Drudge and Washington Times cited each other in propagating anti-Kerry rumorMay 24, 2004 6:18 PM EDT ››› JAMISON FOSER
On May 24, the Drudge Report linked to a Washington Times article on comments Senator John Kerry allegedly made about President George W. Bush's May 22 bicycle accident, completing a conservative misinformation-laundering operation that began when Drudge first reported the alleged comments the day before.
Sandwiched between a photo of Kerry in a bicycle helmet and a photo of Bush waving, his hand and face scraped and bleeding, the May 23 Drudge Report featured the following blurb:
President fell off bike Saturday.. Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, 'Did the training wheels fall off?'... Reporters are debating whether to treat it is as on or off the record... [All ellipses and typographical errors in original]
By 6:12 GMT, May 24, the Drudge item was joined by a link to a Washington Times article titled "Kerry pokes fun at Bush mishap"; the Drudge link to the Times article read "Kerry pokes fun at Bush mishap..."
The Washington Times article cited Matt Drudge as its source for the Kerry quote:
Democrat John Kerry joked about President Bush's weekend bicycle accident by comparing the president to a child, Internet newshound Matt Drudge reported yesterday.
"Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, 'Did the training wheels fall off?'" Mr. Drudge reported on his Web site, www.drudgereport.com. ...
Mr. Drudge said the debate among reporters over the on-camera "training wheels" remark has been "whether to treat it as on or off the record."
The Washington Times seemed to suggest - but didn't directly report -- that the Kerry campaign confirmed the comments:
Interviewed by The Washington Times yesterday, Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter would say only that the words Mr. Drudge reported were "off the record."
By 6:16 GMT, Drudge had removed his own item about Kerry's comment, leaving only the link to the Washington Times article.