Amateur hour

You’ve probably seen Lieberman’s much-discussed bear ad by now. Well, the print edition of this morning’s New Haven Register has an intriguing teaser headline, above the paper’s logo:

Lieberman Having Fun

Says controversial ‘bear’ cartoon wasn’t about Lowell Weicker after all

Given that the ad featured a grumpy old bear named Lowell Weicker kicking the little Ned Lamont bear into the Senate race, this certainly piqued my curiousity. If Lieberman was actually trying to backtrack somehow, it would be (a) laughable, and (b) a genuine scoop for the New Haven Register.

The article starts off on a promising note:

NEW HAVEN — Contrary to what his spokesman said last week, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman Monday said his bear cartoon ad on his Web site wasn’t really about former Sen. Lowell P. Weicker after all.

Ah ha, you think, at least if you are me. It’s a metaphor for Lieberman’s general cluelessness! Just as he denies the obvious when it comes to Iraq, he’s denying what any marginally sentient human being can see for themselves by clicking on the ad! This is potentially huge!

But then, if you are still me, you remember that you are reading the New Haven Register, which is perhaps not the finest example of the journalistic profession you are ever likely to run across. And indeed, this extraordinarily odd assertion is not remotely backed up in the body of the article. In fact, in the second paragraph, the Register goes on to quote Lieberman explaining that the ad is about Weicker:

Heavily criticized on the Internet by supporters and foes alike, Lieberman said, “We put it up after Weicker came out last week to have a little fun. Every now and then, you want to do that.”

A little further down in the article, Lieberman elaborates — and again, the opening paragraph is in no way substantiated:

Lieberman, who met with the New Haven Register’s editorial board Monday, said they had the ad for awhile, but didn’t put it on television because it would “send a mixed message. We thought that it gave the wrong impression.” They instead put it on their Web site.

“This campaign is about the choice that Democratic primary voters have between Ned Lamont and me and they can make whatever conclusions they want about who is supporting each of us, but ultimately, they’ve got to decide which one of us will do a better job for them,” the senator said Monday.

Mostly the Register’s amateur hour approach doesn’t really matter, but in the rare instances in which they are on the front lines of actual news, it does makes you want to bang your head against the table.