Oct 8, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 04 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Roger Simon, the chief political columnist for Politico, began his column last week with an alarming report:
Roger Simon’s “scoop” then raced across the information superhighway at record speed, with liberals exchanging quips about how the Romney campaign had finally crashed and burned. Ace New York Times columnist Paul Krugman dryly noted, “You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing.” Mediaite, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Gawker, Daily Kos, and Comedy Central all ran reports based on Simon’s column.
As it turns out, all of these news outlets were duped. Simon’s column was satire! This was not readily apparent because Politico is not ordinarily in the business of publishing satires, and Simon’s column wasn’t labeled as such. But above all, the reason it wasn’t understood to be satire is that Simon’s column was punishingly unfunny. The Scrapbook will not say this often so make a note of it: We don’t blame Paul Krugman, Lawrence O’Donnell, and the Daily Kos for arriving at the wrong conclusion.
We do, however, find Roger Simon and his editors guilty of malpractice. Politico’s editors were forced to place a disclaimer at the top of the column: “Editor’s note: Some readers were confused that this Roger Simon column was satire. Please see Roger’s note at the end.” Simon’s note, for its part, seemed weirdly hostile to his readers:
Ah yes, that explains it. He was casting his pearls before swine. Roger Simon’s readers don’t just fail to get his jokes, they’re also too stupid to understand his predecessors—Swift and Orwell. Maybe this is just another misfired joke. Let’s hope so.