October 2, 2006

527 Media Business Decision: To Use Larry Sabato, or Not?

Here’s what AP wrote about what Sabato said (HT Powerline):

A noted political scientist joined one of Sen. George Allen’s former college football teammates in claiming the senator used a racial slur to refer to blacks in the early 1970s, a claim Allen dismisses as “ludicrously false.”

Larry J. Sabato, one of Virginia’s most-quoted political science professors and a classmate of Allen’s in the early 1970s, said in a televised interview Monday that Allen used the epithet.

Sabato’s assertion came on the heels of accusations by Dr. Ken Shelton, a radiologist who was a tight end and wide receiver for the University of Virginia in the early 1970s when Allen was quarterback. He said Allen not only used the n-word frequently but also once stuffed a severed deer head into a black family’s mailbox.

Allen’s campaign released statements from four other ex-teammates defending the senator and rejecting Shelton’s claims.

Christopher J. LaCivita, an Allen strategist, said Allen and Sabato were not friends nor did they associate with each other in college.

“Larry is obviously relying on words he heard from someone else,” he said. “We believe it’s completely inaccurate.”

Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, would not tell The Associated Press how he knew Allen used the n-word. He told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that he did not know whether it was true that Allen used the word frequently while in college.

“I’m simply going to stay with what I know is the case and the fact is he did use the n-word, whether he’s denying it or not,” Sabato said.

THE FACT IS that Sabato doesn’t know, as documented in this e-mail response relayed to Powerline:

I didn’t know these things until the past few months.
People I know and who are very credible contacted me and shared the stories.

Then reporters checked them out: I am not a reporter. Based on everything they learned, they believe the stories and so do I. Other things will determine the election, though.

How Can Someone Say This and Retain Any Objective Credibility?

ANSWER: They can’t. Larry Sabato is, from this day forward, a partisan hack. Without a complete mea culpa from Sabato, any news organization that passes Sabato off as a nonpartisan analyst is knowingly covering up the truth. Doing so is not only a dishonest decision, but in today’s media age, it’s a really bad business decision.

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1 Comment

  1. I found out through this whole story that Sabato worked on Democratic campaigns years ago. I kind of always suspected it. Im not saying that is why he spoke out, I am just saying it is good to know that he is a Democrat.

    Comment by Ben Keeler — October 2, 2006 @ 3:56 pm

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