The lamest hit piece in the history of hit pieces?
Friday morning, the New York Times deemed Senator Rubio’s driving record news that fit to print. Though it reads like something from the annals of The Onion, the New York Times was completely serious about Sen. Rubio’s troubling speeding tickets from the 90s.
Senator Marco Rubio has been in a hurry to get to the top, rising from state legislator to United States senator in the span of a decade and now running for president at age 44.
But politics is not the only area where Mr. Rubio, a Republican from Florida, has an affinity for the fast track. He and his wife, Jeanette, have also shown a tendency to be in a rush on the road.
…A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.
Sen. Rubio took defensive driving?! IMPEACH.
Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics… A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County and found himself back in driver improvement school.
Things got more complicated in 2011 when Mr. Rubio was alerted to the fact that his license was facing suspension after a traffic camera caught him failing to stop at a red light in his beige Buick. His lawyer, Alex Hanna, paid a $16 fee to delay the suspension and eventually it was dismissed.
What kind of elitist is Rubio that he paid a whopping $16 fee to avoid suspension of his driver’s license?
It is not clear how the numerous infractions have affected the Rubios’ car insurance policy or premiums. On at least one occasion, Ms. Rubio was cited for lacking documentation that her car was insured.
The Rubios have spent more than $1,000 paying traffic penalties over the years, but after Mr. Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 they took a different approach to handling their tickets.
Mr. Rubio hired Mr. Hanna, a Miami-based lawyer and donor, whose website sales pitch says, “Have you received a traffic ticket? Don’t pay it.” With Mr. Hanna’s help, Mr. Rubio’s last two citations were dismissed and seven of Ms. Rubio’s last eight were cleared.
Hilarious journalistic undertaking makes its way around the internet, is subjected to wholly justified mockery, and then the intrepid staff at the Washington Free Beacon began poking around.
We often jest that the NYT functions as a progressive mouthpiece because of their consistently liberal bent. In this case, it’s entirely true.
Early Friday afternoon, Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon published an article revealing who requested Rubio’s driving records.
Records show that each of the citations mentioned by the New York Times were pulled in person by American Bridge operatives on May 26, 2015.
Take for example the time Rubio was pulled over in 1997. “Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics,” wrote the New York Times. “In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes.”
A look at the docket for that infraction on Miami-Dade County’s website shows that American Bridge was in Miami to pull records on that case at 11:42 a.m. on May 26:
Neither of the reporters, Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder, appeared on the docket records for any of the traffic citations for Rubio and his wife. An additional researcher credited in the New York Times, Kitty Bennett, also does not appear on any of the court records.
American Bridge describes itself as, “a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.” They boast of reseaching, “candidates’ records to ensure their rhetoric matches their voting record,” and claim they, “work to get this information to you through mainstream and social media, grassroots activism and our website.”
Thanks to the Free Beacon, the NYT — not Sen. Rubio’s driving record, is now the story.
Politico’s Dylan Byers entered the fray, asking the NYT how they obtained the records. The NYT denies they received them elsewhere:
However, in an email to the On Media blog on Friday, Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan denied that the information came from an outside source.
“We came across this on our own,” she wrote. “Steve Eder and Kitty Bennett noticed it on Tuesday while looking into something else – it is almost all on line. Eder planned to do it for First Draft next week. On Wednesday, another reporter, Alan Rappeport, got wind that others were looking at the same thing. He mentioned it to Eder, so we decided to get it in now. We hired a document retrieval service in Florida and got copies of the paper records ourselves. They came back yesterday.”
Byers pushed further:
I’ve asked @NYTimes for name of retrieval service they say they used to obtain Miami-Dade court docs… will update if and when they respond.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) June 5, 2015
And also this:
Here is the full docket for one of the Rubio citations. No "document retrieval service in Florida” seen… pic.twitter.com/HDZUwHV0rQ
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) June 5, 2015
Byers pointed out that its entirely commonplace for news sources of all kinds to publish oppo research passed to them by campaigns, and he’s not wrong. The NYT did use Peter Schweizer, author of “Clinton Cash,” in an exposé, after all, Byers notes.
That the NYT would run with something so trivially banal? I’m not sure whether it’s lazy, agenda-driven, or some combination of the two (most likely), but it’s definitely weaksauce.
Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter
New York Times DC buro chief says they used Westlaw Court Express to obtain Rubio documents. Westlaw confirms http://t.co/I8UeX3CuWT
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) June 5, 2015
Regardless, this is easily the dumbest story I’ve read this election cycle. And by dumb, I’m thinking somewhere along the lines of:DONATE
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