Among other things, the editor advised me that Coleman's attack on us involved no reporting, and that the column's factual misrepresentations were to be read in that light. Moreover, certain of the misrepresentations were to be construed as sarcasm rather than taken at face value.
Finally, according to the editor, Coleman's false assertion that he didn't know and we didn't say whether we might be on the take from some campaign, political party or anonymous benefactor, appeared to violate no Star Tribune standard.
Brent Bozell or other media critics could not have written a scenario that makes the mainstream media look worse.
Imagine that you are writing a novel. You write a scene in which a newspaper columnist wrote that his Internet-based critics had no "professional standards" and then got one of his central arguments wrong because he didn't bother to check what he assumed about his critics. After the errors are revealed, neither he nor his editor can say what "professional standards" his column is held to.
Most book editors and readers would shake their heads at that scene — it's not believable, stacking the deck too much. Newspaper columnists aren't that sloppy or reckless with the facts. Editors don't just let them write whatever they feel like - they edit.
Like the story of the CBS memo, this is turning stranger than fiction.