made by some strange blog, they’d know that Ryan sold Citigroup shares not just on September 18th 2008, but also in January, March, June, August and December of that year. He also purchased Citigroup shares in February, April, July and October.

It’ll come as no surprise to readers of The Commentator that The Guardian likes to play fast and loose with the facts where their ideological enemies are concerned. Quelle horreur, Ryan is a fan of Ayn Rand. “Let’s get him, boys!” was no doubt the churlish war cry from Rusbridger’s office this weekend.

Surprisingly, the BBC hasn’t yet run the story, but based on their reporters views of Ryan, they can’t be far behind.

Yglesias has managed to alter his article at Slate to reflect the truth. Will The Guardian follow suit? Don’t hold your breath.

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator. He tweets at @RaheemJKassam

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